E-mail letters, Oct. 1, 2010

New EPA ozone standards are too stringent

Last week the Wall Street Journal put a spotlight on the negative effects of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new standard for ozone levels.

As WSJ reporter Stephen Power noted, the EPA itself projects that lowering the ozone level to from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 60 “could cost businesses as much as $90 billion annually in 2020.”
Even the EPA – by its own omission – stated there isn’t any defensible science that shows the 60 ppb standard would save the number of lives it claims it would.

$90 billion is a lot of money to spend annually for marginal improvements in air quality. To spend that kind of money for tiny benefits that are highly speculative is positively obscene.

It may be hard for the average person to grasp the impact of a figure that large, especially when it’s described as a cost to business. It’s important to bear in mind that burdens imposed on businesses are also imposed on consumers, employees, and communities, too — in the form of higher prices for products and services, lower wages and reduced job opportunities, and diminished revenues for state and local governments.

At least 13 Colorado counties will be unable to meet this more stringent standard, with the result that the nine counties surrounding the Denver metro area and El Paso, Mesa, Montezuma and La Plata counties are likely to be penalized by restrictions on new facilities and the loss of federal highway dollars. Our gross regional product is likely to decline by more than $4 billion, our personal disposable income by nearly $2 billion, and more than 45,000 Coloradans are likely to lose their jobs.

This is too high a price to pay even when times are good. During a period of economic turmoil, it’s simply indefensible.

Grand Junction

Information about Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 is false

At the recent Cedaredge Fire department chili cook-off, we picked up a flyer that greatly misrepresented the effect on the volunteer fire department of Amendments 60, 61, and Propostion 101. It correctly showed that if Proposition 101 passes $42,000 in specific ownership tax will go away over a 4 year period. What wasn’t mentioned is that ownership taxes, paid at vehicle license renewal,  are only 12.4 percent of total fire district tax revenues, the majority coming from $293,991 in property taxes. As far as the fire district is concerned, property taxes are not affected at all by Prop. 101 or Amendment 60. 

A voter approved mil levy increase from the present 4.8 mils to 5.3 mils would more than make up for the loss of ownership taxes. Amendment 60 allows voters in special districts and other political jurisdictions to not only vote to lower their property taxes but also to increase them in specific areas like fire protection. I, for one, would vote to approve a mill levy increase to support our highly valued fire department volunteers. I would even be open to listen to further needs.

The second claim that these amendments would reduce their mil levy back to 1992 further reducing their revenue by $15,000 to $30,000 is also completely false. Amendment 60 is forward looking. What has been voter approved or is within the limits of TABOR prior to 2011 will not be undone by Amendment 60. Read it yourself at COtaxreforms.com, Amendment 60 explanation.

The third claim that existing debt terms would be changed by Amendment 61 thereby increasing payments on $99,900 of debt is also completely false. Amendment 61 limits only new debt to a maximum of 10 years it does not force or change old debt to those terms. See COtaxreforms.com, Amendment 61 analysis.

The claim that the district’s yearly operating revenue could be reduced by $144,000 to $159,000 over the next 4 years is therefore completely false. What’s at stake here is $41,469.63 over 4 years in specific ownership taxes which as mentioned above can be fixed by a voter approved increase in the districts mil levy from 4.8 mils to 5.3 mils or more if a case can be made.

The district should not disseminate or mislead voters by such wildly false information.

Vote for Amendments 60,61 and Proposition 101.


Bingo oversight works, don’t try to fix it

Amendment P would move bingo from the Secretary of State to State Revenue.  In 1993 the Division of Racing which oversees horse and dog racing in Colorado was similarly transferred.  Under Revenue the end of all live dog racing in Colorado and the end of profitable horse racing has occurred.  Bingo does not deserve this fate!

Bingo is required by law to be operated by unpaid volunteers working to support the mission of their non-profit.  This requires a unique style of oversight and regulation.

Just ask any group that operates Bingo.  The veteran’s posts, the fraternal organizations, the school groups and the churches are all overwhelmingly against moving bingo.

The transition would be expensive and painful. Additionally, the charities that run bingo cannot afford to pay the huge costs of this move.

Why risk ruining bingo?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  Keep our non-profits benefiting all Colorado.


Coaching flag football turned into positive experience

Somewhere around 7 years ago, I was roped into coaching youth flag football with Grand Junction Parks and Rec. What a positive adventure this has turned out to be.

The man who was overseeing the program was new (although not new to the area) although I couldn’t tell this because of the way he handled everything. Personally I thought he had been overseeing the program for awhile because of the way he handled himself.

One of the main things this guy insists on is that if you coach one of the teams, the kids are to have fun. No exceptions. He usually has high school kids officiating and over the years his crews have done an outstanding job. For example one young man, Danny Woods, would referee a game and instead of making the kid feel bad about the penalty called on him he would explain to the kid what he did and then he would mess with him the rest of the game. He was that way with all the kids and they always liked him because of the way he picked on them.

I really enjoy giving Shon Birch a hard time about standing around the office with his arm on the water cooler talking about the Dallas Cowboys all the time, but in reality he has done an awesome job overseeing the Youth Flag Football program and because of the way he has run it many kids have and will have fond memories of when they played flag football in Grand Junction.

Thanks, Shon, as a coach you have certainly helped for me to have many great memories coaching and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you.

Grand Junction

Health care reform should have been implemented incrementally

The passage of the health care reform act insures that most Americans will be entitled to government-mandated health care.  Unfortunately, the president and the Democratic Congress did not take an incremental approach to solving the problem, i.e., changing the system gradually over a period of time in a way that fixed the most egregious problems first, and insured an orderly transition to a system that provides quality care at an affordable cost. They opted for a total overhaul of a complex system.  The result was passage of a law that neither the president nor members of Congress can tell us how it will impact our health care system

The president and the Democrats are responsible for a law that the American people do not understand, one that more than half of the electorate don’t want, and a law whose implementation will be a contentious, and divisive issue.  Part of the law is under attack as unconstitutional by 21 states. If the court challenge is successful all provisions of the law will be thrown out, and we will be back at square one.

The president has an opportunity to show leadership and mitigate these problems. A way to accomplish this would be to institute a moratorium on the implementation of the law. During this period an independent commission would be appointed with the responsibility to mediate the issues, insure the public understands its impacts, and makes recommendations on how to achieve accessible, affordable, quality health care.

The failure of the president to adopt this or another bipartisan approach puts his party at risk in the next election cycle.  The law will be a divisive issue that will continue to be a minefield for the Democratic Party.

Grand Junction



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