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Your Letters

Tom Regan, writing on behalf of the Elks Lodge, is correct that I should research fraternal organizations before referencing them, and I apologize for any offense. My thanks for supporting the thesis that readers would benefit from investigating local organizations that work for the benefit of our community and the world.

Although traditional organizations reportedly face aging memberships and declining rosters, economic distress increases the need for organized community service that cuts across barriers of gender, theology, race or financial status.

Unfortunate as my attempt at humor might have been, a public exchange highlighting the benefits of service and fraternal organizations is a good thing, so I hope no remaining rancor blunts that message. Organizations that include memorized ritual or ceremonial tools deserve credit for honoring tradition, self-discipline and an atmosphere of mutual support, and those motorcycles and mini-cars garner excellent publicity. Groups also stress business leadership connections, social interaction or hands-on community service. Regardless of focus, if more organizations continue the dialogue, perhaps we will learn about their activities, focus and heritage. Where groups overlap in purpose, it would be helpful to know what distinguishes each from the others.

Mr. Regan has led with his letter promoting the Elks Lodge. Perhaps we can look forward to letters that identify and describe other fine area organizations as well.

Don Parkison

Glenwood Springs Kiwanis

Two news articles show a sharp contrast in how county governments are reacting to the higher 2009 property valuations during a depressed economy.

Pitkin County Commissioner Jack Hatfield stated, “For me, the bottom line at the end of the day is what we pay in taxes. I feel it’s incumbent upon all taxing districts, including Pitkin County, to arrive at a fair mill levy. That should be the goal that we don’t raise taxes.”

Contrast these Pitkin County comments to those from Garfield County’s Theresa Wagenman, a Garfield County budget analyst: “It is not likely that the county will need to dip deeply into that reserve ($17 million) for the coming year. Thanks to the fact that property tax collections will remain high in 2010.” Does that sound like the tax rate will be temporarily lowered by Garfield County?

Compare budget cuts other entities statewide are making. Wasn’t the local headline heartwarming, “Garfield County plans to stay below 500 employees for 2010?” Before the oil and gas industry went into full bloom, the county was operating with approximately 200 employees.

Would you be outraged at a tax hike? A tax hike is exactly what you are going to get if taxing districts do not temporarily lower the mill levy for 2010. The tax hike will be hidden until you receive your 2010 tax bill. (School districts’ mill levies will see little change, thanks in part to Governor Ritter’s school mill levy freeze.)

Where is the outrage? Better yet, where is our leadership?

Ken Call

Glenwood Springs

I find the land swap between the base of Mountain Sopris and the Sutey Ranch to be very questionable. I am not sure of the basic reason for the swap; however, I’m able to shed light upon the Sutey family, who were the original owners of the ranch. In my opinion, the Sutey family displayed the highest, honest morals of any family in this area. They were exceptionally good friends of my father and mother – Steve and Ann Krizmanich of Glenwood Springs.

Mr. and Mrs. Sutey originally came from northern Croatia to escape an extremely hard life dominated by a wealthy privilege class. Frank Sutey Sr. and my grandmother were from the village of Plemenitas. Kathryn Sutey was from Delnice. It was then Austria-Hungary as Yugoslavia did not exist.

Frank constantly displayed sympathy for the working guy. Before homesteading on Cattle Creek, the family lived in Crested Butte where Frank worked at hard, back-breaking labor in the mines. Difficulty arose due to his efforts related to the creation of a miner’s union – therefore the family left Crested Butte for Cattle Creek. They traveled down Schofield Canyon in a wagon that turned over.

Perhaps Leslie Wexner is a good honest man. However, if he is of the same cut as Kenneth Lay or Rupert Murdoch, he has to achieve a tremendous amount of moral development and understanding before he rises to the level of Frank Sutey! I have spent a great amount of time in Australia and have yet to hear one good word regarding Mr. Murdoch from any Aussie, Australia being his native land.

If this land swap is just another land grab, the Sutey family would absolutely not support such a deal. I received my moral compass from Mr. Sutey, my father and the good old-timers of Crested Butte and Glenwood. Their values were very different from that of many of the newcomers.

The Suteys were good, kind, honest people. Our country would be much better if there were more people like them living today. They are true models for a moral society.

Joe Krizmanich

Glenwood Springs

We hold these truths to be self-evident that: 1. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging, 2. When you find yourself buried in an avalanche of debt, the first thing you need to do is stop overspending.

Recently someone wanted to correct a “distortion” about the cost of government-run health care. He said that it would not add $1 trillion to the national debt each year but $1 trillion over 10 years, which would only be $100 billion each year. Gee, does that make anyone feel better? $100 billion is still a lot of money, and we cannot afford to take on any additional debt.

Then someone made this astonishing statement: “This medical care costs patients nothing and is funded through taxation.” Now, if you don’t pay any federal income tax (let’s call you Paul) maybe it would be free to you. But if you do pay federal income tax (let’s call you Peter), it is certainly not free to you. And our politicians know that if you rob Peter to pay Paul you can always count on the support of Paul. And we are getting perilously close to having more Pauls than Peters.

The fact is, whether or not you believe we need government-run health care, we cannot afford it. The deficit this year will be more than $1.6 trillion. Mr. Obama recently revised the estimated increase in the national debt, over the next 10 years, from $7 trillion to $9 trillion. That is an increase of 28.5 percent since the last estimate, which was made just four months ago. And that does not even count the current debt of about $8.5 trillion. Nor does it take into account the estimated $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which are actuarially insolvent. These numbers are just staggering.

Now the politicians, who got it so wrong on the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cost estimates, are asking us to trust them on their projected costs of government-run health care. Do you trust them?

Leon Garot

Glenwood Springs

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