Email letters, Sept. 14, 2011

Stereotype of tea part is incorrect

In response to the letter from E. Michael Ervin printed on Sept. 13 concerning the Tea part. I feel Mr. Ervin made several points (accusations?) that need to be rebutted.

First off, I do consider myself to be a member of the Tea part. I believe the basic concept of the Tea part is less government intervention and regulation on our personal liberties. I believe the Tea part, and myself, believe that the American people are better suited to make the daily decisions of our lives than the government is.

Mr. Ervin made several points of who the Tea part is that I don’t believe are entirely accurate.

I am white and getting older, neither of which do I consider to be a bad thing. I wish I was wealthy, but the truth is, my wife and I work hard everyday just to make ends meet. I do not think I’m “evangelical” although I am a Christian and believe that this country was founded on a belief in God. I see no reason for that to change, and make no apologies if someone is offended. I am registered to vote, and believe that everyone who is legally able to vote has an obligation to do so.

I have not recently contacted a public official, but am considering becoming one. I do not donate to political campaigns, but I am willing to help causes I believe in. I could probably be considered “reactionary”, but I believe we are all guilty of that. I do not oppose change, but see no reason just to change for the sake of change.

I am particularly offended by the comment that the Tea part harbors “racist tendencies.” As a former United States Marine, I was willing to die for the right of people to legally immigrate to this country. I was willing to die for the Marine next to me, regardless of his color or where he came from. I believe racism exists in every political party, and it’s our duty as Americans to educate and eliminate it.

I dislike Barack Obama for his policies and apparent disrespect of the United States Constitution. I dislike Barack Obama for his socialist tendencies. I really don’t care what color my president is, I only care about his beliefs and policies. I believe that my president should believe in what his country was founded on and believes in. I think it is very convenient to accuse people who don’t support Mr. Obama of being racist.

It is my hope that in the election 2012, the American people will once again look into their hearts, and elect a president that reflects the beliefs and values our country was founded on. Not one who promises the most handouts.

MARK PAINTER
Grand Junction

Clearing up school-funding misconceptions

On Sept 8, The Daily Sentinel published a story about two school board candidates (Ann Tisue and Aryan Leany) who oppose the mill-levy override (Referred Measure 3B). Misunderstandings about 3B have been expressed by numerous people in the Editorial and You Said It sections over the past few weeks.

According to Ann Tisue, “Many businesses would go out of business because of the tax impact.” In reality, because of reductions in assessed property value in Mesa County, most home owners and businessowners would not feel an increase in taxes, but a small decrease in savings on property taxes.

For a $200,000 structure a property owner would be saving an average of approximately $150 a year instead of $300. That’s a small sacrifice when considering the budget cuts the school district has had to make over the past few years.

Our kids are our infrastructure as much as our utilities, roads, and bridges. Entitlement is not really Social Security and Medicare. Feeling entitled is demanding good roads, bridges and schools, without being willing to pay for them. Clifton Elementary realized a turnaround in performance not only due to the excellent effort of their teachers, but also from the extra monies they received.

The override is only for six years. Hopefully the state will see an economic turnaround by then. It is hard to fathom how someone professing to have children’s best interests in mind would oppose the override.

Another comment made recently was that we shouldn’t raise taxes until we raise test scores. District 51 has shown growth in both the CSAP and graduation rates. Often these remarks are made while comparing public schools to private schools (both religious and secular) as well as charter schools. Unlike charter and private schools, public schools don’t get to choose their students, or their number of students. Public schools don’t have the ability to raise tuition to manage class size. In fact, District 51 gets $6,100 per student per year as compared to $10,000 nationally. We are one of the lowest funded districts in the state. And Colorado is one of the lowest education funding states in the nation. That puts District 51 in the bottom of the funding barrel.

One other misconception is that the money the District already gets from the state is not spent wisely. Having been involved with negotiations with the district last year, I researched District 51’s budget as compared to peer districts throughout the state. The data shows that in both general administration and total school administration, District 51 is not “top-heavy,” but comparable to or lower than other districts. Actually, District 51 puts a larger percentage of its money into instruction than 11 of the 13 districts researched. Researched districts include Cherry Creek, Jefferson County, Douglas County, and others.

District 51 schools have made many sacrifices in lost programs and jobs, but the feds and the state have not made any reductions in mandates. As load increases and compensation decreases, so does morale. Please vote for maintaining a strong and educated workforce here in our valley. Money from 3B stays here in our district to benefit our kids for the next six years.

GARY CONKLIN
Grand Junction

Options for the cycling race

Organizers in Grand Junction want to host a stage in the 2012 US Pro Cycling Challenge. Need some alternatives to the Monument? Land’s End Road to the top of the Grand Mesa. Little Park Road to Glade Park and back. Loma to Rangely via Douglas Pass. Or if they do get permission from the NPS this year how about Grand Junction to Fruita via the Monument then on to Loma and up and over Douglas Pass to Rangely, hang a right to Meeker and on back down to Rifle.
Whew! What a ride!

JEREMIAH HABECKER
Grand Junction

HR 1351 would help save Postal Service

The United States Postal Service has been in the news lately with stories of doom and despair on how the postal service is broke. Many offices in the valley (Palisade, Clifton, Fruita and Whitewater) have been consolidated into the Grand Junction office. There are many more smaller post offices around western Colorado also being consolidated.

There is a push by the USPS to also eliminated Saturday delivery and cut back window services on Saturday. Did anyone notice that all the post offices in Grand Junction were closed the Saturday before Labor Day? These drastic changes are an unnecessary burden on our customers, especially our seniors and people who live in more rural areas.

The truth is that the Postal Service’s revenues exceeded operational costs by $611 million over the last four years. A significant achievement in this difficult economy.

The USPS does, however, have a financial problem,  a 2006 congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years ($5.5 billion a year). No other public agency or private firm in the country does this and it’s jeopardizing USPS finances. The USPS is seeking congressional approval to make these payments from a Postal Service fund containing a surplus, rather than from its operating budget — as any rational business would do. This request, the focus of bi-partisan congressional legislation with broad support from postal stakeholders, involves no taxpayer money and would help restore postal finances.

Rather than focusing on this common sense solution, the USPS has begun drastic measures like closing thousands of post offices, including 63 in Colorado. Ending Saturday delivery — eliminating 17 percent of service to save 2 percent in costs — would delay the delivery of medicines, items purchased on the Internet, and financial documents for millions of Americans. Both moves would put thousands out of work at the worst possible time.

The bi-partisan supported HR 1351 would allow the USPS to do a simple transfer of rate-payer surplus funds from one account to another. Two independent accounting firms calculated the surpluses. This transfer will leave two fully funded retirement plans and a secure future for our retirees, and relieve the Postal Service of the $5.5 billion burden. All with stamp buyers money, not taxpayers’ funds.

As of the writing of this article, our Congressman has not yet signed on in support of this simple bill. Post Offices are being closed with real jobs being lost and services cut in the Grand Valley while our representative ignores the problem. I call on Congressman Tipton to co-sponsor HR 1351today.

WAYNE ROBERTS
Grand Junction



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