Email letters, Nov. 2, 2011

Keep airport board free from politics

While I whole heartedly support replacing Councilmember Bill Pitts on the Grand Junction Regional Airport Commission, as a former mayor and past airport commissioner, I must question the City Council’s attempt to stack the airport board.

Originally the airport board was set up to have three people appointed by the city, three by the county and those six appointing a seventh member. It was a fair and impartial balance that the county has adhered to. The city chooses to appoint two citizens and one council member instead. But by contemplating making all three city appointees xouncil members, they are attempting to force their will on an independent and autonomous board.

What’s next? Council members as CMU trustees or on the St Mary’s board? The very purpose of the original agreement was to keep this board free of undue political interference. It is not the duty of the Council to run the Airport. Let the tenants and the Airport board work together for an equitable solution without “help” from the outside.

Grand Junction

No safety nets for smokers

Columnist Kathleen Parker today hails the famous, or infamous, Herman Cain ad wherein his campaign manager blows smoke in our faces. She interprets it, like I do, as a rebuke of the nanny state. It was a statement saying we have gone too far in limiting citizens’ freedom. Maybe, maybe not.
I think everyone should have the right to smoke, as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else. It has been conclusively proven to be carcinogenic, both to the smoker and maybe less so to those who have to breathe the secondhand smoke.
Having acknowledged there is a limited freedom issue here, I am all in favor of those partaking of such a freedom to be totally responsible for the potential medical impact their habit may have on society as a whole. Conservative principles demand personal responsibility. I assume that a smoker must have medical insurance to ensure that the inevitable medical costs he or she will have will be borne entirely by the smoker. Another conservative principle seems to be that no one should be forced to buy insurance. Fair enough. Said smoker may discover that trying to get insurance later in life may be out of financial reach, but that’s the price of freedom.
But, I assume conservatives must also believe that, in the name of personal responsibility, the medical profession only provide pro bono services to those who cannot pay for services and who have a condition brought on by their smoking and the cost of such service not be passed on to the general public. Current practices of giving care to the indigent and passing the cost on to everybody else should be discontinued. It’s only fair in a land of total personal responsibility.
So let’s go all the way. No nasty freedom-inhibiting safety nets. Total freedom.
Grand Junction

Time to end bonuses for CEOs of TARP-funded institutions

Please tell me a story I got off of the national news is a Halloween prank of some sort to scare all of us. Please tell me that ten executives from Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not going to receive between $12.79 and $30 million (depending on the source) in taxpayer paid “production bonuses.” But unfortunately it isn’t a bad Halloween spoof. It is true.

Do you think their “modest production increases” for which they are getting these bonuses had anything to do with the $182 million, taxpayer-funded, bailout they received?

Then I read that the Obama appointed “pay czar,” Ken Feinberg, approved a $4 million raise for AIG CEO Robert Benmosche. In 2009, Mr. Benmosche reportedly had a salary package of $7 million annually. I guess he needed a 57 percent cost of living increase to make ends meet. Of course, this comes after the $182 billion AIG bailout.

The pay czar was appointed by Obama to regulate the salaries of executives of the companies that got part of the $700 billion TARP funds. You would think he would be making sure that they get a reasonable salary instead of million dollar raises and bonuses.

I am thinking we all should be troubled by this asset relief program.  The president tells us that we all have to tighten our belts and continually rails against the wealthy in public and then has his czars giving out huge sums of taxpayer money to some of these very same people. What you see or hear, it is becoming very clear, is not what you get. 

It is way past time to do as I did and contact your congressmen and senators and tell them to stop the senseless use of taxpayer money. It is time for the hypocrisy to end.

Grand Junction

American workers can rebuild our country

Start something new.  It’s what evolves when we get smacked.  We hate change. Green conservationist or right-wing conservative boils down to never, ever, letting anything change. Feel the desperation of blacksmiths and carriage builders when Henry Ford sold cars based on his belief that his employees should be able to buy his cars.  Cheap, dependable transportation with a cheap   appetite and suddenly you’re not only out of a job but there is no corporation — unless you redesign the carriage to a chassis and forge wheel rims instead of horseshoes.

