E-mail letters, April 25, 2011

Rural Colorado shorted
in some redistricting maps

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has gone on record as requesting that the Western Slope remain essentially intact in the current redistricting effort. We believe, as was stated in The Daily Sentinel editorial on April 22, that we are a community of interest that has similar concerns about water, forestry, agriculture, tourism and management of federal lands. These concerns are critical to our economy and our businesses. We align with Club 20 in policy and in spirit on this issue.

We have also gone as record this week as opposing all city integrity maps that put Grand Junction and Boulder in the same congressional district and split us off from much of our trade area, including Montrose.

An even bigger reason to oppose these maps is the risks they pose for our residents in being adequately represented and heard as laws are made in Washington, D.C. that affect our very livelihoods. By creating maps that would make it possible for every elected official in the Colorado congressional delegation to be elected from within 30 minutes of Denver International Airport, it is possible that the rural populations which live in two-thirds of the state will be without representation of their unique perspectives.

The purpose of redistricting is to ensure that voters are equally represented. It is clear that in the city integrity maps, voters from the rural parts of this state are being silenced in favor of partisan politics and special interests.

This is not a partisan issue for Mesa County. Whether Democrat or Republican, we must vigorously be heard on this issue or we risk not being heard at all for the next 10 years. We urge an approach that restores and respects communities of interest in this process.
Diane Schwenke
Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Junction

Open new areas to drilling
to reduce gasoline prices

This will sound like a real over simplification, but it has worked in the past and will work now.  Bringing down the cost of gas at the pump and the barrel price can happen almost overnight.
If President Obama were to announce that the United States will open up all potential areas for new drilling immediately, resume drilling in the Gulf, open ANWAR, drill off the Florida coast, and any place else where oil has the potential to be found, prices for oil by the barrel would drop immediately. This would happen even if no new wells went on line for five more years.
The current oil producers do not want the U.S. to become self sufficient in oil production, and thus will try to lower the price of oil so much that U.S. companies cannot drill and make a profit at the new low price. The current oil producers can lower prices lower than their costs just to keep us from drilling. They have enough money to sustain a loss for a long time and will do so if needed to keep U.S. companies from drilling and our dependence on them for oil.
Obama either does not want to do this, or he just is to incompetent to do what is right for the good of Americans. As I said, it is just that easy.
David Shrum
Grand Junction

Name change necessary
for Mesa State’s future

I am in full support of the name change for Mesa State College to include a more geographically identifiable description and the word “university” in the title.

I believe this will behoove Mesa State to change the name to include something that is more geographically identifiable to clarify the location of the school so as potential students are not confusing Mesa State to be in Mesa, Ariz., or Mesa, Calif.

Just about every Coloradan knows about Mesa County’s many mesas. However, this is not the case outside the borders. This is a major obstacle in recruiting students from out-of-state. A more geographically identifiable name would allow students to better research the area and see the myriads of outdoor recreation opportunities in addition to the many draws of the school itself.

Utilizing the term “university” would be a major boon for the school. The revised title would better reflect the expanded academic opportunities, especially in the case of graduate programs. It will also allow the college to be on par with many other similar mid-sized public and private
institutions that have similar resources and opportunities as Mesa State.

As you can see, there are many marketing and long-term benefits in revising the name to better reflect the mission and resources of the school. I hope that readers will do everything in their power to ensure Mesa State can make this very necessary change.
Beth Costello
Grand Junction

Rep. King must represent
all, not just gas industry

I see in the news that Rep. Steve King is co-sponsoring a bill to pad the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission with people from that industry — people who would not be unbiased in any sense of the word. He is also trying to get the drilling permit time reduced.

I would remind King that he was elected to serve the people not special interests.  While the oil and fas industry provides jobs and income to this county and deserves to be represented by our elected officials, it should not be at the expense of our air and water and them taking over a majority of a panel that regulates their industry.

King should in the time he has left in office remember he is there to serve all the people, not just his special interest friends.
Richard Gerhardt

Changing name to ‘university’
will have positive economic impact

I have been following the proposed name change for Mesa State College. I agree with The Daily Sentinel’s March 24 editorial that logically lays out the broader implication for a name change from “college” to “university.”

It has been pointed out to me that data from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching show that of 80, four-year public colleges that grant bachelor and master degrees, 92 percent are “universities.” Looking at the long-term aspect of Mesa State’s future, and if our local institute of hiring learning is to compete favorably with its counterparts, it appears logical that Mesa should be known as a university, rather than a college.

One must also consider the potential economic impact of a name change.  As state budgets are constrained, the amount of money available for higher education is limited. Similar to other state colleges, Mesa must prepare for fewer state dollars and increase its revenue from out-of-state students. The status of attending a “university,” rather than a “college,” can make a significant difference in their choice of an institution of higher learning.

While serving on an advisory committee to Mesa’s president, I have learned of the very significant economic impact that Mesa State has on our community, roughly $300 million a year.  As a name change may favorably impact the economics of Mesa State, so will the economic impact of the college on the local community also increase.

Any change in a long-accepted name, whether it be a national monument or a college, is difficult and, as it should, brings out many discussion points. Considering the long-term impact, I am encouraging the local community and our legislators to look favorably on Mesa State College changing its name from “college” to “university.”
Bob Beverly
Grand Junction

Mesa State at disadvantage
without name change

In 2009, the statewide, public higher-education base budget was reduced by $150 million due to shortfalls in state tax revenues. This permanent reduction required colleges and universities across the state to tighten their belts.

