Wednesday letters: 480 Donegan, Lincoln legacy, HD57 endorsement, airport, GSCA clarifies, and more
R2 doesn’t address the need
I appreciate the thought put into the PI’s recent editorial piece regarding annexation. I, too, believe that the answer is not no to all growth. It’s yes to sensible growth.
By saying yes to this annexation as the development has been proposed is a vote for only 28 teachers, firefighters and police officers, as R2’s “affordable housing” at 120% would be out of most of their range. How does this make a community better? All units in the name of affordability should be 80% or less if we really hope to help a greater amount of people. If community is what we hope to build, is more than $1,800 a month rental rates for studios the way to get there?
A piece they missed is the aging and retiring population that helped to build this community. With a 60% increase in this demographic coming, what about them? Can they afford these rates? And what about the low wage workers that help tourism thrive? The CNAs, the grocery clerks, the postal workers, etc?
Building for community requires thinking beyond the professionals who can afford such astronomical rates for housing — 80% Area Median Income (AMI) in Garfield County is around $49,000; 120% AMI is over $70,000.
According to a January 2020 Glenwood Springs Salary Grade Plan, firefighter/paramedic and police officer I & Il midpoint salaries were between $48,000 and $56,000. An average yearly
salary for Re-1 teachers is $56,540. Glenwood Springs residents ranked workforce housing for local workers in low-moderate paying jobs among their five most pressing issues. Another key takeaway from the Greater Regional Housing Study found the greatest need for housing was for those making between 60% and 80% AMI.
So, yes, we have indeed been giving this issue the consideration it deserves by thinking more deeply than those simply choosing yes without digging deeper.
I also find it unfortunate that the Post Independent didn’t give any consideration to the child care issue. It would’ve been a great time to plug a removal of the out-of-place clubhouse to make room for a child care center in its place. We have thought very deeply about the issues our town faces, and we hope you will too.
Thrift Store report
Defiance Thrift Store would like to share with the Roaring Fork Valley their 2021 year-end news. We were proud to donate $94,000 to Lift-UP and the Family Visitor Programs.
Defiance has once again met the most generous and kind residents from Aspen to Eagle to Parachute and beyond. Our motto is and always has been, “We are only as good as the donations we receive.”
Many many thanks to all of you who have chosen our store to bring your furniture, kitchen items, jewelry, collectibles and of course your next-to-new clothes. We are also grateful to the shoppers who we see daily, weekly and yearly who return with great stories of their recent journeys.
We look forward to a successful 2022 with all of you!
Rhonda Bell, manager
Thoughts on history
Mark Hillman’s column, “History backs Lincoln’s role as pioneer for racial equality” in the Feb. 16 issue of the Post Independent got me to thinking about history and how it is seen through the lens of whomever is writing it at the time they are writing it.
What if Hitler had won World War II? How would Germany’s history be taught today, and how would it affect not only the Germans, but the rest of Europe and the world? As it is, there are still people who believe that the Holocaust never happened.
History is similar for our country. I was not taught that the United States was founded on the theft of the land and culture of Native Americans, who were here long before the Europeans arrived. Not only was their land stolen from them, but they were massacred and removed to reservations (where many still live) and experienced (and continue to experience) the effects of being looked down upon by the dominant (i.e., white) culture.
Nor did my history classes mention that the American economy was built on the backs of Black slaves, and that their subsequent generations continue to bear the brunt of systemic racism. I did not learn that many laws legalized the treatment of Native Americans and Blacks. These include, but are not limited to The Naturalization Act of 1790, The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
Until all of us learn the entire history of our country, the good, the bad, and the ugly, there will be no “liberty and justice for all.”
Cole Buerger for state representative
I’m joining former Lt. Governor Mike Calliha, to endorse Cole Buerger to be our HD57 State Representative.
Cole will provide exceptional leadership and service for House District 57, which now includes Garfield, Pitkin, and parts of Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley. A fifth generation Coloradan, raised on a ranch outside of Silt, he will be a champion for Western Slope values.
From tourism, recreation, education, health care, transportation, public safety, agriculture, and more — Cole has a remarkable understanding of our local industries.
