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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Electing a representative to the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustee’s is one of the local ballot choices in the upcoming election. I am supporting Pat Chlouber for that position.

Pat is a 35-year resident of the CMC district. She knows the district, its people, desires and challenges. Her entire career has been in the academic arena.

Pat taught in the Lake County School District for 20 years. She also served on and was president of the Lake County School Board. Pat was subsequently elected and served on the State Board of Education, a board that has oversight over all 178 public school districts in Colorado.



In 2001, Pat was appointed representative for Region VIII U.S. Department of Education, where she served as liaison for community outreach and as an advisor to state and local policy makers in six Western states.

Pat Chlouber’s knowledge and vision, coupled with her academic and leadership experience, will prove to be an invaluable asset to Colorado Mountain College. Her established and long-standing commitment to education and rural communities will bring an experienced and caring voice to the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustee’s. I believe Pat Chlouber is an excellent choice to serve on the CMC board and urge everyone to support her candidacy.



Former state Rep. Carl Miller

Leadville

I just read U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton’s My Side column of Oct. 3. Maybe by law he represents me, but not in deed or word. Then I read James Kellogg’s Oct. 4 column.

Their euphemism for the rich, “job creators,” is nothing more than Orwellian double speak. The kindest description of the ultra rich and international corporations that I can think of is “foreign job creators.”

Both of these men are goose-stepping servants of an Australian phone tapper who coined the term “job creators.” They both make the same old tired argument that times are just too tough for the foreign job creators.

They mention government spending, especially Social Security and Medicare, but seem to forget military spending, which is 53 percent of the federal budget and greater than the rest of the world’s military budgets combined.

Then they go on to say that the foreign job creators and corporations have to pay a whopping 35 percent income tax, and conveniently neglect the fact that the U.S. tax code gives more deductions than any other country, effectively lowering the tax burden on the foreign job creators to one of the lowest in the world. (For example, GE paid no federal tax in 2010.)

The Bush tax cuts are eight years old, so where are all the jobs? Rep. Tipton blamed much of the debt on Obama, but failed to mention that Obama counts the two wars in the budget, whereas Bush just pretended that there was no war where the budget was concerned and stuck the future with the bill.

Tipton and Kellogg obeyed their corporate masters and dutifully used the latest talking point, “class warfare,” as if class warfare is a bad or new thing.

Like Bob Dylan sang, “The times, they are a-changing.”

The reason tea baggers are so upset is that Americans are finally realizing that trickle-down economics has failed. The middle class has all but disappeared. People are angry and sick of the propaganda. It is past time for trickle-up economics.

Dan Bokenko

Glenwood Springs

In an Oct. 7 letter, BJ Worthen took issue with Dr. Maurer’s earlier letter attempting to reconcile evolution with creationism. Worthen wrote: “evolution . . . states that all things started with some sort of matter, while creationism states that humanity and all of the universe were designed and created by an almighty and loving God, who has done everything with purpose and precision and compassion.”

Worthen is correct about the religion of creationism, but misunderstands evolution, which is part of a larger scientific framework for understanding our universe. While brilliant, this framework remains (and will probably always remain) incomplete.

Scientifically, one of the most significant cosmological problems is that everything begins with the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago. The Big Bang is considered an “ex nihilo” event. (Something from nothing.)

Some religious philosophers (including Christians) and some scientific philosophers have proposed non-ex nihilo explanations for the Big Bang. However, in spite of its inherent scientific difficulties, ex nihilo remains the predominant scientific explanation for the origin of our universe. According to evolutionary theory, the first self-replicating molecule (i.e. “life”) appeared about 4 billion years ago, via “highly energetic chemistry.”

None of this contradicts Judeo-Christian belief. Worthen is correct that creationism involves intelligent planning and purpose and thus a planner. Science neither disputes nor supports this belief. It is the business of science to empirically explore how things happen. Why they happen that way is a matter for philosophy and faith.

Science is appropriately silent on that subject, leaving BJ Worthen, Ross Talbott and everyone else free to believe as we like. Religion and science can and do coexist easily enough.

Ron Kokish

Carbondale

All children deserve a quality education regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity or language.

In order to provide this education to our children, our schools need to be a place where students feel safe and feel that they an trust the adults around them. Any sort of collaboration between a school resource officer (SRO) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would jeopardize this trust.

The trust that can be built between students and their SRO is an asset to the community and can encourage a cooperation between the community and law enforcement in the future. Students who fear their SRO and believe that they have to lie to him or her in order to protect their friends and family members will not be able to build this trust, and will sadly continue to fear and avoid law enforcement in their adult lives.

I, echoing the positions of AJUA and CIRC, believe that the Roaring Fork School District should create a policy to prohibit collaboration between ICE and SROs. This would be a great step towards making our schools a safe and welcoming environment for all students to learn and grow.

