May 2016: Letters to the Editor

Filed under: Letters |

Community spirit

Dear Editor,

Once again, the Crestone/Baca Grande Community came forward in support of our library.  The Friends of the Baca Grande Library (FOL) conducted the April 15 (“Tax Day”) Bake Sale with great success.  We experienced a very nice turnout, in spite of the chilly blustery weather.  This success continues to allow funding for improvements at the present library and more importantly, indicates a community spirit for maintaining this important facility so vital in every community.  Let us hope to see a new library facility within the town of Crestone in the near future.

As Chair of the FOL, I wish to thank all who participated—those who donated homebaked yummies and those who donated their time at the bake sale table—thank you.

With so many to thank and names to remember, please forgive me if your name is not mentioned.  First of all I wish to thank the library staff for all the assistance, Suzaanne who helped set everything in motion, Barry and Sandia for spending time at the table, before Sandia went to work at the library, and for Barry helping to set-up and take-down and put everything away.  Muchas gracias amigos. Sarah. our Library Director who drove here from Saguache to deliver baked goodies on her lunch break, and Hillary, the Chair of the Saguache FOL left a generous donation.  And Miton, who once again generously allowed us to conduct the event on his property, John who assisted all day, from early set-up to take-down.  Elianna, Crystal, Curtis, Carol, Allyson, Leah, Michael, Lili, Mary, Ann, Cathy Jo, Desiree, and our wonderful bouncy Barbara. 

Your generous support shows a “community spirit” second to none.  Thank you.

Also, many thanks to Steve and Elaine for allowing the FOL to have a donation jar at their store, the Mercantile, for many months.  Wow, what great supportors for our community.

Thom Ontko, Chair,

Friends of the Baca Grande Library

Not ‘smart’ for Crestone

Dear Editor,

I am moving to Crestone for many of the same reasons that others do: a slower, more authentic pace, lack of commercialism, community closeness, personal reflection and spiritual growth. It was surprising to learn of an insidious form of pollution heading for Crestone.

With a family member extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields (including wifi, cell phones, microwaves, etc.), one of the first calls I made was to SLV Rural Electric to ensure that the safe, old fashioned analog electric meter on the house we purchased would be allowed to stay in place. What I discovered is that so called “Smart Meters” are on their way here, and have already been installed in several communities in the valley. Having a Smart Meter attached to the house would make it unlivable for us.

Smart Meters are known to cause a variety of health challenges from pulsed radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF radiation) in timings and volumes known to be harmful for humans, animals and plants. Upon installation of smart meters and infrastructure, many people (especially children, elderly, and immune-compromised) report headaches, ringing ears, dizziness, breathing problems, memory loss, muscle spasms, rashes, heart problems, and even seizures.

Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies report these levels of radiation directly connected to cancers, neurological illnesses, birth defects, childhood leukemia, childhood behavioral disorders as well as a wide variety of other symptoms in exposed individuals, even those who don’t necessarily feel the effects.

Additionally, the AMI “mesh network” created transmits data from one wireless meter by means of wireless microwave pulses to the next house’s meter and so on. So, even if a specific resident is allowed to opt out, they are still exposed to microwave radiation from surrounding meters. Also, the data sent to the utility contains information about your private activities; what TV programs you watch, what appliances you use, when you go to bed, when you go on vacation, etc., allowing police, government agencies and others to have access to your lifestyle data without needing a warrant.

I have not been able to get information about when installation will begin in Crestone. I suspect that Smart Meters will simply start to appear without any advance notice, as has happened in many communities.

Educating ourselves as a community is an important next step. Several local wellness practitioners are coordinating community showings of the informational movie Take Back Your Power, which is also available on Amazon Prime and at our local library as well. I hope Crestone will come together as a community and collectively “Opt Out” of this threat to our health and well-being.

Vicki Webb

New POA directives?

