Email letters, April 23, 2012

Separation of church and state is a hoax

The concept of separation of church and state is a hoax. It has no validity because government morality is based on universally agreed upon religious morality. Our founders based our Constitution on English Common Law which, in turn, was derived from Natural Law. Natural Law assumes a higher authority than manmade political laws. Common Law was the system for discovering and applying Natural Law in human affairs.

Medieval Feudalism left ordinary people without a judicial system, so priests and other religious people assumed judgeship. Through logic and understanding human nature, they developed what we now call Natural Law, basing their judgments on two principles: Do all you have agreed to do. Do not encroach on other persons or their property. No civilization can long survive unless they follow these laws.

The morality of religious thinking and government can not be separated without disastrous results. Witness Nazi Germany. This does not say that religions at times have not gone astray.

The term separation of church and state was not a part of our founder’s lexicon. It came from an obscure letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists who were concerned about the establishment of a national religion. Jefferson’s letter was written to assure them of that constitutional guarantee, not to advocate the sharp cleavage between religion and government many people believe today.

Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” statement was historically dormant until 1947 when it was quoted in the Supreme Court decision Everson v. Board of Education. Since that time it has been inappropriately used by progressive secularists to separate religious morality from government so that their statist, government encroachment, liberty restricting, wealth redistributing agenda could be advanced.

Evidence: Compare current government tyranny with the two Natural Law principles!

HANS CROEBER
Montrose

Well-trained secretaries can replace many school administrators

I’m reading and hearing lots of talk in the media and on the streets about cuts in school administration both pro and con. Of course, those administrators who speak out, at whatever level, put forth all sorts of reasons to cut the budget elsewhere than in their positions.

My personal perspective, based on 30 years classroom teaching in a multi-socio-economic-race-ethnic junior high (California), high school (District 51) and university (Kentucky) is that at the school level a principal and two vice principals are necessary and perhaps a counselor or two (but only half time), but “dean of this” and “vice of that” and “director so and so” are superfluous and their jobs more easily done by a well-trained secretary or two (who do most of their work anyway).

At the district level, here and everywhere an overblown, fat, self-serving bureaucracy, it’s my opinion that the elimination of at least four-fifths of the administrative staff would improve the efficiency at that level. Again, well-trained secretarial staff could handle most of their jobs equally well under the general supervision of a business supervisor. The superintendent can do the political posturing (including public relations), which is his job anyway and his secretarial staff, as they usually do, could handle the routine stuff. That’s all any well-trained, efficient, central administration really needs.

Where to put the money saved? How about in the hands of elementary school teachers so they won’t have to spend $200 a year out of their own pocket for teaching materials. While we’re at it, put a full- time aide in every elementary classroom to help those beleaguered, over burdened teachers.

Here are some money saving tips: administrative retreats should be held at a local motel, not some fancy, expensive out-of-town venue; seminars for teaching improvement and curriculum should be attended only by qualified teachers, who alone have a real-life perspective on classroom needs and dynamics; all classroom innovation and changes should trickle up from teachers, not down from administrators.

But, taxpayers pay attention: Guess who will make the laws and other decisions about these matters without consulting you in any significant manner? Administrators, of course, with their hands deep in your pockets and their rhetoric high volume and self serving.
 
TOM STREFF
Grand Junction

Dog killer should not have been given a plea deal

There is a monster walking the streets. Perhaps unaware of the connection between animal abuse and escalated violence, the Mesa County District Attorney granted a deal for Joseph Nelson to receive only probation for torturing, killing and mutilating a pet. Also, he left the body hanging to traumatize passersby. The DA chose ill-conceived leniency against a kind of evil that has no compassion.  

Suffering is universal, not just limited to humans. Justice was blind, but Joseph Nelson was the face of utter terror to that sweet, innocent little dog. Now that cowardly abusers are no doubt emboldened by this get-out-of-jail-free card handed out by the court system, how safe are the vulnerable among us from other heartless acts of cruelty?

