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Your Letters

Why don’t agencies such as the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), school districts, county and the city get together and figure out what is really needed in the Roaring Fork Valley when writing referendums? I particularly have a problem with RFTA, not only because some of their drivers drive recklessly on Highway 82, but because I believe RFTA has sold out the RFV’s opportunity to have light rail. In 1999, the light rail issue was voted down. I believe if this same initiative were on the ballot in 2004, voters would have been ready for an additional mode of transportation beside buses. RFTA never gave us the opportunity to find out.Just recently, RFTA was given an award by the state, recognizing “that this attraction, which will be one of the things our state has to offer to people from around the nation and the world, is an amenity created with support and funding from all the communities in the Roaring Fork Valley.” I don’t think we are going to see light rail in the RFV any time soon.If RFTA were to say they wanted money to build housing for their employees on the many acres of land they have, I’d be for it. If RFTA said they wanted money to fund a program in valley high schools to teach auto/bus mechanics, I’d be for it. If RFTA were to use funds to build a natural gas station, I’d be voting “yes.” Is it wise to spend precious funds on bus location devices or WiFi? Of the 4.45 million people who rode the bus last year, only one-third paid a fare. We may still see a 10-15 percent fare hike next year. Has RFTA done anything to take advantage of current low fuel prices? Does RFTA really need to buy new buses? Can’t they lease them? The economic disaster we are experiencing is real. RFTA needs to go back to their planning board and look at what is really important for the RFV over the next few years. Vote “no” on 4A.Kim VieiraAspen

Each time we have given the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) additional resources, they have turned it into major service improvements, and thus big increases in ridership. I believe RFTA has earned the public’s trust, and encourage you to vote “yes” on 4A.In the mid-1990s, RFTA was given the resources to expand service to the midvalley, and ridership increased dramatically. At the turn of the century, RFTA was transformed into a regional service which linked all of the communities from Rifle to Aspen with transit and a regional trail on the Rio Grande rail corridor. There are now more than 4 million riders per year, and there is demand for more service.Voting “yes” on 4A will allow more frequent service, real-time information about when the next bus will arrive, better and larger parking facilities, and on-board wireless Internet access.All of that will lead to more ridership, a saner commute, and better access for local residents and visitors to all of the amenities in our valley. Please support RFTA and vote “yes” on 4A.Bob SchultzCarbondale

Voters of Garfield County, The Durango Herald and Rep. John Salazar have endorsed my race and they say it best; “Jill Brake has the experience, knowledge and the energy to serve Colorado well on the State Board of Education.” The Colorado State Board of Education provides broad oversight for Colorado’s public schools. Its responsibilities include appointing the state commissioner of education, setting rules, accrediting school systems, teacher licensing and distributing state and federal funds. Board members are elected from each of the seven congressional districts and serve for six years without pay.I would represent the 3rd Congressional District, which includes southwest Colorado and much of the Western Slope. Even though this election is partisan, I believe politics should never play a role and should never be part of board thinking. For me it is all about the kids. I have a degree in early childhood education, and I currently am the director and a teacher of a large day care center. I have 26 years of experience in education, have been elected to my local school board, been a member and served as president of the Colorado Association of School boards, served on the National School Board Association and now serve on the Colorado Commission for Higher Education. “Kids are my business.” I know I have the complete set of skills to do this job and hit the ground running for positive change. We need a seamless preschool-post secondary system to prepare our students with 21st century skills. Ensuring a good start is the right direction and more cost-effective way to promote educational success and a better workforce. I will work hard for the children of Colorado. Brake for kids!Jill BrakePueblo

There are many reasons why I support Steve Carter for Garfield County commissioner. As a former judge, Steve knows how to listen to all sides and then make the fair and right decision. He believes county residents should be allowed to vote on whether or not they want countywide bus service. He believes it is time to do something about making renewable energy affordable to every homeowner. He is committed to protecting our community’s health and the environment. I believe he will always be open and honest with residents and local governments. Please vote for Steve Carter for Garfield County Commissioner.Patricia TomaskoNew Castle

