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Letters to the Editor - page 16

Guidelines for Letters to the Editor submissions: We believe that our letters section is an important forum for open discussion of opinions from all walks of life. The views expressed in this forum are not necessarily the opinions of the newspaper. We strive to be an unbiased paper, with a diverse readership. Our letters section will reflect that. We accept letters that are up to 300 words in length. We reserve the right to edit letters to fit into that space if they are too long, though we will try to give you the option to edit your own first. We will occasionally, and at the editors’ discretion, agree to publish a letter in multiple parts over several weeks, but it is not a guarantee for any letter or letter writer. Personal attacks, libel, ax-grinding, muckraking, and profanity will not be published. No matter the issue, it is possible to convey an opinion in a civilized manner and we will accept nothing less. Self-serving advocacy pieces are not letters. This is especially true during political seasons- candidates and their families cannot write in to ask people to vote for them (or the family member). All letters should be exclusive to the World Journal. If your letter was also submitted to other papers, it decreases the chance of your letter making it into ours. Preference will be given to letters related to local issues. All letters must be signed first and last name, and include your street address and city. We will publish only your name and the city. Letters are due by Tuesday at noon the week you want it published. We reserve the right to not publish a letter at the editor’s discretion, for any reason, at any time. For reference, this set of guidelines is 300 words long.

Letters to the editor of October 20, 2016

Wake up Walsenburg

You are being asked to get rid of your INDEPENDENT police department and create a monopoly in law enforcement. Monopolies always create more cost and less accountability. Special interests are asking you to vote to disband your police department without you knowing the costs up front. You vote to disband your police department and then write a blank check to county officials now and in the future. Is that really smart? Remember, our current, likable Sheriff and county officials won’t always be in office. This ties your hands to unknown sheriffs and county elected officials for many years to come. The real reason you are being asked to get rid of your police department now is because some with personal agendas can’t get what they want so they want to be able to control law enforcement politically. Don’t fall for this trap.

Well over 98% of cities our size in Colorado and the country have their own independent police department for good reason. Too much power in the hands of a well-meaning or a power hungry sheriff is not good. Combining law enforcement may make sense in small communities of a few hundred people but not cities like Walsenburg.

I was on city council years ago when this issue was brought up. It made NO sense then it makes NO sense now. Your current mayor and past and present city administrators all believe this is a BAD idea. We have a good and growing Walsenburg Police Department that is professional and getting better each day. Walsenburg has had its own police department for over 100 years and there is no financial benefit or other good reason to disband it.

Those wanting to get rid of the police department paint a rosy picture that looks enticing. But it is a trap that will tie the hands of your city government. Don’t give the county a blank check every year for law enforcement costs and don’t give the special interests people hiding in the background, the political clout they want and need to coerce city and county government in the future. Vote NO on 300 or pay the consequences. ~Larry Patrick Walsenburg

Thanks to the Huerfano County FPD, City of Walsenburg and Walsenburg PD

A couple of weeks ago, around 10:30 pm, we had a non-emergency event at our house involving the Walsenburg PD who arrived first, Huerfano County FPD and Derrick, a city employee. They all arrived in a very short amount of time and went to work trying to find an incredibly horrible odor coming from the house.

We would just like to thank these fine gentlemen who came out late at night, stayed past midnight, and worked so hard to find the problem. We appreciate knowing we can count on you, night or day! Sincerely, —Karl and Debi Sporleder Walsenburg

Huerfano County Republicans rock!

As we approach the election, I didn’t want another day to go by without thanking the Huerfano County Republicans for their tremendous support! The number of volunteers for various activities and manning our fantastic headquarters downtown Walsenburg, the amazing financial support to help us support local candidates, the incredible attendance and participation at our monthly meetings and all the fun you bring to the table, my hat goes off to you and THANK YOU for being a part of an awesome team.

