Monday letters: City manager search, Rifle development, unemployment, pro-life rally and more

Bad city governance

Residents of Glenwood Springs: Your City Council is a poorly led, dysfunction, rudderless mess. Incapable of deciding on issues of import, they spend your tax dollars and their time raising our utility bills hundreds of dollars, not fixing streets, not addressing unchecked growth, trying to increase our taxes and close our airport, trying to shove a West Glenwood development down our throats and placing issue after issue on the ballot that we must reject in costly and unnecessary elections. 

The latest debacle is this council’s inability to pick a new city manager, one of our most important responsibilities. After an exhaustive search, with dozens of candidates, a highly-paid consultant as well as hours and hours of interviews and meetings, this council rejected three qualified candidates. This was done in a very competitive job market, with no guarantee of better applicants. That is shortsighted and irresponsible. 

We had three acceptable candidates; now, we have zero and will have to spend thousands of dollars to find more applicants. The plan now? Increase a $210,000-plus salary even higher with more bonuses, pay more than the former City Manager was making, in the hopes of attracting someone new.

Faced with real issues — streets, infrastructure, the economy, jobs and out-of-control growth — this ineffectual council refuses to do the necessary work. Unled and unmanaged, it dillydallies with nonsense, failing to address real problems while simultaneously foisting nonsense ideas and proposals on the people it claims to represent. It is a true debacle.

Now, having spent $22,500 for a “headhunter” this council is going to spend $10,000 or more to do so again; money, as this council often does, thrown away. This is not governance; this is petulance. We have important to work to do. But, we, like any elected body, have limited time and resources. Spending that time and resources on nonsense while not addressing the real issues facing GWS and solving them is not governing. It is negligence. 

Tony Hershey, Glenwood Springs City Council Member

Opposing Rifle Eco Dwelling

A petition with signatures was submitted to Rifle City Council on Sept. 18. It explains why the signatories are against Eco Dwelling’s proposed housing development on West 16th Street and the upper animal-shelter area. This beautiful open space is a green zone, wildlife habitat and wetlands, which has been verified by Perry Will on Sept. 7, during an onsite walk through. 

We want to know if there has been an environmental impact study conducted on schools, traffic or crime. What about water resources and input from Colorado Parks and Wildlife on their section of this property? The more water used here, the less is available downstream. Where do you draw the line? 

Rifle is on the road to losing our small town Western lifestyle that we are known for. We are becoming a mini Glenwood. We, as the citizens of the Rifle area, do not want to experience the growing pains of Glenwood Springs. Their town is at a breaking point with excessive traffic, affordable-housing shortages and loss of quality of life. 

A survey should be conducted by the city to ask the citizens if a $250,000-$300,000, 900 sq. ft. house, 10 feet from their neighbors, is affordable and desirable? Plus, being built in a high-density neighborhood close to Railroad Avenue. The city has approved Kings Crown Trailer Parks’ additional 60 new units and the Upper Pioneer Mesa’s 62. Now Eco Dwelling wants 204 for a total of 326 new units. 

If the city of Rifle can purchase Goat Island next to Lion’s Park and the rest stop, then it can purchase this land from Eco Dwelling and preserve it for future generations to enjoy its natural state. 

Save this scenic little valley, and remember we are all on a one-way journey through life. If there is any good deed to be done, let it be done now.

Harold Martinez, Rifle

Too many houses

As Rifle resident, I oppose annexation of a high-density house project on West 16th by Eco Dwelling — 58 units on top of the hill and 65 below. Each unit is only 900 square feet. 

This is a wetland and wildlife sanctuary. Do not disturb it by introducing a “human infestation.” This ecosystem has maintained itself for decades. It will force all life out and into the streets to find refuge from destruction. Our community will be out of balance!

The high school sits on top, and there are three ways to enter the school; two are on this street. A study in April reported 10,317 cars in a seven-day period. City Council was asked to construct a speed bump to slow down drivers. No action was taken since the council can’t decide where the city and county boundaries are. The council stated this street west of Howard Avenue is a county road. The Rifle police are unable to enforce the speed limit since it is out of their jurisdiction. So, who will police this area? Without enforcement, there will be anarchy, and who will pay for this? The Rifle community.

