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Your letters

I feel a little sorry for John McCain, who talks about eliminating pork in government and his own party just keeps piling it on. Really sad, but of course they have everyone over a barrel and no real options, much like the Republican administration has these past eight years.

The bailout bill that passed the Senate yesterday evening was filled with pork to the tune of over $100 billion in tax breaks to gain support of the House Republicans who defeated the last bill. Some aid to rural schools may not be bad pork, but does it have to be in this bill? Oh, yes, a little more deregulation of excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children. Got to have those deregulations. Is this what it takes to get these Republicans to help pull us out of this hole we are rapidly falling into? Excuse me, I forgot things like Nancy Pelosi not speaking very nice to them can also cause them to drive a steak into the heart of America.

It is absolutely ironic all this plays out for everyone to see in America and the world. It is nothing new, of course, but most Americans, sad to say, have no idea how the legislative process really works in this country.

Well, take a good look, here it is and it’s been like this ever since our country was formed. You want a vote, you pay for it and the House Republicans have shown they will sacrifice our country to get it.

Yes, it is a sad day in America as we witness the disarray of misguided Republicans weaving and wavering, not knowing where to turn. Perhaps it falls back on the leadership of the Bush Administration these past eight years. Following in their footsteps no longer, trying to find their way without any leadership, hopefully they will see the light.

By now the House will most likely have voted on the second bill and you will know if the pay-off succeeded.

Jim Childers

New Castle

The second ballot which seeks to undermine our voice in government is Referendum O. Speaker Romanoff seeks to make it more difficult to place constitutional issues on the ballot because of so-called frivolous issues. He therefore suggests putting responsible tax-saving issues on the ballot are frivolous issues. I have a stake in this because I sat at a card table, several nights and weekends in shopping malls in 1992, gathering signatures for TABOR with a sign saying “Lower taxes now.” Though the Colorado Secretary of State, who vehemently opposed our initiative, threw out several of the signatures because she claimed they could not be verified, TABOR prevailed. Taxpayers have received the resulting revenue on their tax returns since 1992.

Ref. O would require 50 percent more signatures for a constitutional initiative to be place on the ballot. It would also require 8 percent( 7,480 signatures) be collected from each of the seven congressional districts, a total of 52,360 signatures. The grand total number of signatures required for the initiative to be placed on the ballot would then be 93,497. Romanoff and his friends know this would effectively end the grassroots efforts of citizens to pursue ballot initiatives.

Vote no on Referendum O, and no on Amendment 59 to guarantee the right to petition for legislative changes in a reasonable manner. Secure our right to decide the political and financial issues our politicians sometimes don’t have the will to perform.

Philip Maass

Glenwood Springs

On his website, Congressman John Salazar invites communication from his constituents. Over the past two years, I’ve written a number of times to express my views, and those efforts have convinced me the invitation is simply one more hollow gesture in today’s political pretentiousness.

If you’ve visited his site, you know he provides categories for messages. For example, a message about “tax dollars squandered on fraud and waste associated with contracts in Iraq” may be submitted under several categories. When I placed mine in the “taxes” grouping, the response over his signature thanked me for contacting his office regarding the nation’s current tax code. He went on to say we need to simplify and lower taxes, and declared repealing the death tax would help individuals and families.

I then sent the same letter under the “Iraq” category. That prompted a response informing me he “supported H.R. 1591 which included funding for emergency agricultural disaster assistance and veterans health care” and thanked me “for expressing concern for our troops in Iraq.”

Even a cursory reading of my letter would have told his staff I wrote about fraud and waste ” not the current tax code, the death tax, veteran’s health care, or agricultural disaster assistance. All my other correspondence to him has yielded similar form letters full of meaningless generalities having little or nothing to do with the concerns I expressed.

I seem to be communicating with an electronic answering machine which spits out equally unresponsive replies depending on which slot I use to insert my letter. On that basis, one might make a good case for replacing the Congressman and his staff with a few computers. Such a move could save a lot of money.

Meanwhile, I’m thoroughly disgusted with him and his communication sham. Indeed, I’m sick of elected officials who treat their constituents with such disdain. If you feel similarly, I encourage you to vote in November for candidates who truly believe in participatory democracy; people who, among other things, will actually pay attention to our concerns.

John Palmer

Glenwood Springs

Garfield County is at a crossroads; we can remain content with the status quo, or we can lead policy in a thoughtful and proactive manner. Here are four examples:

1. Energy Development: we are one of the only energy-impacted counties in Colorado that has not adopted comprehensive regulations to incorporate energy development into our planning vision, mitigate impacts and protect public health, safety and welfare.

2. Oil and Gas Regulations: Commissioners Martin and McCown voted to oppose the COGCC rules that are being developed to implement State legislation that directs the Oil and Gas Commission to regulate the industry, promoting energy development, while protecting public health, welfare and safety, the environment and wildlife. Most of the proposed rules were developed in response to concerns generated in Garfield County.

3. Public Transportation: Commissioners Martin and McCown have consistently taken a position against joining RFTA. Transportation is a growing concern for our county and, because of the economy of scale in rural areas, must be approached in a regional manner. Writing large checks to RFTA annually without having a vote on the Board is not good stewardship of funds.

4. Infrastructure Improvements: I too favored a contract with Chevron on improvements to County Road 204 (a road used primarily for energy development), until Chevron inserted a clause that committed the county to supporting a future request for a tax credit to Chevron for this project. This tool should be used for projects that have a greater impact on the general public, such as the Parachute interchange. Because of the magnitude of the potential request, I believe that we would be turned down for future projects, until this one is paid off. Statewide, it would be viewed as Garfield County’s priority project.

From what I have observed, I believe that Stephen Bershenyi and Steve Carter understand the challenges we face as a growing county and the importance of working cooperatively with our communities and regional partners in developing a vision that sustains a strong economy and protects our natural and cultural assets.

Tresi Houpt

Garfield County Commissioner District 1

Glenwood Springs

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