Danny Quinlan

Durango

I feel compelled to make a comment on the Sept. 29 letter by Patrick Hunter. I don’t think his bank robbery example is at all ridiculous. Quite the contrary, it was very accurate, but he and I reach different conclusions.

Both the robbers and the bank tellers are doing what they think is best, and it results in a stalemate. Of course, the robbers then resort to force to achieve their goal.

Thankfully our legislators don’t have that option, at least not legally. This results in the present stagnation, with neither side able to do anything. I don’t see the situation changing until the elections, where the voters will decide which ideology will triumph.

I do wish Mr. Hunter would become educated instead of opinionated. He stated that not “a nickel of extra tax was raised.” The rate wasn’t raised, in fact it was lowered, but revenue did indeed rise. In 2001, federal tax receipts were $2 trillion, there were gains in every year thereafter ending in 2008, where the receipts were 2.5 trillion. Inconvenient to Mr. Hunter’s argument, but true nonetheless.

The total cost for the Iraq war is estimated to be about $802 billion, a fraction of the $4.9 trillion that Obama is estimated to increase the national debt. It is disingenuous of Mr. Hunter to complain about the amount charged to our kids, then ignore the debt that our kids will inherit.

Finally, in an act of unbridled irony, he states that he doesn’t want politicians to compromise on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education or environmental regulation. Just who does he think the burden to continue these programs will fall on when we borrow 40 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government?

The insanity must stop. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have.

Joe Blanc

Silt

In regard to BJ Worthen’s letter to the editor of Oct. 7, I would like to cite the words of Ba Ba Brinkman, who so aptly stated, “People ask if I believe in evolution. You don’t ‘believe’ in evolution. You either understand it or you don’t.”

Laura Van Dyne

Carbondale

Much has been said back and forth on the school district mill levy. With all the arguments in favor, I hope people see that this isn’t an end-all solution.

With a forecast of future funding reductions, there are still difficult decisions ahead. This tax increase will not by itself guarantee salary increases or retention. If there is limited trust in the board today, it will only dip further when this passes with unreasonable expectation and some of those decisions must still be made.

Honestly I’m not entirely there on support for this measure because of the impact on student’s families. Even if it succeeds, understand its limitations.

Secondly, this election is not just about the mill levy. I am concerned by the number of teachers and parents who approach me with fear about speaking up. Some fear to say anything critical, even constructively, to the board or district. They say they worry about being labeled as a troublemaker.

This is one of the reasons I am running. As a parent I have seen this discouraging response firsthand. I want parents and teachers to confidently and safely share concerns and criticisms. Without this, we lose so much. Without listening we lose the opportunity to adjust and correct and to do better. When teachers don’t have a safe individual voice, retention suffers, recruitment is exponentially more difficult, and best outcomes impossible.

I’m running for the Roaring Fork Re-1 School Board and I would be honored to have your support.

Daniel Biggs

Glenwood Springs

I am writing to encourage voters in the Roaring Fork School District to vote yes on 3E in this upcoming election for the following reasons:

1. If we do not have good schools in your community, we do not have a community. Good schools attract businesses and create a vibrant environment that people can rally around and the community can thrive.

2. People want to move into areas that have a good school district. This translates into higher property values in the long run. No one wants to live in a school district with bad schools, and if 3E does not pass that is what will happen. We will see our property values decrease even more and they will never bounce back. There will be an exodus of the very people who enable the community to thrive.

3. Teachers deserve to be paid and have raises. They are taking care of the most precious assets in a community. In addition, students deserve to have a quality education with every opportunity available that is not constrained by lack of finances.

Voters must look at the bigger picture, as it is not about whether or not they have kids or if their kids attend the RE-1 schools, but about the long-term viability of our community.

The impact on the taxes we will pay is negligible ($9.42 a month on a $300,000 home) and the rewards for having a good school system are immeasurable and vital to the health and stability of this community.

If 3E does not pass, this community will feel the impact of that decision far into the future and it will be hard to change that impact after the fact. Please look into the future and not just be concerned with today when it comes to our schools. Please vote yes on 3E.

Rachel Hahn

Basalt

Facts don’t lie. Our school district has to be run as a business. Emotions must be put aside.

According to the Re-1 school district, there are 359 teachers in the system at an average salary of $44,361. Average class size is 22 students. The district’s annual payroll is $15,925,599. By increasing class size from 22 to 30 students, the district would only need 263 teachers instead of 359, a reduction of 96. This would trim payroll by $4,320,000.

The argument against increasing class size is the quality of education the student will receive. There is no research to show this to be true. In reality the smaller class size is a myth promoted by the teacher’s union so more teachers are hired.

Let’s cut some more fat out of the budget by reducing two positions each from grounds maintenance, transportation, school administration and district administrators, saving another $531,088.

Total estimated savings = $4,851,088.

Consider the following facts: teachers work 184 days/year; the average private sector employee works 250 days/year. Comparing apples to apples, the average teacher is being paid at the rate of $60,250.

