E-mail letters, Sept. 16, 2010

Don’t sweep voter
fraud under the rug

Requiring photo identification and proof of eligibility to vote prevents voter fraud.
Incumbent Bernie Buescher should embrace, not oppose, these reforms.

Examples of vote fraud are abundant – even in Colorado. For example, last year 16 people voted illegally in an El Paso special district recall election that failed by a mere six votes.

And in the past, Colorado prosecuted ACORN workers for voter registration fraud.

Unfortunately, voter impersonation is hard to detect. According to the Electoral Knowledge Network, which is sponsored by several U.N. agencies, the best defense is accurate voter lists and rigorous voter identity control.
Likewise, in 2005 the Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Jimmy Carter, recommended photo identification as one of five pillars for fair elections. Former Secretary of State Mike Coffman said it was an “embarrassment” that Colorado does not have photo identification.

I don’t often cite U.N. agencies or Jimmy Carter, but their views show that opposition to photo ID is an example of liberal extremism.

Photo identification works. It prevents fraud, increases confidence, and not one valid study shows reduced voter turnout. Claims that senior citizens fear photo ID are yet more scare tactics. Ask elderly friends and relatives if they fear photo ID. I’ll bet they overwhelmingly support it.

Proof of citizenship for new registrants also keeps voter lists clean. In 2005 the Government Accounting Office found in just one judicial district, that 3 percent of all jurors called from voting roles were non-citizens. There is a problem.

Colorado has work to do. Those 16 illegal voters in the recall election? The local district attorney refused to prosecute, and Buescher’s office did nothing.

Prevention is key. Houses burn down, so we buy smoke alarms and insurance before disaster strikes. Likewise, voter fraud exists. We need a secretary of state who will take action — not defend tired, worn-out policies.
Scott Gessler
Candidate for Secretary of State

Clean up Lake Powell trash,
don’t end motorized use

The Sept. 12 column by Andrew Gulliford, stated that Lake Powell trash brings a call for non-motorized use. By this logic, automobile accidents would bring a call for the
elimination of cars, and alcoholism for the abolition of alcohol (oh, wait a minute, they did that once already).

Bless him for his dedication for the cleaning up for the environmental sins of its visitors. We all have done that at one time or the other. I’m approaching 30 years of experience
visiting the lake and have noted good as well as bad changes also.

Lake Powell has blessed us with many pleasant memories for our families and friends, thanks to the Bureau of Reclamation’s management for the water we need and use. Millions have enjoyed this environment, as opposed to many fewer who choose to paddle rather than motor.

But then it’s let’s drain the lake so the hikers can return. Oh, and don’t forget those buggy whips.

Let’s deal with the realities of an increasing population on this orb, and deal with the few who choose to pollute the lake, generally out of total ignorance.

Just as many people patrol our highways and pick up the paddler’s trash that blows out of their vehicles, those dedicated to enjoying the lake will continue to pick up other’s trash. I do it and yes, I grumble. But the wind does blow at Lake Powell, and trash will
collect on the shores. Get a bag, pick it up, and enjoy the creation.

Lake fees need to be increased so services of lake patrol and clean management can return. The National Park Service is restricted by previously limited funds and now no funds to patrol and enforce the elimination of human waste in the canyons. Remember, we get what we pay for.
Steven L. King
Grand Junction

Good leaders require
a unifying belief

“Credit where credit is due,” as the saying goes. In his most recent column, Denny Herzog deserves some credit for recognizing the sad and obvious.

Theodore Roosevelt, as great a leader as there ever was, said that in a democracy he felt he could judge the people based upon the character of their leaders, and further said that the qualities he looked for in leaders were the same as what he sought in individuals. He said there were only three, none of which were intelligence, as it happens, which he said was both too rare and, unconstrained by those qualities he considered important, positively dangerous.

The qualities were: honesty, courage, and common sense (which, of course, entails intelligence although not necessarily of the academic type). He said that without honesty, nothing else matters; that one must pursue what’s right courageously; and that common sense should be applied to see things through to their rightful conclusion. How would
today’s leaders score on this basis, one wonders?

That there is a dearth of true leadership today is a symptom of a much deeper, more profound problem. Historically, only those societies that believed in great things, be they a deity or a national myth, and that pursued lofty causes, produced great leaders and, consequently, great civilizations.

