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The Glenwood Springs Post Independent recently endorsed John Martin and Mike Samson in the Garfield County commissioners’ race. I was not surprised to see the paper go Republican, but the reasoning behind the endorsement really is mind boggling.In the District 2 race between John Martin and Stephen Bershenyi, both are cited for their commitment to the county and interest in being educated about the issues. The primary issue outlined in the endorsement was the impact of the energy industry. How does one cite the importance of balance in decisions regarding the energy industry and in the next breath endorse Martin?John Martin has proven through his voting record (and his campaign) that he is the darling of the energy companies. He has voted against ozone monitoring and for the use of severance tax monies to pave a “road to nowhere” for the sole benefit of Chevron and others. Those are severance tax dollars that could be used for numerous real needs of the county. Martin has had his time in office and has shown just how much we need new blood.Stephen Bershenyi is willing to work with oil and gas to keep the economic prosperity the industry brings, but will hold them accountable to retain the scenic beauty and clean air and water we all enjoy. John Martin may be a “student of government and the energy industry,” but clearly the main lesson he has learned is to placate. I want a commissioner who is not afraid to question energy practices, demand immediate response for spills and other casualties, and who will step in and advocate for the private citizens of Garfield County – not just big business.As for Mike Samson, I am still unclear as to how the Post can choose him based on his experience as a teacher/administrator over Steve Carter, a district judge/attorney? As Steve and Mike align on many issues, relevant experience distinguishes them, and to me that puts Steve Carter clearly in the lead.Post Independent, I think you really missed the boat on this one.Melissa SumeraCarbondale

I was surprised to read the Glenwood Springs Post Independent’s endorsement of Mike Sampson for county commissioner. As a Rifle native, I’ve known both Mike Sampson and Steve Carter for years. Mike and I attended high school together (although he’s a year older). Mike was my daughter’s American government teacher and is now dean of students at Rifle High, which both of my sons attend. Mike made a special effort to help my daughter, Trista, with public speaking, and his assistance was one factor that helped her earn a trip to the international science fair. Steve explored the mysteries of early personal computers with my brother, Terry. He worked out at my ex-husband’s fitness center. Steve was instrumental in getting the funding change that has improved Rifle’s parks and recreation. As a judge, he’s experienced with making fair decisions. He’s always impressed me with his ability to bring other perspectives to the table at city meetings. Why am I able to choose Steve Carter over Mike Sampson? I can sum it up in a simple phrase: Carter is smarter. Steve Carter has a greater depth of experience, knowledge and intelligence. Our county faces many complex issues in the future.Steve is the better candidate to confront these issues as county commissioner.Judy CrookRifle

In response to Pat Vigil’s letter, the phone numbers for the Garfield County Republican Party Headquarters are 928-0497 and 384-2192. We are located at 1112 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, next to the Chamber of Commerce building. Our hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 11 a.m.. to 4 p.m. Saturday.Becky RippyNew Castle

The upcoming election is very important. To some it seems perfectly enlightened to support Obama, an unqualified presidential candidate. His “association” with Bill Ayers is a real concern. The Obama campaign and liberal media are saying it is not relevant, it is merely “guilt by association.” Obama’s relationship with Ayers is guilt by collusion, collaboration, cooperation and more. Ayers wouldn’t trust someone with a few million dollars for “distribution” unless they shared values. I’m not implying Obama is a latent terrorist; however it calls to question his judgment and his honesty in this association. Bill Ayers is a terrorist. Holding a position as a professor does not alter that fact. Now his form of terrorism is promoting radicalizing and indoctrination of children, a sideline while he was blowing stuff up, but now a current objective. There are some who will defend Ayers as “an esteemed professor!” That is nonsense. If you jump up to defend him, include your name so your neighbors know who you are.Does anyone really think Obama shared time and experiences with Bill Ayers and could not have known what the dirtbag was really about? Obama is not stupid, but he is a dishonest liar hiding his true values. There are many unknowns about Obama, the more you don’t know about him, the better for him. If he wins the election, you will soon be giving away your money and more importantly, your rights. If Obama is elected, there will be many who will celebrate his victory. Included will be my favorite … the deranged little Hitler with the diabolical grin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and many more who wish for the destruction of the United States and Israel. It may be they believe they can manipulate him. Why not? Obama has already demonstrated he will cooperate with a terrorist who shows no regret.Americans should be concerned about the substantially corrupted condition of most of the American media and the proliferation, over decades, of the socialist, politically correct, secular-progressive, multicultural liberals – a great threat to American values and freedom. Art HouglandGlenwood Springs