KATHI WILEY
Grand Junction

CEO responsible for turning around credit union

As an employee of Rio Grande Federal Credit Union, I would like to respond to the story regarding “Protesters air concerns about credit union”. Let me start with Jim Burkey since his name was plastered on most of the signs. Jim is highly respected and a man with unquestionable morals and business ethics. Jim also holds his employees to the same standards.

In 2005, the credit union was struggling and under extensive scrutiny by regulators and examiners because of unsafe and unsound practices. This scrutiny was placed on the credit union by the National Credit Union Administration (who by the way routinely exams the credit union and scrutinizes loans given to board members and to employees to ensure no preferential treatment has been given). Had Rio Grande continued down this path, it would have been highly likely it would not have survived.

This was the shape the credit union was in when Jim Burkey became the CEO, and with hard work dedication, expectations, accountability and service to our members, the staff led and guided by Jim, the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Committee have turned the credit union into being one of the premier financial institution in the state if not the country.

If the alleged violations given by the protestors were based in facts, there is another avenue to voice these concerns and an investigation would ensue without doing damage to the credit unions reputation by playing it out in the media, if one truly had the best interest of the credit union in mind.

The last few years have been tough on all financial institutions and the boards of director’s, management and staff have guided this credit union through this treacherous time to help ensure that the credit union will be here for our members now and their children and their children.

Let me close with Rio Grande’s Vision and Mission Statement that all employees and volunteers believe and strive for. Our vision is to be a financially sound and progressive credit union, that provides personal service and current technology to earn the privilege of being our member’s primary financial institution, our mission is to be an organization of and for our membership, dedicated to building individual relationships by providing superior financial products and services.

VALARIE NEUMEIER
Executive Vice President
Rio Grande Federal Credit Union

First schools were Christian based

In response to the letter from Kathleen Duhamel: Yes, the schools were based on christianity. The first text books were the Bible. She should check her history.

FRANK HARVEY
Clifton

Oil shale uses too much of our precious water

I have never heard for sure, but seeing him act as a Republican mentor for some in our Legislature, has Canadian Kelly Sloan become an American citizen?

He frequently writes for the Free Press, telling us how to vote, what movements to follow and so on. Now his friend, Marjorie Haun, a teacher for District 51, who has been assigned to shadow Dan Robinson, D-candidate for the Colorado Legislature, has joined him in telling the rest of the valley what we should believe. Do either of these two actually bother to research the issues they take on as they write as though they are the last answer?

Haun’s letter to the editor is actually insulting, as she tells oil shale opponents to go back to the era the ’70s or such while she tries to say oil shale will solve our oil needs.

Let’s see, the last time I heard, oil shale needs huge amounts of water to be successful. Thanks to the low snow pack this past winter, the lack of other forms of moisture the Western Slope and other oil shale areas are experiencing, water is not exactly abundant. None bothered noting the “thirsty facts of oil shale mining,” using five gallons of water to produce one gallon of oil in an area not exactly known for abundant water. It is amazing how they ignore the fact that even Exxon acknowledges, the fact that the technology isn’t there yet and may never be.

Haun, who apparently knows little about oil shale, and Sloan, mouthpiece for the local party, apparently agree with Rep Lamborn (R-Colo) who authored the shale bill and doesn’t care about the actual reactions of people like the Rifle Mayor Miller, (R-Colo) who is quoted in the news as saying “It’s not a good deal for us. We’re not against oil shale or gas development, we just want it done in a way that doesn’t drive us into the ground.”

There are many articles available unveiling small communities who worry about low payments of royalties, contamination of water, infrastructure and the impacts on hunting and other outdoor recreation activities.

Even Ray LaHood, (R-Transporation Secretary) points out how terrible these ideas are in the current bill traveling through the Republican-controlled House, the so-called representatives of the people who elected them, who use the magic word “jobs” as the Republican party approves drilling in the Arctic National wildlife refuge, drilling off California’s coast and expanding oil shale drilling where there is not sufficient water.

