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October 26, 2012
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Vail Daily letters to the editor

Supports ObamaPresident Obama has accomplished so much for America and for Americans, and he deserves to be re-elected. Think about what our country was like in 2008, after eight years of the last Republican administration. The banking industry was collapsing. Our national economy was in free fall. The American auto industry was about to shut down. A needless war in Iraq was raging. Osama bin Laden was still leading al-Qaida in its war against the U.S. People were losing their jobs all over. And our country had a huge federal deficit. Few presidents have had to face such demanding challenges. President Obama took on those challenges and has acted with tremendous leadership. We all can be very proud of the president's record, and we are all enjoying the benefits. He shored up the banking industry; saved the American auto industry, and now the U.S. auto industry is number one in the world again; created a stimulus program that has kept our country from a second Great Depression, while helping renew America's infrastructure of roads and bridges; ended the war in Iraq; decimated the leadership of al-Qaida around the world; and Osama bin Laden has been killed.The latest unemployment numbers are showing excellent improvement. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8 percent. Housing prices have rebounded 9.5 percent nationally in the past year, and the housing collapse is history. Annual federal government spending increases have been held to their lowest in the last 60 years. Private sector jobs in America have grown by over 5.2 million since 2010, even while we see Europe's economy shrinking and growth slowing in China and India. As a direct result of President Obama's leadership, manufacturing employment has surged by more than 500,000 jobs and our U.S. auto industry once again is the world leader. President Obama has had significant legislative accomplishments, too, including the passage of the historic Affordable Care Act, providing better health care for all Americans; implemented Wall Street reform; the successful stimulus law; and also repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell." President Obama is a statesman, a proven leader and an excellent president who cares about all Americans. Please vote for President Obama on Nov. 6. Betsy Hendrickson AvonTrails, rails, classroomsMany thanks to Scott Miller and the Vail Daily for the Oct 17 article on the Railroad Stop No. 13 (Eaton) historic log home preservation being slated for the preserve. That has a nice ring to it, but nature-vested education, history, railroads and ranching are not the only byproducts on that kitchen table. It is sound government(s) making wise decisions and looking forward 100 years. With the current political topic of open space, all too often a person judges government spending based on "What do I get out of it right now?" rather than "What can I put into it for the next generation?" As Eagle County Commissioner Peter Runyon said at the Board of Commissioners' approval meeting, "Edwards Metro now has something to put their hat on." The 10-room log home, over 100 years old, had to have put a lot of meals on the table for more than just the predecessors of Beaver Creek, Cordillera, and the railroad and stagecoach passengers. We don't have a perfect chain of title on who owned the cabin back to the one swinging the broad ax on the Douglas fir, but we do know who will own the cabin going forward 100 years: Eagle County residents.If you Google "Registered Historic Structures in Eagle County," you initially think MSN blocked your browser. There are barely a few, and less open to the public. Looking toward Eagle, few people know that the Eagle Welcome Center & Museum is a landmark collection of historic cabins and barns of history around Eagle. The town of Eagle and the Eagle County Historical Society bend over backwards to keep the center afloat with funding, donations, volunteers and many special people. For obvious reasons, historic structures are needy and take ongoing maintenance, public participation and donations of sorts. Just like open space, one option for the Stop No. 13 Cabin was to let it just get sold and loaded on a truck to Delta County for someone else's collection and use. Eventually, this cabin will undergo structural improvements to allow it to be public suitable and ADA accessible.Behind wise government that doesn't bend to someone trying to get elected on a promise of a repeal of forward thinking, I would like to thank the extensive professional staff behind Eagle County government that doesn't get mentioned. This project would not have been brought to fruition without the Planning, Attorney's, Building, Environmental, Engineering, Clerk and Recorder and Community Development departments' quick actions and, of course, Cliff Simonton. With continued support and donations, there is also hope that the Stop No.13 Historic Log Home will be on the list of the Colorado Register of Historic Places. Thanks to the Eagle County Historical Society and Kathy Heicher for their support.Vern L. Brock EagleSupports fire taxI'm an owner and resident of the Chambertin condos in Avon. On May 28, I lost everything I own in a devastating fire that consumed the entire building I lived in.I understand the consequences of the possibility of fire station closures. If the Avon fire station had been closed that day, my neighbors to the east could have easily lost everything they have worked for, as well.I want Eagle River Fire to be able to keep all