Email letters, April 8, 2014

Citizens should know Pennington’s views

Where does John Pennington stand? I think it’s pretty clear that as sheriff he would not enforce drug laws or traffic laws. What about domestic violence and underage drinking? Does he share the constitutionalist belief that only the sheriff is authorized to enforce laws? If so, does he plan to work
with police chiefs and other state and county law enforcement entities?

What about federal law enforcement? Does he plan to cooperate with them or ban them from the county? Would he enforce civil orders such as evictions and garnishments? How about restraining orders and protection orders issued by the courts — ignore them or enforce them?

What other laws or practices would he choose to set aside based on his constitutional beliefs? Does he plan to assemble a volunteer, armed, citizens’ militia? Would he direct his deputies and his militia to pursue and arrest illegal immigrants here in Mesa County?

As a 30-year veteran in Mesa County law enforcement, I think county citizens deserve to know where Pennington stands on these important issues before a single vote is cast in the upcoming Republican primary.


American Red Cross praises work of its dedicated volunteers

The American Red Cross Western Colorado Chapter is celebrating its volunteers and the work they do in the community during National Volunteer Week, April 6-12.

We couldn’t do what we do without the tireless work of our dedicated volunteers. Last year, our volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to 70 local families who faced home fires and other disaster situations. Tour volunteers trained people in lifesaving skills and assisted military members, veterans and their families.

Colorado has experienced a tough couple of years, and I am grateful that so many compassionate people have volunteered their time with the Red Cross to respond to historic disasters, both right here in western Colorado and across the state.

We want to invite the public to sign up to volunteer and be a part of our lifesaving work. We’re looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels. Go to to learn more about volunteering with us and how to submit a volunteer application.

I want to extend my sincerest thanks to each and every Red Cross volunteer who helps us fulfill our mission 365 days a year, 24 hours a day in western Colorado.

Executive Director
American Red Cross Western Colorado Chapter
Grand Junction

Council funds Avalon Theatre but reluctant to assist veterans

The City Council had millions of dollars to waste when it came to funding the Avalon Theatre project, but when it comes to sheltering the homeless, money is tight.

A playground for a few hundred rich people, who would not even fund their own project — no problem. Housing for a few hundred veterans who gave their health and sanity to defend our country — big problem.

I hope everyone has a big problem with this when elections roll around.

Grand Junction

County commissioners prudently protect private property rights

I appreciate the bold step taken Monday by the Mesa County Board of Commissioners to protect private property rights in the Grand Valley. The urban trails plan erred in making it appear that the roads and paths along the canals that crisscross our communities are public domain when, in fact, they are the private property of companies that supply water to our farms, homes, parks, businesses and other interests. The canal paths were never intended to be used for leisure or recreation, but their inclusion on the urban trails maps gave many a sense of entitlement, overlooking the fact that walking, running and riding bikes or motorcycles on those roads and paths are all considered trespassing.

The “trails” people will probably howl that their rights to recreation have been infringed upon by overzealous politicians, but the opposite is true. Though people have a right to pursue their own happiness, they do not have the right to compel government to confiscate the property of others in that pursuit. Too often people believe the fallacy that government is the provider of privileges. But government exists to protect our rights, not to ensure we have a means to recreation. The right to acquire and keep property is key to constraining government within its proper limits and making thieves and trespassers subject to the law.

Government at all levels has grown to mammoth proportions, crowding out individual rights by implementing collectivist policies. It was truly refreshing to see government overreach, in the form of errant trails maps, rolled back by Commissioners Rose Pugliese, Steve Acquafresca and John
Justman. It’s high time for the City Council to boldly follow suit and fill its proper role as the protector of private property rights in the Grand Valley.

Grand Junction

Despite presidential rhetoric, middle class steadily shrinks

How many times in the last six years have we heard President Obama and his loyal followers proclaim,  “This bill will help the middle class,” and “This law is all about the middle class” and “We’re supporting the middle class”?

Yet, a report from the Pew Research Center finds the number of Americans calling themselves “middle class” has been on a steady decline since 2008, falling to 44 percent from 53 percent. A similar poll from Gallup finds the percentage of people who call themselves “upper-middle class” has also fallen to 55 percent from 63 percent in 2008.

While the liberals will claim that the lower unemployment numbers are proof that their policies are working, what is neglected in those numbers are the people whose unemployment has run out, those who have quit looking for work, those who have taken part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time work, and those who are able to be in the work force but, transitioned from unemployment to living off the government (social security disability, food stamps, housing assistance, free phones, etc.). In some instances they are making more than when they worked. In the latter case, I don’t fault the people as much as I do the policies that actually promote the situation.