When will we learn to do our homework before we just blindly believe what those who want to cut education, and programs that help average Americans, as they create more tax cuts for the very wealthy, subsidies for oil which actually are our tax money and actually are given to foreign countries who own many of those companies?

VERA MULDER
Fruita

Funding education is critical

I am hopeful that our intelligent citizenry can fathom that without funding, education will suffer, and so will America’s ever-lessening place as a global world power. I am hopeful that we can see who pays dearly when those who relocated here for jobs, who brought our goods and invested in our market are now out there on the dole.

I am hopeful that our well-meaning constituents can see that Coloradans can not invite progress and industry to dinner and then expect them to stay when we put a bib on them and serve them cold porridge. For surely we can see that the United States is full of many neighbors who are always willing to provide a more hearty meal.

I am hopeful that those who stop in Colorado for a few years will contribute to
its great bounty rather than prey on its public services.

I am hopeful that we, as a state, will institute a remediation solely based on TCAP as many other states have done. We abolish summer school and do a remediation based solely on retesting students. At this point, there is no responsibility or accountability placed on the student test taker until high school. The number of students who exhibit pendulum-like scores from year to year is astonishing and it has no correlation to the classroom instruction, but moreover to the lack of effort the student puts in on certain days.

I am hopeful that our residents, our voters, can see that in the face of a budget crisis, all accountability goes out the window. The entire TCAP system we have paid millions to put into place that aims to ensure quality and measure the merits of teachers and students commensurate with funding, becomes moot when there is no funding. Of course Marcia Neal of the State Board of Education wrote in to our local School District 51 Board (as reported by The Daily Sentinel April 20) to say that we can not cut administrators or the entire accountability system put in place by Senate Bill 91 will collapse. Isn’t that the paradox?

To create laws that we then can not fund. And what of Mrs. Neal’s salary and the salary of all those senators who passed Senate Bill 91. It is most certain that they are not taking pay cuts the way teachers are.

Saddle up western pioneers, and prepare to ride into the 21st century where the minds of our youth must be challenged to progress, where we value greatness and not mediocrity, where we do more with less instead of less with more, where we throw the status quo out the window so innovation may prevail. I am hopeful that Coloradans are aware that we currently fund education at a rate that puts us 48th in the Nation. How can we expect greatness if we fund mediocrity? I am hopeful that, in the spirit of competition, we would gather our brightest stars, laud our merits, muster the strength and courage to march onward rather than lay down in the dust to die.

I am hopeful that Coloradans can see that if we bankrupt our public education system, we are setting ourselves up for regression. Education was made compulsory to protect the welfare of children (along with child labor laws). I am hopeful that the example of California where in some instances, gangs run amuck in schools will not be a consideration for our Colorado children. We demand better, but do we fund “better?” Coloradans who want a better future should vote to fund a better future, and at long last pull the blinders aside to see that TABOR is crippling our state. Goods and services come at a cost and if not funded, then the anarchy that follows will surely be our demise.

I am hopeful that at the national level, one of the roots of our current economic peril could be unveiled and brought to the forefront of our discussions. Do our U.S. senators truly get a portion of their salary for the rest of their lives? What a retirement package. Sign me up. Imagine where we’d be if all U.S. citizens were afforded that luxury. Do we fund TSA at an alarming rate? Is Homeland Security taking all the funding that once went to Education? Are we truly a government by the people and for the people, or are we an oligarchy that benefits on the most elite? I am hopeful that we demand accountability from all and not just teachers.

I am hopeful that the Colorado paradox will finally come to light. I am hopeful that the educated citizens of Colorado can see the burden of a balanced budget. In theory, it is wonderful, but in practice, a fiasco. How many of us completely balance our budget and owe not one single debtor at the end of the fiscal year? If all America still operated on a barter system, the balanced budget might be plausible. It seems more reasonable to say every third year the budget must be balanced, this allows for on-going contracts and negotiations. Can not the cry of “no taxation without representation” also be turned to say, no representation without taxation?

ELIZABETH WARNER
Grand Junction

Will too much traffic ruin our Monument?