of its stations open every day of every week of every year, because I want the security of knowing those firefighters will be there if I need them. I also understand that if they close two fire stations, my insurance premium will sky rocket, and in the long run, cost me more than I would have paid for the mill levy. I'm voting "yes" on 5A.Right now, Eagle River Fire regularly implements temporary station closures because there isn't enough money to pay overtime to fill shifts for sick or injured firefighters. Eagle River Fire depends heavily on property taxes for its revenue (90 percent of Eagle River Fire's revenue has historically come from property taxes), and property values have dropped very dramatically in our area.The Citizens Campaign for 5A is a local group that also supports the mill levy, and the campaign website has a monthly and annual cost breakdown for 5A. Based on my home's actual value, I've come up with a list of comparably priced items that I could probably do without each month. Alternately, these are items that I spend money on each month and don't think twice about: monthly Netflix subscription, one bottle of wine, a round of beers at my favorite watering hole, an iTunes album.What Eagle River Fire is asking for isn't much. What Eagle River Fire is offering the community in return is priceless in many ways. Don't wait until it's too late to support your local fire department. It's your choice, and your safety on the line.And yes, I am writing this from a friend's computer because I haven't even replaced mine from the fire in May.Yes on 5A.Kevin Walsh AvonFor LaymanJeff Layman, community manager for Eagle-Vail, has been instrumental in making significant improvements to Eagle Vail in a cost-effective way. I believe he will use the same talents as county commissioner. Roger KleenDad would be disgustedMy name is Ramon Ed Billeaud Jr. I have worked in Eagle County for the past 15 years. My father, Ramon E. Billeaud, may he rest in peace, was for many years an active and loyal member of the National Federation of Independent Business, and played a prominent role in it, due to his hard work, intelligence and popularity among your members, as their records will surely attest.Above all else, my father was a man of unassailable integrity and fairness. I remember many discussions with him when I, as a young person, was always reassured that he, and men like himself, fair-minded and honorable men, would put aside personal differences and partisanship if those things ever stood between them and the doing of what was right. I have seen him do this on many occasions when he would bring out the best in people, convince them to leave behind the negative aspects of their feelings and unite with others of different views, who he had likewise encouraged for the greater good of them all - and always in the name of fairness and the American principles of freedom, compromise, shared sacrifice and shared prosperity.So I must say, as a person who knew him like only a son can know a father, that he would be aghast, offended and completely opposed to what I have just learned about the National Federation of Independent Business's conference call, wherein one political candidate, in this case, Mr. Romney, was allowed to propagate the notion that bosses should effectively and in many cases, literally, intimidate their employees into voting for him! This is indefensibly, inarguably wrong!Sirs, you dishonor not only the memory of the wonderful man who was my father, at least as far as his many years of service to your organization is concerned, but also bring shame and dishonor upon yourselves and your once-patriotic ideals. You have, by this blatantly un-American, anti-democratic and partisan escapade, squandered all of the hard-earned integrity and principles of fairness, which my father had strived so hard for so many years to preserve in your association. He is no longer here, sadly, so I will say on his behalf, with the belief in every fiber of my being that he would say likewise, this is wrong, despicably wrong, and you should be very, very ashamed of yourselves. And although I am not a Democrat but a registered independent, I could never cast a vote for a candidate who himself, personally, has engaged in voter intimidation, as Mr. Romney so clearly has. To him I would say, Mr. Romney, you own many things, but you do not own your employees, nor their right to vote for whom they choose.Ramon Ed Billeaud Jr.These calls suckI think it is appalling that the very politicians who have protected us from annoying telemarketing and computer-generated sales calls calls have exempted themselves from the Federal Trade Commission's National Do Not Call Registry. The National Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency. It is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and state law enforcement officials. Apparently, politicians, political action committees and advocacy organizations believe their self-serving messages are so vital that legislation specifically enacted to protect Americans only applies to others whose messages are not nearly as important as their own. Do they really believe these robo-generated messages change anyone's vote? I am receiving eight to 15 calls per day that interrupt my work, interrupt my dinner and interrupt my right to privacy. The right to privacy isn't directly mentioned in the Constitution, but the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is a fundamental liberty, deserving protection because privacy is implied in the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth amendments (due process clause).Robert Kurlander EdwardsFor fire taxMy