E-mail letters, Oct. 21, 2010

Retain Garfield County assessor

Jim Yellico is running for Garfield County assessor this Nov. 2 against John Gorman, an official who has done as he pledged: to ensure that all property is fairly and accurately valued. Audits conducted on his watch have ensured the collection of back taxes and interest amounting to $6 million as of September 2010. Such efforts have promoted fairness in taxation to the benefit of individual property owners and corporations alike.

Reports from the campaign trail indicate that Mr. Yellico is an upstanding and amiable enough person, yet doesn’t appear to embody the voice of reason and deliberation of a candidate for an office of this gravity. John Gorman epitomizes reason and deliberation. He is regarded highly not only among informed constituents, but also by others in his line of work who named him Co-Chair of the Oil and Gas Committee, Colorado Assessors Association.

Jim Yellico’s campaign literature shows him grasping for something of substance to say without much success, e.g.:

— Upgrading the assessor’s website — the website is new and provides easy access to up to the minute property and sales information;

— Refraining from hiring outside professionals — using contract commercial appraisers has proven to be very cost effective and improved service over time;

— Working with the gas industry, which Gorman does now to the benefit of all taxpayers. Such examples are slender reeds indeed to support a campaign for a position charged with responsible, incisive accounting for millions of dollars in public monies. No, favoring some at the expense of others is inappropriate. Taxpayers are taxpayers at the Assessor’s office, all entitled to the same fair treatment.

John Gorman has rendered and will continue to render admirable service for Garfield County, Colorado. He should be re-elected. A vote for John Gorman is a vote for experience and knowledge of the job and a promise for a fair assessment for all.

Glenwood Springs

Environmentalists to blame for economy and unemployment

It has been very evident for years that one of the real problems with our economy and unemployment in this country can be laid at the feet of environmentalists, who keep the attorneys busy filing lawsuits daily. 

These suits and delays have kept thousands of projects from being shovel ready and there is no end in sight. Two of the worse things that we have faced for a number of years is ambulance chasing attorneys being able to advertise instead of their reputation being paramount and tree huggers not being reasonable, just being against anything, any time.
Grand Junction

Lou Vallario for sherrif

I have analyzed Sheriff Vallario’s 2009 budget (available from the County Finance Department) and it’s time to set the record straight. Contrary to his opponent’s intentional deception, Lou’s 2009 approved and amended budget was just under $17.5 million, of which he spent slightly over $15 million. If you deduct the additional $2.3 million in revenues generated by the Sheriff’s Office, he only spent $12.7 million and in reality actually returned $2.3 million back to the county coffers.

The “adopted” budget, which is different than the “amended” budget indicates that the BOCC approved $14.5 million. However, because of Dalessandri’s misappropriation of salary funds while he was Sheriff, the BOCC switched from a bottom-line budget system to a “contingency” process. This allows them to take budgeted, but unencumbered funds out of the general budget and put them in a “contingency” account.

In Lou’s budget, $2.6 million was put into contingency for approved, but vacant positions at the time of approval. During 2009, the BOCC eliminated the contingency method and re-populated all budgets in Garfield County. With the exception of $363,000 which mostly reflects expenses due to grant revenues, the entire so-called mysterious increase to the adopted $17.5 million was a result of these contingency funds. No smoke and mirrors. Lou didn’t print money in the basement of the jail and sneak in into his budget when the Commissioners weren’t looking.

In terms of budget comparison, while his opponent was Sheriff, his budget increased by an amazing 280 percent and his staff increased by over 60 people while Lou’s expenditures have only increased by 80 percent and a staffing increase of 51, all while building a professional organization and dealing with an estimated 30 percent increase in population! In fairness, his opponent had to budget for the larger jail in his last year. Lou has had to run it for eight years.

I know who I’m voting for. Who gave back $2.3 million in 2009? Who is on track to return a million or more this year? Who cut his 2011 budget by 2.6 percent? I’m voting for Lou Vallario for Sheriff. He can do the math.

Battlement Mesa

John Salazar has the guts needed to continue to be our congressman

Early voting has begun. Big money is trying to buy Colorado’s votes. I have to counter their too-often-untrue, simple-minded slogans with some not-so-short words of my own.

