Who gets to stay?

I recently received the news that is all too common to local renters: The house I am renting in Wilson is for sale, and, in all likelihood, I’ll have to be out this fall. What has been called by several Realtors “a guaranteed tear down” comes with no land and is selling for almost $1.5 million. Coincidentally, a similar price as the “affordable” houses proposed in the Gill project.

This will be my sixth time moving in a span of five years, so I know firsthand that we need housing and we need it now.

Being a “local” or someone worthy of staying in this valley seems to be a high bar. But I like to think in my five years here I have proven myself a community member worthy of a safe, stable, affordable living situation. I make my living helping local nonprofits and small businesses find their voices. In my spare time, I volunteer with the Community Safety Network, Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling, Hole Food Rescue, and the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. And because I believe in civic engagement, good government, equity, and keeping our working class and vulnerable populations in the valley long-term, I have helped on more than one local election campaign.

I love this community, and I want to stay. The Gill project is generous, but it’s misguided. I want to stay but the covenant recorded by the Gills won’t ensure that those homes are affordable to me or my peers who would also like to put roots down in this community. I want to stay but I’m not willing to sacrifice good planning or piecemeal the landscape that brought me here. I want to stay but I want to see a better plan that will build a neighborhood for all of us, so that we may all stay. Northern South Park is an amazing opportunity to get it right: deed-restricted housing serving all income levels, a variety of housing types, adequate and forward-thinking infrastructure and conservation.

We must respectfully, and with gratitude, deny the Gill proposal so that as a community we may come back to the table with them and the Lockharts to build the neighborhood we need.

Nikki Kaufman

Jackson Hole

Debate demand was partisan

(The following letter was addressed to Gov. Mark Gordon and copied to the News&Guide. — Eds.)

I am writing in response to the letter the secretary of state, the state treasurer and you sent to the Commission on Presidential Debates, copied to Wyoming’s newspapers.

I take issue first of all with the partisan thrust of the letter.

If you simply desire to help the citizens of Wyoming inform themselves about the issues in the coming election, you have no need for the comment about one candidate “avoiding voters and questions from the press.” Former Vice President Biden has maintained a low profile since the pandemic struck this country. He did, however, participate actively in all the primary debates. He made his views known in response to myriad questions as unscripted as those he will face in debates with President Trump. He has a long public track record and has made clear his position on concerns of crucial importance in the coming election, such as health care and Social Security.

President Trump, whom you have said you support, could benefit from his greater time in the public eye, where he can make his “policies and intellect” clear to the voters, should he choose to do so.

Second, televised presidential debates provide a dubious method of informing the voter. The format and process are almost as formulaic as ads and prewritten speeches. I have found them singularly uninformative and frustrating. They offer little information about policy and ideas that is not available in greater depth elsewhere.

The commission has already scheduled three debates in which both candidates have agreed to participate. Those who find televised debates useful in making up their minds can profit from watching those. More debates would be unlikely to add value to them.

Third, timing is not an issue. Wyoming voters may cast their ballots early, but they are not required to. They will have the same opportunity to hear competing visions as that afforded to other states if they choose to take it. Your COVID-19 briefings have stressed your faith in the people of Wyoming to do the right thing. That same faith would serve you and the voters of the state in this matter, too.

Finally, the disingenuous tone of the letter — a partisan effort masquerading as a desire for an informed electorate — seems to me to be beneath the dignity of your office and belies the trust you profess in Wyoming’s citizenry.

Stephen Lottridge


No one driving train

The engineer has gone to one of his clubs to play golf, leaving train out of control, unattended and heading for derailment. Congress has gone on vacation. Meanwhile 1,000 new cases daily of COVID-19 virus sweeping the country with no end in sight. Wear masks and distance from one another advised, yet the engineer will not be a good example. Jobs are way off. Racial tension is at an all-time high because change for equality is desperately needed once and for all. Federal offenses could be being committed if tampering with the mail-in election by cutting off some sorting machines and on the some mail boxes removed from streets.

Yes, our country is going full speed out of control. So who is going to stop it? The election is the key time to vote for new leadership vital for change, but what about now, is anyone going to stand up and get us back on track?

It is not about red or blue. It is about taking control!

Louise Wade


Letters to the editor should be limited to 400 words, be signed and include a town of residence and a telephone number for verification. Letters are due by 5 p.m. Monday. No thank yous or political endorsement letters. Guest Shot columns are limited to 800 words. Email editor@jhnewsandguide.com.

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