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Letters to the Editor

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Small investmentAs the principal of Red Canyon High School, I would like to express my support for the passage of 1A in this upcoming election. Several people have written to express reasons to vote for 1A and I want to give you one more. Last year 17 teenage girls gave birth to babies in Eagle County. Of those 17 girls, to my knowledge, only four were enrolled in high school. A major factor in moving families out of poverty is the attainment of education, and for teens with children pursuing an education becomes increasingly difficult.This year Red Canyon High School began a teen parent program as a joint venture with Health and Human Services of Eagle County. With an initial funding from the county, I was able to hire a part-time teen-parent coordinator to serve teen parents and expecting teens throughout the valley. Our program finds teen parents and expectant mothers and connects them to supporting services throughout the valley. We enroll these families in appropriate educational programs and help them find jobs and child care. Currently there are 13 teen parents-families receiving support, prenatal services and parenting education. Thanks to the teen parent program they are all enrolled in school and working hard to earn their diplomas. Funding from 1A could go toward increasing this program and fund the start of a child-care facility for these young families, changing the lives of these young mothers and their children for generations to come. This current program runs on a meager $15,000 a year. Supporting 1A could strengthen this program and insure its existence. Imagine how many lives this will touch and what an investment this is in the future. Yes on 1A is a small financial investment with a huge return. Please vote yes on 1A.Wade HillPrincipal Red Canyon High SchoolFor GibbsI’d like to suggest everyone take a hard look at Dan Gibbs. I’ve known Dan for several years, largely because he is deeply immersed in our community. As a public official, I’ve worked with Dan on several issues, particularly I-70 noise issues. He has invariably shown integrity and great concern for our community’s issues. He’s been willing to help us meet our community’s objectives. The same goes for water issues. Dan has always sided with our local towns in the somewhat arcane fights with the Front Range water interests over recreational use of our creeks and rivers. He’s also very dialed in to the forest health issues facing our mountain towns.On a personal level, I can tell you that Dan is a guy I trust to represent me, my family and my town in the state House. We may not agree on everything, and that’s probably a good thing. Even when we don’t agree, I trust that Dan will represent us with integrity and not unspoken agendas. He is a straight-forward, plain-spoken mountain guy. I hope you will join me in voting for Dan Gibbs this November. Greg MoffetVail Town CouncilmanFor DantasOn election day the citizens of Avon have an opportunity to elect Dave Dantas to the Avon Town Council. I had the privilege of meeting Dave more than 11 years ago when he was just getting his home-building business started. Since that time, I have watched him successfully grow his business, get married and start a family. In these endeavors he has faced all the same problems that every business person and governmental department faces. He has had to hone his management skills, find good employees, help those employees find suitable housing, pay them fairly and all the while be a good husband and father. He has accomplished each of these activities with quiet grace and patience. It is those qualities, coupled with his business experience and willingness to listen to every side of an issue before reaching an independent conclusion that makes him an excellent candidate for the Avon Town Council. Dave believes that citizens have an obligation to serve their community, that each council member has a duty to listen to every constituent concerned with matters brought before the council, that their concerns should be heard respectfully and fairly, and that the council’s decisions should be made according to the law with the ultimate goal of benefiting all of Avon. Dave recognizes Avon’s potential and wants to contribute to his community in seeing that potential expanded and realized. He has solicited the opinions of practically everyone he has met regarding their vision for Avon’s future, and he is well aware that there are divergent ideas about what Avon should become. It is his hope to facilitate a dialogue that results in decisions that are beneficial to all. For these reasons, I encourage every Avon resident to elect Dave Dantas to the Avon Town Council.George Gregory Avon Support Referendum II’m sure most of you have seen all these political ads on TV with the election a week away. One that really bothers me is in opposition of Referendum I (domestic partnership). It states that passing Referendum I will ruin Colorado families and will change the definition of marriage. That’s just not true. If anything, it will help Colorado families. Did