Email Letters: April 14, 2017

Avalon offers vibrant arts and is a venue for many events

I must take issue with Mr. Roy Bailey’s statement of April 9 regarding the Avalon, “All they do is show old movies and a few old has-beens.” The Avalon was host to Judy Collins last February, is a popular venue for weddings and other events in the new wing, offers “Dinner and a Movie” where, yes, some classic films are shown in addition to more current ones, and is home to the Grand Junction Symphony. I should imagine that Judy Collins would take offense at being labeled a “has-been”; I most assuredly do. I urge Mr. Bailey to come to our final season performance on either Saturday, 22 April or Sunday, 23 April and hear some very fine choral and symphonic music offered by fellow community members who are committed to bringing vibrant arts to Grand Junction.

NOELLE GOSLEE SMITH
Grand Junction

WATER Act would help residents maintain access to clean drinking water

Water utility consultant Floyd Ciruli correctly points out in his guest column (“Will federal funds flow to Colorado water projects?” April 9, 2017) that Colorado, like most states, has a dire need to upgrade its water infrastructure. Yet it overlooks the mention of a bill in Congress that lays out exactly how to rebuild the country’s local water infrastructure with federal dollars. The Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act would reverse the decades-long decline in federal water system funding. It would create a dedicated source of funding to improve and update sewer lines, replace aging lead pipes and help ensure that every household in the country has reliable, affordable water service.

The Trump Administration’s as-yet-undefined infrastructure plan would give massive taxpayer-funded handouts to corporations and encourage the privatization of essential public water services. The WATER Act would create nearly a million jobs nationwide while supporting public water providers. What’s more, it would benefit rural communities that often struggle to maintain and upgrade aging infrastructure. These projects would be funded by closing a tax loophole on offshore corporate profits.

Clean, affordable water should be a bipartisan issue. It is clearly an issue that would benefit all Coloradans and is more important than ever in this era of deregulation. It is time for Colorado representatives, including Grand Junction’s Scott Tipton, to protect Colorado’s precious, and limited, water resources by signing on to co-sponsor the WATER Act – a critical bill that would help residents maintain access to something we all deserve, clean drinking water.

LAUREN PETRIE
Rocky Mountain Region Director
Food & Water Watch

Denver

Urge members of Congress to support environmental education funding

A few weeks ago six members of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education visited Sen. Cory Gardner’s State Director Chuck Poplstein in their Denver office to urge Sen. Gardner to defend and support environmental education funding from both the EPA and NOAA. Environmental education needs Congress’ support. It is the role of environmental educators to help people understand and be engaged in activities that create the high quality of life we enjoy in Colorado.

Friends and neighbors can support these efforts by advocating for environmental education at the federal level.

Since 1992, Colorado environmental education providers have been awarded 137 grants investing almost $3 million in our state from the National Environmental Education Act programs. Since 2006, six grants have been awarded in Colorado bringing more than $3.5 million to our state from the NOAA BWET and Environmental Literacy Grants. Specifically, in 2014 Cloud City Conservation Center in Leadville received $91,000 and in 2013 Yampatika Outdoor Awareness Association in Steamboat Springs received $80,273.

We need to restore funding to the Office of Environmental Education and to support NOAA’s environmental education program – and we want members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to support this important work. Please ask our members of Congress to support environmental education funding.

SARAH JOHNSON

Carbondale

Trump has told us he believes in peace through strength

What is the Trump foreign policy? President Trump signed, sealed and delivered it to Bashar al-Assad. Don’t mess with us; we won’t tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction. That message was sent via airmail to Syria, but the thugs in Russia, Iraq and North Korea heard it. With WMD threats President Trump will use our big sticks. That describes tomahawk missiles. They do look like flying telephone poles – very impressive sticks.

During his campaign President Trump said he doesn’t want us to be the world’s sheriff and that he will not commit us to nation building. What he also said is he would act decisively to protect our national security interests. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Talk softly but carry a big stick.” It doesn’t help to carry a big stick if you telegraph that you have no intention of using it. This president has now demonstrated that he will use a big stick if a nation crosses his redline on WMD.

China is not our enemy, but they are our closest competitors for world power. It was fortuitous that China’s leader was visiting with our president when he dealt with Syria. It was like something you’d see in the movies, like “The Godfather.” We need China’s help if we hope to peacefully remove the WMD threat from North Korea. China now knows to take President Trump seriously when he says time is running out for North Korea.

President Trump has told us he believes in peace through strength. History has shown us this works, time and time again. Maintaining the strongest defense on earth is the base to build our foreign policy on.

