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More letters

Dear Editor,As a resident of Westbank, I would like to express my support for Walt Stowe for county commissioner. Walt, along with Larry McCown, made a thoughtful and correct decision to vacate potential public rights-of-way through Prehm Ranch and Westbank Ranch. This was a difficult and highly debated issue. As with most public issues, strong feelings and opinions were expressed by people with differing viewpoints. There were differences among Westbank residents. However, the decision of commissioners Stowe and McCown was supported, in fact requested, by a majority of Westbank residents. The decision resolved difficult problems in a responsible way.Because of the substantial amount of public interest and the special interests of various groups, many rumors and misleading information were spread during the debate. Many people were made to believe that the county had access rights across the Prehm Ranch. This was not the case. For some 70 years, from about 1930 to 2000, Prehm Ranch was owned and operated as a private ranch by the Prehm family. During this time, there was no public road connecting through Prehm Ranch into Westbank Ranch. No such public road existed during the lifetimes of today’s driving public.As a result of the belief that the county had access rights across the Prehm Ranch, many people have said that Walt Stowe was a party to giving something away that the county owned. This just was not the case. You can not give away ownership of something you do not own. The county’s own land title expert could not find defendable evidence that the county owned anything on the Prehm Ranch. Walt made a tough but correct decision. Walt has done a fine job as county commissioner and deserves our support.John HainesGlenwood Springs

Dear Editor,Considering the fact that though a county commissioner may live in one district of the county, once s/he is elected s/he votes on issues that affect the whole county, I am writing this letter as an appeal to persons from the east end of Garfield County to consider the needs of people from the west end of the county when registering their vote. As many of you know, the west end has been heavily impacted by the gas well industry in recent years. Many of the concerns of the west end fall on deaf ears; i.e. the need for a Local Government Designee (LGD) as an informed person that answers residents’ questions, reviews gas well permits, etc.This past summer I attended a meeting in Silt of concerned citizens regarding the gas well operations going on in their area. Before the meeting started, I was talking to Walt Stowe regarding efforts and gains made. He said as far as he was concerned, the approximately $300,000 the county spent to stop the progression from 40-acre spacing to 20-acre spacing was a waste of taxpayer money and he thought most of the people of the county felt the same way. He did not see that we had gained anything from the effort. Later, I talked to John Martin and asked him what he thought we got for the $300,000. His immediate response was that we got directional drilling (which the gas industry fought hard to avoid but now finds profitable).I would like to explain to you what directional drilling means to west Garfield County. Consider a strip of land 10 miles wide (5 miles on each side of I-70) and 40 miles long (the approximate distance between New Castle and the east end of DeBeque Canyon) – 10 miles times 40 miles equals 400 square miles. There are 640 acres per square mile. Each square mile has 16 40-acre parcels. Four hundred square miles has 6,400 forty-acre parcels. At one vertical and four directional wells (one well per each of the four 10-acre parcels within the 40-acre parcel), there is the potential for 32,000 gas wells in this 400-square-mile area from 6,400 drill pads. This is in contrast to 25,600 drill pads if we had one vertical well per 10-acre parcel in this same 400 square-mile area.Then, consider the fact that each drill pad and associated road(s) disturbs two or more acres of land. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would want two of every 10 acres in West Garfield County to be disturbed – particularly considering that the disturbances that were put in place 30 years ago continue to be disturbed and have not revegetated. Having one gas well pad site per 40 acres keeps more land in agricultural production, helps to preserve air and water quality, impacts wildlife less, allows for further distance between wells and dwellings … the list can go on and on. It takes only common sense to understand the huge benefit to Garfield County to have achieved the benefit of directional drilling.About four years ago, based on the percentage of gas that was reported in the paper could be retrieved at a certain spacing, I did the math and figured that it would take gas wells at 5-acre spacing to get 100 percent of the gas out. I quizzed Brian Macke of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission regarding my computations. He agreed that I had figured accurately but said that the COGCC would never go to 5-acre spacing, “but we will go to 10-acre spacing.” It was about a year after this that Barrett Resources applied for a permit to go to 20-acre spacing in several locations between Rifle and Parachute.Whenever I have been present and Walt Stowe has been questioned about the need for a local government designee (a recognized position by the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission), Walt says the position has no power and therefore is not worthy of consideration. I ask you: When did knowledge cease to have power? The people need a place to go for answers. The COGCC needs to know the people of Garfield County and our county commissioners care what happens in and to Garfield County. I respectfully ask you to carefully consider your vote for county commissioner.Sincerely,Elaine CloningerParachute