you know that in passing this Referendum it would help protect children by ensuring that the courts enforce the responsibility of same-sex partners to pay alimony and child support?Every single one of you reading this knows someone who is gay. They might not be “out” to you, but you know them. How would you feel if your spouse was in the hospital and you could not visit him/her. You could not make any decisions on medical treatment. And God forbid they passed away and you couldn’t even make funeral arrangements.Think of how hard that would be for you and apply that to one of the Gay individuals you know. Things like this happen every day, and loving couples who have been together five, 10, 20 or more years can’t do a thing about it. Gay people don’t need marriage to be happy, They know the love they have between each other is enough. What they need is the ability to help their loved one when they are in need. That’s what Referendum I will help them do. As a gay man in the valley, I urge you to please vote in support of Referendum I, and help your friends live a happy, fulfilling life. Alan DeMars Edwards No threat hereThe real issue concerning same-sex unions and legalization of marijuana is that certain citizens of this “land of the free” want to control what others do with their own bodies and lives, even when it does not affect them. There is no threat from gay couples seeking equal rights or cannabis users. Gay people, like straight people, grow up dreaming of marrying their love, and they deserve the same happiness. Their unions will not affect anyone else’s marriage, but the prejudiced feel that they should to force others to live like them or lose their rights and freedoms. Someday, these self-styled moral crusaders, like those fought women’s suffrage and racial equality, will be called what they really are: bigots.Similarly, even though they are unaffected, people want pot smokers to lose their freedom. Locking users in cages is neither practical nor helpful, but is cruel and inhumane. It’s absolutely immoral to hurt people who don’t hurt others, and jail is severe.It is inhumane for people who live differently but peacefully to have less rights and protections. Marijuana smokers and gay people don’t hurt others, so allow them to be happy and free. It’s the simple and most important lesson of Jesus, Ghandi, and history’s other great humanitarians: be loving, tolerant, and compassionate. Vote no on Amendment 43 (institutionalizes bigotry), yes on Referendum I (provides legal equality), and yes on Amendment 44 (ends inhumane incarceration). Jake Weaks Vail We’re the villageIn my pediatrician practice, I see too clearly what happens when children are not provided with necessary services in their first years of life. I work with well-intentioned moms and dads who struggle for parenting resources that don’t exist in our community. I know what happens when parents wait too long to bring their children in for care due to lack of insurance. I deal with the outcome when children start school without adequate preparation. The lack of resources and affordable insurance in Eagle County results in preventable injuries and illnesses, emotional and behavioral problems in over stressed families, and classrooms burdened with children who are unprepared to learn.The notion that parents should be able to produce healthy, well-adjusted children who are ready to tackle school all by themselves is foolish. It takes a village. We are that village.For the sake of these children, and the community in which they live, please ensure that parents have options for high quality and affordable childcare, parenting resources close at hand, access to affordable health care, and the family support they require to flourish in this valley.To vote no on 1A is to sanction the inequities that currently exist in our community. Let us instead tell all Eagle County children that we want them to have the best possible start. We value the lives of all of our children and we’re committed to helping families build and lead healthy and productive lives in this valley. Please join me in voting yes on 1A.Marita BledsoeNo Hoy!About seven months ago, a very close friend passed away suddenly. A dozen or more family and friends had gathered at the house to console her husband and each other. The sheriff sent five officers and detectives to ask her spouse a “couple of questions.” Now we could understand one or two, but five was quite obviously not necessary. This was in very bad taste and a waste of taxpayer money, as well as a waste of manpower. Joe Hoy will not be getting the votes of all of the people present, and many more who were not. I hope your family doesn’t have to witness this kind of intrusion in a time of grief.Dan VignolaGypsumFor home ruleI had the pleasure of serving on the Eagle County Home Rule Commission and would like to take a couple of minutes to let you know why I am recommending voting for home rule for our county.Early on, the commission identified four criteria to guide us in developing the charter:1. Will all communities in the county be represented well and represented equally?2. Will the recommendations promote cost-effective governance of