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We are at a pivotal point in the economic recovery in Garfield County. We need to keep the ship on course to reach the safe harbor of economic and social resurgence.

John Martin is the calm, steady hand on the rudder of our government. His calming demeanor and wealth of knowledge is vital to our recovery and prosperity. He and the other commissioners have generously and wisely allocated funds to every part of the county. They have made the tough decisions , and acted with integrity even when it was not popular.

We don’t need to tax ourselves and our tourists to get what we already get for free. Any large development in Garfield County will need to have an element of open space to get an approval from the planners at the county. These professionals have all the right tools to guarantee wise development. We should trust them more than a group of up-valley-minded citizens with an obscure agenda leading to higher real estate prices and selective benefit.



I liken the process of “paid conservation easements” to the oldest profession. They sell it and they still have it. For sure, the property purchased in the taxpayers’ name won’t be available for taxpayer use.

Vote for John Martin and Mike Samson.



Vote no for 1A (Protect our Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation) open space tax.

Steve Damm

Glenwood Springs

I’m supporting Bob Rankin for Colorado House District 57 for two reasons.

First is his background in large and small business and his desire to get people back into the workforce and turn around the economy. He is endorsed by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry and the National Federation of Independent Business. As a business owner myself, I understand the importance of these endorsements and what they will mean for Colorado.

Secondly, I saw where Mr. Rankin has been endorsed by the NRA with an “A” rating, while his opponent received an “F” rating. As a long-term hunter I, too, am a firm believer in our Second Amendment and a proud member of the NRA.

Bob Jenkins

Woody Creek

First, I want to commend Gould Construction for making quick work of replacing the Three Mile culvert on Midland Avenue.

But what is up with the signage acknowledging the extraction industry for its tax contributions? Why have they been singled out?

Well, we all know why they are being singled out; they aren’t exactly known for their subtlety. This is politics, plain and simple. Acknowledge all the taxpayers of Glenwood Springs at the site of public works projects or acknowledge none at all.

Last I checked, Glenwood Springs is not a company town. Let’s not act like one.

Bryan Zukowski

Glenwood Springs

Thanks to the great work of Mary Noone and her colleagues, Garfield County voters have a chance to better guide the destiny of the Colorado and Roaring Fork river valleys. Ballot Question 1A would fund open space protection and outdoor recreation. I am voting yes.

Dale Will

Carbondale

This year we have a particularly important election to pay close attention to: our Garfield County commission race. We are fortunate to have two very strong candidates in Sonja Linman and Aleks Briedis.

As a former county commissioner, I am concerned about decisions being made by the current commission. The following are just some examples that I believe illustrate the need for change:

1. The Comprehensive Plan that hundreds of citizens participated in updating has been minimized and no longer drives the commissioners’ land-use decisions.

2. The Land Use Code, adopted shortly before I left office in 2010, which was five years in the making, is being re-written by an appointed group of developer representatives, not by professional planners or the Planning Commission. We are losing regulations that were put in place to make sure that your property rights, and the health, safety and welfare of your families are protected.

3. The BOCC is willing to relinquish its local land use authority to the state on oil and gas issues. What happened to the notion of local control? Who is representing Garfield County’s unique concerns?

4. After committing to respond to public concern and after spending approximately $150,000, the BOCC refused to accept the Health Impact Assessment from consultants hired by the BOCC (all medical professionals with no stake in the outcome), because the oil and gas industry placed pressure on them not to complete the assessment or the follow-up comprehensive health study.

5. By law, the BOCC is responsible for being stewards of the county’s funds; however, they have now formed the Federal Mineral Lease District (FMLD) where their goal is to put millions of dollars each year into the hands of the FMLD board that is independent of the BOCC. I do not believe that this is fiscally responsible. Where is the accountability?

We need new leadership in Garfield County and are very fortunate to have two very qualified candidates willing to serve.

Please join me in voting for Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman for Garfield County Commissioner.

Tresi Houpt

Glenwood Springs

The answer to Question 1A is “yes.” I’m in support of this initiative for Protecting and Preserving Ranchlands, Rivers and the Recreation Economy in Garfield County. As a Colorado mountain resident for the past three decades, I’ve seen the benefits of an open space program firsthand, particularly the good work of the Eagle Valley Land Trust in our neighboring county.

The current ballot initiative, 1A, is designed to safeguard our rivers and streams, protect vital lower elevation wildlife habitat and areas we all enjoy for recreation. It is a conservation measure that is timely and sensible given that the county population is expected to double in the next 20 years, which will place more demand on land in the valleys and sensitive riparian areas.

