E-mail letters, May 2, 2011

Front Range can meet
its water needs on its own

Water is an integral part of life in the West, and meeting our future water needs is one of the biggest issues facing all of Colorado. So it’s refreshing to see that a report released this month, “Filling the Gap,” that shows that the Front Range doesn’t need to look to the West Slope to solve its water problems. It has solutions available in its own basin.

I was happy to see that this report demonstrates there is plenty of water to be found in reuse, conservation methods, agricultural water “loans,” and some water projects based in the South Platte Basin to supplement their own rising demand.

What’s important to all of us is that the report shows that big pipeline projects, such as the proposed 560-mile pipeline to deliver water from the Green River in southern Wyoming to build to the Front Range of Colorado, are not necessary to meet their future water needs.  In addition, the report shows that it is not necessary to dry up our agricultural land in order to provide water to the Front Range.

When water runs out on the Front Range, they frequently look to western Colorado for water. We know the water in Colorado’s rivers sustain our economies and way of life. It is very definitely the ticket to our future prosperity. Every time water is diverted from the West Slope to the Front Range, it results in lost economic opportunities for Colorado communities.

Finding common-sense methods to save and reuse water for the benefit of all the state is essential to Colorado’s economy. This report is a good start. Working together, we can collaborate to protect and sustain our rivers, for all of us.
Peter Van De Carr
Kent Vertrees
Steamboat Springs

Don’t sell quality of life
to Tipton campaign contributors

I keep hearing from Rep. Scott Tipton how he is working to ease or outright eliminate regulations on the energy industry in the interest of job creation. There are even otherwise reasonably intelligent folks lobbying to eliminate the EPA altogether, as a budget matter.

One doesn’t need to look any further than right here in western Colorado and eastern Utah. Back in the day, before the EPA, Union Carbide operated uranium mills here. They took their waste (mill tailings) and simply dumped them in the Colorado River! When they were done, they high-tailed it out oftown and left the cleanup for the taxpayers.

Union Carbide also operated chemical plants in such countries as India. The reason is simple. No environmental regulations. More money for the already wealthy. Until, there was the inevitable chemical disaster in Bhopal that killed thousands of people and left half a million suffering.

Others were left to clean up that mess. And bury the dead. My point is: Do we really want to live in Mexico City or Hong Kong or Bejing or Bhopal?

The answer is obviously no. So why would Rep. Tipton want to allow trillion-dollar oil companies to run willy-nilly unregulated through, not just Colorado, but the entire country? The answer is simple. Just follow the money.

We must ask ourselves: Is our quality of life and that of our families for sale to Rep. Tipton’s campaign contributors? Remember who will pick up the tab when they finish.
John A. Ijams
Grand Junction

Tipton’s vote for Big Pharma
doesn’t deserve voter thanks

I’m sure this household is not the only one to have received a glossy, oversized postcard encouraging us to thank Congressman Scott Tipton for his vote for Big Pharma and against hard-working, middle-class Americans.

This scam postcard came from a group called 60 Plus. It is a partisan group funded by the huge pharmaceutical industry. 60 Plus is an unethical, dishonest front group for Big Pharma. They claim to speak for senior citizens when, in fact, they speak for the nation’s incredibly powerful pharmaceutical Corporations. 60 Plus works to ensure continued tax relief for these massive
corporations and they have ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the lobbying group Bonner and Associates.

Any senior citizen thinking this group speaks the truth is being duped by big money pharmaceutical firms looking out for no-one but themselves. Their spokesperson is the 1950’s crooner Pat Boone.

Don’t let Mr. Boone’s smile or this glossy postcard full of deceit fool you. The bill Tipton voted for is selling snake oil. It is a blueprint for geriatric poverty and misery.

Any representative who co-opts democracy for big corporations at the expense of citizens, patients and taxpayers should hang his head in shame and certainly deserves no thanks.
Margaret Wilson

Colorado Mesa University
sounds like hillbilly school

I was utterly astonished at Emily Anderson’s April 26 article in which it was announced that the Mesa State College trustees “unanimously” voted to change the institution’s name to “Colorado Mesa University.”

What bunch of nose-picking butt-scratchers thought of this name? As an alumnus, I am disgusted at this awkward sounding idiom. Maybe “Mesa University” or “Mesa State University,” but good God!

There is no such place as “Colorado Mesa.” It means nothing! What are they thinking? It sounds like Goober Pyle’s television show’s funny, make-believe hillbilly school.

