Letters to the Editor, Aug. 31, 2003

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Church and state

Carved upon a 2-ton mass of rock are two tablets of the Ten Commandments with two meanings: One, the belief in a higher power and its directives, and two, a representation of the Christian, Jewish and Moslem religions. It has resided in a public building in a nation that rejects any one religion while accepting all. A paradox for those who take issue with it on either side.

If I correctly recall my early U.S. history lessons, people left the Mother Country in a big way to escape religious persecution. The writers of the U.S. Constitution carefully chose the words "separation of church and state" with the aim to protect freedom of religion here. The Christians want the monument to stay; the separationists want it gone; historians without religious issues might leave it; the court wants it gone based on its interpretation of separation of church and state; and we haven't heard from the Jews or the Muslims.

A belief in a higher power was the guiding principle of our country's Constitution. This foundation has served us well for a long time, preserving democracy while keeping us from slipping to the next phase of the political cycle: tyranny. Do we let our foundation of guiding principles stand, or look to new ones?

Because the next phase in the historic cycle of politics is tyranny, I like the idea of believing in a higher power than men. And I like the Ten Commandments, especially the one that says, "Thou Shall Not Kill."

Remember what Saddam Hussein was.

Remember Sept. 11.

Remember the Holocaust.

Remember Communism.

Remember the guide of our democratic society, our Constitution. And remember the basis of our constitution is a belief in a higher power than men. Let's hold on to the foundation of our democracy, lest we slip into the next phase of the political cycle.

Margie Callahan

Steamboat Springs

Law enforcement

With regard to local law enforcement, I attended the City Council meeting Tuesday and have read the recent articles and editorial in this newspaper that purport to address the issues raised. As evidenced by their statements in the paper, our law enforcement representatives either choose to confuse the real issues, or simply don't "get it."

No one involved, including Gary Wall or his clients, suggested the police should tolerate impaired driving or drug abuse, although the official quotes and the recent editorial seem to suggest and portray this as the issue that has been raised.

On the contrary, the problems discussed do concern, among other things, local officers searching for excuses to pull over nonimpaired drivers and otherwise harassing law-abiding residents. The gentleman who spoke to the City Council about being regularly pulled over for pretextual reasons, simply because he works late, is just one of scores of people with similar stories to report.

Despite the assertions in recent articles and this paper's editorial, many people described specific instances in which the police acted improperly. Moreover, anyone in touch with this community's perception of law enforcement attitude knows that there's an "us vs. them" mentality in this town, which is highly unnecessary. For example, it is well known that driving between the mountain and downtown after 10 p.m. is known as "running the gauntlet" due to the high probability of being pulled over, usually without probable cause.

Law enforcement talks about "zero tolerance." That concept is highly flawed as evidenced by governmental efforts to teach "abstinence only" and "just say no." Zero tolerance is merely a safe haven for people who would rather not exercise proper judgment to reach reasonable decisions under the facts and circumstances.

The police should focus on making this a safe community and not relish the opportunity to seek out minor violations to drag people into court. We should not follow the lead of Attorney General John Ashcroft and his adherents who believe we must forfeit basic civil rights to provide for law enforcement at any cost.

Michele Desoer

Steamboat Springs

'Father of Skiing'

Shame on Steamboat Today and the Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today for not publishing one word about the wonderful talk given by Leif Hovelsen at the Tread of Pioneers Museum on Aug. 22. Leif Hovelsen is the only child of Carl Howelsen, who is called the "Father of Skiing in Colorado."

He is not only the "Father of Skiing in Colorado" but the man who really brought skiing to Steamboat Springs and made our town famous throughout the world. Instead of any coverage of Leif Hovelsen's visit, the Saturday Steamboat Today's cover story was about a spider and the Sunday Steamboat Pilot's cover story was about pigs.

While my wife and I have only lived in Steamboat for about five years, we have come to learn a lot about the history of Steamboat, which we find outstanding and a real treasure. Hovelsen is approaching his 80s and will not be around forever but while he is with us he is the next best thing to having Carl Howelsen himself come to Steamboat and talk to us.

Not only did Howelsen choose Steamboat over all other towns in Colorado to be his home, but he personally helped cut the trees and build the ski jump on the hill that bears his name.

Obviously our newspaper thought spiders and pigs were more important.

I only hope Leif Hovelsen did not feel ignored to the point that he may not ever come back to Steamboat. But if he does return, I certainly hope our paper has learned its lesson and will give Leif Hovelsen, the son of the "Father of Skiing in Colorado" the attention and coverage he deserves.

James A. Humphrey

Steamboat Springs

Emerald jewel

While working for the U.S. Bureau of Mines in the summers of 1952 and 1953, I traveled through Steamboat Springs and was very impressed with it, as well as the route I took to get there (from Savery and Dixon, Wyo., past the Temples' Focus Ranch, along the Snake River, up to Columbine and down to Clark). As a result, my wife and I moved here in 1957. Emerald Mountain always seemed to us like a part of Steamboat. I was surprised to find out many years later that this was not the case.

Now an attempt is being made to arrange a land exchange between the Colorado Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado State Land Board and more than 50 private landowners of small parcels of BLM land. The money received from the small parcel will finally make it possible to buy Emerald Mountain to avoid its private development and open it for public activities.

Throughout the history of Steamboat, tourists have been impressed with this emerald jewel and the fascinating town at its base. Nearly all people who have ever lived in Steamboat have felt and feel the same way.

Jerry Rudolph

Steamboat Springs

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