Email letters, April 1, 2014

Poor stewardship of Earth creates dangerous weather

In my allotted three-score-and-ten-plus years, I have seen weather cycles. I believe, however, due to our poor stewardship of Earth over which we have been given dominion, we have managed to make these cycles lose equilibrium. This accentuates the extremes of each cycle.

One result of this situation is an increase in sea level over much of Earth. Many poor people live in areas close to the ocean. Every time there are record typhoons and storm surges in these areas, many lives are lost. Shouldn’t we feel some culpability for the loss of lives?

Some people believe climate change is a hoax. I ask they at least consider what if they are wrong. I’ll examine my hands for a red hue the next time one of these events occurs. Will you join me?

Grand Junction

Those who wish to repeal Obamacare are either ignorant or too political

Imagine that you’re struck with a chronic illness, one that you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life. Under our old system, the insurance company would pick up its share of the tab for the first year, but would be free to drop you thereafter. And why not?! The company has stockholders who expect a positive return on their investment. Their ads promised “peace of mind,” but you only got peace of mind as long as your premium exceeded your expense to them.

Under Obamacare, you’re still covered and at the same premium as a healthy person. That, after all, is the concept of insurance: we all chip in to spread the risk, not knowing if we’ll be the one who needs help.

If we can make improvements on Obamacare, let’s do it. But those who want to repeal Obamacare are either ignorant of the enormous improvement it provides our society or consciously choosing to overlook the improvement for the sake of politics. I fear the latter.


Taxpayer’s dollars go toward unpopular agenda

Why are my taxpayer dollars being spent to promote a political agenda with which I don’t agree? Every source of media outlet has ads supporting Obamacare, Common Core, man-made global warming, green energy, etc. that are paid for by one department or another.

Recently, union members in California sued their union because they claimed their dues were being spent to support one political party. I haven’t heard any updates on that case but isn’t that the same thing I am facing as a taxpayer? My taxes (dues to belong to the American Citizen Society) are being spent to promote ideals that oppose my beliefs.

Why do the various departments have an advertising budget, anyway? Advertising expense serves one purpose only – to sell a product by making yours look better than that of your competitor. Who (or what) is the direct competitor of the U.S. government?

It’s clear that my taxpayer dollars are being spent to convince people to support one political party over the other and I have no say in the matter.

Where’s the anti-ACLU? Where’s the national organization that sues on behalf of conservatives? 

Grand Junction

Opening classrooms to Christian messages would be stepping out onto slippery slope

As a member of Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, I feel a need to correct some misunderstandings by recent letter writers about WCAF’s efforts to address religious proselytizing as reported in this newspaper.

Wes Sutterlin fails to understand that our objection is to the overtly Christian message underpinning a group’s promotion in the classroom. And lest Sutterlin thinks we are being anti-Christian, we would object just as strongly if a local mosque, synagogue, coven or satanic temple wanted to do the same, as I’m sure he and many Christians would.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of this nation’s Constitution is to ensure government neutrality in matters of religious expression. If we are going to open our classrooms to Christian messaging, we have to open them to all messages. Do we really want to step out on that slippery slope?

Contrary to Alan Metcalfe’s suggestion that WCAF wants to restrict religious expression in public, I would say he is equating the public square with public insititutions.  They are not the same. We are in full favor of discussing religion in places like the op-ed page or a booth at the Farmers’ Market.

Where we draw the line is at taxpayer-funded schools where such discussion often becomes sectarian and exclusionary to anybody who doesn’t hold the majority belief.  We only care what those “religious nut cases” (his phrase not mine) are doing when it impacts the institution to which we all contribute and from which we enjoy the benefits.

To the credit of member of the School Board, I appreciate their willingness to hear WCAF’s complaint.  Having served as a board member myself, I know how difficult it is to accommodate the myriad opinions of a diverse community.  They are grateful to be made aware of the situation and assured us that it would be investigated and the law followed.