What great unifying belief or myth do we or any other Western society believe in these days? God? Country? Manifest destiny? Or is it the nihilistic, multicultural mumbo- jumbo that fills the airwaves? I would submit that this has much more to do with it and where Herzog and other leaders of the free press should devote themselves if they are so
concerned, as unfashionable as it may presently be.
A. Howard
Grand Junction

Renewable energy is best
for long-term job growth

As a fast-growing and reliable source of jobs on the Western Slope, the renewable-energy industry should be our focus. Job growth continues in solar design and installation – and these jobs are more sustainable than those that rely on fossil fuels that will not be around forever.
The recent “rally for jobs” sponsored by the oil and gas industry was nothing more than an effort to avoid regulation. Those jobs are, and have always been limited. Most of us want to be energy independent and want jobs that will still be around for our children and our grandchildren. Fossil fuels can’t make that promise – renewable sources like solar can.
In the solar industry, we are continually learning more and making this resource more efficient and affordable. That means more growth, more jobs and a future that is cleaner and more sustainable.  Not even the best public-relations machine can produce that for the oil and gas industry.
Heidi Ihrke
High Noon Solar
Grand Junction

Urge Gov. Ritter to opt out
of federal anesthesia rule

Gov. Bill Ritter is considering opting out of a federal rule that requires Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to be under the supervision of a physician when sedating Medicare patients. I support this change. 
As a CRNA at Delta County Memorial Hospital in Delta, I administer anesthesia care under the supervision of a doctor who has little or no training in anesthesia. At this hospital, anesthesia has been delivered safely, for many years, by CRNAs.

However, because of the additional liability associated with supervision, physicians are becoming more hesitant to supervise CRNAs every day, making it nearly impossible for hospitals to comply with the federal requirement.

At this point in time, the surgeons and physicians at Delta County Memorial are comfortable working with CRNAs.  But, the recruitment of new surgeons could be difficult. This means that patients in our community may go without needed care.
In rural Colorado, CRNAs provide 70 percent of anesthesia. Without CRNAs, areas of the state like ours would not be able to provide access to most surgical services. That means our community could lose access to vital services like surgery, pain management, obstetrics and even trauma stabilization.

It’s frightening to think that we could lose precious moments during emergency situations as we transport patients all the way to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
For the health and safety of our community, I think it’s essential that Gov. Ritter opt-out of the burdensome requirement. I encourage our community to unite in support of this vital opt-out that will ensure we all maintain access to high quality healthcare.
Kathy Akers, CRNA
Delta County Memorial Hospital


Medical marijuana acts
quicker than most drugs

Drugs and medical marijuana are both prescribed by doctors. The difference is drugs are prepared by humans and prone to human error. You really can’t tell if they help or not, and there are cases where some do more harm than good.

Medical marijuana, on the other hand is natural, not subject to human mistakes, and the effects are immediately felt.

Medical marijuana stops nausea and vomiting, stimulates hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowers intraocular eye pressure (for treating glaucoma), relieves pain and suffering, and there’s some evidence that it helps autistic children.
Richard L Stover
Grand Junction


John Salazar’s legacy
is one of avoiding voters

A legacy need not be only for the privileged, such as President Obama with his “Legacy of Duplicity.”

As a person whom Obama might refer to as one of the “little people,” I still feel entitled to recognition. I achieved my legacy last Saturday in Grand Junction, by witnessing, in person, the appearance of Congressman John Salazar, in his “unprecedented” appearance and participation in a debate against his 3rd Congressional District opponent, Scott Tipton.

Many of my Colorado native friends referred to this as a rare sighting, since Salazar won in the 2006 campaign largely by completely avoiding debate with Tipton. Well, this is 2010 and voters need to hear how incumbents, especially Salazar, can defend their miserable liberal voting records.

My legacy has further been enhanced by another Salazar cop out — referred to by politicians as an “opt out” — for his passing on the invitation to participate in the Action 22 event on Sept. 25 in Colorado Springs.

As a senior citizen (I hate that term), I take pride in having voted in every general election since 1952 — winning some, losing some — but with no regrets about my criteria. I take pride in voting for candidates who not only speak out, but are willing to be seen and challenged as well as heard.

Scott Tipton has gone out of his way to meet and greet throughout this huge congressional district, going eyeball-to-eyeball with his constituents, both listening attentively and speaking out earnestly! He will continue to be open to the voters here, while the Beltway resident John Salazar will continue to expound from the sheltered confines of his home away from home in Washington, D.C.

Wake up voters! Let’s all earn a meaningful legacy by electing the man, Scott Tipton, who represents us, not himself.
Richard Doran

Rock throwers destroy
faith in local residents

For the last 3 1/2 years, I have biked and jogged on the roads around Grand Junction, but never has anything as ugly as what happened recently taken place.

