Email letters, April 2, 2014

West Star’s private financing is a lesson for public officials

We are very pleased to hear that West Star will be moving forward with a privately financed paint facility. West Star is a respected employer and a vital part of the aviation infrastructure in the Grand Valley. Good for it!

Its announcement should also serve as a reminder to public officials to approach public funding requests for private projects more cautiously in the future.

Eleven months ago the former Grand Junction Regional Authority Board represented the following to the public: A commitment to issue bonds HAD to be quickly made, as other unnamed communities were competing for the West Star project, and private funding was impractical.

The rush to provide public money was so extreme that a special board meeting convened last May to approve the project. This meeting violated the airport’s own bylaws as to notice and was an illegal meeting.

Public funding luckily foundered on the shoals of Tippettsgate and an FBI raid. Now we discover that private money was available. That’s great news for the community and also a reminder that when people ask for public money to fund private, for-profit enterprises, it is wise to slow down and critically
challenge representations.

Fortunately, the new airport board has dramatically raised its game. We’re observing the new board members deliberately and carefully cleaning up the mess they inherited and instituting appropriate internal controls. All of us owe these citizen-volunteers our thanks.

President, Grand Junction Airport Users and Tenants Association
Grand Junction

Voters must decide between constitutional sheriff, politician

Why were Jim Spehar, the Sentinel editorial staff and the elite GOP leaders shocked at the outcome of the Republican Assembly? Have they not been paying attention to what is going on all over this country? Do they not understand how angry voters are about what politicians are doing to our freedoms and the disregard they have for the Constitution?

The office of sheriff may be the most important elected office and should never be political. The sheriff is the only law enforcement directly “hired” by “the people.” His or her first duty is to fulfill his or her oath of office, which, according to the secretary of state, is to “solemnly swear by the everliving God … [to] support the Constitution of the United States and the State of Colorado and faithfully perform the duties of the office … .”

Obviously, Sen. Steve King has not done that. He lost his credibility by sponsoring a bill (SB13-013) that created federal powers within the state where there were none before. John Pennington, on the other hand, has been a Marine and took this oath “to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” That is a lifetime oath, by the way.

So, the question is: Do you want a constitutional sheriff who will do his duty or a political administrator willing to turn law enforcement over to the feds?

Grand Junction

Members of HOAs should insist that representatives take action on report

In 1992 the Legislature enacted the Colorado Common Interest Act which was to be the governing document for homeowners associations operating within Colorado. However the legislature exempted large developments which deprived the owners within these large developments of the benefits of CCIOA and allowed the developers to maintain complete control of the homeowners associations.

In the case of both CCIOA and the large developments, the legislature did not provide for any oversight or regulation of homeowners associations operations. At the present time, the only way a homeowner can contest the decisions made by the developer or HOA boards of directors of the association is to institute a very expensive lawsuit, which is costly to both the owner and the state court system that is funded by the taxpayers.

The Legislature directed the Department of Regulatory Agencies to compile record of the complaints filed against homeowners associations, and a report was sent to each state legislator this year. It included six recommendations that could be instituted to answer these complaints.  Two of the more important ones were that the exemption for large developments would be rescinded and they  would be subject to all CCIOA provisions  in order that all owners would have the  same benefits and rights, and another recommendation to require mandatory arbitration instead of lawsuits to settle disagreements between the owners and the HOA boards.  This report can be viewed on the DORA website.

The legislature seems to be ignoring the report since no legislation to implement the recommendations has been done. It behooves every owner in an HOA to insist that his or her representative take action on the report this session.

Battlement Mesa

Pennington unduly influenced by Arizona sheriff, lacks management skills

I sat in the auditorium during the Republican Assembly at Central High School and watched as Republican candidate for Mesa County sheriff, John Pennington, and his handler, legendary and former Graham County Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, called for a crusade against our federal government.

I heard nothing from Pennington about fighting crime — only fighting the feds. I heard nothing about providing excellent law enforcement service to the citizens of Mesa County. I only heard calls to oppose our federal government. I heard nothing about his qualifications for the office of sheriff. I can only assume that legendary former Sheriff Mack recognized Pennington’s management shortfalls when he offered his continued help and assistance to run our sheriff’s office.

