Email letters, April 29, 2013

Sequester cuts hurt air travel while government perks fly high

In years of failed budget talks, President Obama has threatened to cut military, social security, border control and disability payments. His “sequester” furloughed air traffic controllers, causing flight delays and reducing safety.

But he has never said that he would stop payments to illegal aliens, eliminate the ‘Obamaphone’ program (now $2.2 billion/year), fire any of the thousands of unnecessary federal employees that he added or reduce his family’s vacations ($20 million so far). He has also not threatened the food stamp program, foreign aid or the pay or pensions of congressmen or himself
 
While many of us have cut expenses and gone without vacations in this recession, the Obamas are living the high life with our money. People who make bad decisions are rewarded by having their mortgages paid and their families’ food and medical expenses covered by the government – and become the Democrat voter base.

Unfortunately, as the late Margaret Thatcher noted, “There is no such thing as public money. There is only taxpayer money.” Yet government treats our hard-earned money as a never-ending source for handouts.

Now our government wants to legalize illegal immigrants, proven law-breakers. Businesses want their cheap labor; Democrats want their votes. If it happens, liberals will be in power for decades. We tried amnesty once, and all we got were more illegals. 

If you believe people should provide for themselves and government should be limited to constitutional principles, you’d better start becoming politically active. If you wait, it may be too late.
ANGIE MANY
Eckert


While Brainard has suffered, he should have left the council

Regarding the Rick Brainard situation. I do not know or have ever met the man. But and regardless of what happened to trigger his arrest, this is a personal and public disaster for all involved.

The RUMOR around town is the Chamber of Commerce, in the hopes of garnering three to four solid backers on the council, has advised him to stick it out.

His arrest was routine, by the way. Under Colorado law, if an alleged domestic violence incident involves law enforcement, one of the parties to the event, right or wrong, is going to go to jail. If Brainard told the police prior to being advised of his Miranda rights that he hit the woman, that is basically chatter. If he told the police he did it after being advised of his Miranda rights, that becomes an on-the-record admission of guilt and evidence in a hearing or trial. 

Regardless, once he allegedly said either, he should have got out of the City Council, if for no other reason than he might be able to preserve what is left of his life, reputation and career in this area. Prolonging the council commitment as he has done has kept his name prominently in the media and has cost him hugely beyond what it realistically should, but it is his choice to keep pouring gas on this fire.

He has suffered politically a loss of reputation and credibility; there are career questions, loss of positions on business and institution boards, and probably some shunning by friends, neighbors and acquaintances much as if he killed someone. And, of course, the various protests include a resolution by the current City Council.

More than likely, if convicted, he will probably be fined, get a suspended sentence dependent on successful probation, be forced into counseling, receive a permanent domestic violence restraining order (very serious as it has both state and federal ramifications) and get a public service sentence.

About the latter, think of the national viral image of an orange-vest-clad City Council member on a sheriff-supervised work gang picking up trash on a county road.

If he sticks with the council election after all of this, then there will be protestors at every single council meeting. And regardless, in the fall a recall will surely take him out of office.

Whoever has been advising him to stay in this mess and go for the council after all of this has given him terribly destructive advice and will, when the pressure gets too high, probably back out and cut his throat, too. 

What a real shame for all concerned.

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

Implying that hitting is OK embarrasses valley community

I was absolutely flabbergasted and disgusted to read the letter from Kent
Carson that implied a man slapping or giving a black eye to a woman was acceptable behavior.

Where has he been? Hitting and bullying has never been appropriate and can surely not be condoned as anything close to all right in any social environment.

Shame on Carson and pity for the women or girls in his household or neighborhood. Your letter is an embarrassment to this community.

BARBARA CHAPLIK

Grand Junction

As Earth Month concludes, EPA lauded for its efforts to secure clean air, water

As we finish up our celebrations of Earth Month, it’s worth noting the critical role the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has played in securing cleaner air and cleaner water for Coloradans, since the first Earth Day in 1970.

From limits on toxic mercury pollution from power plants, to getting lead out of gasoline, EPA has been working to protect and improve our health and our environment for the last 43 years.

Now President Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to lead EPA as it continues its critical work. McCarthy has a stellar record of winning real results for our environment and public health — under both Republican and Democratic administrations — and she’s won praise from environmentalists and industry leaders alike. But polluters and their allies may still try to block her nomination.

This Earth Month, I urge the U.S. Senate to support McCarthy’s nomination, so she can get to work continuing EPA’s strong record of tackling our most urgent environmental and public health challenges.

JEANNE BASSETT
Senior Associate
Environment Colorado
Denver

Withhold judgment until Brainard’s full story is told

Rick Brainard spoke with sorrow about the night that had him in deep trouble with the current City Council members that were thrown out by the voters just a few nights before.

His version depicts an attack by his jealous friend that left him without the patience, without the words, without the ability to defend himself verbally.

Talking to an angry lion sometimes doesn’t solve the problem; it takes training. He says he is now receiving that training. I believe him.

Some members of our current City Council took it upon themselves, for political purposes, to demonize, radicalize and embarrass Brainard. They voted on a resolution to condemn him without ever hearing the full story, without a court hearing, with just the quick notes of officers, no sworn testimony, no evidence offered, just their politically motivated attack on an emotionally distraught person.

Without the full story that has yet to be told, there can be no understanding. Some members of our City Council, however, have seen fit to decide who is competent to sit in their seats.

The people spoke in the election. Brainard won an overwhelming victory over Pitts. If the voters decide that Brainard does not deserve that seat, they can take legal steps to unseat him.