While jogging and riding on the sidewalk along F Road between 29 1/2 Road and 30 Road, a car approached us. Two arms came out of the car, and soon rocks were flying at us. My fiancée was hit on the arms and body and is now suffering from cuts and welts. While two hit his head, luckily a helmet protected the head from being hurt by the rocks aimed in
that direction.

It is a sad situation that we cannot be safe to ride, jog and walk along the streets of our city without worrying about being injured.

This was a premeditated crime as evidenced by the rocks being carried in the car. Who or what was the intended target? Your car window? Street lights? Your pet? Other people walking on the sidewalk? What it is that makes some people feel that they have to go out and damage property and injure people?

This is a sad day because today my faith in the people of Grand Junction was injured along with my fiancée.
Ingrid Nilsson
Grand Junction

Electric-car incidents show
friendliness or area residents

I moved to Grand Junction a couple months ago. I find citizens of this beautiful community mighty friendly and considerate.

For example, I drive a GEM — a glorified golf cart that is all electric. Recently I was the first one in line at the left-turn signal at 29 Road and U.S. Highway 50. I waited and waited for the arrow to turn. There may have been up to a dozen cars lined up behind me but the sign said “LEFT ON GREEN ONLY” so I waited.

Finally a nice UPS driver walked up beside me and informed me that my electric car was so small it had to stop in the upper right hand corner for the signal to sense I was there. Of course I immediately complied and the signal changed. But during the five or more minutes I stalled traffic, not a single car honked at me.

That is real consideration. Because of that example of thoughtfulness I wave at people for any excuse.

My electric car only goes 26 miles per hour (thanks to the politics of the past opposing “green” vehicles) so I generally drive in the bicycle or shoulder lane of the road or street. Not a single driver has yet given me a hard time and some even give me a friendly toot (I squawk back), although one 18 wheeler almost squeezed me into the curb on a curve. I am convinced that was because I was too small for him to see out his passenger-side window.

Because of the pollution of our internal combustion engines, I hope more people will drive electric cars in the future. Combining “greenness” with friendly consideration is a pretty good combination for any community.
Alan Inglis
Grand Junction

Homeless aren’t there
through their own choosing

I can understand the jaded view anyone who has worked with the homeless has. It’s true that disrespect and the lack of gratitude abound. We all think we can do a better job at the Day Center, serve more or better meals at the Soup Kitchen, run a more humane shelter, and absolutely prevent volunteers from taking “first picks” in clothing, housewares, and personal hygiene items.

We treat these properties like they are dumping grounds, start fights in the Soup Kitchen and during the wonderful dinner in the park on Sundays.  Lifeskills are definitely lacking, and seriously needed, amongst the homeless. 
Fear, fatigue, heartache, loss, and lack of hope also abound. When one of us is treated, by volunteers, as if we are merely an animal to be herded, sneered at, disrespected, judged, and non-human, we react with who we are — individuals, with individual problems; including illness and damage you can’t see (and hopefully will never experience.)

We have forgotten that some “substance abuse” is illness that prevents right-thinking.  That most “attitude” is lack of life-skill training, from families who have lacked the same.  That extremely few homeless are so by choice, yet lack the basic skill, help, or hope to change what’s preventing them from being mainstream.

And, let’s not forget nor sugar-coat those who have been forgotten by society; those thrown out of their homes, those born into poverty and homelessness, vets we have left, and continue to leave, behind. And, let’s wake up to the fact that Grand Junction is the only city in Colorado still listed as “in a recession,” rather than “in recovery.”
No one likes to be lumped with others (“all Christians are haters.”)  Wanting to keep the assistance given as the ONLY assistance given (grants, jobs, paychecks are on the line, I know) is not the way to solve the homeless issue.  Agencies, groups, and individuals need to work together, not try to sabotage each other. For every homeless person, there is a unique story, just like anyone else.