letter is one of many in support of ballot measure 5A. I'm asking that you vote "yes" to keep all of Eagle River Fire Protection District's stations open 24/7/365! This mill levy is crucial for all of us to protect our homes, health, landand property. The Eagle River Fire Protection has literally been a lifesaver in my husband's life and my own, and I want to know they will continue to respond to your emergency calls and ours. Two days after we moved into our rental property in Edwards, we called 911 because our CO2 detectors went off. The firefighters quickly responded and did a toxicity screen throughout the house while paramedics ensured us we didn't exhibit signs of poisoning. Eagle River Fire Protection District gave us the all-clear. It may seem like a simple response, but it gave us peace of mind knowing we had fire protection so nearby.Then, on April 16, my husband was driving to work and hit a slush puddle on eastbound I-70 near Avon. His truck rolled four times and landed in the center median at 7:30 a.m. Thank God a lady in a red car stopped and dialed 911 after witnessing the rollover. Two men also stopped and stayed with my husband until Eagle River firefighters arrived. The response required two Eagle River Fire Protection District engines, which responded from the Avon and Edwards stations. The odds of survival were not great, but it didn't matter to the firefighters who responded. They cut him out of the vehicle, which allowed him to receive critical medical attention. My husband always diligently called me every morning at 11:30 a.m. That morning I didn't get the call. Instead, the hospital called me at 12:30 p.m. to tell me what happened and that my husband had been to the emergency room and eventually had surgery because of the extent of his injuries. The people that helped my husband that day, who chose professions of service to others, are the most awesome people in the world. They put their own lives at risk to save ours. Sure, we live in a small community, but their oath is worldwide. We all benefit from their dedication. After his release, I drove him to meet the men and women who saved his life. They were beyond excited to see my husband alive - not to mention standing and walking. They were also thrilled to simply be thanked for their service. This probably doesn't happen enough! These firefighters love their jobs. The wage they earn seems small in comparison to the huge responsibilities they take on. We need to support them, just like they support us. Don't take these firefighters or Eagle River Fire Protection District for granted. I wondered how else I could thank the men and women of Eagle River Fire Protection District for what they did for my husband and me. And then I heard that they might be permanently closing stations, including the one near us in Edwards, if this mill levy doesn't pass.We all have a chance to thank Eagle River Fire Protection in a big way - by voting "yes" on 5A.Acknowledge that these men and women go to work each day with one goal in mind - to protect lives and property. To this day, I cannot see or speak to a firefighter without tears in my eyes, thinking of all that I could have lost without their skilled assistance.We all have a lot to lose if we don't vote for this measure. Please vote "yes" on 5A. Trina A. Harvey EdwardsFor MinerviniJohn is the right person to help guide Avon though the next four years. He has shown disciplined decision-making as a key person on the Planning and Zoning Commission. He has the background and understanding required to face, head on, the controversial situations in Avon. John is very good at analyzing situations, seeking input, outlining alternatives and seeking consensus to resolve issues.John has the skill to manage the coming transition from tough times to sustainable growth. This will take advantage of his experience to understand and manage our finances responsibly. The last two years, he has worked effectively to bridge communications gaps between stakeholders in Avon and demonstrated this during the last two years as a planning and zoning commissioner.John readily participates in many volunteer efforts throughout the valley. He has proven during his term on the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission that he understands the challenges ahead of Avon and is prepared to make our town what it can be. He will be a positive influence on the council and represent our entire town. Phil Struve AvonAgainst ObamaIn response to Monday's letter listing out reasons to support Obama, David Le Vine began with the thought that President Obama should be re-elected because he "understands the problems of our vast middle class." I would not disagree in that I believe the president understands there are problems with the middle class, but I do not believe he fully understands how they were caused and certainly not how to fix them. He has had four years and has only exacerbated nearly every problem the middle class, and most of America, have had.David begins his argument stating that Mr. Obama was born and raised in a middle-class family and attended public schools. This is incorrect. Barack H. Obama was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, and Menteng, Jarkarta, Indonesia, by his Caucasian mother and her parents. He resided in affluent neighborhoods and attended Punahou, the elite private school on the island (tuition now $20,000 a year). This would not be a typical American middle-class background by any stretch of the imagination.He then, when working in Chicago to "assist those in poverty" as Mr. Le Vine asserts, lived in the famous Hyde Park neighborhood.Mr. Le Vine goes on to say