Colorado is good for businessIt is very interesting to hear the spin about how badly the Democrats have ruined the State of Colorado. Funny thing, it’s a lie. According to that bastion of liberal journalism, Forbes Magazine, Colorado ranks fourth in Best States To Do Business. That’s fourth! Up from well, fourth in 2009. So to all of the nay-sayers ragging Ritter and Hickenlooper, just ignore the facts and keep the spin going. Same thing for the oil and gas gang. Today’s paper informs us of how the gas well permits in Garfield County puts us No. 1 in the state, and are the third most in history for the county. Considering that the industry moved to Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, and that prices for natural gas remain depressed, I think a strong case can be made concerning the spin that we’ve chased the industry away. We haven’t.If you have not cast your ballot, and are still wondering or leaning towards the falsehooders, reread the first two paragraphs. The problems we face were set in motion by reckless spending, removal of regulations, two wars, tax relief for the wealthy and Wall Street, propagated by the GOP. If you see an ad against a candidate sponsored by Cross Roads, American Freedom Works, American Justice, or Americans for Prosperity, vote for that candidate. These anonymous attacks are financed by billionaires and former republican puppet masters like Karl Rove. Almost all of them are blatant lies and fabrications. Remember the adage “those that don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it”. We have history to look at. 2001-2008. The candidates running for state and local offices have done a great job. See paragraph 1. From Houpt to Hickenlooper to Curry and even Sheriff Lou, our State and County are in better shape than many because of them. Voting for inexperienced candidates is foolhardy and dangerous. This is not the time for on the job training. Remember how you felt about the last election. Let them have a chance to undo the years of damage. Vote early and vote often. (Just kidding.) Craig S. ChisesiRifle Curry is best choiceKathleen Curry is exactly the sort of leader Colorado – especially western Colorado -needs right now. Independent of the divisiveness that too often dominates partisan politics, Representative Curry focuses on issues and on finding solutions.An expert leader in protecting our precious water resources, supporting agriculture, preserving natural landscapes, and maintaining the health of our communities, Kathleen Curry truly represents our region.With a focus on people rather than on politics, on consensus solutions rather than on partisan gamesmanship, on leadership rather than on beating someone, Kathleen Curry represents the civic values that true Coloradans embrace.Now, of all times, Colorado needs this sort of leadership – positive, experienced, engaged, forward-thinking. That leadership is what Kathleen Curry has provided us so far. It is the leadership we need to support now.Remember, a write-in vote for Kathleen Curry is a vote for the values of western Colorado.Steve SmithGlenwood SpringsVallerio for SheriffI am writing to add my endorsement for Lou Vallerio for Sheriff. I have worked as a volunteer victim specialist in the Sheriff’s office for more than a year. Yes, I had to do the long application and had to have over 80 hours of training, besides many updates in that training. I am still learning every day. I have never had a question that someone in the department has not been willing and able to answer. I see everyone in the office treat anyone who comes or calls for information in the most respectful manner. To me, this respect for everyone, starts at the top and that is with Lou. I have had the opportunity to work with many of his deputies and have heard the same feedback over and over that they feel extremely well trained and their demeanor is at all times professional. That also comes from the top down.I hope that if the need for help ever requires the use of a piece of equipment like the Bearcat, that it available quickly, just as I want our fire department have the proper equipment and training in case my house catches fire. I have checked internet sources and find that a top notch fire truck costs well in excess of the cost of the Bearcat. Don’t we require the same protection if it could save the life of even one resident or a police official?My husband and I have been Garfield County residents for 10 years and just by reading the paper and working in court several days a week, I see such growth in the county, that we need to be prepared to have some of the same crime that larger metropolitan areas have, and guess what? We have some bad guys here already! Hopefully we will retain the level of sheriff and police presence that we have now,and will continue to live in a safe county.We deserve to keep Lou Vallerio as our Sheriff. He does things the right way.Holly GlasierCarbondale
Jankowsky understands Garfield CountyI am writing as an observer. I don’t know Tom Jankowsky personally. I observe Tom keeping a business open, and keeping jobs here through adverse economic times. He has persevered through opposition. He has worked in, with and for Garfield county workers, and he’s not even a commissioner. Yet, he understands competing business interests. Make no mistake, we are in competition with Pitkin county. Competition for jobs. We want to live and work in our county. They want us to live in another county and work in their county. I observe Tresi Houpt. In the Yellow Pages she comes under the heading, Attorneys, “Business Corporations & Partnership”. Hmmm. How many conflicts of interest are there? How can she be unbiased? I observe fundraising in Pitkin county. Who is she working for?We want a beautiful place to live yet understand that we need jobs in our back yard. Yes, our own back yards. It’s called multiple use of land. Tom understands multiple use. He works in and with the environment. He has jobs, our jobs, and Garfield County’s jobs in mind, realistically. He understands that it takes cooperation with the environment to produce what it takes to have a growing thriving county. It takes growth, responsible growth. I am done with the elites telling us little people what is good for us and for the Earth. We’re not stupid nor uncaring. Duh! We’ve chosen to do what it takes to live in these beautiful mountains! Guess what? We need jobs to be able to pay our bills and raise our families in this wonderful place too. We live in reality, not fairy tale Pitkin County, where they can run away and pretend making money doesn’t cause any ugly on the Earth. Tom Jankovsky understands how to mitigate impact to the environment up close and personal as manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort. He knows how to maintain and grow business.Robin RobinsonSiltJankovsky will make good choicesGarfield County had the largest budget in the history of the county in 2010. This is due to the lag in valuations. Property tax valuations for 2010 were based on 2008 values, when the housing property and natural gas prices were at their peak. In 2011 property taxes will be based on 2010 values and for commercial and natural gas it will be based on 2009 values. Property values have dropped 20 percent or more and natural gas has plummeted from a high of more than $10 to under $2/mcf recently. Property tax and natural gas tax revenues will drop dramatically, by $24 to $30 million dollars by 2011. That means that Garfield County will have to bring their budget back to 2008 levels. While we’ve all had to deal with the recession Garco has been in a bubble. We’ve all had to re-evaluate our finances and Garco will have to do the same. In a forum, Tresi Houpt said she plans on pulling funds from our reserves for the next five years. We’re going to need our reserves for longer than five years, our last bust lasted 10 years. We’ve had to cut costs and pull from savings, but we’re not continuing to do things the way we use to. Sharpening the pencil is a must if we’re to stay out of debt and overcome this recession. Tom Jankovsky knows how to do that. This is why having a County Commissioner who understands business is so important; he’s run one for more than 25 years. There are ways that cutting expenses can be done without hurting our already volatile economy. I trust Tom Jankovsky to help make the necessary decisions that will allow Garfield County the resources to ride the economic wave. Tom HaysCarbondale
Garfield schools oppose amendments 60, 61To our constituents who live in Garfield County School District RE-2.: As your elected representatives, we have thoroughly reviewed the proposed amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 and unanimously oppose them.We all agree that limitation of tax growth is a very commendable goal, but feel the authors of these amendments and proposition have failed to realize the ramifications the passage of these bills will have on our school system. Passage of these amendments and proposition takes the important financial decisions concerning RE-2 School District out of the local citizens and voters hands, (those people whose children’s education is at stake), and places these important decisions in the hands of disinterested voters across the state – especially those who reside on the Front Range, who don’t have the same problems that exist in rural Garfield County.Below are details of each amendment and how they would affect our school district. Amendment 60 would amend the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) portion of the Colorado constitution regarding our current property tax policy. Voters in our District RE-2 have voted to allow the District to increase the mill levy, which provided the District with funding to allow us to build and staff new elementary schools, a new middle school and a new high school to accommodate the needs of our children.If Amendment 60 passes, it would reverse that local mandate and immediately take away from the funding of our schools. The State of Colorado has no funding available under their current budget crises to backfill these lost funds, so the District would be forced to cut spending by whatever amount this shortfall happens to be.Amendment 61 severely limits state and local borrowing and local bonding, again, rescinding the “will of the people” in the District who voted to pass various bond issues in the District. School bonds provide the financing to build and maintain our schools, the same way mortgages allow people to buy houses and pay for them over time. Any new debt would have to be approved by voters every 10 years, limiting the time frame in which we could pay off debt to 10 years; which would markedly drive up our annual costs. Few, if any, Colorado voters can afford the annual tax increases it would take to finance large 10 year bond projects for our schools, highways, water treatment plants, prisons and hospitals. Therefore, most or many of these projects would be discontinued or severely curtailed. The RE-2 School Board recently saved the District taxpayers more than $500,000 by refinancing our bonds at a lower interest rate. This would not be possible under Amendment 61 without a referendum which would not occur in a timely manner allowing us to take advantage of a temporary dip in the bond rate!Proposition 101 would cut the state income tax rate over several years from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent. This would reduce the state budget by about $1.2 billion a year, which means major funding for road and bridge construction, as well as maintenance and upkeep will be eliminated. This would result in unsafe roads and bridges and less plowing in the winter, placing many of our children in harm’s way. It also leaves less money in the general fund to help the state finance emergency local needs.Overall, the passage of Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 will cost RE-2 between $6.5 million and $7 million in annual funding.This past year we had to cut about $4 million from our budget due to lack of state funding. We were able to achieve these cuts with the cooperation of our school teachers and employees in the District, because they selflessly took pay cuts and have agreed to do more with less, so as to preserve the quality education our students deserve. We have already cut all the “fat,” eliminated all the “chaff” from our budget.In order for us to cut another $6.5-7.0 million from our budget, we will need to make Draconian cuts. One scenario could be closing two schools, and eliminating all extra-curricular activities, including sports (such as football, basketball, and wrestling). In addition, with school closings, the teacher-to-student ratio could climb to about 1/35 students, which is not a favorable environment for students to learn.These drastic outcomes don’t even address the impact passage of these Amendments will have on healthcare, security (police department), fire response time, water sanitation services, etc. Please study these issues yourselves before voting, and consider the drastic effect passage of these Amendments and Proposition will have on you, your neighbors, and most importantly our precious children, who are the future of this valley and our country! Then, please go to the polls and vote accordingly.Lee Krauth and the Board of Directors, Garfield County District RE-2
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