I want the man who has shown guts. I want the guy who has shown savvy. I want the man who can come up with solutions for overlapping issues. I will vote for John Salazar for Congress.

Here’s why: Salazar showed guts when he did not sign the Wall Street bailout to the rich and reckless. Instead he has created jobs for his citizens by the dollars he has brought to Colorado for important water projects to expand, rehabilitate and repair dams, canals, reservoirs for both drinking water and irrigation. Salazar gets Colorado water issues and land issues — showing guts and savvy on behalf of rural families — by protecting their property rights against government take-over of their farms and ranches, by leading efforts to permanently reduce the estate taxes, by working to overturn the Bush veto of the farm bill.

Salazar has worked to bring quality-of-life benefits (water included) and increased job opportunities to his district. Expansion of rural broadband access, additions to veteran’s health care, incentives to bring more practicing doctors and nurses to serve western Colorado, as well as expansion of medical facilities and training. Transportation improvements at Grand Junction airport and for the Glenwood Springs corridor connections.

To Salazar’s support of health care, I say “Hurrah.” He showed guts and savvy by supporting a cost-saving idea which can improve the lives of so many Americans, juggling that life benefit against companies who will spend millions to lobby on behalf of their profits, but will price even children out of their markets. He has shown courage.

I want to see John Salazar re-elected.


Bennet and Salazar on the right track for health care reform

The health care bill has cost reduction components built into it while maintaining quality of care. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. John Salazar are fully aware of the new mechanisms in place in the Grand Junction health care system.

They know that our electronic medical record system is a more efficient method of sharing medical data, resulting in accuracy and time-savings translating into savings of the health care dollar. A very low percent of the nation’s hospitals, pharmacies and medical offices use EMR. When EMR is used nationwide, the efficiency and savings we have h ere can be reflected in the rest of the country. Bennet recognizes that this savings will be $18 billion if the country patterns after Grand Junction

Both Bennet and Salazar have earned my respect for demonstrating their caring attitudes and caring actions as shown through their votes to provide access to health care. Salazar has gone to bat for veterans and has listened to Grand Junction physicians, who, working with Rocky Mountain Health Plans have lowered diabetic expenses through their Chronic Card Model. Salazar is knowledgeable of cost reduction methods. Better access to primary physicians reduces long term expenditures as demonstrated by RMHP and Grand Junction is famous for its health care model, pay for performance based on outcomes.

Payment for specialists is tricky because whereas the primary docs can work to prevent chronic conditions the specialists with the costlier patients have limited cost saving options. For them reducing medical litigation costs and developing fair compensation in medical legal cases is key. Sen. Bennet is emphatic that we become energy independent and he wants Colorado to be a leader in the effort.

Vote for Rep. Salazar and Senator Bennet. They are working on solutions for our country and have my respect, appreciation and votes.

Grand Junction

Attorney general candidate knowingly makes false claims

As former United States attorneys for Colorado we are shocked and offended by the political ads that attorney general candidate Stan Garnett is running against John Suthers. He desperately and unfairly attempts to blame the murders committed by Scott Kimball on John Suthers, who, while U.S. attorney, reasonably relied on law enforcement officials and trusted assistants in his office in approving the use of Kimball as a confidential informant. 

As a district attorney, Mr. Garnett should know better. He knows that John Suthers acted on the best information he had at his disposal at the time. Five years later to point to the attorney general as complicit in the murders of innocent victims, is an outrageous and irresponsible political charade —especially when used against John Suthers who has devoted his entire professional career to protecting the public.



City employees should have same benefits as private sector

Finally, the city of Grand Junction has to look at their budget in a more conservative light. Really? Now you do?

I have fought with people that work for the city and county and state that they are spoiled. Welcome to the real world and people that have to manage their business every day and have to make cuts everywhere.

I have said that it is ludicrous that we, the taxpayers, pay the government employees for all the time off they get. They should only get the big five holidays off: Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Memorial Day. That is it.

They should only get one week paid vacation a year for the first three years, just like private enterprise. One week a year of sick leave. If you really want to be generous on our dime, you could add one week of family time. It would be interesting to see how much the city would save going to these parameters as well as the county and state.


