Email letters, April 9, 2012

Wait until the management plan updated

I usually find The Daily Sentinel’s editorial columns balanced and logical. But the reasoning that BLM recreational-use rules are equivalent to oil and gas rules is just not fair, or honest.

Drilling may affect the long term health, livelihood and community, particularly in the North Fork Valley. Bike riding and camping regulations can change, but they do not impact the water and air quality, the possible pollution of organic farms, the loss of millions invested in vineyards. Why this rush to tie up these acres in this rural valley, when the industry doesn’t even know where it will get its water or clean it up and store it after fracking?

The resource management plan is from 1989 and will be updated by 2013. Wait until there is better information, and also more information on results of fracking questions being investigated in other areas of the country. The long term risk to our valley is too great, we need to defer the leasing.


Gessler shouldn’t get to decide who votes

Rick Wagner’s column regarding Secretary of State Scott Gessler exemplifies what is wrong with the “block the vote” movement in the GOP. Democracy flourishes only when the greatest number of people are engaged and interested in the outcomes of elections and allowed to freely express that engagement.

It is not for Gessler to decide if someone is not going to vote or not, it is up to the individual citizen. I may only want to vote in presidential elections and that is my right. I might not register until voting day which is also is my right. Yes, ballots should be mailed to all possible electors so they can vote if they want to. It’s not for Gessler to decide whether they can vote.

Wagner does not value the integrity of the voting booth, if he did he would recognize Gessler’s error. The integrity of the voting booth is that it is available when and where the elector chooses to exercise their right to vote. Whether at the precinct or mail-in ballot or early voting exercising the right to vote is fundamental to democracy.

Every attempt to disenfranchise citizens diminishes our democracy. Forcing picture IDs, barriers to registration, obstructing access to the ballot and throwing people off the rolls are all symptoms of the current GOP war on average folks. Regardless of what Wagner and Gessler say, their actions are disproportionately adversely affecting people who are poor, of color, women and working.


Obama’s statements were untrue

I commend The Daily Sentinel’s editor for having the courage write the editorial of April 4 regarding President Obama’s blatantly false assertion that a Supreme Court reversal of Obamacare would be “unprecedented.” The Supreme Court has overturned roughly 200 or so federal laws.

Such rulings are their specific duty. Obama further claims, that the act was passed by “a strong majority.” Records show that it passed the the Senate by 21 votes and the House by 7 votes, with 32 Democrats voting against it.

Kudos, also, to the Sentinel for having the guts to publish the editorial that calls out the president for his deliberate lies.

Surely Obama is aware of his untruths.

Grand Junction

Why is Compass Colorado advertising on the West Slope?

I recently became aware of right-wing organization called Compass Colorado while driving about the Grand Junction area and observing some obviously expensive anti-Obama billboards (“Still Hoping for Change?’).

I also logged on to their website,, and viewed the standard misrepresentations of the Obama administration’s record, e.g., that there has been a federal takeover of the health care system (a complete lie), that the stimulus program failed (it saved us from an almost certain decline into a second great depression), that there is a “war” on domestic energy development (we’re drilling more now than we ever did under Bush, even though that’s not a long term solution to the problem), and of course, that hideous notion of raising the debt ceiling (an absolute necessity to avoid defaulting on debt payments and a process that had never been in question under previous presidents).

Now, I understand the politics of the Western Slope. The population here is largely Republican and very conservative. I observe at least a ten-to-one ratio of anti-Obama bumper stickers (some of them overtly racist) compared to my one Obama 2012 sticker (and the very few others that I have seen). Obama could not win the general election vote on the Western Slope even if Sarah Palin or Mickey Mouse were the Republican nominee (I still see Palin-McCain stickers, in that order, on the cars of 2008 diehards).

So my question is, why is Compass Colorado wasting precious funding resources preaching to the choir in western Colorado? Shouldn’t they be focusing attention on the more liberal and populous areas of the state where Obama is likely to win? This all seems to me to be quite consistent with the national Republican nomination train wreck among Tweedledum and Tweedledee and potential VPs in that Compass Colorado seems equally disorganized and confused.


Gun ownership has increased while murder rate has gone down

With reference to Maynard Hesselbarth’s letter of April 8, I respectfully submit that he is the victim of misinformation concerning the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA began in 1871 as an organization devoted to improving marksmanship, the shooting sports, and more importantly, firearms safety. Later, as attacks on the Second Amendment began, the organization included defense of Second Amendment rights. The NRA does favor increased gun ownership by responsible, law abiding citizens, and with good reason.

According to the FBI, violent crime, including crime committed with a firearm, steadily decreased from 1,440,000 incidents in 2006, to 1,240,000 in 2010. Gun ownership increased during the same period. Additionally, during the first year of the Obama administration the national murder rate decreased by 7.4 percent, but gun sales increased dramatically. If more guns mean more violent crime,  then why don’t the data show this?

Violence is deplorable regardless of the method used. One can understand the motivation to reduce it. But we must rely on objective data, not emotional suppositions when seeking answers.

(Full disclosure: I am an NRA member and firearms enthusiast.)



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