E-mail letters, November 29, 2010

Why does Xcel get to dictate
number of solar panels?

I recently bought a home in downtown Grand Junction. Being a first-time homeowner, I was very excited about the possibility of installing a solar array.
In my head, I envisioned my entire roof covered in solar panels for all to see. This would completely obliterate any need for me to ever again pay a power bill and, though admittedly not in the forefront of my fantasy, I would be doing my part in the battle to keep our environment clean.
My dreams were to come crashing back to Earth, however. Xcel, which provides my area with power, apparently has to authority to dictate how many solar panels each dwelling is allowed. The company looks at your last 12 months of power usage and allots you with enough solar power to provide 120 percent of the power you need, no more.
I do understand that you will get enough to earn money in the long run. I even understand that the power companies’ primary concern is to stay in business and if everybody has enough solar power to supply a city block, companies like Xcel will soon be obsolete.
What I don’t understand is why they have the power to dictate such things. Is the environment not more important than Xcel’s bottom line? If everyone did, in fact, go solar with no limits on the amount or size of the system, wouldn’t that free us of our dependence on carbon-emitting sources of electricity we currently rely on?
I have no expertise on this subject, I simply don’t understand why we continually let those things that are most important to our future be controlled by those who stand to lose the most by their success.

Howard Tate
Grand Junction

Don’t change name of
Kit Carson Mountain

I read the Nov. 21 Associated Press article on renaming Kit Carson Mountain, and feel very strongly that this should not be done.

Many of the Indian tribes of the southwest had “sacred mountains” that they frequently visited to reconnect with spirits of their ancestors and to revitalize their sense of the majesty of nature. I do not believe that Kit Carson Mountain is sacred to any Indian tribe, including the Navajo.
But it IS sacred to my family for exactly the same reasons that motivated the Indian tribes. We are descendants of Kit Carson, and very proud of the role he played in winning the West for the United States. And our family sport of mountain climbing has provided our way to reconnect with nature.
On August 25, 1989, my two sons and I climbed Kit Carson Mountain, which was a very special and pivotal event in our family history. Since then, we have climbed many of Colorado’s fourteeners, but we often return to the Sangre de Christos and always relive the Kit Carson experience at family reunions with a sense of reverence.

When Kit Carson retired from his long career in the service of his country, he retired to live out his final days in the place he loved the best — Colorado. When I retired four years ago, my wife and I made the identical decision, and relocated to Colorado from Virginia. We also wanted to spend our last days near the majestic mountains that had given us so much joy and inspiration in years past. In fact, my will I directs that my ashes shall be scattered by one of my descendants from the peak of Kit Carson Mountain.
Dr. Kent Carson
Grand Junction

One reason to pass
federal DREAM Act

I would like to share with you the story of Esperanza. She is one of the 65,000 undocumented high school students who came to the United States as children. Esperanza arrived in the United States when she was 12 with her mother and sister. Her father came ten years earlier to the United States, wishing to give his family a better life.

Esperanza told me that her parents brought her here because she would have a more promising future in the U.S., but they never told her how difficult that path was going to be.

She began school without knowing a word of English, but was able to get out of her comfort zone and overcame the language and cultural barriers. During four years of high school, she earned many awards and earned an academic letter for having a 3.9 GPA. She was a member of various academic groups and an active leader in her community, knowing it was important to give back to the community in the same way that her community was teaching her how to be
a successful “citizen.”

Unfortunately, Esperanza does not have the opportunity to attend college after graduating from high school. She is a victim of the broken immigration system. She cannot apply for employment because she does not possess the proper legal documents.

However, the DREAM Act would allow her the opportunity to attend college and eventually become a legal resident. There are thousands of stories similar to Esperanza’s, stories about
hard-working young people who love this country as much as they love their own, if not more.

Let’s give them a chance to continue working toward a higher education. These youth are the future leaders of our community and our country. Now is the time to pass the DREAM Act!
Nelly Garcia
Grand Junction

City speed traps only
harm police image

I was returning from a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday in Montrose with the great-grandparents when I noticed something that tarnished the mood.

