Email letters, April 16, 2012

April 15–21 is National Volunteer Week

“Here’s to all volunteers, those dedicated people who believe in all work and no pay,” penned speechwriter Robert Orben.

This National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, the American Red Cross Western Colorado Chapter is celebrating our own dedicated volunteers and partners, the people who make the American Red Cross run.

Western Slope volunteers bring food, shelter, comfort and hope to some of the hundreds of Colorado families faced with rebuilding after a home fire, wildfire, flood or other disaster each year. Last year, our local volunteers and those across the state helped nearly 800 Colorado families.

Volunteers provide services to members of the military, veterans and their families, including communications linking military members to their loved ones during an emergency.

Red Cross volunteers teach first aid, CPR, swimming, babysitting and other health and safety courses. They staff community fairs to encourage their neighbors to learn these lifesaving skills and organize celebrations to recognize people who use their Red Cross training to save lives.

If you’re looking to serve your community, become a Red Cross volunteer — or join us in saying thanks to your neighbors who already serve as Red Cross volunteers.

Executive Director
American Red Cross Western Colorado Chapter
Grand Junction

Obama’s policies are responsible for high gas prices

Letter writer D.D. Lewis’s story about gas prices is laughable. I’m certain that President Obama can’t control the gas price, but his and Ken Salazar’s policies do. When the Gulf oil spill happened, they went into hiding, then came out stopping drilling in Gulf. That cost the country many jobs while foreign counties expanded their drilling in the Gulf. That’s lack of leadership on their part.

The XL Keystone Pipeline gets held up, while our friends to the north go looking for another buyer of oil that we could have used and Canada is a country that’s friendly to us.

We can’t drill off of our coast lines or in Alaska, while Ken Salazar shrinks the size of federal lands available for drilling in the West.

The EPA is extending its power over the refining industry causing some to close down. We haven’t built a refinery in over 30 years, so is there any wonder why gasoline could possibly be going to $5 per gallon. President Obama has talked about our gas prices need to be like the European price, at $9 per gallon. President Obama and Ken Salazar may not own a car and realize what high gas prices do to people and the economy. Ken Salazar is from Colorado and should know that Coloradoans need to drive to work and grow food for the nation with fossil fuels. By the way, there are no wind or solar powered tractors that agriculture can use.

I’m all for green energy research, but it’s disingenuous to imply that it will supply any amount of power soon at affordable prices!

County clerk supports bill to reactive inactive voters

Daily Sentinel readers sensitive to the partisan political considerations underlying the conduct of purportedly democratic elections in Colorado owe a shout out to our Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner — who has taken on Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler over HB 12-1267, now pending before the Colorado Legislature.
Traditionally, Democrats have pushed for progressive expansion of voting rights (even if a few ineligible voters are somehow enfranchised in the process), while Republicans have demanded more rigorous registration and voting requirements (in an attempt to assuage their exaggerated fears of voter fraud by illegal voters who might vote Democratic).  

HB 12-1267 would authorize county clerks to proactively seek to contact and reactivate the voter registrations of so-called “inactive” voters — without regard to party affiliation — thereby expanding the rolls.
Gessler (a Republican) — who, in March 2011, claimed to have compiled a list of 11,805 questionable registrations, but never produced that list, much less identified a single fraudulent voter — opposes the legislation. 
Reiner (also a Republican) — who, in June 2011, after responsibly requesting a list of questionable Mesa County registrations from Gessler, publicly questioned the veracity of Gessler’s assertions when he was unable produce it — testified in favor of the bill.
While Reiner might be supporting HB 12-1267 because she knows that — in Mesa County — most reactivated voters are likely to vote conservative, the more likely explanation is that she is simply trying to do the right thing, by perhaps saving us taxpayers $20,000.
Meanwhile, however, Reiner is wasting equivalent amounts and exposing taxpayers to thousands in legal fees by stubbornly pursuing dubious litigation involving the Colorado Open Records Act and ballot secrecy — in furtherance of the Colorado County Clerks Association’s anti-democratic agenda — when she could extract Mesa County from those lawsuits by simply consenting to do the right things.
Grand Junction
More lives lost by guns than saved

In an April 13 letter to the editor in The DailySentinel, Ray Lashley enthusiastically states that by his conservative estimate, 4,200 lives have been saved since 1940 by people who have legally owned guns based on NRA journals since that time. I found an article online by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics Reports that there were approximately 840,000 deaths by firearms from 1979-2003. Now let me conservatively estimate that twice that number of people have died from firearms since 1940 or about 1.5 million people. Hmmm, 4,200 lives saved vs 1.5 million lives lost since 1940 surrounding firearms. Gun advocates need to come up with some better arguments for their side of the conversation.
Grand Junction

Tolerance is needed from all regarding politics

Just before July 4, 2010, someone crudely defaced the Obama sticker on my car while I was grocery shopping. I wrote a letter to the editor expressing dismay, but also my belief that most in Montrose   still believed in freedom of speech, a two-party-system and respect for individual differences. Today, I walked out of South City Market to find someone had again defaced my Obama sticker — this time writing “SUCKS!” on it. While I still remain hopeful in general, I am less optimistic about Montrose currently.

There’s the story of the professional woman who held a reception for a Democratic candidate a few years ago and was called by a Republican in the same business the next day and told tersely that if she ever did such a thing again, she’d get no referrals from him. Or the countless stories of local Democrats who lose business not because they give poor service, not because their product is bad — but because their customer learned they were Democrats.