Until then, until the story is told and every stone turned and investigated, until the entire unpleasant affair is revealed, in all its gore and repulsiveness, exposed, it is unfair to judge anyone as to guilt or innocence.

TIM FENWICK
Grand Junction

All Coloradans exposed to ‘Rocky Mountain High’ radiation

I hope that Eric Rechel was misquoted at the DOE Uranium Leasing Program meeting when he stated that “there is no safe level of radiation.” State and federal agencies do regulate radiation exposure as though every little bit is harmful, but there is no clinical evidence of harm at low levels.

The lowest level for which clinical effects are seen is roughly 80 times the rate of natural background delivered all at once.

We are all exposed to radiation from our natural environment. Coloradans, on average, receive approximately twice as much natural radiation as someone living at sea level.

We have more naturally occurring uranium in our soils that decays to radon gas and more cosmic radiation because we live at altitude. Given that, if radiation has no safe level, why does Colorado have a lower incidence of most cancers than the national average?

There is also a good bit of animal evidence that a little radiation is even good for you.

The truth is that radiation is a weak carcinogen and exercise and good habits defeat the negative effects, if any, of low levels of radiation exposure.

If you’re concerned about potential cancer from radiation exposure, the best thing you can do is to test your home for radon gas. If the level exceeds 4 pCi/L of air, mitigate it down to 2 pCi/L or less. That is considered to be the safe level.

Test kits are available at hardware stores or from non-profit radon.com, which sells them for $14.95 each. For best statistics, buy three for $36 and follow the directions on the package and place them in three locations in the lowest living space of your house.

Oh, and quit smoking! Smokers have at least 10 times the risk of lung cancer from radon, compared to non-smokers in the same radon environment.

CRAIG A. LITTLE, PH.D.

Grand Junction

Election bill hands too much power to election officials

It’s probably just business as usual when the controlling political party in Colorado introduces and expects passage of a 128-page bill released frighteningly late in the session after months of secret drafting.

Might citizens be shocked and dismayed to learn that this bill makes dramatic irreversible changes to the way we elect our officials? Will we be surprised to hear that a secretive professional association of county election officials is a primary supporter of the bill? 

Will citizens blindly believe the reassuring promotion of the ACLU, Common Cause, America Votes and League of Women Voters?  Should citizens trust that these lobbying organizations have fully vetted House Bill 13-1303 and will protect citizens from injurious side effects?

Many people in Colorado will naturally trust these nonprofits to give responsible advice in the “public interest.” Others will trust the incessantly self-servingly reassuring county clerks, two thirds of whom are Republicans. Some will trust the Democratic Party leadership.

I’m genuinely sorry to admit it would be a mistake to trust any of them, just as it would be a mistake to blindly trust the result of an election. As an experienced Democratic Party activist, I find myself blowing the whistle on an undemocratic process, rushing passage of a bill containing too many defects. The Democratic legislative pressure to see the bill enacted has overwhelmed patient consideration of merit or public benefit.

Election integrity comes from an opportunity and reality of citizens independently verifying the accuracy of elections – eligibility, reports, recounts etc.  Colorado’s Democrats and election officials have teamed up to separate citizens from their election process and aggregate power in the hands of election officials whom we are apparently expected to trust.

I’m depending on a governor’s nonpartisan veto.


HARVIE BRANSCOMB
Board Member, Colorado Voter Group, and Coloradans For Voting Integrity
Carbondale


Newcomer yet to be convinced on ‘controlled burn’ benefits

Could you please explain why “controlled burns” are allowed and what they accomplish?

My house is full of smoke when I should be enjoying the ability to open windows/doors during the beautiful spring weather. Breathing seems optional with all this smoke permeating the valley.

I have not been here for a long period. My neighbors have given me several reasons, none of which seem plausible.

JANETTE M. JOHNSTON
Fruita

Survivors of domestic violence do not want Brainard on council

To Mike Stahl regarding “Halting domestic violence requires more than trivial politics,” even a river starts with a single raindrop.”

To those of us who have taken the time to write our comments calling for abuser Rick Brainard to step down from City Council through letters to the editor or the You Said It column, we don’t appreciate you referring to them as sarcastic and irrational.

Most of us are survivors of domestic abuse. We may not be writers like you or politicians or others who hold positions of power in Mesa County, but our comments are no less important than your column published Sunday.

Stahl should keep in mind that many who are in domestic violence situations don’t have the time or money to buy a paper and sit down and read your suggestions about educating themselves.

The bottom line for all of us survivors is that this man who is waiting to sit on our City Council after he has admitted that he shoved, hit and slapped his girlfriend is laughing in the faces of those who lived through this by taking the power to help run our city.

I don’t want a man who hits women on my City Council.

RACHEL BUDMAN
Grand Junction

Penry column contained malapropisms

Josh Penry’s column on what he considers the Uber defiant reaction by Bostonians in the wake of the marathon bombing includes a couple of charming malapropisms.

The first involves his endeavor to rename the species to which the denizens of Beantown belong, by suggesting that they are a “different breed of Homo sapien.” As almost all 10th-grade biology students are taught, “sapiens” exists only in its plural form and translates to “thinking.”

Sapient columnists usually think to check out big, unfamiliar words before foisting them on a public that might include former English teachers.

Toward the end of his paean to the Bostonian reaction to the tragedy, Josh describes their activity as, “Defiant. Inspiriringly…defiant.”

Really? “Inspiriringly?”

Gollyly, Josh seems to have been gushinglyly overcome with enthusiasm!

DAVID MCWILLIAMS

Grand Junction



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