Letters for Oct. 6, 2002

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Thanks, rodeo folks
A big thanks goes out to the Routt County Ranch Rodeo Committee, Fair Board and sponsors on behalf of the Mack Ranch. Thanks for all their hard work and dedication in putting on a wonderful afternoon of family entertainment. As participants in the Ranch Rodeo, we had a great time. We really liked the new events; they were more ranch related even through the bumps, bruises and blisters. We would also like to say how much we enjoyed the other events the day included: horse racing, chariot racing, saddle bronc riding, mutton busting, catch the calf and the bunny and greased pig contests. Our hats off to you!
Barbara Mack
The Mack Ranch, Craig
What a great day
I want to publicly thank Ed and Kathleen Crislip and Sore Saddle Cyclery for a spectacular Sunday bicycle tour on Sept. 22.
The Gore Gruel attracted 30 riders this year and raised nearly $500 for Lance Armstrong's Cancer Foundation. It also provided the riders with a great bike ride over Rabbit Ears, over Gore Pass and back to Steamboat on an unparalleled fall day. Many thanks, Ed and Kathleen; I will be back next year.
Steve Marshall
Steamboat Springs
What am I missing?
Why is Dr. DeVincentis being pushed out of his job as principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School? I gleaned the following information from an article in the Pilot (Sept. 22).
Reasons to keep Dr. D:
1. The board of education does not want him to retire.
2. A group of parents formed a PAC in an effort to show support for him.
3. His school ranked among the top 4.6 percent in the state in terms of performance.
4. He is dedicated to the children of the district.
5. He has the full support of the majority of teachers and parents in the community.
6. He supports having smaller class size at his school.
Reasons to get rid of Dr. D:
I couldn't find any.
He and the superintendent and board have disagreements about class size. Sounds like a healthy dialogue about educational issues to me, not a reason to push the man out.
Dr. D did not inform the superintendent and board that parents were going to approach the Educational Excellence Committee and board with concerns about class size. He didn't know they were going to approach either group. Not a good reason to push the man out.
Dr. D has concerns about the board's policy governance system. In the same issue of the Pilot, Paul Fisher, a member of the board, explains how policy governance works. He states that it has some disadvantages, none the least of which is it creates a sense of "disconnectedness." Again, it sounds like Dr. D is raising healthy questions, something you would expect and want from an 18-year veteran. Not a good reason to push the man out.
I do the math and it looks like the district should be giving this guy a medal, a raise and a vacation to Hawaii for his efforts for the children of Routt County. Am I missing something? Are there things that the article did not mention that would be good reasons to push him out? Who wants to get rid of this guy? The board? The superintendent? So many questions and so little time before a good man is gone. Who can help me find some answers?
Joe Roberts
Routt County
Typical situation
The proposed merger of the our water districts is typical of the scramble for the control of water resources now taking place around the world.
Fortune magazine tells us "Water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations." Private firms are trying to take control of the water systems in many U.S. cities. Atlanta's water was privatized some years ago. Because of unsatisfactory service and rising rates, many Atlantans are trying to make it a public utility again. Some firms have actually taken over entire national systems (as in Bolivia) with disastrous results for the people. With constantly dwindling supplies and ever-rising demands, an immense amount of money is to be made by the "commodification" of water. What used to be thought of as a public use by right is now sometimes treated as a commodity to be marketed by shrewd businessmen seeking power and profits. And pubic officials are increasingly coming under pressure to privatize public utilities.
Steamboat is no exception. A quasi-public institution the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District would like to run the town's supply and distribution, charging whatever rates it finds marketable, and providing differential service with water rates north of Fish Creek remaining substantially higher.
The legal means to obtain this goal are found in the proposed Article 15 to the City Charter. Article 15 was not written by anyone representing the city or the public interest, but by Mount Werner's attorney, who has very carefully drafted a document for the benefit of his clients. And Article 15 stipulates that its provisions will override all provisions of the other 14 articles the entire city charter.
Mount Werner will retain supervision of its own system, and it will control all of the town's as well, including the newly designed wastewater treatment plant. Instead of a truly public, municipal water system run by public officials, our public system will be absorbed by a semi-public group. In its haste to consolidate the two districts on any terms, the city is surrendering its assets, as well as the primary ability to determine where growth takes place. Essentially, it is giving away its own jurisdiction to the institution that has developed the land around the ski area for the past 35 years.
Referendum 2C asks the public to approve the City Council's decision, but nowhere in Article 15 is there a mention of the public interest. Much mention is made of the power of the authority where Mount Werner's interests will dominate.
I have been a longtime observer of this city government, and I have never seen a greater betrayal of public trust, nor have I have ever witnessed such a colossal abdication of public responsibility.
John Whittum
Steamboat Springs

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