Teachers know going into their chosen profession what their salary will be. It’s laid out in an index and depends upon their educational level and experience. One does not get rich being a teacher.

However, teaching does offer other perks not available in the private sector, such as days off for all major holidays, spring break and over the summer.

In addition, teachers get tenure usually after three years, also known as lifetime employment and maybe that’s why we have so many mediocre teachers. Nobody in the private sector gets this perk. Do a good job and you’ll always be employed.

In these negative economic times, hard decisions must be made, not only by school districts but by all of us in our own personal lives. We all have to live within our means.

Vote no for the tax mill levy, forcing the school district to run a tighter, more efficient operation. We as taxpayers want accountability.

Parents are the backbone of a child’s education. Instead of buying your kid a frivolous item, consider contacting the teacher and ask what they need to help prepare your kid to be a more successful member of society, then write them a check.

Stan Rachesky

Glenwood Springs

What a lovely group of young ladies in the Oct. 1 front page photo of the Glenwood Springs High School cheerleaders.

We are told that the school budgets are tight, but couldn’t they afford some nice pants to go with those colorful shirts?

Patrick Hunter

Carbondale

I have been a business owner and operator in downtown Glenwood Springs for 11 years, and the condition of the alleyway near my business is a health hazard.

In the alley between Seventh and Eighth streets, off the ring street, someone dumped a large amount of grease over the weekend of Oct. 2-3. Cars have driven through it and moved the grease onto the sidewalk and street. The sidewalk is now slippery and someone could fall.

The grease has been walked into our building and down the sidewalk, making the area smell and look terrible. It is running into the drain that leads to the Colorado River, and is obviously a environmental and health hazard. It smells, there are flies, and it is just gross!

In the current economic environment, one would think that the condition of our shopping and dining areas in downtown, along with the general appearance, cleanliness, atmosphere would be important to all, but apparently not.

Shelley Fishbein

Glenwood Springs

I will vote yes for the Re-2 mill levy since I live in the Re-2 school district.

I moved to Glenwood Springs in 1963, raised my kids and have participated with grandkids over the years as they pursue their education in Re-1.

Two family members are middle school teachers. I believe in education.

Teachers spend unbelievable extra hours and many of their own dollars to insure their students get to experience the very best possible in every aspect of their education.

Vote yes on the mill levy for both districts.

Judy Beattie

New Castle

People don’t want to support government these days. We’re in a recession. Government is seen as wasteful. You’d rather spend those dollars yourself.

But what if you were asked to fund a cost-effective service that helps every single member of our valley?

We’re talking about ballot initiative 3E, which helps claw back $4.8 million of the $5.1 million in recent cuts to school budgets.

One response might be: “No way. The schools should cut waste.”

But adjusted for inflation, the Roaring Fork school district has lowered per-pupil operating and maintenance expenses over the past 20 years; it has been admirably unwasteful.

“No way. Teachers are overpaid.” But that’s not true. Salary increases for teachers have not kept up with inflation over the past 20 years.

“We’re overtaxed.” Again, not true. Homeowners are paying between 53 to 63 percent less than they paid 20 years ago.

Until recently, Americans have never been against taxes per se, just wasteful ones. Effective public education like what we have in our valley is the underpinning of our economy and our democracy. No one wants to live in a community, run a business, or purchase property in a place with underfunded schools.

Please vote yes on 3E by mail in ballot next week.

Auden Schendler and Ellen Freedman

Basalt

Recently I had the privilege of escorting a number of Jaywalker Lodge clients from Carbondale on a service expedition to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Pine Ridge is the most impoverished county in the United States and our mission there was to aid the native population in any small way we could.

It was indeed a wake-up call to our men to witness the deplorable poverty that exists within the borders of our nation. While the residents there have very little materially, what they do possess is a wealth of resilience, pride and spiritual wisdom.

They freely shared with us their histories, customs, ceremonies, hopes and pain. They wish to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between our cultures so that we may better serve each other. They asked that we listen, be selfless, and treat Mother Earth with the dignity and respect she deserves. T

hey are hurt by decades of oppression and daily seek hope for a future where their beliefs are respected and honored. One wish they have is that we do not continue to dishonor them by paying tribute a man who wrecked havoc on the native peoples of the Americas.

Columbus was no hero, he did not discover America, and he persecuted those he encountered who were the original residents of the New World.

It is a slap in the face to the natives of this land to acknowledge this man as someone to be admired. On Columbus Day, this Monday, think not of the myth of the textbook hero, but of the reality of people of Pine Ridge and of other reservations in this land.

Dan Reed

Carbondale

Enrollment in a specified school depends on the location of the legal residence of the enrollee. If the potential enrollee’s legal residence is in, for example, Mexico, can the student enroll in the school of their choice contrary to the requirement of a citizen?

What is the policy of school districts in these cases where there is no legal residence in the required area?

Jack E. Blankenship

Battlement Mesa


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