E-mail letters, March 14, 2011

Merger will likely mean
license fees aid state parks

The governor’s plan to merge the Division of Wildlife with the Division of State Parks and Outdoor Recreation is notable for its intent to bring increased efficiencies to the management of Colorado’s wildlands and wildlife, but the likely minimal (if any) cost savings will almost surely result in a reallocation of hunter’s and angler’s funds to prop up state parks and other recreation activities.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife doesn’t get money from the state’s general fund, drawing instead from lottery funds, federal excise tax revenue and, mostly, license fees paid by hunters and anglers.
The division gets about two-thirds of its $110 million budget from hunting and fishing licenses. DOW Director Tom Remington says hunting and fishing support thousands of jobs statewide and that wildlife-based recreation ranks with skiing for driving Colorado tourism.

The Division of Wildlife has led the way in generating income, especially from big-game revenue, to a magnitude that has enabled the division to become one of the premier wildlife agencies in the world. The approximately $18 to $20 million the state receives each year in federal excise taxes
collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment in Colorado must not be jeopardized through the “diversion” of wildlife cash or conversion of wildlife property to non-wildlife use.

If this proposed merger takes place, it’s an almost sure bet that sportsmen’s tax and license dollars will be used to fund operations of state parks, beyond wildlife expenditures currently made by the Division of Wildlife. We hunters and anglers have paid our bills, and we want to see those funds we pay into DOW go for fish and wildlife.
David Lien, co-chair
Colorado Backcountry
Hunters and Anglers
Colorado Springs


Armed citizens frighten
felons more than cops

Since letter writer Lance Oswald wants to talk facts about concealed carry, let’s start off with this one: The No. 1 thing that frightens felons is not the police and certainly not another law. It is an armed citizen. That has been shown on more than one occasion.
Next fact: The percentage of legally concealed weapons being used illegally is far outweighed by the numbers that are used legally for self protection, and in the vast majority of cases when they are used, they are used by people who are elderly, disabled, or female.
Generally those who carry do not feel any more in danger, just less inclined to simply be a victim. They understand that, except in certain situations, the police will not be there until after a crime has been committed. They also understand that they are not law enforcement.

Let me ask Oswald a question, since he seems to feel that those who carry have a fantasy they wish fulfilled: What would he do if you saw an elderly or disabled person being attacked?

As for being between two legally armed citizens, it is no more dangerous than between two who have tire irons in the car. I would wager that it is less hazardous than being between two illegally carrying individuals.

The fees or licensing are most certainly a tax on the people’s rights. You aren’t required to pay the state to attend a church, speak at a public meeting, or write a letter to the editor.
As for what law enforcement feels about it, being friends with a few in the law enforcement field, I’ve heard both sides of the argument. But they all agree that they are much less worried about a legal carry than an illegal one.

The great thing about this is Oswald does not have to carry, but he does derive the benefit of those who do. The criminals aren’t sure who might be an easy victim.
David Miller
Grand Junction


City voters must
examine all candidates

I would encourage the voters in Grand Junction to check out people they are voting for in the upcoming City Council elections.

Jacob Richard sounds like he would back a marijuana dispensary on most corners of the city. Is this the same Jacob Richard who ran in front of Sara Palin’s motorcade when she came to Grand Junction? That person then complained about how the police reacted in doing their job. This person doesn’t appear to me to be qualified to be on the City Council. Jacob has no respect for private property rights!
Bennett Boeschenstein has many years of planning experience. His philosophy of planning made Fruita the most expensive city in the county to do development! Just ask anyone in the development community. But we do need “affordable” housing.  Ask the business community in Fruita how they viewed Boeschenstein’s philosophy when it comes to business. He does not respect private property very much either.
Sam Susuras has done a fine job of balancing the needs of the city on many different issues on the council. Sam understands what a business’ needs are to be successful and Grand Junction needs the businesses to be successful so the city can thrive. Sam will continue to be a real asset to the council.
John Justman
Fruita


Krauthammer column
was disservice to readers

The Daily Sentinel did a huge disservice to it’s readers March 13 with the apparently obligatory Krauthammer weekend column.

Krauthammer claims the Obama administration is lying when it says that Social Security is not in immediate need of revision. He claims that there is no trust fund, just a drawer full of IOU’s that have no meaning or value. He further claims that the system had been operating in the “black”, meaning current revenue covers expenditures, but now that is not true.

