Email letters, April 24, 2012

We can’t forget we live in a desert

It seems like it was just the other day (1977) that I sat in on emergency discussions between the three water districts on how to deal with Mesa County’s severe water shortage.

Back then, we were turning off lights, carpooling, limiting toilet flushes and conserving irrigation water with impetus from the newly created Grand Junction Energy Office. Rachel Carlson’s “Silent Spring” was still a fairly recent best seller, and environmental activism was striking a chord.

Now here we are, more than 30 years later, watering the heck out of our lawns, taking long showers and tossing half-filled water bottles; once again forgetting that we live in a desert.

Thank you, Greg Trainor, for reminding us of this very precious and endangered resource, and that we all have a role to play in protecting it.

PAULA MASSA ANDERSON
Grand Junction

Editorial was correct about importance of the 4th Amendment

Thanks for The Daily Sentinel’s support for the 4th Amendment as shown by the April 22 editorial. The Sentinel’s discussion was respectful to all those involved, but the editorial still held Colorado State Patrol accountable.

CSP needs to make some changes. Their policy on DUI is classic tail wagging the dog. An intoxicated driver is a threat to others but when the 4th Amendment is tossed aside, the CSP is a threat to all. I am saddened when I realize Kemp did not feel safe to call the police for help because it was law enforcement invading his home.

In regards to the jury; if I had been a juror, faced with making a judgment about a patrolman’s life, I would have laid the principle of illegal search aside. Otherwise I may be like those who leave school girls to die in a fire because they don’t have hajibs. As the editorial said, they were asked to make a difficult decision.

Thank you for this editorial,

GLADYS WOYNOWSKIE
Grand Junction

Let community vote on video lottery gaming

With our economic situation and real unemployment at 19.53 percent, we need to make clear to Denver lawmakers that we are tired of them deciding for us. In regards to HB1280 and the potential entertainment/VLT complex, we deserve for the vote to come to our community and for us to say what we do or do not want on the Western Slope.

Denver legislators have regulated us to death and have killed our oil and gas jobs which directly impacted my family. This is a local issue and I personally want a say. Lottery is regulated by the lottery commission which is how we got Canyon View Park, the Riverfront trails and more which my family enjoys. Our colleges would benefit greatly and above all it would bring 250-400 full benefit jobs to our hurting economy.

AMBER GRAGERT
Grand Junction

Oil shale resolution is flawed

Mesa County commissioners voted on a flawed oil shale resolution recently.
The resolution used language that quite frankly appalled me. The Mesa County commissioners have taken an extreme position on oil shale which is out of step with many county residents, particularly any one who has worked on issues with the BLM. I have served on a citizen’s advisory subcommittee and learned that the agency does not decide on federal land use in a hasty manner at all.

Further, BLM informed us that any resource use on a plot of land also has to take into account other resources that might exist on the same acreage, and ensure that the public’s resources are not ruined in order to get at just one other. (I suspect that the commissioners are aware of this as well.)

Have our current commissioners forgotten that the last time we gambled on oil shale without a comprehensive plan, over 20,000 people left the region, thousands lost their jobs and the housing market crashed? Who do the commissioners work for? Here are just a few of the things that the commissioners got wrong in the resolution:

The resolution claims that oil shale is without a doubt a viable technology. Oil shale is not yet commercially viable here. If it were, companies would be developing the more than 2 million acres of non-federal oil shale lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

The resolution also states that commercial oil shale will use zero to limited amounts of water. This is simply not true in Colorado. Commissioners should be reminded that technologies used elsewhere are not the same as technologies that are being experimented with here.

Ultimately, as a citizen of Mesa County I am disappointed in how our commissioners are approaching this issue, and quite frankly suggest that we should all look for leadership elsewhere. In the words of historian Jason Hanson of Center for the American West (University of CO) in his letter to the editor last fall: “Even if the companies operating in shale country do finally develop the necessary technology, they will need to address socioeconomic and environmental concerns in order to create a stable industry. Sustainable practices are the key to the industry’s long-term future. Without an intentional focus on sustainability, the chances of another boom and bust cycle are by definition much higher.”

I submit that it has been more appropriately the role of government to address the environmental concerns, and that is what the BLM does routinely and with an eye toward science and sustainable uses. The local Grand Junction BLM field office will answer questions from the public regarding their process with land planning and have publications available. In short, I expect more from any County Commission than what we’ve gotten lately.

MARY E. MCCUTCHAN
Grand Junction

Democrats’ social programs are responsible for debt

 I’m responding to Kathleen Duhamel’s April 20 letter titled “Democrats are responsible for many positive actions.”

