Vail Daily letters to the editor
Ryan Summerlin November 1, 2012
How could you?
Mr. Rogers, last Friday, you came out supporting President Obama for re-election. Considering the latest information that has come out regarding the situation in Benghazi, Libya, I have a very difficult time understanding how you can support this man for president.
The most recent information indicates that the leadership in the White House chose not to provide the security requested, and when the consulate came under fire, they refuse support to those fighting in the Benghazi compound.
The next day the president, along with his surrogates Jay Carney, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, lied to the American people, blaming the attack on a video rather than calling it a terrorist attack as they knew it was.
The president has yet to answer any questions of substance on what happened in Benghazi. Leadership is all about taking responsibility for your actions.
As the president of the United States and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, President Obama showed a lack of leadership when the stakes were at the highest.
When Americans in Libya called for help, they got Clint Eastwood’s empty chair. As a career Army officer, I learned that when the shooting starts brave men move toward the fire while cowards run away.
We saw this on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City and again on Sept. 11, 2012, when Tyronne Woods and Glenn Doherty ran toward the fire.
What did the president do? He ran away from the fire, going to Las Vegas to conduct a fundraiser.
America needs leadership, and President Obama has failed to provide that leadership.
On the economic front, you say that you think that Mr. Obama is better suited to take us into the next four years.
He has had four years to overcome the “policies of his predecessor.” Yet his plan is simply more of the same – more debt, continued deficits of $1 trillion a year, more dependency, higher taxes, continued high unemployment and continued taxpayer dollars going into green energy sinkholes.
These policies will yield nothing more than an economy that will continue to flounder at less than 2 percent growth.
The next four years under an Obama administration will mean a weaker economy and more threats to Americans and our allies. Iran is four years closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon and with four more years of Obama’s policies, they will achieve their goal.
This is not what America needs. We need bold leadership.
Mitt Romney knows how to create jobs and grow a business, and Mitt Romney will do his best to protect all Americans at home and abroad.
Mitt Romney will be a president who supports and defends the Constitution and Americans at risk instead of being a celebrity-in-chief more interested in campaigning and spending time with Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Support fire department
Why is support for 5A so vital to the community at large? As a local firefighter, I see first-hand the effects on our residents and guests when local first responders spring into action in the midst of an emergency. All first responders work together to mitigate emergencies, and firefighters are pivotal in this role.
A “yes” vote on 5A will ensure that highly trained, professional firefighters are available to respond to you and your loved ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
If 5A doesn’t pass, two of the five Eagle River Fire stations will permanently close in 2014. This will result in longer response time and during large scale incidents an initial shortage of personnel. This does not bode well when the objective of the initial response is to keep a fire contained to the room of origin or prevent a wildland fire from reaching a size beyond the capabilities of the county resources.
Your Eagle River firefighters not only are highly trained professionals at fire attack, but also play a pivotal role in motor vehicle accidents. When we arrive on scene, we can provide emergency medical care, extract you from your vehicle, and rescue you from a raging river or icy pond. We also happily provide public education to local schools and businesses, including fire extinguisher training.
My coworkers and I take pride in the high level of service that we provide to the community at large. We also foster cooperative relationships with the other agencies within the county so we can work together in an emergency for the greater good of you, the citizen. Closing two of Eagle River Fire’s stations would affect the service level throughout the entire county because the members of fire departments, ambulance districts, and the police work together on large-scale incidents.
Lastly, I would like to clear the air regarding salaries of the employees of Eagle River Fire. The pay for a firefighter, the individual who risks their lives to enter a burning building or perform CPR on your family member, is earning just shy of $14 per hour ($39,000 a year before taxes). In comparison, a firefighter with the same qualifications and skills working for Denver Fire Department would make $74,000 for the first year, with yearly increases after that.
The employees of Eagle River Fire have not received any pay increases in the past four years and have had a reduction in benefits during that time period. I did not dedicate my life to be a firefighter to become rich. I dedicated my life as a firefighter to serve this community in its time of need. My fellow firefighters and I want to keep serving you at a high professional level.
In order to maintain a consistent level of professional service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, vote “yes” on 5A.
Jack Van Ens likes the federal government. He wants it big. He says it protects our rights. That is true, but only up to a point. After that point, it becomes oppressive. That’s why we have a republic, with divided powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
We are supposed to have state and local governments deal with many public problems, and the federal government staying out of it. That’s what the 10th Amendment is about.
Many, Like Van Ens, think the best source of relief for problems lies with the federal government. But they don’t show how people who are federal officials are smarter or more honest than those at the state and local level, or in the private sector.
