Wednesday letters: 480 Donegan, Glenwood’s Comp Plan, Glenwood airport, yes on 5B, questioning 5B, McWhorter, Kuhlenberg and Teitler, sad day for Re-2, support 5B, and no on airport questions
A little perspective
On Thursday, the Glenwood Springs City Council will vote on the annexation/zoning of 480 Donegan. A 300-unit rental complex is planned for this site. Opposition to this project is widespread. Approximately 1,700 people have signed a petition opposing it. Many have spoken at Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council meetings.
This is what our elected and appointed officials have said:
Planning & Zoning Commission: Recommended denial: “not compatible with Comprehensive Plan goals of liveability, small town character, or safety … creates potential adverse impacts to the City and neighborhoods in terms of health, safety, and welfare.”
Garfield County commissioners: “Because the project will exacerbate congestion issues that arise during required evacuations/interstate closures, consideration should be given to the development and implementation of improved evacuation plans. …The density and building heights of the proposed project are incompatible with and will have a significant impact on the existing residential neighborhoods.”
City Council: Sept. 7, Mayor Pro-Tem Charlie Willman moved “to deny the application on the basis that the annexation does not minimize the potential adverse impacts to the City and does negatively impact the public’s health, safety, and welfare.”
Councilor Ingrid Wussow agreed to the denial: “… it’s a little too much; …concerned about water usage.”
Councilor Tony Hershey agreed to the denial: “…concerned about water supply … traffic infrastructure” and impact on police coverage.
Councilor Paula Stepp agreed to the denial: “multiple concerns” and “Glenwood needs to show an emergency evacuation plan to the West Glenwood citizens before introducing a development of this size. …also concerned about the additional stress this many people would have on our infrastructure, fire department, and police.”
After four of seven councilors had agreed to the denial, Councilor Shelley Kaup moved to postpone further discussion until Oct. 7, which then was also postponed because Councilor Stepp was unable to attend, as she had originally stated.
Thursday’s meeting is crucial. Council still could approve this massive project. If you’re concerned, as we are, about the future of our town, write to City Council today, and attend the Council meeting Thursday, 6:15 p.m., City Hall, 101 Eighth St.
Make sure your voice is heard.
Elizabeth J. Phillips and Walt Krom
Remember the Pinto?
I attended the Sept. 16 City Council meeting where Councilperson Wussow made the statement (starting at 1:17:46 of the recording) “…so often the Comp Plan is addressed … but the way this works is kind of like tax code. We will file our taxes based on the working document we currently have … these are the documents we have agreed to incorporate into our community, and they are guiding documents until the next one is approved, similar to tax code. So, what we have right now is what I’m making decisions on, just like municipal code, … it is the document that I will use this evening to make a decision…“
On the surface, her statement seems logical. However, I wondered about the ethics of her statement.
In an ethics case study, Ford had a plan to get the Pinto to market quickly to beat foreign markets. Ford knew the Pinto failed rear-end, low-speed crash tests with an expectation for potential loss of life. Ford had a plan in place and did not look at the possible loss of life as a reason to change course. They stuck to the plan because it was the plan they had.
You might wonder how this is different from Wussow’s statement. I say it’s not. Mayor Godes made the statement last June during a CNN interview that he would expect a thousand lives lost should we have a large wildfire in our town. With this knowledge, based on Mayor Godes’ statement, Wussow prefaced her statement that the city had a plan and would stick to the plan. She did not consider the current environment that places thousands of lives at risk.
While the Tax Code is legally binding, the Comp Plan is not. On Oct. 21, City Council is expected to vote on the 480 Donegan Annexation. I say not only Wussow, but the entire City Council should take a step back, be bold and consider whether lives or an outdated Comp Plan determines how they vote.
City Council stupidity
I just can’t believe how stupid — yes stupid — the City Council is behaving. Leave the airport alone. Don’t bundle the South Bridge with the airport — they are two separate entities.
Leave the pasture in West Glenwood as open space. Quit (messing) up our “small” town.
Every morning and evening you should sit on Grand Avenue and watch the mess that is already here. Please remove your dunce caps.
Board member for 5B
The last 18 months have taught us a lot of things but one of the most profound is the importance of teachers. Our teachers are our future: educating and helping to raise the children who will be our neighbors and community leaders.
