E-mail letters, Sept. 21, 2010

Amendments will serve
Mesa County poorly

The League of Women Voters of Colorado and League of Women Voters of Mesa County recommend voting “No” on Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that does not support or oppose any candidate running for office. We are directly involved in shaping the issues that keep our community fair, vibrant and strong. We take policy positions after a
broad study and consensus at a grass roots level.

Amendments 60 and 61 are amendments to the Colorado Constitution, and Proposition 101 is a change to Colorado law. These three measures either eliminate revenue or severely restrict borrowing, especially at the local level. Eliminating revenue for basic services will damage the very structure that upholds property values. Commerce is dependent on a well-maintained and flexible infrastructure.

These proposals will impair the community’s ability to provide fundamental services on which we depend: fire and police protection, libraries, education, road construction and repair, law and order through our justice system, safe water delivery and sewage disposal, human services such as child protection, and more.
By eliminating any borrowing at the state level, and strangling it at the local level, infrastructure such as state roads and bridges will be impossible to build, and there will be almost no capacity to build schools or libraries that we know attract healthy growth and maintain a civilized society.

From the League’s perspective, these measures are an extreme example of bad public policy, and irresponsible in difficult economic times.

Colorado citizens take pride in taking care of our cities and our state, thus ensuring a vibrant, strong future. Our quality of life here in Grand Junction and Mesa County reflects our past and present willingness to pay our fair share. Vote “No” on 60, 61, and 101.

Tanya Travis, President
League of Women Voters of Mesa County
Grand Junction

Low-taxing communities
prove to be very costly

Regarding proposed Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101:

Some years ago I accepted a transfer to a large community that touted its low taxes. True, taxes were about 50 percent of those in Colorado. In the first month of my new job, I noticed frequent one-day vacation requests in the middle of the week among my employees and co-workers. When I asked why, I learned that the state “couldn’t afford” to send out motor vehicle license renewals. Office hours were likewise limited and offices were few. The long lines meant expending a vacation day and required queuing up for hours to renew your license.

Another obvious problem was all the potholes in the roads that never seemed to get repaired. In the subdivision in which my family resided, I soon learned a separate “district” had been formed for fire protection, and trash pickup, and snow removal. Each required a separate payment. The end result was higher fees overall, far less convenience and less predictable services.

I do not want Grand Junction to end up like this so I’m opposing these amendments.
Nic Korte
Grand Junction

Harmon’s final column
a convoluted ramble

As usual, Gary Harmon’s Sept. 19 column is complete gibberish. Am I to
understand from his convoluted ramble that this was his last opinion column?
If so, thank goodness for that. Clarity may prevail.
Maggie Cook
Grand Junction

Bennet ad about Ken Buck
is wrong on the Constitution

It is pleasing to note that The Daily Sentinel’s editorial staff will be monitoring the various campaigns as we move forward to Election Day.

I hope you will take note of the false advertising by Sen. Michael Bennet. The most current ad states that his opponent, Ken Buck, wants to “rewrite the Constitution.” Apparently the creators of this ad either take the public for uneducated souls, or simply are unaware of their mistake.

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution states: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof).” This was not changed until 1913, when the 17th Amendment was passed, which gave the vote of Senators to the people.
It would appear that Buck is not suggesting a rewrite of the Constitution, merely returning to the intent of the founding fathers.
Frances R. Ehlers
Grand Junction

LED signs make our city
look a lot like Las Vegas

To whoever approved the Shell gas station’s LED sign on First Street and Grand Avenue, I ask, “What were you thinking?”

This huge sign, designed to attract drivers off major highways, has been placed smack dab in the center of our city, and has ended its old-time charm with a Las Vegas slap in the face. Go look at it and tell me it does not remind you of a Vegas sign reading
“Seafood Buffet” or “Girls, Girls, Girls.”

I have two concerns. First, when will it end? I drive through town and realize every business now has the right to display such a sign. What will Grand Junction look like then?