Come on, let’s think a bit before we do things like this.
Mike Fossenier

Cutting chess classes
may hurt test scores

I am a student at Mount Garfield Middle School and I would like to tell you that the school board is cutting all chess and Spanish classes.

I am mainly worried about chess, as it is one of my and so many others favorite classes — not only for enjoyment purposes but because it can also help many students on standardized testing. Did you know chess is a proven way to strengthen academic growth and it increases 90 percent of students’ standardized testing by over 15 percent? How great is that?

Also, just as a side note, so many students are put in to lower classes simply because of their scores on a test. It is my that belief the students should get a choice in what classes they take especially when it comes to exploratories.

After a two-year study of students playing chess for 1 hour a day, students showed growth in all subjects and in some cases even improved fantasy and imagination, which so many children today are losing due to video games and TV.

So please do the right thing reach out to the public for a
student and so many others who are in love with the great game of chess.
Max Howarth

Colorado Mesa University
the right name for institution

Colorado Mesa University was not my first and favorite choice, but it was the first possibility that I came up with when I began pondering what Mesa State could call itself in the future. I hated anything with “Western” right from the get go. “Western” just sounds so generic and pitiful.

Though I am sad that my personal favorite did not make the cut, Colorado Mesa University was the best of all the choices made available on the short list. It locates us in Colorado and maintains our past identity and heritage as well as our unique surrounding geography. It doesn’t sound dumb and generic, like University of Western Colorado does. It doesn’t sound forced, like Mesa State University of Colorado and Mesa University of Colorado do.

It has a nice ring to it. CMU is easy to chant at athletic events and alliterates well with Mavericks — a whole lot better than UWC or WCU.

I’m just glad they didn’t go with “Western.” Besides the fact that the Legislature is hinting that it would have voted down any name with “Western” in it because of Western State College, University of Western Colorado just sounds generic, old-fashioned, and rural. Likewise, Mesa State University does not solve the little problem of location identification, and, as stated above, adding Colorado to the end simply sounds forced and desperate.

As far as all of the other choices on the survey — which did not include my favorite — they were all just so ridiculous on their faces.

Though it will take time for people to get used to Colorado Mesa University, people will get used to it and then they will watch in awe as America’s future college students flock to CMU because of the great weather, unique outdoor recreational opportunities, and CMU’s lower, more reasonable tuition costs, especially now, considering the regents at CU just approved another tuition hike making Colorado Mesa University a more attractive choice for incoming students, especially those from out of state.

Low tuition coupled with a new name and university status may be just what the doctor ordered to help Mesa State set itself apart as the best choice in Colorado. I, for one, look forward to watching this new chapter in our school’s history unfold as she takes her rightful place alongside the nation’s more recognized institutions.
Jeremiah Habecker
Grand Junction

Oil shale production may
despoil region for millennium

I am discouraged to hear that the BLM is considering proposals to allow oil shale production on the Western Slope. It is not that I am against jobs for hard-working Americans. It is just that when it comes down to it, I am not convinced that this will be a good long-term decision. Sure, for the next
30 to 50 years we could create local jobs, bolster the local economy and tap a local resource.

The thing is that oil shale extraction requires massive amounts of energy and water. I want you to imagine a scenario: If we go ahead and allow industry to work the oil shale, it will use up the most precious resource that we have in the West: water. Not only will the water the industry use become
toxic, but it is extremely likely that the production will also contaminate wells and ground water.

Secondly, oil shale extraction requires incredible amounts of energy from coal power plants to heat up the shale over a two-to-three-year period until oil “perspires” from the shale. So, in this equation, even if we begin now, it will still take years to produce. Not only that, but if we wanted to
double production, we would have to double the amount of coal power plants in the area.

I know that roughnecks make fun of environmentalists because so-called “green energy” costs so much money and investment to get started. On this issue, though, the energy industry should look at itself in the mirror. Does creating an industry that would thrive for 30 years, but pollute farms, streams and mountains, for the next millennium be worth it? Hardly.

This is “America the Beautiful.” not “America, the place we trash as fast as we can.”
Russell Evans

Use of Air Force One is
more troubling than royal wedding

A recent “You said it” author complained of the wasteful expenditure of $33 million dollars by the British for the royal wedding. To me, although it is none of my business, it looks like a bargain, especially since such an event is quite infrequent.

An extravagance that impacts us all, and which should be criticized, is the all to frequent use of Air Force One by our president for events that are not necessary and could be well served by satellite video conferencing.
The military estimates the operating cost of Air Force one to be $181,000 per hour. This does not include the cost of supporting transport aircraft, local security, Secret Service, helicopters and the extensive disruption of traffic and business, both in the air and on the ground.

