Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I would like to add my voice in support of Sonja Linman, who is running for Garfield County commissioner in the upcoming election.
In many people’s opinions, in local democracy, in the United States, this is one of the most important representative positions that exists. And ironically, it’s a position that too many of us have become numb to.
I look forward to some very positive change in that regard. Ms. Linman seems quite committed to much more public awareness around the many important decisions the commission has to make, some of which affect us all quite profoundly.
Ms. Linman is rather a beyond-exceptional person. Look up the word “gestalt.” That is her perspective – being aware of all that makes up our reality. That’s a hard task really, as we only have so many brain cells. Yet she has that ever-curious awareness, and a passion for our children’s well-being, and their family’s well-being that is remarkable; she’s a woman on fire.
And as a parent of a daughter who went to the school Ms. Linman co-founded and taught at for 18 years, based on something called Choice Theory, Yampah Mountain High School, and having gotten to know her through parent-teacher meetings, school advisory board and school events volunteering, I can only say I feel humbled and incredibly honored that she is willing to take on this extraordinary task of representing us all in what are so many very important, complex and core issues; some that affect all of our lives on a daily basis. And I say this as an independent, unaffiliated voter.
Sonja Linman, with her experience in YMHS, a school that draws from Parachute to Aspen, time with the Aspen Community Foundation, hospice board, etc., has an overview of community families very few people have. She has a passion for ensuring their well-being just as any good parent or grandparent would, and something kind of legendary – a passion combined with wisdom, sometimes called integrity. And in today’s political climate, she very much needs your support.
I realize that Juanita Williams believes what she sees on Fox News. However, the accusations she makes against the Obama campaign in her letter of Aug. 7 are patently false.
In referring to the Obama re-election campaign’s filing of a lawsuit in Ohio regarding early voting, Ms. Williams accuses the campaign of seeking to strike down the part of Ohio’s election law that allows early for voting my members of the military.
This misconception has been spread by representatives of the Romney campaign and parroted by the usual suspects on Fox. The lawsuit filed by the campaign in absolutely no way seeks to limit early voting by military personnel.
PolitiFact has rated this claim as false. Further, PolitiFact states “It is simply dishonest for Romney and his backers to claim that Obama’s effort to extend early voting privileges to everyone in Ohio constitutes an attack on military voter’s ability to cast ballots on the weekend before elections.”
This lawsuit clearly seeks to permit all Ohioans, not just members of the military, to vote during the three days before the election. In other words, the goal is to award every Ohioan the same right to early voting given to the members of the military.
If Ms. Williams had actually read the lawsuit for herself instead of getting her news directly from Fox, she would see that this is not an attempt to strip anyone in Ohio of early voting rights, but is instead an effort to extend the exact same rights to all voters in Ohio.
The least Ms. Williams can do is to tell the truth about efforts to protect the voting rights of every American, just like the men and women in our armed forces do every single day.
According to Anita Sherman’s letter of Aug. 3, anyone concerned about voter fraud is delusional and believes that Elvis is still alive. Well, unfortunately, Ms. Sherman did not do her research before she penned her recent letter because if she had she would have found an article in the USA Today from March 19, 2012, regarding a bi-partisan commission on federal election reform headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker that had grave concerns regarding the problem of voter fraud.
The article stated, “The commission recommended stronger photo-identification requirements at the polls.” Its logic: “Americans must show photo identification for all kinds of day-to-day activities, such as cashing checks or entering government buildings. These photo ID requirements in our daily lives are legitimate, effective security measures. Securing the ballot box is just as important.”
The article gave examples of election fraud: “In Texas, voter fraud convictions include a woman who voted in place of her dead mother, a political operative who cast ballots for two people and a city councilmember who registered foreign nationals to vote in an election decided by 19 votes.”
In 2008 the Supreme Court upheld a law in Indiana requiring photo IDs. Then in 2011, Texas later enacted a similar law. However, according to the article: “The Obama administration’s Department of Justice has now reversed its previous approval of voter ID laws and attempted to block Texas’ law and others knowing full well that The Supreme Court is on record upholding voter ID laws.”
The Obama administration and Eric Holder ignored the commission’s recommendations that said, “To prevent the ID from being a barrier to voting, we recommend that states use the registration and ID process to enfranchise more voters than ever. … States should play an affirmative role in reaching out to non-drivers. There is likely to be less discrimination against minorities if there is a single, uniform ID, than if poll workers can apply multiple standards.”
It’s obvious that Holder, Obama and the Democrats are more interested in arguing that lawful voting is less important than showing an ID to buy beer.
The Department of Justice lawsuit against the voting rights bill in Ohio, described in the Aug. 7 letter from Juanita Williams of Parachute, was a little more complicated than the author explained.
First, nowhere in the lawsuit does it say they wish to strip the early voting rights from military personnel. In fact, the secretary of state stands by the need for early voting for all military personnel because of their unique situation and deployment. The issue comes up when the Ohio House under Republican control in 2004 changed a previous uniform deadline for all residents.
Ohio is a battleground state closely contested and needed by the candidate in order to possibly win the presidency. The state went to President Obama in 2008 with 1.4 million Ohio voters casting their ballots early. Bloggers and others claim this gives an advantage to President Obama.
In their haste to change the law, the Ohio Republican House failed to take into consideration the early voting of military personnel. The Ohio Secretary of State clarified the law in maintaining it did not change or alter the early voting for military personnel. Denying early voting to the rest of the citizens in Ohio – three extra days until Monday, same as the military – can and will disenfranchise voters.
