Email letters, July 18, 2014
Sentinel’s commentary page unrecognizable
Does anyone recognize the commentary page in our beloved old Grand Junction Sentinel?
I have concluded that if geographic references and widely known local names were removed, what was once a centerpiece of our morning ritualistic perusal wouldn’t be recognized.
Things have been changed in six months, even the taste of that first cup of coffee.
Sheriff candidates need to clarify views on militarization of police forces
I have supported most Republican candidates over many decades, and have served in a number of capacities including a term as a county chairman in Colorado. But that should not be deemed automatic support, particularly as it comes to sheriff.
An issue for whomever runs the sheriff’s department is the troubling and increasing militarization of our police forces across the country. Citizens who wish to preserve their 4th Amendment rights (unreasonable searches and seizures) and who support “the Castle Doctrine” (“my home is my castle”) must demand accountability and pushback. It should come from our elected sheriff.
I just perused the sheriff’s website and came up with the following:
1) The SWAT team was using the BLM range on Monday July 14th for training. The accompanying picture shows camouflage-dressed men who looked like they were ready for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
2) According to the web page, “In the last two years the SWAT Team has averaged 30 calls a year.” The department breaks these into “Planned” and “Unplanned.” To further quote the website, “‘Planned’ S.W.A.T. events involve supporting or executing a search warrant.”
3) There is the “Unmanned Aerial System Team.” Again citing the website, “To date our program has flown more than 55 missions with a combined 225 (plus) flight hours. We are beginning to implement UAS into day to day operations.”
In a free society, we have always drawn sharp lines between the military and police officers. The use of force in executing search warrants by highly armed and non-uniformed cops is a bad thing. Multiply the 30 or so SWAT incidents per year by Mesa County Sheriff’s Department across the country and we are looking at an estimated 60,000-80,000 “deployments” per year, according to investigative journalist and author Radley Balko.
In sum, what started with about 300 SWAT team uses in the entire country in the 1970’s, has grown to where the use of SWAT teams is now the default option. SWAT was initially an acronym for “Special Weapons Assault Team”. The PR has changed, but the missions have involved far too many assaults.
All of our sheriff’s candidates need to clarify their views on these issues.
STEPHEN M. DAVIS
Roice Hurst developing program for humane treatment of feral cats
Roice-Hurst Humane Society prides itself on providing humane treatment and care for all of the animals at our facility. In 2013, we sheltered and provided veterinary care for 941 cats and dogs and we are on a path to exceed that number in 2014. We have great compassion for all of the pet animals in our community and work together with other agencies, veterinarians and national animal welfare organizations through the Mesa County Animal Welfare Partnership to identify and find solutions for animal issues in our community.
At our planning meeting in 2014, the MCAWP and Roice-Hurst Humane Society prioritized developing a comprehensive program to address feral cats. However, it is a complicated issue and any solution needs to address concerns about the humane treatment of feral cats and the safety and welfare of the neighborhoods in which they live. We have reviewed programs across the country and are developing a plan unique to our community.
Please know that the humane treatment of all animals is always foremost in our minds.
Roice-Hurst Humane Society, Board of Directors
Reader disappointed in Sentinel’s King coverage
Congratulations to the Daily Sentinel. You were on a witch-hunt to get Steve King. You not only provided the noose, you participated in the hanging. It was not (and is not) your job to find him guilty or innocent; that is why we have courts of law.
There is not enough print to tell you how despicable we find your coverage. Good luck sleeping at night.
HELEN AND RAY CARLSON
Inadequate revenue a serious national security issue
Albeit predictably not reported in the Daily Sentinel, “Tea Party” Congressman Scott Tipton is casting hypocritical votes in the House – supporting H.R. 4718 (permanently renewing gratuitous “bonus depreciation” for already-profitable corporations) and H.R. 4719 (increasing the deductibility of foodstuff charitable contributions).
Because neither are “paid for,” H.R. 4718 would add $287 billion to annual deficits over the next decade, while H.R 4719 would add another $16.3 billion.
While Tipton insists that “spending is the problem” (and offers bogus deficit projections to “support” that argument), he conveniently excludes any such “tax expenditures” from his definition of “spending” – which credible tax-policy analysts don’t.
Tipton and his cronies in the “Tea Party” controlled House insist that we cannot afford to extend unemployment benefits (costing $8 billion in 2014, but saving $9 billion over five years), or fully-fund the Food Stamp program (cutting $8 billion over ten years), or better secure our borders (costing $43-$45 billion over ten years), or keep promises to veterans (costing $38 billion to fix the VA healthcare system), or repair crumbling infrastructure (costing $50 billion a year), or deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border (costing $3.7 billion) – but Republicans would willingly waste another $303.3 billion on tax giveaways.
The GAO reports that $330 to $400 billion in federal taxes owed are uncollected every year – but Republicans still seek to cut IRS budgets by $1+ billion per year, even though every dollar invested in increased enforcement yields a 600% return.
The reason is simple: government revenues cynically diverted into corporate coffers are being recycled into campaign contributions (which go mostly to Republicans), and/or to purchase “free speech” (under Citizens United), while the failures of the chronically under-funded federal government are being disingenuously blamed on President Obama.
Even Dick Cheney now admits that inadequate revenue is a serious national security issue.