This abuse is not new to our current president, but it is time for common sense and accountability to the taxpayers to take effect. President Obama can set a good example and demonstrate leadership by limiting his travel to the most necessary events.
Fred Zimmat
Grand Junction

Three Stooges deserve
our allegiance, not Superman

Dealing a blow to the long-held delusion that America is morally, culturally and politically superior, it’s being reported that Superman, the quintessential American super-hero, is renouncing his citizenship.

According to media reports, Action Comics #900 has the “Man of Steel” going before the United Nations and declaring: “I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship. I’m tired of having my actions
construed as instruments of U.S. policy.” He continues, “Truth, Justice and the American Way — it’s not enough anymore. The world’s too small. Too connected.”

“Will Superman now adhere to the Tamaran code of honor?” writer Jonathan Last lamented, “Will he follow the Atlantean system of monarchy? Does he believe in liberte, egalite, fraternite, or sharia?  Does he believe in British interventionism, or Swiss neutrality? If Superman doesn’t believe in America, then he doesn’t believe in anything.”

Although it’s often assumed Superman is American, an unconfirmed rumor indicates his adoptive parents never sought citizenship for the baby they named Clark Kent after his arrival from the planet Krypton in 1938. If true, Superman has been living among us illegally (and taking unfair advantage of our generous entitlement system) as an alien immigrant for the past 73 years.

Since Superman is abandoning America, I’ve decided to abandon Superman and give my allegiance to some superheroes more befitting the times we live in — Larry, Moe and Curly (The Three Stooges).

And I bet I’m not the only one.

E. Michael Ervin
Grand Junction

Amtrak service is
costly for taxpayers

Melinda Mawdsley did a good job in her May 1 article about her Amtrak journey to Denver and back. However, her “Amtrak Turns 40” highlight box failed to mention some additional “Amtrak facts to consider”:

In 2008 the California Zephyr was subsidized (by U.S. taxpayers) at $192.77 per passenger (for a taxpayer cost of $59.4 million). The Southwest Chief was subsidized at $162.90 per passenger (for a taxpayer cost of $45.9 million).

2008 is the only year I could quickly find subsidy information specific to those routes.

That means a total taxpayer cost of $105.3 million of borrowed dollars, just for these two routes of Amtrak.

In these times of horrendous federal spending, perhaps if Amtrak could convince 60 percent of its passengers to purchase one of those $8.50 hamburgers Melinda did —then raise the price of each hamburger $256.70 to a paltry $265.20 — we taxpayers would not have to borrow the $105 million to
begin with.

Or, of course, Amtrak could raise the fares $256.70 each — but then Mr. Kuhlman may have to re-examine his ride-versus-drive analysis. I think both hamburger and/or fare sales would then be way down.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Passenger rail service in the Washington, D.C.-Boston corridor makes sense. There are few other areas of this country (if any) that lend themselves to passenger rail service — no matter how fast the train goes!
Tom Howe

New name reflects
changing Mesa State

I graduated from Mesa State College in 2005 and today I was pleased to see that the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt Colorado Mesa University as the new name for the school.

I think Colorado Mesa University is a very fitting name for this school and reflects the values and tradition of this institution while better describing and encapsulating the many services and resources the school now offers.

It is critically important to change the name of the school for two overarching reasons:

First, the majority of similar-sized institutions with similar mix of programs and undergraduate/graduate rations have adopted “university” in their titles. The perception in the United States is that a degree from a university carries with it more prestige and translates into a better advantage in the workforce. Changing the title to Colorado Mesa University puts Mesa State on an equal playing field in the higher education arena.

Second, Colorado Mesa University better reflects the geographical and physical location of Mesa
State College. While the majority of Western Slope residents understand the many mesas in the area, many potential students outside Colorado assume “mesa” is in reference to Mesa, Ariz., or Mesa, Calif.

The change in name will acknowledge the history of this institution and preserve our great
legacy while giving us a better fighting chance in the national higher-education arena.
Richard A. Hern

Calling Mesa State a
university won’t make it so

As part of the flap about why or why not we ought to elevate Mesa State College to university status (and/or otherwise change its name), much has been said about why we desire such a change, but little evidence has been offered in support of why Mesa State deserves to be so elevated.

