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Several people have written to criticize John Martin for seeking to restrain Tresi Houpt from advocating positions different from those decided by the assembled Garfield County Board of Commissioners. Michael Dunn (“Misuse of Power,” Jan. 31) presents a civilized argument based on our constitutional rights of free speech. Sharon Brenner (“Opinion in Error,” Jan. 31) argues based on the difference between speaking as an individual and speaking as representative of Garfield County.

In weighing the arguments, I’m convinced by Brenner’s rationale. Citizens of Garfield County elect commissioners to represent us in many weighty matters. We believe the decisions they make are too serious for one individual to make. Hence we elect a group, believing the consensus of the group will be more reasonable and effective than that of one person. Does that make sense?

To me it does. Would we prefer to let the group make decisions and then to allow the disaffected to undermine the decision of the group? That does not make sense to me.



When I served in the Army, we used a rigorous decision-making process that involved studying various courses of action, assessing the pros and cons of each, and then making a decision based on that assessment. Once the decision was made, everyone exerted maximum effort to ensure success in the chosen course of action. The saying was, “Argue to the point of decision, then salute smartly and carry it out.” Dissension would only have undermined any chance of success.

If we believe a group of three people is too small to represent us, we have the option of enlarging the group of commissioners to, say, five or seven.



I’m new to Colorado, but I believe most counties have the larger groups.

Hence, to all who would like to have more voices on the Garfield County Board of Commissioners, let me recommend you start the process of enlarging the group.

Karl Oelke

Glenwood Springs

Thank you, Jim Hawkins, for your letter to the editor on Feb. 2.

I was beginning to think I was the only one in this valley that is tired of these weekly hate letters that the Glenwood Springs Post Independent seems drawn into printing. I believe in the freedom of speech, and have been criticized for my thoughts printed here as well, but the anger spewed from these letters makes them unreadable.

Sue, I am not responsible for Israel, but I do feel bad and pray for peace in the world.

Republicans, I am over the election, the people have spoken, and he won.

I don’t need Juanita’s weekly report on the way the world should be, nor do I feel sorry for Bruno who can’t get legal. Bob, just let the keys rest for awhile, please. I won’t even read letters printed if the are from any of the so-called “regulars of the GSPI,” because it’s just beating a dead horse. These men and women drone on like some broken record.

Why don’t you all agree to meet somewhere private and debate yourself to sleep. I, for one, have not found one interesting letter in over three months, which is good cause I have kept my mouth shut.

But thanks to Jim, I found something to scream about, Way to go, Jim, great letter. I agree.

Lori Anderson Thompson

Silt

The resolution put forth by John Martin is very un-American and repressive. We need to have the input of all our commissioners, not just the majority view of the commission.

How can we find the change we need if voices are quelled?

After all, likely the most important right in the Bill of Rights is freedom of speech.

Alice Gustafson

Glenwood Springs

To show you what a radical I am, I will first state I don’t allow others to pick which Americans I will idolize. I don’t love Raymond or hate Chris, and I don’t blindly accept Oprah and Phil as gurus. Readers can consider that in connection with the following observation.

To this radical it seems a simple stimulus to the economy and a way to reduce administration costs is to grant a credit on net taxable income to a business that hires legal citizens for full-time jobs. It would be the obligation of the business to determine citizenship of the job seeker. Responsibility for hiring an illegal immigrant is on the company. A just penalty would be double the amount paid in wages plus interest. This can be monitored by government agencies in place. That would be the IRS with input from INS, FBI, state and local law enforcement people.

Please note this does not affect a business hiring temps or legal and illegal farm and orchard laborers. It is to encourage employment of those citizens willing to work. In that connection, all welfare payments would be cut off for those able-bodied people unwilling to take an available job, even if they consider the work beneath their dignity or choose to remain idle and/or homeless. Private charities are in place to take care of them.