that Obama understands the needs and nuances of foreign policies. Bowing to our adversaries, telling Vladimir Putin via his puppet that he'll have more flexibility once he's re-elected, and ignoring the repeated requests for holding - let alone increasing - security at the American Embassy in Benghazi after repeated attacks throughout 2012 only to witness, deny, misconstrue and muddle the terrorist attack on that embassy does not show an understanding of foreign policy. This is evidence of the epic failures of his foreign policies.He has not been tough on sanctions with Iran and has repeatedly disrespected our relationship with Israel, claiming the changing of boundaries that would leave them indefensible in the face of those in Iran and elsewhere, whose mission in life it is to obliterate Israel and anyone else who defies them.Unemployment is at nearly 8 percent, only counting those that have searched for work in the last four weeks. The reality is there are millions more Americans who have given up. The employment-population ratio, which measures the percent of the population that has a job, is at 58 percent, the worst it has been in 30 years. Record levels of those on welfare and on food stamps is not a sign of a better life for Americans. It is a giant billboard-sized sign of further struggle. The 3.6 million more women in poverty since Obama took office is not a sign of a president who cares about women. It is a screaming, shouting sign of one whose policies have failed women. A health care bill that I have personally witnessed raise my insurance costs and take billions from Social Security is not a sign of a president who is helping our citizens and health. It is not "tweaking" Social Security. It is bankrupting it even sooner than it was going to be. A continuation of current policies would not improve, but further bury us. We are not "on our way," David.It is my opinion that Mr. Le Vine and so many Americans in 2008 have projected onto Barack Obama the qualities of a man that most would want to lead this country. A man representing all of us, to unite us, who will seek to bring about positive change and further the progress we have made over the past 100-plus years.How well do you know him? The reality is Barack Obama is not that man. Aside from the polarizing, divisive stance and a near endless list of failures by this administration that so many of us have simply tuned out after one too many campaign ads and debate jabs, ask yourself, what is his plan for the next four years? How will it be different and better from the last? President Obama has not given one because he knows he can not run on his failed economic and foreign policies, and so name-calling, story spinning and scare tactics ensue.Mr. Le Vine closes by noting that "many of us were pleased and proud to elect a black man to be our president." Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated that he dreamed his children will one day "live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." To elect a man on the basis of his ethnicity in order to make yourself feel better is entirely at odds with this dream. What is the content of his character? How well do you know him?Silvia ClaretteStill undecided?Believe it or not, after watching the debates, some people are more unclear than ever about which candidate to support. While I find this incomprehensible, I am still forced to accept that many people feel this way. The source of this confusion comes from our media that claim to be unbiased but aren't. They never have been and are only getting worse, as many "journalists" now blatantly take sides in political contests.Mainstream media have repeatedly proven they cannot be trusted, yet most people still trust them, usually for very silly reasons. Most people do not have the time to read and research the minutia to discern the truth for themselves and there is no mechanism to police fraudulent journalism. Our only real fact checkers are other journalists, but most are all singing from the same sycophantic hymnal. Self-appointed "bipartisan" fact-checkers still express their own bias, and some are worse than the journalists.In reference to politicians, I often hear people say, "They all lie." Well, Candy Crowley certainly did, but few of the 59.2 million people who watched that debate ever heard her retraction the next day. As the debate's moderator, Crowley had no business intervening on behalf of either candidate, let alone interrupting Gov. Romney in the middle of his response! Crowley should have been immediately fired and barred from journalism forever (and Dan Rather should have been indicted for fraud, but that's another story). When a journalist publicly shares the thrill he feels about a political candidate, he is no longer an objective journalist, just another biased hack using his bully pulpit to campaign for his personal agenda. Chris Matthews should have been fired and barred from journalism years ago. How is it that anyone still allows themselves to trust such people? Friends and neighbors, regardless of political affiliation, you know this is true. No one disputes that Obama inherited a tanking economy. That inheritance came not only from the previous administration, but also two years of decisions by a Democratic party-controlled House and Senate! Keep in mind that Congress controls the power of the purse. If George W. Bush is to be faulted for anything, it is his failure to exercise his executive veto power. Please recall that Bush also inherited a tanking economy. The "tech bubble" burst before the end of the Clinton administration. Bush also inherited a weakened military and eviscerated intelligence