The preservation of our natural environment is essential from an economic perspective too, with tourism as a major driver in Garfield County.

While many choose to vote “no” on any new tax initiative in our current economic environment, I urge you to consider the following for 1A:

• It is a countywide sales tax of just 25 cents on every $100 of consumer spending. The investment is small, but the rewards are big: it will generate about $2 million each year to purchase development rights from willing agricultural landowners. This will put certain properties into conservation easements for perpetuity.

• Accountability measures are in place. There is a 5 percent cap on administrative costs, an annual independent audit, and a citizens’ review board. The tax will sunset in 10 years, giving voters the opportunity to consider whether to reinstate the measure based on the program’s performance.

Yes on Question 1A: It just makes good “cents.”

Kate Collins

Glenwood Springs

As a Realtor serving the entire Colorado River Valley area of Garfield County, I was pleased to see that Bob Rankin has the endorsement of the Colorado Association of Realtors.

Mr. Rankin is a businessman with experience that combines years as an executive in large corporations with starting and owning several small businesses.

The only way our community can regain the prosperity it had prior to the economic downturn is to bring more jobs to the valley. Many of the candidates running for office use the phrase “bring jobs to Colorado,” but how many actually explain how to do it?

Bob Rankin is the only candidate who has the background, experience and solutions that are desperately needed. Satisfying and well-paying jobs in Garfield County will return prosperity to our community, and Bob Rankin has the qualifications and experience to get us there.

Cheryl Chandler

Rifle

We were present at the Garfield BOCC meeting on Sept. 17 when comments were taken from the public regarding the proposed solid waste management station on Catherine’s Store Road (County Road 100). In more than four hours of comments, only a few speakers other than owners or those affiliated with the applicant, MRI, spoke in favor of the facility.

Despite the overwhelming opposition, including petitions of opposition presented that were signed by hundreds of residents, the BOCC voted to continue the approval process until after the upcoming election.

We feel that this was an intentional move by the two commissioners, John Martin and Mike Samson, who are up for election on Nov. 6, as it is clear that they would lose hundreds of votes by approving the application at this time.

The only way to be sure that the BOCC listens to our concerns in the future is to elect Sonja Linman and Aleks Briedis as our new commissioners. We clearly need a change in the leadership of Garfield County that includes all citizens in the decision-making process.

Carol and George Pucak

Carbondale

I was delighted to see the Post Independent endorse a yes vote on Ballot Question 1A, the “Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation” protection proposal.

I have lived in Garfield County for 18 years, in the Roaring Fork Valley even longer, and am so grateful to call this area my home. We have so many opportunities to enjoy the beauty of our county, and passing this ballot measure will not only help preserve what we have, but even enhance our outdoor experiences and landscapes.

As proposed, the program will cost very little in sales tax (0.25 percent) and will only work with willing purchasers, such as ranching families who would rather conserve the ranch than subdivide it.

I worked for Garfield County during the most recent comprehensive planning process and participated in discussions about programs to conserve ranches, protect habitat, enhance recreational opportunities around our population centers and maintain access to our rivers.

Question 1A gives our citizens the opportunity to raise the local seed money necessary to leverage grant moneys available from Great Outdoors Colorado and other sources. As the paper’s editorial said, other communities have stepped up to do that, often obtaining 12 times the funding provided by local contributions.

Whenever I buy lottery tickets, I think that even if I don’t win, I am contributing to Great Outdoors Colorado, which provides the means to enable local governments to protect, conserve or enhance their ranchlands and recreational and river experiences. Millions of dollars have been granted through that program. It is time for Garfield County to get in a position to use more of that funding, and it will only cost the equivalent of a couple of lottery tickets each month, but with much better odds of getting great value for that small investment.

Please vote yes on 1A and help make Garfield County an even better place to live and enjoy.

Deb Quinn

Glenwood Springs

At this point in the election cycle, if you have not yet decided, it should boil down to the central question: Which candidate truly cares about your well-being?

Part of the answer lies in the personal experiences of the two men. President Obama grew up in modest circumstances but was empowered by the promise of America to succeed. Governor Romney grew up in wealth and privilege. He doesn’t share a history of the trials and difficulties of the 47 percent of us whom he derides in candid private conversation.

Another part of the answer lies in their economic policies. President Obama inherited an economic mess that rivals the Great Depression. The recovery of employment numbers for the Depression took a decade and a half. In less than four years, the policies of the president have resulted in the recession bottoming out and a recovery that is already under way. Jobs have returned to the level present at his inauguration. They would have returned faster had Republicans in Congress not blocked significant initiatives. Gov. Romney would return us to the failed policies of President George W. Bush.