She stated that without Democrats, we would not have Social Security, Medicare, the G.I. bill and a host of other successful social and education programs that have strengthened this country. To clarify, the G.I. Bill was written by Republicans and passed in a Republican-controlled Congress and senate.

Democratic President Johnson, with a Democrat Congress under the grandiose title of “The Great Society” did enact the most extensive social and educational programs ever. For the first time, a person who was not elderly or disabled could receive a modest living from the American taxpayer. “War was declared on poverty”.

 The Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 created new agencies and huge amounts of federal taxpayer dollars went to promote federal regulation of education. President Johnson, (1965) “a quality education is essential to revitalizing our economy.” Secretary of Education, Duncan, (2012) announced that a high-quality education is absolutely critical to rebuilding our economy. After spending literally trillions of federal taxpayer dollars from 1965 to 2012, the quality of a public school education has declined.

Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid now consume about 50 percent of our tax dollars. Both were sold by Democrats to taxpayers as self-supporting programs. Are we better off now? Compared to 1965 (with one small exception) today poverty levels are about the same or higher.

Do we really believe that these false security programs will be there for our kids and grandkids? Do we really believe by supporting a welfare state that is $16 trillion in debt, or about $446,000 per school age child in America, has strengthened us and is something we should thank the Democrats for? I’m sure my kids and grandkids will not.

HAROLD COOMBS
Rifle


Social security going insolvent faster than anticipated

For the past two years, both Republicans and Democrats reduced payroll taxes to put more money into our pockets. Recently, we learned Social Security is going insolvent even faster than anticipated. Well, what a surprise.

If you put less money into Social Security, it goes insolvent faster. Who would have figured that out? Our masterminds in Washington convinced Americans to reduce (FICA) payroll taxes by 2 percent at the expense of Social Security. Americans had been paying this tax for over 20 years. So for this short term gain, they now explain the real consequence of their political decision. Social Security goes insolvent three years faster.

What wasn’t explained is that Washington has borrowed the entire $2.7 trillion in the Social Security trust fund, now part of the $15.5 trillion U.S. debt. It is listed as government debt in the president’s budget released this February. To correlate, this is like a person using his retirement savings to purchase a car and replacing his savings with bank loan. And we actually pay these Washington intellects to do this.

HAL E. MASON
Grand Junction

County Clerk should settle lawsuits

In August 2011, Aspen voting rights activist Marilyn Marks submitted parallel requests under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) for anonymous voting records from electronic voting machines used in Jefferson and Mesa counties, respectively.
 
In September 2011, Jefferson County Clerk Pamela Anderson and Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner — after first partially rejecting Marks’ requests — filed virtually identical legal actions (within 10 minutes of each other) under CORA, seeking judicial protection for their respective denials on grounds that release of even the anonymous records sought by Marks could potentially lead to penetration of some unspecified voters’ anonymity.
 
In October 2011, Reiner and Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle publicly demonstrated how such linkage could be achieved in some selected cases.
 
In November 2011, Reiner repeated that demonstration to local citizens — but apparently did not realize that her defense in the CORA cases was posited on the continuing but unconstitutional possibility that the secret ballot could be compromised in Colorado.
 
In January 2012, Reiner met with representatives of the Mesa County Democratic Party and promised to change local procedures so as to minimize the possibility of linkage.
 
In February 2012, Marks filed a federal lawsuit against Reiner (and thus Mesa County) and others, alleging unconstitutional violation of citizens’ civil right to a secret ballot.
 
Thereafter, I urged our Mesa County commissioners to encourage Reiner to settle those lawsuits expeditiously, because her legal position was untenable and (since procedural fixes were readily available) she was needlessly exposing taxpayers to substantial litigation expenses and attorney fees,  but was ignored.
 
On April 23, 2012, the judge in Jefferson County rejected Anderson’s (and thus Reiner’s) dubious legal arguments, and awarded Marks’ her attorney fees — approaching $100,000. 
 
Mesa County taxpayers should expect a similar outcome in Reiner’s pending cases — even if a settlement can be belatedly negotiated.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Define the word ‘Christian’

When anyone uses the word “Christian,” I wish they would define the word. That term is thrown around so loosely, I think it has become bereft of any specific meaning. For example, does the writer refer to the “Christ” of the Nazis or of Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Is it the Christ of Scripture being referred to or some other christ?

LOIS LAMPERT
Grand Junciton



COMMENTS

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In response to “oil shale resolution is flawed”

Oil shale technology is commercially viable. It is the financial fear created by the environmentalist agenda that holds it back. If I had to worry that a legal or policy change was always going to be looming over my investment in something, I certainly would be hesitant to move forward with it until enough legal and political laws and guarantees were in place to protect my investment.

Oil shale will languish until the politics are much friendlier towards it.

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