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Urging Garfield County voters to engage gas field service companies and drillers as “business partners” is misguided. Private companies and citizens usually are not even about the same things. Companies concentrate on profit from operations.

Companies’ efforts to maximize profit from operations often run counter to citizens’ goals. When company operations create an environmental mess and health hazards, annoyed citizens concentrate on quality-of-life issues, not profit. Companies and citizens share a common economic interest; yet they have differences when private industrial operations precipitate public problems.

Despite remarkable contributions to the local economy through local business growth and job creation which citizens do appreciate, citizens feel concerned over degradation of landscape, air and water, wildlife and habitat. They worry over housing and transportation costs, especially when they have no immediate stake in the boom. They blame the industry for the pollution, noise, and deteriorating roads and bridges under heavy truck and equipment traffic. They fear chemical spills and toxic emissions, especially when they poison streams, underground water supply, and the air. They resent insufficient efforts to deal with these problems in the present, and also resent shortsightedness toward planning for sustainable growth down the line.

Many simply deplore seeing Garfield County Commissioners side repeatedly with private companies; dismiss citizens’ concerns; and oppose others’ proposals for sensible solutions. Such voters must wonder, “Now just why is it again I should get back in bed with John Martin and go into business with these companies?”

Increasing numbers of voters who welcome a sympathetic ear to concerns over public problems and a deliberate effort to resolve them are committing to vote, “Stephen Bershenyi for Garfield County Commissioner.” Come join us.

Barbara Larime

Glenwood Springs

Barack and Michelle in their own words. It’s about Socialism! I could offer many more examples, but there is a word limit.

“They don’t want the whole pie, There are some who do, but most Americans feel blessed just being able to thrive a little bit. … The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so someone else can have more.” Michelle Obama with Teresa Hines Kerry at her side.

Is Teresa going to give up some of her pie?

“It’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiments as a way to explain their frustrations.”- Barack Obama

Barack’s antipathy for common Americans?

“We can’t drive our SUVs, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.” – Barack Obama

Does he want to control what we drive, eat, our temperature at home and work?

“I chose my friends carefully. The more politically-active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors, structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.” – Barack Obama (Dreams of My Father)

So he carefully chose William Ayres, Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko and Rashid Khalidi?

“Political discussions, the kind at Occidental had once seemed so intense and purposeful, came to take on the flavor of the socialist conferences I sometimes attended at Cooper Union.” – Barack Obama (Dreams of My Father)

“It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too … I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” – Barack Obama to Joe the Plumber.

Stealing from those that earn and giving to those that don’t.

Be careful what you vote for. You just might get it!

Lee Perkins

Glenwood Springs

Enough is enough. Radical groups from Washington D.C. to Montana have spent over $20k on local democratic candidates for Commissioner. Anyone can verify this by visiting the Secretary of State website. 527s are a part of our lives until our elected officials get rid of them. What no one points out is that the candidates on both sides of the commissioner race have done a great job of rejecting this kind of outside garbage. Mike Samson was the first to denounce the 527s in a public letter that was printed in this paper. Samson even denounced such groups at a debate in front of his opponent. Fairness, honesty, community mindedness and the desire to unite Garfield County is what Samson has stood for all along, and its why the Glenwood Post endorsed him.

Shirley McNeil

Glenwood Springs

Webster’s dictionary, copyright 1998

Socialism: 1. a theory or system of social organization in which the means of production and distribution of goods are owned and controlled collectively or by the government. 2. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

Capitalism: an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporation.

If you vote for the Democrats, and they get a super majority in the House and Senate,

you will be voting for Socialism. As Barack has said, “We just want to spread the wealth around!” He said this to Joe the Plumber. He actually believes he has the right to take our money and do what he wants with it.

Western Europe (France and England) is moving away from Socialism because it doesn’t work. China has moved dramatically capitalistic and the results are amazing.

Three hundred million people have moved from poor to middle class.

If you vote for the Democrats, you are saying the government can solve your personal and business problems; and they will be entering your life in many more ways than they are now.

As Cyrus Vance (former Secretary of State), said, “If you have the government do the project, it will take twice as long, cost three times as much, and won’t be done as well as the private sector.”

Now that Barack has quietly changed who he was going to tax, lowering his original rich line from $250,000 down to $200,000, will he be like Bill Clinton a month after he gets into office and raise taxes through the roof? Remember, last week he said 95 percent of Americans will get a tax cut. Who really believes that?

