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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Before you vote to re-elect Mike Samson and John Martin to another term as Garfield County commissioners, it would be prudent to first read from the Colorado Constitution, under “Ethics in Government,” Article XXIX, Sec. 1, which states: “The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that the conduct of public officers and local government officials must hold the respect and confidence of the people and they shall carry out their duties for the benefit of the people. They shall, therefore, avoid conduct that is in violation of their public trust or that creates a justifiable impression among members of the public that such trust is being violated.”

In June of this year, Commissioners John Martin, Mike Samson and Tom Jankovsky used Garfield County taxpayer money to purchase the Worrell and Durrett property, in downtown Glenwood Springs for $2,525,000. Yet the appraised value of the property is $1,095,000 – a difference of $1,430,000.

These acts and omissions by Commissioners Samson, Martin and Jankovsky are irrefutable. There is a $1.4 million difference between the appraised value of the Worrell and Durrett property and the purchase price the incumbent county commissioners paid in June. Clearly, this $1.4 million discrepancy is a reckless disregard by Samson, Martin and Jankovsky for proper stewardship of the Garfield County treasury.

With the $1.4 million loss of precious taxpayer money under full consideration, I hereby publicly declare that Commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin and Tom Jankovsky have desecrated their Colorado Constitutional oath of office as found at Article XXIX, Sec. 1., “Ethics in Government.” Therefore, Samson and Martin must not be re-elected to the Garfield County Board of Commissioners and Tom Jankovsky must be recalled.

Carl McWilliams


One tends to get jaded reading headlines about the endless stream of urban violence, murders and abductions. My first reaction to the murders at Fero’s Bar in Denver was to shake my head in further disgust at yet another example of such violence and with what our society has become.

That jaded disgust changed to genuine shock and sorrow when I read this morning about the five victims. One of them was Ross Richter, someone I knew. Mr. Richter isn’t someone familiar to most folks in the Roaring Fork Valley, but he is familiar to anyone who spends much time on the upper Colorado River in Grand and Eagle counties.

Mr. Richter was the BLM River Ranger, out of the Kremmling Field Office. For most people who raft, kayak and fish the Colorado between Kremmling and State Bridge, Mr. Richter was probably the one, if not only BLM officer they saw on a regular basis. That reach of the Colorado is second only to the Arkansas as a favorite for boating, so Mr. Richter met a lot of people.

When something like this happens, it shatters that jaded attitude that develops from too many headlines and less than civil sniping that bombards us constantly.

Mr. Richter’s murder is a loss to all of us, and especially for those who spend time with rivers.

Ken Neubecker


Let’s disclose the whole story on the Checks and Balances “bipartisan” survey.

Over the past several weeks, the Checks and Balances bipartisan survey has been mentioned many times: Anita Sherman’s Oct. 5 letter to the editor, and the Post Independent’s editorial endorsing Sonja Linman and Mike Samson, for example. What has not been mentioned is that the survey is not as bipartisan as some make it out to be. Let’s look at the details.

The survey was funded by the Checks and Balances Project. When one studies their organization closely, it’s clear to see they are no friend of the energy industry, with clear left-wing ideologies. Regarding the survey, they built their case based on biased question wording, leading to answers that align with their political views.

In addition to providing leading questions, the survey also failed to randomize the statements that followed each action of the BOCC (with the exception of question No. 8). Although instructions were given to randomize the actions (i.e. survey questions) of the BOCC, the supporting statements below each question were not randomized; the critical viewpoint was always stated first, further biasing the respondents’ answers.

These small details can make a difference. Leading questions provide biased answers. Given the stated purpose of the Checks and Balances Project, such bias is not a surprise. As such it is all the more remarkable that 53 percent of respondents approve of the BOCC’s governance, while only 26 percent disapprove.

Conclusions drawn from such a survey and presented as fact mislead the public and provide an inaccurate picture of true public sentiment. Let’s disclose the whole story on the Checks and Balances survey. The Post Independent’s readers are savvy. You owe it to them and to the candidates.

John Cooper


Editor’s note: John Cooper is the treasurer for the Campaign To Elect John Martin County Commissioner.