At the local Democratic caucus, 67 dedicated Democrats showed up — out of some 5,000 registered in the county. I asked a party sage why. The response was fear — fear of losing business; fear of being ostracized; fear of vandalism. These stories support that and they smack to me of bullying; of the insensitivity, arrogance, fear and ignorance that lead to prejudice and to bullying — to try to keep people quiet or make them leave the community.

So what is important? Not intelligence or humanity? Not ideas? Not commitment or courage? Or the job one was elected to do? But elephants or donkeys? We see partisanship and divisiveness at the national and local level — it does not promote productive efforts or results. This community faces significant challenges in every major social arena: the percentage of children living in poverty in Montrose County exceeds the state average as a whole; our schools are struggling; the overall health of citizens got a poor grade by the state — people are in distress. We need cooperative, intelligent leadership — regardless of party affiliation, religious preference, or the color of one’s eyes.

Years ago I signed the Declaration of Tolerance. I share it in the hopes that others might sign it as well.  I believe it can make a difference — in our community.

“Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America’s diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination. To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own.”

To fulfill this pledge I will examine my own biases and work to overcome them, set a positive example for my family and friends, work for tolerance in my own community and speak out against hate and injustice.


Qwest executive and son fare well from sale of company

In the April 14 issue of the Denver Post, it was reported “Former Quest Chief Executive Ed Mueller pocketed a cool $43 million after selling the Denver-based company to Century Link.” Gets better.

According to the Post, Ed Mueller’s youngest son, Michael didn’t do too shabby either after Century Link acquired a company called “Savvis” and installed the younger Mueller as senior portfolio manager. Not bad as the younger Mueller was paid $243,585 in 2011. Quite a feat.

Now I understand more clearly how bundling services really works.


Why show administrators’ photos?

After having read the article above from School District 51 administration, I am curious why is it in the typical management style that the pictures of the administrators whose jobs might possibly be cut are published. But when it came to cutting the janitorial jobs, and teacher assistants or the food servers jobs none of those peoples pictures were shown.

Is it that the District management feels that the management positions will hurt more and will cause those managers more hardship then those lower echelon positions that were already cut and did not cause that much hardship on those people involved. Its time that you trim the fat and start showing that the administration will also share in the hardships in the need to reduce the costs.


Lottery game would raise money for veterans

In the state of Colorado, Russ Williamson’s plight as conveyed through his letter to the editor (an invitation to see what it’s like, published April 13 in The Aspen Times) is far more common than one would think. This is unfortunate because Colorado ranks 47th in the nation in veteran support funding.

Colorado Veterans’ needs far outweigh the supply of support funded through the federal and state governments. There are 460,000 military veterans and 50,163 active military out of the 5,029,196 residents. We need to look at the big picture; beyond Pitkin County and see that veterans are 10 percent of the population, but account for 16 percent of the nation’s homeless.

The New Lottery for State Veterans Assistance Grants initiative does not redistribute, divert or syphon proceeds from the Great Outdoors Colorado fund (GOCO). It is a separate lotto scratch ticket and net proceeds generated would be exclusively used to fund grants and programs for Colorado veterans.

Generally, when people purchase lotto tickets, they do so in the hopes of landing a financial windfall; not necessarily because the funds support GOCO. A designated veterans’ scratch ticket will encourage Coloradans to compassionately consider the target these lotto funds specifically support.

Our military members and veterans do not grow up dreaming about war or wanting to fight. They are, however, the courageous family, friends and neighbors who heed the call when there is no other recourse and defend this nations honor, values and principles 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

On behalf of our veterans and our active military, I implore all of my fellow Coloradans to support this bill. Give the voters the power to decide this issue on the November ballot.

Respectively yours in service,

V.F.W. Department of Colorado Hospital
Snowmass Village

Site for low-income housing is not adequate

The community needs additional low-income family housing. In fact, this is a need felt by communities across the nation. So, I was pleased to received information on a proposed low-income family housing project in this city and i drove to the area to look it over. But with one look, I was aghast. At this location? At 28 1/4 Road and Patterson? Housing for 135 families, there?

This proposed development is in a location that has not taking into account the travel needs of the residents. I have concerns driving my car through that intersection, but walking it to reach the bus stop, perhaps with small children? It is unconscionable to place low-income families in the situation of having to cross such a busy, dangerous intersection. Residents would have to walk across Patterson for bus transportation to and from work. Senior citizens would have to walk across Patterson to the bus stop for transportation to doctor appointments and shopping trips. Wheel chair bound and handicapped residents would meet with an even more dangerous situation. And teenagers heading to shopping and movie theaters?

The nearest grocery store is about 1 1/2 miles away, requiring even wheelchair residents to not only travel a considerable distance, but to cross Patterson at a dangerous intersection. Perhaps the Housing Authority is assuming each family will have a car? What about the wheelchair bound, senior citizens and the handicapped? For safety reasons, due to not having a car, those residents needing low-income housing would be prevented from living in this housing project. Doesn’t that present a legal problem?

In addition to a lack of foreseeing the travel needs of the residents, placing 135 housing units on that small acreage is unconscionable. Placing that many families — all smashed together — on that small acreage is just not right. There are numerous locations available throughout the city with safe access to stores, offices and where there could be breathing spaces between units.

I am ashamed that the Housing Authority would select that location for low-income housing and should go back to the drawing board in search of a safe, accessible location with acreage suitable for 135 families.

Grand Junction


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