Dear Editor,Recognize the need to have Republicans in our public offices!-To keep our national borders strong and secure;-To maintain our North American culture and values;-To maintain a strong economy and freedom from socialism;-To assure prudent and productive uses of public natural resources for the benefit of all citizens;-To protect our country from tyrants and terrorists.It is a wonderful Christian virtue to hold a peaceful mind and an open heart. But while we sit in peaceful hope and ask (pray) that others will act in the same manner, others with different “virtues” and beliefs – e.g., the socialists, the tyrants, the envious, the bullies – will endeavor to take advantage of the apparent weak and take over the peaceful (and prosperous). History provides many examples – it., the Mongol Hordes, the Viking Norse, the Mohammedans, the Catholic Spaniards, the African “Generals.”Our country, our people, our culture needs to be protected and maintained. Any good athlete or soldier knows that the best defense is a good strong offense. Our country needs the strength and wisdom of Republicans in all of our government offices: local, state, national. Vote for Republicans!Thank you,Mike BlairGlenwood Springs

Dear Editor,An open letter to Colorado voters:As a group, we have 323 years experience administering elections in Colorado. While we are well aware that hyperbole is common in politics, the “Yes on Amendment 30” campaign has gone beyond exaggeration to the point of telling outright lies. For example:The “Yes on 30” campaign spokesman, Dave Minshall, sent out a news release claiming that the recently signed “Help America Vote Act of 2002” will “facilitate and pay for Colorado’s implementation of Amendment 30’s Election Day voter registration.”WRONG! This new federal law provides funding to help states upgrade their voting equipment to levels comparable to Colorado’s, train election workers and develop statewide voter registration lists, such as what we have in Colorado. No funding is provided for the kind of equipment and technology that would be needed to cure the problems caused by Amendment 30. Telling Coloradans that the feds will take care of the myriad of problems that passage of Amendment 30 would cause is more than a disservice, it’s a lie.A number of “Yes on 30” spokespeople, including Mr. Minshall, have said that without Amendment 30, registered voters who move after the 30-day registration deadline are prohibited from voting.WRONG! Under Colorado’s emergency voting statutes, people who move after the deadline are able to cast a ballot and, thanks to legislation passed this year, they can even cast that ballot at their precinct polling place. Proponents of Amendment 30 know about this law and continue to tell voters otherwise. In doing so, they may be convincing eligible voters that they won’t be able to vote and keeping them away from the polls.The Amendment 30 television commercial contends that the proposal will fix laws that “make voting difficult for seniors and people with disabilities.”WRONG! In an election season filled with bizarre claims, this one has to be the most bizarre. First, what laws do we have in Colorado that make it difficult for seniors and people with disabilities to vote? Even if such laws existed, and we don’t think they do, Amendment 30 does nothing to make voting easier for seniors and/or people with disabilities. If a voter has a disability that makes it difficult to get to the polls, then it will still be difficult to get to the polls under Amendment 30.Unlike the supporters of Amendment 30, we don’t have the time to hold a myriad of news conferences. Most of us are active election officials. We are doing our utmost to ensure an honest election this year and we feel that telling the truth about Amendment 30 is critical to ensuring honest elections in the future.Sincerely,Mildred Alsdorf,Garfield County clerkDonetta Davidson,Colorado Secretary of StateEditor’s note: The above letter also was signed by 17 other current and former county and state election officials.

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