I have known Mike Samson since he was in second grade. He was a person determined to do the best he could, whether it was getting an education or doing a job. He taught Social Studies for 25 years, and now is dean of students at Rifle High School. This tells me he can deal with people from all walks of life, which is a prerequisite for county commissioners. I urge you to support Mike Samson on Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008.LaVerne (Bubbles) StarbuckSilt

Obama’s promise to protect the middle-class was defined by his answer to Joe the plumber, saying he planned to “spread the wealth around,” i.e., expand socialism. His plans are so expansive even the Communist Party supports him.Redistributing the wealth instead of creating it fails by punishing success and rewarding failure. If a teacher redistributed percentage points from A and B students to D and F students so all would receive Cs, it would have a stifling effect.The United States leads the world in generous giving, but government assuming responsibility for the success of individuals or businesses is doomed to fail because people don’t work hard or take risks to end up with the same results as those who don’t.Churchill right said, “Socialism is shared poverty.” Obama says not to worry. It won’t be your wealth that’s redistributed. It will come from high earners and big business. That’s the same philosophy that drove U.S. industries abroad.Policies coming from a man with two former Fannie Mae executives on his campaign board and serving as economic advisers isn’t reassuring.Times change, but even Obama can’t change human nature.Diane CoxPalisade

A first-time voter in 1960, I pulled the lever for John Fitzgerald Kennedy because he represented a generational and ideological change from post-war conservatism and complacency. In 1980, I voted for Reagan because he promised a halt to America’s slide toward the welfare state and its culture of entitlement. Now I am voting for Obama because the American pendulum has swung much too far to deregulation and economic policies punitive to the middle class.I once was concerned Obama could prove naïve and indecisive when confronting the threat from militant Islam, but the past months have proven those reservations unfounded. Conducting his campaign with dignity and savvy, Obama has demonstrated a mind which is astute and pragmatic, flexible and receptive. In contrast to Obama’s well-organized and convincing campaign, McCain’s has been erratic in perspective and, in his choice of a running mate, disturbingly reckless.Obama’s detractors claim he doesn’t comprehend the Islamist threat to America; on the contrary, he understands it well enough to have long contended Al-Qaida should have been fought to the finish where it is strongest and most dangerous, in Afghanistan. Obama has been derided for saying he would talk with Iran, but not talking with Iran has done nothing to prevent Ahmadinejad from acquiring nuclear material. When it comes to pledges to defend Israel from a nuclear Iran, McCain, for all his bluster, is no more specific than Obama. A “maverick” in the Senate can bespeak independence and integrity; an impulsive and unfocused president in a time of multiple crises could spell irrevocable disaster. Now is not the time for short-fused, quirky leadership, but for a calm and cogent presidency.Judith KingGlenwood Springs

John Martin is an honest, decent man who sees all sides of the issues he is called upon to consider and act upon as a county commissioner. He embodies what our forefathers valued: a fairness to all. He has passed the tests that have been presented to him, and his knowledge and awareness is greater for having done so.There is a distinct possibility of another bust here in western Colorado. Remember May 2, 1982? Things are not rosy in the gas/oil industry at all right now. We need experienced individuals to govern. John will keep the oil/gas industry and Garfield County realistic, whatever happens.There would be a cloud over our county if we were to lose his abilities as our county commissioner.He has our vote.Khaila and Janver DerringtonCarbondale

I can’t believe this newspaper supports John Martin and Mike Samson. Where have you been? Apparently not downvalley with the traffic, dust, polluted water, brown haze, ugly industrial sites, well-pad beacons, torn-up land, crowded schools and total town character changes? You must be forgetting our No. 1 resource here in “Gasfield County” is sunshine. How can you even consider support for candidates who are supported by the oil and gas industry? The residents here aren’t stupid enough to continue this madness.I’m voting for Steven Bershenyi and Steve Carter; and and a big “yes” on Amendment 58.Mary BlichmannSilt

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