One thing the federal government can do is spend money. Because it owns the printing presses, and because it is not forbidden to engage in deficit financing. Many candidates who run for federal office promise gifts to a growing part of the population, in exchange for votes. They claim they can pay for it and eliminate the deficit by taxing the rich a little bit more. Their numbers don’t add up. The federal government is broke and getting broker.
Some other recent reading for me has been two book reviews in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal. “Tombstone” and “The Great Famine In China,” 1958-1962, deal with Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which intended to put China ahead of the United States and the Soviet Union.
The best and the brightest had a lot of neat ideas about how to improve things. It was all managed from the top. This sounds like how Van Ens would like to see our society ruled. A lot of force was necessary to make the unenlightened go along with the program. It wound up costing 45 million lives, lost to starvation and other privation.
Lord Acton put it well: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What Van Ens is promoting is Chicago politics on a national scale. This has the effect of corrupting politicians and the citizenry. As Peter Boyles said, there are some who work for a living … and others who vote for a living.
For the 30 percenters
As a member of the 99 percenters, I was quite surprised to learn I am also a 47 percenter and now according to our county commissioner, I’m a 30 percenter in Eagle County. The 30 percenters, according to the commissioner, are the real locals. The 70 percenters are the second-home owners.
The 30 percenters are asked to pay higher taxes, as we hand our money over to ranches through the open space tax, along with conservation easement credits that reduce the ranchers’ property tax burden.
Not only do we face depressed home values, depressed wages, higher fuel cost, higher food cost, and taxing districts continually asking for more money, we have county commissioners seeing us as percentages without consequences.
Just as Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair, we have county commissioners speaking to empty second homes and empty foreclosed homes.
This has been the issue with the county commissioners and the special interest groups for years. They have a history of representing their own interests, special interest groups and those of the 70 percenters. They see taxing the second-home owners (the 70 percenters) and their revenue source without the ramification to the 30 percenters.
It has been interesting to watch the special interest groups scrambling this election year. I don’t recall reading in the Vail Daily as many letters and articles by the special interest groups trying to justify the way they spend our money.
The Colorado Office of the State Auditor issued a Conservation Easement Tax Credit Report in September 2012. The report says the conservation easement program is riddled with fraud and abuses. Some of the problems include the inability to ensure that donated lands are actually intended for conservation purposes. Tax credits are given despite lack of appropriate documentation, despite improper appraisals, verifying as to whether the tax credit was for wildlife protection or land preservation for recreation.
The Eagle County open space tax is directly linked to the conservation easement tax credit.
When taxes are reduced for a few, taxes are raised for the rest of us. Between 2000 and 2009, $640 million in tax credits have been claimed for over 925,000 acres in Colorado.
The Office of the State Auditor issued 12 recommendations for wholesale fixes and changes.
Why have the Eagle County commissioners not imposed an immediate moratorium on all conservation easements in order to protect the citizens of Eagle County?
Why have the county commissioners not imposed a moratorium until the recommendations are in place? Why are the special interest groups in such a hurry to complete their land deals?
The following link is to the report: http://www.leg.state.co.us/OSA/coauditor1.nsf/All/5F733A628FCF979A87257A94007374E8/$FILE/2171 percent20ConserEasemTaxCredit percent20092612 percent20KM.pdf
The citizens running for county commissioners are all fine and well-intentioned. I believe Jeff Layman and Courtney Holmes will represent the 30 percneters. I will vote for Jeff Layman and Courtney Holmes and ask my friends and neighbors in Eagle County (regardless of party affiliation) to vote for them.
All we are asking is that we are allowed to reconsider the open space tax.
From the beginning of Obama’s administration, Fox News and many rightwing journalists and local gurus, who we all know, have continued to bombard how the president has failed.
Four years and still at it! Now we have robo calls and those big cards jammed in our tiny mail boxes. The messages, blatantly misleading, blaming the president for everything, continue to this day.
Come on, fuel prices? They didn’t mention the Wall Street speculators predicting the prices.
Didn’t banks encourage employees to write up mortgages, with more points for them instead of a simple loan, and selling them to people who couldn’t afford them? They couldn’t resist messing with them to create derivatives, or how about flipping homes for profit?
These and many more things are blamed on the president. He has been admirable at withstanding the onslaught of the constant criticism of Sen. Mitch McConnell and others.
Locally, those who vehemently criticize the president really must break away from the steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Monica Crowley, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Michel Malkin, Carol Kalwa, to name a few, and broaden their views.
Listen to Colorado Public Radio, and check out Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” and her engaging interviews with many fascinating individuals and “Talk of the Nation” with interesting commentary and subjects; National Public Radio, which includes “Science Friday,” conducted by Ira Plato, also covering fascinating people and subjects.
