I contend that with her February 22 column, "On a Roll," and its important report about Western Pacific's toilet-paper game, Patricia Calhoun finally accepts where her writing is going.
Down the toilet.
Thank God for Patricia Calhoun! I, too, was irritated to the point of hysteria by Western Pacific's cheerfulness. I would gladly pay more for less of the games and good humor. And for those passengers, like Ms. Calhoun, who are horrified by the Colorado Springs airport's baggage area, remember those words made famous at Denver International Airport: Carry on.
Land of Opportunity
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Breaks of the Game," in the February 14 issue:
I was disappointed with Eric Dexheimer's apparent sympathy with the idea that people other than real farmers who own land assessed at agricultural rates receive an unfair break on their taxes.
Admittedly, some vacant land which is only nominally agricultural is really held by speculators, waiting for it to fully ripen for subdividing or industrial use. Even so, how is that unfair? The owners receive little or no income from it, but government still collects a tribute based on the land's historical use while providing no services. Haven't we had enough of coercive government without empowering it to bludgeon citizens into selling their property before they are ready?
But it is the attack on small rural acreages that gores my ox. People who buy such property drill their own water wells, install their own septic systems and forego the full range of government services for which they pay taxes. The houses they live in are evaluated just like houses in the city, but the acreage surrounding them is not equivalent to so many vacant city lots waiting for buyers. The land itself has no premium value except for the aesthetic satisfaction it provides the owners, plus whatever income there is to be earned from small-time agricultural use. Zoning it agricultural is only justice--which must be why some bureaucrats chafe. Raising taxes on rural homeowners would force some of them to sell out, and give others an incentive to subdivide into smaller tracts, if the zoning authorities would let them.
What is needed in the name of fairness is not legislation to make some rural property owners pay more taxes. What is needed are more legal restraints on the government's appetite for money. With 45 percent of our income already taken by the various levels of government, Dexheimer is on the wrong story. How about one detailing where the money is spent?
I have no problem with these tax breaks for agriculture, because the result of "fair" taxation would be too chilling to contemplate. There would be nonstop concrete from Fort Collins to Pueblo. Is this what we want? I personally enjoy seeing livestock, even bees or nothing at all, on privately owned, undeveloped land in Colorado.
Blood Will Tell
My usual diet of sources of financial information is the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Barron's; however, it was with the greatest of pleasure that I read Alan Prendergast's article regarding Somatogen, "Out for Blood," in the February 22 issue.
I have been an investor in Somatogen for over five years and must confess that the only time I really understood the company was after reading Mr. Prendergast's article.Three cheers for some great in-depth reporting.
H. Alan Dill
A Cellar's Market
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Dry County," in the February 7 issue:
Many people will blame the developers and the county officials for causing this impending crisis. But remember, there are multitudes of people who want to enjoy a rural quality of life and be able to commute to work in the city. Douglas County fits the bill, and these people are willing to pay lots of good money to satisfy their desire. In that light, it is a lesser sin that developers and county officials are taking the money and enabling these people to live their California dream.
We have met the enemy. He is us. Now what are we going to do with ourselves?
I suggest that Holly Bohlen go ahead and route her drainpipe into a basement cistern. I would bet that no jury of her peers would convict her of breaking the law.
David W. Olson
Look! Up in the Air!
We all wish to thank you, and especially Robin Chotzinoff, for running the story on the plight of the Imperial Flyers ("Soar Losers," February 22). We couldn't ask for more--a front-page spread! The story may not get us reinstated at the downtown Y, but it surely will give us exposure. If we ever find a place to fly again, we will certainly invite your staff to come see us in action and possibly "swing off."