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The Hillside Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) regulations, enacted by the city of Glenwood Springs in September 2000, are supposed to preserve the integrity and scenic beauty of slopes above an elevation of 6,000 feet by restricting construction that would adversely impact those slopes.

However, on Sept. 15 the Glenwood Springs City Council ruled that, in the words of Councilman Todd Leahy, any lot anyone buys in our city comes with an “entitlement” to build. Only Councilman David Sturges opposed the “entitlement” argument. (Refer to the article, “Council OKs West Glenwood house, driveway in hillside zone,” of Sept. 16.)

HPOZ regulations specifically state their purpose as minimizing “the negative environmental and visual effects of mass cut and fill of large pads and excessive terracing through retention of the natural topography of the hillsides.”



Construction on this lot will involve destroying natural vegetation across the entire width of the lot and constructing 18 vertical feet of retaining walls, will violate setback limitations by placing walls within five feet of a neighbor’s lot, and will destroy views from surrounding property.

So, homeowners, beware. Developers now have free rein to purchase and develop any lot in the city, regardless of city regulations. They are “entitled” to do so.



Karl Oelke

Glenwood Springs

A Sept. 29 article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek states that General Electric is moving a 115-year-old X-ray division to Beijing, China.

In addition to moving the headquarters, the company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and create six research centers.

This is the same GE that made $5.1 billion in the United States last year, but paid no taxes. It’s the same company that employs more people overseas than it does in the United States.

So let us get this straight. President Obama appointed GE Chairman Jeff Immelt to head his commission on job creation as job czar.

Immelt is supposed to help create jobs. Obviously the president forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating those jobs.

If this doesn’t show you the total lack of leadership of this president, I don’t know what does.

Of course China is one of GE’s biggest customers. American companies such as GE keep creating jobs there. The EPA has no say about what they do, and their regulations aren’t so ridiculous as to kill jobs, as they do here in the U.S.

Please pass this information to others and think about it before buying a GE product.

Juanita R. Williams

Parachute

Our kids can’t afford to have anything else cut from their educational experience. Please support our schools by voting yes on 3E.

The Roaring Fork School District has lost $5.1 million in state funding over the past two years. Gov. Hickenlooper’s budget director expects there to be a budget cut of up to $500 million in 2011-12. This equates to an additional cut for Roaring Fork of $3 million more in 2012-13.

Locally, past Roaring Fork reductions have resulted in increased class sizes, elimination and consolidation of athletic programs, reductions in material and technology purchases, and a salary reduction for teachers after three years of a salary freeze.

Vote for Our Kids asks us to pay $36 annually per $100,000 in home value at a time when dramatic property devaluations mean property taxes will still be less than what we would otherwise have paid last year.

Question 3E requests a fixed amount, $4.8 million annually, paid through property taxes. As property values increase, the amount each individual pays to meet this $4.8 million obligation decreases.

Question 3E is not about financial mismanagement of the school district. It is about a funding shortage at the state level. Question 3E is not about a salary increase for teachers. It’s about maintaining the current level of funding for our local schools because we can’t cut any more. It is about our kids.

Times are tough, and our schools have made significant cuts. Further cuts would mean serious impacts on our students. Regardless of these economic times, our kids show up in our classrooms every day and we need to give them our best.

Our kids can’t afford overcrowded classrooms, fewer athletic and extracurricular opportunities, or outdated materials and technology. Please support our kids and vote yes on 3E.

Kim Hamilton

Carbondale

Billie Buffett had a dream of making a device that, when installed in a car, would lower the amount of gas needed to propel you down the highway. He still wanted to pursue his idea after he got his civil engineering degree from Purdue and went to work at Inland Steel Corp.

Billie worked on his “Gajet” after work every day. However, it was a very slow process since he had no money and owed $86,500 on his student loan. To make things even more difficult, another inventor came up with a product that saved 20 percent of fuel costs.

