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Your Letters

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

U.S. Representative Jared Polis, the most likely representative to endorse this proposal and submit it to Congress, is holding three public forums June 1 in Boulder at the Boulder Public Library; June 3 in Edwards at the Battlement High School Auditorium; and June 4 in Breckenridge at Colorado Mountain College Auditorium. He is asking for feed back regarding this proposal.

It is vital that we attend these meetings and express why this proposal is bad for our community. He must know that this small, privately funded, narrow-vision environmental group is not the voice of the majority, as they claim. Remind him that none of the expertise of the U.S. Forest Service, mountain rescue or local fire officials was utilized in preparing this proposal, just the wishes of special interest groups.

We must help him realize the environmental and economic impact studies have never been done and that public information and comment meetings on this proposal have been extremely limited. Motorized and mechanized recreation are areas of steady economic growth. Designating these areas wilderness could cause undue economic hardship. Our ranchers, rescuers, firefighters and elderly would also suffer from effects of such an extreme designation.

The Hidden Gems proposal has no answer on how to manage and maintain the forest in regards to the high level of beetle kill and drought, and the potential fire storm that it might create. They have no plan or process whatsoever to implement, maintain, and enforce a wilderness designation so large. There hasn’t been full disclosure of related impacts to our valley and surrounding areas. Wilderness Workshop has offered no proof that this level of protection is needed, only their opinion.

The U.S. Forest Service has the best plan and resources to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of our national forests to meet the needs of present and future generations. This is public land specifically set aside for multiple use, and is maintained by our tax dollars. Let the majority voice be heard.

Nancy Williams

Glenwood Springs

In the May 14 Post Independent Lee Perkins asked whether we trust our government to control the Internet.

This question grossly oversimplifies the complicated issues at hand. The Internet involves developing and applying sophisticated and expensive technology and infrastructure in ways that prove manageable, entertaining and useful for ordinary people. When done well, this work offers its doers opportunities for power and profit, and people naturally organize themselves to compete for these rewards. Whoever wins the competition gains control unless/until someone takes it away from them. Do I trust our government to take control in my behalf? Not really. But unfortunately I don’t trust Comcast, Microsoft, Google, HP, Qwest, or Yahoo, either.

Still, both government and corporations have inevitable influence over our lives, so what’s a struggling democracy to do? For average folks, our best hope lies in the design of our Constitution: balance of power between competing interests.

Private enterprise tends to innovate. That’s good. When it innovates successfully it tends to turn its success into almost limitless power and profit for its owners with little regard for community well-being. That’s not so good. This is as true for the Internet as it is for agriculture, banking, health care, transportation – almost any field of endeavor one can name. The trick is to maximize innovation while minimizing unconscionable profiteering. That’s where government regulation comes in.

It’s not useful to simply ask, “Do you really trust this government?” and when the inevitable answer is no, conclude, “Get government out of my life.” (Unless of course, you are content to let Microsoft and Mutual of Omaha run everything.) What’s more useful is to consider what useful role government might be assigned regarding a particular issue at a particular point in time. One needn’t trust government or for that matter corporations, for a country to benefit from both. But one does have to figure out how to best shape the qualities and balance the powers of both to achieve outcomes we want. As difficult and frustrating as that (political) process often is, it is an essential part of our American way.

Ron Kokish

Carbondale

Re: Edgar Niebla

I am not surprised that Colorado Mountain College allowed an illegal alien to enroll. I want to know what Social Security Number did he use? His own? Unlikely, since he is an illegal alien. So where did he get his Social Security Number from?

This is a man that openly breaks the law so he can become a police officer that will then enforce laws. Breaking the law in order to enforce it? If you broke into a home to rescue a kidnapped child, that is understandable. But an illegal alien becoming a cop? If he cannot respect immigration laws, what laws will he respect? He certainly has little understanding of what the U.S. Constitution has, apparently. He certainly cannot be expected to respect it.

Carl Kem

Leadville

The Basalt Regional Library will be the setting 1 p.m. this Saturday, May 22, for another historical chat: “Basalt, All Aboard to the Past” with Luke Danielson, grandson of Ralph Danielson, co-publisher of the “Basalt: Colorado Midland Town” book. His grandfather and uncle, Clarence, spent five years in the 1960s interviewing and researching the local family lives and telling enthusiastic stories about the Colorado Midland railroad’s influence on the Fryingpan and Basalt area.

A book signing for the third edition of “Basalt: Colorado Midland Town” will take place at the original Colorado Midland depot on Midland Avenue in downtown Basalt, now Alpine Bank lobby, from 9:30 until noon and then following the historical chat at the new Basalt Library. Copies of this book may be purchased, with proceeds assisting Basalt Regional Heritage Society, at mail@basaltheritage.org.

Thanks for your continued support of the local historical society.

Janice Duroux, president

Basalt Regional Heritage Society

Basalt

I have to wonder if Pete McBride and friends are as concerned with Jared Polis’ spending of public funds to further the Hidden Gems agenda as they are with Basalt Fire District’s potential spending to fight the wilderness designation proposed by Wilderness Workshop.

Shortly after reading both Scott Condon’s article and Pete McBride’s letter in Friday’s Aspen Times, I picked up my mail, which included a heavy stock, double-sided, full color, 8.5 inch-by-22 inch, tri-folded brochure from Congressman Polis, with a brief (biased) description of the Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal. It included a small map, website info, and a brief (three-question), perforated, tear-off survey. On the back it listed the three upcoming public forums, and encouraged people to attend, OR send in the survey – don’t forget the 44 cent stamp!

Obviously, significant time and money went into producing and sending this brochure, and since I have personally seen Wilderness Workshop’s two-year budget, I wasn’t surprised that some of their $2.4 Million could have gone to produce this beautiful mailer. Then, in small print on the back of the brochure, I read: “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

Isn’t the Hidden Gems proposal privately funded? Why am I now paying to further their cause? It’s obvious after having spoken with Congressman Polis, receiving his e-mails, and seeing this particular brochure, that he wants this proposal pushed through to Congress, and I’m afraid that a majority in opposition will not make a difference. I was told that Mr. Polis contributed $50,000 in personal funds to an environmental group directly linked to Wilderness Workshop’s funding. If true, can he really be unbiased? Will he listen if we say “no”?

I encourage all involved, to attend one or all three of the public forums: Tuesday, June 1, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Boulder Public Library; Thursday, June 3, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Battle Mountain High School in Edwards; and Friday, June 4, noon to 1:30 p.m. at the CMC Breckenridge campus. Please unite to give a resounding “no” to this proposal, and to say: “Stop spending our money!”

This is our last chance … do not miss it!

John Hembel

Basalt


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