Email letters, August 11, 2014
Hilkey put political affiliations above community well being
I read with outrage the account of former Sheriff Stan Hilkey regarding Steve King’s high-paying do-nothing job at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. It was fascinating that Hilkey could be so cavalier regarding his association with a would-be criminal.
I was outraged as I know the real cost of Hilkey’s skewed priorities. The high price of Hilkey’s mismanagement of his public trust has a face. That face is mine. In September 2010, I was laid off from the sheriff’s office after the commissioners told the sheriff to cut his budget. Hilkey took the easy road and reduced his force. He upended the lives of good, highly trained, experienced deputies in the name of budget cuts, and then petitioned the commissioners for extra money to buy political favors from Steve King.
Sheriff Hilkey put political affiliation above the well being of his subordinates and service to his community. He made more effort to see King paid than he did to retain real cops. Adding to the insult, Hilkey chose to pay King a wage that few, if any, of the real cops in the agency could dream of.
People like King don’t exist in a vacuum. They must be aided by those who see some personal gain. The record is clear. King had a friend in Hilkey and that friendship cost the citizens of Mesa County. Now, the Republicans would have us ignore all that and hand the top cop job to Hilkey’s protégé, to the man Hilkey groomed for the job before political expedience gave the nod to King.
It is my hope the voters finally just say no. It is too much to believe the Republican choice will rise above the corrupt system that created him.
Responsible drilling should safeguard humans
Responsible drilling refers to safeguarding humans from becoming guinea pigs, rather than waiting to see just how much benzene in the air it will take before cancer cases increase dramatically.
Come here and see the wells right alongside the Colorado River. Come here and see a well directly across the street from a housing development. Come here and notice the haze in the air that was not present even 10 years ago. See the plan for over 200 more drillings to come in this area. Come here, buy a home, and then just try to sell it. Come here to a 40 percent vacancy rate in this community. Come here where a beautiful golf course may have a well in the middle of it.
Yes, drilling can be done in many areas without concentrations of populations; drilling could be done in Anwar. But, for convenience and “bribe” dollars, drilling around communities is just fine as long as it is not in the backyards of the politicians.
So many senior citizens were lured here and have now lost their shirts. Welcome to being trapped, unable to move even if you wanted to. Western Colorado Congress has worked to increase setbacks, to insure that monitoring and safety requirements are followed, and that accidents such as spills are not under-reported nor minimized. Is that so bad?
Sentinel needs to support new airport authority board
I’m writing in regard to The Daily Sentinel’s article on Friday about the selection of a new airport manager. My question to the Editor is, why you have not questioned the process that was used to hire the past manager? Were an interview and a background check done? If not, why have you not looked into this?
It appears you are favoring the past boards, but you question the way the new board does things, including the process that was used in the hiring of the new airport manager. It appears to me that you want to degrade the present airport authority board for whatever reason, and have not asked any hard questions of the past board or boards on how and why they hired the past airport manager and how they allowed the airport to get to the point it is in now. Also, it appears that
some of our elected officials now wish to question what the new board is doing, but stayed quiet while the past boards allowed the deeds of the past manager to take place for several years.
It is this writer’s opinion that the Editor of The Sentinel should start supporting the new airport authority board as they have been tasked with straightening the past deeds of the former boards and manager. The present board has also been open in everything they have done, and this cannot be said of past boards.
Rowland and other GOP leaders against area’s best interests
Janet Rowland’s letter on Thursday (“County not responsible for fixing 38 Road woes,”) shows why the Mesa County GOP’s long political stranglehold on our area has been so devastating to our local economy. While the rest of the state is prospering, Mesa County gets left behind with some of the lowest wages and highest unemployment rates in the state. Rowland’s letter explains why this is the case.
Instead of supporting sensible local ideas that help boost the local economy, like the Fruit and Wine Byway, Rowland offers a hostile, stingy “us-against-them” attitude that paints the Mesa County agricultural community as the enemy. This regressive mentality has cost our area dearly in lost golden opportunities to boost the local economy, like changing the Colorado National Monument into a national park, and local government’s refusal to allow our area to capitalize on Colorado’s new, burgeoning legal marijuana industry.
We need to start electing leaders who embrace creative new ideas and take advantage of the new opportunities dropped at our feet, instead of continually electing the same old batch of Republican leaders with tired old ideologies rooted in the past that work against our area’s collective best interests.