Dear Editor,

In a democratic world built on the will and movement of the people, a time arises when a “spokesmen” assumes a false role of dictator, typically for the “greater good” of the people.  The longer this dictatorship behavior is endorsed, and allowed to flourish, the greater its resilience becomes. Recently, I discovered the community is being guided into the well-charted territory of standardized building and centralized infrastructure dependence.  This system has inherit failures and displays short sighted leadership characteristics.  Decades ago, the Baca Grande subdivision chose to align with a new paradigm of living, building and environmental stewardship.   This alignment has recently experienced a staggering shift.

Currently, we utilize a series of “Governing Documents” and “Building Guidelines” to educate potential new members about out community ideals.  The Governing Documents are legal documents on how to address conflict and manage infrastructure. Our Building Guidelines drive the basic construction style and management of building in the Baca.

Building Guidelines typically represent community values and direction. The most recent Building Guidelines update shows the removal of the Energy Conservation Credit and the removal of 6 pages of Suggestions for Energy Conservation addressing proper passive solar and resource efficient design principles for our location.  The Design Guidelines have experienced a reduction of approximately 53 pages in the latest revision.  I wonder if I am the only one who didn’t know about these foundational changes in our community direction and ideals for the future.

Maybe it’s no big deal.  Maybe we’re just eliminating unnecessary language.  Everyone has a right to build whatever they want.  Although, as a covenant community, we have a responsibility to ourselves to maintain a level of lifestyle consistency conducive to the future of our community marketability.   For decades we have been known for our natural and sustainable building practices, yet we chose to remove most of the indications of it in our Design Guidelines.  I am not in support of this new directive.  How about you?  It’s time for the roots to grow grass.

Donovan Spitzman

Malice is not the issue

Dear Editor,

Reporting the news is not malice. Holding public officials to a standard of conduct is not malicious as Robin Crites asserts in the April 12 letter published in the Valley Courier, defending Saguache County attorney Ben Gibbons.

Crites goes on to remark in his letter: “a conflict of interest in the Valley is unavoidable.” What the Colorado Supreme Court’s Attorney Regulation Counsel, James C. Coyle, writes is: “The evidence shows there was a failure of Mr. Gibbons conflict check procedures to recognize the relationship . . . We expect this additional care will prevent issues like the one addressed in this investigation from occurring in the future.”

Contrary to Robin Crites’ assertion that the question is whether or not conflicts of interest are avoidable—the issue is how to handle questions or appearance of conflict of interest while avoiding violations of procedural due process.

Mr. Coyle’s comments indicate to me that conflict of interest is a serious issue, one that needs to be prevented in the future. Mr. Gibbons’ defense that he did not remember his representation of the town was the sole reason he was not disciplined for his failure to recognize the conflict of interest.

Mr. Gibbons’ role as the attorney for the Town of Bonanza and subsequent representation of Saguache County in the abandonment proceedings was under review—not the question of whether or not to abandon the Town of Bonanza. That question was decided months ago by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, when Saguache County and Mr. Gibbons failed to meet the requirements under statute for abandoning a town.

Mr. Crites asserts that the facts presented are “innuendo.” Under rules promulgated last year by the Colorado Supreme Court “innuendo” is indefensible since internal investigative files of the judiciary are not available to the public. Under these new rules (which are outside the requirements of the Colorado Open Records Act—1969) only Mr. Gibbons and the investigators are privy to the discussions held that resulted in the final decision to not proceed with disciplinary action.

Process and procedure are important to normal people. They protect us from criminality and are intended to maximize fairness in any governmental or judicial proceeding.

Colorado laws require that any meetings where a formal action occurs shall be held only after full and timely notice to the public. It is questionable that an officer of the legal system—such as an attorney—should have discretion to avoid the rigidity of the law—ever. It would be malice to do so.

A citizen is always entitled to fair and consistent application of rules.

The legal profession is largely self-governing despite the close relationship between the profession and the processes of government. Mr. Gibbons is currently the Saguache County attorney. Mr. Crites is a former Saguache County attorney. Saguache County has a documented history of failures to provide adequate notice and a complete record of its proceedings. My very real concern is: Are the citizens of Saguache County able to inform themselves and participate fully in the processes of their government before that government takes action?

Lisa Cyriacks

Advocate for government transparency

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