On television you have PBS, channel 6 or 19. “The News Hour” has great coverage and on Friday sensible political discussion between David Brooks of The New York Times and Mark Shields of The Washington Post. Late evening there is Charlie Rose, who also interviews a broad spectrum of individuals (Dr. Steadman, for instance).
Locally, it is time to stop this political insanity, the constant use of derisive words against each other by writers who should really discuss their opinions rather than berating others with meaningless chatter. Then I think we all can get along and enjoy our beautiful mountains this winter.
Please vote, if you haven’t already, for Obama,
This election cycle I found myself “redistricted” into the 3rd Congressional District, along with the western chunk of Eagle County. I liked where I was before, but I’m adapting. With all the media attention primarily focused on the race for the White House, I really had to dig to find information on the candidates running for a seat in Congress.
Comparing voting records between Sal Pace, the Democrat challenger, and Scott Tipton, the Republican incumbent, was difficult because they serve at different levels of government.
But after checking Tipton’s voting record online (I used votesmart.org), my choice became obvious. In one of Tipton’s first votes cast as a freshman representative, he voted against a bill that would have required insurance companies to cover autism treatments. As a parent with an autistic child, that was a deal breaker.
But to be honest, Tipton is a Republican and part of an obstructionist Congress that has put party ahead of the country. He was probably going to disappoint me in many more ways, as his record quickly revealed. He did not even show up to vote for the 2010-11 budget.
He voted against the Affordable Care Act and then voted to repeal it. His votes are consistently against the environment and clean renewable energy, while at the same time supporting subsidies for oil companies. As if oil companies need subsidies.
His most recent vote was for the “Stop the War on Coal” Act. His party wages a war on women’s rights, but Tipton is worried about a 19th Century fossil fuel, nice.
He voted against a bill that would have prohibited federal funds to be used for NASCAR sponsorships and voted for a bill to defund National Public Radio. Federal funds for auto racing but not educational programming? This guy has two kids. Didn’t they ever watch Sesame Street? His priorities are not mine.
After checking Sal Pace’s voting record, I realized his priorities were more in line with mine. First of all, in 2009 he voted to require insurance companies operating in Colorado to provide coverage for autism treatments, making Colorado one of only a handful of states that did so at that time. He also voted to extend health benefits to domestic partners of state employees. He voted to increase Colorado’s renewable energy standards. And he voted to limit payday loan interest rates.
It seems to me Pace does a better job looking out for little people like me as opposed to big energy companies, like Tipton. I’m voting for Sal Pace. Political ads on both sides are deceptive, so check out voting records and see who you agree with. I hope it is Sal.
While recently driving out of Eagle before 8 a.m., I was taken, but not surprised, to see candidate Jon Stavney on the Highway 6 roundabout, waving his “Re-elect Jon Stavney” sign. It was a profound statement about his strong desire to continue serving the people of Eagle County.
The willingness to be there by himself, probably freezing, made me think that he believes in what he has done and what he wants to deliver through the same hard work he has shown in the past. There is much more to his set of qualifications that deserve your vote.
There is no better candidate for Eagle County commissioner than Jon Stavney! He possesses what no other candidate in this race, this cycle has: experience in governing. He can hit the road running from day one to use the knowledge gained from office and confronting issues that faced the county will translate into more efficient management and being able to get things done.
The personal connections Jon has made will further pave the way in getting things done and assist him in being a more effective leader.
His service on the Eagle Town Board of Trustees and as mayor for 10 years, added to the just completed four years as Eagle County commissioner for District 2, has prepared him very well to continue as a county administrator.
Eagle County will continue to face more financial problems and a host of other critical issues, both large and small, and it will demand the kind of expertise that only Jon has to guide us through it all.
Beyond the on-the-job experience, Jon has a fundamental strength of character, a passion and an enthusiasm for the things he does as commissioner which will serve us well in the county. Jon possesses a strong dedicated work ethic, a willingness to listen intently to all sides and issues, and the desire to be totally honest for the good of all the people, land and water that he represents. He only wants what is best!
The county is in a better place after his first four years in office. His long-running connection to the building industry will be extremely useful as our county tries to expand in education, recreation and tourism, commercial and retail, and medical and elderly infrastructure.
He will continue to be someone with a vision of where Eagle’s future lies and will lay the proper path to realize that vision. Jon will steer us on the right path toward a lifestyle and standard of living we all can enjoy here. He is both visible and involved with those issues and problems facing the county and his constituents.