First, if you have no intention of paying off an IOU, then why issue it? He then neglects to say what was intended with the excess of income over outgo over the years. When you paid in more than necessary for current expenses, was it your intention that it was meant to be a gift for Congress to spend for whatever?
The Social Security system was extensively overhauled in 1983, specifically to create a system for putting away money for forecasted increased expenditures when the baby boomers started retiring. If you are paying into the system, you have been creating a system that was meant to not transfer all current expenditures when the boomers retired to people still paying into the system at that time. In other words, not transferring the burden totally to the kids

Why is Krauthammer saying that those paying into Social Security were victims of a fraud? In 1983, when the system was revised, was the intention to establish a slush fund for Congress until 2010? No, the intention was that people in Congress would be honorable and pay their IOUs and not stiff those paying into the system.
Why are Republicans so intent on not paying their debts to claim they are honestly trying to attack the deficit?
John Borgen
Grand Junction


Energy workers should
hijack enviros’ agenda

I read that the Wild Earth Guardians and Sierra Club filed suit against Oxbow Mining coal lease. I have had it with the tree-hugging, fern-fondling, bunny-bumping, tie-dyed-hippie-looking nvironmental groups.

From what I have seen, they are against all forms of energy. I’m sure that they would be the
first to cry if they did not have power to have their latte while checking their e-mail.I feel that they are hijacking America’s energy policy without the majority approval.

I suggest that every energy worker — including coal miner, rough neck, power provider and their families — join these organizations and hijack their agenda.

I am a coal miner and there are a lot more of us than them. If you don’t want to see your energy bill double in the next 10 years you may want to join us.
Rick Davidson
Paonia


Japan’s woes must not
be an excuse to proselytize

The March 12 edition of The Daily Sentinel included an article that contained a quote by the wife of a local pastor related to the earthquake in Japan: “We’re praying for the people who have been affected and that God uses this to bring people to Him.”
One would hope that someday people will realize that the infliction of pain, suffering and death is not an acceptable method of trying to get others to do what some would have them do.

We are currently aware of the pain inflicted by the members of the Kansas group that pickets at funerals. People in certain areas of the world are trying to take down governments that use torture to coerce their citizens. 9/11 didn’t endear the terrorists to the people of this country. Timothy McVeigh is not a hero. What about the Christians affected by Katrina?
The terror of the individuals caught up in the horror that is unfolding in Japan is heartbreaking to contemplate. To see this as a prop for proselytizing is incomprehensible.
S. Miles Johnson
Grand Junction


SB 172 will undermine
the family structure

We request that readers do not support Senate Bill 172. This bill is flawed, as it creates an alternative, parallel structure to marriage using explicit spousal language. This inevitably undermines the privileged place of marriage and the family.

Marriage and the family are the cornerstones of any culture, Christian or not.  The marriage, as man and women and family, ensures the future through the creation of new human life. Any diminishment of the identity of marriage and the family undermines society itself. This fact has been proven in the past.

In 2006, Coloradans understood what Referendum I meant and wisely voted against domestic partnerships.

SB 172 is not about “equal rights” but rather redefines the family structure as we know it. There are signifcant social and cultural consequences when a society decides to do this.
Bill and Linda Schmidt
Delta


Wussick brings energy
youth to council seat

Thanks to The Daily Sentinel for the overview of the candidates for the City Council’s at-large seat.  My endorsement may not be popular to some in the city, but here it is.
We do not need someone “well seasoned” (over 55), nor a lawyer to add to the council. We should not require many years in residence here in the area.

One candidate, Jim Doody, is a former member and mayor. What I mostly remember about Mayor Doody is the statement he once made: “As long as I am mayor, we will have back-in parking.” 
I am impressed with Joshua Wussick and his response to the questions posed by the Sentinel. He comes across as someone with lots of energy, good ideas and the right outlook. He has been attending council workshops and meetings to get a good feel for the current issues, plus he has a planning background.  And — he is well under 55.
Creighton Bricker
Grand Junction


‘Energy Focus’ showed
problems industry faces

Thank you Daily Sentinel for running the “Energy Focus” section in Sunday’s paper. The “BANANA” article (Build Absolutely Nothing Anytime NearAnything), written by staff writer Penny Stine was particularly good.

What a great job she did in outlining the daunting task the energy and power industries are confronted with in trying to supply this country with much-needed domestic energy, in the face of wealthy environmental groups, and their armies of lawyers throwing up legal road blocks at every turn.

It’s not hard to imagine what this world would be like if these uncompromising radical environmentalists prevail. I hope we can look forward to more articles like this from Stine and the Sentinel in the future.
David Foster
Grand Junction


Officer demonstrated way
to ‘Protect and Serve’

On my way home from Grand Junction March 12, I unfortunatly had a flat tire just outside Parachute. As I was changing the tire, a police car pulled in behind me with its emergency lights on.