On the beautiful April 21, I had just got home from biking our beautiful National Monument. OK, that is not the importance of this letter. The observations and feelings during this ride is what I wanted to
share.

I realize it was a weekend and the entrance fee was waived today, but I felt that the attendance while I was there was at its maximum capacity to serve the visitors and protect this area. In my short time on the road I counted at least 25 bicyclists, steady traffic and the visitor’s parking lot was packed.

If the National Monument is advertised as a National Park, I think we might be in trouble. I have been all for the change in status for the economic reasons up until today. All cyclists and drivers were on their best behavior. (Well, except this cyclist doing a U turn in front of me as I was going downhill, but he was checking on a fellow rider, so not too many points off.) As I approached the visitor center a group of 7-8 big horn sheep crossed the road in front of a driver. We both stopped, of course. I was amazed at how lucky I was to catch this rare opportunity. What made it even more spectacular is that within the herd were 4-5 lambs. I researched that in the spring a ewe only has one lamb. Will the tour buses be able to stop or even be quiet enough for us to afford this pleasure?

I am so glad that the discussion continues on this decision of changing the Monument to National Park status. I know there are committees working hard at the pros and cons. I have even had input by completing a survey. However, up until my observations and feelings today on my ride in this special area I am not convinced this new status will have beneficial results for our community or the wildlife.

GAYLE SMITH
Grand Junction

Kids should work for donations

I would like to commend Palisade High School for their athletic fundraising activities. The lawn aeration service is a great idea. It makes the kids work for the donations their team receives and it does something good for the person making the donation. This idea is so much better than having kids sell cookie dough, jerky and the like that really does no one any good.

I wish all schools would require that athletic fundraising require beneficial services. How about having kids go around and do yard work for donations? This would build a little work ethic as they earn money for uniforms, camp etc.

RON HARRISON
Grand Junction

Planned Horizon Drive upgrades are questionable

We are concerned about the proposed plan to improve Horizon Drive from G Road to H Road. The plan appears to be reducing the road from four lanes to tow lanes (76 feet to 44 feet wide). We travel Horizon Drive a lot and especially during the rush hours all four lanes are now filled.

The prospect of four roundabouts in a row can be very frustrating to visitors and a lot of residents. The cost of $5 to 6 million is not very appealing at the present time. The proposal to use taxpayer’s money for about 80 percent of this is also not in the best interest of local citizens at this time. The money scheduled to pay for this could be put to better use in fixing our existing streets.

Many of the existing streets and roads need to be re-paved and/or smoothed out. The roundabout at I-70 interchange may cause visitors problems if it is similar to the ones in Fruita or 24 Road. The first-time users of those interchanges need to try it 2 or 3 times before they exit where they want to go.

BOB & MARY KLINE
Grand Junction

Krauthammer continues to flout his anti-Obama feelings

Once again today, the obligatory Sunday Krauthammer column gives the neocon columnist a podium for spewing nonsensical observations supposedly supporting his hatred for the president. He starts with the end of the space shuttle program. Most observers agree that it had become nothing but a very expensive taxi to the space station where not very much is being learned these days. He describes the cessation of the expensive program as an indication of our decline as a nation. No, I think that decline is due to our cessation of paying attention to our people and infrastructure.
 
He follows by mentioning the reasons for Russia and China’s continuing interest in manned space exploration as looking for glory. Our entry into space was based on glory and showing the world what we could do. Do we need further proof?
 
Then, predictably, he gets into our national expenditures. Going back and forth to the space station is a good expenditure? We know we can do that and that proves what? Then he wonders if private enterprise can handle space travel? This from the champion of private enterprise cures all ills?
 
But most outrageous of all is his mention of “massive” deficits. He, as one of the most vociferous advocates for our current expensive wars and military expenditures in general, has the audacity to talk about these deficits as being something within Obama’s control. Our “massive deficits” are the result of military expenses, mandated social safety net expenditures which kept us from another Great Depression and a very costly drug program which was unpaid for. Which of those things does he want to cut back on to afford the expensive plaything of a limited number of people with skin in the game which no longer proves anything?
 