I do not blame small businesses trying to attract customers, but there has to be a limit to the size, type and number of LED signs. The Shell station’s sign just kicked in the door for most visually assaultive type of signs.

This brings me to my second concern: driver’s safety.

It is assumed that LED signs placed near intersections with traffic lights will distract drivers, especially if these signs use red, yellow and green colors, are within 150 feet of the signal, are at eye level to the driver with the signal, and flash, move, scroll or change frequently. The Shell sign at First and Grand has every driver-distracting factor.

Our city is in enough financial stress. It does not need to be involved in lawsuits related to preventable auto accidents.

I hope the city does something to curb the negative aesthetic impact and the increased risk to drivers and pedestrians. I hope they limit the number and types of signs so the charm of Grand Junction does not get Vegased away.
Elizabeth Clark
Grand Junction

Grant was wrong
about King’s positions

In his recent column, Bill Grant presented several fallacies that need to be addressed. He is mistaken about the economics behind the financial collapse, my policy proposals, and the policy proposals of my opponent.

The restricted credit Grant refers to is a result of the current recession, not a cause of it. One major cause of the financial crisis was easy access to credit. This was made possible by artificially low interest rates and a variety of government schemes, resulting in loans being made to high-risk individuals and businesses. Many of these defaulted, triggering the economic downturn.

It is my position that the government should not be risking taxpayers’ money by channeling it through a Fannie Mae-style, state-backed agency. A more efficient way to incentivize investment is to allow businesses and individuals to keep more of their earnings, enabling them to invest in their businesses as they see fit.

On the issue of transportation infrastructure spending, the statements from both Grant and my opponent are entirely inaccurate. FASTER did not provide a dedicated funding stream for roads and bridges. FASTER actually replaced an existing source of dedicated funding, and made the money collected from increased vehicle registrations available for non-transportation spending. FASTER took money away from roads and bridges and diverted it to pet projects. This is in exchange for higher costs on Colorado families during a recession, and the creation of several new expensive state bureaucracies.

The hollowness of my opponent’s argument was evident by her repeated refusal to answer questions, and her attempts to distract from the real issues by using personal attacks. Rather than trying to divert attention away from an examination of her proposals, my opponent, and   Grant, should review Colorado economics 101 and the policy issues facing our state.
Rep. Steve King
Grand Junction

Gary Harmon’s columns
will be missed by readers

No more Gary Harmon? Say it isn’t so. Whether or not you appreciate what he writes, it’s always topical and poignant.

I flip-flopped over the years, agreeing and disagreeing with him, thinking of him as a genius with uncanny insight when we were in synch, or a moron who probably has to relearn the job after a long weekend when I thought he was off the mark. But always, I
knew he wrote a good, solid column that I was eager to read.

Juxtapose his musings with the frivolity of the Annie Payne column for which the paper
gives three-quarters of a page once a week, and you have to wonder who is making
decisions about what the community wants to read. On one hand, you have columns written with talent and intelligence; on the other, fluff and nonsense about baskets, drapes, envy for a bigger house, and feng shui.

Best of luck to Gary Harmon wherever he lands. I, for one, will miss his work.
Ralph Hamblin
Grand Junction

Where is the tolerance
for opposing political views

Last Sunday evening there was a sign posted at the corner of Woodgate Road and South Townsend in Montrose, in the small triangle of land that is used frequently for posting various political signage.  The sign promoted the passage of Amendments 60, 61, and Proposition 101, all having to do with reducing taxes and controlling spending here in Colorado.

I noticed the sign again on Monday.  Tuesday morning, the sign had been removed and in its place are three signs promoting the defeat of the three proposals. What a cowardly act this is! So much for tolerance by those in opposition.
Now, as a registered independent voter in Montrose County, I have some questions regarding this incident. In observing where the anti-tax-reduction/anti-spending-control signs have been placed on the plot, one approximately where the pro-measure sign was located and the other two are placed on either side of a sign that is promoting a Republican candidate for office, does this indicate:
There is no support for these measures by the Republican Party in Montrose County, whose members, perhaps, intend to continue the tax and spend behavior of the Democratic Party in Colorado?
Or is this a case of sabotage by the Democratic Party against the Republicans?
I sure would like to hear from someone in authority on this issue.
Pete Ross

Medical pot debate
is about patient care

Seems that the issue of allowing shops to sell medical marijuana has its hurdles. I agree that I don’t care for a drug shop to be on every corner, but could we look at the whole issue at hand.

