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Letters to the Editor

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Dark sideI was disheartened to see negative 527-style politics arrive in Eagle County in opposition to our campaign for Eagle County’s children.The radio ads are part of the dark side of American politics that voters rightfully loathe, a combination of scare tactics and false statements attacking the plan to spend 95 cents per week on early learning opportunities for Eagle County’s children.The Eagle County Cares for Kids Campaign is committed to a positive campaign describing the programs and costs of aiding our children. Apparently, the opposition finds it necessary to hide behind a Denver law firm to avoid responsibility for the negative campaign. As a professional in the field and a parent myself, I know first hand the benefits that a YES vote on 1A can provide for parents and children through increased access and quality of child care, family support, and preventive health care services that will save all of us money over the long run.Unlike our anonymous opponents, we are proud of our supporters and pleased that so many of them have contributed funds. We are even more gratified that they have given us permission to run their names – names that the community knows and trusts – in our advertisements.We are confident that Eagle County voters will side with their children’s doctors, teachers and business leaders in supporting a program that benefits us all financially and socially. I trust that the voters will see the meanspirited attack ads for what they are – an attempt to scare the voters without addressing the merits of referendum 1A.Please vote early, starting Oct. 23, or on Nov. 7 for referendum 1A. Thank you. Karen SimonRank politicsIt appears that many of the ads, letters, and phone calls in opposition to Referendum 1A are coming from a political organization calling itself “Coloradans for Economic Justice.” It’s worth knowing a little bit about those who are trying to convince all of us that they know what’s best for local children.According to our secretary of state, Coloradans for Economic Justice is an unincorporated nonprofit association formed Sept. 12, 2006, with a principal office address at P.O. Box 8623, Avon. The organization’s legally designated contact is attorney Ryan Richard Call, reachable at the law firm of Doyle Zakhem Suhre & Lilly, 700 17th Street, Suite 2000, Denver. On the Doyle Zakhem Web site, Mr. Call is not listed as one of the five attorneys with the firm. However, Mr. Call is referenced in various news articles as an attorney for the Trailhead Group, a powerful and wealthy Republican political committee known for ugly campaign ads directed at Democrats. John Zakhem, partner at Doyle Zakhem who says he specializes in campaign finance and election laws, is also an attorney for the Trailhead Group. Mr. Zakhem also represents the state Republican Party. Conservative Web site ToTheRight.org described Mr. Zakhem as the “attorney for practically every Republican campaign and conservative cause in the state.” While testifying recently in a lawsuit, Mr. Zakhem is quoted as stating “My job is to win elections for Republicans.”So Coloradans for Economic Justice is actually a Denver law firm that’s known for nasty and misleading campaign practices and whose attorneys sell their legal services to anyone and everyone willing to cast themselves or their cause as “conservative.” Now they’re masquerading as concerned local citizens and telling us not to be thoughtful about how we might best support Eagle County families and children. They’re playing a game of petty and manipulative politics that I find repugnant. Even more offensive, they’re playing this game at the expense of children.Is this the official position of all area Republicans? Do you want your party to take this position for you? And what about the Avon P.O. box? Is an individual or organization in Eagle County paying these people? If so, who are you and why don’t you have the courage to speak up and say what you want to say openly and under your own name?Look at the list of endorsements for 1A. Those are local people knowledgeable and concerned about supporting local children and families. More importantly, those are people with enough integrity to use their names and speak up for what they believe. There are Republicans and Democrats and independents on that list. I find it reprehensible that someone would exploit petty partisanship rather than encourage all of us to take a serious and thoughtful look at what the referendum can do for children and families. It may be politics as usual for this law firm and their faceless client(s), but I take my role as a voting member of this community too seriously to fall for that.Legitimate questions have been asked about what 1A funds would be used for, how the funds would be distributed, who would benefit, and what kinds of social and financial benefits we can expect. Answers to all of these questions are easily and specifically available online, in past newspaper articles, and from those of us who have been involved in researching the issue for several years. If you have questions, look into it. Don’t take my word for it. But don’t take the word of a downtown Denver law firm that’s been hired to tell Eagle County citizens what’s best for our own children and families. Don’t let anyone hijack your vote. Decide for yourself, and then register your decision at the polls.Mary Lou KellerCheaper nowThis letter is in regards to Nicole Frey’s article this week about the alternatives for the Eagle County School District if the $128 million bond does not pass. I am an advocate for spending on education in any way, shape or form, especially since education in Colorado is ranked one of the lowest in the U.S. For those who are undecided or against the bond, it may be helpful for the school district to lay out the costs for each alternative -what are the alternatives, and how much would they cost the county? An argument for the bond is that whether or not the bond passes, it is going to cost the community money. We can either really fix the problems at $128 million, or find Band-Aid solutions now and fix them again later (which will cost more in the long run).The fact that the school district is considering spending its emergency reserves if the bond doesn’t pass is clearly and inherently indicative of the urgency of the current situation. These problems are already at emergency status if we’re considering spending emergency funds – how much more urgent can you get? Katie Campbell Vail Vail, colorado


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