With early voting under way, it would be wise for us all to take a moment and consider the question: Are we more secure now than we were a year ago?
Do we feel any safer from a terrorist attack? The CIA says a war on Iraq will make terrorism more likely, not less. The White House withheld news of the North Korean nuclear threat until after the Iraq war vote. The D.C. sniper and the villain who killed several people with anthrax are still at large. Osama bin Laden has not been found.
Is America's "freedom" any safer? Attorney General John Ashcroft and others have launched a frontal assault on our fundamental civil rights. Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer ominously warned the press, "Watch what you do, watch what you say." Ashcroft has thrown thousands of immigrants into detention without due process of law. Even citizens can be stripped of their rights if the government terms them "enemy combatants." Surveillance has increased. When Congress began to investigate the administration's poor record in preventing Sept. 11, it found it was itself under investigation a tactic practiced by J. Edgar Hoover, not to mention classic dictators.
Are our jobs any more secure than they were a year ago? Our economy shows little sign of recovery. White House policies from lax prosecution in the Enron, Harken Energy and Halliburton scandals, to naming hands-off appointees to oversee the accounting industry and the stock market, are undermining confidence and delaying an economic recovery.
Do we have secure energy sources? The Bush-Cheney energy policies have shortchanged alternatives, such as wind, solar, fuel cells and energy efficiency, that could make us less dependent on imported oil. If America neglects these, we will find we are no longer technologically competitive in a world that takes climate change seriously.
Has education and our children's futures been improved? As we prepare to spend $200 billion fighting Iraq (and much more in years of occupation), we can find less and less for health and education. Who remembers that George Bush campaigned as "the education President"?
So, are we more secure? For too many of us, the answer to that question is "no." That answer should drive us to vote for candidates who do not support current policies.
Susan Marie Viet
Council acting unethically
Re: City Page Today, Oct. 21, "Paid by the city of Steamboat Springs."
Half the page is devoted to a campaign message extolling voters to vote "Yes" on the Mount Werner/city water consolidation issue.
It is ethical or appropriate for council majority to use our tax money to actively solicit our votes on city issues before the voters? I think not. The Routt County Commissioners have openly declared it is not ethical for them to campaign for the new courthouse. In their arrogance, it appears the council majority doesn't consider itself bound by that same ethical standard.
The five council members who voted for the "resolution" should now print an apology to their constituency; divide up the cost of half the City Page for Oct. 21 and pay for it from their own pockets; and review their own ethical standards.
I hear the council president and one other member were seen in front of a grocery store handing out literature and accosting passersby to vote "yes" on the water and excise issues. Also inappropriate!
Thank you, Mr. Ivancie, for often being a courageous minority-of-one on a seven-member council that openly declares itself a "partner" to the business establishment.
Omar M. Campbell
I was disappointed to see the 2002 Ballot Information Booklet, in its recommendations on retention of judges, advocates David Dickinson be retained in the 6th District Court.
The Ballot Information Booklet states, "In public hearing comments, concerns were raised about delays in certain cases assigned to Judge Dickinson." Other issues were raised in that hearing: In the April 20 Durango Herald, Complaints Heard Over District Judge's Performance, Shane Benjamin reported public comments included "incomprehensible rulings" and "conflict of interest." These public comments were not included in the Ballot Information Booklet.
The booklet further excuses Judge Dickinson by attributing his delays to a backlog of civil cases. He has made "substantial progress" and "is sincere in his efforts to continue to improve his case management skills," BUT HE IS NOT SUCCEEDING! I know because one of those backlogged civil cases is mine. I also know, from writing and speaking to Mr. Benjamin, there were a lot of responses to his April articles from other readers with complaints about Judge Dickinson. I have been through years of delays in Judge Dickinson's court. In his efforts to manage his caseload, he has vacated my hearings, ignored evidence, denied motions and then noted that I should stop writing him letters because he would only consider evidence at a hearing. Does Catch-22 ring a bell? I have been effectively case managed out of my rights.
Benjamin's April articles had reported to contact the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, which I did. After writing twice, I called the executive director, Richard Wehmhoefer. He said he could not help me.
My experience has shown that our judicial system delivers plenty of cover-ups, apologies and excuses while refusing to be held accountable for the disastrous state of our courts. I encourage anyone who is disturbed by this issue to contact their local media and authorities on judicial behavior while there is still some justice left in our country.
Show you care
To The Voters in The Hayden RE-1 School District:
On Nov. 5, you will be asked to approve a mill levy increase to fund across-the-board raises for every employee in the Hayden School District. This issue is not about any single individual, or any single position within the district. This issue is a community-wide statement to our school district employees that we value their commitment to our children! A YES vote sends the monetary and philosophical message to every food-service worker and bus driver, every janitor and librarian, every teacher and, yes, even the superintendent that our community is grateful to each and every one of them for their dedication to our children, our community and our future.
3A is not solely about the money. The highest raise to any employee of the district will be $2,000. Hayden's pay scale, due to cuts in state funding, is the lowest of any surrounding district and passing this mill levy is only a step toward being more competitive with surrounding districts. We have to improve our salary situation to attract and retain the best teachers, administrators and support staff or our children, system and community suffer. As a community, Hayden needs to support the professionals who assure our community remains a viable place to live.
Ballot issue 3A is not only about paying a competitive wage for all district positions. This issue is about the community of Hayden standing up and thanking the professionals who nurture, protect and teach our children. The children who are our future. If this was simply about the money, many of these people would be working in other industries!