Grand Junction

Retired pastor thanks staffers at VA Hospital for their ministry

An 84-year-old retired pastor, I was recently in the Grand Junction V.A. Medical Center where I had surgery.

I am writing to say “thank you” to those who helped me during my stay in that facility. The surgeons, doctors, nurses and others who helped me in so many different ways were all so kind and helpful, and my purpose in writing is to let them know I very much appreciate their kindness and cheerfulness when I needed their help, and all they did to help me through a difficult time.

I’m sure the other hospitals in our community are just as helpful and kind, but I have especially appreciated those at the V.A. Hospital for the way they have ministered to me during my illness.

Grand Junction

Political cartoon dishonestly portrays consumers as victims

Your editorial cartoon today is very misleading, to the point of being dishonest: A Supreme Court decision to protect a company’s religious convictions would, in no way, enable that company to “prey” upon a consumer. It’s still the consumer’s choice.


Councilors urged to reconsider decision on St. Martin’s Place

The Grand Valley Interfaith Network, representing 22 churches, faith communities and faith-based agencies, wishes to express its shock and disappointment at the City Council’s failure to cover development fees for Grand Valley Catholic Outreach’s newest apartment complex for homeless veterans and other chronically homeless men and women. We believe this to be a very short-sighted decision.

Previous city councils had the foresight to collaborate with GVCO’s first two housing projects, St. Benedict Place and St. Martin Place, and these have proven to be good investments for the entire community. Construction provided jobs; the homeless have homes and have been helped to attain self-sufficiency so that they can provide for themselves and contribute to the well-being of our community. The buildings themselves are beautiful and well-kept – a great improvement over the rundown houses they replaced.

The councilors’ decision is not based on a lack of funds; indeed the city administrator has assured them that the money is there. Further, as noted in a Daily Sentinel editorial, the city is looking at a projected surplus for the fiscal year.

A city investment in St. Martin’s Place Phase II is much more than an investment in the 24 individuals who will live there. It is an investment in the future of our community. We all benefit when chronically homeless residents can move from the streets and from under bridges to permanent housing. We all benefit when less taxpayer money must be used for policing and emergency services and welfare.

Is the City Council aware that in one year’s time as calculated through the Point in Time Survey:

. Among those who are homeless, i.e. living on the streets or in places not fit for human habitation, 140 ambulance runs were used by this population at a cost of $98,000 or more to the city, and

. 332 visits were made to the emergency room. If one emergency room visit costs $500 (which is too low an estimate), the cost is $166,000 and more.

These costs to the city far exceed the amount of relief that St. Martin Phase II is requesting that the City Council cover.

In every community there’s always a need to help those unable to help themselves. In Grand Junction, GVCO has done this well for over 40 years. Its homeless programs have operated successfully for more than 25 years. It is making a difference, but it can’t do it all on its own. It takes both the private sector and government working together to accomplish an end to homelessness.

We urge the councilors to reconsider their decision and cover the development fees for Phase II of St. Martin Place. When the homeless have homes, it makes Grand Junction a better place to live for all of us, and from the faith perspective, this is simply the right thing to do.

