Friday letters: Roaring Fork tax dollars, Israel, public opinion, book restrictions

Out of control with tax dollars

The Roaring Fork School Board is out of control on spending our tax dollars. They have gone from making school district decisions to now being developers, landlords and a bank offering loans with OUR money. The latest waste of money, over $144,000, has been spent to help their latest superintendent move down the road, after contributing very little to the district. The school board has to accept some responsibility for not doing a better job of researching Mr. Rodriquez’s credentials, as it turned out he did not even have all the necessary credentials for the job initially. Now I think I understand that the decision for the payout was contractually better than what it could have been. So shouldn’t the board take this situation as a lesson, that in the future a contract for a replacement superintendent be worded differently to better protect the Roaring Fork District? In my opinion the public should have more say when it comes to district decisions, not just voting for board members. Our school board is notorious for over spending our tax dollars.

John Korrie, Glenwood Springs

Cultural blindness

In trying to square my dissonance between belief in the Hebrew stance of maintaining righteousness and perpetrating justice, and our current actions of raining hellfire and revenge on a locked in people, I have to take a close look at Jewish cloistered society. Where Temple and community are unified in the belief that one does not interact with those outside the community and certainly not outside the religion. This constant inward turning leaves no room for the observation of anything outside the cloister and thus an amazing lack of understanding or compassion for external communities. In the Kibbutz setting, education rarely strays from religious parameters making knowledge of the broader world relatively nonexistent. Thus, can a people, intently focused on their own experience of harm and injustice, be totally oblivious to the harm and injustice it may have perpetrated on neighbors?

Flying along the 40 miles of Gaza prison walls in Google Earth, it is stunning: the contrast between the lush farmlands and rich neighborhoods of Israel and the dry, bombed out rubble of the huge Palestinian concentration camp. How easy it has been for us to, once again, deprive our neighbor of food, water, electricity, sanitation, medicine and care while howling of our own lingering pain of that awful morning? Perhaps, if we for once asked, ‘What drove them to do this?’ instead of, ‘How could they do this to us?’ Our honest answer would change our world. Both the Muslem and the Hebrew worldview is tainted by lack of broad education and insight. The Muslem world is doubly harmed by a refusal to educate women, creating a huge void in Palestinian children’s education. Thus, any obvious solutions, outside extermination of the other, remains invisible to the two cultures.

John Hoffmann, Carbondale

Let public opinion take its course

I attended my first Garfield County Commissioner meeting on Nov. 8 to voice my opinion about their upcoming Library Board decision.

Commissioners take public comment at the beginning of every meeting. It’s supposed to be a time for anyone to speak up to their elected officials about any topic that concerns them.

It’s already intimidating to make a televised public comment in front of the commissioners and a room full of people. What made this experience even more intimidating was the behavior of at least one commissioner during what should have been a welcoming forum for the public.

County Commissioner Mike Samson took time away from the public comment portion of the meeting to spew his opinion repeatedly and emotionally while an unsuspecting citizen sat nervously, but politely while he “blew his stack.” You can watch him by Googling Garfield County Commissioner meetings and click on the Nov. 8 meeting.

It’s fine for Mr. Samson and his fellow commissioners to express their opinions, but I think they should wait to do so until after everyone has had a chance to speak, not while we’re still sitting at the table!

You may be trying to intimidate us but we’re going to keep coming to your meetings and letting you know what we think. We are also going to rally our friends and neighbors to go to the polls when the time comes to elect new commissioners who will treat their constituents with more respect.

Pat Fitzpatrick, Carbondale

Only recourse? Arrest librarians 

Federal laws prohibit the distribution of obscene materials to minors,16 years and younger. Here is what federal laws say about this subject. Section 1470 of title 18, United States Code prohibits any individual from knowingly transferring or attempting to transfer obscene matter using the US mail or any means of facility of interstate or foreign commerce to a minor under 16 years of age. Convicted felons face fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Would you want to show the books in question to your 16-year-old at a birthday party? We all know pornographic obscene materials when we see it. I don’t believe that most of the folks in opposition have looked at the materials in question. If they have and approve to have their children freely check out these books, I’m aghast! While at the September meeting we place placards of the books up for the adults to see what we are in objection to. The president of the library ordered us to take them down. I thought that was highly hypocritical of her.

The library board seems to be a closed loop. In order to be approved to hold a place on the library board you must be approved by the existing board! So no chance of getting a decent cross section of our communities elected to the library board. They seem to hold all the cards. They placate us by having us do book reports on the books in question. Then with a reply of “NO!”

It seems the only recourse may involve having librarians arrested.

Robin Pruett, Silt

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