As we get ready for our upcoming watch party at headquarters at 511 Main Street in Walsenburg on Tuesday, Nov 8 at 5 pm, put on your red shirts and let’s watch history be made. —Huerfano County Republican Committee Chair, Debu Sporleder

Letters to editor: October 12, 2016

Huerfano Sheriff Bruce Newman speaks on advantages to having all law enforcement under one agency: More officers on the street

Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen and heard a lot of things about what would happen if the sheriff’s department took over the police department that are untrue. The intention of this letter is to give people the facts so they can make the proper decision.

There would be two divisions: the county patrol deputies for the county and the city patrol deputies assigned to the city.

Right now there are 12 employees in the city police department budget, eight officers, three secretaries/ evidence clerks and one in animal control.

Under my department, there would be at least ten officers assigned to the city with two offiers per shift, a secretary and animal control.

I can have more officers on the street where they are needed and still save the city money.

Having only one officer on per shift is a safety issue both for the officer and for the citizens.

It is not fair to the county residents when I have to have a deputy stay close to town to back up that single city officer, and it happens more than people realize.

One concern was the cost to the city going up every year. All budgets go up every year. The city police department’s budget from 2014 to 2016, in salary alone, went up $120,000. They are asking for more money for next year. It’s public record that you can check for yourself. Keeping the police department in the city is no guarantee to save money.

We would still be doing what the police do now, including municipal and code enforcement. There will be no change in services. We have always been active in the schools and most of the programs were started by the sheriff’s department.

We have taught students anti-bullying techniques and the consequences of sexting. We’ve also been involved in the Drive Smart program and other school activities, and we have no intentions of stopping.

The other [untrue] story is all the city police officers would be fired.

That would be stupid on my part. You do not come into an agency and fire your experienced officers.  There are some good officers that I would love to see stay, but that is their choice.  Eventually, we would have all new hired officers live in the county, as my deputies do now.

The advantages to having all the law enforcement under one agency:

More officers on the street working together to solve crimes, dealing with drug activity, being community active and having better response times.

This would benefit not only the city, but the county as well. That is why I am in favor of this merger.

If you have any questions about what is being said about this merger, please come to me to discuss the facts. ~Sheriff Bruce Newman Walsenburg

Vote to keep our police force!

The recent police academy seminars held every Monday and Wednesday are very informative. They show not only how much the police force is doing but how they are doing it.

For example, the prior handbook was about 50 pages long but the City Council, on the recommendation of the Chief of Police, funded a program, (Lexipol) that provides, on an ongoing basis, a number of services to assist the police department which includes a code of ethics, updates in policy and procedures that bring the police force into state and federal compliance. The few pages has expanded to a living document that fills a binder and is now greater than 700 pages.

All police officers are required to become familiar with this material as well as the updates. It is going to take time, but Police Chief, Tommie McLallen is doing all the right things to bring this force into the 21st century.

The county sheriff’s department has a huge territory to cover and are already overloaded, so Walsenburg would be only another on their list. Also, there is no guarantee that Walsenburg would have a priority over the county. For those that think we would save thousands of dollars, better think again. We have to pay for county protection and with no guarantee of better service.

If you have issues with the Walsenburg police department, let’s fix them rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water! —David Roesch Walsenburg

Do not dissolve the Walsenburg PD Editor,

I am disheartened and very much offended by the fact that I, as a citizen and voter of this city am being asked to vote on and pass an initiative that shows NO evidence of financial benefit for our city and has no Intergovernmental Agreement of services that will be provided. This initiative, if passed, will completely DISSOLVE our local police department and turn over all control to the county sheriff’s office, but the city will still have to pay for those services.

I, for one, would like to know what exactly I’m voting for BEFORE I make such an important decision. I attended several city council meetings since this issue was brought up and it was obvious from the start that personal animosity, and hidden agendas were behind getting this initiative on the ballot.

One city councilman (who has ties to the Sheriff’s office) first stated this was to be a financial benefit to the city, then a couple statements later he said it was because citizens were unhappy with the PD. When asked the real reason behind wanting to dissolve the PD, he couldn’t give a straight answer.

