Email letters, Aug. 21, 2012

Rep. Scott repeatedly demonstrates his effectiveness

At a recent candidate forum in Fruita, Democrat Dan Robinson attacked Rep. Ray Scott in ways to which I take exception.

First, Robinson demonstrated a complete lack of understanding for the duties of a state representative. He seems to think that after 120 days in session, the job is finished. This is far from the case. There are committee meetings, hearings, constituent requests and countless duties and obligations that occur year-round.

Second, Robinson clearly has no idea of what Rep. Scott has accomplished in his first two years in office; contrary to Robinson’s contentions, Ray Scott is recognized as one of the most effective legislators in the state House.

Scott’s very first bill, allowing individuals to owner-finance their own home sales (a common-sense practice made illegal under the Democrats’ banking reforms in 2009), passed unanimously within his first few weeks in office.

He was among the only lawmakers at the Capitol to introduce legislation this year to actually shrink the size of state government and return power to the local level with his bill to eliminate the public trustee position.

And when the time came to protect the voters of Colorado from the Democrats’ attempt to overturn their decision on same-sex marriage, it was Scott who defended the will of his constituents by voting against civil unions.

He has fought time and again to protect Colorado’s voters, small-business owners, and taxpayers from government excess and attempts to undermine the Constitution.

How effective has Scott been? Effective enough that Gov. Hickenlooper felt compelled to handpick someone to run against him. If the governor doesn’t want Scott in Denver, it’s a sure sign we need to send Scott back.


Bennett deserves thanks for leadership on Thompson Divide issue

In his letter of Aug. 14, James “JJ” Fletcher displays an alarming lack of knowledge about the subject of Sen. Bennet’s proposed legislation for the protection of certain federal lands in the Thompson Divide area. Rhetoric such as “arrogant disregard for property rights” and “risk the economic future of Western Colorado” has no place in a serious discussion about the best use of public resources.

The lands in question are between the Crystal River and the upper Divide Creek drainages and extend from Sunlight Ski area to the top of McClure Pass. This area has contributed to the economic well-being of Garfield County and has supported thousands of jobs in the region for nearly a century. That said, the leases in this area of the White River National Forest were let just nine years ago. During that period, little to no legitimate resource development has taken place. In addition, there are some significant indications that the leases are illegal or in non-conformance with federal land management regulations.

The property rights that Fletcher wants so ardently to defend come, like all rights, with obligations and responsibilities of those who enjoy them. In this case, many of those obligations and responsibilities are to the public. Many of these obligations and responsibilities have not been met at all, and especially have not been met in a timely manner.

Additionally, and contrary to Fletcher’s assertions, there is no “environmental group” spearheading the debate over the best use of the public resources in the Thompson Divide area. The group he references is concerned about the negative economic impacts of industrial-level drilling and is made up of none other than the ranchers who run summer cattle there, the snowmobilers who ride a pristine area in the winter, and the local businesses that depend on hunters, fishermen, skiers, hikers and horseback riders for their livelihood. About 1,200 gas and oil jobs in the five counties meet in the Thompson Divide area. About 30,000 agricultural jobs and about 100,000 tourist and recreation related jobs are in those same counties. Gas and oil is NOT the only economic driver in the area, and the tens of thousands of people who don’t work in the oil field should have a say in the conversation.

Sen. Benett is engaging our community in a legitimate conversation about the correct use of a unique, economically viable part of our collective public heritage. This is a courageous form of leadership that allows everyone, not just the oil and gas industry, to engage in a conversation about the long-term economic structure of the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding areas. Fletcher is spreading inaccurate statements that discourage local and regional discussion and abdicate control to the gas and oil industry for economic decisions on public property.

Please thank Sen. Bennet for his leadership on this important issue. As a local rancher and business owner, I certainly appreciate his help.


