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A human right?

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

I’m astonished that Tricia McKenzie calls abortion a “human right” (Aspen Times, May 13). Does she understand the meaning of the term?

Though it’s really not complicated, it seems McKenzie never learned the first thing about human rights: that they belong to all human beings, by virtue of our common humanity, period. No other qualification is required. The rest follows neatly: These rights are equal. No human being has more important rights than any other. Whatever rights I claim as mine, I must be glad to honor in everyone else.

The concept of human rights begins in our understanding of human life as a thing of dignity and high privilege. It has long been realized in charity, self-sacrifice, and such generous justice as we find in the golden rule.

McKenzie doesn’t grasp that to demand a right to destroy others is to violate the concept utterly. How absurd for anyone to call killing unborn human beings a human right.

Despicable, too, for McKenzie to compare abortion to civil rights. When Martin Luther King’s multitudes hit the Mall in ’63, they had no agenda of killing. Theirs was not a quest to rob the weak and helpless of their human honor. They did not clamor for the extermination of the unwanted.

In those days, social progressives espoused the highest sensitivity for our fellows who lived alone and unloved. We were going to end “man’s inhumanity to man.” What a plummet we’ve had since, to find ourselves celebrating some “woman’s right” to feckless bloodshed.

Human rights are beautiful, Ms. McKenzie. Abortion is ugly. Your cause is the opposite of what you claim, and primary evidence of our present moral darkness. Last April, we witnessed a mass tirade against human rights, not in favor. Those groups you cite (NARAL, etc.) promote a kind of inhumanity that could only be called brutal, if it weren’t in truth something even more debased than any animal can contemplate.

Chris King

Aspen

Why save Bair Ranch? It’s in the numbers

Dear Editor:

Yes, 82 percent of Eagle County is already public land, but 18 percent is private and why does this mean we should purchase the Bair Ranch development rights? Eagle County is 40 percent larger than the state of Rhode Island, which has a population of more than 1 million people.

I moved here in the ’60s because of the quality of life. Many of us moved because we did not want to live in an urban environment. This county is driven by tourism and construction. There is a limit to the number of people who the county can support without ruining what we moved here for. There are traffic and water issues today.

In the ’50s, people questioned why investors would buy land in the Gore Valley. In the ’60s, ranches in East and West Vail were sold. During the ’70s, people said that people would never move to Eagle-Vail, then Singletree and I was told no one would ever go to Homestead. In the next two decades, many more ranches were sold for development farther and farther away.

Since 1960, the population has increased at an alarming rate. In 1960, the population was 4,677; by 1970, it was 7,498 – an increase of 60 percent. In 1980, there was a 78 percent increase to 13,320. In 1990, the population was 21,928 – an increase of 65 percent; and finally, in the 10-year period between 1990 and 2000, the population had grown a whopping 90 percent to 41,959. The state demographer predicts that in the next 20 years, the population will be more than 80,000, even with a much slower rate of growth than the last 40 years. These numbers do not include second homes or hotels – all part of our beneficial tourist trade.

There are almost 200,000 acres of private land in Eagle County. Development has only taken place on a small percentage of this acreage. Eagle-Vail, Singletree and Homestead collectively are about 2,200 acres. That is just over 1 percent of the private land with about 2,500 units. Thirty years ago they were working ranches. In the next 30 years, projects that seem not feasible today will be feasible and will be developed.

Of the $5 million-plus going to purchase the development rights of the Bair Ranch, $2 million would come from the county Open Space Fund which can only be used for such a purpose. Almost $3 million will come from outside the county, from state and federal agencies, foundations, grants and private donations.

If Eagle County says “no” to the Bair Ranch, a partnership like this will never happen again for decades. Then when the “more perfect” project comes along, these partners will not be there for the county.

Bob Warner

Edwards

One heck of a deal

Dear Editor:

Is the Bair Ranch proposal perfect? Certainly not. But, does it have several overriding and compelling advantages? Absolutely.

The first is the fact that the county’s investment of $2 million leverages into place more than $3 million of OPM (Other Peoples’ Money). The bottom line, my friends, is that we are getting one heck of a deal. And remember, these other funds, for the most part, will leave the county forever. Say goodbye to the money. Bye-bye.

The second is that we are only buying the development rights. If we wanted to walk on the property, we wouldn’t be paying “just” $5 million, we would have to pay four times that much. And that would definitely not be a good deal for the taxpayers of Eagle County.

Will we benefit from this right away? Probably not. Will we benefit in 10 years? Maybe. But will we benefit in 20 years, when the Eagle County population swells to and past the 90,000 population predicted by our state demographer? Absolutely. Would we be able to afford the same easements then that are offered today. No way!

This is an investment in our future. This is an investment to ensure that Eagle County remains one of the world’s special places. Our natural uncongested environment is the golden egg of our economic success. Let’s not kill the goose.

Peter Runyon

candidate for

Eagle County commissioner

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