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Your Letters

The broken political system is our fault. We have two choices: give up and let special interests continue to run our lives, or change it.

Let’s get rid of inflexible politicians who keep politics from working – including any Republican who signed the no-taxes pledge and any Democrat who refuses to consider reforming Social Security or Medicare. Government can’t work if there is no way to compromise on the issues.

The 97 percent of the Republicans (and a few Democrats) in Congress who signed the pledge to never increase any taxes need to change or leave.

The Democrats who signed the Social Security Protection Pledge need to qualify their position: are they just opposed to privatization, but willing to reform the system so it becomes sustainable, or are they against any change? If they’re as intransigent as the no-tax Republicans, then they should go as well.

Our representative for Western Colorado, Scott Tipton, needs to hear that we despise his partisan politics. He’s one of the 97 percent of Republicans who signed the pledge, basically shutting down the federal government for the summer.

He’s not doing Western Colorado any favors playing these games. He’s keeping the government from focusing on real problems: the economy and jobs. He’s not representing the 70 percent of Americans who believe the Bush tax cuts should be on the table, along with the large cuts in social spending both sides seem willing to make.

Paraphrasing George Packer in July 25 The New Yorker: “To govern responsibly but without conviction (Obama, most Democrats) is weak, but to govern with conviction but without responsibility (the Tea Party and most Republicans) is insane.”

Let’s hope Scott Tipton changes his ways, or that some responsible Republican challenges him in the primary, so we can have real choice next time.

Peter Westcott


I agree with the Aug. 28 letter written Jan Walker from Rifle. The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 is asking for another tax hike too.

All we hear about is that teaching positions will be cut. I worked for the school district for 21 years and most of the time, the only positions that were cut were what the district called nonessential positions: janitors, bus drivers, cooks, aides and extra programs.

What about cutting the pay for those in the Re-1 District Office? If I remember correctly, the superintendent of schools is making a pretty good-sized sum per month. Maybe cut the district office staff in half.

With the economy the way it is here in the Roaring Fork Valley, why is it necessary to raise taxes again? The Re-1 tax bill makes up more than 75 percent of what we pay in property taxes.

It looks like the district is already running scared that it won’t be able to spend the millions it has been spending because the mill levy should go down this year.

Sorry, I think I am giving it a thumbs down. As a senior citizen, I didn’t get a raise from PERA last year. I am getting $5 a month more this year, and as a senior citizen I didn’t get a raise for Social Security either, last year or this year.

If we all have to tighten our belts, then I suggest that the school district do, too. Perhaps the district might think about charging a book fee for all students, if it is not doing so already. The private schools charge a fee just to go to school.

Jane Spaulding


I have serious reservations about the current version of the Village at Crystal River. Carbondale needs a viable development there, but this is not the project or the time for it.

If City Market is going to anchor this new development, then what will go into the current City Market space? That space is so big that it would have to be another grocery store, furniture, appliance or carpet store or something similar.

Many local businesses of this nature have gone out of business lately. Glenwood Springs around Wal-Mart has large, empty buildings that once housed these businesses that are now vacant. They are unattractive and serve little, if no, purpose.

Many people have stated there is a glut of empty commercial space in Carbondale already. It would take many years to fill the VCR spaces around the anchor. And too many of those tenants for VCR would come from Main Street or existing commercial areas, creating even more empty space there.

Then the Carbondale that we’ve known would start to look like North Avenue in Grand Junction – long strips of unattractive, wasted commercial space, pavement and a vibe of “depressed old town” while everyone flocks to the soul-less chain stores on the outskirts of town.

Now is not the time economically to wage our future on speculation. People are not buying or building new homes with so many existing homes on the market for much less. New homes won’t pay for this development, because not enough of them will sell.

Just because the property is there doesn’t mean something has to happen there now. We’ve already lived through – and are still choking on the consequences of – irresponsible developers and lenders building up so many houses of cards that couldn’t be paid for.

Let’s not base our local economy on President Bush’s speculative “ownership society” national model that failed us all so miserably, and which we will continue to pay for well into the future. Let’s wait until we are sure we can build something that won’t create more empty space around town or won’t collapse because of its own lack of substance.

David E. Johnson


The Post Independent’s editorial of Aug. 26 regarding the changes to the enforceability of the Garfield County Master Plan appeared in the same issue the paper announced moving the paper back to downtown.

The two events seem almost related because the Post Independent is changing location for business reasons, and the Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is doing the same with its master plan.

The BOCC has made the master plan what the paper says it should be: advisory.

However, due to interpretations by present and former county staff members, the county master plan has been applied in the past as mandatory, largely because it was in the zoning code. It is not supposed to be mandatory and should not be.

Master plans need flexibility combined with general direction. The current planning director thinks it is, and we have a disaster in development and land use processing accordingly.

The BOCC was right in what they did, and claiming the public has somehow been swindled, as the paper’s editorial did, is ridiculous. Go do your homework: Development in the county is dead. We need to change our plan and our codes, at a minimum.

The BOCC sees that a user-friendly plan and code helps our economy and is working to achieve it. In 2010 and 2011, the county has been dead. The change decided upon was right and will help us all. I applaud the decision, and the leadership that made it happen.

Walter Brown

Glenwood Springs

For a number of years now, we’ve watched our national debt grow to frightening levels. We increasingly hear statements such as, “The government must stop spending more than it takes in.”

Indeed, the recent Washington debate concerning another increase in the debt ceiling orbited around just that – how to reduce expenditures and/or increase revenue.

That debate is important, and it will probably dominate political rhetoric as we approach the 2012 elections. We will hear lots of words about entitlements, education, military spending, infrastructure, jobs, etc. However, focusing the debate exclusively on those items ignores a key element – the Federal Reserve System.

Most of us do not understand the Fed, what it is, who runs it, how it operates, and its impact on our lives. Trying to get one’s arms around associated details is difficult. Even when we begin to comprehend the enormous power vested in this small body of people and the consequences of how they use or misuse their power, we find it hard to believe.

Because the Post Independent has a 350-word limit on letters to the editor, it is impossible to present a meaningful summary of the Federal Reserve System here. However, each of us can learn a lot by entering the words “Federal Reserve System explained” into a web search engine. That will offer a wealth of material, including several videos.

I believe that investing even a small amount of time in such a self-education effort will persuade readers to join the ever-growing number of people who are convinced that the Fed is much more a part of our problems than it is a part of any solutions.

Those who come to that conclusion should communicate their concerns to candidates in the upcoming election. On their own, very few of them will even mention the Fed, much less offer any solutions to very serious problems associated with the system. If our future leaders don’t identify it as an important issue, we have to convince them that it is, and insist that they pursue appropriate changes.

John Palmer

Glenwood Springs

Idling my day away at the Glenwood Springs Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, with oodles of wait time on my hands, an idea has occurred to me.

I know the DMV system has been studied and criticized, and that the number of DMV workers is dependent on revenue.

I also know that the wait area is uninspiring and that sustenance in the immediate DMV area of the Mall is hard to come by.

How about the DMV opening a coffee shop and Internet cafe next door to the driver’s license processing shop? The profit from that could help pay staff wages, and the food and drink would be most welcome, even if the coffee was mere decaf.

Nicholas T. Fickling


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