Email letters, April 17, 2013

Balancing budgets by slicing mental health programs is folly

Recent mass shooting and heart-wrenching local suicides have again reminded us of the importance of mental health in our country and community. Nearly 3 in 10 Coloradans utilize mental health services every year, and while suicidal concerns are only one aspect of the mental health challenges Coloradans grapple with, our state has the 6th highest suicide rate in the country. Mesa County often vies for the highest suicide rate in the state.

Recent numbers suggest that untreated mental health conditions may cost the U.S. as much as $100 billion a year.  Local organizations from St. Mary’s Hospital to Colorado West, to largely volunteer groups like Mesa County Suicide Prevention, do an outstanding job of providing mental health services to our community. Yet many of them rely on federal grants and other funding to support their programs.

Enter our esteemed and ever responsible Congressional representatives, who, between games of budgetary chicken and can kicking, have seriously endangered mental health funding. Under recent sequestration, Colorado looks set to lose millions in program support. This would affect returning veterans, schools, and many innovative community programs, including ones supporting self-sufficiency, social reintegration and addiction counseling.

I believe in balancing budgets and reducing the deficit. But it is folly to first sacrifice such programs, which have not only helped to heal the wounds of many friends and family, but ultimately save us costs down to the road, whether in terms of treating worsened health outcomes or higher crime rates, or in unacceptable hardship for individuals, their families and communities.

RANDALL SCHAEFFER
Grand Junction

For sake of children, support Colorado Senate Bill 1

As many of us know, raising kids as young families is an uphill battle these days.

My husband and I have been blessed to be able to do so without too many hitches, but I know that in many families struggling with the job market, unexpected medical problems, or single parenting situations, children are the first to feel the effects.

Studies show that a child’s early years of development are the most sensitive to economic instability in families. Lifetime consequences for educational performance, healthy body and brain development, and later success in life result from parents’ ability (or inability) to provide quality food, spend time with their children, and purchase items as fundamental as reading glasses.

For these reasons, I encourage my friends, neighbors and lawmakers to support Colorado Senate Bill 1, which would create a state-earned income tax credit, a state childcare tax credit and a dependent care tax credit.

Together, these credits would put money back into the pockets of hard-working families and caregivers, especially those who – through no fault of their own – find themselves struggling to get our next generation off to a healthy start.

JESSICA COLEMAN
Grand Junction

Placing trust in government not always a prudent idea

After reading the letters to the editor regarding the BLM Plans, I just had to make a comment. You people have lost your minds if you think the BLM plans are balanced or address recreation and wildlife protection. The BLM plans only address one thing, controlling access to public lands.

Whether we are talking about our hiking trails, horse trails or motorized trails, recreation and wildlife protection are the farthest from BLM’s concern. Our hunting conservationists to our liberal fruitcakes that just want everyone, but them, denied access to our beautiful Colorado landscapes are just kidding themselves about the BLM.

The liberal environmentalists who believe the federal government is better at managing our lands within the state of Colorado, than we, the people of Colorado are, can only be recognized as misinformed loons. BLM wants to eliminate any economical development that might be established on public lands and control the people from access to these public lands.

Given the chance, the BLM will close off all lands under its management to anyone not on a horse or bicycle or on foot. Wake up and smell the roses, folks. BLM is not your friend. It is a regulatory agency currently dedicated to closing public lands.

The previous plan was adequate to managing these lands and is still viable. Leave it alone until the people of Colorado want a change, not the liberal administration.

Either do what the majority of the people of the Western Slope want to do with this land or go manage the lands in Central Park in New York City. They certainly could use some leadership and management assistance.

JAMES F. O’MALLEY
Grand Junction

Background checks would give government too much information

Expanded background checks for gun ownership sounds great until you realize that the government will have access to all your medical records, including what prescriptions you are taking or have taken.

Does anyone really believe that the government can make rational decisions about who is “sane” enough to own a gun and that they will not use this information for other purposes to intrude even more into our lives?

RICHARD BLOSSER
Grand Junction

Sentinel reported on one more assault besides Brainard’s

In the past week, we’ve read about two assaults. One involved a councilmember-elect and his live-in girlfriend, the other involved a man who stabbed someone near a downtown park.

The elected official denied committing any violence before finally declaring why it was necessary to strike the woman. The other perpetrator went to a pay phone and called 911 to report the stabbing.

The stabber was not identified as a one-legged man who gets around in a
wheelchair. However, this would seem to be more relevant to the incident than his classification as a member of a group the paper calls “vagrants.”

