E-mail letters, December 20, 2010

Anti-war protester has
learned to pick her battles

As one who stood against the Iraq war and took part in various protests, including the annual white cross commemorations, Creighton Bricker’s Dec. 16 letter to the editor caught my attention. Bricker is right about one thing: Any combat loss is tragic. That includes those who are losing their lives now in Afghanistan. I don’t believe our presence there constitutes a “right war.”  So why aren’t I still standing on the street corner with anti-war slogans? 

It’s a challenging question. As an American who was asked by our leadership to “go shopping,” I have never known the horrors of war. My only “sacrifice” during the Iraq bombardment was publicly spending an hour a week with a sign in my hand in the heat, rain, snow etc., sometimes the target of road-raging warriors with foul mouths, or the too-clever taunts of Gary Harmon.  My actions were a token to show that I cared about what was happening to the children, women and men who were victims of the battlefield, no matter which side of the gun barrel they were on. I got off easy, and even at that, I grew weary, especially since I had my doubts whether our protests were doing much good. As Bricker said, we are still at war — same fight, different country.

However, the question remains. To borrow the language of wartime, perhaps I have learned to pick my battles, choosing those that I feel offer some hope of winning. Regarding America’s military approach to the complex challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wonder if it’s asking too much for us to consider peaceful resolutions abroad until we can at least find peace among ourselves here at home. The prospect still holds promise, but the time has yet to come.
Karen Sjoberg
Grand Junction

Government bailouts help
foster class warfare

Rick Wagner is persuasive in accrediting class warfare to existing envy and animosity of the non-wealthy among us.

However, I doubt Sen. Bernie Sanders and his allies can create a power great enough
to reorganize our society. The root of animosity may lie more in the public’s reaction to decisions by the federal government to protect the upper class at the apparent expense of the rest of us. The results look a lot to the public like “wealth redistribution.”

Federal bailouts of Wall Street, banks and others show an implicit policy to put the full force of the government behind the protection of the privileged. In this, it hopes that they in turn will use their power for the common good. Currently, this appears less than true. Banks we bailed out are
not lending the money we gave them, and CEOs have won the battle to protect their bonuses in publicly traded companies. Profitable companies are not creating jobs.

The current dynamic over tax reform debate is “a government by the people for the people” working through the age-old conflict between power groups. Regardless of injustice on both sides, it is a sign of a dynamic and healthy democracy. The solution will out when we learn to better consider others’ needs as well as our own. Taking sides in this war, as I believe
Wagner has done, simply exacerbates the conflict.
Stephen Ferriole
Glade Park

A Costco store in valley
would be a win for all

About five years ago I wrote Costco’s headquarters promoting the merits of their considering Grand Junction. I pointed out our growing population as the Western Slope’s major hub and the fact that we are a regional trading and medical center.

Around a month later, I received a reply that basically said that since Sam’s Club was already in Grand Junction, then our town was not in their plans. I wrote back and pointed out that other markets had both stores and asked Costco to reconsider its policy. There was never a reply to my
second letter.

While living in another state, I shopped often at Costco and found its products and services to be outstanding. Perhaps if enough of us get on the “Let’s Land a Costco Now” bandwagon, we can be successful. The Costco in Gypsum is just too far away for regular shopping trips.

Having Costco in Grand Junction would benefit other retailers here because it would draw additional consumer traffic that is currently shopping elsewhere. A win-win for everyone.
Ron Beach
Grand Junction

Library staff was great
in collecting gifts for needy

I would like to say “kudos!” to the staff at Mesa County Public Library for their efforts in collecting Christmas gifts for needy families of the Grand Valley.

Last week, when we held our meeting of the Grand Valley Interfaith Network, we met at Catholic Outreach and our usual meeting room was packed with gifts that had been donated by patrons and collected by the staff of the library. The challenge of meeting around the gifts warmed our
hearts and signified that the true spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the Grand Valley.