Tice is wrong about mandated health care

Dr. Larry Tice’s letter today making a case for Amendment 63, in my opinion, is misplaced. I hesitate to oppose it because, in a all probability, Dr. Tice saved my life. Nevertheless, the doctor’s plea for personal responsibility is admirable, but not practical, as long as we continue the policy of nobody being denied medical care regardless of ability to pay, all to often ending up at the emergency room, the most expensive care offered. The cost of such care without payment for services is passed on to the public at large, either directly for higher costs for those who do pay out of pocket or insurance policy holders.

Nobody knows, for sure, that they will not need medical care, or when, so they either need a very large medical savings account or insurance. Opting out of insurance when you are young and healthy might make sense as a gamble, but when your gamble is back-stopped by the knowledge that you can still get treatments, regardless of ability to pay for it, is not exercising responsibility. It is just the opposite.

I think a person should have the right to not have insurance, but also not be able to opt in later when medical needs might be expected. Insurance only works best when you continuously pay in and share the risk with all other policy holders. If you choose to have insurance only when you need it you are defeating the purpose and concept of insurance in the first place and taking advantage of all those who have been paying in when they didn’t have immediate need for medical care. Personal responsibility requires that if you have opted out, that if you later want insurance you pay a very large premium to compensate for all the time you weren’t paying in. Is that feasible?
Grand Junction

How can we trust candidates when they lie in their ads?

We have a serious problem among the current crop of political candidates. Simply put, I haven’t seen one single commercial — from any party — that hasn’t in some way manipulated facts or distorted information about the opposition. I appreciate The Daily Sentinel and other sources that have researched these ads and given perspective in the name of accuracy.
Here’s the problem: If you politicians are willing to lie to us to get elected (yeah, that‘s what it is, lying), how can we trust you won’t lie to us after you’re in office? Your ads thus far have cost you my trust. Or is the old gag true: “The only time a politician tells the truth is when he calls another politician a liar.”
Republicans, Democrats, independents or tea partiers, if you want us to see you as honest politicians, then run an honest campaign. Stop portraying your opponent as the Antichrist and present the facts accurately.  Let the voters decide on the true merits of the issues, not your corrupted spin of them.  If we voters must suffer through your campaign ads, then could you please show some campaign integrity?  Or is that too heavy a burden for you to bear?
Let the politicians know if you approve this message.
Grand Junction

Bennet misleads voters with his attacks against Buck

Lest we be fooled. First of all, the Michael Bennet ads portray Ken Buck as someone who would give huge tax breaks to “the rich and the corporations”. A couple of things here: What are corporations, but organizations made up of shareholders and officers (people like you and me)?

If you have a 401K, you are a corporation shareholder. Also, most of the tax burden in this country is borne by the “rich” (the top 96 percent of income tax is actually paid by the top 50 percent of wage earners, while the bottom 50 percent only pay 4 percent of all income taxes). What does this say about how rich America is, when fully half of us don’t even pay taxes?

Secondly, the Bennet ads attempt to paint him as pro-gun and a protector of our freedoms. The truth is aside from the obvious NRA endorsement of Mr. Buck, the Colorado State Shooting Association gave Mr. Bennet a “D,” presumably for his squishiness on gun issues — hardly a champion of our freedoms.

Thirdly, the Bennet ads call Ken Buck “out of touch” and “extreme.” If we really need a reminder, this is all coming to us from the same people who gave us the infamous health care reform bill, the
stimulus bills, and now want to impose crippling cap and trade taxes on us (all while not reading them, and hoping to pass them so we can “find out what’s in them” later). Who are the real extremists, and where is the transparency we were promised in 2008?

Once again, we fall victim to an uninformed electorate. We need to turn off the ads and do a little research to seek out the truth of those we seek to represent us. Ken Buck will get my vote.


Sentinel is wrong about Maes

I respect the opinion of The Daily Sentinel editorials and will vote across party lines because of the insight it offered. But in the case of Dan Maes, I think the Sentinel has gone totally off line. Obviously someone is out there digging dirt to bury him. The e-mailer mentioned said it wasn’t Tom Tancredo. Wow, you have to wonder.

So what if the guy didn’t disclose a bankruptcy 20 years ago. I filed 13 years ago and am now on sure footing. It doesn’t make you a bad person. The argument is that he can’t offer remedies to a bad economy when he couldn’t even manage his own finances. That was 20 years ago. We live, we learn and we move on. He has, I have.