I was an intelligence officer in the Marines inside Guantanamo during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and have comments about why America cannot afford to have John McCain as president. Sen. McCain remarked: “Look, I’ve been tested.” Does that mean he is ready to lead our country?One of the reasons we are here today is because John Fitzgerald Kennedy was steadfast in his caution to not react precipitously to the rapidly unfolding and unpredictable situation in Cuba. The clock was ticking for the U.S. to decide whether to invade, bomb or both as the Russians and Castro prepared to use nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Politburo was pressuring Khrushchev to bring Cuba under Soviet protection. Only today do we know that Castro almost wrested control of the tactical nuclear missiles from the Russians.Both Khrushchev and Kennedy knew they had to avoid such catastrophe, and were up against easily misreading potentially irreversible events. JFK was pressured daily by his military leaders, especially Gen. Curtis LeMay, his brother Robert and others in his cabinet, to make a first strike of bombing followed by an invasion. It was only a matter of hours before such an event would have occurred (I know this firsthand). But for Kennedy’s reasoning and belief that restraint was necessary until the very last minute, did he (and Khrushchev) save the world from nuclear disaster.Now imagine John McCain in these circumstances and you can appreciate why so many people, especially those who know his impulsiveness and angry temperament, are so concerned about him being elected president. McCain was ready to do his duty and carry out the orders of our commander-in-chief, as were thousands of other brave Americans. We were all tested! The fact McCain was there along with the rest of us does not give him the birthright to say “Look, I’ve been tested” and, therefore, better prepared to be president. Judgment and cool presence of mind has proven, time and again, to prevail in a crisis – not overzealousness or bravado. I rest my case.Barry Peters, USMC 1961-64Snowmass Village

Jack Hatfield is one of the most ethical, honest, hardworking, committed and conscientious commissioners with whom I have worked on the local, state or national levels. Although we may sometimes disagree on the best ways to resolve some of the many important issues facing the county, including ballot issues before the voters that are important to all of us, Jack always puts Pitkin County first in his considerations. Dorothea FarrisCarbondale

This year’s ballot features a thicket of initiatives, including two anyone concerned about Colorado’s water and wildlife needs to pay attention to.Amendment 58 would create long-term sustainable funding to repair damage from the gas boom on wildlife, the environment and local communities. Amendment 58 would also help Colorado kids go to Colorado colleges and universities. It needs our support.Amendment 52, the “Better Roads Now” amendment, is nothing short of highway robbery. It would constitutionally mandate oil and gas revenues, now dollars dedicated to critical programs run by Colorado Department of Natural Resources, be earmarked for repairs and improvements along I-70. It needs to be defeated.Proponents of Amendment 52 want you to think it would take “excess” DNR funding and use those dollars to fund transportation. Don’t believe them.Amendment 52 would gut programs that work to keep species off the endangered list, deal with the pine beetle epidemic and address the spread of zebra mussels.The most serious cuts would impact Colorado’s ability to develop and store water for our state’s residents. State water experts say we could supply 80 percent of our water needs by the year 2030 with aggressive investments in conservation and storage. Amendment 52 pulls the plug on the biggest pot of money we have to fund these projects.That’s why water providers across the state, including the Colorado River Water Conservation District, urge the defeat of this ill-conceived measure. So does Club 20, the conservative West Slope lobby, along with many prominent Republicans. Here’s a telling statistic: Not a single transportation group supports Amendment 52.Amendment 58 is by far the better bet for Colorado. Amendment 58 would eliminate a $300 million handout for oil and gas industry and invest it in scholarships, renewable energy, local communities and wildlife habitat.Amendment 52 and Amendment 58 conflict with one another. If both pass, court battles are assured.There’s way too much at stake for this decision to be left to the courts. Please vote “no” on Amendment 52 and “yes” on Amendment 58.John W. GaleLongmont

Also addressed: Dear “Mountain Mayors” and all other local elected officials who want to tell me who to vote for:I am a resident of Glenwood Springs and a registered voter. I am deeply disturbed by the endorsements of local politicians by other local politicians. If you currently hold an elected office, it is unacceptable to use your elected title when making political endorsements. It smacks of cronyism, and is not a function of the job you were elected to do. Make all of the endorsements you want, but please refrain from using the title you gained from “we the people.” I am much more likely not to vote for you in any election you choose to run in.Lisa WarderGlenwood Springs

Regarding the recent $1.6 million grant recently awarded to Garfield County, there seems to be misconceptions as to what these funds are for. The title of the grant is “New Energy Communities,” and the purpose, according to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, is greening public facilities, greening downtowns and greening homes. There are possible financial resources for municipal energy upgrades and downtown improvements, and to promote energy efficiency in new home construction through adoption of model building codes, and educating homeowners as to energy efficient upgrades or retrofits.Garfield County has specified in their grant reward for renewable energy demonstration projects, LED street lighting, small commercial energy audits and retrofits, and a multi-jurisdictional sustainability team, among others. If you want more information about the award, see the press release from Gov. Ritter’s office under New Energy Communities Grant Recipients.Steve ColeyGlenwood Springs

CNN reported that from the $700 billion bailout, the nation’s nine largest banks are setting aside $20 billion to pay bonuses to their top executives for driving their banks to insolvency. Is this outrageous? If this is true, every member of Congress who voted for this bill should get the boot!What could we do with $20 billion? With our foreclosure crisis in the housing industry, we could reduce the mortgages on 200,000 homes by $100,000 or we could build specially equipped homes for all the paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Or we could provide $10,000 college scholarships to 2 million students.What do you think would be better? Further enriching the wealthiest in our country, or doing something good for America?Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, and their lobbyist supporters have made such a mess of this country it is beyond description.Bill BarnesNew Castle

Kelley Cox’s front-page photo of GarCo Commissioner candidates Stephen Bershenyi and John Martin tickled me all day on Wednesday. You had the thick-necked, head-shaved Bershenyi next to slender John Martin with his flowing hair and beard, in his Wild West get-up.Maybe it’s just my wild imagination, but don’t those two remind you of Jesse Ventura and Wyatt Earp?Ed ColbyNew Castle

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