Cole will listen to and represent the interests of our diverse community. From our seniors looking for support to young adults looking for their first job and home; from new immigrants and their families looking for opportunity to business owners and professionals looking for fair treatment and an infrastructure to support investment and growth; from recreation enthusiasts to those who require action to improve our environment and land use heritage — Cole will be in your corner.
An effective legislator must not only have good intentions but must possess the skills to evaluate the issues, craft legislation, listen to constituents, work with colleagues and all manner of organizations, and lead through public discourse. Cole’s education in international affairs, Master’s in Public Policy, and years of experience working with world-renowned leaders and organizations executing communications, research, and advocacy efforts has prepared him to be a great leader at the Colorado Capitol on behalf of HD57 and the citizens of Colorado.
Learn more about his vision to preserve our natural heritage, to defend our democracy, to strengthen our economy, and to rebuild our communities at cole4colorado.com.
Please participate in your county’s Democratic Party caucus. I urge you to support Cole.
former State Representative
for counties now included in HD57
GSCA clarifies stance
We are writing to clarify the position of the Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance in regard to the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train.
The Citizens’ Alliance supports the Rocky Mountaineer. We see the tourist train as a valuable new business that brings visitors to Glenwood Springs to enjoy our scenery, outdoor activities, hospitality and mountain lifestyle.
In January, we voiced concerns about two aspects of the Rocky Mountaineer’s nighttime operations in the Glenwood Springs railyard that are impacting local residents. These issues are glare from security lighting and noise from idling locomotive engines.
We are aware that the Rocky Mountaineer’s management is taking steps to address both of these issues in advance of the 2022 operating season. The Citizens’ Alliance has offered to assist, particularly in endorsing the company’s efforts to bring electric power outlets into the railyard.
For the Citizens’ Alliance, our primary focus is the Rocky Mountain Industrials limestone quarry and the threats our community faces from its proposed mine expansion. RMI’s proposal includes truck-hauling to freight trains that would stand idling in the Glenwood Springs railyard 365 days a year.
We raised concerns about the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train because we fear the glare and idling locomotives could set a precedent for acceptable impacts in our community, which could then be exploited by Rocky Mountain Industrials.
Our hope is that the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train can adjust its nighttime operations to avoid the glare and noise, and be a successful tourism partner welcomed by all in our community.
Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance
Over and over again, Glenwood Springs City Council is trying to paint the picture of our airport as a recreational club, serving an exclusive few. I read that the South Bridge is needed as an evacuation route, though its true purpose is a bypass. After decades of use as an airport, why now is there such concern about improvements and obstructions?
There were two crucial points brought to light by medical aviators during the March 2019 standing-room-only meeting regarding the airport: 1. helicopters need runways; and 2. pediatric medical transports need fixed-wing aircraft.
I am dismayed these assertions have been ignored and even revised.
City Council keeps asking questions about the airport in hopes of a different answer. If we are going to continue revisiting different uses for land donated for the purpose of an airport, why don’t we go back and revisit other decisions — namely, if we need an official evacuation route, why not reconsider the Prehm Ranch Road? Why is that off the table, but the airport is always on the table?
I feel safer because our airport is here, providing us with needed fire and emergency medical support services. It should be preserved in its current place with a runway.
Fire is on everyone’s mind — but have we really evaluated the scenarios of what happens when every car lands onto Highway 82 at the proposed junction with South Bridge? If we have a deadly, threatening fire, and we funnel every car onto Highway 82, in the log jam that it already is, then we have a much bigger problem than any bridge is going to solve. We live in a tight valley, with the obstacles of rivers and mountains – in many ways, it’s a risky place to live, and we can’t eliminate every single risk.
If we need only an evacuation route, I urge Council to look at other options for opening Prehm Ranch Road in the event of an emergency and for that purpose. Instead, consider devoting precious funds to making the Glenwood Springs Airport a resource for fire support, so that we stand a better chance of fighting fires.
I generally favor allowing markets to determine contract relationships. However, the switch to a single weekly trash pickup in Carbondale residential areas has reduced traffic noise, dust and congestion. Good call!
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