The road will need to be redesigned to allow increased traffic. I ask that an impact study be done and provide the public with the results. Include the number of trips in and out the area. Are there any statutes being violated, such as how many people per square foot of living space is allowed? This area will be inundated with noise and vehicles, with no open space, diminishing quality of life. 

We are the last pioneers in this valley, and we will be swindled out of our public lands; our rights trampled by a Florida company looking to gain monetarily over our foundational values given to us by our forefathers. 

Our constitutional rights are protected and forged by our state union. There will be regret once the realization of this annexation is felt on our humble, peaceful community. What will we surrender for this unchecked growth? Consider the rights of neighbors, families and friends living here, not an out-of-state corporation. Do not allow this project!

Dan Ksiazek, Rifle

Plenty of jobs

I saw the article stating Garfield County has 928 people collecting unemployment. I can only guess this is because they are not actively looking for a job. Everywhere I go, businesses are short-handed and cutting back on services, open hours, etc.

It isn’t just one aspect of the employment sector that is short-handed, either. Food service, customer service, healthcare, administration — it’s everyone. Where I work, we have 31 open positions, of which 17 require no experience at all; we will train. And our minimum starting wage is $20 an hour. 

With all the open positions up and down the valley, why are there people collecting unemployment? If there is something I’m not seeing, please let me know.

Molli Deines, Rifle

40 Days for Life returns

You are invited. On Sept. 28, life takes center stage as we begin the second 40 Days for Life campaign in Glenwood Springs. The centerpiece of the campaign is a peaceful, non-political vigil on the public sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood Clinic near the Glenwood Springs Mall. Please join in as we pray and advocate for the lives of innocent children like we did in the spring of 2022. We estimate between 150 and 200 pro-life individuals were on the sidewalk at least once in March and April.

What did they experience? A strong consensus for life, as supporters stopped to talk, to pray and to hold our signs. They brought us coffee, snacks and meals. They participated in deep discussions about the value and science of life. Ideas were exchanged, and new-found friendships flourished. Cheers, thumbs up and other expressions of support rained from many who drove by.

Oh, we heard from dissenters, as well. But, their response to the vigil was quite different. Few pro-choice advocates stopped to discuss the issue. Of the handful who did, only two were interested in a civil discussion. The rest filibustered, using arguments not in line with what modern science or the Bible say about life’s beginnings. When it was our turn to talk, they would walk away or talk over us. The drive-by opposition appeared angry for the most part, simply shouting insults or displaying gestures of disapproval.

Judging from the spring 40 Days vigil and balancing the supporters with the dissenters, the Glenwood community favors life overall, by three or four to one! The campaign returns this fall to continue the discussion, welcoming all to the sidewalk in the spirit of love, peace and civility.

We know unplanned pregnancies create challenges for those affected. In response, we offer access to prenatal and postnatal care, adoption support and financial resources. We respect all, even those who would make a choice different than we would. Please join the discussion, as we seek to heal our community’s division over this issue.

Michael Kaddatz, Glenwood campaign leader, Eagle

Overthinking city manager search 

My father was a city manager for a town of 20,000 that also had an electric utility (a tremendous asset). Finding the right candidate for city manager is not that complex or difficult. 

A CM should be just that: a manager of the departments with a council and mayor providing guidance (and not political pressure). Most CM’s resign due to stressful treatment from the council, not from lack of support from the employees or public. I’m not familiar with the Glenwood Springs City Council, so this is not meant to be read as anything negative. If the council can unify on the type of candidate to best serve the community with infrastructure maintenance and improvements, then this process should be successful in terms of job-performance and job satisfaction. 

A 10-second search with my browser found the average CM salary at about $150K, $180K max, depending on experience. Throwing money at the position will not attract the right candidates.

Look for someone who wants to be here (or is here) vs. a stepping-stone to the next bigger town.

Dan Moore, Glenwood Springs

Tyrannical property law

Our forefathers believed in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

We came to our vacant land in unincorporated Eagle County (middle of nowhere and no HOA) to install a septic system this summer to build a cabin next spring. Eagle County bureaucrats informed us under threat that you cannot have an RV or camp more than five days on your own property in Eagle County. 

Wow, this is new. When was this tyrannical law passed? It wasn’t here a decade ago? 

The Guardian recently reported that more than one quarter of U.S. residents feel so estranged from their government that they feel it might “soon be necessary to take up arms” against it.

Sandy and Lee Mulcahy, Basalt

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