As such, colleges and universities can no longer rely on the state to keep the school afloat. The means to continue to keep Mesa State College, and for that matter all 450 higher education institutions in the state, must do everything in their power to ensure they are economically viable and nationally competitive.

Students have many options and without a brand and perception that entices students, Mesa State College — and the region — loses. It is no secret in our brand-conscious society that the title of “university” carries more weight than “college.” Further, the term “university” more aptly describes the services, resources and academic programs provided by Mesa State College when compared to other similar schools nationwide.

Without the change to university, Mesa State College has a major hindrance in attracting more students. In the wake of budget shortfalls, we cannot afford to put our schools at a further disadvantage.
Mitchell T. Copeland

Attacks on liberals and
Democrats are getting old

Give me a break! Deadly liberalism? What’s next?

I have no clue where these people get their information.  My sense of the news out there is that the Democrats are moving to the center and aggravating their base.  The cries of “communism” and “socialism” are getting so old.

Where would this country be today were it not for the actions and decisions of FDR during the Great Depression?  erbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge only took us deeper into the morass.  Social Security has kept so many of us from the poor farm, an entity that truly existed in the early years of our country.

If Medicare is socialistic, more power to it. Are older folks just supposed to go somewhere and die? 

If tea party members would open their ears and listen to what the Democrats really stand for, they might get an earful. We do not believe in making the rich richer. We do not believe in leaving poor people, disabled people and old people to fend for themselves.

Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40)  He went on to say that those who failed to help those in need will “go away to eternal punishment.”

Methinks a good Christian would adhere to this principle, socialistic or not.  In fact, I would venture to say that if Jesus were here today he would be considered a liberal, a radical and a socialist. We couldn’t be in better company.
Holly von Helms    

Haggerty’s political views
don’t belong in trail column

Bill Haggerty’s April 24 article in “Outside” is an insult to the American people. His comments about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker were uncalled for and had nothing to do with his article.

I will save this article and all his future articles for our hunting camp, and they will not be used as reading material.
J.D. Rinderle
Grand Junction

Oil is often found
with natural gas

Interesting, large headline on the front page April 23, although coming up with oil when drilling for natural gas is not an unusual occurrence. After all, drilling for oil results in natural gas sometimes, too, in varying quantities. Their presence in the ground results from the same conditions.

So I started to read the article and noticed that the byline was by Gary Harmon. Since the occurrence being reported —  hyped? — was not big news I immediately wondered what else was going on considering the reporter’s usual modus operandi.

Sure enough, there it was toward the end of the article. Dave Ludlum, the Western Slope representative of the promotional organization of the oil and gas industry was quoted about the importance of his organization’s activities.
Does the industry really need this kind of gratuitous freebie when you can’t turn on the TV without seeing one of the industry’s commercials with the nice lady touting the importance of the ndustry’s activities and products?

The well-worn path between Rep. Scott Tipton’s office and Ludlum’s office just got a little deeper. Or do they come to Harmon’s desk at The Daily Sentinel now for their obligatory plugs.

Something is very wrong when you know before even reading articles from Harmon that there will very frequently be favorable plugs for his preferred Republicans and their concerns. Bold, front page headlines usually indicate something unusual of importance has happened. Routine plugs for Harmon’s obvious concerns are hardly earthshaking.
John Borgen
Grand Junction

Adults only needed
for redistricting debate

Colorado state lawmakers evidently were the exception at a late-night, bi-partisan, redistricting committee meeting last week and verbally reduced their recent “texting” skills to those of “tagging” walls and dumpsters as their territories by drug lords. All the time I am after our young people to get off of the “texting” garbage and learn to speak and write English.
Redistricting is an art form and occurs every decade, when your tax money pours out in the attempt to obtain an accurate account of human beings— where they live, how many, their ages and everything about them in a census report.

An important by-product of the detail gathering are the population numbers, which set into motion the fine art of redistricting a state for balance in representation to the state Legislature and Congress by none other than some of the very ones who were just elected into office.

Redistricting breaks down a map of a state like Colorado into sections based on eligible voters, no matter what the state Legislature opines, which again breaks down into district party lines.  There may be 3,000 more people in Congressional District 2 than in District 3, for instance.  The difficulty in redistricting is that half of the 3,000 cannot just be splintered off to District 3, but there looms the need to know where to pick off the 1,500 to 3,000, from which and to which political tree.

A strenuous study is then conducted by party members to pick and choose which county or a portion thereof is drawn from one district and placed into another district. Maps of such potential trades are created and presented to the state legislature in committee.

It was at that late-night committee meeting of the Redistricting Committee last week, when the debates had reduced to one- liners and negative innuendoes from the GOP side regarding the map presented by the House Democratic Representatives. It is very apparent our newly elected GOP representatives may need a course of the basic English language, a refresher course in American History, and a quick read of either Emily Post’s or Jane Austen’s books on etiquette and in getting along with their peers.
In his book of the same title, Robert Fulghum proclaimed, “All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” Learn to share, don’t hit others, clean up after yourself, raise your hand to speak, wait to be called upon to speak name merely a few

Yet, the newly elected tea party people wait for no one, based on a philosophy from the fiction novels written by a Russian woman with wild dreams of Utopia. After immigrating to America, writing her books of fiction, and engineering philosophical seminars into American colleges, Ayn Rand lived out her life on Social Security.
Judy V. Daviews



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