Fight the Gems |

Fight the Gems

Dear Editor:

I have to wonder if Pete McBride and friends are as concerned with Jared Polis’ spending of public funds to further the Hidden Gems agenda as they are with the potential spending allocated by the Basalt Fire District to fight the Wilderness designation proposed by Wilderness Workshop, and already presented to Congressman Polis?

Shortly after reading both Scott Condon’s article in Friday’s Aspen Times, as well as Pete McBride and friends’ letter, I picked up my daily mail, which included a heavy stock, double-sided, full-color, 8.5-by-22-inch, tri-folded brochure from Congressman Polis, with a brief (slightly biased) description of the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal. It included a small map, website info, and a brief (three-question), perforated, tear-off survey. On the back it listed the three upcoming public forums, and encouraged people to attend, or send in the survey – don’t forget the 44-cent stamp!

Obviously, significant time and money went into producing and sending this brochure, and since I have personally seen Wilderness Workshop’s two-year budget, I wasn’t surprised that some of their $2.4 million could have gone to produce this beautiful mailer. Then, in small print, on the back of the brochure I read: “This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

Isn’t the Hidden Gems proposal privately funded? Why am I now paying to further their cause? It’s obvious after having spoken with Congressman Polis, receiving his e-mails, and seeing this particular brochure, that he wants this proposal pushed through to Congress, and I’m afraid that a majority in opposition will not make a difference. I was told that Mr. Polis contributed $50,000 in personal funds to an environmental group directly linked to Wilderness Workshop’s funding. If true, can he really be unbiased? Will he listen if we say “No”?

I encourage all involved to attend one or all three of the public forums: 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, at the Boulder Public Library; 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, June 3, at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards; noon to 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 4, at the CMC Breckenridge campus. Please unite to give a resounding “no” to this proposal, and to say: “Stop spending our money!”

This is our last chance. Do not miss it!

John Hembel