Obama has signed consumer protection and bank regulation laws that protect Americans from the excesses of soul-less corporations. Romney would repeal those protections.

The president would end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which could be a start to changing our complicated tax code that favors the wealthy over the middle class. The governor would give the wealthy a further tax cut. In fact, the loopholes he would have to close to reach his budget would result in a tax increase of about $2,000 for a middle class family, but still a tax decrease for the wealthiest Americans.

The last part of the answer involves your gut feeling when you hear the candidates speak. President Obama has been reasonably consistent in his positions throughout his political life. His body language and tone of voice match his words. Gov. Romney, the ultimate flip-flopper, oozes insincerity as he conducts his “Etch-a-Sketch” campaign.

David Schroeder

New Castle

I read that the Glenwood Springs Post Independent has endorsed a single-issue educator as its candidate for House District 57. The editorial characterized Bob Rankin as “too far right.” What is the Post Independent’s definition of “too far right”?

Mr. Rankin is pro business and jobs. Does that mean that pro business and jobs is too far right?

In addition to business and jobs, education has always been a key part of Bob Rankin’s platform. He is committed to helping our dedicated teachers and principals deliver a higher level of education to our children and be rewarded for their efforts.

Bob Rankin is the only candidate who has the experience to aggressively represent both our business and education needs. We need leadership, not another lobbyist for teacher’s unions.

Jon Warnick

Carbondale

I want to call attention to an important point that is being overlooked in the current debate over federal government subsidies to the alternative energy industry – that billions of federal dollars have been invested in oil and gas exploration and development since at least the 1950s, and the fossil fuel industry continues to be heavily subsidized to this day.

Those subsidies paid for tens of thousands of dry holes that were drilled as companies developed and perfected new techniques like fracking and directional drilling. Private industry could not absorb the costs of all those technological dead-ends and unproductive wells in the beginning. Enter government subsidies.

So, all those fossil-fuel energy sector jobs you keep hearing about? Bought and paid for through subsidies from “big government.”

Now, President Obama wants to afford those same opportunities to the alternative energy industry and opponents are crying foul, even though the vast majority of green energy businesses funded through these programs are succeeding. I wonder how many oil and gas start-ups failed along the way?

Of course it costs more now. When you wait until the last minute to find a solution to a problem, rest assured it will be the most expensive option.

Keep in mind, all that “cheap” shale gas that we’re using to light up our cigars won’t be so cheap once we’re done converting cars and electrical power generation to natural gas, and demand catches up with supply.

Bob Utesch

Glenwood Springs

In her letter to the editor of Oct.18, my opponent, Sherry Caloia, alleges that I criticized a purported statement of hers about evidence continuing to come in after charges are filed. Her allegation is false. She never made such a statement. You can verify this fact by pulling up her actual statement in the Sept. 18 edition of the Post Independent.

The actual statement my opponent is referring to was written by her in response to a question posed by the newspaper about plea bargains. In answering the question, Ms. Caloia said this: “After filing charges, the district attorney learns about the evidence that has been accumulated and where the strengths and weaknesses of the case are. At this point, the district attorney can make a decision as to whether the charges are warranted and provable.”

Nowhere in her answer did she write that “evidence continues to come in after charges are filed.” She is now making things up in order to cover up her misguided statement that would never be uttered by a real prosecutor.

But don’t just take my word for it. Please go to the Post Independent’s website, pull up the article, and read her statement for yourself. Then ask yourself this question: Who is really telling the truth here? The answer will be abundantly clear.

Contrary to Ms. Caloia’s written statement, no person should ever have the finger of government accusing them of committing a crime without the district attorney reviewing the evidence before filing charges. To do as my opponent suggested in her written statement would, in fact, be unethical.

Please keep these matters in mind when you mark your ballot. It will help determine who you can trust to do this very important job of seeking truth and justice.

Martin Beeson

Rifle

The Post Independent editorial of Oct. 15 recommends a vote for the open space sales tax. It does not mention that it pays for a duplication and interference with government and private grant activities now in place. Trails, parks and rivers have the support and oversight of government and private interest groups. We have alliances, pacts and organizations that ardently support their special interest areas.

Conservation easements are a lien on property. Many landowners regret the day they sold one that stands in the way of their need to change direction of land use, water and roads.

The county commission does not need another group to which they must answer. They have proved open to the voice of residents. It is consistent with the commission’s policy to let this proposal go to vote even though it has been voted down once.

The editorial mentions the fund would be governed by nine residents from six town boards and three by the county commissioners. The six town boards are not named but there are more than six in Garfield County. PUD boards such as Battlement Mesa would have no automatic voice.

