Wednesday letters: Fund history, train worries, Boebert, growth and the first Glenwood Council endorsements |

Wednesday letters: Fund history, train worries, Boebert, growth and the first Glenwood Council endorsements

Don’t miss historical funding opportunity

As previously reported by the GPI, the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum is $60,000 short of meeting its annual operating budget requirements and that the City is trying to decide if they will fund the Historical Society’s request for additional funding (GPI 2/14/23). 

At the same time the City has just received a windfall of $60,000 by renting the parking garage at Ninth and Cooper to a group from out of town for an event in Aspen. These funds reportedly will be used at the discretion of city staff but appear to be intended to offset the cost of upcoming maintenance on the parking structure (GPI 2/24/23). 

It would seem that if these repairs are immediately required that the city would have already budgeted for them. If that is the case, why not use this windfall by giving back to the community that sacrificed its parking by funding the Historical Society’s request to help them keep their doors open thus helping to maintain the only institution that preserves our great city’s history. We hope the City does not miss this opportunity.

Steve and Christy Nilsson, Glenwood Springs

Not if, but when

The recent train derailment and toxic spill in Ohio gave me pause for thought about the Uinta Basin Railway project which is planning to transport over 100,000 barrels of oil per day through the Glenwood Canyon. I just read this in The Daily Upside, an investment service I subscribe to:

“For a mode of transportation that’s literally attached to a set track, train crashes occur more often than you may think. Roughly 1,700 derailments occur every year on the 140,000 miles of US railway infrastructure, railroad industry analyst Anthony Hatch recently told the Financial Times. Critics argue that the railroad industry — more or less dominated by seven companies… — has grown increasingly dangerous over the past few years thanks to layoffs that have cut the workforce by roughly one-third and the closure of important rail yards where safety inspections typically occur.”

The chances of a derailment are a function of the freight traffic volume, condition of the rails, condition of the train, and the length of the route. Given that an average of roughly one train derailment for every 83 miles of track per year occurs nationally and that the Colorado River corridor that the train will be traveling from Grand Junction to Winter Park is over 200 miles long, there is a significant chance we could see a derailment there, particularly as the volume of train traffic goes up with the oil trains.

We need to get the county commissioners on board to oppose these trains before there IS an incident in the Canyon. Please make your voices heard.

Jerome Dayton, Carbondale

No rematch against Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert is seen as a failed congresswoman throughout our district. Adam Frisch lost his campaign against Rep. Boebert, but as close as that race was, he would have won his race by 5,000 votes had he performed as well as Gov. Polis did in the very same district, the very same year, instead of losing by 500.

The majority of voters in this district are independents, both right- and left-leaning, but to win a race against a person like Rep. Boebert — who will always win 60% of her base, a Democratic candidate needs to at least come close to matching that with their base. Adam, a wealthy resident of Aspen, rejected student loan forgiveness, a move that isolates him from the Democratic base. Will Adam now back the conservative states currently suing to have the Biden plan blocked?

Dr. Debby Burnett is just as — if not more — moderate than Adam. Debby grew up working on ranches and her husband, Greg worked in oil and gas and is a disabled vet. When Adam lost, he still showed up to freshman orientation in D.C.; something that has only been done in the past by George Santos in 2020. Rep. Santos is not the best to be mentioned in the same sentence with.

Adam finished his ’22 race with over $300K in cash on hand and was also able to repay his $2.2 million loan to his campaign, according to a recent article in the GJ Sentinel. Money and support were not the issues why Adam lost. We need to have an open conversation before we decide whom to back for next year’s election. There is no unspoken rule that if you’re close but still lose, you get to run again unopposed. Statistically, those who run again — Stacy Abrams and Beto O’Rourke — perform worse the second time around. No one likes a rematch in politics and to expect a different result by running the exact same playbook, well, that is the definition of insanity.

Westley J Crouch, Political Consultant, United Western Voices LLC, Glenwood Springs

Protect the Divide

My family and I have been in the Roaring Fork Valley for almost seven years and we love it here. What we love the most is the easy access to our public lands. One great example is Four Mile Park in the Thompson Divide. 

Just a few minutes from our home we can park enjoying the cooler weather while camping, mountain biking, and hiking. Our kids always enjoy our colorful hikes in the fall with their friends and every year they look forward to walk in such beauty. We also enjoy our times on the river and lakes, it’s so refreshing to jump in the cold water for a little bit.

Right now, the Forest Service and BLM (who manage our public lands) are considering whether to protect the Thompson Divide from oil and gas development with an administrative mineral withdrawal. This would prevent any oil and gas companies from leasing and fracking these lands for the next 20 years and ensure the Thompson Divide and places like Fourmile Park stay as they are: beautiful and a wonderful place for families to enjoy nature. We are so lucky to have these public lands and I hope that we preserve our public lands natural beauty for generations to come.

Marlon Funez, Glenwood Springs

Growth not inevitable

Kathy Taggert in her PI letter, Feb 27, makes a good point about the difficult definition of “quality of life.” To support her opinion there appears to me to be arguable points.

I’m not sure, for instance, if growth in Glenwood Springs is different from growth in general. It is all malignant if water, housing, food, etc. cannot be supplied to the larger demand created.

