Soap Box

The GOP elephant in the room
01/23/2020

To the editor,

Sen. Cory Gardner, seeking reelection in November to another six-year term, clings to the elephant in the room while pretending not to see it.

The “elephant” is Trump’s abuse of power; not just any abuse of power, but gross abuse. It comes in the form of conditioning release of Congressionally authorized and legally mandated military-defense funds to Ukraine on that country’s president’s participation in a fraudulent campaign to malign Trump’s political opponent. This was all done for Trump’s personal gain and directly contrary to the security interests of the United States.

The “pretending not to see it” is Gardner’s strategy of stepping up emails to his constituents, extolling his accomplishments while remaining silent about the paramount issue facing our country – the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.

– Edward Packard, Durango

Fragments
01/16/2020

The finest of light
Is in each of us
If we allow it to shine.
Each precious moment,
A note of a greater song.
The harmony of love
Lessens the burdens,
Showers the anguish
And gives us the strength
To meet the challenges
To make us whole
Under the continuous
Pulse of time.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio

Not all in CPW oppose wolves
01/16/2020

To the editor,

As a former Colorado Division of Wildlife (before the merger with Parks) employee and part of the staff involved in the development of Colorado’s existing plan for managing wolves (cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Wildlife Species/SpeciesOfConcern/Wolf/recomendations.pdf) I wanted to help clarify a statement in a Jan. 9, Durango Telegraph on the wolf restoration effort (“Call of the Wild / Wolves going to the ballot box.”)

The last paragraph states in part, “state wildlife managers have also come out opposed to releasing wolves. In 2016, Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners voted against any sort of formal wolf reintroduction.” It’s important to understand that the Wildlife Commission is a  governor-appointed political body that develops and directs policy for the agency. That’s perfectly appropriate, but the Commission members are not biologists or professional wildlife managers. While I don’t know what the views of all professional biologists in the agency are, some (and perhaps many) support the restoration of wolves to Colorado.

Some of the folks opposed to wolf restoration disparage the initiative as “ballot box biology.” It’s not ... it’s ballot box policy making, which is as it should be. Biology informs wildlife management decisions, but very few of those decisions can or should be made on the basis of biology alone; politics are a necessary part of the process.

Just as the Commission has stated its policy, the voters of Colorado have the right to state theirs. That’s why the initiative process exists.

– Gary T. Skiba, Aztec

Riding the Trump gravy train
01/16/2020

To the editor,

With all that’s going on in Washington – impeachment, Iraq, Iran and many other things – what does a press secretary do?

Stephanie Grisham was appointed in July 2019 with a salary of $179,000 a year. I bet you, an editor would like that kind of a wage for not having a press conference for over 305 days. Sara Sanders, whom she replaced, was at the start of the 305 days and same pay.

Sen. Gardner and Rep. Tipton get a base pay of $174,000. At least they do some work and release statements. You, the tax payer, are paying Grisham’s salary for doing nothing. If you think this is OK, call someone who can get you a job like that. No press conference for the public on what’s going on and great pay. For anyone who loves Trump, he has had three press secretaries in three years. You could be next very soon. Great pay, no work but short lived in the job.

– Bob Battani, Durango

Landlording: not for sissies
01/16/2020

To the editor,

Recently, there was a front-page article in the Herald about the 1,220 vacation rentals active in Durango and outskirts. I believe most of them remain empty except during big holidays when the motels/hotels are booked. Most of the purchasers of an expensive one- to four-bedroom place close to the train station, for the purpose of a short-term rental, have it empty for the tax loop holes. What a great write-off for the folks at the top with several unused rentals.

I wanted to turn my house next door to me into a vacation rental after 20 years of renting it to college students, a dentist, doctor and others that all trashed it at the end of the lease. Vacationers spending more time outside of the house means less mess, and I wanted to heavily market this house and keep it full year around. Timing is everything and I was denied the ability to use it as a vacation rental because the powers-that-be and a woman with clout that lives on top of a hill felt more places were needed for year-around rentals.

I am just about to rent my house, which almost sold recently at a screaming bargain, for six months. Hopefully by this summer it will sell, be loved and I won’t be traumatized by this one rental anymore.

For all of the envious locals who think I live the great life, along with other landlords, it’s tougher than yah think to deal with tenants where you have to be available 24/7 and maybe, just maybe, get one 3-day vacation-a-year.

– Sally Florence, Durango