When Bryna Larson and Scott Stanford approached me to serve as a community representative on the Steamboat Pilot & Today's editorial board I immediately responded by saying that I was too busy and not interested.
Bryna persisted, promising that it would be the most entertaining hour of my week and that I would actually wind up looking forward to it. Not surprisingly, I caved. Somewhat surprisingly, Bryna was right.
In a city as small as Steamboat, the only daily publication carries a great deal of influence and responsibility in shaping the nature and substance of discussions about community issues.
I am pleased to report that the members of the paper's editorial board take that responsibility seriously and are extremely interested in understanding all sides of an issue before taking or not taking a position. The weekly discussions are well informed, lively and entertaining.
Everyone at the table has an opportunity to express their opinions and be heard.
Two of the bedrocks upon which our nation rests are a free press and an engaged citizenry. Spending approximately 12 hours over the course of three months as a community representative on the paper's editorial board is an opportunity not only to engage as a citizen in the pressing issues of the day but also to see how and why a free press is a critical component of a democratic community.
I am glad to have had the opportunity to serve on the editorial board and applaud the Pilot's commitment to having community representatives on their board. I strongly encourage others with the time and interest to apply.
Paul Sachs, Steamboat Springs
Humans waste water
I applaud your publishing Mr. Lawrence's timely article on water usage and rights. Water and humans' relationship with it are of paramount importance in these times.
Profligate use of water by the dominant species, homo sapiens, will most certainly mean increasing die-offs of wildlife that depend on a natural water flow. Many species are already challenged.
Our water-resource planning needs to take the current warming of the planet into account - whatever may be causing it - and not simply our overpopulating the land and crowding out other species. With continued global warming, many Rocky Mountain wildflowers will wane and disappear, so stated a university researcher recently. We collectively need to decide what kind of Northwestern Colorado we want to live in. Our actions now will help mold our water future.
Our current planning on this matter is timely and must be done with an eye to, and deep consideration for, the entire biosphere. We humans are part of the biosphere and depend on the rest of the flora and fauna for our well-being, in fact, for our very lives.
I believe that many would be delighted if the Steamboat Pilot & Today were to publish a monthly, or even weekly, report on water in our state with a focus on Northwestern Colorado. Our water planning would be most effective if everyone in the community were involved in some way. Such an approach is more time-consuming, true - but water connects us all, probably in ways we haven't yet imagined.
Nan Schweiger, Steamboat Springs
Free market best
My recent letter to the editor entitled "What Steamboat Needs is High Income Affordable Housing" was misunderstood by some readers. Via a robust and logical, albeit, impalpable argument, the letter was intended to demonstrate the absurdity of affordable housing and that a free market real estate system is truly the best solution for everyone, regardless of income.
That being said, condemnatory responses to the piece harped on an important point that of wages for lower-income households not being able to keep pace with the rising real estate prices and cost of living. The argument presented was that affordable housing is necessary to allow labor to reside in Steamboat Springs and supply valuable goods and services required and demanded by homeowners and residents who are increasingly falling in a higher-income household bracket. Affordable housing was postulated to be a solution that would create the greatest benefit for all.
This argument is severely flawed-basic economic principles supported by countless studies over the decades have shown that tinkering with the free market system and implementing concepts like affordable housing worsens the economic situation for lower-income households. The result is artificially depressed wages for lower-income households and a widening of the income gap.
Demand for housing in Steamboat Springs has obviously boomed, as demonstrated by the rise in real estate prices, and affluent households are increasingly moving to our city. Demand for goods and services is increasing and has translated to rising prices. However, by offering lower-income affordable housing, businesses have no incentive to raise wages as an ample pool of labor is present in our community to satisfy demand. Furthermore, by restricting appreciation on lower-income affordable homes, profits made from the sale of these homes can not offset the appreciation of other housing in our community, perpetuating economic stagnation for lower-income households and preventing sustainable wealth creation for this segment.
