Soap Box

A well-tailored political hypocrisy
03/14/2019

To the editor,

Cuff links, you ever think about ‘em? Me neither. Not until I see some politician on Youtube preening around like a peacock with a hard-on wearing a custom-made shirt and cuff links, then I go straight to pissed.

Seems to me if politics is supposed to be about “the people,” it should be represented by “the people.” I don’t know anyone who wears custom-made shirts that take cuff links, probably because all the people I know are thrashing out a survival living that requires money be spent on the frivolities of food and shelter.

Now, I know that some of these “burros” had jobs before being elected, and if by careful money management they can afford custom-made shirts, cool. They don’t need their full salary $174,000+. Let’s vote that they donate two-thirds of their salary to feeding, clothing and housing children in this country. It’s funny that these “do-good” sumbitches that want you and me to pay more, more, more out of our seriously over-burdened budgets, will fight like hell, full of righteous indignation, about doing it themselves.

In light of the recent government shut down (which I didn’t know was going on until it was over) I would urge everyone, no matter what race, color, creed, sexual orientation or political party, to get on the internet machine with a calculator handy and do the math on what these cuff link-wearing predators and their staffs are costing the American public in salaries alone.

There is not a senator or congressman/woman that somewhere in their district a child doesn’t go to bed at night hungry and cold while they and their staff cost the people millions.

They should be ashamed, but they’re not.

In the words of Steve Goodman, “It was all that I could do, to keep from cryin,’ sometimes it seemed so useless to remain. You don’t have to call me ‘darlin,’ darlin.’ You never even called me by my name.”

– Tom James, somewhere between Bayfield and Ignacio

The 1A benefits are self-evident
03/14/2019

To the editor,

Understanding the truth can be difficult today. Winston Churchill said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” This got me thinking. Why are people who are against the ballot initiative to maintain our streets telling everyone the City has plenty of money and officials just need to budget better?

Many want to believe it, but I can’t. The City doesn’t have the funds to maintain our roads, it’s the simple truth.

Incredibly, some people don’t want to pay a minimal 1⁄2-cent on a dollar to ensure our streets and sidewalks are in good repair, even though it will have no affect on their standard of living.

Others may feel that voting against the ballot issue is a good way to “get back” at city hall. Maybe they don’t like a certain council member or had a parking ticket they didn’t like. Unfortunately, it’s not city hall that their vote hurts, it’s their neighbors and the community as a whole.

I change the oil in my car as a form of preventive maintenance that will save money in the long run. Funding our street maintenance is the same principle.

I will complain when the streets are crumbling with pot holes and sidewalks are decrepit. Only I won’t complain in clear conscience if I don’t first try to be a responsible citizen and be part of the solution. For that reason I support this ballot issue. The benefits are self-evident.

– Edward Horvat, Durango

Programming a future of failure
03/07/2019

To the editor,

The “hand of god” forced into women’s health care is not religious liberty nor is it constitutional. A question for protestors of women’s health care: Where are your $350,000 trust funds to guarantee bundles of joy access to food, clothing, shelter, health care and access to opportunity for the next 18 years? Our corruption is now teaching Covington boys and others to judge, humiliate, harass, bully and punish women and threaten people who help them. One does not have to die to go to hell, but one does have to be born.

The Republican policy of controlling women’s decisions gives Republicans access to insert the womb-to-prison pipeline for financial gain. Republican deadbeat policy not only creates a corral for human brood mares but programs children for failure as disposable humans after birth. Mick Mulvaney tells Congressional Republicans that school meals are not working and must be dropped. Politicians and ALEC privatize their profit from prisons, yet depend on your socialized tax payments to cover incarceration.

Along with the gag orders of Reagan, George W. Bush, and now the Donald, we have the Kavanaugh gag for women, hands crushing our mouths. Why are we programming failure in our future? Studies show denying women access to health care results in a rise of violence years later. How much more violence, suicide and homelessness will we usher in? We need checks and balances on lust, arrogance and greed. Unless you require it, women’s health care is not your decision.

– Stephanie Johnson, Durango

Planning ahead for our future
03/07/2019

To the editor,

My family has resided in Durango since the early 1930s. Durango has gone through many changes over the years, but none more important than what we are facing right now. I will be the first to say I wince at the sound of someone saying “raising taxes is a good thing.” As a business owner for 15 years in Durango, I have come to realize that the cost of doing business is NOT cheap, and if you choose not to plan ahead, you will lose.

