E-mail letters, Sept. 13, 2010

Yes Democrats can
harm the U.S. economy

The American people are being bombarded by Obama and the Democrats with the slogan “Yes we can,” while at the same time depicting everyone who has a different solution to our nation’s problems as a naysayer.  However, the Democrats do not finish their campaign cry with what it is they can do. They leave the listener to fill in the blanks. Here are a few fitting endings to their catch phrase. 

Yes we can pass an $870 billion stimulus loaded with 9,000 earmarks that failed to restart the economy. And yes we can avoid responsibility for our actions by blaming our failure
on others.
Yes we can pass health care legislation that the American people don’t want. Yes we can pass health care legislation that no one in Congress has read nor understands the impacts that it will have on the quality and costs of care.

Yes we can refuse to listen to anyone who has a different political philosophy and label them the party of no.

Yes we can slow economic growth by taxing entrepreneurs and small businesses. 

I’m sure there are other endings that people could add to this list.
Peter Rekemeyer
Grand Junction

Bear Ranch exchange is
responsible land protection

We are writing to support Rep. John Salazar for backing the Central Rockies Land Exchange. Over the past several weeks, there have been a lot of news stories, letters and editorials in area newspapers. Some are accurate. Some are erroneous.

The truth is very simple. Bear Ranch, east of Paonia Reservoir, approached the BLM about acquiring a strip of land that cuts the ranch in two. The BLM directed Bear Ranch to the Park Service, which has several acquisition priorities around the nation. Two of these are in Curecanti National Recreation Area and Dinosaur National Monument.

Right now, there is no money available for land purchases by the Park Service. Land trades are about the only way for the agency to acquire lands for protection. In addition, the Forest Service wants a trailhead to Lily Lake near Marble.

This exchange involves lands in two states — Colorado and Utah — and two Cabinet departments —Interior and Agriculture. By law, this type of exchange must happen through federal legislation.

There were no attempts to bypass public processes. To the contrary, Bear Ranch was the topic of several public meetings in Gunnison County. In addition, we understand Bear
Ranch approached several local governments and organizations in Delta County in 2009 to inform them about the exchange. Those that did learn about the exchange ended up supporting it.

This exchange will benefit Delta County. Bear Ranch has offered up to $250,000 to improve access points to the Gunnison National Forest, Raggeds Wilderness, Williams Creek Reservoir and Tomahawk Reservoir. The BLM strip does not offer viable access as the Forest Service has closed motorized access off of County Road 2, and no trails from the BLM strip onto the Forest Service land are shown on any recent maps.

This exchange is the fiscally responsible way to protect land and add to the National Park Service. We should support Rep. Salazar in his efforts.
Robert and Tracy Tooker

Letter writer was wrong
about Australian quotes

To quote a former president, “There you go again.” An otherwise persuasive argument has again been diluted by misquotes and in this case misattribution.
Ron Sherman, in his e-mail letter of Sept. 10, would have us believe that Kevin Rudd is the prime minister of Australia and that he has gone on several diatribes against those whom he believes have not accepted his country.
Once again, the facts are easy to ferret out. First, Kevin Rudd is not the PM of Australia. He was, but lost his party’s confidence a couple of months ago to Julia Gillard. An analysis of Rudd’s career in office can be found here (and after you have read it you may not agree that Rudd could win an election in the U.S.):
Furthermore, again with ease, it is also easy to find that some of the comments ascribed to Mr. Rudd in the past were, well, not exactly made by him, either, but by his predecessor, John Howard, and a few other Australian politicians. Those can be found here:
To quote Edmund Burke:  “Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.”
Vicki Felmlee
Grand Junction

Stories about ballot measures
fail to report the other side

The Sept. 10 story, “City budget sobering” contained many factual errors. Amendment 60 does NOT “reduce school property taxes $1.5 billion each year.” It reduces school property taxes $130 million each year — or two-thirds of 1 percent of this year’s budgeted state $19.6 billion spending spree.

Amendment 23 and the school finance act (already state law) require the state to make up any shortfalls in school funding. Why? To make school funding more uniform and equitable. Western slope schools stand to gain from passage of amendment 60, not “lose” as the article claim.
The article states that Amendment 61 requires local governments to repay bonded debt in 10 years, which increases the amount of annual payments. What it forgot to say is that it significantly decreases the millions of dollars of interest payments on longer debts —interest which buys nothing and saddles our children and grandchildren with useless, wasted debt. And Amendment 61 has nothing to do with state income tax. That’s Proposition 101, which also lowers our outrageously skyrocketed car registrations to $10 (more than double what it costs to process your registration).

Reeves Brown, of the lobbyist group Club 20, claims this will bring us closer to anarchy than anything our state has ever seen. And The Daily Sentinel prints this with a straight face. Moderate, phased in tax relief over several years equals anarchy. But only if you are a lobbyist or elected official who wants more and more OPM (other peoples money).

I have been the Western Slope campaign coordinator for Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 now for quite a while. The Sentinel has never once bothered to interview me to balance its doomsday stories about these initiatives, but it always interviews opponents.