services from Clinton's eight years. Any intel we might have received, alerting us to potential threats, obviously fell on deaf ears or was intentionally ignored, resulting in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, just eight months into the first term of George W. Bush. Please recall that instead of blaming the previous administration, Bush dealt with it like an adult.Many are eager to blame Bush for all of Obama's problems (especially Obama). Who then shall we blame for the recent attacks on our Benghazi consulate that resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans? And if Obama is re-elected, who then will he blame for this new inheritance?After death threats were made on the ambassador and the consulate, 13 security requests were submitted to the Department of State, and all were denied. Why would anyone in their right mind deny such requests, and why should our embassies-consulates have to request additional protection, let alone 13 times, especially in one of the most dangerous regions in the world, especially on the 11-year anniversary of 9/11? Where was Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton? Is no one culpable for anything? No one in this administration takes responsibility for anything (except the successes of others). They are busy blaming each other and anyone else they can think of. These clueless, inept people must be held responsible for these deaths, not re-elected. Osama bin Laden was captured and killed as a direct result of the policies and decisions of Bush, including intelligence gathered from enhanced interrogation techniques against which Obama campaigned. President Obama was unaware that SEAL Team 6 was ready to move on their target until he was retrieved from a golf outing, and now he takes credit for a successful mission made possible only by the decisions and intelligence techniques he previously condemned. The current administration refuses to classify the Fort Hood shooting as an act of terrorism. They resist any suggestion that terrorism exists and are even loath to speak the word! This is stupid and suicidal. Instead of acknowledging reality, the Obama administration has classified the Fort Hood shooting as "workplace violence," thereby denying the victims' families the full support they need and deserve. Everyone should feel disgusted by this administration's treatment of our service men and women and their families.By the way, Fort Hood is another one of those "Gun-Free Zones," where shooting massacres have occurred despite the fact that they're supposed to be gun-free. You'd think by now the anti-gun legislators might begin to realize that only law-abiding citizens abide by their silly laws, criminals and terrorists don't (and never will). Then there's the "Fast and Furious" gun-running operation resulting in the deaths of U.S. Border Patrol agents, as well as many Mexican citizens. The Obama administration's cover-up demands the investigation and indictment of Attorney General Eric Holder, and responsibility placed somewhere at the top of this administration. The buck stops there.Every decision from the Obama administration has been terrible, several resulting in American deaths. They refuse to learn from their own mistakes as they place blame on everyone but themselves. Obama promised to be a one-term president if he failed to turn the economy around and cut the deficit in half. Make it so.The entire Obama administration is incompetent and corrupt, duplicitous and dangerous. None deserve to serve another term in public office, but if there is any justice left in this country, many of them will likely be serving extended terms in prison.Perhaps more important than voting for Mitt Romney, we must also resolve to retire Harry Reid and all of his Democrat cronies in the U.S. Senate for their wanton dereliction of duty and reckless disregard for the Constitution. Passing an annual budget is not an option. The decision before us is not that difficult. Put the adults back in charge. Vote Republican. Buddy Shipley EdwardsGame of life"Hu-mil-i-ty: a modest view of one's own importance; humbleness." It is interesting that the noun, humility, has a synonym with a base word used in the verb, humbling: "decisively defeat (another team or competitor, typically one that was previously thought to be superior)."In sports, we are given the opportunity to act with humility when victorious, or challenged with accepting the humbling experience of a defeat - both invaluable lessons for productive personal and professional lives.As a sports enthusiast, I was impressed with Coach Ramunno's humility in the victory against Battle Mountain High School. Unlike the winning coach last year, Eagle Valley High School played the entire team, especially in the second half of the game. This is a characteristic of a good coach and mentor that teaches values that will serve long after the Friday night lights are turned off.Nevertheless, I am more impressed with the character of the Battle Mountain seniors -Olle, Claymon and Bowman. Few of us have or will experience the contrast of their two seasons -last year's humility opportunity and this year's humbling challenge. I am blown away by your courage to compete! Although you have not enjoyed success on the scoreboard this season, you have - how was it stated -punched adversity in the face.Congratulations on a successful season and more important, football career at Battle Mountatin (BMHS, 3 versus EVHS, 1).Tim LyBarger Avon


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The VailDaily Updated Oct 26, 2012 08:04PM Published Oct 26, 2012 08:00PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.