We need a representative like Bob Rankin in Denver who can help get our economy on track and also solve some big issues facing our state.

Our legislators have to deal with myriad technical issues and a difficult budget. Hundreds of bills pass through the Colorado Legislature every year but we still don’t have solutions to school financing or a way to fund our roads and bridges. Health care alone can break the state budget. We have structural problems brought on by constitutional amendments that need to be addressed.

Bob Rankin will be a unique representative for our district. He has been a corporate president responsible for thousands of employees. He has founded and operated several small businesses in Colorado. He works hard to understand our western Colorado industries of agriculture, tourism and energy.

His efforts have earned him endorsements from the Colorado Contractors Association, the Colorado Farm Bureau, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the National Federation of Independent business and the Associated Builders and Contractors. These business endorsements add to those from the medical community, automotive industry and others.

These endorsements are not given lightly, and they indicate that Bob Rankin is trusted to create jobs and help get our economy moving. He knows that private sector job creation is the only way to develop the revenue to pay for the services that Colorado citizens expect.

And while he’s helping private sector job creators, he can look at the big picture of Colorado’s future, providing much needed leadership for the state. I support Mr. Rankin and look forward to working with him.

Gregg Rippy

Glenwood Springs

Be prepared for last-minute election campaign shenanigans from John Martin’s supporters. Listen for it on your local radio stations and look for it in your mailbox.

The deep-pocket oil and gas industry-supported PACs and 527 groups are sure to be sending negative messages about Sonja Linman, John Martin’s challenger for Garfield County commissioner. These tactics have boosted Mr. Martin’s campaigns in the past, but please don’t be fooled this time.

Sonja Linman brings integrity and compassion for our county’s citizens, unlike the industry PACs that support John Martin, who will do anything to expand corporate profits.

John Martin may claim that he has nothing to do with the oil and gas PACs, but I believe his record speaks for itself: he participated in secret meetings to support oil-shale industry interests, he pulled the plug on a community health assessment when the industry became nervous that the truth about industry impacts might come to light, and he fired long-time, dedicated county employees who had the audacity to serve the county with integrity.

Sixteen years is enough. Garfield County deserves better. Sonja Linman has demonstrated strong and consistent leadership, while building a track record of successful collaborative partnerships stretching from Parachute to Carbondale. She will bring true representation and full-time professional management to the office, which we all deserve.

Please join me in voting for Sonja Linman for Garfield County commissioner.

George Wear

Glenwood Springs

We all use the same land in Garfield County, or commons, for a wide range of activities, from grazing local beef to birdwatching to mountain biking. Would future residents and visitors rather see real elk herds, or housing subdivisions named after them?

Please vote yes on ballot measure 1A to create a new Garfield County open lands program that will use purchases, easements, incentives and other creative mechanisms to conserve land for better uses.

The program will be funded by a modest increase in the county’s sales tax rate of 0.25 percent. This quarter-cent sales tax (only 25 cents on every $100) would result in about $2 million in annual revenue. The tax increase does not apply to groceries or prescription drugs.

Rarely do we have the chance to unify and pitch in very little for longterm returns. You can read more about the Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy at or call 366-6372.

Jason White


I have friends in the Glenwood area, have spent a lot of time up there and have read the Post Independent daily for years. I even used the Post to sell one of my campers a few years ago while staying there.

Today, I came across the poll question, “Are you 100 percent certain of who you will vote for in the 2012 presidential election?” and was shocked to see that 33.9 percent indicated that they are not voting. Even though it is a small sample, I was still shocked.

With the weak economy, high unemployment, record welfare, record debt, record fuel prices and foreign policy problems, I would have thought many more people would be ready to vote their disapproval or approval of the direction the nation is taking.

Charles Robinson

Richardson, Texas

If you liked President Bush’s wars, recession, destroying the auto industry, bank failures and cultural division of America, then vote for Mitt Romney.

Carl Heck


Just a reminder that a few years back, a governor of Colorado managed to hire 2,600 new Colorado state employees. There was a small (very small) item in the newspaper. I emailed the governor at that time and asked why so many new state employees and where are they and what do they do? I didn’t receive any answer. Apparently our governor in that year didn’t need to be accountable for hiring that many new employees at one time. It was never discussed publicly.

