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Rational public policy discussion

Post Independent Writer

Dear Editor,Brett Morrison’s rant about natural gas development in Garfield County includes the incredible suggestion that “all mineral rights (be) transferred, all the time, to the current owners of any property.” Apparently, he believes that homesteaders who “greedily felt the need to hang on to any future promise their land held” should be summarily stripped of their (mineral estate) property rights. Thankfully, the Constitution of the United States (and that of Colorado) precludes such a bizarre notion. As far as gas wells showing up on somebody’s “dream lot,” Colorado law requires that title companies warn property buyers when someone else owns a severed or leased mineral interest. This warning – also shown in bold print on the real estate “buy/sell” form – clearly tells such buyers that the mineral interest owner may enter the property, without the buyer’s permission, to exercise the right of development. No one can claim surprise.Finally, Colorado law does not give oil and gas development “priority … over anything that might be happening on the surface.” Under the “accommodation doctrine,” oil and gas developers must give “due regard” to surface interests, although that does not mean that drilling can simply be denied.There are legitimate issues surrounding the relationship between mineral and surface owners that are worthy of public debate. Unfortunately, publication of uninformed commentary such as Mr. Morrison’s does not contribute to a rational public policy discussion.Ken WonstolenColorado Oil & Gas AssociationRegarding “Herbalist not so funny”Dear Editor,What an appalling letter to the editor written by Michael K. Stahl (Nov. 9). According to his letter, he is a doctor but the letter is not signed thus. It is signed as a person who believes it is his right to impose his beliefs on the public in this valley.Does he know that many, many years ago there were only herbs (study the Bible) and other great works, and there were many healthy people who lived great lives without the use of medicines as we know them? Also, does he realize there are people in this valley who have also studied, learned and came to the conclusion that there are alternative methods of healing – herbs, chiropractic, acupuncture etc. – besides what he is advocating?I have also studied for more than 40 years how to best help my body be healthy and strong and maybe we all need to study our own bodies and make right decisions on what is best for us. This letter was totally crude, rude, and certainly came through as someone who is so rigid in their beliefs no one would have a chance to voice their opinions to Mr. Stahl. Good luck to the Humorous Herbalist – we think you are great and are looking forward to hearing more of your wisdom for us to study.Betty DawsonGlenwood SpringsSound economics the answerDear Editor, The RE-1 school district is considering providing “affordable” and deed restricted housing to reduce a stated teacher turnover rate of 20 percent. This is seriously flawed thinking.Agreed, 20 percent turnover is far too high. Solution: pay teachers what it takes to live in the district.My reasons: Human dignity and sound economics.Human dignity: People don’t want to be told where to live or how to spend their “income.” Teachers want to make their own housing decisions, just like the rest of us. Unfettered home ownership is part of the American dream – why should teachers be denied? What would boost your self-esteem: accepting charity from your community or living in a location and home of your choosing?Economics: Subsidized housing hides the true, full cost of employing a teacher. If the full cost of an employee is hidden, administrators tend to use labor resources less efficiently. Further, subsidized housing is almost always a wasting asset, i.e., its value declines over time instead of appreciating. When is the last time you washed a rental car? Ownership matters.How do we attract and retain quality teachers: with low salaries and a lottery for affordable housing, or with competitive professional wages and all the opportunities for fulfillment and self-determination contained therein? My take is that higher salaries, which confer greater personal autonomy, will easily attract and retain the higher caliber teachers we want for our children.Disclosure: I’m a businessman and my children are adults.Michael LarimeGlenwood SpringsThe reason for the seasonDear Editor,Christmas is just around the corner and Family Visitor Programs would like to invite you to share in the spirit of the season. Family Visitor Programs provides parenting education and support home visitation services to more than 450 mothers from Aspen to Parachute.Your help is requested to make this our best Mom’s Christmas, yet. Although there are many wonderful agencies, which provide toys for children and holiday food baskets for the entire family, this is one of the few programs that provide gifts for new moms.Your donation of a new gift item, gift certificate or cash to buy gifts, will help us in our effort. The deadline to make a donation is Friday, Dec. 10, so that staff can get these gifts out to the moms they visit. Donations are tax deductible. If you can help, please contact Family Visitor Programs at 945-1234 or drop off goods at 401 23rd St., Ste. 204, Glenwood Springs, CO, 81601. Thank you to everyone who donated to Mom’s Christmas last year. Your support means so much to new mothers.Saundra Swanson, Executive Director, Family Visitor ProgramsGlenwood Springs


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