Again, in 1929, when the banks failed because they invested in the stock market and there was no FDIC to save your savings.  We started something new and improved lives even more.

These times of possibility, just as jolting changes of the past, test our spirits.  Let China have the jobs.  Let’s compete.  Lots of educated, inspired young people could create jobs.  Buyers need inexpensive dependable products. Create for the many.  The few can afford handmade. 

What do we need or want and what can we do to produce it?  Look to automation, something perceived as more expensive than human labor but has always proved to reduce prices, sell more and employ more.

Redesign working conditions.  One reason foreign workers find jobs is they’re willing to work for less, accept more pain for the effort and gather more people in a household to share the income. Farmers would be overjoyed if some young engineer designed equipment that was cheap, reliable and could accommodate the most uninspired employee.  Revitalize the coal industry by creating new products from coal. Could this be the time to build employee owned companies? What if the American workers, who can make most anything, decided to build their own corporate America?

Grand Junction

What about the tragedies that happened with government oversight

Letter writer D. D. Lewis stated we would not of had the cantaloupe tragedy or the wild animal tragedy if only we had government over sight like we have over Social Security, Medicare, Fanny Mae, Freddie Mac, selling guns to the Mexican cartels, bank bailouts, our schools, etc.

Does you suppose anyone will ever take responsibly for all the tragedies which were aided and abetted by lack of government over sight?


Strong leaders are needed, not more money

The recent defeat of 3B, the mill levy override, demonstrated the fallacy that more money will solve any problem. Fifty thousand dollars was raised in an attempt to pass the tax increase. Not one dime was raised to defeat the tax increase; however, the measure was defeated because the people spoke.

Throwing money at problems will not substitute for leadership in the school district or at the state or federal level. The current economic condition throughout the United States requires strong leaders with bold ideas. We the people recognize this need.

Grand Junction

Airport authority is running off business

I have enjoyed the privilege of being a pilot since 1971, and presently hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings. I often fly into Walker Field for both business and pleasure purposes. For at least the past 30 years, I have owned — often with other Montrose-area pilots — an older vehicle which has been parked at Walker Field for our collective use.

Last month, a West Star employee telephoned me at my office. She advised me that Rex Tippetts, the Walker Field czar (and apparently the supervisor of the Airport Board) had determined that our old airport car must immediately be removed from the airport premises. While West Star had kindly let me park the car at the far east end of its large employee parking lot — which lot is generally no more than half full — that is no longer permitted.

She explained to me that the entire lot is about to be closed off with a new security fence with an electronic gate. This new, locked, high security parking lot is located within the newly completed Walker Field high security area, which itself is protected by huge steel gates which can be operated only by magnetic cards. This latter security fence is the one for which Mr. Tippetts and his board sought and obtained federal funds, purportedly for the purpose of keeping wild animals from entering the airport.

As has been highlighted by other writers, in addition to keeping wild animals out, the new fencing also walls off airport businesses from the bulk of their patrons, and ensures that the public will no longer be able to reach the hangars and other facilities of the Civil Air Patrol, the Commemorative Air Force, etc.

After practicing law in southwest Colorado for 36 years, including three years as a prosecutor for the 7th Judicial District and five total years in law enforcement, it was certainly a shock to learn that I am not competent enough, or sufficiently intelligent and law abiding, to be allowed to park a car at Walker Field.

With this type of “welcome” I expect that, like the several Walker Field businesses which have either closed or relocated to an airport which fosters business, I will simply avoid flying or driving to the Grand Junction area. Perhaps with just a few more rules, regulations, security fences and steel gates (not all of which are mandated by the TSA), what was formerly a vital general aviation hub will in a relatively short while be left with only the scheduled airline traffic and air charter operations. Mr. Tippetts certainly deserves our congratulations for his diligence in planning and carrying out his grand scheme ... especially in a recessionary economy.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.



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