E-mail letters, July 12, 2010

Drilling plan for Vermillion
didn’t have full stakeholder support

It would have been nice if Christi Zeller and David Ludlam, in their July 4 column in The Daily Sentinel, had bothered to get the facts straight prior to preaching on a topic they obviously know little about.

I participated in the Northwest Colorado Stewardship from start to finish, so I think I am qualified to speak on its history. NWCOS consisted of approximately 50 individuals representing both themselves and interests and met for three years in an attempt to develop and alternative for BLM’s Little Snake Resource Management Plan Revision. It was professionally facilitated by the Keystone Center and had direct contact with the BLM and the contractor hired to write the plan.

One of NWCOS’s tenets was that anything that was decided must be unanimous, 100 percent consensus and that NWCOS would not subvert the National Environmental Policy Act. In fact, a full range of alternatives were developed, including one that protected Vermillion Basin from any leasing and development.
In 2006, Moffat County and some of the other cooperating agencies proposed a drilling plan for Vermillion that included a 1 percent surface disturbance threshold. There was absolutely no agreement among the NWCOS participants to support this proposal, and any characterization to the contrary is either a bald-faced lie or evidence of serious ignorance about what actually occurred.
What we know is the truth is that the state of Colorado pulled its support for any proposal to drill Vermillion and the BLM spent the last three years examining whether or not it was right to destroy the character of one of the West’s most special places. Thankfully, BLM decided that preserving a treasured landscape and restoring some balance to our public lands was better than a few days of natural gas for the nation.
I and several others weren’t paid to sit at the table during NWCOS, and for someone who wasn’t even there to mischaracterize our efforts for their personal gain is just plain wrong. I hope this sets the record straight.
Rick Hammel

Tipton deserves
voters’ support

Now that the primary season is about to conclude, and the mail-in ballots are soon to arrive, it is time to take stock of our candidates. Of particular importance is the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado.

John Salazar has got to go! Scott Tipton is by far the best candidate to consider. I have had extensive conversations and have interviewed both men vying for our vote. On many of the critical issues facing our nation, they seem to have similar goals. But on achieving those
goals, they differ.

Mr. Tipton has outlined what I consider to be level-headed and attainable solutions to our deficit and debt crises. He has also long held that the answers to solving our health care problems (as well as other issues) are best found in the private sector, not with the more big-government solutions of his opponent.

As a stable family man and private business owner, having established Mesa Verde Pottery over 30 years ago and run it successfully since, he has seen what works and what does not. He has
had to deal with an overly burdensome government and the uncertainty of pending laws and regulations. This has gained Mr. Tipton valuable insights, learned only by those outside of government.

But the biggest factor for me in this primary is character. Both candidates have looked me in the eye and made certain statements and promises. Only Mr. Tipton has followed through and kept his word. Furthermore, Mr. Tipton has never falsely claimed accolades or endorsements.

Both candidates have websites for your further investigation, and you will find a thoughtfulness and consistency in Mr. Tipton’s that is absent from the other. Please vote for the consistent,
thoughtful, and level-headed candidate. Vote for Scott Tipton.
Bud Garner

Recall is wrong way
to resolve policy differences

Although I disagree with the idea of a recall of the mayor in Palisade, I at least feel better that the genuine motives have been provided by Mr. Reid, where he just recently stated his frustrations are with the Town Board’s fiscal decisions.

I completely respect Mr. Reid’s right to follow through with what he feels is the suitable thing to do, but it was hard for me to believe that he would be willing to put our town through this procedure because of a barroom disagreement.

Whether out of frustration, difference or just plain disappointment, many things have been said by all parties involved in this matter, things that would have been better left unsaid. Regardless of where one might stand on the happenings of that evening in February, or anything that has transpired over the past six months, it was good to hear the actual reasons central to Mr. Reid’s discord with the town and especially the mayor. It is good to know that should a recall
procedure move forward, although costly and disheartening, at least it would be a recall based on substantive differences.

Mr. Reid has certainly found a way to demonstrate his frustrations at the budgetary decisions the Town Board has made the past few years, and although I personally disagree with him on his positions, it is Mr. Reid’s right to express his opinions.

However, disagreements on policy are exactly why we have elections every two years for municipal government seats. An election campaign is the perfect venue and time to discuss thoughts and ideas about the direction someone would like to take the town. I am sure the mayor would invite a discussion on the number of projects that Mr. Reid opined about. I am sure this board, along with the town staff, are proud of the millions of dollars in grants that have been secured to fund projects that beautify the town (like street signs, which, by the way, is a project that cost quite a bit less than a recall election).

I am sure he would invite a discussion on how Palisade was the only municipality to have positive sales tax numbers in the last year while the rest of the county and country declined. I am sure the mayor would enjoy a discussion on how the fund balance for our small town has grown from barely $100,000 in 2004 to over $2.5 million dollars in 2009; all this without a single dime in any property or sales tax increases for our residents.

Although I disagree with Mr. Reid, I respect his right to have an opinion, and I invite him to throw his hat in the election process again in 2012 and discuss these substantive issues. However, I appeal to him not to use something like a recall to highlight these differences. It is costly, discomforting, and really undermines the intent of why we have this recall
process available to us as citizens.
Michael Krueger


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