Why not just a simple post in “You Said It” that he hates Obama?
 
JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

Jury verdict isn’t reason we’re heading to communism

I read a “You said it” comment in a recent edition of The Daily Sentinel welcoming us to “Communist America.” The writer is obviously frustrated at the jury’s verdict in the Lawyer trial. I disagree that the verdict was unjust, and would like to point out that the system worked exactly the way is was designed since 1776.

The state brought charges in accordance with due process of law. The accused defended himself in accordance with due process of law. The jury acquitted the defendant in accordance with their instructions, in accordance with due process of law and its ability to rightly divide the truth. This is not communism. The defendant was held accountable, and the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which certainly isn’t the way things are handled in Cuba, which is a communist country.

The United States may, however, be on the road to communism which is an extreme form of socialism, judging by the advent of Obamacare, the EPA and other such over-regulations. Other forms of limitations on the pursuit of happiness are exercised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service. Let us not forget national parks, monuments and recreation areas.

I would like to remind folks that one of the reasons the Pilgrims left the old country was due to their inability to hunt, prospect, grow food or otherwise use and enjoy lands without fear of losing their freedom. It was an aristocracy at the helm in those days. Come to think of it, it may be an aristocracy these days, too. Whether one labels it as elite-ism, nanny-ism, socialism or communism, there isn’t
much difference in the end result.

CARROLL QUARLES
Palisade

More needs to be done in Kemp case

The Daily Sentinel editorial about the ancillary nature of our constitutional rights was correct, but politically mild. Untold thousands of our service men and women have died in combat throughout the years protecting the freedom of our way of life as guaranteed under the constitution. To have these rights set aside because a jury of 12 felt they were less important than the ignorant state of mind of a group of rogue State Patrol Officers is unsettling.

Justice has thus far been denied for Mr. Kemp and officers have yet to be held accountable for their illegal actions. I do not know the Kemp family, but I encourage them to set up home in the lobby of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S Attorney’s office and demand these officers be brought to justice in the federal courts for their violation of the rights of a citizen attempting to be secure in his home against a warrantless entry by law enforcement officers.

The civil courts will do little to help find some justice for Mr. Kemp. Colorado Government Immunity has a statutory limit on what it can pay out and punitive damages against Mr. Lawyer will most likely be huge but uncollectible. As responsible citizens, we should be picketing the streets of our valley to add our voices calling for justice for Mr. Kemp and respect for all of us who hold our rights dear. We rightfully demanded justice for a beloved pet that was dragged to death on the Colorado National Monument. Are we actually willing to sit back and do less for Mr. Kemp?

ROBERT KNIGHT
Fruita

Upcoming event is not endorsed by the tea-party

I presume The Daily Sentinel is planning on covering the fake, tea-party event being held at Lincoln Park on the May 4 of next month, from 4-7p.m.

This event is an attempt by the local Republican party to usurp the real tea parties in the local area. The people organizing this event are not the same people who organized the original tea party held in Lincoln Park two years ago, that drew thousands.

Sentinel reporter Gary Harmon is well aware of these differences, and the original board members of gjresults tea party plan on holding The Daily Sentinel responsible for an accurate reporting of the event set to occur in the park. Mr. Harmon is well aware of the attempt by the WSCA organization (a front for Mesa County Republicans) to usurp control of the genuine tea party in the area, and to bill all of their Republican candidates as “tea party endorsed,”, which is very far from the truth.

Scott Tipton has never had genuine tea party support, and never will. He is classified as a RINO by the genuine tea parties in the 3rd Congressional district, and has voted to deny his constituents’ 1st, 4th, and 5th amendment constitutional rights.

This attempt to falsely portray all Republican candidates as having “tea party support” is a naked lie, deserving of exposure in the press, so that the entire electorate may see for themselves how politics are really working in the grand valley.

JAMES HAAS
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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“The United States may, however, be on the road to communism which is an extreme form of socialism, judging by the advent of Obamacare, the EPA”  That dang commie Richard Nixon and his EPA.

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