Soap Box

Jones is backed by shadowy money

To the editor,

Paul Jones claims to be the “independent” running for Barbara McLachlan’s seat, saying that he’s never received special interest money, just an endorsement, from Unite Colorado.

This is false. Jones has received at least $133,000 from Unite Colorado, $129,000 of which has come in since mid-September. Unlike most special interest groups, who work without coordination, Unite Colorado has basically managed his campaign – messaging, robocalls, all TV, radio and Facebook ads, yard signs, fliers, canvassing, even “town halls,” which they attend. The campaign is currently under investigation by the Secretary of State’s office to determine illegal activity.

Please push back to help keep our excellent legislator Barb McLachlan in office. Canvass, write an editor letter, hand flyers to neighbors with Jones signs. Let’s make it happen for Southwest Colorado!

– Jean Walter, Chair, La Plata County Democratic Party

City can re-allocate parks & rec tax

To the editor,

Please consider voting no on the City of Durango ballot issue 2A $200 million tax increase. There are other avenues that the city can explore to fund infrastructure and capital improvements that they can bring back to the voters in the April 2019 municipal election. The sky is not falling and this is not a vote against our police department as some would have you believe. This is a vote to reign in city government and require our city officials to be fiscally responsible with our hard-earned money rather than spend it like a drunken sailor!

Durango City Councilor Dick White emailed me recently and stated “I recall infrastructure investments as a campaign issue when I first ran in 2011.” So here we are seven years later, and the city is only now addressing this important problem? Where have city officials been all this time, especially considering that they promoted the 1⁄2 cent sales tax for parks and recreation in 2015? During the 2015 election, city officials could have instead promoted using a 1⁄4 cent sales tax for parks and recreation and 1⁄4 cent for infrastructure and capital improvements. They can also ask voters to reallocate the 1⁄4 cent sales tax for open space that passed during the 2005 election.

I have nothing against open space but how much more do we need especially, if Durango taxpayers are paying for it 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; Bodo and Perins Peak state wildlife areas; abundant undeveloped Southern Ute Indian Tribal lands; Horse Gulch; Overend and Dalla mountain parks; and now Ewing Mesa.

A re-allocation of the 2005 1⁄4 cent sales tax for open space and 1⁄4 cent of the 2015 1⁄2 cent sales tax for parks and recreation would provide the city $5 million annually for infrastructure and buildings with no tax increase at all. Vote no on 2A and let city officials come back with a better plan than a $200 million tax increase that is only going to make Durango a more expensive place to live than it already is.

– David McHenry, Durango

Vote for the climate, vote for Dems

To the editor,

Global warming acts like steroid injections for the climate. Each decade, sometimes year, brings increases in the frequency and cost of natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes.

The 2015 Paris Accord commits nations to voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of limiting average global warming to no more than 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial levels and aiming for just 1.5°C (2.7°F) to minimize accumulating damage.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change articulates the benefits and challenges of reaching the goal. Doing so would significantly reduce all impacts, from sea level rise to food insecurity. However, it “would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and (sic) infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems.” The efforts must have “unprecedented” scope, though not necessarily speed, and involve “deep emissions reductions in all sectors.”

The Paris commitments to date are inadequate to achieve the necessary emissions restrictions, so governments must redouble their efforts to limit emissions, and also invest in atmospheric carbon dioxide removal.

With one exception, every nation on earth subscribed to the Paris Accord. Tragically, because the current Administration is withdrawing, the lone holdout is the United States, the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter.

How much we, our children and theirs suffer from the growing impacts of climate change depends on the actions we take now. Some of those actions must be political.

Because dogmatic Republican denial of human-caused climate change blocks U.S. action, the only way to have our country join the world in combatting the clear and present danger of climate change is to remove Republicans from political power.

Vote Democratic!

– Richard White, Durango

Unger will tackle health care costs

To the editor,

When we talk about the cost of health care in America, we need to consider the toll our too-expensive healthcare system places on millions of families. Chances are, each of us has a friend or neighbor who has foregone health insurance in order to pay their mortgage, or who has been unable to send their child to college because someone in their family needs expensive health treatment. Medical bankruptcies are unique to America among the developed world. The strain our broken system is putting on families should be unacceptable to everyone, no matter what our political persuasions.

Unfortunately, one side of the health-care “debate” is not willing to have that conversation. I hear talking points and vague “free market” solutions, but I’ve been hearing that for years, and the problem gets worse! No one seems to want to have the tough conversations necessary to truly solve this problem, and give some relief to struggling families.

Senate candidate Guinn Unger is different. Guinn has an amazing understanding of health care, and I respect his firm convictions about the ultimate need for a national, cheaper and better, Medicare-for-All system. But until we work out the bigger picture on the national level, Guinn is not content to sit idly: he is running in order to find ways to lower costs and improve care for all western Coloradans as soon as possible.

Guinn Unger is the only candidate with the experience and knowledge to tackle this immense issue – he deserves your vote!

– Liza Tregillus, Durango

Get with the times – yes on 2A

To the editor,

The notion that the proposed city sales tax increase of a half-cent and the accompanying 5.4 mill levy increase is going to fleece the citizens of Durango is patently absurd. Taxes in Colorado and Durango are extremely low; and even with these increases they’ll still be extremely low.

Does anyone really believe that an extra nickel is going to send everyone to Farmington to buy shoes or groceries? Does anyone remember that 1 million tourists visit annually and that they love to buy stuff which contributes to our city’s well being?

I want to live in a city where the streets are taken care of, where city employees can work efficiently and with the latest technology, and where arts, cultural and recreation programs are valued and funded. If you want a bare-bones town, please, do yourself a favor and move to Delta or Montrose or Aztec.

So-called “Citizens for Durango’s Future” call to vote no proves true this axiom: “It’s easier to burn a bridge than to build a bridge.” They should call themselves “Citizens Stuck in the Past.”

The city has budgeted no money in 2019 to fix any streets. Roads that aren’t maintained only become dangerous and create ongoing liabilities. That’s unacceptable. Durango has voted for the future by approving great

civic projects: the recreation center, Florida Road, the ice rink, a first-class library, trails and a modern sewage-treatment system. We can do it again.

I’m voting for the future: Yes on 2A.

– Joe Lewandowski, Durango