E-mail letters, June 23, 2010

Why don’t local officials
heed their own slogan?

Time after time, I hear our local elected officials and businessmen using the slogan, “Buy locally.” And I always try to do that. However who are the worst offenders when it comes to going outside the valley? You guessed it, our local officials.

We now pay property taxes through a firm in the Denver area. Any time a consultant is needed, officials look to Denver. They went to Windsor to pay $8 million for pipe to be laid. Now we are paying our sewer bill to a company in the Denver area. And the list goes on and on.

Is this a case of “Do as I say, not as I do”?  And if private companies on the Front Range are handling the money we pay in taxes and services, then what are the people who work in the offices of the county and city who used to process this money doing?

Am I the only one who thinks it has to cost more to hire a firm to handle tax money or sewer fees than to hire another one or two local people to beef up those departments that handle that sort of thing? Not only are they paying more, they are denying a local person a job. 
Richard Gerhardt

Hidden Gems plan will
preserve mountain, country

I have listened to the voices for and against the proposed Hidden Gems wilderness. What has struck me are the egocentric reasons behind the rationalizations opposing this wilderness plan. I think we need to step out of our own realities and accept our responsibilities as stewards of our mountains, our country and our planet.

Our mountains: As our population continues to grow, we need to realize that we are not alone; others live here. We need to respect our biodiversity; indeed we need to grow up, not out. We are only passing through. If the oil spill in the Gulf teaches us anything, it is that we cannot take what we have for granted without forethought and care.

Our country: America is what it is because of the land, the wildness. Americans grow up with a can-do attitude because they have a place to test themselves, a place that makes them think outside the box of society. The American spirit, the American heart is there because of the land. Not everyone can touch it, but all Americans know that we are not settled. We are wild, brave, and unstoppable because we have this place called home that keeps that spirit alive.

Our planet: The North American continent and the planet are alive and moving. North America is home to massive wildlife and human migrations annually. We need to recognize and acknowledge that we are just a part of this planet. We are entering a new time in the history of the world. Let us step up and control our unending wants and desires. Let us step up and say that here and now we accept our planet and care for it as we should and as we can.

The Hidden Gems wilderness proposal is one small step in caring for our mountains, our country and our planet. Our children’s children will respect us more, and thank us for our wisdom and our gift. Let us think of something bigger than our own selfish desires. We should all support the Hidden Gems and urge our leaders to do the same.
Curtis H. Green

Gulf spill is opportunity
to push clean energy

I recently read the editorial titled, “Gulf oil spill not an opportunity for Obama,” and was extremely angered. I believe that the idea that the Gulf spill is not linkable to the energy crisis that America is now facing is absolutely absurd.

Has there ever been an environmental disaster linked to solar energy, or wind energy? I think not. And this spill is a phenomenal opportunity to re-evaluate how we as a country meet our energy demands.

Not only is renewable energy, such as solar or wind, a clean non-emissions energy, but it creates a possibility for economic and industry growth across the entire United States.

Petroleum energy is not only a huge polluter when it is burned for energy, but the process to harvest and refine it is incredibly dangerous and has a huge risk for disaster, as we can see.

It is also a unique opportunity in Grand Junction to create new jobs and university grants to research and implement clean-energy technology instead of relying so heavily on petroleum- based energy needs.

While yes, the climate bill will not stop the leak in the Gulf, if we would instead have focused on clean energy instead of drilling in the Gulf, we wouldn’t even have this disaster in the first place.
Brett Jarman

County medical clinic will
have financial consequences

It was rather surprising to see the reasoning that two of our conservative county commissioners offered regarding the county getting in the health care business.

If the county saves money by establishing its own primary-care clinic, wouldn’t it make sense that the city, state and federal governments would save money also if they established their own clinics? And if a clinic controlled by them saved money think of the savings for government owned and operated hospitals! Wait! This is socialized medicine!

Ninety-eight percent of our legislators and citizens did not want to go down this socialized medicine road with health care reform. The public option wouldn’t even have involved the government owning or operating health care facilities.
It matters only slightly that the county will contract with a private entity to manage the clinic. Our well-known HMO has contracted in the past to provide health care benefits for governmental employees. One big difference is that the HMO is a non-profit entity and thus has no inherent self-interest to skimp or not provide care. The other difference is that the HMO utilizes existing providers to perform care and that these providers participate endlessly to make our total community care more appropriate, coordinated (most notably through primary care), and cost-effective. Needless to say, this requires partnering, constant communication, democratic decision-making and some sacrifices from all parties.
Our non-health care credentialed county commissioners seem to feel that they have a better way. The truth is that they are only siphoning off some of the easiest health care and thus dumping the more problematic care on to the private sector. While the lost income for this private sector may be small, it may show up later in lower sales tax revenue from providers and their staffs spending less on personal purchases in the community.

While this dollar amount may be small, one has to wonder about the future health condition impacts to county employees and the larger financial consequences to direct- pay and HMO taxpayers from the county operating its independent, non-coordinated system.

Joel Prudhomme
Grand Junction


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