I knew a man who had lymphatic cancer. He was able to keep working as he took his treatments of chemo and radiation. He was able to live for an additional year from the
diagnosed end date.

The only reason he kept going was the daily use of medical marijuana. He did not share with anyone, and he worked through some tremendous heat and cold. He just wanted to be able to be “normal.”

So, what if we legislate that a medical shop cannot be within 10 city blocks of a school? What if we tax the medical marijuana a little higher and allocate it to the fight of meth?

The marijuana is for the pain that people are suffering, and it is much better than the opiate drugs that are being prescribed.

I think that we have missed the big picture on this item. It is about the care of patients.
Mike Parker

Konola will do better
at managing money

Claudette Konola is a much better candidate than Steve King.

King has not helped create more jobs in Colorado, although he says this time he will. Colorado’s government budget has gone down under King’s watch, especially for our valley.

Colorado government pays many services with our taxes, like state fire protection, safety in highways, highway condition, bridge maintenance, services and funds for the well-being of seniors and the disabled, child protection and health, protection against sex offenders and fraud, preservation of our natural beauty, consumer protection, school services, college services, licenses, protection against water pollution, farm programs, help for beef exports, animal health, elections, etc. All of these services could be at risk if Steve King stays in government.

Instead, we need someone who knows how to manage money. We need someone to
advocate for our community.

Sending Claudette Konola to the state Senate will ensure us that a skillful person who really knows about budgets and service will be there for the Western Slope. She has proved to be sensitive to the necessities of those in need by helping non-profit organizations.

Claudette Konola will be a great senator.

Maria E. Cuthbert
Grand Junction

Tancredo doesn’t have much
support in Delta County

I’ve listened to Tom Tancredo’s attack ads against Dan Maes over and over again, while there was no response from Dan. So I decided to look who exactly is supporting both men.
By looking at the public records available at the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, I found as of the Sept. 7 filing, Tom Tancredo has raised $200,507 as opposed to Dan Maes’ $50,201. So I decided to look at those from Delta County who have contributed to Tancredo’s $200,507. All of them.
I found that out of 14,000 Republicans and independents in Delta County, two people gave him a total of $30. That’s it. He raised the remaining $200,477 from other places.  Just browsing his contributors more than half were out of state.
His ads make an issue of what a 22-year-old rookie policemen did when caught in a corrupt police department in Liberal, Kans., that did not want to crack down on gambling. The second issue is a donation or was it a loan of $300 from Freda Poundstone.
These are a diversion from the issues. Tancredo has revealed a ruthless, deceptive and unprincipled penchant in his attack ads on Maes.
One has to wonder: If he only has just contributors to his campaign from Delta County, who is trying to buy this election in other locations? Or are we in Delta County just the exception?
Mike Mason

Mosque promoter is also
a citizen of this country

In her letter to the editor on Sept. 21, Lorraine Boschi said she’s shocked that Feisal Abdul Rauf would “tell us Americans what is or is not hallowed ground. This is our country. We decide.”

Newsflash: Rauf is an American citizen and has been living here for over 45 years.
It’s his country too; he has family members who serve in the military and risk their lives to protect all of us.

Why is this more her country than it is his? If Rauf doesn’t count, then who exactly is the “we” who gets to decide?
Jesse Bollinger
Grand Junction

Konola’s personal attacks
won’t defeat Steve King

I attended a debate a few weeks ago between Rep. Steve King and Claudette Konola.  Konola seems to think that personally attacking Steve King will help her campaign to get elected to the Colorado state Senate.

