Letter: Maybe Starzers should be thanked
I deliberately delayed sending this letter because I did not want it to be perceived as an endorsement of any candidate in our city’s recent election. It deals with the campaign contributions made by Mr. and Mrs. Starzer, but the issue is broader than their particular donations.
I do not know the Starzers. Nor do I know Mr. Davis, Mr. Arensman or Mr. Hershey. My opinions rely solely upon my interpretation and understanding of the facts and events reported by this newspaper.
The gist of the opinion expressed by some of the candidates was that the contributions made by the Starzers were either improper, or that the candidates who received the contributions were “selling out” not only to big out of town money, but to oil and gas money to boot!
Apparently the Starzers are Colorado citizens who own a home in Glenwood Springs. I got the impression from the Post Independent that they intend to retire to Glenwood Springs. Clearly they pay property taxes on their home here, and sales taxes on their purchases here. They have every right to participate in the political process, a right guaranteed them — and all of the rest of us — by our nation’s Constitution, our state’s constitution, and our election laws. Not only do they have that right, they exercised a responsibility that, as you and your publisher reminded us during the last month, we as citizens should embrace. The city clerk reported that a whopping 35 percent of eligible voters bothered to vote. Rather than criticize the Starzers, perhaps they should be thanked for their active participation.
I understand why we are leery of money in politics. I am, too. But I am a lot more concerned with the $50,000-a-plate presidential dinners … that seem to inevitably result in million-dollar government contracts, including some obviously poor choices for the use of taxpayer money. That being said, making cash campaign contributions is clearly one legitimate and legal way of expressing our political preferences. So is the time people spend knocking on doors or putting up signs for their favorite candidates, and we all like that idea. But if someone wants to donate $2,000 of their time, that is good … but somehow an equivalent donation in cash is not as good, or moral? I don’t get that.
Then there was the part about Mr. Starzer having worked in the oil and gas business. Just like thousands of other Colorado citizens. There are some places where I don’t want to see oil or gas exploration. There are some roads I don’t want to see used by heavy vehicles. But how does that translate into someone who made his living in Colorado’s oil and gas business being improper for participating in our political process? In America, we don’t pick a voting class based on race, religion, social class or a person’s occupation.
Finally, I did not mention Ms. Trauger above because I am acquainted with her. I met her because we both served on voluntary city commissions. From what I know, she has devoted countless hours to serving our city on various commissions and task forces. I found the implication that someone with her track record was just “selling out” to be insulting to the intelligence of the electorate. Not surprisingly, the voters rejected that disingenuous nonsense.
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