I applaud the recent decisions by Carbondale Mayor Stacy Bernot and the Board of Trustees to put both Village at Crystal River and the Thompson parcel in a form ready for a vote, even though subject to additional amendment.Before voters make their final decision, ask the following: why do we need economic development? The three big reasons are:• Replace lost jobs• Preserve town infrastructure• Continue to provide desired amenities and servicesThat’s hard to do when we send 76 cents of every tax dollar out of town.For the last five years, a group has been trying to move forward on a project called the Village at Crystal River. They have worked closely with town staff, trustees, planning and zoning, and the Roadmap Group. This is a quality development, designed with attractive buildings and landscaping, and a neighborhood appearance. To me, it seems a complimentary addition to the town and an improvement to part of the Highway 133 entry corridor. Yet, some people are trying to shout this down.I believe that there are many unheard people in favor of this kind of development. Additional development, with a Carbondale flavor, and job creation, in places in our town that are now vacant, would also be nice. Even though we may not need the Thompson project housing right now, this is a great way to preserve a priceless part of the local heritage.It’s time to move forward.Bill GrantCarbondale
The recent Labor Day weekend brought a well-earned holiday for most West Slope residents. The holiday brought excitement for the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association too, but for a different reason. Local governments and schools throughout northwest Colorado just received millions of dollars from energy activities. In fact, Garfield County and its municipalities alone received more than $10 million dollars, including the town of Carbondale’s direct energy payments of over $400,000. Not a bad way to wind down the summer season. As a result of the monies, county roads will be smoother, city parks will be greener and schools more effective in creating the next generation of job creators for our communities.Throughout the year, our organization’s mission is to highlight the jobs we create, emphasize the clean energy we produce and spotlight the billions of dollars invested locally each year by our member companies. But seldom are we more proud than when local governments receive direct cash resulting from energy activity. For most of us, numbers in the billions are hard to conceptualize. But it is true, the natural gas and oil industry provides more than $24 billion to Colorado’s economy each year. The monies received last week are just a small fraction of that total economic contribution. As local governments and schools deposit these dollars into their bank accounts, the 6,000 local individuals and families represented by our organization will be happy knowing the work they do in the energy business supports the local communities that support them.David LudlamWest Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association Grand Junction
The Glenwood Springs City Council should be very careful about endorsing the Colorado Department of Transportation proposal for widening or replacing the Grand Avenue bridge over the Colorado River. If this multimillion dollar project is undertaken and completed, it will likely be the end of CDOT participation in efforts to solve the traffic problem on Grand Avenue. CDOT’s attitude will be, “We’ve spent all that money on state Highway 82. Now we must direct our priorities to other pressing needs such as roundabouts in various locations.”The Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement covering the I-70 mountain corridor includes an improvement to the main Glenwood Springs interchange. Efforts should be put forth to move that project ahead. If, in the meantime, a lot of money has been spent on the Grand Avenue Bridge, the interchange improvements might only consist of shoulder widening.Although the likelihood of finding funding for either of these projects is remote, “shovel ready” projects are sometimes moved up in the schedule when the economy demands finding jobs for people. If Glenwood Springs would choose to fund the studies required to get the relocation of Highway 82 under way, perhaps that would be judged close enough to a “shovel ready” project and construction funding might be made available. Dick ProsenceMeeker
The headline in the Sept. 6 Post Independent really grabbed my attention: “City to consider funding to connect LoVa trail.”While I am sure that project would be enjoyed by quite a few, it seems to me that our city should be investing more of our money in our residents. An example: we recently paid our monthly water-sewer bill in the amount of $73. Since the middle of last year, that bill has been averaging $70 a month, which is a big hit for a couple of senior citizens. Going back in our check register, I found that the water-sewer bill averaged only $50 the previous 11 months.We hope City Council will look at this disparity and take action to offset it, rather than investing city funds in what appears to us to be a luxury project.Jan and Pat GirardotGlenwood Springs
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In his Sept. 6 letter in support of higher taxes for our schools, Craig Chisesi defends teachers as neither “greedy” nor “the cause of the recession.”Sadly, as a career teacher for 42 years, I suspect that we’ve contributed significantly to the recession. I’ll explain.Let’s begin with the fact that the vast undertaking of public education requires a lot of the public’s money, and when a society stops producing sufficient wealth, it runs up against what Margaret Thatcher called the problem with socialism: eventually we run out of other people’s money.Presently the principal source of wealth in the Roaring Fork Valley consists of affluent skiers and retirees from, say, Chicago or New York who, upon buying property here, get to pay their pound of flesh to support schools that neither they nor their children attended or ever will attend. It’s a rotten system, and it’s not even working: the rich are being diminished in number and stature, and the value of their property is plummeting.Add to that a large number of citizens who like an upscale lifestyle, but not the oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, transmission lines, timber, cement, etc., that bring that to them; who actively wage war on everything from fracking to plastic bags; who are made happiest by more wilderness, more solar panels, and more opportunities to hear Al Gore frothing at the mouth in Aspen; who send their children to check out “The Story of Stuff” at the Carbondale public library; who impede wealth production at every turn.And who created these people?Teachers.Through the course of my career, to the extent that they have been political, my colleagues have largely been left-leaning progressives – so much so that our schools and colleges are essentially an arm of the Democratic Party, which has lately been about as productive as the failed green company Solyndra.Their influence is well described by James Kellogg, in an article on the same page as Mr. Chisesi’s letter.Now, I fear, they’ll get to lie in the bed they’ve made.Chad KlingerCarbondale
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