Community gardens are just an initiative of a community. It doesn’t take a separate entity spending taxpayer money to set aside their own open ground. If they want a garden, they will do it.

Seventy-five percent is mentioned as going to the purchase of easements with overlapping values such as wildlife habitat. This will result in conflict with Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks and Wildlife planning.

Finally, the ploy of citing a per-month cost of $3.25 per month for an average household is misleading. That is $39 per year and $390 over the 10-year span. That might not sound like much to some, but to a family just getting by it is a lot when added to higher food and fuel prices.

It gives the Legacy people an estimated $2 million a year to spend on questionable projects. A no vote on 1A is highly recommended.

Jack E. Blankenship

Battlement Mesa

We have three commissioners for our huge county. There is a history around trying to get five or more seats, but that is a whole other story.

While the current commissioners may have positive agendas about Garfield County, we have three men very close in age and perspective. All are Republican with conservative views. Each supports an agenda of oil and gas exploration.

As a group they have a history of not listening to divergent opinions and have a record of removing those from management who question their direction or thinking. They make a decision and are then unswayed by additional information or citizen comment.

As a woman, I am unrepresented by three men. I am a progressive, liberal thinker and I am unrepresented by three conservatives.

I am a someone who supports oil and gas exploration, but not at the expense of the clean air, clean water, pristine environment and wildlife I love, and I am unrepresented by their drilling and oil and gas views.

I knew those let go from county management, and I believed in the quality of their service, thus I am unrepresented with their loss and the loss of their expertise.

Whether I am agreed with or not, I still want to be respectfully heard. I am unrepresented with this group of three men who have become too comfortable in their position and no longer view themselves as working for Garfield County citizens, but managing us as they feel is best for us. I suggest they do not.

I urge you to ask yourself if you are represented – and represented well. Please vote in accordance with that answer.

I am a citizen of Garfield County, and I want to be both heard and feel I am represented and that the lifestyle I value here is protected. Vote for a change to a respectful representative group of commissioners for Garfield County.

Cheryl Cain

Glenwood Springs

The Post Independent published opinion columns written by John Martin and Sonja Linman on Oct. 10.

Ms. Linman asked, “Where were our commissioners when good folks like Dow and Kathy Rippy, whose story was beautifully told in the Post Independent recently, found themselves battling the same gas company that wants to drill in Thompson Divide,” and “How have so many people lost their equity and security?”

Her referral was to an Oct. 1 article that stated the Rippys sued a gas company regarding pipelines on some of their land in Mesa County, that the suit was filed in Mesa County, and that a Mesa County jury rendered a verdict against them.

The Garfield County Commissioners have no authority over a Mesa County judicial action. Ms. Linman’s use of the Rippys’ verdict as a basis to promote her campaign infers the Garfield County commissioners are somehow not using extra-judicial powers they have. Such do not exist. Mesa and Garfield are separate political entities.

Second, I serve on the citizen’s committee that is reviewing the county land use code. Ms. Linman has claimed our meetings are not properly noticed. They are publicly noticed as required, on the county website and by notice posted on the door of the county administration building, both with an agenda.

We meet twice a month, about four hours each time, behind a glass front wall you can see through from Eighth Street.

We start at 6 p.m. There is time on every agenda for public input.

We are all volunteers and have spent many hours reading the materials every month for over six months.

The only commissioner candidates we have ever seen at any meeting have been the current members of the BOCC who stopped in to see how things were going, but did not participate in discussions. Ms. Linman has never been to any of our meetings. Her statement that these meetings are not properly noticed is wrong.

Ms. Linman stated she walks her talk. But when her talk illustrates a lack of attention to basic facts, it makes her “walk” to be an effective and informed county commissioner rather unlikely.

Walt Brown

Glenwood Springs

As a local business owner of Glenwood Springs Ford, I encourage you to vote for Bob Rankin for House District 57.

As an outdoor recreation enthusiast I appreciate that Mr. Rankin is encouraging access to public lands.

He has taken the time to listen to the needs of small business owners and has been one himself, so he understands what we need to revitalize our Colorado economy.

The Colorado Automobile Association joins numerous organizations in endorsing Mr. Rankin to work for us in Denver. Help ensure the health of businesses throughout the Western Slope by joining me in voting for Bob Rankin.

Zach Carlson

Glenwood Springs

The Post Independent may, of course, endorse whom it will, but insulting the opposing nominee is unseemly.

A “follower” does not go against the grain of the Republican Speaker of the Colorado House, but “leaders” instead vote to support the needs of Western Slopers.

Marilyn Oden

Rifle


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