Meanwhile, the councilman is banned from going back to his house. Presumably, under the Sentinel standards, he should have been classified as “homeless.”

CHARLIE QUIMBY

Grand Junction

It is in citizens’ best interest for new council to pick successor

The 2013 City Council election was a complete repudiation of the current council and its policies. Voters rejected the three incumbent candidates and their unconscionable fiscal policies.

Shortly after the election, Councilman-elect Rick Brainard was arrested and charged on domestic violence charges. This has caused an uproar among those who support the old council and a movement to get Brainard to quit before he is invested in office.

Two sitting council members and the member Brainard defeated are leading this effort. I believe it is unethical for these sitting Council members to be involved in this movement. The Daily Sentinel has also been a leader in this cause.

The Daily Sentinel and these people are wrong. It would be a slap in the face to the majority of voters in Grand Junction who called for change on their council for Brainard to resign before he takes office and allow the current misguided and now unethical board to pick his successor.

If Brainard resigns, it should be after his investment in office to allow the new board to pick his successor. This would be in the best interests of the majority voters of Grand Junction. Anything else would be a horrendous mistake and forever damage the election process in the city.

KEVIN MCCARNEY
Clifton

New members of council should name replacement

We, the community, were informed in the April 9 edition of the Sentinel that if Rick Brainard resigns before he is sworn in May 6 that the current council will appoint a new member.

My question is this:  Since Brainard is not officially in office yet, why should the current council members we voted out have any say in who would get that position if Brainard were to resign?

It is my opinion that if he does resign, in May the new city council sworn in should be the body naming a replacing.

RAY WHITNEY
Grand Junction

Redlands residents raise concerns over park status

For many reasons we are opposed to changing the Colorado National Monument to a national park. When Redlands residents were polled at several meetings, the majority voiced concerns and opposition to this change.

Initially, increased tourism sounds positive; however, the negatives must be considered, as well.  Some of our concerns are:

• What kind of an impact will increased RV traffic have on local traffic and on road bikers?
• Will bikers be in more danger from the traffic and/or even prohibited?
• What federal rules will impact residents who live nearby?
• Will residential property near the monument be condemned for park expansion?

We don’t think the increase of tourism is a positive-enough aspect to offset the negatives that a change from “monument” to “park” may bring. We love the Colorado National Monument and wish for it to remain as it is.

RICHARD and JUDY HUFFAKER

Grand Junction

Voice your concerns about Brainard tonight

I would like to thank all the people who supported me at the rally at City Hall Friday, April 12, to protest having councilman-elect Rick Brainard represent us, and to give a special thank-you to Catherine Burkey for highlighting the appalling statistics regarding domestic violence.

I would also like to thank Snob Productions for giving me a generous discount for the rental of the PA system. I will present more than $230 that I collected at the rally to Latimer House, a Grand Junction safe haven for victims of domestic violence.

The purpose of the rally was to ask for councilman-elect Rick Brainard’s resignation from the Grand Junction City Council and to bring awareness to domestic violence. Councilman-elect Brainard admitted to acts of domestic violence toward his girlfriend, as reported by The Daily Sentinel Sunday, April 7.

Many people, including me, voted for Rick Brainard for city councilman-at-large. The Daily Sentinel, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Diane Schwenke, president and CEO of the chamber, endorsed his nomination.

While running for office, he told The Daily Sentinel editorial board in March, “Sometimes I think we set the bar too low in this community,”

Indeed, Brainard’s own actions of domestic violence were well below the bar. On Wednesday, April 10, an editorial in The Daily Sentinel stated, “But given the events of the past week, we don’t believe Brainard can effectively serve the city at this time.”

Brainard is an embarrassment to our community because of his admitted acts of domestic violence toward his girlfriend. He must step down. How could he possibly represent our community if he commits an act of violence?

Please voice your protest by speaking at the next Grand Junction City Council meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 250 North 5th Street.

LINDA MORAN

Grand Junction

Check high-tech appliances for wasted energy

I am writing regarding something I learned about electrical equipment.

My neighbor has a satellite TV receiver. He put a wattmeter between the receiver and the power source. To his amazement, the device used as much power in the off position as when it is on, about 43 watts.

I did the same thing with my LCD television and DVD-VHS player and found they were using seven watts of power in the off position.

If you take 100,000 people and multiply by 7 watts or 43 watts, you can see that would be a huge amount of electricity and pollution. What if it were a billion people?  Think of the possibilities?

It would be in the interests of everyone if these devices would actually shut off, instead of unnecessarily using power. It would dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,.

This is an issue about our grandchildren and their future.

W. RODNEY McKINNON
Montrose



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