Wealth redistribution has never worked. It didn’t work in the Soviet Union, and it didn’t work in China.

John Eaton


Barack Hussein Obama ” This is not a name I would like to see at the head of the United States of America.

Randy Kimball

New Castle

I attended the Candidate Forum in Battlement Mesa and listened to each of the candidates running for Garfield County Commissioner. Tough questions were submitted by the 100+ forum attendees, and each candidate had an opportunity to express their opinions and rebut the opinions of the others.

Those attending the forum would have been completely deaf or obsessively partisan not to be impressed with John Martin’s grasp of the issues facing Garfield County and his extensive institutional knowledge.

Least impressive of the four candidates was Stephen Bershenyi, who often seemed befuddled by the questions which were asked. In his Voices article in Tuesday’s issue of the PI, Bershenyi borrowed a statement originally made by Mike Samson months earlier with one important difference. Bershenyi wrote, “The gas and oil companies operating in Garfield County are not my friend, not my enemy and not my business partner … ;” whereas Samson stated they ” … are our (read: Garfield County) business partner.”

It may come as a surprise to Bershenyi to know every industry wishing to do business in Garfield County is a partner with the county, in the sense industry offers to provide certain amenities to the county such as jobs, an increased tax base, etc. We, the people, expect our county government to regulate industrial activities for the benefit of all the residents of Garfield County. Obviously, Bershenyi has taken an adversarial position against the largest employer in Garfield County, which can’t be good for either the employees of the oil and gas industry or Garfield County.

Mike Samson is the only new candidate with elective community experience. Mike was elected a member of the Rifle City Council and also served as Mayor Pro Tem for the town of Rifle.

Additionally, anyone who personally knows Mike Samson is aware he has honesty and integrity in spades and is committed to represent all the people in Garfield County and not just special interest groups.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent got it right by endorsing John Martin and Mike Samson as the most qualified candidates for Garfield County Commissioners.

Jerry Mohrlang

Battlement Mesa

Families facing economic crisis. Lost jobs, pensions, investments. Worries about health insurance and education. Foreclosures and bankruptcies. Thousands of casualties and billions spent on two wars.

Thousands coming out for the rallies. The American people fired up by the message of change, unity and tolerance. A hunger for justice, equal rights, and peace rises on this tide of common cause.

A clarion call for the courage and sacrifice to halt this runaway train of bully-swagger and excessive consumption. Sustainable energy policy and use and environmental preservation are our responsibility to our children and future generations.

Though we may be on opposing sides, can we, for a moment, set that behind us?

Let’s meet up on the common ground, and hold dearest the things which bind us, for our families and our loved ones.

In the noble traditions of faith and struggle, our founding fathers and thousands who would follow, found strength in unity was the best hope for liberty, and justice for all was worth fighting for.

In the great tradition of Abraham Lincoln, let’s stand up for kindness, courage and generosity, and follow the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, from wherever we are, all the way to the sea, for those who have less than us.

With Rosa Parks on the bus, way back in ’55. Martin Luther King with 200,000 in Washington in ’63. With Nelson Mandela, when he walked out of prison, after 27 years, free at last, from the crumbling tyranny.

Could it be at long last, there are enough of us to turn this dark division into a new accord? Could it be at long last there are enough of us to take the reins and ride until our unity is restored for our loved ones and our families?

” … save us from violence, discord and confusion defend our liberties, and fashion to one united people a multitude out of many kindreds and tongues.” — Father Garry Horle, Grand Junction

Terry Glasenapp

Glenwood Springs

Mike Samson isn’t running for the Garfield County Commission tied to the hip of another candidate as others seem to be doing. Instead, Mike Samson is running as his own person. I believe this independent mindedness has something to do with why the Glenwood Springs Post Independent endorsed Mike Samson. Mike has touched the lives of thousands in our community from Carbondale to Parachute as a teacher. As commissioner, I hope he teaches the radicals a thing or two about communication and finding common ground.

Ron Miller


So, the mostly-Democratic mayors of our valley towns are concerned about the money being contributed by the gas companies to the commissioner races. I wonder if they are as concerned about the contributions being made by environmental groups. I guess these wise men have a plan to keep our local economy healthy when the gas industry is finally run out of our area.