Taking its cue from academic grade inflation, institutional “name inflation” is now well on its way to scaling similar heights. We increasingly strain toward the belief that any institution of higher learning able to field post-secondary class offerings has met the requirements to be called “university”  — or so say the majority of local boosters.
The negative result of most such realized aspirations, is at least twofold. First, the burden of attempting to live up to the title becomes an extremely expensive (and ongoing) problem, requiring a resident graduate faculty, more specialized labs and equipment, a greater diversity of degree programs, heightened expectations for faculty publication, increased professional affiliation, etc

Secondly, with “business model” having become such a driving force throughout higher education, any institution that does not amply deserve university status cannot escape the derogatory notice (and comment) of competing schools, thereby fostering doubt both in and out-of-state concerning Colorado standards of higher education.

University is an academic term that has historically been reserved for top-tier institutions of higher learning. By the most lenient standard, Mesa State College it is not yet in that league, and we should not advertise our belief that it is.

What we call institutions of higher learning does not alter their ability to perform. Harking back to the land speculators of the late 19th Century who claimed “Rain follows the plow.”  The self-fulfilling prophecy did not work then, and it still does not.
K. Hancock
Grand Junction

Details were missing
in piece on the merger

In their commentary in May 1 edition of The Daily Sentinel, advocating the proposed merger of State Parks and Recreation and the Division of Wildlife, Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg omitted four important facts.

First, a number of conservation organizations, including Colorado Trout Unlimited, have serious reservations about the appropriateness of the merger.

Second, the two agencies were merged previously for nine years. Because their functions differ more than Schwartz and Sonnenberg would have us believe, the merger was abandoned in favor of the current situation.

Next, DOW is a self-financed agency; whereas, Parks depends to a considerable extent on funding from the Legislature.

Finally, the economic benefits of the presumed efficiencies are not quantified. In fact, the merger bill does not prescribe how the merger would work. Rather, we’re just promised that the details will be worked out after the merger is done. How smart does that strike you?

It’s also probably relevant that Sonnenberg is said to be a longtime antagonist of the DOW.
John Trammell
Grand Junction

Parking and ticketing
gave city a black eye

My family and I recently returned from a weekend lacrosse tournament in Grand Junction. I am writing about the lack of parking at Canyon View Park, and the lack of hospitality shown by your police department. Grand Junction should be ashamed of both!

Canyon View Park is wonderful and no doubt a great testament to Grand Junction. However, the fact that there is not adequate parking for a sporting event, let alone a multiple-event weekend (tennis tournament and a bike race) makes me want to boycott any future events in Grand Junction The city cannot handle the parking at Canyon View Park. It was a mess on Saturday, when most of the teams were there. On Sunday it was a little better.

People were parking on G Road both days, and on Saturday afternoon some tickets were given. On Sunday, I talked to a young police officer in the morning, asking why he was giving out tickets when there was not adequate parking, and noting that on Saturday tickets were given out only in the afternoon. He responded that he “wasn’t working on Saturday”— in a Rambo-esque tone of voice! He was rude and certainly not hospitable.

Given the many families who stayed in your hotels, ate at restaurants and went shopping, Grand Junction did well financially for the weekend. However when you have an event at a city facility that clearly cannot handle the crowds and parking, why should visitors bother even going to Grand Junction for such an event? You take the lodgers and sales tax, but then ticket the people
who attend?

Do something about the parking at Canyon View Park Please do not lecture me about the safety issues on G Road. There was no other place to park, and I do not want to put people in harm’s way.

Last weekend was clearly a black eye for the hospitality of Grand Junction. You have too much going for your city to have this situation happen.,
Leary O’Gorman

Columnist mistaken in
portraying King as racist

In his April 19 column, Bill Grant attempted to portray me as some type of racist for my views concerning illegal immigration.  He did this by attributing a quote to me comparing illegal immigrants to stray cats.

I never said that, and I never would say that.

Grant, obviously frustrated by his inability to make a cohesive, reasoned argument in defense of his liberal position, decided to inject race into the debate according to the left’s “what to do when you have nothing to say” playbook. It is bad enough that he, like many on the left, feels the need to label his opponents as racist when he has exhausted his shallow pool of intellectual ammunition, but to do it by willfully misquoting me transcends the bounds of responsibility and ethical journalism.

Grant knows full well that I did not make that statement, that it was actually the words of the reporter with whom I was having a discussion.  He also knows full well that my arguments against programs which directly or indirectly reward those who break our nation’s immigration laws have nothing to do with race, or with painting illegal immigrants as anything less than human. 

If Bill Grant’s liberal position is so indefensible that it prevents him from meeting the most basic journalistic standards then perhaps he ought to rethink his position.
Sen. Steve King
Grand Junction



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