One county commissioner has stated they have no horse in this race and don’t care how this vote turns out. The sheriff himself said he already has enough on his plate and enough to deal with now, that contracting would only add to his problems and headaches. (It’s in council meeting transcripts.)

Why would we give more responsibility to a man who has enough on his plate and doesn’t want the extra headaches? When the city administrator asked the county administrator to submit a proposal for services and a budget, the only service included was law enforcement.

Based off those numbers, the city would pay MORE to contract out services than they currently pay. That doesn’t include services such as code enforcement, animal control, school resource, K-9,etc.

Councilman Dennis Hoyt made a comment on another city issue involving money; he said, Why would I buy a Ferrari without knowing what I’m getting or how much I have to pay? (He is one who initiated this issue.) Yet, that’s exactly what he’s asking the rest of us to do.

In a time when municipal law enforcement agencies are fighting to keep local control, why in the world are we being asked to dissolve a whole municipal agency?

I refuse to be taken advantage of for the personal gain of a few individuals with hidden agendas and personal issues. This contract will initially be for only two years (sheriff’s remaining term); it’s not a definite contract.

If a new sheriff takes office, he can decide to not renew or honor it. As an elected official, the sheriff is not bound by contracts made by the county.

The BOCC stated in the paper a few weeks ago, they’re not sure if THEY are bound by this initiative. What if they choose NOT to accept it? Then where will our city be?

To establish a new police department, it could cost upward of 1.3 Million dollars. Our little town is getting ready to grow, the stakes are too high to dissolve a whole agency, and I am not willing to gamble that away because of some personal issues. NO on 300!!

Loyal WPD Supporter, ~Heather Gonzales Walsenburg

Vote No on Increased Taxes Dear Editor

We simply cannot afford to have our property taxes increased for any reason!

Some senior citizens live, solely, on Social Security. The raises in Social Security received in the past years have only amounted to a few dollars. The expected increase in Part B Medicare, taken directly out of our Social Security will offset any increases made. Additionally, property taxes are still too high compared to what homes sell for.

With enrollment what it is, one way the schools could save money, is to cut one Superintendent of Schools. We now have a Superintendent at both Walsenburg and La Veta. Huerfano County should have one for both schools. I don’t know how much this would save but it is a start.

We know the importance of education and the importance of the La Veta library and we are sorry that the state has cut the funding but everyone has to live within their budget and asking for money in the form of increasing property tax, penalizes those who do not have children in school nor live in La Veta.

Vote No on Prop 3A. Vote No on Mill Levy increase for La Veta Regional Library. ~David Roesch Walsenburg

Editor’s note: You propose having a single superintendent to administrate for both La Veta and Walsenburg schools.  I would like to point out that Huerfano RE-1 and La Veta RE-2 are two separate school districts, encompassing two separate portions of the county and funded by property taxes from their respective districts. Your proposal to simply do away with one of the superintendents would imply a complete consolidation of the two districts into one district.  That is not a feasible option at this time and is not being discussed.

Statewide ballot issue recommendations from former Colorado Speaker of the House

This year we have nine statewide ballot issues to vote on and I have been studying them for months. I would like to submit the following recommendations for voters to consider as they go to the ballot box.

The first four will change the State Constitution and put wages, some prices and benefits in the Constitution. That in itself is enough reason to vote against all of them, but below is the detail.

Amendment 69 will at least triple the state income tax rate and put your medical care under a 21 member self- elected board and potentially devastate the availability of doctors to provide medical care to you, especially in rural areas. It is likely that no private health care options will be available and if you are on Medicare, you will still pay the increased tax and your social security will be taxed. Please Vote NO.

Amendment 70 will increase the minimum wage from $8.31 to $12.00 with no consideration of impact on rural areas and jobs available. It will likely further reduce the number of jobs and cause severe impact on small business. Where would we be without small business in rural Colorado, please Vote NO.