He is kind, soft spoken, has a great sense of humor, tons of energy, and is always approachable. He will continue to be a good steward of the people while in office, so I therefore ask you to re-elect Jon Stavney for another term as Eagle County commissioner.
For fire tax
I’m voting yes on 5A based purely from a mother’s standpoint. I have two small children at home, and I have called 911 before and received a speedy response from Eagle River Fire Protection District. They are often the first responders to not just fire-related calls, but other emergency calls, including medical ones.
When your child is sick or injured, it’s pretty much the worst feeling in the world. Imagine that feeling, coupled with the knowledge that there may be no one to respond when you call 911. This may very well become a reality if 5A doesn’t pass.
Based on my home’s worth, what would it cost each month to ensure that Eagle River Fire will be there when I need them? Two boxes of Cheerios. A few coloring books. A bag of assorted Halloween candy. A 96-pack of Crayola crayons.
This is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that will come with knowing Eagle River Fire will be able to keep all of its stations open and respond if you or I need to call 911 in the future.
Especially with the recent confirmation that homeowners insurance will go up more if 5A doesn’t pass, I don’t want to take any chances.
My family is the most important thing to me, and I will pay a little more to ensure that they are safe and have a reliable fire protection that’s just a phone call away.
I hope it’s worth it to you, as well, because I want your family to have the same protection as mine.
Vote “yes” to ensure we’re all getting the fire protection we need!
There has been a lot of letters of support for Jill Ryan in the paper. But if you read many of them, you might come away with the impression that Jill is only concerned health care issues to the exclusion of everything else.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Jill understands the basic interplay between effectively overseeing the county and responsibly providing services to its citizens. There is not a single new candidate for Eagle County commissioner who has spent more time at the county meeting with department heads and staff than Jill has. Even though she worked at the county for years in her capacity as head of public health, she is doing her homework. Jill will hit the ground running.
Jill understands the complexity of our Colorado state- tax policy. And let me tell you. it is downright goofy at times. But it is the one we have to work with.
For example, several years ago I wanted to give Eagle County citizens a property tax rebate (as her opponent has suggested). But state law got in the way because if we do a rebate we must give back equally and proportionally to everyone who paid in. That means that if we wanted to rebate, say, $10,000,000, we would have to rebate $7,000,000 of it to people outside of Eagle County (who probably don’t need it) and only $3,000,000 would go to locals. Better to keep it in reserve and use it when the property value contracted.
Jill understands the balance between “smart” growth and an “approve anything” policy that would lead us to doubling and tripling our population, fracturing our quality of life.
Remember, we already have approvals on the books for a 50 percent increase of the total number of houses. That’s another way of saying that this slowdown in construction in the county is caused by a national downturn. It is not because there are not enough existing lots available to build on. There are plenty.
Jill understands that the county can do more to promote economic development but that there are limits on what can be done. A few of the things that the county can do and does do which Jill will continue to do are: promote and expand Eagle County Regional Airport with an eye toward international flights and bringing in larger longer range 767s; and work toward a more economically diverse economy that capitalizes on our strengths with the goal of bringing in higher-paying middle-class jobs.
I urge you to vote for Jill. She is the best choice for District 1.
Eagle County commissioner
Obama is a liar. He lied about Benghazi (now classified to hide the truth), he lied about “Fast and Furious” (evoked executive privilege), lied about health insurance cost, lied about unemployment rate, lied about losing his license to practice law. Obama’s administration and spokesman Bill Clinton are one big lie. Why did Michele Obama surrender her law license?
Glen R. Miller
of the 25th of October 2012, in the past 50 days our national debt rose from $16 trillion to $16.2 trillion ($4 billion per day).
What is it about broke that people just refuse to get? Aristotle said that a thing is what it is: A is A. You can choose to put your hands over your eyes, you can choose to plug your ears, but reality will not change.
We are broke. Our government can take everyone’s income and redistribute it for political gain until hell freezes over, but that will not change the fact that we are broke.
That reality will not change so long as we trust government to do what we can and should do ourselves. It is time to man and woman up and accept the truth.
It seems our government cannot implement meaningful solutions for serious issues due to the divisiveness in our political parties. The general negativity and infighting at the state and national level is more prevalent than I can ever remember.
These macro issues are likely to trickle into our valley and local government. We need leaders who can listen and communicate with all parties.
My recommendation is we elect leaders who are extremely competent in our local issues, are unwaveringly honest, and have the communication skills to make something positive happen.
Jeff Layman has had the opportunity to be involved and witness our county up close and personal. He has succeeded in every position he has held and has served with the utmost in integrity. Jeff is competent!
