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Letter to the Editor

Joy Overbeck

So there!

How these stereotyping liberals do rave on about their shock and dismay when confronted with proof that Republicans love open space.

Witness Don Rogers in his latest Republican-bashing editorial expressing amazement about GOP activists in the last election fighting to preserve land. Absurd stereotyping and bias the likes of which we see all the time from polished political hacks intent on discrediting the GOP, or from those woefully unaware of history. But one would expect better in a newspaper editor.



In point of fact, a Republican invented the very idea of preserving vast tracts of open space in this country. His name was Teddy Roosevelt, and he called them national parks. An ardent Republican environmentalist, conservationist and senator named Barry Goldwater sponsored and fought mightily for passage of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts in the 1960s. Richard Nixon and his administration came up with the EPA and got it through Congress.

And so it goes today. To object to the Bair Ranch scam doesn’t mean objecting to open space. Stereotyping those against this unfortunate project as Republicans is unfair to all the Democrats and independents who likewise object to getting fleeced.



This is why everybody is so incensed:

n We’re sick of being bullied by the pristine-open-space groups who try to make us feel like a bunch of dimwit clods for expecting some recreational benefit from our $2 million in taxes.

n We’re sick of the law being ignored; the tax issue spelled out that a panel of citizens would be making open space recommendations – that didn’t happen.



n We’re sick of fake panic deadlines back in July; five months later the commissioners haven’t even gotten a Bair contract yet.

n We’re sick when we find out this fake panic led to Menconi and Gallagher giving this money out of county general funds that can’t legally be repaid by the open space tax next year.

n We’re sick that $1 million of the $2 million to be spent on this scam was to go to an urgently needed day-care center at Berry Creek.

n We’re sick of reading and hearing we’re preserving a working ranch when everyone knows the Bairs sold their sheep over a year ago

Finally, the Daily is starting to cover some of the facts. We now learn the Conservation Fund’s Tom Macy is racing off to Utah to pressure Legrande Bair into a new deal, and the feds will likely spend their $1.5 million on something else. Most tellingly, the Eagle Valley Land Trust has “postponed” raising its pledged $1.1 million. It is stunningly obvious this deal is DOA.

This has been an horrendous experience. Republicans, Democrats and in-betweens alike have been disgusted with the dissembling and dishonesty and with two of our commissioners voting to spend money they should not have spent until the tax was collected.

It’s preposterous to think that anyone against the Bair Ranch easement is against open space. Tons of open space possibilities would make great sense for us to pursue. This just isn’t one of them.

Now may the voters’ will be done: Let the new advisory committee do their advising, as was provided for in the proposition. And may we begin to preserve more of the green pastures and grand forests of our beautiful county in which we and our children can frolic.


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