E-mail letters, April 18, 2011

GAO report found government bloat

Lost among the news of Mideast riots, Japanese disasters and threats of government shutdowns was a March 1 General Accounting Office Report that uncovered billions of dollars in Washington bloat.

Here are just a few examples: Fifteen different agencies oversee food safety, 20 separate program help the homeless and more than 80 programs for economic development. According to the nonpartisan GAO, the list of redundant and potentially ineffective programs can lead to a mishmash of policies and rules.

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality, 47 for job training and 56 to help people understand finances. Estimates of potential taxpayer savings from consolidation and eliminating duplication range from $100 to $200 billion per year.

What do you think are the chances of that savings happening?


Easter week reminds us of the Bible’s parables

The week preceding Easter is even more complicated when it is related to the history of events that occurred then. For this reference, we must read Marcus Borg and John Crossan’s insightful book entitled “The Last Week: What The Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days In Jerusalem.” The authors write about the repressive domination by the ruling political party (the Roman Empire) during the life of Jesus.

On Palm Sunday, at the same time that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, Pontius Pilot was entering the city from the opposite side in opposing manner with all of his military might. He wanted a show of force that would suppress any rebellion that would occur during the week of Passover.

The next day, Jesus overturned the tables on the religious powers (the Priests and Pharisees). He said they were degrading the temple grounds by their collection of high and exorbitant taxes for the Roman government and mystifying the Temple that should be open to all of the people.

We all know how this week ended with collusion of the religious and political powers. Jesus was crucified. But God said no to the ruling domination forces and yes to Jesus. Jesus was vindicated by God raising him from the dead.

According to Borg and Crossan, Jesus’s religious passion was for the Kingdom of God and the love of mankind. His implied political message was for social justice and equality for all.

Thus, Jesus death and rebirth had many meanings. There is the simple Jesus that most of us know and there is the complex Jesus, whose parables we are still interpreting. Churches are still the home of God. Our judicial systems, our health care systems and our human care systems are the implementation of God’s Kingdom. 

Grand Junction

Carter was far from incompetent

I feel compelled to correct Denver lobbyist and Daily Sentinel columnist Josh Penry. Of course, his April 15 column is the same drivel we have come to expect from the extreme right. He basically calls everyone a coward that doesn’t buy his convoluted ideology. And that’s fine. Until the last paragraph where he calls former President Jimmy Carter a “bumbling incompetent.”

President Carter has the most amazing resume I have ever read. It’s been well documented how he grew up in a farming community. I don’t mean one of those fancy-pants, tractor type of farms. His was a mule and plow 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, kind of farm. Mr. Penry has never seen one of these. No, Cross Orchards doesn’t count.

Jimmy Carter graduated from Annapolis. Went on to become a submarine commander, governor of Georgia, President of the United States of America during which time his administration created nearly 8 million jobs, reduced the budget deficit, established national energy policy by deregulating domestic petroleum prices. Has Mr. Penry ever served in his country’s military? I’m betting not, or he wouldn’t publicly accuse the President of the United States of being a coward.

He expanded the National Park system, Camp David accord, SALT II, established full diplomatic relations with China, established the Department of Education, raised four children to be first rate citizens … believe me, I could go on all day.

After he and Rosalynn left the White House, they established the Carter Center which works to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health around the world. Their work with Habitat for Humanity is well documented. I almost forgot the thing Mr. Penry seems to resent the most, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Does this sound like a “bumbling incompetent” to you? I think not. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are national treasures that deserve better treatment from Mr. Penry.

I understand Mr. Penry is very young and trying to make a name for himself in Republican politics. In this day, the sillier is sounds, the more Republicans believe it. Penry should come back and criticize Mr. Carter when he has accomplished something.

Grand Junction

Lage is the villain in high-speed chase

Regarding the Lehnens saying, “It’s not about the money” with their lawsuit against Trooper Jeffery Vrbas: What a bunch of bologna.

It is all about the money. That is what makes the front page of The Daily Sentinel, how the money is to be divided. I missed the part where the attorney will make, oh, about $100,000 or was he working pro bono? I also missed their plan regarding how the cops handle high speed pursuits.

The sentence given to Logan Lage was too easy. He should have been given life with out parole. He was the villain not Office Vrbas. This only proves that this old man has a hard time getting with the political-correct crowd. 


Republicans should work with Dems on redistricting

I cannot believe that the depth of the partisanship of the Republicans on the redistricting committee. Despite an agreement to not comment on the results of the work performed this year, the Republicans came out swinging and accusing the Democrats of creating districts to maintain or create better districts for the Democrats. Does anyone remember the last redistricting process, where the Republicans in the majority, created a gerrymandered map at midnight, so out of touch with any kind of fairness or rationality that the courts through it out on all levels and then imposed a court ordered solution?

It is far past the time for the Republican Party to stop being the partisan party of no and grow up and work to govern our state as they have been entrusted to do. It’s been 30 years of this kind of ridiculous male bovine fecal matter, and I for one will remember this at election time.


Columnist offers good advice for college-bound kids

Thanks to Laurena Davis for an excellent bit of advice to students considering college in her April 17 column. From my background as teacher and parent, the only way to improve on her piece would be it make it longer.

Grand Junction

Sales tax distribution doesn’t add up

The 1982 Mesa County Sales Tax Resolution requires sales tax to be distributed as follows: 50 percent to capital expenditures, 27.5 percent to municipalities and 22.5 percent to the county’s general fund. The Daily Sentinel reported, “the county funnels half of it (the sales tax) into its general fund and a little less than (sic) one-fourth into its capital fund.”

Either Mike Wiggins got it wrong, or Mesa County is in violation of the Sales Tax Resolution. My hope is that the reporting is in error.

Grand Junction


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