Vehicle registration, rather than new tax, should pay for road repairs
Once again I see Club 20 and individual people whining about, “where oh where are we going to get the money to fix the decaying roads in this valley?” I agree with them one hundred percent; the roads in this valley are getting worse by the year. Many of the streets are like washboards. My question is: where is the money that the state keeps collecting and that they have been collecting for years that was supposed to be for road and bridge repair? Gov. Ritter snuck those taxes through by increasing vehicle registration three fold.
Many seniors and folks with older cars were hurt when the registration was fee was tripled, but we thought that at least the roads would get fixed. That has not happened. If anything, the roads are worse now. However, the state keeps collecting those additional fees. Where is that money going? It sure isn’t coming to the Grand Valley for road repair.
So, I say no new taxes for road repair. Use what you already have been getting these past years.
Meet and greet impossible due to lack of airport manager candidates
Sunday’s editorial bemoans the lack of a meet and greet for finalist airport manager candidates. Well, there weren’t any. The damage done to this airport by the scandals of past management and board members is well known around the country and precludes most from applying.
As founder of the airport Users and Tenants Association, I had the opportunity to interview one “finalist” candidate. He was well qualified and from the Midwest. But in our 30-minute talk he had not a single question about GJT or its problems, despite my prompting. His entire focus was on his current airport and all he was doing for it. It appeared his interest in GJT was for use in negotiating a pay raise back home. Not surprisingly, he withdrew his application a week later.
What the Sentinel fails to understand is that the damage done here is nationally known. The current board has to deal with that reality. GJT is not a magnet for qualified airport managers. While other positions in this and nearby communities may use teas, coffees, meet and greet or similar sessions for “finalists,” such is not possible when there are no finalists. The idea that members of the community should vet candidates for this critical selection makes as much sense as airline passengers voting on who should fly the plane.
We are extremely fortunate to have an existing airport employee with all needed skill levels step up and take on this mess. Ben Johnson knows the airport, the people, the problems and the history. He is not a “yes man” nor would the current board or tenants tolerate such. The Sentinel should be ashamed for even suggesting it.
Bright’s recent letter disseminated falsehoods about diseases carried by immigrants
While its editors chose not to publish my response (“Republicans Don’t Like to be Fact-Checked – Why Not?) to Don Boyles’ insipid letter (“Reader disagrees with recently published ‘leftist” letters”), the Sentinel now has another opportunity to act responsibly.
Thus, the intellectual dishonesty of nativist anti-immigrant zealot Richard Bright (whose on-line comments are replete with racist slurs against President Obama) is illustrated by his partially plagiarized and perniciously fear-mongering on-line letter – “Illegal immigrants carriers of communicable diseases.”
In fact, Bright is not quoting the “CDC report” at all, but rather the notoriously right-wing Breitbart on-line newsletter – “Feds Bend CDC Rules for Sick Illegal Immigrants.”
However, even Breitbart has more intellectual integrity than Bright, because Breitbart reports only that “some” – not “many” – unaccompanied children arriving at our southern border carry communicable diseases.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Public Health reported that the actual incidence of such diseases is insignificant, while a University of Texas at El Paso study confirmed that the immunization rate for familiar childhood diseases in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is higher than in Texas.
Consequently, the Texas Observer reported that the “Disease Threat From Immigrant Children [is] Wildly Overstated” and that “The Central American kids arriving in Texas are likely to be better-vaccinated than children in Texas”.
Indeed, irresponsibly alarmist propaganda like that being maliciously spouted by Bright prompted Media Matters to report that “Right-Wing Media Exploit Ebola Outbreak In West Africa To Spread Immigration Fears” – specifically identifying Breitbart (and now “Not So Bright”) as the primary perpetrator of such nonsense.
Unfortunately, too many local “bubble heads” like Bright invent their own “facts” and resent “fact-checking,” apparently convinced that real “facts” have a liberal (“leftie”) bias, while berating the Sentinel for chronicling them. Nevertheless, the Daily Sentinel should not become a party to irresponsibly disseminating such falsehoods.
Reader remembers airport authority’s recent history
Given the Airport Authority’s recent history, I was certain the only finalist’s name would be Tex Rippetts.