Contrary to what you may believe, there are people in this valley who realize how bad the economy is around our country, and are grateful for the good economy we have because of the gas industry. I appreciate the endorsement given John Martin and Mike Samson by the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. I believe these two gentlemen understand the importance of the gas industry to our local economy, and will use common sense and good judgment to work with the gas companies to ensure the natural resource which is needed by our country is developed, and at the same time the companies follow the rules which protect both our well-being and our environment.

I understand our area has changed because of all the drilling. Most people do not like change, and I can certainly relate. My husband and I were both born and raised in Rifle and have seen lots of changes over the years. However, it seems change is inevitable and must be dealt with, hopefully with good humor. Those of us who have lived in the valley for a long time have been through both the booms and the busts.

In my humble opinion, the good times, with all the trials which may come with them, are much better than a bad economy with people struggling to make a living.

Heather Hoffmeister


The obvious reasons for voting yes on 4A are lower travel costs, reduced dependence on foreign oil, faster travel times, more seats and better service, reduced traffic congestion and cleaner air.

However, to me the most important reason to vote yes is the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s (RFTA) continued efforts to modernize the system. In this case, implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Getting from one end of our valley to another as fast as a car, but in a bus is certainly a reason to invest into the future of our transit system.

Given our current economic situation it might seem difficult to undertake such an endeavor, but to wait any longer would be a mistake. Please vote yes on 4A and let’s turn a great plan for the future into a reality now.

Ed Cortez


As we move toward the climax of this historical election, the maze of information clouds the minds of voters who are still trying to decide. It appears the McCain faction lacks substance and is clearly on the defensive, while Obama is presenting the goals he will seek as president.

We all know it is going to be difficult for either man when elected. It surely looks like the Democrats will control both houses, and the best oiled machine to move action forward would be a Democratic-elected president. Gridlock can still, however, hold up action on needed legislation if bipartisanship cannot succeed leaving open the door for filibuster and blockage of any action. We have certainly witnessed this over these past years, and it has not been good for our country. The Democrats have a chance at having a filibuster-proof Congress and if this happens we can be assured needed legislation which will move this country forward will be forthcoming.

The irony of information which continues in a cloak of fear in order to sway voters simply requires only common sense, which apparently the McCain forces do not believe the American people have. I find it amazing on several fronts the McCain camp uses the word socialism to point out Obama’ plans. It works both ways. Either you give the wealthy tax cuts which is a type of socialism, in hopes they will not spend it on overseas investments, or simply hold it so it will trickle down to fuel the economy. Or you give tax cuts to the middle class and small business, who definitely will spend it fueling the economy, and let it trickle upward for a change!

I like Sarah Palin’s idea best, however. Being the Governor of Alaska and in charge of the largest social program in America, Alaska charges the oil companies for extracting resources from the state, and shares it annually with every citizen ” currently at a rate of $1,200 each. I think Colorado should think about this. It appears we have plenty of resources being extracted, so what do you think?

Jim Childers

New Castle

Mike Samson is the only candidate I know who knocked on just about every door in Garfield County. Meeting one-on-one with voters is a time-consuming effort, and is just one more example of Mike Samson’s lifelong commitment to Garfield County.

If you have even been to a high school football game, you probably recognize his voice, as Mike has spent most of his career teaching and coaching the youth in our community. Many of his former students are now grown and live in New Castle, Glenwood, Rifle and Parachute.

I don’t sign letters to the editor very often, but when extremists attack Mr. Samson’s character, they offend the thousands of people in our community who know him personally, and know what a good man Mike Samson is.

Vote Mike Samson on November 4th.

Marion Gargiulo


There are two candidates that seem to be running as a pair for the Garfield County Commission. Their goal is to create a one party commission and dominate Garfield County. This is a diverse county with diverse communities. So why would we want a one party commission? Garfield County already has a commissioner on the far left. Do we want two more? So rather than voting for the two who are running as a pair, I am voting for Mike Samson who will bring reasonableness and fairness to our communities. Mike Samson knocked on just about every door in the county during his campaign, and with his current momentum, is knocking on the door of the Garfield

County Commission armed with specific ideas and positive change.

Luther Cromwell


Driving west from Silt on I-70 shows the explosive impact of the “drill now, drill everywhere” mentality on our county. It’s out of control, and that’s just one of the problems; we have no control over what happens in our own backyard.

