Email letters, Aug. 31, 2012
Bennet’s decision on Thompson Divide showed he listened to constituents
In Kelly Couey’s letter objecting to Sen. Michael Bennet’s proposed withdrawal of unleased land in Thompson Divide, Couey asks, “Who are these folks?”
Should Couey venture to the Thompson Divide Area he would discover that it includes a downhill ski area, Sunlight; a community Nordic area with groomed trails; snowmobiling trails that stretch from Sunlight to Powderhorn; a rock climbing area; and some of the best hunting and fishing in the country.
Contrary to recent letters on the topic, supporters of the Thompson Divide are not left-wing enviros. Rather, we are hunters, farmers, skiers, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, fishermen, campers, school groups, hikers, loggers and ranchers such as I.
Sen. Bennet’s legislation has garnered immense support because individuals and local businesses depend on existing land uses that provide permanent jobs in the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys. Restaurants, motels and retail businesses depend on this tourist economy. Tourists are drawn to the area’s scenic aspens and clear vistas.
Paonia, one of the largest organic farming areas in the nation, depends on clean water flowing from the Divide. Local residents are attempting to engineer a collaborative solution that acknowledges the rights of the oil and gas companies and protects these important existing uses that are critical to our economy.
It is unacceptable to jeopardize economically sustainable uses that make up a healthy community to provide for an industry that provides only short-term gain.
Sen. Bennet listened to the citizens of Mesa and Delta counties and removed acreage from those counties. His proposal does not impact any land in Mesa or Delta County. The citizens of eastern Garfield, Pitkin and Gunnison counties value the valleys’ agricultural heritage, local food production and recreational economy. Don’t kill the goose that lays these golden eggs.
Cooperation over flood control dam is surprising
Something is not right here. I am concerned about the engineering operation of our local National Guard unit out by the airport building on BLM land a flood control dam that protects the city.
First, the guard unit gets to actually do real engineering and real by-the-book construction that also fulfills the engineering unit’s required summer training time. Second, the BLM gets a decently made dam and other work on that property. Third, Grand Junction gets further protected from flooding, thanks to the cooperation in all of this.
This is government run wild! I am not used to seeing this type of total cooperation between civilians and city, state and national government —and all with economic and safety benefits to taxpayers. We need to watch these guys; it has to be some sort of trap.
Continue county support for Museum of Western Colorado
I enjoyed reading Gary Harmon’s article on Thursday about the Museum of Western Colorado. It did cause me to pause, however, that the commissioners thought there wasn’t clarity in the ballot language of 1974.
I supported the initiative and understood that the commissioners were being asked to support the museum at the level of one mil. At the time of the vote a limited staff was running the museum, and volunteers and the community believed we needed to hire professionals to manage it to ensure that our culture and artifacts were being preserved properly.
And, as I understand it, the county’s money is still used exactly for that purpose. I believed in the need for county support then, and I believe in it now. I would urge the commissioners to embrace the museum and do everything they can to preserve it for future generations.
Museum of Western Colorado an asset to community
Thank you for your article in Thursday’s paper about the Museum of Western Colorado. As long-time residents of the Grand Valley, we were here in 1974 and supported the ballot question that directed the county commissioners to fund the museum up to one mil. At the time, there was no question in our minds that we were asking the commissioners to fund the museum at a full mil. It was not meant to be discretionary.
It is our hope that the commissioners will continue to uphold the voters’ wishes and support the museum. It is an asset to our community that we cannot afford to lose.
JOHN AND RAYNE MCLENNAN
Help teachers, coaches, others by volunteering to help community’s youth
I am writing to encourage and spotlight the need for volunteer help in all aspects of our children’s lives. Year after year volunteer spots are left open in our classrooms and in our children’s extra-curricular activities.
Teachers and coaches, who devote countless hours to better
our children, face shortages of time and monies but are there rain or shine for our children hour after hour and day after day. If every family gave even one hour each month to help, the results would be immeasurable.
Find solutions and ways to help. Get with another parent to split duties for a volunteer position. If you do not wish to help in the classroom, help the PTA. We encourage our children to try new things but resist learning something new ourselves. Attend a referee clinic to ref your child’s game or learn to keep team stats. Offer to teach one Art Heritage class in a school. The district provides the information and materials; it just needs someone to share them with students.
To those who do volunteer, thank you. I know you are weary from hearing that someone cannot help because “they are just too busy.”