One of the many benefits of such a program would be it wouldn’t require growth of government, which seems to be the aim of many past and the new administrations. A lot of programs in the new stimulus package require expansion of government bureaus and employees, thus creating voters for the existing administration. How’s that for change a radical believes in?

Jack E. Blankenship

Battlement Mesa

In the history of our nation, has there ever been a more inept, yet arrogant, Congress?

Naturally, President Bush received more media attention, but the disapproval rating (misnamed approval rating) of the 110th Congress was only a few points higher in mid 2008, when our nation’s legislators scored at 18 percent, tying the lowest level in the history of the Gallup Poll.

Did this poor performance create any reaction? You bet it did. For months now, our senators and representatives have been berating companies for rewarding failure. Apparently, our low achievers in Congress consider themselves the best judges of executive job performance in the private sector.

So, in the true spirit of “do as I say, not as I do,” this do-nothing constructive Congress voted themselves a $4,700 pay increase which took effect in January, when they were in a state of frenzy criticizing salary and bonuses of corporate CEOs.

Is this not the height of hypocrisy? Is it not rewarding failure for these incompetent egomaniacs to pad their pocketbooks while failing miserably in their responsibilities?

So, what’s next? Perhaps we’ll soon learn stimulus is just another name for pork!

God bless America!

Richard Doran

Parachute

Commissioner Martin wants to pass a resolution aimed at silencing all dissenting opinions on the Board of County Commissioners and speak with one voice as a Garfield County Commission. He forgets all voices in the United States deserve to be heard. What will happen, if this resolution passes, when he is on the dissent (minority) side? It could backfire spectacularly. Besides, even the courts publish a dissenting opinion. It’s part of our right to free speech and representation in government. John Martin, you have never represented me.

We all know this is aimed at Tresi Houpt, in an attempt to silence her participation as a member of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. These rules for oil and gas extraction will allow other stakeholders, we residents and the four-legged residents who can’t speak for themselves a voice and decision in the process. If we allow this industry to operate unchecked, the industries we’ve depended upon in the past and will depend on in the future when the gas is played out, will be gone and we will go through another boom/bust cycle. Don’t you all remember the last one? Apparently Mr. Martin thinks there’s nothing wrong with that.

Besides, the industry keeps trying to convince us the rules are making them cut back, but the news articles and their own admissions tell a different story. It’s the economy! How stupid do they think we are?

Gay Moore

Glenwood Springs

I am writing in support of Jose Mendoz-Turbin. Jose is a student at Colorado Mountain College and I am his algebra instructor.

Jose is from El Salvador, and the story of his impending deportment hearing scheduled for this week was recently featured in a Walter Gallacher’s immigration article in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. This was how I learned of Jose’s plight, and I am hoping to help him by writing of his work as a student.

In my class, he has shown himself to be a model student. He is always prepared, is willing to work to understand the complex ideas presented in algebra, and is ready to help fellow students.

His best opportunity for an education is here and now. To force him to return to El Salvador before that is complete serves no purpose. Education provides the long-term solution to ending the gangs which terrorize Jose’s home country and precipitated his immigration to the United States. Imagine Jose returning to his country as a nurse in the future, rather than becoming another vulnerable young man living among violence.

As a member of the community, I am pleased to have a hard-working student like Jose Mendoza Turbin, and proud to be his teacher.

Sylvia White

Glenwood Springs

Ms. Houpt has a long history of claiming to represent Garfield County in various outside forums, boards and commissions. Yet instead of voicing the majority decisions of the full Board of County Commissioners, she often voices and acts on her own personal opinions. This is wrong and contrary to good governance.

To rectify this situation, Commissioner Martin is proposing a rule that would require each commissioner to represent the majority view when participating in these outside groups. We should support Commissioner Martin in this effort.

It is unfortunate Commissioner Martin needs to go this far. Normally, members of elected bodies would find this obvious. But ever the sore-loser, Commissioner Houpt is fighting the rule.

Ms. Houpt needs to promote the opinions of a majority of her constituents, even if she may personally disagree.

Janell Carnahan

Parachute


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