Amendment 71 will make it harder for Constitutional changes to be made by requiring that a certain number of signatures be gathered in each State Senate district and any issues be passed by a 55% vote. This effectively means that only wealthy groups and individuals will be able to propose changes to the Constitution. For that reason, I urge a NO vote.

Amendment 72 increases in the Constitution the taxes paid on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The state tax on a pack of cigarettes will go from $.84 to $2.59 which when added to the federal tax will increase the taxes on a pack of cigarettes from $1.01 to $3.60. The tax on other smoking products will increase from 40% to 60%. The money raised from this increase will fund new and existing programs and these funds will not be used for education or roads. Please Vote NO.

The next four ballot issues change Colorado Statutes.

Proposition 106 will allow a terminally ill person with a prognosis of 6 months or less to request and receive assistance to die. It suggests that we know the value of human life and allows a family member to request the medication for a dying person. It does not prevent coercion or under influence on the dying person and does not indicate how to store the medication or what to do with unused medication. Please Vote NO.

Proposition 107 will establish a presidential primary in Colorado that allows unaffiliated voters to vote in a party election. I encourage a NO vote because in Colorado it is very easy to register with a party and the party should determine their candidates not outside groups. It is my understanding that both parties urge a NO vote on Proposition 107 and 108.

Proposition 108 is essentially the same as Proposition 107 in that it allows unaffiliated voters to influence a state parties candidate selection. Both 107 and 108 deserve a NO vote. In this state, there is an exhaustive registration effort and it is very easy to register to vote at any time, there is no need to introduce mischief into already complicated candidate selections. The last two issues are measures referred to the voters by the State Legislature.

Amendment T removes outdated language regarding “slavery and involuntary servitude” which primarily impacts the correctional industries or prisons in the State. I recommend a Yes vote.

Amendment U changes the Constitution and eliminates private property tax on government used property when the benefit is less than $6000. This eliminates the taxes charged to 4-H clubs, churches, etc. when they hold events on public property. I urge a Yes vote.

Hopefully, this will help clarify the issues on the ballot as they are extremely important. I hope this is helpful as these issues will change lives in our county. ~Lola Spradley Huerfano County resident and Former Speaker of the Colorado House

Letters to editor: October 5, 2016

Huerfano County Communications Coalition votes YES on 3A, for the kids of RE-1 schools

The Mission of the Huerfano County Communication Coalition is to enhance the lives of the citizens of Huerfano County by increasing communication, encouraging cooperation and disseminating information to efficiently achieve common goals.

The Coalition is comprised of elected officials, business owners, community leaders and concerned citizens who have met monthly since 1999 successfully achieving our mission.

The coalition has actively campaigned for things that are in the best interest of Huerfano County. For instance we strongly supported the Spanish Peaks Library District, the lodging tax, the regional sports complex, the creation of the Huerfano County Water District and other projects that have enhanced the wonderful county we live in.

At our last meeting on September 1st, the coalition unanimously voted to support the efforts of the Huerfano Re-1 School District’s mill levy override, ballot item 3a.

Over the past six years, Huerfano RE-1, as well as other Colorado schools has seen drastic decreases in funding ($670,000 yearly average).

The mill levy will provide additional revenue to achieve their goal of improving student achievement, attracting and retaining a high quality staff, embracing innovation, and providing a safe and secure learning environment.

The Huerfano County Communication Coalition strongly encourages voters in District Re-1 to vote YES on 3A – for the children. ~Debbie Channel Chair, Huerfano County Coalition

Letter to Walsenburg Police Department Chief McLallen: You should not divulge sources

This is in response to the letter to the editor submitted by Chief of Police, Tommie McLallen. I was horrified when I discovered, that the same letter was posted on the Walsenburg Police Department Facebook actually naming the source of the complaint.

Thank goodness at least the Huerfano Journal had sense enough to omit the source, but the damage was already done.