My knowledge of Jeff has been much more personal than professional. Fortunately he has not seen a need to deal with me as a cop. However, we have had many personal experiences that have allowed me to know him as a man. I have seen what is in his heart and how committed he is to this valley. Jeff is unwaveringly honest!
Jeff also possesses an uncommon amount of common sense. I believe he will be able to listen to all points of view and communicate a solution we can all be proud to implement.
I encourage all of us to use our precious right to vote next Tuesday. For County Commissioner I will vote for Jeff!
I participated in the 2012 Colorado Caucus at the precinct, county and state level as a delegate for the only honest candidate in the race, Democrat or Republican: Texas Rep. Ron Paul. This year, a small group of active and awake people won Eagle County for Ron Paul at the Colorado State Convention.
It’s time for more people to wake up and realize there is corruption at all levels of the major parties and it’s time to end it. Do you want more endless wars, more corporate bailouts and less freedom? TSA at the Spring Back to Vail pond skimming? Vote for the two major parties and that is what you’ll get! Freedom is a right and if we fail to exercise that right, it may be gone before we know it.
Along the way I met many people who are disenchanted with the one (two) party system and our awful choices in this election.
A true liberty candidate who I met during the campaign is Tisha Casida. Tisha is running as an independent candidate for the Colorado Congressional District 3 seat occupied by Scott Tipton. Tisha is very much like Ron Paul and understands we must defend and uphold the Constitution.
Tipton is a big government Republican who voted for the National Defense Authorization Act, which President Obama signed into law on New Year’s Eve 2011. Tipton supports the indefinite detention of Americans with no judge, no jury and no right to an attorney. It’s time we stand and vote out politicians from all parties who refuse to uphold their oath to preserve and defend the Constitution.
Tisha Casida is a true liberty candidate who will represent the people of Colorado, not the special interests who corrupt and control Washington. She has signed a pledge to be term limited. She understands the Federal Reserve system and its inherent corruption that has brought this country to its knees.
The Fed is a private bank that issues currency to the U.S. Treasury and charges interest to the taxpayer’s of this country. We are being robbed by the Fed, and people are too concerned with partisan fighting about gay marriage and abortion that are state’s rights issues, not federal issues.
We are the United States of America! It’s time to take our state’s rights back and assert pressure to nullify unconstitutional federal laws and presidential signing statements.
Please support Tisha Casida for Congress, a true freedom and liberty candidate! For her platform go to casida2012.com
Our government works best when there is a system of checks and balances and a cooperative spirit to solve the problems our communities face.
We get the best and balanced results when the interests of all the voters are represented. This is true for our federal, state and local governments.
The most important part of our system is that the candidates voted into office truly represent the voters’ interests and needs, not what the commissioners want. This has not been the case during the last six years and decisions made reflect the party line of only Democratic Party commissioners. The Democratic Party line has been the driving force rather than the best interest of hard-working Eagle County voters.
Many decisions are problematic budget wise, represent the interests of a portion of the voters in Eagle County, and lack diverse and creative thinking.
We need a Republican, specifically Jeff Layman, to counter the Democratic Party line that the current commissioners honor.
Examples include the $4.5 million lost on Stratton Flats. Also investments made in open space parcels are truly troubling and a true example of abuse, political favors and a program that benefits a small special interest group.
The hardworking people who are struggling to put bread on the table will benefit little, as some parcels do not even allow public access. Hardworking voters don’t want their taxes spent on projects that do not benefit them.
Our Democratic county commissioners have been out of touch with the voting residents of Eagle County. The open space tax is an example of this. The commissioners were requested to put it on the ballot by signed petitions, but they refused to do it.
Another example was an early childhood funding tax that voters rejected. The commissioners implemented it regardless, even without the matching local funds. Our Democratic commissioners do not make spending decisions the same way as the hardworking voters who must make hard thrifty decisions.
The commissioners do not ask: How will this action benefit the hardworking people of Eagle County, and is the expense justified? I am confident that Jeff Layman will ask those questions and would have pushed back on these regrettable poor decisions.
I attended the commissioner debates and have read the commissioner candidate answers to questions. I am convinced that Jeff Layman has the knowledge and experience to be a great commissioner. He also has the innovative ideas that other candidates did not present or consider important.
Jeff Layman has specific ideas to make the county more cost-efficient by implementing metrics. He has proposed under what circumstances he would lower tax mill levy. Have we heard anyone else propose that taxes could be lowered?
Jeff Layman will control the county “credit card” that the current commissioners think they have. If you want someone to make better decisions and safeguard your hard earned money, vote for a Republican. Vote for Jeff Layman!