I urge the voters of Hayden to support the school district that supports our community. Vote YES on 3A!
The right thing
We would like to voice our support for the tax proposal 3A that will be on the ballot.
Even though we have no kids at home and most of our grandchildren are college-age, we think this proposal is the proper thing for us to do in support of our schoolchildren.
Teachers deserve a decent salary. We should make every effort to attract good teachers and a decent salary is imperative.
Our young people are the future, and the impression made by good teachers early in the education process will last them for life.
The cost is not prohibitive. Our house is a four-bedroom, three-bath brick home with a two-car garage, on a large lot with mature landscaping, yet the increase in our taxes will be only about $26 per year.
This is about the cost of one carton of cigarettes, four six packs or one-half of a tank of gas for our pickup. The young people in our community are worth a lot more than that.
Sam and Louise Haslam
I am disappointed to see the Pilot & Today publishing an article so biased as the one of the county courthouse expansion referendum in the Oct. 13 edition. That should have run under the editorial section. Where were the opposing points of view? While I am certain all agree that our courthouse is too small, needs prompt attention and interest rates are low, it is a foregone conclusion this referendum is the solution. Here are points to consider against it:
n The referendum asks for $21 million in bond, not $17.3 million.
n Closing Sixth Street would be inefficient, creating additional navigational difficulty.
n Downtown property is some of the most expensive property around.
This "solution" does not address the serious problem of transporting prisoners from the jail west of town to downtown. This is not only impractical but unsafe and more costly as we pay for valuable time of personnel to escort prisoners across town.
Our current level of growth will likely not continue.
A possible solution not mentioned in your article is to build a new courthouse west of town next to the jail. Land there is less expensive, roads won't need to be closed and the transportation of prisoners would be less expensive, safer and easier. Use the current courthouse facility for county work unrelated to court appearances (i.e. assessor, clerk and recorder, etc.).
You have a responsibility to write and publish news objectively as possible. The courthouse article did not approximate that. I hope to see as large as prominent an article with other views on this subject run next Sunday.
Need for storage
In this year of drought, the water stored in our valley reservoirs was of critical importance. Had it not been for these reservoirs, the Yampa River would have gone dry as it did in 1934 when there was no storage.
The Colorado River Water Conservation District is sponsoring Referendum 4A that would, by means of a very modest property tax increase of .25 mills, raise funds to sponsor and build water storage projects on the Western Slope. The Upper Yampa Water Conservation District supports this referendum and we hope the residents of Routt County will do likewise.
Tom Sharp, vice president
John Fetcher, sec./treas.
Upper Yampa Water
What about 14?
I am writing in regard to the proposed new judicial facility. Although I am not opposed to a new facility, I am just plain disgusted with the the commissioners' stance on how to finance it. It seems to me that if the state mandates a new facility, then the state should help in the cost of the project. Like other projects, Stagecoach State Park for example, the state built the park but did nothing to address the added traffic on County Road 14 between the park and Colorado 131. It did help with improvements going south from the lake to Colo. 131 but the vast majority of the traffic is between the lake and Steamboat Springs. At that time, the county asked the voters of Routt County to vote for funds to construct this portion of road. Of coarse the public, not living on or using C.R. 14 to access South Routt County, did not vote for the improvements. This resulted in no improvements. I have never before or since heard of having to vote for road improvements. This is supposed to be done with existing tax monies. In the Sunday Pilot, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak states, "It has to be built," "our judges have waited long enough for a new facility," "reserve money slated for such long-term projects as road and bridge improvements has been redirected toward construction of a new judicial facility." What about the long wait we have had for road improvements? C.R. 36 was reconstructed a few years back, but there was no tax vote on that. I wonder if it is who lives on C.R. 36 (past and present commissioners) that made the decision to redo it without a vote? Anyone who drives C.R. 14 knows how bad it is. For those of you who haven't been out this way, take some time and see for yourself. Pay particular attention to the road damage sign when you turn off Colo. 131. They can't even afford a sign and had to spray paint the warning! We on C.R. 14 are not the only ones in need of improvements. You all know where improvements are needed. Now is the time to express your opinion at the ballot box. Enough is enough. I for one will not be voting for the new facility and would encourage those of you who are fed up with the way our taxes are being spent to do the same.
Ronald W. Kreutz
How can we ever begin to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, friendship, prayers and support given to us at the time of our son's death.
Cheyne touched so many lives in so many wonderful ways. Please know how much Sharon, Quinn and I appreciate the way an entire community wrapped their love around us during this most difficult time; and continue to do so. We are so grateful to have so many wonderful friends, neighbors and colleagues.
To Cheyne's Steamboat family you are such a gift. Whenever we need to remember him, be with him, love him, sing of him, all we need to do is look to you. All of the love and genuine friendship you had for him and have for each other serves as a model for the rest of us. Thank you for being his friends and now ours.
To Mandy, Celeste and Toni from Rifle Funeral Home: Your professionalism, understanding and genuine compassion made this tremendous burden so much easier to bear.
To St. Mary's Catholic Church the beauty of the funeral service and wonderful meal afterward will always be remembered and deeply appreciated. It's good to be back.
The thanks and appreciation we will forever have in our hearts for all of you is far more than we could ever express in a letter.
Bruce, Sharon, Quinn Gallagher