Please do not leave all work to be done to others. Giving money is vital, but so is the giving of time. Volunteer positions are numerous and rarely inflexible. Your teacher and coach will appreciate it, and you are teaching your children a vital life lesson—the importance of volunteering.
Somebody had to pay for ‘free’ campsites
“Free” is a bad word. It creates deception in everyone’s mind. In The Daily Sentinel’s article about free campsites, the campsites weren’t free; someone paid for their upkeep. When it comes to free medical, dental or other health care, someone pays. It might not be the people who receive it, but someone pays.
There is nothing free in this world. Freedom comes at a big cost. It comes with human life and sacrifice. So, the next time you hear about “free,” in the end somebody pays. Even the air you breathe costs you a couple seconds of life. Let’s do away with the word “free.”
Nation not even showing glimmers of economic recovery
The Daily Sentinel’s recent editorial “Glimmers of recovery in wavering economy” was somewhat misleading. Given the abundance of unimpressive economic indicators, reporting a puzzling spike in new car and truck sales and citing what may or may not be an improvement in the housing market in a relatively small sampling of cities hardly qualify as even “glimmers” of meaningful economic recovery.
Of greater significance than the two positive examples cited above are many troubling signs. Unemployment actually ticked up slightly in July, and the initial estimate is that jobless claims will increase slightly again in August. For the first time since the Great Depression, the nation’s unemployment rate has now remained above 8 percent for more than three years.
Further, it should be noted that the slight increase in consumer spending comes at the expense of saving, which slipped in July, evidence that many Americans, like the federal government, continue to try to spend their way back to prosperity.
On the balance, perhaps a more accurate title for the paper’s editorial might have been “Wavering economy continues to skip along the bottom.”
NY police insufficiently trained for incidents like Empire State Building shooting
Gail Collins’ column of Aug. 30 decried the accuracy of New York police officers at the recent shooting at the Empire State Building. All nine wounded civilians were struck by bullets or fragments fired from police weapons. She quoted Al Baker of the New York Times as stating the NYPD shooting accuracy was 34 percent, and “these are people trained for this kind of crisis,” she added.
Unfortunately, these officers are not trained enough. According to a Rand Center for Quality Policing study in 2008, after recruit training the NYPD requires an officer to qualify with his/her weapon only twice a year. The officer must hit 39 static targets out of 50. The study indicates that this is the minimal requirement for proficiency with a firearm and the department requires no individual practice on a more frequent basis. The study concludes this is inadequate.
Indeed it is. I have a number of friends who carry concealed. Of course, I can’t speak for all concealed carry holders, but based on conversations with my friends and on my own experience, we practice marksmanship much more frequently than does the NYPD—on the order of twice monthly, if not more. Collins’ implication that the NYPD adequately trains its officers, and that armed civilians would be more inaccurate than “trained” NYPD officers is not born out by my experience.
Interestingly, the Aurora theater where a previous mass murder occurred was a self proclaimed “gun-free zone.” As a result, if there were any concealed carry holders (who respect the rule of law), they did not enter the theater armed, so were unable to respond to the attack. That policy sure worked, didn’t it?
Ryan: Big government means loss of freedom
Every responsible voter should have heard Vice President candidate Paul Ryan’s awesome speech at the Republican convention.
He made several memorable statements, but the one that stuck in my mind and the one that every voter should think about when he or she votes for our next president is: Under President Obama’s big-government plan, everything is free except you.
Gessler unfairly targeted for trying to run valid elections
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler continues to be a target for those who do not want logical ID requirement and cleaning up registration rolls. After his spot-check of five counties (including Mesa) found thousands of names with questionable citizenship, 4,000 letters were sent to those people requesting proof of eligibility to vote. This mess is partly caused by motor-voter laws – registering to vote when getting a driver’s license.
Because only 12.45 percent of the letters went to Republicans, 35 percent to unaffiliated and 32 percent to Democrats, some Democrats accuse him of political motivation. Since his office did not look at affiliation before compiling the list, I rather question whether the percentages actually demonstrate that most noncitizens who are registered to vote would vote Democrat.
It really bothers me that even some Republican county clerks continue to say there’s no problem with voter fraud, when the national True the Vote study found 1.8 million deceased voters as still registered, 2.75 million registered in more than one state and, overall, one out of eight registrations that are invalid. The handwringing about possibly depriving eligible citizens of their votes is bogus.
People who do not respond to reminders to reregister or provide proof of citizenship do not deserve sympathy; they apparently don’t care about all those who have sacrificed to protect that right. Instead of criticizing Gessler, we should applaud his efforts to run clean, valid elections. That’s his job.