I was recently speaking with a woman who told me her daughter has been an elementary teacher in the valley for seven years, but after having to move home to live in her parents’ basement because she can’t afford a place to live, she is now working at Whole Foods and making more money with much less stress. There are countless stories like this and it kills me every time I hear them.
My appreciation for teachers and the educational system is what led me to become a school board member and a substitute teacher. As a school board member and former member of the Interest-Based Bargaining Committee (comprised of district leaders, administrators and teachers), I have seen and participated in a meticulous process of combing through our budget — and the funds simply do not exist to increase staff salaries so that they can earn a living wage here.
As a substitute, I see the desperation of administrators to fill daily open positions during this staffing crisis and I see the exhaustion on teachers’ faces from covering co-workers’ absences, taking on extra students, and trying to education our children in a pandemic with constant change. What they are doing, while earning so little, is not sustainable.
You can help our teachers and support staff get a little closer to what they deserve by maximizing our mils, just as our neighboring communities of Aspen and Rifle have done. Please return your ballot with a “Yes” vote for 5B. Our teachers need and deserve it and our future depends on it.
Questioning need for 5B
I would think just about everyone would agree that teachers everywhere are underpaid. And if Re-1 school district spent our tax dollars more efficiently they would have money to give their employees a raise.
If you say they don’t have the money, take a look at your property taxes. Over 55% of what you pay goes to the school district every year. They have to learn to live within their budget, and not come to us for their mismanagement issues.
They quite recently got $120 million for construction, which was wasteful spending. So now they need more for raises. At some point we have to say enough, “live within your means.” Words are cheap, you say you care about your teachers, yet after getting that $120 million, over 20 teachers lost their jobs.
At some point you have to cut off the prodigal son. We have to live within our means, why not Re-1?
Chase can fix it
Pre-pandemic, not even 50% of seventh grade students in the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 were reading at grade level as reflected in statewide English Language Arts proficiency tests. The scores in math were even worse with 70% of seventh grade students not performing at grade level. These are terrible results for students in the district.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That is why, as a voter in the Roaring Fork School District who cares about academic excellence in the schools, I support Chase McWhorter for school board in District A and respectfully ask you to join me in voting for him.
Chase is a change agent and concerned parent who will bring needed transparency and accountability to the district for the benefit of the students. He strongly believes in a partnership between the district and parents and that parents must be heard when it comes to the education of their children.
Vote K and K to school board
I am writing to urge our community to support both Kathryn (Kadi) Kuhlenberg and Kenny Teitler in the Roaring Fork School District’s Board of Education election.
If you have been paying attention to the election, you already know that these are the only two individuals who are both qualified for the position and also personally invested in the future of the Roaring Fork School District.
Notably, these are the only two candidates who have their own children in our local public schools! Running for school board in such an acrimonious time shows true leadership and courage. Please join me in supporting Kadi and Kenny, two leaders who will make decisions consistent with our community’s values.
Shameful actions in Re-2
The Garfield Re-2 school district lost a public servant and champion of education last evening after her safety had been threatened, her livelihood threatened, and her child ostracized because the board made a decision on mask policy off of the recommendations of the CDC, CDE, CDPHE and the vast majority of medical professionals both locally and worldwide.
As a parent and a candidate for the Garfield Re-2 School Board, I am deeply concerned and angered. I chose to run for school board out of a deep love of education, educators, and above all our children. It is incredibly unfortunate that we have come to a point in our culture where the tyranny of a few can cause a degradation of our educational system.
This isn’t just happening here, it is happening all over our country. Those who caused Ms. Mackley to be threatened have publicly high-fived themselves, saying “(O)ur first Re-2 board member to resign, called it quits tonight (one more to go).”
While I have given a great deal of thought and prayer as to whether to stay in this race, it occurred to me we are not much unlike Daniel in the lion’s den, or the black men who were given the right to vote, only to be threatened when they chose to exercise it.
I will protect my family and will take the legal, necessary measures to do so. However, I cannot allow the tyranny of a few to continue to damage the education my son, and the children of so many others, or the selfless teachers who pour into our children every day.
I implore you to vote! Ballots are due Nov. 2.
I would like to ask for your vote. We can’t let this overshadow the more important things: Our students and our teachers.