Chair, Grand Valley Interfaith Network
Grand Junction

Elected county officials must better understand laws they have sworn to defend
As a delegate who participated in the Republican County Assembly on March 29, I think it is becoming apparent that Western Colorado is starting to reject the status quo when it comes to our elected officials appeasing the federal governments overreach.  Recognizing that federal overreach is strangling our economy and our very way of life, we need elected officials that understand Title 3 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which constitutionally explains where Colorado has ceded legislative jurisdiction on our public lands.  Mesa County is not a federal enclave.
During a recent “Inside Mesa County” class, Sheriff Hilkey explained to us that he manages the public lands concurrently with the federal agencies.  Unfortunately, that is not accurate.  CRS Title 3 reveals the state has only ceded concurrent jurisdiction to the Feds on 1 percent of the public lands in the county.  The remaining 99 percent is held in a proprietorial interest only, which means the state has authority and the sheriff is the ultimate law enforcement official.  The BLM announced its intent to close 2,180 miles of legal rights-of-way in January 2013, and our sheriff has not even commented on this crime.  A right-of-way is a property right and the sheriff is supposed to protect our legal rights.
In January 2013, state Sen. Steve King, cosponsored Senate Bill 14-077. This bill stated that the federal government held exclusive jurisdiction over all the public lands in Colorado.  This is a complete misrepresentation of the facts.  Review of CRS Title 3, reveals the state has only ceded exclusive or concurrent Jurisdiction on 2.8 percent of the public lands in the entire state.  The remaining 97.2 percent of our public lands (over 23 million acres) are held in only a proprietorial interest by the feds.  Eleven state representatives signed off on this bill.  The lack of understanding regarding federal jurisdiction on our public lands in Colorado is embarrassing; we must demand our elected officials understand the laws that they have taken an oath to defend.
I respect both of these leaders and their service to our community.  I stand with them on nearly all issues, but on this issue, I ask them to change course and stand with us firmly to protect the health, safety and welfare of Mesa County. 

Director, Public Land Access Association
Grand Junction



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Julie Pace’s report offers a revealing juxtaposition of its front-page (“Health care sign-ups rise to 7.1 million”) and inside (“Health:  Surge may not change political reality”) headlines.

On the one hand, despite dire prognostications by the same pundits who confidently predicted that Mitt Romney would comfortably win the 2012 presidential election,
enrollments on the ObamaCare insurance exchanges reached the mark predicted by the Congressional Budget Office.

While disingenuous “conservative” efforts to debunk the numbers continue unabated, the best available current data indicates that – of the 7.1 million new enrollees – about 80% have paid their first month’s premium, two million were previously uninsured, and five million previously insured found affordable coverage on the market-based exchanges.

Taking together the two million previously uninsured enrollees, plus the 4.5 million who have enrolled under Medicaid expansion and the three million young adults who remain covered under their parents’ policies), ObamaCare has already reduced the number of previously uninsured Americans by 9.5 million.

Conversely, some 8 million Americans otherwise eligible for coverage languish in those “red states” that have not yet embraced Medicaid expansion.  Because the Supreme Court allowed these Republican-controlled states to opt-out of Medicaid expansion, their governors and legislatures have (as Sarah Palin unintentionally but accurately predicted) become de facto “death panels”—allowing 7,000 to 17,000 entirely avoidable (with health insurance coverage) needless deaths to occur thus far.

Meanwhile, the latest polling shows that a majority of Americans now fully support the Affordable Care Act (49% to 48%), a 9% improvement since the website debacle.

The utter bankruptcy of Republicans’ “scorched-earth” anti-American ideology is clearly exposed in three “lines” – those that formed-up to vote last November when Republicans attempted to suppress turnout, those that formed-up Monday to enroll in ObamaCare, and the unemployment lines that have resulted from Republicans’ failed economic policies.

Attention Doug Pryce, I’m pretty sure a separate fund of say over $648 million just to establish a screwed up website, could have been use to set up an insurance fund for people just like you suggest. I’m real sure the half trillion taken from medicare could have been used for a lot of what you suggest. Many people disagree with defunding other programs and taking away a “private product” they already had and were happy with for a government run debacle. I’m real sure the government takes over things and makes them more productive, more profitable, and much easier to use for everybody?? what are ya new? Not Mrs. Bright

Pot was approved in Colorado, I’m sure Bill Hugenburg’s delusions stem from the use of something stronger however when he makes comments on the ACA or as everybody else calls it “Obamacare”. 7 million and counting? uh huh, if it wasn’t for the numbers of likewise mis-informed voters? I though voters had to show their ID’s and citizenship? we wouldn’t be having the financial woes he chooses to ignore. Who’s premiums are you paying for? oh wait the government pays yours. Not Mrs Bright

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