E-mail letters, Feb. 16, 2011

BLM’s application is much needed

I’m writing to applaud the Grand Junction field office of the BLM for submitting a very thoughtful application for needed law enforcement to the state Off Highway Vehicle Grant Program. Last summer, new guidelines were unanimously approved by the State Parks Board which paved the way for law enforcement and restoration grant applications to be considered for funding. The BLM’s grant application underscores the need for more law enforcement patrolling OHV areas and justifies the changes made by the Parks Board. I applaud the BLM’s grant application.
The BLM’s Grand Junction field office manages 1.5 million acres of public land, yet it has not had a commissioned law enforcement officer dedicated to the field office for years. This has led to a feeling among some reckless, off-road riders that anything goes.
The state has stepped up to address the problem of reckless off-road riding by providing resources to the federal government through this $4 million grant program. Now it’s time for the feds to step up. A first step would be to increase the fines and penalties for reckless riders – surely OHV clubs could get behind a strong and consistent set of deterrents to ensure reckless riders don’t ruin the fun for everyone else.

A second step would be to require all off-road riders to have visible ID tags on their machines. This would greatly help officers track riders from a distance and allow peers to report bad behavior, greatly increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of every law enforcement dollar.

I hope that the BLM’s grant is approved by the State Parks Board so the agency can put the needed boots on the ground to manage OHV use on our public lands.


Cutting education cuts down our future

Superintendent Steve Schultz’ comments in the Feb. 13 edition of The Daily Sentinel tell us nothing we don’t know already. What he didn’t cover is the fact that the scare tactics of the far right will result in more deep cuts to the very foundation of out country, education as well as cut support for the poor, which will cause even more economic failure.

The sad fact is that the public is too busy already, trying to survive, to under stand the repercussions of more deep cuts to education. They don’t have the time or will to sort out what is truth and what is hype, meant to stir up the ignorant as dished out by media paid for by the Kochs and the Murdocks.

Remember when former-Gov. Ritter tried to cancel the subsidies enjoyed by the gas and oil industries and putting those funds into higher education? Well, the Republicans screamed “tax increase” and the oil dudes drowned the airways with ads misleading the public into believing this would cause job loss. The truth was, no tax increase, just taking real funds and putting them elsewhere. No jobs lost because actually the industry headed for bigger oil pools, near big pipelines, which rendered them even more profit.

You saw the result, ignorant people voted against themselves and their children and voted to keep giving the oil industry the money in spite of that industry’s obscene profits. Schultz noted, “Public education is the foundation of democracy in the United States. Given the challenges of the future, it is more critical then ever that we invest in our children.”

In light of this week’s announcement of even deeper cuts, kindergarten through college, just how will we meet the future with generations of poorly educated individuals who will have become followers, non thinkers.

Nowhere do I see politicians cutting benefits to big corporations, No where do I see Wall Street going without huge bonuses even though they caused our recession. Nowhere do I see tax loop holes closed for those who do not need them. Look how the Republicans screamed to keep the tax cuts Bush gifted the very rich, who lived well before those gifts and will live well without them. So now these cuts cost the government billions.

Part of the solution boils down to the need for the integrity of our forefathers, the courage to make big campaign contributors and others pay their fair share, and parents to really become parents again.


Unnamed rancher could have revealed true conditions for sheepherders

Recently Tom Acker, Mesa State Professor, reported on sheepherders on the Colorado-Utah border. It was disappointing to learn that Alejandro “Garbon” (incorrect surname) was allowed to make claims — if, in fact, he did make the claims—without being challenged by “his rancher.” If “the [Tom Acker’s nameless] rancher” had been contacted about Alejandro’s allegations, this would have been the well-documented, verifiable response:

Alejandro receives this kind of treatment at the hands of his employer:
$1,000.00 per month plus merit bonuses, room and board ;
All travel expenses to and from Peru paid;
A 6-month vacation to Peru every 18 months with all travel expenses paid;
A camp with solar panels, electric lights, outlets for his DVD player and radio, propane and wood stoves;
Health and workers compensation insurance;
Visa and I-94 extension fees paid;
Upwards of $3,000 in advanced wages when he calls from Peru wanting money;
Adequate sunglasses and cell phone;
Ample food, water, bedding and clothing.

In the 11 years he has been employed by this rancher, he has never requested a doctor’s attention, nor has he appeared to need any. Four of Alejandro’s relatives currently work for this rancher — at
Alejandro’s request. The herder who Tom Acker stated had no problems with his camp or employer has also worked for Alejandro’s employer for 11 years.

To date, Alejandro’s rancher hasn’t been driven crazy enough by propagandists, slanderers and regulatory minutia to pull a gun on anybody.

At a 2.765 exchange rate, $1,000 translates to $2,765.00 in Peruvian dollars. These employees take home $5,000–$18,000 in American dollars (in addition to funds wired to their families throughout their contracts) every 18 months.


Jensen, Utah


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