If you want to read the truth instead of the “anarchy” rhetoric, you can go to COtaxreforms.com, read the information and ballot texts, and volunteer to help in this citizen driven campaign. Revenue isn’t the problem. Spending is.
Debbie Schum

State should stop
running up debt

The hired gun opposing the three tax relief ballot issues 60, 61 and 101 did not give the facts. Strategist Rick Reiter said at Saturday’s debate it is “literally insane” for our state to pay off its debts.

Our 1876 constitution says, “The state shall not contract any debt by loan in any form.” I don’t think our founding fathers were insane. Government lawyers and judges have twisted that sentence so much that the state now has $17 billion in illegal debt. The state voter guide says state debt has tripled in the past 10 years, and annual repayment costs have doubled.

Amendment 61 ends the loopholes and commits to repaying that illegal debt. (It still allows local debt by voter approval.) The state has $2.2 billion in cash and over $15 billion in net assets to pay for construction projects. Saving hundreds of millions in yearly interest costs will allow the state to do more projects.

See COtaxreforms.com under “Opposition Funding.” Reiter made $800,000 for his 2008 campaign management. He will make even more for trying to deceive voters this time. He has $5.8 million in corporate donations so far; about 30 percent are out of state. Only 0.1 percent of donations come from individuals.

Unlike issue supporters, all volunteers according to campaign reports,  Reiter has hired people to speak against the issue. They are paid $3,500, $9,900, $20,000, and more. Why won’t the press report this? I trust a volunteer more than someone paid to say whatever it takes to win an election.

I’m voting “Yes” on 60, 61, and 101.
Mike Mason

Konola is the best choice
to serve in the state Senate

Claudette Konola is the clear choice for the Colorado Senate District 7 race. She is an outsider to state government (throw the bums out)!

Claudette held a management job in private industry for over 30 years. This gave her real- world experience in producing results and getting the job done. We need real-world experience in solving Colorado’s tough economic problems.

Her concern for the community is shown by her second career — managing non-profit lenders. These community lenders include the Mesa County Revolving Loan Fund, and the Community Reinvestment Fund. The Community Reinvestment Fund is responsible for producing and saving over 40,000 jobs since 1988. In this tough economy, we clearly need someone who can produce jobs.

Claudette is also a nationally recognized expert on New Market Tax Credits, having lectured on that topic at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. She is listed in “Who’s Who in Finance and Business” and “Who’s Who in America.”

Clearly, Claudette is the best choice for representing District 7 in the state Senate.
Thomas Hall


Salazar is Rangel
in a cowboy hat

Rep. John Salazar receives $40,000 in campaign contributions from Bill Koch. He goes elk hunting on his land, on which private citizens are not allowed. No doubt he does not have to pay any fee for his hunting access.

Then he introduces a bill for the government to swap property with Koch. Sounds like to me, Salazar is Charles Rangel in a cowboy hat.
T. L. Carruthers
Grand Junction


Where was the respect
for victims of Sept. 11?

I am completely infuriated, disgusted, and overwhelmed with sadness at the lack of respect that this city showed toward the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Only a few flags were set at half mast, and hardly anyone remembered what the day was. No one looked sad or grieving for all of those people who died and for those who lost a loved one that day.

The lack of patriotism that this city showed was appalling. The day was hard for my
family and me because we lost a dear family member. His name is Tom Burnett. He was one of the few men who stood up on Flight 93 against the terrorists and crashed the plane in that Pennsylvania field.

The events of 9/11 will haunt my family and me for the rest of our lives, as it should for the rest of the citizens who live in this country. People all should be ashamed with themselves, show some respect for the dead and for those who were affected by this tragic
Jessica Beard
Grand Junction

Rally was about industry,
not about finding jobs

I was disturbed upon attending the Rally for Jobs on Sept. 10 at Two Rivers Convention Center. People were being forcibly detained and their personal posters supporting the rally were taken before they were allowed in.

The posters were not looked at, and no one seemed to know who told security to deny entrance to those with their own signs. Our First Amendment right of freedom of speech was subverted.

I understand about not wanting profanity expressed, but these posters were not even looked at. One was told to use the signs the organizers had made up only.

Also, the limited speakers in the rally were business owners from the community, not
workers. What an orchestrated event. It had everything to do with building up the oil and gas business and nothing to do with the people looking for jobs.
Theresa Dunn
Grand Junction