Many Garfield County residents have already had their well-being impacted by the energy industry. This is avoidable. Energy extraction can proceed at a controlled pace with safeguards for property rights and the environment. This has been the intent of Tresi Houpt, but her efforts are opposed by the other two current county commissioners.

Please encourage preservation of precious mountain environment and protection of our health and safety by election Stephen Bershenyi and Steve Carter as our Garfield County Commissioners.

Bruce Neumann

Glenwood Springs

A very special amendment, number 51 has been a very quiet part of our valley’s politics. This amendment will benefit at least 20 special needs service providing agencies across the state with funding which will help get people off waiting lists and into services.

Almost everyone who is reading this letter knows an individual with severe to moderate special needs in this valley. I apologize for not speaking up before. Many of you good citizens voted early, but it still isn’t too late for others. Tell your friends about the two-tenths of a percent tax which will help my child and many more have a productive future and much-needed services.

This is the first time in the 24 years I have lived here I have had an opportunity to vote for any Colorado legislation which benefits people with autism, Downs syndrome or other severe needs.

Vote yes, please.

Holly Pihl

New Castle

Have you noticed the big “Republicans for Obama” sign in the bed of the pick-up truck parked around town for the past couple of months? Wondered just who that “Republican” is? Well, prominent, long time Democrat, Dean Moffatt was seen driving that truck yesterday!

Shame on you Dean! You disappoint me with this kind of deceit ” but then perhaps the Obama campaign encourages this behavior!

Davy Lampman


I am totally against “character assassination,” because I like characters.

Martin’s bleat, however, is that of a whining child of 12 years on the playground who’s toy is about to be taken away by a responsible adult.

D.J. Gulliford


Groups from out of our area and some local elected officials have attacked my husband, Mike Samson. Many friends in Garfield County told us to get thick skin during this election, and they were right.

It is difficult to find good, honest people to run for political office, and I see why. Who wants to put themselves through political smears, distortions, and lies? Through it all, I am proud my husband has stayed above all this; believing on a local level it is possible to rise above these petty tactics.

The elected officials I speak of know full well just because a group puts their support toward a particular candidate does not mean those viewpoints belong to the candidate, nor that the candidate is in the hip-pocket of the organization. These elected officials realize this because their political party have groups behind them doing the same thing. If the ad doesn’t say it is supported by the particular candidate, the candidate had nothing to do with it. Candidates must say the content was provided by the candidate and they approve this message, or paid by the committee to elect the particular candidate.

Mike has made it clear what his stand is on the gas industry. He wants to work together in a respectful manner for the benefit of all the residents of Garfield County.

He realizes mistakes have been made by the industry, and they should be held accountable for those mistakes.

I have confidence Garfield County voters can see through the political mudslinging. Don’t become discouraged with the negative political tactics and not vote. Look for the candidate you trust to uphold your political beliefs. Voting is the responsibility we each have for the opportunity of living in this great country.

Come November 5, win or lose, Mike will come through this election with his integrity intact, and we are both grateful to have met many wonderful Garfield County residents. Many good people have helped him with this campaign who we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. All in all, it has been a great experience.

Janet Samson


I have some first-hand experience I would like to share with your community regarding the superb legislative skills and approach to constituent problem-solving Al White will bring to his Senate seat when elected.

When serving on the Steamboat Springs School Board a few years ago, there was a serious but unfounded legal challenge in the General Assembly to a unique school district funding mechanism our community had created in an effort to help improve the overall education of local students. First, Al took the time to meet with us in Steamboat to better understand the issue, and then went to work in Denver to prevent the success of this challenge. We made visits to Denver and witnessed Al’s ability to not only make the case against this challenge, but to receive respect and support from both sides of the aisle. With help from Senator Jack Taylor, we prevailed and there was no disruption of this funding.

Al White has been a first-class legislator in his current elected position, and he well deserves your support for the Senate seat his is seeking.

Jim Gill, former Steamboat Springs School Board member

Obama is a mystery. He refused to answer the “courage test” questions for a non-partisan group with a web site revealing what the candidates stand for and how they vote. Obama did submit one of his own. On many questions he simply did not answer or marked “other” or undecided-should’ve had a spot for “present.”

We do know he will push higher taxes for small businessmen/women. Such taxes triggered the Great Depression when the tax rate on anyone earning over $100,000 had to pay 55 percent, up from 20 percent. Obama wants to raise those very same taxes to 60 percent. Remember President Carter’s disastrous taxes because he wanted so many social programs?

