Email letters, Sept. 19, 2011

More spending is not the answer

Many of President Obama’s economic advisors were former professors, like him. They never worked in the real world, but in the past three years they got a chance to test out their theories. The result is we are now saddled with the resulting mess. The trillions in additional debt that represents their failure. Did the magnitude of their deficit spending make sense to you? We know it is easy to run up debt, but very difficult to pay it off. 

Many who live in the real world disagree with more government spending being the solution. They believe that the best way to jump start the economy is to get more money into the hands of job creators, the folks who own and manage businesses. The problem for President Obama is that successful business owners who create the most jobs can end up being millionaires (very few billionaires), the very people he frequently attacks.

The small business owners making $250,000 or more, the ones the President is targeting for major tax increases, are not all millionaires and to the extent they are, their wealth is tied up in plant, equipment and receivables. They get it, these one year tax benefits in the President’s latest stimulus bill are intended to get the President re-elected and then the bills will come due. It is them who are expected to pay those bills. 

We need to elect a president in 2012 who has worked in the real world.


Senior skiers have paid their dues

My wife and I are among those who were dismayed by the increased cost in season passes at Powderhorn for folks between 70 and 75. We ski no more than 6 or 8 times a season, always during the week when there are no lines, and have enjoyed the friendly atmosphere.

We feel we have paid our dues over the more than 30 years we have skied Colorado and the $75 season passes the past few years were well earned. Phone calls to Powderhorn made it clear to us that the atmosphere is about to change. The new management is out to make every buck they can and the old laid back family atmosphere is history.

So, it looks like it is time for us to focus on the wonderful cross-country skiing available just a few miles further up the Grand Mesa. The money we save will buy us both fine new sets of cross-country equipment, the sport is less injury-prone, we will avoid being overrun by boarders and we can always stop on the way home to use the bathrooms at Powderhorn.

Grand Junction

What happens after education funding sunsets?

There are two tax increases on the ballot coming up; Proposition 103 and Referred Measure 3B.  The Daily Sentinel has endorsed both. Without going into all the minute details, which were in the Commentary pages on Sept. 18, I will pose a question or two. 

Prop 103 raises state sales and income taxes that equate to $2.7 billion over the five-year life of the increase. Referred Measure 3B has a 7 mill levy increase over the six year life of the measure. This would provide $12.5 million a year.  Both increases “sunset” as shown.

My first simple question is what happens when they do sunset?” Can we then magically do without either additional income stream? The only saving grace, if any, of the two is that we locally control any Measure 3B income.

Do we really need the 80 teachers lost due to current District 51 reductions? Were they all outstanding instructors? Do we drop all the rehires in six years? And an aside, do we really need a Teachers Union?  I think not.  Anyway, throwing money at education has never worked — witness the Department Of Education.

I cannot recall a temporary tax increase that stayed temporary, at the moment. Perhaps someone can convince me that the loss of those income streams in five or six years will then have a negligible impact.

Grand Junction

We have a right to verify our elections

Do Mesa County elections produce private files to be shared only with partisan Democratic and Republican appointees? Is Mesa’s election information so secret for insiders that the press, Libertarians and unaffiliated voters must be denied access?

Mesa County Clerk Reiner claims, “How you vote is your business. As a sworn election official, it is my duty to protect your vote from public display.” She is apparently boasting, “How you vote is your business, my business and the business of the Democratic and Rupublican partisan appointees.”

Voters should remind Reiner that when an election official records any personally traceable ballots, regardless of promises of confidentiality, it is a serious violation of the state constitution. It is a founding American principle that, above all, government officials, including Reiner, must not know how we vote. Ballots are anonymous, not secret. Ballots must be voted in private, but always counted in public.

Citizens and the press in Saguache County just inspected all the ballots in their last election to try to verify questionable results. No voter identity was at risk. Ballots are not identifiable. They are public records. Why should citizens in Saguache County, or the press on the Bush/Gore ballot review, or Connecticut voters who annually undertake a citizens’ audit enjoy rights to verify election records that the Mesa County clerk denies?

When citizens, including the League of Women Voters, in South Carolina recently reviewed data from their touchscreen machines, of the type used in Mesa County, they found widespread and significant errors. Clerk Reiner is spending public funds to seek court protection to stop Colorado citizens from making a similar review at their own expense. Why?
Elections belong to the people, not government bureaucrats. Without the right to verify our own elections, our democracy is left in the hands of officials and their cronies.


Columnist is correct about ALEC

We owe columnist Bill Grant a great thanks for speaking out and putting ALEC under the klieg lights of searing scrutiny, as it should be. We have been researching ALEC for the last nine months and Grant’s facts check out. 