the county?3. Will the provisions of the charter stand the test of time and not require frequent revisions?4. Will the charter be simple, understandable, and promote effective governance of Eagle County?I am very confident that the charter as presented to voters meets these criteria. There are some changes recommended, and much that stays the same.Elected county officials:What changes: The number of county commissioners goes from three to five in the proposed charter. This certainly increases the cost to the taxpayers, but I believe we will more than get our money’s worth. Five commissioners can represent every area of the county well, can develop expertise in specific areas, can make sure they are tuned in to all areas of the county, and can engage in more productive and effective dialog than can three. The only other change is that the functions of the county surveyor will be contracted through the county engineer’s office (instead of having an elected surveyor). What stays the same: Commissioners must reside in their district, but are voted on at-large (all voters cast votes for all commissioner districts). County commissioners will continue to work with a county manager, who is hired at their discretion. There are no changes in the offices of other county officials (the clerk, treasurer, assessor, and coroner). They will continue to be elected by county voters at large and are responsible for supervision of their own offices.Partisanship:What changes: The Home Rule Charter removes partisanship from county elections. That means that candidates can be from any party, but those party affiliations will not be shown on the ballot. This is the same method used to elect all town councils in Eagle County. What stays the same: Political parties still select candidates for primary and general elections for all state and national level offices.Initiative and referendum: What changes: Initiative and referendum are allowed only if a county is a home rule county. Citizens of Eagle County cannot currently petition to place any issue on the ballot; all issues must be placed there by the county commissioners. Home rule charters contain provisions allowing citizens to place issues on county ballots. The proposed charter does not allow initiatives and referenda on land use or budget issues – citizens have numerous avenues for public input on those issues currently. What stays the same: Participation in land-use decisions and development of the county budget remain the same.Code of ethics:What changes: The proposed Home Rule Charter has a very simple and elegant code of ethics included. I believe that citizens and elected officials alike strive for ethical and honest government. The code of ethics states: “The citizens of Eagle County are entitled to a fair, ethical, transparent and accountable local government and to the expectation of public integrity.” The charter also mandates a simple annual report listing commissioner meetings, attendance and votes, and a list of countywide boards and commissions. What stays the same: As with all provisions of the charter, statewide statutes remain in effect. All ethical provisions and requirements of the state Constitution apply. What the charter does is state in clear language the way we all want to be governed, and it makes it easy to see at the end of the year how commissioners attended meetings and voted.In summary, I urge you to vote yes for home rule. It makes sense for Eagle County. We get more representation, we get to petition issues of importance to us on the ballot, and we get an easy way to see how our representatives voted at the end of each year.Please call or e-mail if you’d like to discuss home rule. You can read the entire charter online at http://www.eaglehomerule.org.Thanks, and don’t forget to vote!Kathy Chandler-HenryEaglePreschool works!I am writing this letter to encourage you to vote yes on 1A. As an educator in the Vail Valley for the past 18 years, I have worked with hundreds of parents and taught hundreds of children. Preschool works! A quality, early childhood program helps ensure that children come to school ready to learn, follow the rules and listen. As a result all elementary school classescan learn and move forward to lessen the achievement gaps. Teachers at every grade level will notice the impact that 1A can have on students and classrooms. For just 95 cents a week for the average homeowner, we can create positive outcomes for our children. Support children and vote yes on 1A!Mary WardSecond Grade Mentor TeacherRed Sandstone SchoolFor Beauprez It was a pleasure to meet with the folks of Eagle County on my tour of western Colorado. I particularly enjoy these meetings because it gives me the opportunity to share our recently released Colorado Accountability Pledge. This pledge, signed by Bob Beauprez and me, is our plan for the first four years of our administration in the areas of health care, education, natural resources, the state budget and illegal immigration. A full copy of the Accountability Pledge is available online at http://www.bobbeauprez.com.The area of illegal immigration is of critical concern to us. As a county commissioner I have seen firsthand the