The new ID law that was also passed by the Republican House in Ohio makes it more uncertain as to citizens’ right to vote. The three extra days could help those who are disenfranchised because of identification that is no longer accepted – time to get proper identification.
We live in a country where every legal American citizen who is voting age and not a felon should be able to vote if they desire to do so. That is what the lawsuit is all about: letting all citizens in Ohio have the right to vote. Every effort by our representatives should be toward that freedom, for which many have died and are dying.
I am a veteran and, political games aside, voting is the fuel we the people use to power our country.
The Glenwood Springs and Carbondale economies are not based on oil and gas development. These are tourist-based economies. People travel from all over the world to enjoy the beauty and fruits of this land.
They come to experience our natural hot springs, hiking, biking, rafting, hunting, fishing, camping and skiing, to name a few. Travelers come here to get away from it all. This is what the Thompson Divide area provides for our communities.
However people feel about the actual drilling and fracking process, there are a few realities about drilling you cannot escape.
First, it’s physically destructive. In order to drill the Thompson Divide, new roads must be built, wide enough and strong enough to handle the traffic and weight of drilling equipment. Drilling pads must also be built for drill rigs and their supporting equipment at each drilling location. This will likely be a lot more than just one site per lease owned.
Second, it’s loud. Drill rigs are extremely loud when operating. So much so that when drilling near a private residence, the drilling companies are often required to pay for residents to go stay at a nice hotel far away from the drilling operations. The supporting trucks, tractors and excavation equipment are loud and constantly running up and down the access roads. The large diesel pickups used to transport workers and supervisors to the drill sites are loud, and they run up and down those roads like crazy.
Finally, it’s dirty. Noise, dust and pollution from running all that equipment damages the environment extensively. It pollutes streams, rivers and lakes. It chases off wildlife. It coats neighboring trees and bushes with dust and toxins that damage the health of the surrounding vegetation and their inhabitants.
There is no environmentally friendly way to drill for oil and gas. It will have a devastating environmental impact to the Thompson Divide area and a devastating impact on our economy in the long run – all in the name of a short term gain. How much sense does that make?
The letter from Shirley Starr on Aug. 3 illustrates some flawed thinking concerning the benefits of drilling in the Thompson Divide area. The costs to the public of drilling in this area far outweigh any potential income and jobs it may bring to our region.
For those of us living in the Roaring Fork Valley, the economic benefits of keeping the Thompson Divide area pristine are very real. In addition, people living in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and along the Four Mile corridor will be faced with a surge of drilling rigs and semi-trucks pounding Grand Avenue, Four Mile Road and County Road 108.
The impacts on Sunlight Mountain Resort and Four Mile Park, and damage to roads and real estate values, will not be offset by any short-term revenues from gas and oil development. Even Silt will be impacted if Divide Creek is used to access the gas leases in the Thompson Divide. (See the letter from Carl McWilliams on Aug. 2.)
Indeed, protecting the natural state of the Thompson Divide area is worth much more than the transient jobs and gas revenues from drilling. The divide is essential for our local economy, supporting a number of ranches and our state’s multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry based on hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, mountain biking and snowmobiling. It contains one of the best hunting units in the state and currently supplies clean water for domestic and agricultural use in the Crystal, Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys.
There are plenty of untapped leases that lie in less pristine areas of our state, and leases that are currently producing, and will continue to produce, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas for many decades to come.
Let’s not destroy our local livelihood and the thriving rural economy that these lands currently support. Let’s not kill the goose that lays our golden eggs. Please write your representatives and senators and ask them to protect the Thompson Divide. And thank Sen. Michael Bennet for proposing draft legislation that will protect the Thompson Divide and permanently withdraw all unleased lands there from future leasing.
This is a call to arms to all people of the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as Silt and all the other communities that surround the Thompson Divide.
Sen. Michael Bennet has drafted a bill to prevent any further oil and gas leasing of the Thompson Divide, which is the largely natural backcountry area that lies between Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Silt and McClure Pass. He’s asking for public input, and already he’s getting pressure from industry.
Robbie Guinn of SG Interests, which wants to drill the heart of the Thompson Divide, was quoted as saying, “I think it’s another perfect example of the current administration promoting job-killing legislation.”
That is wrong on so many levels.
Sen. Bennet isn’t the administration, he’s a member of Congress, and this isn’t a partisan issue. The senator is acting on behalf of the vast majority of his constituents who don’t want the Thompson Divide to be drilled, and who know that we’ll have more jobs – and better, more sustainable jobs – by keeping the Thompson Divide as is.
In fact, there’s near unanimity on this. I’ve never seen an issue that has such agreement – upvalley, downvalley, Republicans, Democrats, ranchers, businesses, homeowners, recreationists.
We all stand together, the entire community of people whose fate is tied to that of the Thompson Divide. If the area is allowed to be drilled, our economy, our livelihoods, our environment and our way of life would be destroyed. Only a few companies stand to benefit, and they would take their profits to Houston and Denver.
It’s time to take a stand. It starts with telling Sen. Bennet we support his bill and we want him to introduce it and champion it in Congress. To do that, go to http://www.bennet.senate.gov/thompsondivide. Do it right now.
After that, contact the Thompson Divide Coalition (www.savethompsondivide.org) to find out how to get more involved. Because even as Sen. Bennet floats his bill, companies like SG are preparing to stake out roads and well pads in the Thompson Divide. The threat is serious and imminent.
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