Strip our economy and our military, his other stance. Of course, it depends on which speech you heard. It will change tomorrow.

One has to wonder if his hidden agenda is not to do just that. He called America “a mean country,” and vows to cut spending drastically on our military and nuclear arsenal. I would love to see us able to do without nuclear weapons; however, we have enemies working to get nuclear weapons to come after us and our most loyal ally, Israel. They won’t give up that mission just because Obama chats with them.

We’ll be exceptionally vulnerable.

He stands for pulling out all the stops on abortion ” more tax dollars.

He also wants union votes to be public, no longer a private matter. Spooky!

Furthermore, he wants the Fairness Doctrine to be law. The name is a misnomer. It seeks to silence free speech and eliminate any newspaper or broadcaster to report as they see fit. This is suppression of the truth in its worst form. It will only escalate.

Taking just these into consideration, Obama sounds Socialist/Marxist to me. Typical of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such blindness to his own shortcomings and the needs of others spells destruction for this great country. If he is elected, in four years, we won’t know our own country or constitution.

Vote for McCain, Vote for America, Vote for yourselves.

Juanita R. Williams


Western Coloradans are so very fortunate to be represented by Rep. John Salazar. He is to be commended for introducing a bill last month, along with Rep. Diana DeGette, which would require fracing fluids used in gas drilling to meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Since the 2005 Energy Policy Act, fracing fluids have been exempt from this act.

There have been numerous incidents of wells and streams being contaminated by gas drilling operations, and recently a Durango nurse fell gravely ill after treating a worker who cleaned up a small frac-fluid spill south of Bayfield.

“I believe in the responsible development of our natural gas resources,” Salazar said in a recent news release. “However, the exemption for hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Water Drinking Act simply goes too far. Water is our most precious resource in the West, and we must ensure it is protected from any possible contamination.”

The bill Salazar and DeGette have introduced, H.R.7231, would give the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate fracing fluids. To assure our drinking waters remain safe, these fluids must be regulated the same as any other possible sources of water contamination. The industry should not be exempt from the Clean Drinking Water Act.

Please let Rep. Salazar know you fully support his action in putting forth this bill to protect our water, and re-elect him to Congress.

Bob Millette and Maggie Pedersen

Glenwood Springs

Also addressed: Dear voters,

After eight years of mismanagement and the corruption which is often brought on by abuse of power; which presidential candidate do you think is the most competent to run this country? Which one do you think will assemble the “Best and the Brightest” to help fix these many issues such as the economy, health care, education or national security?

It seems clear to me.

Make sure you vote and be one of those who help decide these important questions.

Joe Mollica

Glenwood Springs

How very appropriate of the local supporters of the McCain/Palin ticket to invoke the Orwellian concepts of doublethink to lambaste Obama. It takes a lot of doublethink to support the Republican Party lately, much less McCain and Palin. Here we see McCain, wrapped in the flag, carrying his recently-found cross, bathed in the reflected glow of the golden parachutes of his advisors; these, the very thieves, criminals and looters who have destroyed our economy and embarrassed our nation before the world. McCain, who would lead us into more war and total economic ruin so his friends and supporters can continue the most amazing theft of money and resource the world has ever seen.

What a travesty. This man crying out about Obama being a Socialist when he is the very epitome of the Imperialist/Fascist. A man who thinks it’s perfectly appropriate corporate executives have salaries hundreds of times greater than the workers in their companies, and have the right to destroy those companies and lives for greater and greater personal profit. McCain, who decries Obama’s minuscule association with the vaunted Mr. Ayers, yet gave Ayers five times the amount of money Obama did. Even the sleaze machine of Karl Rove can’t hide that truth. The final desperate writhing of the slimy serpent of the Bush Administration holds its sycophant, McCain, firmly in its coils, waiting and desperately hoping for a rebirth.

The ill-considered, disastrous appointment of Sarah Palin as a running mate should clearly show the outright bad judgment of McCain; one phone call and no significant vetting process to choose a vice-presidential candidate? How will McCain do with Putin and Ahmadinejad, Mr. Pollack? How will Palin do? Will she be too busy trying to figure out what the vice president actually does in the Senate to get a grasp on international affairs?

Doublethink your way into believing McCain is a change from the criminal calamity of the worst administration this county has ever seen, and try to forget McCain voted with Bush 90 percent of the time.

Robert W. Boyle

New Castle

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