Glenwood Springs

Hikers, bikers, riders benefit from Hilltop’s efforts, skills

We would like to acknowledge Hilltop Community Resources’ trail crew for its effort and skill in helping build and maintain our BLM and Forest Service trails. Hilltop benefits us all in many ways; its unique partnership with the BLM and Forest Service not only improves our trails, but also gives some less fortunate kids valuable work experience.

Hikers, bikers and horseback riders will continue to enjoy the expansion and preservation of our world-class trail system. As local mountain bikers, we enjoy their fun trails and long-lasting rockwork.

Hilltop’s trail crew has given itself to us all for the last 10 years, and you can enjoy the fruits of the crew’s labors at Lunch Loop, 18 Road and the Fruita division of the Grand Mesa National Forest above Glade Park.  Thank you, Hilltop.


Grand Junction

Grant mistaken about Pace’s being a moderate Democrat

Only a liberal living on the left edge of the world like poor old Bill Grant would try to make the case that Sal Pace is some middle of the road Democrat willing to work with the other side. Poor old Bill seems to have forgotten the “the Republicans should go to the back of the bus” comment that Obama made early on when he had majorities in both the House and Senate. I guess that is poor old Bill’s idea of working with the other side.

Clearly in the 2010 elections the American people told the Republicans to stop the bus and go a different direction. Poor old Bill has also forgotten that the Republican House has passed 32 bills in this session that are stuck in the Democrat-run Senate, including a budget that the Democrats and Obama have failed to pass for more than 1,000 days. Gridlock because of Republicans?

Rep. Tipton is performing the will of the people he was elected to represent. The Democrats should try “getting along” themselves. Pace clearly won’t vote to repeal Obamacare. He also says, “It’s about whether or not we’re going to have a government fair to everyone.”

Fair, of course, according to the liberalese of poor old Bill, Nancy Pelosi and Obama, now means equality of outcome or socialism. Pace is cut from the same cloth.

These are people who believe that business owners were only able to build their businesses not because of their hard work but because of everything the government has done for them. My guess is that, given a chance, Pace would get along just fine with Pelosi.

Grand Junction

GARCO ballot measure aims to protect local open lands

The campaign to protect our ranchlands, rivers and recreation economy has officially begun.

The Garfield County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to place a sales tax measure on the November ballot that would fund a much-needed open land program for Garfield County.  We want to thank the three commissioners for their thoughtful and detailed work on this important issue. 

After three years of meetings and more meetings, the local citizens group, The Garfield Legacy Project and the commissioners forged a proposed program that is unique to Garfield County. The resulting ballot measure (1A), if passed in the Nov. 6 election, creates a quarter-cent sales tax resulting in approximately $2 million annually for the protection of local open lands.

The program would provide support to our agricultural economy, safeguard our rivers and streams and enhance the recreation and trails we enjoy. Now is the time to take a forward approach to preserving our ranching heritage and open lands. Our growing tourism economy depends upon it.

We are very excited to talk about the program and to provide factual resources and pertinent information on the ballot measure. If you are interested in joining The Garfield Legacy Project, go to our website and find out more.


Garfield Legacy Project
Glenwood Springs

Local detective receives gratitude from grieving parents

On April 2 we suddenly lost our son. We loved him and were very proud of him. He was a CPA and moved to Grant Junction to work outside for Baker Hughes in the field. We were devastated and did not know what to do. We live in Baltimore, Md., and did not know the laws or the processes for getting him back home.

We will be eternally grateful to have received a call from Detective Shawn Crocker. He acted in a way every citizen hopes those who are sworn to protect will do their job. He was sympathetic and helpful.

Most importantly, through the entire process we knew he cared. He used his personal time to help retrieve our son’s car and help my wife and our daughters get his personal things. In all, it required Detective Crocker to make many calls and for him to spend a lot of time to be our true Good Samaritan.

In this most hurtful of times everyone we dealt with in Grand Junction was nice and seemed to reach out to help. The FedEx representative, the people of Baker Hughes, his boss, his fellow employees and his friends are all good caring people.