Chief McLallen, whatever happened to, “See something, Say something”. I was always under the impression that the citizens of Walsenburg/Huerfano, had an obligation to assist law enforcement by being their eyes and ears.

I ask you now, why would any law abiding citizen jeopardize themselves, knowing that our chief of police will betray their confidentiality, and put a target on the back of their source.

There is such a big problem in our county with drug trafficking.  This year alone there have been too many deaths associated with drug overdoses. When is this going to stop, how is it going to be stopped?

Chief McLallen, if you would like the help of the community to stop these drugs coming into our county, DON’T AIR THE SOURCE IN THE PUBLIC MEDIA. Concerned citizen, ~Delphine Ortega, Walsenburg

In support of the Walsenburg Police Department

The controversy about replacing Walsenburg’s police department got me thinking about our future.

Have you ever had business or occasion to visit the Huerfano County Sheriffs Department? You approach the concrete entrance and try the door, finding it locked, you read the wall signage then push the button and announce your business, after waiting, a voice sounds from a speaker asking for more information, then you told to wait. I have waited for up to 20 minutes or told to come back later. Finally the door buzzes as if to open yet there is no one there, stepping inside I finally locate someone to whom I address my business.

The whole process is demeaning and humiliating. I feel like I’m treated like a criminal. Compare this experience with a Walsenburg Police Department visit. You got, like night and day. The question I see is one of access and accountability, I’ll take the city any day. Sincerely, ~Brendt Berger Walsenburg

I support Gail Schwartz & Colorado’s future

To the Editor: I have hunted on national forest lands around the Spanish Peaks area and elsewhere with my son and family for over 45 years. My great grandmother was born in the area in 1892. Many of the people and families have lived in these mountains well before the National Forests were established. There is no question that the hunting, outdoor recreation, wood cutting, grazing and fishing is the foundation for the lifestyle and the economy on these public lands, as well as in other parts of Colorado.

Congressman Scott Tipton has sponsored a number of bills that will transfer or sell our public federal lands to the State of Colorado or private corporations and this is unacceptable. Gail Schwartz understands what is at stake for Coloradoans and has worked with rural Colorado to improve the schools, protect our water, helped with economic programs and local jobs, secured and improved habitat for wildlife and fisheries on these lands. She has become part of the local heritage. I will vote for Gail Schwartz this fall because the future of Colorado depends on her! ~John Litherland Weston, CO

La Veta Methodist women thankful to community for support over the years

The La Veta United Methodist Women would like to thank our community for the generous support of our Bake Sales, Granny’s Attic and Bazaars throughout the years.

With the help of friends and neighbors of Huerfano County, we have been able to help the following organizations:

Local gas and electric companies for aid to the needy, Dorcus Circle, Upon the Rock Christian camp, Open Arms Pregnancy Center, Cuchara Valley Christian Community Services, Compassion International, ZOE project in Africa, Heifer International, Operation SMILE, Spanish Peaks Meals on Wheels, Relay for Life, Ronald Mc Donald House, Malawi African Women, Hometown Heroes, Hospice, Shriners, and Warren Village. We also make 50 goodie bags to the La Veta schools teachers and staff yearly, and have supported the local volunteer fire department, and provide 100 boxes of supplies for Operation Christmas Child. We are a small, but committed group of women …..without the support of our wonderful church and the community, none of this would be possible. Thank you for enabling us to meet our goals year after year! God bless you! La Veta UMW ~Terry Warlick La Veta

Handicap spaces are a blessing

A special “thank you” to Mr. Joe Jiron and the members of the Knights of Columbus for their consideration in painting the handicapped parking places by the St Mary church for myself and the other people who have disabilities.

Thanks again and God Bless you all. Sincerely, ~Jeannette Booze Walsenburg Soccer donation The La Veta soccer teams would like to thank Gabe with Gabe’s Emergency Roadside Service for his generous donation! ~La Veta Soccer

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