Sad day for Re-2
How sad that a school board member is forced to resign because of the treatment she is receiving regarding the mask mandate in Garfield Re-2. It is even sadder that a child, her child, is being bullied at school because of her mother’s decisions.
I hope those of you who are protesting the loudest about the mask mandate and condoning your child being a bully are proud of yourselves. The board made a decision to keep our kids safe and to keep them in school getting an education.
I continue to shake my head at how ridiculous this debate over masks is. We should want the best for our kids and being at school learning is the best, I feel.
Kuhlenberg for school board
Kathryn Kuhlenberg (“Miss Kadi”) is a treasure in our community. She has deep expertise and experience in education, with firsthand knowledge of what our children need. As a preschool owner and parent, she is on the front lines educating our children and is acutely aware of the complexities of creating a warm and healthy learning environment in the face of many challenges.
My daughter has been in Miss Kadi’s class for over a year. I am amazed every morning when I see the loving connection and warm environment she creates in her school — she is every child’s favorite teacher. Not only is she deeply engaged with the children, but her understanding of how children learn and what they need to be successful permeates each lesson and how the school is structured.
Additionally, as the owner of the school, she is intensely aware of the financial challenges all schools face and how to stay afloat in the face of school closures and limited budgets. I have been exceedingly impressed time and again with her professional demeanor, deep expertise in child development, and dedication to every child’s unique needs. Education is her passion.
With three young children of her own, Miss Kadi is deeply invested in the school system — and will be for many years to come. Her personal, academic and professional experience in education gives her an unparalleled wealth of knowledge and expertise that would be an invaluable asset to the school board. Vote for Katheryn Khulenberg for RFSD Board of Education Seat E — our children deserve her.
Fully support 5B
As a local business owner, I know that every employer in our region is currently struggling to fill positions due to the tight labor market. The Roaring Fork School District is one of our valley’s largest (and most important) employers, but is unable to raise wages to competitive levels unless we vote yes on 5B, the mill levy override on the Nov. 2 ballot.
I fully support 5B because it will help our local schools recruit and retain the outstanding teachers and staff that our children deserve. RFSD has the third-highest cost of living of all school districts in Colorado, but is 23rd in average salaries.
We, as a community, need to support our schools and our teachers. Our children are our greatest accomplishment and we need to make sure they are getting a quality education. It starts and ends with us. No one wants higher taxes, but we also can’t afford to have our children pay the price of not being able to keep teachers around because they can’t afford to live here.
If we can all see the value of a small sacrifice now, we can see over time what that pays back in our children’s education. Issue 5B will cost the average homeowner less than $15/month but will lead to significant pay raises where they’re needed most. District leadership is excluded from these raises.
No on city airport questions
We have two ballot issues related to the airport, 2A and 2B, Glenwood Springs Airport Future The Post Independent recently wrote of the choices on the ballot (Friday, Oct. 15, edition)
These items, in my opinion, are an exercise in obfuscation: to create confusion/obscure the meaning of something.
We should, in my opinion, vote no on 2A and 2B.
We are being asked to raise taxes to fund improvements at the airport as well as to raise taxes and funds to help construct the South Bridge “tunnel.” We are told that voting yes might mean the airport continues with operations and its current runway length. We are told that voting no might mean a shortening of the airport (if no other tunnel solution is found) and limit or stop fixed-wing operations.
The voters in Glenwood are not being presented with a clear and transparent option of whether or not to maintain the airport. We deserve a better and a clearer option.
Vote no and then get a real choice on a future ballot: Should the Glenwood Airport remain open and operating as is?
Do the voters in Glenwood want the airport or another use for that large city owned parcel? What is the best use in the future? The city has already paid for an extensive study outlining pros and cons of the airport Airport Scenario Plan, as well as alternate uses/configurations including mixed use housing/retail and a heliport/services; keeping and improving the airport as a fixed wing and helicopter airport; residential and mixed use and parkland.
Voters in Glenwood Springs should have the option of a clear choice. What is the desired use of the airport space and best use for the future of Glenwood?
Whether one votes yes or no, the current ballot questions are not clear and transparent. Therefore, I urge a no vote and then a request/mandate that a clear ballot issue is put before our voters regarding the future of the airport and planned uses. We deserve a clear choice not obfuscation.
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