This was something no parent should go through. It is mind-bending and gut wrenching. We needed the help of Grand Junction, and Grand Junction was a blessing

Baltimore, Md.

Wright a ‘poster boy’ for modern GOP

The Sentinel has performed a valuable public service in exposing the Jared Wright con.

In a larger sense, Wright is a poster boy candidate for the 21st century Republican Party, dumb and dishonest.

He doubtless goes to church every Sunday and tithes with a rubber check.


Grand Junction

Getting the skinny only on Republican, not Democrat

I find it interesting that the editors at the Sentinel print the party affiliation (Republican) of the politician who skinny-dipped in Israel and did not print the party affiliation (Democrat) of the politician who had a sexual liaison with a 17-year-old boy.

Both articles were on the same page of the Aug. 21 edition. Perhaps it was only an oversight or more likely a bias in reporting. The paper is turning into another Free Press.


Grand Junction

Prudent watering of trees in Grand Valley in autumn is essential

Many trees are dying in this beautiful valley due to stress induced by this stretch of weather that has been hotter and drier than usual. Stress leaves trees vulnerable to destructive disease. Apparently, the hot and dry summers are going to continue. Weather-related stress in trees can be reduced if root growth can be stimulated. Trees develop expanded root systems in the winter when they do not have to feed their leaves.

How can we avoid some of the stress in our trees? Proper watering is most important. No, not just in the spring and summer, but in the fall, as well. Health in trees is promoted when water is withheld in the fall until leaf drop. Soaking the trees after leaf drop with deep watering will stimulate root growth during the winter. Where trees are within lawns, shortened periods of watering lawns in the fall will help trees shed leaves.

Why not soak the trees in the fall before leaf drop?  Two reasons:  First, water at that time will stimulate leaf and branch growth when the opposite effect is desired. Second, trees retain too much moisture in the trunk and branches in the winter months. This excessive moisture in the trunk and branches can lead to splits that are a result of freezing, leaving the trees vulnerable to diseases.

What needs to be done in the valley to minimize stress and disease in our trees? Irrigation water should be available and applied for a period after leaf fall. Currently, irrigation districts discontinue delivering water before leaf drop. Unused water in the fall before leaf drop would then be used later after lead drop. Hence, there would be little change in the amount of water used. The irrigation districts would incur some increased costs for extending the watering season. The trees are worth it.

The last few years have been especially tough on our fruit trees because of stress and disease due to the aforementioned watering problem. A tour of the valley will confirm there are many diseased trees.


UN should denounce Iran’s stance toward rights of Israel

Iran’s presidential statements as to Israel’s rights as an independent country should be denounced by the United Nations secretary general and all signatory members’ heads of state and then summarily dismissed.

If any head of state does not, the country that he or she represents should be censored and its membership should be held in abeyance.

The UN in 2012 is as useless as the League of Nations was in the 1930s when Italy invaded Ethiopia.

It is an organization of convenience to some.


Grand Junction

Leane a Democrat in an independent’s clothing

On the whole, I believe the Sentinel’s election coverage has been fair.

However, in the interest of accurate reporting, I wish the Sentinel would always mention that county commissioner candidate John Lane is a former Democratic country commissioner.  While it is true that he is running as an “unaffiliated” this year, it is just as true that in his long political career he was previously elected as a Democrat.

One need not pass judgment on why he switched parties in order to believe that it is important to mention that Leane is a prominent former Democratic leader in this community. In fact, if memory serves me, Leane headed up the Mesa County “Bill Clinton for President” campaign.

This is not a small point, and the voters deserve the whole story. If Mark Udall or Scott Tipton were to switch parties and run for a different office down the road, you can bet that their past party ties would be front and center. The same is true of Leane, a current “independent” candidate who was previously a Democrat. His long history as a liberal Democrat should not be swept under the carpet.

Grand Junction


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