Now we have an Amendment that says that our state government can grow without state entities having to be accountable for all new hires. Our tax dollars pay for those persons’ wages.

Is this another one of those “We hope the voters don’t realize what they are voting for”? I certainly hope not.

Has anybody looked at how many people work for the state of Colorado? I have not, but I will bet it’s several thousand.

Just remember that President Obama is going to allow 800,000 new citizens now and in the future. Each state will have to hire some new employees to further this project.

Our state also has a standard that says if there are new positions made in the state that no matter if they are no longer needed, that the old adage still stands: If you don’t use all of these state employees, regardless of how they perform, that you won’t be allowed to hire more either as a replacement or add to the numbers of people in that department. Perhaps this is an incentive for Gov. Hickenlooper, as an Obama supporter, to become part of the lowering of unemployment strategy for Colorado.

Jane Spaulding


After reading the Post Independent’s commissioner endorsements on Oct. 19, the moment was bittersweet. I couldn’t have been happier to see Sonja Linman being endorsed in District 2. However, the endorsement for my opponent wasn’t exactly what I wanted to read first thing in the morning.

As I read the reasons for endorsing Mike Samson, I was struck by being called “too enthusiastic.” My only reply, “Guilty as charged.”

I’ve spent over 13 years as Rifle’s recreation director enthusiastically improving the health, recreational opportunities, economy and quality of life for residents and visitors of all ages.

Being a recreation director isn’t a high profile position. It’s a position that simply serves to improve the lives and opportunities for all.

It takes courage and leadership to speak out for what isn’t working. County residents are still perplexed by my opponent’s unanimous support to:

• Fire a layer of staff that provided public accountability.

• Change the direction of the BOCC from a visionary to a managerial board with total control over public funds.

• Remove compliance language from the comprehensive plan, changing unincorporated Garfield County properties into “right to use without public review” zones.

• Attend a secret meeting in Utah.

• Add his vote to approving an industry-backed oil shale resolution despite public testimony, and only retracting his support under threat of a lawsuit.

• Kill the nearly completed Health Impact Assessment by the CU School of Public Health, a study that was indicating health and environmental impacts from natural gas drilling.

• Relax land use codes with discussion about removing 1041 powers.

My opponent’s actions speak louder than his words. Leadership might start with the ability to listen, but exceptional leadership includes the courage and enthusiasm to lead. Tough decisions include putting the public above special interests.

Some measure leadership progress one inch at a time. I measure success by going the extra mile for the public.

Vote enthusiastically for Aleks Briedis, Garfield County Commissioner District 3.

Aleks Briedis


Recently many of us received a political postcard designed to convince us not to vote for a particular candidate. The candidate that the authors of this postcard are trying to discredit is Sonja Linman, a candidate for Garfield County commissioner. The card features a very unflattering picture of Ms. Linman with the word “Fail” superimposed on her face. It is an ugly example of attempted political character assassination.

This postcard was not sent by Ms. Linman’s opponent, John Martin, but rather by a Denver-based outside political group with its own agenda for Garfield County.

The text in the card asserts that a property tax increase is a major part of Ms. Linman’s political objectives. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a member of Ms. Linman’s campaign staff, I can tell you that there are no proposed tax increases in her platform.

The untruthful assertion regarding Ms. Linman’s tax policy is not the only factual inaccuracy in this card. The card encourages you to call Ms. Linman at a phone number which, in fact, is not hers. I know, because it is my phone number. This may give you some indication of how rigorously the authors of this card have checked their facts.

And if you want to check the facts, Ms. Linman’s positions and platform are laid out publicly, in full sight, on her website, Clearly the authors of this card chose to ignore all the information publicly available in regard to Ms. Linman’s candidacy.

I don’t believe that Mr. Martin condones this type of political mud-slinging. He might consider publicly disavowing this distasteful, tawdry and dishonest form of campaigning to establish the point that our voters prefer civil political discourse to this example of manipulative misinformation.

I expect to see more negative and untruthful ads about our local candidates before the election is over. Don’t let outside political or economic interests sway your vote. Check the facts. Vote your convictions, not someone else’s.

Michael Larime

Glenwood Springs

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