After 10 years doing a double job, Billie started a small factory, always knowing that his idea of cutting fuel cost in half would be great for the country and for his pocketbook. It took Billie six more years before the Gajet began to sell. He actually started to make a profit.

In his 20th year, Billie has 1,000 employees and his Gajet was selling all over the world. His employees made $50 million that year and Billie would have made $18 million, but due to government restrictions, fees, taxes, unemployment and health benefits, etc., Billie came out with only $10 million.

Oh my, I forgot he paid a 35 percent corporate tax after which he paid an additional 20 percent capital gains tax to the IRS and State of Colorado. Billie’s secretary said she paid 22 percent of her wages to the IRS and her rich boss paid merely 20 percent. Is that fair?

Does this sound familiar? It is a Warren Buffett lie. They both paid at least 48 percent. It’s a lie that is being used over and over again when telling the voters that the “well-to-do should pay their fair share” using Warren Buffett’s lie to prove their point.

President Obama and his followers must think that the voters are stupid. Are we? Remember, it took Billie 20 years to make it big, he gave 1,000 people jobs, and paid your “share” of the taxes. He worked hard, smart and long hours and gives more to charities than most do. He could make the Gajet overseas and save $36 million.

Dick Fitzgerald

Carbondale

My family is one of many Roaring Fork families whose children were well educated beneficiaries of the Roaring Fork School District. Following graduation from excellent universities, they returned to the valley where they are living productive lives, contributing to our communities’ vitality and raising families with the expectation of continued strong educational opportunities.

The quality of education for my grandchildren and the young children of our architecture firm’s core staff is being seriously threatened by tax-based funding cuts that, if not supported by voter passage of mill levy question 3E, will result in certain loss of teacher jobs, outdated teaching tools and technology and dropped programs, as well as the possibility of dysfunctional class sizes.

There is no stronger investment in the future of our valley’s communities than the education of our children, backed by a strong and well-funded school system with the proven dedication of our citizen teachers and capable administrators.

Our valley’s educational system is significantly funded by current property taxes, which will be diminished in many cases by as much as 30 percent. While from the disposable income side, this may be viewed as an advantage, it will surely result with high impact to the Roaring Fork School District. It is the community’s responsibility to support the education of our children in a world that demands a platform of excellence for tomorrow’s citizens and leaders.

While our valley’s community issues may be characterized by lively and diverse dialogue, we have never failed to reach consensus on issues of vital and broad reaching impact. Mill levy 3E is an issue of that magnitude. Vote on Nov. 1 and vote yes on 3E. The payback is huge.

Larry Yaw

Basalt

In response to Ross Talbott’s column of Sept. 27, I find his criticism of evolutionary theory to be much the same as all attacks on evolution: lacking a logical approach. His criticism of evolution is that humans are too amazing to be cut from the same cloth as other animals, and that we could not be the product of millions of years of adaptation, merely because we possess creative minds, abstract thinking and a desire to create beautiful things.

What then is the alternative “theory” of how we arrived here in our present incarnation? Immaculate conception?

While Mr. Talbott does not openly say he throws out the whole theory of evolution, he is implying that evolutionary theory attempts to reduce all human phenomena to gradual molecular and environmental processes, and that this thinking is “irrational.”

Evolutionary theory is, to the contrary, the most rational model in explaining how we and all other creatures exist. It is also a rational explanation because like all science, it is open to new inquiry and if that new empirical evidence is compelling enough it will replace older ideas and theories.

Just because we do not understand completely the processes that brought us into our present state as human organisms, there is no good reason to discount the scientific understanding we have gained so far.

People who want absolute answers to complex questions immediately jump to faith to provide a more cogent set of answers. Luckily for many people in this country, evolution does not have to contradict their belief structure. Many people who believe in God are still able to view evolution as the most reasonable template for explaining how life has come along.

Alex Van Minnen

Carbondale


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