costs to local government and the community as a whole, as a result of illegal immigration. It is of great concern to us that Bill Ritter, while he was district attorney of Denver, plea-bargained serious criminals who were here legally and illegally down to an obscure charge of trespassing on farmland (in the city and county of Denver) to ensure that these criminals were not deported. I find that type of behavior unconscionable, especially from someone who is entrusted to protect the public. Some of these criminals were trafficking cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine. The issue of meth is of serious concern to many communities across the state, and it is the driving force behind the number of children in foster care and the number of people in our jails. Bill Ritter purposefully put criminal aliens who should have been deported right back into our communities to commit crimes again. Colorado deserves better than that. Colorado deserves a principled leader like Bob Beauprez.Janet RaulandCandidate for lieutenant governorBuckley flunks this testA politician’s word is a critical measure of the person. Today politician Peter Buckley got a score of zero. I watched the candidate’s Wednesday night forum on TV5, spoke to friends who were there in person and read the Monday Daily article covering the request for a DA investigation into potential unfair and illegal campaign practices.Buckley supported, at the public and televised session, his fellow candidates’ call for a request that the DA investigate the despicable electioneering going on in Avon. The next day when it came time to be true to his word and deliver, he did not respond to phone calls and e-mails. He went AWOL. Now he does not want the investigation. Is this an elected official we can trust and who we want representing us?All of this misinformation, misrepresentation, pandering and false positioning are most likely motivated and financed by a few individuals who want what they want without regard to the town. Their attempts to discredit other candidates and the town are without basis and contemptuous to us all.See through the bogus assertions and attempts to put a developer’s puppets into office. Vote for Ron Wolfe, our mayor, and Brian Sipes. Chris Green should also receive your vote. He is currently a planning commissioner and has demonstrated what it takes to be a good council member.Steven DowieAvonCart before the horseReferendum 1A, while in spirit is a worthy cause, we need to vote against it in its present form. Before we vote to fund the cart, we need to take a look at the horse first. What kind and types of child-care development service would qualify for disbursement? Would there be standards set for these businesses to meet for them to be eligible? Are the families going to be given monthly vouchers for the parents to use as they see fit, similar to the food stamps program? Is the neighborhood lady watching six to ten toddlers, basically just babysitting, going to be paid from this tax fund? First, a child-care development panel needs to determine how and to who funds are disbursed, establish standard rules and guidelines to verify a measurable level of quality development. Otherwise, we are only providing child-care cost assistance. We as voters need to see how this horse is going to work before we fund the cart with our hard-earned money.Secondly, a property tax levy is not the way to fund this social program. Parents who own their homes would be required to pay this tax. However, they may not be able to receive any benefits from the tax fund. You could be arbitrarily deemed self-sufficient enough to afford the child-care development expenses for your own kids, and not be able to get the money for the services you paid the tax for. Families who rent, beware that the money you probably could receive will be offset in the higher rent you will have to pay the landlords. The only property that the owners actually will be paying the taxes on are for the ones they happen to be living in themselves. As any business owner who rents can tell you, their leases are triple net, which means the tenants, not the owners, are paying for all taxes.I truly do think this issue should come up again to the voters, but not until all the questions have been answered and we can actually know what we will be receiving for our money. I believe it is the responsibility of everyone who lives and works in our county to help with this social cause of childcare development. I also rather see this “social tax” go through our employers’ payrolls. I would gladly forgo 2.5 cents per hour, a single dollar a week (less than a Red Bull) for $52 a year for contribution to this worthy cause. At least then we know what our contribution is and it can’t change without our permission. Unlike property tax mill levies where you can’t control how much it will cost from year to year, $43 this year, $60 next year and the $90 the year after that with the escalating property values and the stagnant income wages losing ground trying to cover all of the taxes. Look out for the $300 tax hike next year!Kevin B. McNettAvonVail, Colorado


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