Soundbites from a day in Gunnison

Sidebar by Martha Quillen

Growth – June 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

About the governor’s conferences on “Smart Growth”:

“Since this is the third in a series, how smart are we getting?”Jerry Swingle, Western Colorado Congress

About the so-called “takings” legislation now under debate in Denver. This legislation would expand the obligation of government to reimburse property owners for loss of property value due to changes in zoning and environmental regulations:

“I have a home, and the rancher down the road has land with a couple of houses and buildings. My tax for the year is $6,000, the rancher’s tax is $300. The farmer has a right to farm; he has a right to survive. But when talking about ranchers… If I’m going to put out that kind of money, I need some guarantee that he’s going to keep that land and feed my kids, and feed the kids of my kids.” Eric Johnson, President-elect, Club 20

“I hear the farmer and rancher say he wants to stay on the land — then he should fight with me against rampant development. If you’re really serious about staying on the land, then you’re going to have to pay, with me, a certain price.” Eric Johnson

“I take offense when someone says these bills are idiotic. When someone takes a plow out to fight a fire, and he can’t do that because it endangers a kangaroo rat, that’s idiotic.” Ray Christensen, Colorado Farm Bureau

“What’s Aurora doing with the water? Growing Kentucky Bluegrass.” Eric Johnson

“Must someone be paid not to do the wrong thing? If someone must be paid not to dump effluent into their own river, there’s something wrong with government.” Linda Powers, Colorado State Senator

Regarding the Elephant Rock project, in lieu of recently proposed takings legislation:

“If the dam isn’t going to be built, does Colorado Springs have to be paid not to destroy the Arkansas Valley and Chaffee County?” Linda Powers

The following quotes come from a panel discussion about the roles and obligations of small town institutions, including schools, media, churches, business and cultural organizations.

“There’s a new contingent I see now, I call it the New Age Red Neck. How do you identify the species? It has a two-part contrapuntal call. It says, ‘Wow,’ then ‘Wow, by God.'” Richard Simms, Director, Museum of Western Colorado

“I come from a place and time when we thought there was no tomorrow, and no responsibility to it… But there is, and we’re going to have to live up to it.” Gerald Lain, pastor, environmentalist, realtor who was raised in Texas and Oklahoma during the oil booms.

“If you’ll buy that he’s both a man of God and a Realtor, then you’ll believe I’m an ethical journalist.” Ed Quillen

“The universality of the media makes Denver and L.A.’s problems, Gunnison’s problems.” Jim Gelwicks, Western Communications Professor, Gunnison Mayor

“We operate under tremendous economic pressures. We say we want less government, but there are more and more services we want the government to provide.” Jim Gelwicks

From a panel discussion about “good” local economic development:

“Isolation. People worry about that, but I worship isolation. It’s the only thing that’s saved a lot of towns in Colorado.”

“Failures are where we learn, and we should learn. In so many towns, they don’t want to talk about it, but that’s where you learn.” John Schler, West Slope Director, Colorado Center for Community Development

“Small towns seldom focus on existing businesses and try to boost or expand them.” John Schler

“Welcome to the new frontier, where what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is negotiable… Who is a Coloradan? What are we? This State is the New Frontier.” Stan Broome, Director, Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning

“My idea of development is that it’s simply a means to an end, and until you figure out what that end should be, you can’t decide on development.” Stan Broome

“When I first came to Colorado as an environmentalist, I thought I knew everything. But when I came to my area and listened to the ranchers, the elders, the miners, I started to change… I found they all care about this place, they all care about the land.” Art Goodtimes, poet, environmentalist

“I’ve been a tree-hugger for more than thirty years. The interaction between these agencies and environmental groups — I feel we’ve come light years. We’ve still got a lot to do, but now I feel there’s some hope.” audience participant

“Regarding this issue of private property rights, one of these rights seems to be ‘The Right of Maximum Profits,’ I have some real problems with that.” audience participant.