Just as I was leaving downtown Montrose, I noted that a city patrolman had some average-looking family man pulled over in the city’s infamous speed trap.

Further on in Delta, I noted that a Delta City policeman had someone of similar criminal appearance pulled over in that city’s equally infamous speed trap just north of the river bridge.

Although I saw a Colorado State patrolman between Delta and Grand Junction, he was only looking for a violator.

As I neared Grand Junction, I was reminded of the speed trap near Harbert Lumber, where one of Grand Junction’s finest frequently sits behind the lumber company’s sign with his hand-held radar eagerly waiting for someone to miss the change in speed limit. And let’s not forget the city’s latest, the new Riverside Parkway, signed well below the speed one normally sees on similar limited-access, four-lane roadways.

Speed traps are nearly as old as the “oldest profession” and, to me, just about as honorable.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer the image of our officers in full uniform before a group of grade-school kids, telling them about public safety. I prefer the image of officers as first responders helping victims of accidents. I prefer the image of officers protecting us from drug runners, violent offenders or solving crimes. To me, the image of them running a speed trap conveys that of an indiscriminant predator.

The small amount of money that these officers bring into their respective city general funds through speed trap citations cannot possibly offset the loss of prestige to the officer, their profession or to the specific city departments for which they work. I hope these officers think of this the next time they have to man the phones to ask for donations and find a community less than enthusiastic.
Jim Langford
Grand Junction

Republicans wrong to seek
rewrite of the Constitution

I was shocked to read in Monday’s edition of The Daily Sentinel how Republican leaders are plotting to rewrite the Constitution of the United States on a state-by-state basis. This action amounts to these men encouraging states to secede from the union. As I recall, this was tried
before. How did that work out?

It amazes me that these people would reduce our country to ashes over health care reform. And they say they are worried about the direction the country is heading.

In the old days these guys would be in prison for plotting against the government. This was so important it got on Page 3 below the fold. If a Democrat would have suggested such a thing there wouldn’t be enough room on the front page for today’s date.

Liberal press? Yeah, Right.
John A. Ijams
Grand Junction

Gridlock story didn’t deserve
to be lead article Sunday

The lead article on the front page of the Nov. 28 paper, “Stability seen in political gridlock”  — the lead or most important article is the one at the top, right-hand corner, isn’t it? — is pure Republican talking points.

The gist of it is that business people would just invest and hire people if they only knew what the regulatory and taxation situation in the future held for them. That is code for “give us more in the way of tax breaks and less regulation or we won’t being hiring anytime soon.” That’s usually called extortion in rational society.

The uncertainty they have is “where are all the customers to justify hiring and expanding my business?” Their attention-diversionary rhetoric arises from attitudes of business being the center of the economy and the generator of all wealth and hiring and their desires must always take precedence over mere consumer/citizens. We are all beholden to them for our very lives and don’t ever forget it, is their message to all of the lesser mortals, meaning non-business owners.
In the real world, demand drives all business hiring and investment decisions. Just once I’d like to hear of a business decision made to not hire or expand because of taxation or regulatory conditions when there was unfulfilled demand for its product.

The lead article is pure Republican propaganda meant to further future profitability chances and mislead the public. There is no question that hiring and expansion in the face of existing and expected future demand adds to the economy and magnifies GDP but without adequate demand, which is our current business situation, no businessman in his right mind will hire or spend until he has a very good reason to expect more business.
Finally, the quotes from Diane Schwenke, the head of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, are ludicrous. She advocates not funding the portions of the health care bill that makes possible experimental projects to improve health care delivery. With rational Republicans, the hew and cry has been to not have a monolithic system ut in place but rather try a lot of different things to see what is best and also see if there is a place for a lot of diversity around the country. Schwenke doesn’t want that investigation to take place? What does she want?

Bottom line: Was this a serious lead news article or was this a gift to the local ultra-Republican Chamber, whose normal stance is that of an adversary of the public, its very lifeblood?
John Borgen
Grand Junction


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