I have been a sworn law enforcement officer in Mesa County for over 30 years. I have been a street cop, an investigator, a first-line supervisor, a mid-level manager and a command level manager. I have been a municipal cop and a sheriff’s deputy. When I entered law enforcement, I took an oath to support the United States Constitution. I take that oath seriously and have never wavered from those principles that built this great country.

I have worked side by side with the FBI, DEA, ATF, Customs, INS, BLM and a host of other federal law enforcement officials. I have attended valuable law enforcement training sponsored and funded by these federal agencies. I have seen firsthand the benefits of law enforcement programs and positions funded by federal grants. I have seen very dangerous criminals sent off to prison as a result of combined local and federal law enforcement actions. This partnership has been consistent throughout the terms of our last three
elected sheriffs and numerous police chiefs who have served in our community. This ongoing partnership has been successful not because of blind trust, but because of vigilant monitoring of each others’ actions and activities combined with the common goal of keeping our community safe. Not once have I witnessed a fed working in this partnership violate the U.S. Constitution or abuse a citizen of Mesa County.

It is obvious that former Sheriff Richard Mack would like to add the Mesa County sheriff to his army of other like-minded sheriffs to engage in his war on the feds. I, like many others, am frustrated with the direction our country is headed. I do not believe that declaring war on our federal government (and using sheriffs and law enforcement as soldiers in that war) is an appropriate remedy.

Law enforcement should be fighting only one war, the war on crime. Our limited tax dollars in Mesa County are stretched thin just to provide crime fighting resources. Where will the monies and personnel come from to fight a new war against the feds? Could it be that Richard Mack rode into town hoping to bolster his own crusade using the office of sheriff and its funding to bolster his own war effort? Does he care that Pennington does not have the background, training or experience to manage the office? If not, perhaps Mack’s agenda is better served by someone tethered to a string?

I entered the honorable profession of law enforcement to serve the public, pursue criminals and seek justice. I did not sign up to be a soldier against my own government. I know that is also true for my law enforcement peers in Mesa County. This radical agenda espoused by Mack and Pennington scares me. Fellow Republicans, it should scare you too.

I know that we are all frustrated. At first, declaring war on the feds might make us feel better for a little while, but with war comes casualties, and we all grow weary of war as the costs mount. Fellow Republicans, I urge you to put an end to this radical agenda by casting your vote for Steve King for sheriff during the upcoming Republican primary June 24. King, like our current and former sheriffs, will protect your constitutional rights, serve the citizens of Mesa County and fulfill the legal obligations for the office of sheriff within budget and without the pitfalls of a radical anti-government agenda.


Obamacare now succeeding despite GOP ‘scorched-earth’ tactics
Julie Pace’s article in today’s Sentinel 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 percent 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.
Taken 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 percent to 48 percent), a 9 percent 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.
Grand Junction

President of WCAF needs to remember more history

Earle Mullen, president of Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, needs to look back on his history to understand the context of what Thomas Jefferson said. In that time people were angry that King Henry the 8th had set up for himself the Church of England.

This church stated that the only god you serve is the crown. Its leaders were trying to force people to worship one way and hurting people who wanted to worship any other way. It was this lack of religious freedom that caused the Founding Fathers to put that passage in.

Also,  Mullen seems to have forgotten more to that passage. Let me state it: “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Grand Junction


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Good ol * Hugenburg. How is it that Sebelius could never answer a question about enrollments, what time, from where, etc, etc, etc. Eureka the day of the deadline and HOLY OF HOLIES CBO says that the target was hit. Just exactly how stupid do you think most of us are? Oops I forgot you and barry have similar education and you so admire him.

Why people would actually consent to become members of an HOA is beyond me. Why would someone want to sign away the liberty and power to make decisions about their own property and allow someone else to dictate to them what they can and cannot do at home?

Most of the blight problems HOA’s are said to prevent are already covered under government public ordinances. They just need to be enforced.

When an HOA starts paying my mortgage and property taxes, then they can tell me what to do. Until then, the lady in curlers knocking at my door telling me my grass needs mowing needs to stay home and watch her soap operas.

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