A plan with good intentions that backfires due to unforeseen consequences is one thing (think welfare) but, when a steady flow of bills, regulations and use of the “presidential pen” has a detrimental effect on the very group they profess to help, either their basic philosophy is flawed or they have an ulterior motive.

Since I’m not big on conspiracy theory, I believe the former. The challenge is in getting people to quit listening to the rhetoric and look at the facts before they vote.


Grand Junction

Breaking heroin habit requires long time, community support

Heroin (opiate addiction) starts for many when they have wisdom teeth pulled, fracture a bone or have surgery. Opiates can be a helpful and necessary tool in pain control;  however, they also hold a high potential for abuse in some people. Those captured by this addiction are parents, children and respected members of our community.

Opiates block pain receptors in the brain and tell your body it has no pain. Long-term use of opiates damage the body’s natural ability to produce its own “pain” chemicals and requires more to keep the pain away or maintain the high. This result is why opiate addiction is a long and painful process from which to recover. Treatment for opiate addiction requires detox and withdrawal before beginning most programs. Responsible programs require months of inpatient therapy and treatment. It is expensive and often exclusive.

Seeking help from this addiction can feel overwhelming and hopeless. Long-term inpatient treatment availability is vital to the success of recovery. Outpatient follow-up, support groups, local physicians willing to take opiate addicts in recovery, churches and community involvement are essential.

As we live in community, addiction is a burden we are all affected by in one way or another. Recovery and treatment should be a solution we embrace and support. We are only as strong as our weakest link.


Grand Junction





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Rusty Callow should have signed his letter with friends of Steve King.

Where does he get the assumption that John Pennington is not going to enforce drug or traffic laws? Has he spoken personally to Pennington?

I would hazard a guess that he has not. No this is just one more scare tactic by the camp of Steve King supporters. Our County will become a lawless hellhole without King as Sheriff.

I do not worry on that at all. My worry would be the Federal Law enforcement officers taking advantage of King’s bills allowing them unlimited arrest powers in Mesa County.

I am amazed that a law enforcement officer like Callow is so afraid of the Constitution. What can he and the others be afraid of? That the law of the land would be enforced correctly? That someone who actually read and understood the Oath of Office would uphold it?

The office of Sheriff is the Citizen’s last line of defense against an invasive Federal Government. We know where both of our candidates stand. John Pennington would stand for us against the over reaching powers King’s laws have acceded to the Feds.

King would just let them take control.

Glenn Menard’s latest on-line offering – “Despite presidential rhetoric, middle class steadily shrinks” – proves once again that local “bubbleheads” must resort to contriving their own set of facts to appear even approximately coherent.

While Menard appropriately cites recent polls confirming the on-going decline of the “Middle Class”, his implied causation (i.e. blame) argument relies on ignorance, a failed memory, and/or the dishonest “FoxNoise”/Limbaugh revisionist history of President Obama’s efforts to counteract that dangerous trend.

Thus, the “last six years” should properly be divided into two segments.  In 2009-2010, President Obama’s stimulus policies saved the economy from total collapse, revived the U.S. auto industry, prevented the implosion of the world-wide financial sector, and got the Affordable Care Act passed – which is already protecting millions of Americans from financial devastation as they struggle to reach or remain in the Middle Class.

On the other hand, since 2011, the “Teapublican”-controlled House has obstructed every further Democratic effort to revitalize our economy – and thus the “Middle Class” – in a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage from a sluggish recovery.

Thus, while Speaker Boehner found time for 52 votes to repeal “ObamaCare”, to “shut down” the federal government (costing the economy some $28 billion), and to threaten default on our National Debt (which Republicans created), he is still refusing to allow the House to even vote on – inter alia—the American Jobs Act of 2011 (or 2013), on the Senate’s bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, or on extending the very unemployment benefits to which Menard refers. 

In other words, what Menard opines are President Obama’s failed “policies” reflect the absence of serious policy – “gridlock” that is the direct result of Republicans’ stubborn partisan obstructionism and refusal to recognize that their own failed policy prescriptions have been proven to be both practically and intellectually bankrupt.

Nevertheless, Menard’s conclusion is correct:  “the challenge is in getting people to quit listening to [Republican] rhetoric [including Menard’s canards] and look at the facts before they vote”!

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