In fact, in The Daily Sentinel article of Sept. 13,  she again makes a petty dig,  calling King “the anointed prince who wants to become king.”

Rep. King is to be admired because he has not responded in kind to her silly insults. I don’t know who Konola’s campaign manager is, but she is receiving bad advice with regard to her rhetoric. However, I hope she continues to receive bad advice, because King has too much integrity to stoop to her level, and he will prevail in this political race by sticking to the issues.
Janet Blackman
Grand Junction


Proposed land exchange
is a good deal for public

I am writing to support the Central Rockies Land Exchange Act. It’s a good deal for the public, because the National Park Service will receive two key parcels of land in exchange for a few isolated, rarely visited parcels of land near Paonia Reservoir.

Opportunities to add land to our National Parks are extremely rare, so we should jump at this chance. However, some people are trying to make an issue of campaign contributions to Rep. John Salazar from the owner of Bear Ranch. These people are barking up the wrong tree.

I think the truth is that these contributions were made to protect the coal mining and jobs that are so important to western Colorado. Bill Koch, the owner of Bear Ranch, is also the owner of the Oxbow Coal Mine, near Somerset. Coal is under attack in America, despite the fact that it provides inexpensive and reliable energy for all Americans. The mine employs about 350 people in Delta and Gunnison Counties and provides millions of dollars of tax revenues for local services and infrastructure.

When you own a large business, it makes sense to give campaign contributions to your congressman, regardless of party affiliation. For the sake of western Colorado’s economy, John Salazar needs to know how important coal is to Gunnison and Delta Counties

I think opponents of the land exchange are incorrect to try to score political points on this issue. In fact, I think they’re 100 percent wrong to oppose the land exchange. This is an excellent opportunity that doesn’t come around very often to add valuable land to the National Park System. I urge people on both sides of the aisle to support it.
Gordon Durkee


Job skills, more than tax policy,
determine ability to get jobs

“Give me Liberty. Give me a Job.” So said the sign at the recent “Rally for Jobs” in Grand Junction, where attendees mainly complained about the loss of energy jobs due to tax policy. If only we’d lower taxes everyone like us would have a high-paying job.

As the owner of a recruitment agency in Grand Junction since the 1990s, I feel compelled to comment on the dichotomy of this complaint. Nothing would please me more than to be able to give a job to someone in this economy, if only they had the skills that are necessary to compete in the labor market of the 21st century, notably in science, engineering or math. Employers today are seeking educated people, trained in advanced technology and critical thinking to fill jobs that pay well. They don’t need people who are unwilling to get retrained for this labor-market reality. They need people who do things like build spreadsheets, or calculate load capacities, or write a grammatically correct e-mail.

A long-term reliance on blue-collar employment in the energy or extraction industry is dangerous and foolish for any community. The notion that tax policy is going to dramatically impact the rate of job creation is a case of trying to shift the blame for one’s economic condition to some government bogeyman. I know it’s fashionable to be angry and blame others, but that won’t fix the problem.

Employers create jobs when there is a clear business need for them: the product or service must be in demand for a price that the market will bear. Taxation is one of many lower-priority concerns that drive the labor market, including availability of capital, interest rates, distribution costs, and the availability of well-trained workers. The reality is that Americans are competing today with college graduates from China and India far more qualified for high-salaried employment, with more students in China graduating with degrees in science, math or engineering than are even enrolled in American colleges.

It is ironic that the folks who rant about higher taxes killing jobs and expect the government to solve the problem and help them by lowering tax rates are the same people who rail against health care reform, which will lower employer-paid premiums once those of us who pay for health insurance are no longer paying for people who use the ER for their primary care. That will help create jobs, not kill them.

So why don’t we stop asking for the government or anyone else to fix our unemployment situation? As individuals we have to develop skills and abilities that are needed by employers as we move forward in an increasingly well-trained global workforce.

Dave Murphy
Management Recruiters
of Grand Junction, Inc.




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