There is a great deal that needs doing, but at the same time, opportunities exist for working, housed, and retired for their problems. The homeless have nowhere to go home to. They have nowhere to go for shelter on weekends, holidays, afternoons. People who have already been disowned and discarded, lost, and abandoned (like pregnant women, women with children and babies, mentally ill individuals) stand in freezing, rainy or extremely hot conditions while we sit around all comfy and cozy, absolutely sure they should be nothing but grateful.
Please rethink and investigate the jobs we refuse to do and why. As a whole, many, many people fought for many, many years for decent pay and conditions in this country. To take advantage of any American because he’s down and out is disgraceful and literally should be a crime.
Susan (Angel) Cleveland
Grand Junction


Democrats are no threat
to Social Security

This is to everyone who is receiving Social Security or is planning on receiving Social Security.  Former Sen. Alan Simpson recently sent an arrogant, sexist letter to the Older Women’s League saying Social Security has become “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”
Simpson co-chairs President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is supposed to propose ways to reduce our national debt. Apparently Simpson doesn’t know that Social Security has no impact on the national debt.
Another Republican, Joe Miller of Alaska, declared Social Security unconstitutional.
Those of us who receive Social Security and those who are planning on receiving Social Security must get out an support Democrats.  So far, no Democrat to my knowledge, has ever purposed doing anything with Social Security.
Wayne Flick
Grand Junction

Time to change rules for
driving under suspension

I’d like to suggest something I have been thinking about for some time now. I call it “musings on laws.”

I personally know of many honest, hard-working people who have been put into a position of being career criminals because of our driving under suspension laws.

People lose their driving privileges for a variety of reasons from too many points, back child support, alcohol and drugs just to name a few. While the current law appears on the
surface to be fair and just, if we look further, these laws become self-perpetuating.

I have talked to many people whose privileges are suspended. Without exception, every one of them has been charged with driving under suspension. This goes on and on with seemingly no end. The punishment continues long after the debt to society has been paid. And, as far as I can tell, nobody benefits.

Let’s see a system that benefits both offenders and society. Say your license is suspended for driving under suspension. You serve your jail time, complete half your useful public service, pay your fines, and keep your nose clean, and you become eligible to buy back some points. Say, two at a time, every six months. In the case of back support payments, money could be sent to the custodial parent. The remainder could be inserted into the general fund.

Think of the overall financial impact — car sales, insurance sales, registration fees, custodial parents, fewer uninsured drivers, lesser impact on the legal system, employee productivity, fewer budget cuts. The benefits go on and on. And, I don’t see a down side.

I’m not suggesting we cut Charlie Manson loose with a machete and a machine gun. But, I think we can be a kinder, gentler society, and still have order.
John A. Ijams
Grand Junction


Silly season is evident
in attacks on ballot items

Silly season has begun! The president of the local teachers’ union wrote an attack on the three tax relief ballot issues — Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101. Readers should be aware that the teacher’s union gave over $1 million in cash to defeat these issues, while still protesting teachers are underpaid. See the official state records under “Opposition Funding” at COtaxreforms.com.

First, he says the whole state will go bankrupt if people get tax relief. Say what? Why would people file bankruptcy because they have too much money? I guess he doesn’t teach economics.

Then he says our state Constitution requires a balanced budget. True, but the state is now $17 billion in debt, despite a Constitution that says clearly, “The state shall not contract any debt by loan in any form.” How did it happen? Government lawyers and judges changed the debt “form” by changing its name. Local governments are in debt for $36 billion. Our children and their children will have to repay it all. Most of it was not voter-approved. That’s illegal. The loopholes can be ended. That’s Amendment 61.

Income tax revenue must grow over 6 percent before the rate dips 0.1 percent; no year-to-year drop in revenue is possible. The phase out of 1 percent will take 15 to 20 years because of that restriction on rate declines, according to state economic analysts. At the end of the phase down, income tax will be double or triple what it is today. A lower rate of increase is not a cut. 

Smyth quotes the burden on the state general fund, which is only 35 percent of total spending. He ignores the phase-in periods of four-to-forty years, and implies it will happen in 2011. He pretends the property tax change occurs in 2011, when 2011 property taxes aren’t paid until 2012. Then he assumes there will be no government revenue growth in the next 40 years.

The school tax relief is less than half, takes until 2021, and is fully replaced by state aid under two existing laws and Amendment 60. State replacement takes 0.6 percent of total state spending ($20 billion), starting in 2012.

There is no requirement local governments pay cash for buildings. Amendment 61 says of local debt, “Future borrowing shall be bonded debt” with voter approval. 

Seeing his pattern of deception, readers can easily dismiss his claim that tax relief causes recessions. Think about it. When after-tax profits rise, businesses expand. Consumer have more money to spend. Jobs increase; times are good. 

Read COtaxreforms.com, and then vote “Yes” on 60, 61, and 101.

Debbie Schum
Western Colorado campaign coordinator for 60, 61, 101



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