Printed letters, Jan. 6, 2011
I had to repress a hearty laugh when I read the former Colorado National Monument superintendent’s comment about her “close working relationships” with the school district.
During the two years that I worked with her as director of the Colorado National Monument Association, Superintendent Joan Anzelmo exhibited an almost pathological aversion to partnering with local organizations.
She dismissed the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway out of hand, saying it had nothing to do with the monument story when, several months later, she was touting the park’s paleontology resources.
She brought an abrupt end to a two-year effort led by her predecessors and other federal and state agency reps to establish a public-lands center in Fruita. And she berated the CNMA board openly when we had the audacity to donate $200 to the Dinosaur Journey Museum, a fellow non-profit.
So I wasn’t a bit surprised at her rejection of the bike-race permit. Anzelmo’s management style unfortunately typified the kind of arrogance and self-importance that so often alienates local communities and organizations and sustains the stereotype of the aloof federal bureaucrat.
Local bike-race committee relied on coercive tactics
The Dec. 31 Daily Sentinel article about Joan Anzelmo, former Colorado National Monument Superintendent, talking to the High Country News about her stressful and often hostile experience dealing with the Grand Junction Local Organizing Committee for the USA Pro Challenge Bike Race, also contains what at first glance seem to be reasonable statements from John Hopkins, co-chairman of the local committee.
However, what Hopkins didn’t acknowledge is that the local committee has consistently used heavy-handed tactics to bully and disrespect the National Park Service and its management, including a Freedom of Information Act request by The Daily Sentinel for several hundred pages of documents and records of monument officials and the threat of legal action against the National Park Service. Hopkins claims he was “unaware” of the level of hostility, even though he was a party to creating it.
Some on the local organizing committee would have liked Superintendent Anzelmo removed from her position. However, the National Park Service director and the secretary of the Interior supported the decision made by Anzelmo, who was simply carrying out her responsibilities.
Based on policy guidelines established a few years ago, the Park Service has decided on several occasions that no stage of a pro-cycling race will go through a national park or monument.
One might wonder why other Colorado cities have been awarded a stage of the race without including a nearby national park or monument in their route. Perhaps these cities instead choose to embrace and protect these extraordinary places rather than exploit them for profit. Or successful local organizing committees have focused on what is possible rather than doggedly pursuing what has been denied.
The Grand Junction Local Organizing Committee may find the chances of bringing the race to Grand Junction, a very worthy goal, are improved by not resorting to coercive tactics against the Park Service and its management.
Agricultural tax lawsoffer loopholes for wealthy
The axiom, “keep it simple stupid,” came to mind while reading the Jan. 2 article about closing the agriculture property tax loophole. That’s the tangle tied to laws that grow out of so-called class warfare.
Years ago, if you had a million-dollar house on 20 acres, there were all kinds of ways to make it a farm without producing farm income. Sometimes the taxes on the million-dollar house were less than on a $200,000 suburban house.
The public squawked, but didn’t get the logical law of leaving the acreage as agricultural, (acreage can provide agricultural income at any given time) and taxing the million-dollar house (or any price house) for what it was worth. The Legislature went to work and made any property, regardless of size, “residential” if it didn’t produce an income. But, of course, there are still ways around it and the new law is hardly sensible because, if clout is available, loopholes can always be found. Or one can always find a way to simply cheat.
The law could say the house and the lot upon which it sits are taxed “residential.” That would be fair for virtually everyone. The only qualification to the size of the lot would be by degree, such as swimming pools and tennis courts or if the house sits on a 20-acre cliff.
I’ve heard about developments on Glade Park in the past regarding developers subdividing for 35-acre lots. The developers paid agricultural taxes but, when the lot sold and a house was built, the 35 acres were taxed residential even though you can earn an agricultural living on 35 acres. Now that’s a major loophole, but only for the developers.
Beneficial past projects couldn’t be built today
I read in the paper about different groups of people opposing projects like coal mining, power plants, gas drilling, oil drilling and almost anything that would benefit the good of the people. Hoover Dam, the Palisade hydro plant, the road up Colorado National Monument and other projects would not have been built with today’s mentality.
RAFAEL A SALAZ