I knew I had done nothing wrong, and it quickly became apparent to me that the officer from
Parachute was there to “Protect and Serve” in the true sense of the expression. He used his car as a barrier to insure my safety from oncoming traffic and gave me a hand helping to change my tire and get me on my way, (in under 25 minutes as well).

The officer was polite and friendly and I never felt intimidated by his presence. I didn’t catch his name but would like to thank him, as well as all the officers out there every day and night who help keep the peace in an otherwise thankless job. Well done!
John Gardner
El Jebel


Herzog shows little concern
for monument resources

So Denny Herzog continues his quest to vilify Colorado National Monument Superintendent Joan Anselmo for her correct decision to follow National Park Service policy forbidding commercialization, such as the proposed Quiznos Pro Bike Challenge. Imagine, a leader who actually follows the rules!

Strangely, Herzog was a former board member of Colorado National Monument Association, whose role was to protect the monument and support its policies. Thank goodness he had the sense to resign. With attitudes he displays in two separate columns against monument personnel, his idea of protection of this special land is to have it serve as a playground for business interests to trample and abuse for profit. What’s next up there, casinos and gold mining?

Herzog’s notions to expand the monument to include mountain bike trails, even though hundreds of miles of such trails exist within a 20-mile radius, should serve as a cautionary tale to all who embrace the monument for its unspoiled beauty and solitude.
The local race organizing committee undoubtedly shares Herzog’s view. However, belittling monument and National Park Service officials detracts from something even more critical: race costs.

Pro race logistics (law enforcement, sanitation, road closures, trash removal, liability insurance etc.) and free hotel rooms/meals for racers, teams and officials over several days will run into many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Quiznos pays little or none of these costs. Local sponsors solicited by the local organizing committee do. If this kind of money can be coughed up by local businesses for a bike race, maybe it should be put to better use in our community.
Bill Mitchell
Grand Junction


Sen. Bennet listens to
business concerns on fees

As a restaurant owner in Grand Junction, I know that it is increasingly common for people to want to use plastic to pay for their meals out. I’m happy to take either debit or credit cards. At the same time, I’m mindful of how much it costs my business in order to offer that convenience to my customers.

That’s because the banks have been gouging my business and others with high “swipe” fees. Every time one of my customers swipes their card to pay for their meal, I have to pay the banks an excessive fee.

Last year, Congress passed important bipartisan reforms to reign in these out of control fees, but the banks and credit card companies are lobbying hard to repeal the reform. Last week, I was able to meet with Sen. Michael Bennet to talk about the need to fight to keep the reforms passed last year intact so that Colorado’s small businesses and consumers can finally feel some relief.

If the swipe fees are decreased as the reform directs, I will be able to offer more competitive prices and perhaps even expand my business. These are benefits that we can’t afford to risk in a struggling economy and I appreciate the senator’s time in hearing about this important issue.
Scott Howard
Grand Junction


National monument
versus national park

What is the real driving force to make Colorado National Monument a national park?  Several recent letters have addressed this.

It seems it is all economically driven, but should it be? When the monument was created, it was determined that it did not meet the criteria for national park status, to be on par with Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and other national parks. Now comes the push to upgrade the monument to park status in hopes of getting more tourism, more economic benefits to the valley and surrounding areas.

Should the first test in determining if the monument qualifies for pPark status be based on the natural values it has? Have those changed from the time it was designated a monument? Are the canyons deeper, monoliths higher, etc.?
 
When the Sand Dunes National Monument was upgraded to a park, had the dunes grown in size?  When the Black Canyon became a Park, had the canyon gotten deeper? Were those solely for economic (and political) reasons? Now that they have park status, does that justify making the monument a park?
 
Are there clear criteria that would definitely show that Colorado Monument really qualifies as a park? How do its natural values compare with the above named national parks? National parks (the originals) have special features that clearly set them apart and above the monuments that exist across the country.

If the decision is to make the monument a park, without a clear evaluation and comparison of its natural values to the original national parks, and it only is done for the local economic stimulus it might bring to the area, then convert all existing monuments to park status to help stimulate the economies of the local communities that may be nearby.
 
The monument has some great features and, if those rank with the unique features of the other parks that are canyon-based, then proceed to make the classification change. But do not make it a second cousin of the other parks strictly for economic (and political) reasons.

National parks have a unique status and there is a level of expectation by those visiting. Will the monument create the same if it’s a park, or will it become known as something less? Make changes for the right reasons.
Ron Bell
Delta



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