Soap Box

Tipton: stop Obama blame game

To the editor,

As the daughter of an evangelical minister, I was taught to love my neighbor, to provide food and shelter to those in need, to welcome the stranger and to uphold the bonds between parents and children. I was taught that just because it’s the law or government policy, doesn’t mean it’s right. Slavery was legal but immoral. Two months ago, President Trump announced his “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and his administration enthusiastically enforced this new policy of separating families who illegally enter the USA. In the past six weeks, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents.

Numerous religious groups condemned Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, including the Southern Baptist Convention, U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops and African Methodist Episcopal Church, among others. Religious leaders use the terms “immoral,” “sinful,” “disgraceful” and “unconscionable” to denounce the practice.

At a June 15 public meeting, I shared with Congressmen Tipton my concerns about children being separated from their parents at the border. I asked what he planned to do about this morally reprehensible practice. He replied, “It’s Obama’s fault.” I countered that I was not interested in blame but rather what he planned to do. Again, he stuck with the party line “This is Obama’s doing” and then walked away.

Scott, you are trying to deceive me. The Trump Administration established this policy and you won’t work to keep families together. Instead, you blame others.

When something is wrong, change it. Tipton is wrong for District 3, vote him out this November.

– Barbara Noseworthy, Durango

Walsworth has expertise, integrity

To the editor,

During his 10 years as director of United Way, Tim Walsworth read and reviewed hundreds of audits and financial statements. Through this laborious process, he developed policies and procedures to achieve strong financial practices. Tim and the United Way Board of Directors chose to undergo an audit every year he was director.

Presently, Tim is employed by the Durango Business Improvement District (BID) in a leadership role. BID is required to submit an annual budget and work plan to the City of Durango, as well as year-end financial statements to the City of Durango auditors and the Department of Local Affair (DOLA). In the past 15 years of reviews and audited financial practices, Tim’s leadership has resulted in no major findings of concern.

Contrast that to the present La Plata County
Treasurer: 10 percent error rate on transactions, found as a result of a special review requested by the county commissioners (cost to taxpayers $15,000); a “material weakness” finding in the La Plata County audit of 2016, which resulted in the County being labeled a “higher risk auditee” (cost to taxpayers an additional $24,000 for each of the following two years, 2017 and 2018 = $48,000).

Who is better equipped to be La Plata County Treasurer? Does experience really outweigh expertise? Please join me in casting your primary ballot for Tim Walsworth.

– Carol Simmons, Durango

Aichele's response doesn't add up

To the editor,

In regard to the upcoming primary election for La Plata County Treasurer, I would like to make the important distinction between speaking “negatively” of an elected official versus holding one accountable for their job performance. In today’s insidious political climate, facts do matter. And the facts are that the Treasurer’s Office, under Allison Aichele’s leadership, has had some serious problems.

As reported in the Durango Herald last year, the Treasurer’s Office was found to be out of compliance with numerous state statutes. This occurred two years into Ms. Aichele’s term. As a result, an accounting firm was hired to conduct a review on the Treasurer’s Office’s procedures and books. According to this review, the accounting firm found a 10 percent error rate on Aichele’s books, a higher than average rate according to the firm conducting the review.

Additionally, many internal control deficiencies were found. Due to these errors found in the Treasurer’s Office, a “material weakness finding” was added to the La Plata County’s overall audit (see La Plata County commissioners meeting minutes from Sept. 12, 2017). As a result of this material weakness finding, the county has been reclassified as a “higher risk auditee,” which equates to additional auditing procedures requirements, and thus additional costs to the county and taxpayers. The county will now carry this “higher risk” classification for two years. These additional expenses as a result of bad book-keeping are disappointing.

Perhaps equally disappointing is the fact that when I emailed Aichele about this issue, she responded that in regard to the material weakness finding: “All Colorado county treasurers, including my predecessor, and to include my successor, will have this same ‘weakness.’ It is inherent to the job.” But according to the meeting minutes referenced above, Finance Director Diane Sorensen remarked that in the 12 years she has worked for La Plata County, no material weakness finding has ever been reported in the countywide audits. This does not square with what I was told by Aichele.

I expect more from my local elected officials when it comes to honesty and straightforwardness. For all of these reasons, I will be casting my vote for Tim Walsworth for county treasurer in the June primaries. I encourage all residents to look into this matter themselves, and I hope you will consider voting for Tim as well.

– Kathleen O’Connor, Durango

Learn the facts, vote Walsworth

To the editor,

I am writing in support of Tim Walsworth for county treasurer. I initially met Tim 14 years ago through his excellent work as CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado. I have since gotten to know him personally. Tim is as organized as they come and works long hours with great attention to detail. His skills at working with others are outstanding. He has an excellent track record with employees and he has successfully worked for multiple boards of directors.

Although I knew that Tim was asked to run by multiple people, I could not take his claims of issues in the current Treasurer’s Office at face value without investigating for myself. I listened to some of the public recordings of county meetings and read audit reports that support these claims and now I fully understand why he is running. I urge you to give him careful consideration and support him in the primary if you are registered as a Democrat or as an independent. He is just the type of hard-working and honest person we need in office.

– Debbie Kurz, Durango

Tim will be an excellent treasurer

To the editor,

My wife and I are business owners in downtown Durango, and we work with the Durango Business Improvement District (BID) on a regular basis. BID helps my business, as well as all businesses downtown and in the North Main District. I have come to know Walsworth, BID’s executive director, over the past year.

While all BID businesses will miss Tim if he becomes the La Plata County Treasurer, our business and many others wish him well in his campaign and will be voting for him. We have seen Tim’s leadership style, management skills and love for our community first hand and are confident that he will make an excellent treasurer.

Tim also has the necessary financial expertise to be our next treasurer. He regularly tracks and analyzes economic indicators for downtown and North Main businesses, including sales tax, vacancy rates, parking availability, train ridership, enplanements and deplanements at the airport, and trolley ridership. He combines these statistics to show the overall economic health of businesses in the heart of our town and makes informed decisions in allocating BID’s resources based upon the current and projected economic outlook and needs of the city and BID, in particular.

Please join us in voting for Tim Walsworth for La Plata County Treasurer.

– Wade and Antoinette Whidden, Durango