Thank you to Grant for doing his homework and bringing this organization before the Republican public, whether they are comfortable with its implications or not.  They are being made fools of and have no idea what kind of plutocratic horrors they are about to bring on themselves.  The very foundations of our democracy and social contract are under corporate assault (i.e. coup) and we understand the depth and seriousness of this battle already begun. Grant should not quit.  He has now many more millions on his side than perhaps he is even aware.  “On Wisconsin,” down with billionaire, boot-licker, Walker and down with Kasich.
Final remarks (comment to present owner, editor, staff):  This print rag had better get its act together and make a decision editorially whether or not they are nothing more than a GOP mouthpiece or a newspaper worth supporting.  The Daily Sentinel shouldn’t dare call itselves fair and balanced and act like Fox News.  In heat there is light, but if you’re snuffing the candle out, we aren’t buying.  We have been with you for 20 years; get it right or fail and fiscally die (no more fake fights — no more Hannity and Colmes).
Grand Junction

Worried for our republic

When the United States was established I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who was asked, “What kind of government do we have?”  His reply was: “A Republic if you can hold it.” I had never worried about the republic until recent years. But now we are rapidly becoming a nation without borders, no common language and a movement toward some kind of socialism. 

I watch the massive invasion from our neighboring country to the south and hear the bleeding hearts crying that you can’t just stop, question or detain people who look like they are illegal, can’t speak English or some other obvious reason.
I remember the 1940s right after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt had the army round up all Japanese-American citizens and place them in internment camps for the duration of the war. One of those camps was right here in Colorado. These people were citizens who had done nothing. Many of them lost their property and never recovered it after the war was over. Young Japanese-American men were finally allowed to enlist in the army and fought in Europe. Their unit the 442 Regimental Combat Team was so highly decorated it was nick named the Christmas Tree Division.
Now, 70 years after the federal government could lock up thousands and thousands of its own citizens for supposed security reasons, don’t tell us they can’t address a real problem with aliens who have no legal right to be here in the United States. Perhaps its time to replace the folks in Washington with people who have backbones instead of wishbones and restore Ben Franklin’s Republic. What are our elected officials waiting for? I seriously doubt that the Mexican government really wants to stop the illegal flow of aliens to the United States. The money sent back to Mexico from the illegal workers here, has to be in the millions of dollars annually. Why would they want to stop this cash flow?

Customer service is lacking

It is interesting that during the years of 2007 and 2008 when our economy in the Grand Valley was booming, customer service was not able to keep up with demand due to the influx of demand. You couldn’t find a company to pour and set a concrete patio or provide floor installations in a reasonable amount of time.

In 2009, customer service was at a high point. Businesses were slow to react to the economy and had an over abundance of customer service employees for the demand. In 2010, the business sector responded to the lack of demand and made severe cut backs.

Now that we are in 2011, I find it hard to find good customer service. It is my belief that the service sector is understaffed and customer service is at a low which destroys opportunity for all, consumers and work force alike.

When it takes a service business three days to respond to a consumer opportunity and it takes 5 weeks to get help installing an engine in a vehicle (that is if you find the engine yourself, have it delivered to the service provider etc.), two weeks to get a part replaced into an air conditioned unit because there is no available personnel to handle demand.

I recently requested bids on window replacement on one of my rental units. The five companies that I initially contacted didn’t respond for 3-5 days, one didn’t respond at all. When I did give the business to a company they took a month to fit me into their schedule with my constant reminders.

Even the medical sector is responding similarly. It used to be that a doctor’s office would remind you it is time for your yearly check up. We now have to keep track of these check ups ourselves and hopefully have the staff to receive us.

Wake up Grand Valley. Let’s stop over-reacting and start picking up where we left off. There are many folks out there without jobs that could be working. We can all contribute to our economy.

Grand Junction

Funds are needed to maintain quality education

I have thought a long time about whether to write about the ballot question for funding for the school district. After reading so many letters I could not ignore the misconceptions and distortions of the reality.

So many of the letters and op-ed articles make statements that are clearly founded on supposition, isolated opinion, generalized impressions of government or just plain lack of knowledge.

As the Board of Education, our first responsibility is to the students of our community and to the well-being of the district. Remember in Colorado the School Board cannot raise your taxes. Only the voters can make that decision. The School Board is obligated to pose the question.

We have cut nearly $28 million from our budget while being one of the twelve lowest funded of 178 districts in Colorado. When I see op-ed articles by people like Rick Wagner questioning our fundamental structure and commitment I wonder where and when he has learned what he supposedly knows. Has he been in our schools or studied how we operate?

When I hear of candidates for school board opposing the mill levy override, I wonder where they have been for the last three years. Are they really interested in the doing the best for our school district and the students, or are they just pandering to the far right who they think are their constituents?

When I see letters to the editor spouting rhetoric about not having children because they are supposedly being so responsible, I wonder if they understand who really helped pay for their education and if they understand that someday the students of today will probably take care of them in their old age. I also know that public assistance rolls and criminal justice systems are full of people who did not go to school. What is the cost effectiveness and impact on your taxes of that?

Administrative services have taken the largest cuts in the budget reductions and this while we have always had one of the leanest administrative support systems in the state. Don’t tell me we are top heavy.

When I read these op-eds, letters and blogs what I see are just rationalizations and language to disguise the underlying fact that the writers are just plain too selfish to pay their fair share of keeping this community and our schools the great organizations they are.




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