King parroted GOP slogans
during Club 20 debate

The Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby accurately captured the tenor of Saturday’s Club 20 debate between retired banker Claudette Konola and state Rep. Steve King (“Senate District 7 debate a heated one,” Sept. 12).
While the U.S. Senate and House debates garnered larger headlines, the District 7 contest is just as critical to the future of Mesa County — and voters have a clear choice.
King persistently parroted Republican bumper-sticker slogans and falsehoods. Having himself voted to reform the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, King now blames its new rules — rather than the market price of natural gas and the worldwide recession — for our local economic woes.
While King paid lip service to his sworn duty to uphold Colorado’s Constitution, he conveniently ignores the constitutional authority of the Colorado Supreme Court to interpret it. Thus, King mischaracterizes user fees as “taxes” and calls the mill levy freeze a “property tax increase”  — despite the contrary rulings of our Supreme Court.
The fundamental dishonesty of the Republican shell game became obvious when King proclaimed support of increased funding for K-12 education, for higher education and for transportation — but could not responsibly identify any sources for that funding and actually voted against a bill that will repair bridges using increased vehicle registration fees.
Republicans like King pander to local property taxpayers by shifting an increasing share of K-12 funding to the state, then opposing every effort to generate the revenue needed to meet the competing priorities of higher education, transportation, prisons, etc.
Konola has a firm grasp on the practical realities of creating jobs by promoting small businesses, on eliminating tax credits that reduce the effective rate of our severance tax to half that of our energy-producing neighbors, on reducing taxes on idle equipment, and on balancing budgets. Konola is a recognized leader — not a “back-bencher” like King
Bill Hugenberg
Grand Junction

Money and marketing
drive ‘me first’ attitude

The David Brooks column Sept. 12 discusses some of the changes in our culture and how they may have come about. Nowhere does he discuss the prime influence in our culture today, why it exists and where we’re headed. That influence is money and what it can buy in heavily influential information or propaganda. Take your pick.

Marketing is an important element in a capitalistic economy. Influencing the public to either buy something or an idea is a highly honed talent, maybe even science. It works. People can be demonstrably swayed with the right message. We have been “marketed” into the society described and lamented by Brooks.

There have always been conservatives and progressives or liberals. Barry Goldwater made conservative ideas more publicly accepted. From the time of his candidacy to this day, the message has increasingly been “me first,” and government should be responsible only for those things that people of great means cannot provide for themselves.

Moneyed interests have used marketing techniques to convince the public that we are not social animals of a tribe called the United States, or even humanity, but individuals who are in a life and death competition with each other. The idea of, “I am my brother’s keeper” is anathema and described as “socialism.” We are animals in the wild.

Everybody I know of would rather not pay taxes, or at least keep them to a minimum, but they are necessary. Government should be as efficient as possible, but whatever people desire from their government they should pay for.

The conservative voices, supported financially by those who need the least from government, have convinced and marketed people into believing that this great republic has been built with excess, unnecessary expenditures and it is time to stop funding most of the things that have built the country to what it is.

Until we return to consideration of the well being of our “brothers” and the opportunities available to them, we’ll continue the decline Brooks seems to lament
John Borgen
Grand Junction

Ballot measures will turn
towns into Colorado Springs

Look out.  They’re coming to your town soon. Look at what they did to my town of Colorado Springs.
Fair warning:  Douglas Bruce, notorious anti-tax advocate, and his allies, are going to try to do to you what they did to me — wreck a large portion of your town.

Via the November ballot, with Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101, they want to cut taxes across Colorado in ways that make the TABOR law look pale by comparison.
Read about past and oncoming cuts to the state budget that have been already caused by the ruinous TABOR law. Think education cuts, roads, prisons, medical care, state police, and all the rest, already cut and suffering, and bracing for more, even before the potentially catastrophic November vote.

Don’t take my word for it. Read Gov. Ritter’s proposed cuts, even before the next assault on the towns across the state threatened by the new Bruce onslaught.

Here’s what Bruce’s anti-tax efforts have already done to my town, Colorado Springs.  We are now the “poster child” for TABOR destruction.
Hundreds of city workers have been fired, increasing the unemployment rate here. Some city parks are no longer maintained due to lack of tax dollars, so they now are weeds, litter and dog droppings. Some streetlights have been turned off to save tax dollars.  Evening and weekend bus service no longer exists. Some public swimming pools have been closed, especially in the poorer sections of town.

Police and fire departments are under-funded, and road maintenance and snow removal service are threatened. The museum is holding on by a thread, as are some community centers serving the elderly and destitute. Public restrooms in the parks have long been closed. Think of trying to lure any new business to this town.

This is fair warning from me to you. You like this prospect?  Then Bruce is your man, along with initiatives 60, 61 and 101.

Nobody likes taxes — nobody.  But they’re a necessity of life. Don’t take my word for it.  Come to Colorado Springs and look around. See for yourself. It’s not a pretty sight.
Larimore Nicholl
Colorado Springs


Pastor Terry Jones deserves
nothing more than news brief

I appreciated Bob Silbernagel’s thoughtful analysis of the news coverage of Pastor Terry Jones’ unfortunate inflammatory rhetoric.

However, the pastor’s “15 minutes of fame” has run way too long. As a former news writer in the valley, I believe that while there is an obligation to report news events, the media also has the responsibility not to provide the platform for idiotic rantings to take quantum leaps in public exposure. That’s because we now live in a very fragile world filled with hair-trigger “tipping points.”

There are far more heroes making far more positive contributions to this world, who are far more deserving of all those column inches.

Relegate Pastor Jones to a news brief.
Paula Massa Anderson
Grand Junction




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