The reason I am in full support of Ballot Initiative 1A is that our city government, in this particular situation, is planning ahead. (Unlike the wastewater sewer plant replacement project.) They realize if we don’t forecast our preferred future and plan for specific projects and future growth, Durango as we know it, will become one of many small communities around our country that is falling apart due to poor maintenance and policing of its businesses and neighborhoods.

The passage of initiative 1A will amount to only half a penny on each dollar spent and will help fund our streets, which are in need of maintenance and repair. It costs nearly eight times more to rebuild a street versus a fraction of the cost to maintain them, and each year that this is deferred will cost us $2 million - $4 million annually. Durango is a unique and beautiful place to live, and we have an obligation to do our part to help take care of all the resources and amenities that Durango currently offers its amazing citizens and the tens of thousands of people who visit this small mountain town every year. Please vote yes on 1A, the investment is worth it.

– Joe Lloyd, Durango

City acts like kid in a candy store
03/07/2019

To the editor,

City officials have abdicated their obligation to the taxpayers of Durango to be fiscally responsible stewards of public monies and take care of the basic needs of our community. After increasing our water and sewer rates to some of the highest in Colorado, if not the nation, the message now is that if we don’t pass the 1A sales tax increase they will simply quit maintaining our streets.

Seriously? Of course we want our streets maintained! City officials are trying to turn this vote into a referendum on street maintenance just like they tried to turn last November’s vote on ballot issue 2A into a referendum on whether you supported the police department or not. Speaking of which, why are our men and women in blue who put their lives on the line for us now being left out in the cold? Is filling potholes more important than a new police station?

We expect our elected officials and city employees to act like responsible adults and live within the budget they have available just like we have to do at home. But it seems that most city projects come in at a much higher cost than anticipated. The city has $12 million to build less than a mile of trail to Oxbow Preserve including a $3.4 million bridge over 32nd Street, but we don’t have any money for the police department? Seriously, who is making these decisions and are they in the best interest of the whole community?

The city manager prioritizes lawn mowing over snow removal in the central business district. Again, seriously? This isn’t just a budget issue, it is also a public safety issue. To say that you’ve run out of money for snow removal for the cash cow downtown business district would be like the firefighters on the 416 Fire last summer saying halfway through the fire fight that we’re sorry,  but we went over budget so we’re packing up and we’re out of here – good luck!

On the April ballot, the city could have at least put the 2005 1⁄4 cent sales tax for open space up to a vote for reallocation to infrastructure to show taxpayers that they are serious about balancing all of the needs of our community while striving to live within their $92 million per year budget.

I love open space but how much more do we need especially if Durango taxpayers are paying for this when there are more pressing needs in our community? We already have the 1.7 million acre San Juan National Forest as well as BLM land like Animas Mountain, and Bodo and Perins Peak state wildlife areas, abundant undeveloped Southern Ute Indian Tribal lands, Horse Gulch, Overend and Dalla mountain parks, and Ewing Mesa.

I believe Barb Bell summed up the sentiment of a lot of Durango voters in her Dec. 8, 2018 op-ed in the Durango Herald regarding the failure of ballot issue 2A last November:

“Why, when General Fund revenue has increased by over $12 million from 2012 to 2019, wasn’t someone planning and saving for needed infrastructure? What kind of management team constantly overlooks the need to prepare for a new sewer plant, a new police station, road maintenance and water line maintenance? These are easily anticipated expenses. It is your job to hire a qualified manager and to oversee the financial well-being of the city. City Council approved annual budgets, determined priorities, and has set this wicked problem in motion.”

Bell personally found it distressing that in 2015, City Council encouraged the extension of the Parks and Rec sales tax while choosing not to share information about the pending increase in water/sewer/recycling and construction of a new sewer plant. People are feeling blindsided and misled she said.

The City is acting like a big-eyed kid in the candy store who can’t believe that his parents won’t give him any more money to buy candy because he needs new shoes to walk to school but he keeps crying for more candy anyway! It is time for our city officials to grow up, act like the responsible adults we thought we elected, and be accountable stewards of taxpayer money rather than always crying for more!

Please Vote NO on ballot issue 1A.

– David McHenry, United for Durango’s Future, Durango