E-mail letters, Sept. 22, 2010

Congress must oppose
the latest union vote plan

Union bosses are desperate to shore up their flagging membership and have proved that they are willing to do just about anything that will bring more workers under their control. Their latest plan is so over the top that Congress has had to step in to hold them back with Senate Joint Resolution 30, which is up for a vote this week.

First, it was the misleadingly named Employee Free Choice Act, a proposal to take away employees’ right to a secret ballot vote on unionization. Now it’s a scheme to repeal Majority Rule, a longstanding policy that prevents a small minority of workers from forcing everyone at a company into union membership. And this time, they have gotten a normally impartial federal agency, the National Mediation Board — which oversees railroads and airlines — to go along with them.

Under the new NMB rule, only a majority of those people actually voting need to support the union. For example, if a company has 6,000 employees and 1,000 of them participate in a union election, only 501 of them would need to vote “Yes” to bring the union in. All 6,000 workers would have to abide by a decision made by just 501 people. Obviously, this would give union organizers a tremendous advantage.

This has significant meaning for Colorado. We are a transportation hub for the Rocky Mountain region, with both a strong rail and airline presence. Thousands of our fellow citizens will be directly affected by this issue.

We urge Sen. Bennet and Sen. Udall to stand up for the rights of individual workers and for the bedrock principle of majority rule in union elections.
Diane Schwenke
President & CEO
Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Junction

Stimulus money aided
Mesa County residents

Gov. Bill Ritter’s office has released county-by-county tabulations showing the federal stimulus money (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding) received so far.

The funding in Mesa County has been awarded to a wide spectrum of services and public- works projects. It has helped our citizens recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Thanks to Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Congressman John Salazar, the citizens of Mesa County have received a safety net, without which they
would have suffered even more.

For example, in Mesa County the stimulus provided approximately $1.8 million in food-stamp assistance, $1.3 million to the Grand Junction Police Department for five police officers for three years and over $7.4 million for highway projects including the I-70 Palisade interchange and I-70 B improvements.

The Grand Valley Regional Transportation District received over $1.5 million for a bus maintenance facility and the Grand Junction Regional Airport received over $9.3 million for airport improvements.

Under the category of “Energy and Environment” projects, over $4 million was awarded, including: low-income weatherization, trail improvements to the Colorado National Monument and funds for energy improvements at Dos Rios and Pear Park elementary schools.

Schools received over $18 million under the State Fiscal stabilization program, enabling teachers to be retained. Health care assistance for information technology to Mesa County totaled over $11 million.

To date, a grand total of approximately $105 million has been allocated to Mesa County, not including income tax cuts and Medicaid funds. Each of these projects has generated and/or retained local jobs.

Clearly, the actions of President Obama, Sens. Bennet, Senator Udall, and
Congressman Salazar have saved us from a disaster and reinvigorated our

Elizabeth Rowan
Grand Junction

Herzog and Bloomberg
are not centrists

Has Denny Herzog been sneaking into one of the medical marijuana outlets here in town? If he honestly considers Michael Bloomberg to be a centrist then he has clearly been smoking something.

This is Michael Bloomberg, the blowhard paragon of political correctness, who would do away with the Second Amendment, who has the audacity to lecture millions of New Yorkers (and the rest of us) as if we are children about the inadmissibility of our views regarding the so-called Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, who would provide unfettered and unquestioning access to abortions, who would forbid any person from even questioning the distortion and redefining of the English language (and society as a whole) as pertains to words such as “marriage,” who scoffs at Judeo-Christian religious sensibilities, who derides anyone whose views differ from his as “right-wing lunatics,” “tea baggers” or, as. Herzog does himself, as “idiotic talking heads” whose ideas should be “relegated to the trash bin.”

And Herzog has the temerity to question the civility of others? And the audacity to suggest that Mr. Bloomberg is a centrist? Who is effectively suggesting that we do away with the two-party system and move to a politburo – perhaps at one of Ted Kennedy’s old watering holes, where the like-minded, self-annointed elite can meet and decide what’s best for the
rest of us? And this is what Herzog insists is “about people being reasonable”? Who is he kidding?

Herzog may think of himself as a centrist, but he is so far out in left field that what he thinks is the center is somewhere between Martha’s Vineyard and North Korea. That he’s as arrogant about it as Bloomberg demonstrates just how open-minded and respectful of the democratic system he really is.
Avrom Howard
Grand Junction

City ignored concerns
with gravel-pit approval

On June 8, I attended a city Planning Commission meeting to voice my concerns about a proposed gravel pit to be located near my residence.  Prior to the meeting, I had done research and submitted a five-page letter citing legal, safety and environmental issues that had to be addressed prior to the issuance of a permit.

In my letter, I advised that I was not completely opposed to the project, provided that each concern was addressed. Additionally, my letter contained solutions for each problem.
During the meeting, additional concerns were brought up and the planning commission voted to deny the project. I left the meeting feeling reassured that our city officials really do listen to the people and want to do the right thing for our community.

Sadly, on Aug. 2, the City Council rejected the planning commission’s decision and returned it for reconsideration.

On Sept. 14, I attended the planning commission meeting to review the prior decision.  This time, I specifically asked the commission about my letter.  I was informed it had been received and was part of the file they would use to render their decision. I reiterated the inherent problems with the project and the commission acknowledged my concerns.  Upon completion of my presentation, others spoke for and against the project.

Prior to the final vote, the commission discussed several minor issues, none of which were the concerns we had raised.  Additionally, the moderator advised he believed the petitioner had addressed all our concerns.  Subsequently, the permit was approved.

Leaving the meeting, I felt I had just witnessed a travesty of justice.  I believed the commission was acting on “orders” to approve this permit regardless of the legal, safety and/or environmental problems. But more seriously, this time, I felt the city did not listen to the people and did not care about doing the right thing for our community.
Gary Parrott
Grand Junction

Herzog’s column was
a call for stepping above fray

Thank you for Denny Herzog’s latest column. He discussed an issue important to our community and discussed it with an objective point of view.

The problem: leaders who work hard to get the leadership position but don’t work hard to have leadership qualities. It is as if having the position will magically confer the qualities. Are the qualities of leadership old fashioned?

Herzog’s article brings to light a situation that we can discuss on a local level and that we can solve on a local level and surely if we solve it, it will have far-reaching impact.

Our community (people who possess the leadership qualities) has worked together and produced ideas and systems that others have wanted to emulate. We might be a primarily rural community, we might be stuck in the middle of a high desert, but we have great people here. Grand Junction is a terrific community.
In his column, Herzog pointed to the 24-hour news cycle as a problem, in that it fills the air with superficial and distracting words. However, those who listen actively can hear the one true note that sounds in the midst. The abundance of noise may in fact make the true note sound more clearly. It is too defeatist to say that people cannot hear the significant in so much distraction. Like a man searching for water in the desert, one green plant is outstanding. We know what we need and what we need are those who call to us by their quality.

Those who run for cover when the noise starts cannot lead us. In fact, they lead us to discouragement.

I took Mr. Herzog’s column as a call to unify around the significant,
stepping above the fray. Thank you for speaking out.
Gladys Woynowskie
Grand Junction



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