On the other hand, if we let the invisible hand of a free-market work its course, there comes a point where demand for labor exceeds its supply, resulting in increased wages, new work opportunities, and consequent bridging of the income gap. Lower-income households earn more, do not suffer from rising prices, and become able to afford wealth-generating real estate. In summary, life improves dramatically for lower income households as the market corrects itself. If you do not believe me, try comparing wages for a bartender or food services employee in other resorts such as Vail or Aspen with what people in similar professions make in Denver. Wages are often double or triple of what they are on the Front Range. Some in these communities have gone on to purchase homes close to the resorts, and steady real estate demand has generated substantial wealth for these individuals.
If we want to make life tougher in the long run for lower-income households, then affordable housing will indeed provide for a fleeting apparent improvement in the situation. But if we want what is best for all in our beloved city, let the free market run its course and abandon affordable housing as a concept. I personally do not support actions to depress wages and prevent wealth creation for lower-income households. Do you?
Alex Schoder, Steamboat Springs
No fee in lieu
The City Council wisely decided against using the fee in lieu option at One Steamboat Place.
It's now up to the developer to figure out how to design and build all the affordable housing. I applaud the council president for telling the applicant to "try harder" to solve the inherent problems in such a task. It is not up to the council to solve the applicant's problems.
The council's job is to make sure the zoning ordinance is upheld. When the council unanimously votes for all 14 units of on-site affordable housing and approves the Community Housing Plan for One Steamboat Place, our City Council will send a strong message to future developers that Steamboat is serious about inclusionary zoning.
Developers will then be prepared from the outset to have designs that include affordable housing. It will be a time and money saver to everyone involved. Stay the course, council, and you do a great service to the whole community, as well as set an important precedent for future development.
Audrey L. Mandell, Steamboat Springs
Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James' "dumber-than-a-stick" decision to send two young men to six months in prison for the heinous crime taking vegetables from a garbage can has reached the national news wire services.
Nice move, Kerry. Are you competing with the Boulder District Attorney to become the laughingstock of the nation?
Bill Wallace, Steamboat Springs
Thank you, racers
Challenge Mtn. Bike Race Series took a bit of a bad turn for me on Friday.
A few of the racers who gave up their race to help me were mentioned in the articles: David Keiss, Karl Fredell , Tony Urbick, Ed Kimm, Mel Stewart as well as Dan Lemmar who stopped and offered his assistance before heading down. What may have been overlooked is that there were several other racers who also stopped to help, and I'm sorry I don't know their names either. If anyone knows who they are, please let me know so I can thank them personally.
Hardly a racer went by without slowing and asking if they needed more help. The race staff was also fantastic in getting me down as quickly as possible. Sara Larson, Gretchen Sehler and Kit Rice helped in getting the paramedics to me as efficiently as possible and informing my family of my situation.
The paramedics, Jeanne Power, Scott Ryan, Todd Denoble, and Chuck Cerasoli were all very caring and professional giving me the best treatment possible, as was the E.R. staff Kim MacDermott, Jason Valle, Jaime Zelkin, Dr. David Cionni, X-ray tech Ed Havel, and my neighbor and surgeon on call Dr. Allen Belshaw, (who by the way will make a house call if you live next door). Everyone involved went above and beyond to give me the best care possible. I could go on even further with all the little things people did to take care of me, but I'm not sure there's room on this page.
I cannot thank all of you enough! It was the best example of what a great community of people we have here in Steamboat.
Also, I want to thank Gretchen Sehler (with her assistants Marc and Mica) and all the Parks and Recreation staff; Kit Rice, Beth Kivett, Sarah Larson and volunteers; Lee Cox, Abi Slingsby, Elizabeth Jones, Lesa Goodman, Kim MacDermott, Kim Hogan, Chris Young, Cindy Karet, and Jason Krueger for putting on a great race series. It made for an awesome summer.
Mark (Crash) Bosley, Steamboat Springs