FROM OUR READERS

By on November 1, 2016

Macker and Epstein Have the Right Stuff

(Photo: Ben Blanton)

(Photo: Ben Blanton)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Having attended almost all of the candidate forums, as well as having more than 40 years of local and state public service, I urge you to vote for Natalia Macker and native Greg Epstein for Teton County Commissioner. They have experience working on the hot button issues of affordable workforce housing and transportation. Macker is a bright, dedicated incumbent seeking election after being appointed by the current board. Epstein works as a nonprofit volunteer and business manager. Both have ties to younger, working class families. They have the drive to serve the community and support our Comp Plan.

Their opponents, Trey Davis and Nikki Gill, are also good citizens, but lack government or public service experience by their own accounts. Davis’ advertised platform includes “less meetings,” which I can promise him will not happen, due to my 12-year tenure as an Independent County Commissioner serving with many boards. Davis has often stated his current job takes from 60-100 hours a week leaving no room for responsibly tending to county business and ‘homework.’ In addition, the town and county often work very closely together. His wife is town attorney, creating potential conflict of interest for him.

Gill holds promise but lacks experience outside of her position in her family’s management of large land holdings in South Park, a situation that easily could cause her conflict of interest and the need to recuse herself from important decision-making. This would not forward the efficiency or representation many seek for our public boards.

Macker and Epstein are the best qualified to serve us.

– Sandy Shuptrine
Jackson, WY

One Percent vs. SPET

The general sales tax should be rejected because it takes away the most democratic, accountable tax and spending we have in our community, the Special Purpose Excise Tax. SPET and the projects funded with SPET money are the closest our local government comes to the old town hall meetings where the community voted and decided how its money would be spent.

The new general sales tax is in place of SPET. A vote for the new tax is also a vote for never again voting on specific community projects, such as improvements to our hospital, library, recreation center, pathways, and all of the other projects that are a vital part of our community.

I favor more affordable housing. Indeed, if instead of proposing a tax that takes away our vote on specific projects, our elected officials had proposed an additional one cent SPET dedicated to specific affordable housing and transportation projects, I would strongly support it.

The argument that affordable housing and transportation require a steady stream of revenue is bogus. Affordable housing is necessarily capital projects. SPET is to fund capital projects.

If SPET can be used on affordable housing projects, indeed all SPET can be spent on affordable housing, then why have our elected officials proposed to substitute a general tax for SPET? The difference is who decides on the specific projects to be built. With SPET, we the citizens of Teton County make that decision. If the general sales tax is passed, we will never again vote on projects to be funded.

 – Armando Menocal
Jackson, WY

The Case for Halverson

It is disturbing to hear there are some very nasty fliers circulating from Marti Halverson’s opponent claiming she is opposed to multiple-public-use of our land. This is a fear tactic, a preposterous and desperate lie. This is what Democrats do when they have no platform to run on or solutions. Problem solving and consensus building should come with a higher price. Marylee White could have confronted Halverson with these false accusations in an open and transparent debate. The voters deserve better.

Unfortunately, it is typical of the shenanigans being played out by Democrats all across Wyoming this year. (For which they are now being investigated by the Attorney General’s office.)

Halverson lives in a valley dominated by outdoorsmen. Her neighbor, mentor and former state senator Delaine Roberts was recently inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame. She is a member of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife. She is trustworthy, honest and respected.

Opponents of transfer have much to lose if public lands are transferred to the state—after all, Wyoming has no Equal Access to Justice Act money pot, through which anti-hunting, anti-ranching radical environmentalists launder your tax dollars to spend on attack mailers such as these.

– Valerie Music
Jackson, WY 

Setting Record Straight on HD 22 Race

Marylee White, candidate for HD 22, supports keeping our public lands in public hands. Her opponent, Marti Halverson is a leader among those who want to transfer ownership to the state. Halverson has voted for transfer and voted to waste $75,000 on a study of transferring ownership and/or management. She will keep fighting to do away with our rights to own our public lands.

Halverson runs ads about self-reliance as a “core value” and says that the neither the state or federal government should ever interfere with an individual’s right to manage their own private affairs. Yet she has voted three times to constrain a woman’s right to choose and is described by Wyoming NARAL as one who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Halverson’s Facebook page describes a vote for White as a vote against gun rights and the Second Amendment. However, White, a fourth generation Wyomingite, has grown up with guns, hunting and fishing, and got a B from the NRA only because she was opposed to concealed carry of weapons for college students.

These are big differences between the two candidates and voters need to know that Halverson is one of only seven legislators who voted 100 percent with the Tea Party since she was elected, according to Conservative Republicans of Wyoming.

White is a problem solver and consensus builder who will represent our shared Wyoming values.

– Hank Phibbs & Leslie Petersen
Wilson, WY

For the Love of Public Lands

The transfer of federal public lands to the State of Wyoming seems so unlikely that it has taken Wyomingites some time to take it seriously. A number of candidates have entered this election primarily to raise awareness and voters need to pay attention.

The notion is that the State of Wyoming should sue the federal government for control of Bureau of Land Management and U.S. National Forest lands. In 2015, the Wyoming House of Representatives passed a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Marti Halverson, Dist. 22, to initiate a transfer. The bill passed the house but failed in the senate. Halverson is not going to give up this misguided plan.

Marylee White, Halverson’s opponent, entered the race to stop Halverson and to educate the electorate in House District 22 about what a transfer really entails. She believes it has little to no legal grounds and if pursued will be a waste of time and money.

The Wyoming  constitution states: “The people inhabiting this state do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof.” The Wyoming attorney general’s office told the legislature that if they sue the federal government they will likely lose.

If the state did take over federal lands and the cost of managing the lands exceeds their income, the state will have no choice but to lease or sell them for the highest possible return. Private interests will take away our public lands.

To enjoy the outdoors defines who we are as Wyomingites. The open lands, mountains and rivers of Wyoming are why we live here and why we have visitors from around the world that help provide us a sustainable economy. If you value our public lands cast your vote for Marylee White in House District 22.

– Aaron & Tamsen Pruzan
Wilson, WY

Be Leary of Special Interests

I’m disappointed to see Jackson consider re-electing a lobbyist as mayor. The revolving door of lobbyists and insiders who move in and out of government exists to perpetuate the status quo. The cozy relationships stifle real debate and prevent real change.

I think that, at this point, Jackson needs some new ideas, especially to deal with the housing crisis. So many people I know have had to leave the valley—from young professionals to those in the service industry—all of whom are essential for Jackson’s future. The incumbent has not adequately addressed this issue and change is needed.

I no longer live in Jackson, but it will always be a special place to me. Please choose wisely.

– Dr. Kristen Garner Amanti
Carlisle, MA

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