Needless to say, the staff and volunteers of Catholic Outreach continue to shine as beacons of compassion in our community. Way to go folks! Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Mike Burr President,
Grand Valley Interfaith Network
Grand Junction

Income increase must be
considered with tax rates

It is always interesting to read the musings and logic, or lack thereof, of one of The Daily Sentinel’s columnists,  Rick Wagner. His recent column regarding taxes is another example of his habitual misuse of a statistic to maintain a deception.

It is tax liabilities and net income, and not tax rates, that are the true picture of what it currently costs individuals to pay for the creation and protection of the wealth of our nation. Yes, tax liabilities have increased as the defense costs of our nation and the services that are
provided have increased, but by ignoring income, Wagner has rested his case on another half-truth or half-lie.

The latest data, from 1979-2006, that is available from the Congressional Budget Office can provide a more educated view of our current economic condition and tax policies. The CBO compares combined federal tax liabilities for individuals with pre- and post-tax income. In real dollars according to the CBO, here is the rest of the story that Wagner refuses to address or chooses to ignore:

The post-tax income growth for the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers ranged from $1,700 to $17,000, or expressed in percentage of growth, from 11 percent to 32 percent. The top 10 percent saw growth ranging from $140,000 to $863,000, or 112 percent to 256 percent.

Wasn’t income supposed to be the real point to tax breaks and the trickle-down economic theories of the past 15 to 20 years? This could seen as evidence regarding the true nature of the conservative approach to tax reform and economic theory, but I at least hope that readers of this paper who seek a more informed position than Wagner chooses to present can now draw their own conclusions and not rely on his bias.
Bob Thome
Grand Junction

Push for better cycling
in transportation plan

Please take some time to review and comment on the 2035 transportation plan at http://www.2035rtp.com/site/.

I have enjoyed cycling in the Grand Valley almost 30 years, have commuted to work and cycled in most major U.S. cities and many other countries. We taught our children to use a cycle as a vehicle. We consider teaching them to feel comfortable riding in traffic as an essential skill, just as we taught them to brush their teeth, handle firearms safely, respect the law, honor our
country’s heritage, etc. This skill has made them competent, respectful drivers.

As a physician, I have covered many hospital emergency rooms and have seen the trauma of
bicycle-car interactions. As a physician health plan executive, I have watched the growing health risks of inactivity (e.g. obesity, diabetes, etc.) affect our population, especially our country’s children.

I know that funds for non-motorized transportation infrastructure are often seen as less important. But when looking at the larger picture, infrastructure for walking and cycling has significant, health, economic and tourism benefits. As this information is published, more communities in the United States and other countries are now carefully investing in pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure and education. We have seen this expansion firsthand.

We must build and educate so that cycling is easy, available and safe for our population. We need to invest our limited resources in basics so that our citizens can easily ride to work or to the store and our children can safely ride to school - basic corridors that cross our community. Many may not be aware that a multi-use paths are certainly no more safe and often
less safe, than correctly riding on regular streets.

I want to thank the 2035 RTP Committee for their hard work and and listening
to our input.
G. Manning
Grand Junction

Congress is worst ever
following vote on gays

On March 10, 1778,  Lt. Enslin of Col. Malcom’s regiment was tried for attempted sodomy with a soldier, and for perjury, the swearing of false accounts. He was found guilty and the review went to Gen. George Washington who approved the sentence — that he be dismissed from the
service with infamy. And Washington suggested he be drummed out of camp the next morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army, never to be allowed to return for such detestable and infamous crimes.
Last week 250 members of the U.S. House — followed by 65 members of the U.S. Senate — earned the distinction of providing manifest proof they are not moral, religious people.

In the words of President George Washington, “In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness (religion and
morality) these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.” As true today as when delivered by Washington on Sep.19,1796.

This Congress and this administration have earned the title of worst ever. May I live long enough to see they receive for their efforts to destroy this country and our military, the
recompense that is meet.
Robert Burkholder
Grand Junction


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