DAVID A. KEARSLEY
Mesa

Trump’s recent actions show that America is no longer a pushover

I, for one, am elated by the recent actions taken by President Trump. Specifically, the missiles into Syria and the recent use of the MOAB in Afghanistan. The U.S. has finally sent a message that we are no longer the pushover of the last eight years, when Iran could capture our sailors and aircraft could buzz our ships – dangerously close – and face no action on our part to stop such instances.

Think again, World. The U.S. is no longer a pushover!

CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

Perhaps free market can solve airline-overbooking issue

Perhaps there should be no regulations regarding how the airlines deal with overbooking other than this: When there are more legitimate tickets than seats on a particular flight, let the gate official inform the folks waiting in the terminal of the overbooked status and ask each of them who might be willing to give up their seat to place their personal “price” on a card and return it to that official. Then the official can prioritize the returned cards and select the least expensive cards to the top and have the airline “buy out” those who have expressed willingness to be bought out. No monetary limits ($1,350?), no hotel room; nothing but money and the promise of a seat on the next flight to that particular destination.

Those who really need to get to their destination for whatever reason; personal, professional, as a group (say a family flying together) whatever the reason, can stay on board. Those who express flexibility for $400, for $1,000, for $4,000, whatever, will be chosen in the order of the cost to the airline. No doubt there will be a few folks who don’t mind being paid off at a certain level for a delay in their travel completion. Free Market determines the end result.

RANDY SPYDELL
Grand Junction

Recent letter’s omission of concrete facts was obnoxious

Contrary to Wayne Telford’s response (“Sentinel’s editorial omission of important fact in poor taste”) to the Sentinel’s April 7 admittedly dubious editorial (“Democrats should confirm Gorsuch”), Telford – not the Sentinel’s editors – omitted “important facts.”

While Telford recycles familiar GOP talking points to blame then Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for first invoking the “nuclear option” to change the Senate’s arcane filibuster/cloture rules, what he abjectly “neglects to mention” is that Reid was responding to Republicans’ unprecedented and unprincipled “ultra partisan” obstructionism.

By November 21, 2013, when Senate Democrats voted to eliminate the filibuster as to lower court and executive branch nominees (only) while retaining the 60-vote cloture threshold for Supreme Court nominees, Republicans had and/or were in the process of filibustering 27 of President Obama’s executive branch nominees, more than the total (20) for all previous presidential executive branch nominees since Eisenhower combined.

Likewise, while the lower court nominees of all previous Presidents since Jimmy Carter had enjoyed a confirmation rate of at least 77 percent, Republican filibusters reduced the confirmation rate for President Obama’s district/circuit court nominees to 42.9 percent, while tripling the time it took to confirm those who eventually were.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – not Harry Reid – then turned Article II’s “Advise and Consent” clause on its head by refusing to either “advise” or “consent” to President Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland, thereby “stealing” a Supreme Court seat that the Constitution empowered President Obama (not Trump) to fill. Even so, McConnell then had to change the rules once again to get Gorsuch confirmed.

Therefore, Telford’s “omission of these concrete facts” was obnoxious – because they “should have been included in” his letter. On the other hand, I do agree, “one senator and one party are responsible for this violation of the Constitution”: Republicans’ Mitch McConnell.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Congress should address access to firearms by citizens suffering from mental illness

Rob Washington’s Feb. 13 letter to the editor expressed outrage at President Trump’s rejection of an Obama administration order that would have, in his view, protected the public from gun violence. That order prevented people with mental illness from purchasing firearms. A noble goal indeed.

However, not said was the means to that end. The rule, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 19, identified certain individuals receiving benefits to be reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check.

The problem with the rule was in the process whereby a nameless bureaucrat could adjudicate a person as “mentally defective.” Those whose names are forwarded to the NICS system would have received a notice from Social Security Administration. Beneficiaries who lost their rights would have to petition to have them restored. The appeal process would have remained in the administrative process. Absent in all this is a person’s due process rights to the courts before losing his Second Amendment rights established in the U.S. constitution and upheld in both Heller and McDonald by the U.S. Supreme Court.

I suggest we petition Congress to address the matter of access to firearms by our citizens who suffer from mental illness. To be sure, the path should allow for due process where a citizen need not prove him/herself innocent after the SSA denied his constitutional right to bear arms. If mental illness can be treated, and the courts can adjudicate a temporary condition, a path must be provided for reinstatement.

JOHN HESSLINK
Grand Junction


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