Good quality of life, though truly hard to pin down to the satisfaction of everyone, is one of those things you better understand as it slips away. It’s a bit like pain, universally felt but difficult to describe.

I, personally, don’t believe the city should be doing anything specifically for economic development, more than providing decent streets, water, sewer, fire and police protection, and parking, etc, which make commerce possible. Housing for people supplying these services may be necessary, but annexations that increase these responsibilities; and tax breaks for free market developers are an overreach.

In our narrow valley growth is not inevitable and the space and resources we have left must be shepherded carefully.

Quality of life is a concept that human beings, including those in government, who live here too, should strive to define no matter the difficulty. And then try to maintain.     

Barb Coddington, Glenwood Springs

Supporting Schacter

We have observed Sumner Schacter function on many community service boards, panels, commissions, committees, and organizations over the 44 years we have known Sumner and lived in this town. Trish has been fortunate enough to work directly with him on some of those occasions.

We believe there is not a person more qualified to be an effective city council person for Ward 3, and for all of us, than Sumner. He is well-informed, approachable, skilled at listening and really hearing others, able to balance fiscal and social issues for positive outcome, and very experienced in helping a group find solutions to complex problems — Just so darn right for this truly tough job on Glenwood Springs City Council.

To do the job justice for the residents of Glenwood Springs, its businesses, and its visitors, being a city council person takes hours of study, reading, listening, analysis and meetings on issues, data, points of view. It takes patience, cooperation, civility and openness to people and their concerns. It takes finance and budget know-how. It takes both a reverence for the past and a realistic and informed hope for the future. It takes respect for and appreciation of the diversity of our town’s residents, other council members and city staff. It takes Sumner Schacter.

Our city and its residents face issues of how to grow, safety and security, traffic, infrastructure, housing, local business success, quality of neighborhood life, natural resource limitations, to name a few. That’s a load of complex issues that need more than talk to actually move to responsible solutions, likely never perfect, but that work.

We are in support of Sumner’s candidacy for this important elected role in our city government because he is and has been for decades, an effective and devoted servant leader in our wonderful city.

Sumner, thank you for running. Our residents, our council and our city need your leadership more than ever.

Trish and Scott Kramer, Glenwood Springs

Supporting Zalinski

I support Erin Zalinski for Glenwood Springs City Councilor At-Large. Like most of your readers, I know Erin from her ownership of Treadz, a small business on Grand Avenue. 

As the former director of the Glenwood Springs chamber, I watched as Erin and her husband built a successful business (which not only survived but thrived during COVID). The key to Erin’s success is that she worked hard, listened to her customers, and applied critical and creative thinking to combat difficult challenges. She knows what it takes to make payroll, operate within a budget, and invest wisely. 

Erin knows business; Erin knows the importance of downtown as the heart of the community; and Erin cares about Glenwood Springs neighborhoods and their unique issues. 

Who better to represent the community at large? Since selling Treadz, Erin has the time, energy and experience to serve on Council and to capitalize on opportunities while maintaining the community’s character. Don’t just talk about the collaborative changes needed for City Council to work more efficiently, cast your vote for a collaborative and solution-driven leader who will serve Glenwood Springs well. 

Remember, since Erin is running at-large, registered voters can vote for her no matter where they reside in the City.

I urge you to register to vote and to support Erin Zalinkski for Glenwood Springs City Council At-Large.

Marianne Virgili, Carbondale

Embarrassment continues

Our esteemed District 3 Congresswoman Boebert was back on the attack last month. This followed her wonderful representation of us at the State of the Union Address. She is upset that the US has only 46% of the world’s guns. She urged people to get the numbers up. She stated on a house floor speech that the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives) was trying to require gun owners to register firearms with pistol braces. She accused the ATF of violating the separation of powers, arguing that the mandate “functions like a law that Congress never had.”

 We know how Boebert feels about guns. The more the merrier. However, I thought it was interesting to see how she feels about her/our district: “ATF Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms,” she said. “In western Colorado, we call that a fun weekend.” 

Really Lauren, we know that’s how you roll. Let’s look at the stats for those fun things. Alcohol-related deaths exceeded 140,000/year from 2015-2019. DUI deaths were over 11,000 or 32/day in 2020. Tobacco-related deaths are over 480,000/year and cost over $600 billion dollars in health costs. A 10-year average for gun deaths is over 38,000/year — 82 mass shootings since Jan. 1.

So, besides attacking the ATF and taking credit for bills you voted against (look up Boebert takes credit for bills she voted against) what have you really done for the 3rd District besides making yourself and us an embarrassment?

How’s this: Boebert and three GOP reps, including George Santos, have authored a bill to make the AR 15 the “National Gun.” The Washington Post said, “Other countries have national dishes, national instruments and national fruits. Well, we will show them. Sharing a meal, making music, dropping seeds into the earth? Wait until you see what we sow. And what we reap.” 

So our ATF fun weekend can include a trip to a mall, or a church, or a school with the National Gun. Perhaps you can shoot down bald eagles, the National Bird, with your National Gun. Or shoot wolf pups for hats. Embarrassing!

Craig S. Chisesi, Rifle

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