My husband and myself are financially sound, but as young adults we made mistakes, as did Dan Maes. Does anyone out there not have skeletons in their closets? Dig into Tom Tancredo’s past and present and I am sure you will find some, but no one is looking. They are dealing with the issues at hand.

Grand Junction

Fair Tax is not an additional tax

The attack ads have started. They are stating that Republican candidates want a 23 percent sales tax on top of the taxes we currently pay. They must be referring to the Fair Tax, which has both Republican and some Democrat support. Here is what the ads won’t tell you:

Yes, the Fair Tax is a 23 percent sales tax. What they do not tell you is there is about 23 percent federal tax imbedded in everything you buy now. Because it is included in the price, you do not see it (you are paying sales tax on the 23 percent imbedded federal taxes). The Fair Tax removes the imbedded 23 percent tax and replaces it with a 23 percent sales tax you will be able to see on your purchase receipt. This works out that the price you pay will be the same. Also, this tax only applies to the purchase of new items. Pre-owned cars, houses or other pre-owned items will not be taxed.

With the Fair Tax these imbedded taxes will be eliminated by repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which authorizes the IRS to exist. The result is the elimination of the federal income taxes including personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment and corporate taxes (these are part of the imbedded taxes). Also eliminated is the filing of forms 1040, W2, 940, 941 and all other IRS forms. April 15 will become just another day.

There will be only one federal tax and we can keep track of the tax rate just by looking at the receipt from the grocery store. This way we the people can more easily keep track of what our federal government is doing to us.

Look at your pay stub from your paycheck. Add up all of the boxes involving federal taxes (FIT, Medicare, Social Securtiy, et al). Under the Fair Tax, all of these deductions will go away. Now add the total of these deductions to your take home pay. Wow, you have a big pay raise.

Also, the government will give everyone a check, called a prebate, every month to cover the cost of the sales tax on “essential goods and services.” A family of four will receive $630 per month which is $32,880 per year to cover the taxes paid on food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care and it is paid in advance.

But don’t believe me, get all of the facts at http://www.fairtax.org.

Congressman John Linder submitted the bill (HR25) to pass the Fair Tax. You can read the bill at:
Summary at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-25&tab=summary
Details at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-25


Democrats get role of government wrong

My eyes must be lying to me. I received a card from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today thrashing Gregory Gilman. Among other things, it accuses Gilman of believing the “government’s powers are limited to those specifically mentioned in the Constitution.” Are they not?

Do Democrats officially believe they do not? If Colorado passed a law prohibiting mailing of election brochures, would that be OK or are powers limited to prevent such actions?

I hope my eyes are lying.


Who is paying Maes to stay in race

After I read The Daily Sentinel’s editorial entitled “Dan Maes’ campaign is intellectually bankrupt,” I found it interesting that allegedly there were organizations who tried to buy him out of the race.

With all that has been discovered about his activities and misstatements, I wondered why he didn’t drop out of the race. Now I question who or what political organization may be paying him to stay in the race?

Anyone who continues to support Maes does not care about the future of Colorado. Obviously, Mr. Maes doesn’t either.

Grand Junction

A vote for Salazar is a vote for Colorado

John Salazar well represents the diverse values, interests and landscapes that are western Colorado. He takes on this work in a way that is inclusive, consensus-building, and fair.

In sharp contrast to the harsh, shrill, name-calling divisiveness that lately dominates public discourse and debate, Congressman Salazar approaches people — and issues — in the spirit of seeking solutions and agreement. This is the kind of representation western Colorado needs and deserves right now.

John Salazar understands, first hand, the land, water and wildlife of our beautiful region. He also understands the citizens who work that land and who cherish those natural values. The natural resources and natural wonder that brought us here need respect and protection based in that sort of understanding.

A vote for John Salazar is a vote for the beauty of western Colorado, a vote for the people who value that beauty, and a vote for civility in discussing the future of both.

Glenwood Springs

GOP signs are an eyesore

I was driving on First Street today and noticed a bunch of signs for the GOP headquarters. Not one to criticize another persons artistic abilities but, doesn’t the city of Grand Junction have a sign ordinance? If so, this is surely not in compliance. Is the sign compliance officer turning a blind eye or is the GOP just making their own rules?

Grand Junction


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