Email letters, August 14,  2013

State medical society backs governor’s health initiative

I’m writing as the pediatric surgeon on the Western Slope and a member of the Colorado Medical Society.

Gov. Hickenlooper recently announced the most important and ambitious public health initiative in Colorado’s history. It’s called “The State of Health: Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State,” and it aims to make Colorado the healthiest place to live in the United States.

The State of Health Initiative is a statewide effort that brings together the governor’s office, physicians, other health care providers, government agencies, nonprofits, private companies and the public to improve the health and wellness of Coloradans.

We at the Colorado Medical Society congratulate Hickenlooper for his leadership on this important issue and for the critical role he played in making this initiative a reality. He has built bipartisan support with input
from leaders across the political spectrum, from every corner of the state, and from every major constituency in the public health arena.

Mesa County has a long tradition of efficient, cost-effective, good health care. However, our county has a disproportionate share of some health problems relative to other parts of the state, including mental health,
family abuse and violence, suicide, maternal and child health, tobacco use and drug use, among others. The State of Health Initiative focus areas include promoting prevention and wellness; expanding coverage, access and capacity; improving system integration and quality; and strengthening cost containment and sustainability. Specific targets of the initiative include our problem areas and others.

We at the Colorado Medical Society fully support the initiative and will be working to support its objectives through wide-ranging efforts of the 7,500
physicians, medical students and medical residents in our membership. We encourage all Coloradans to learn more about the State of Health Initiative at this informational web page:

Grand Junction

Citizens of Rifle could find other ways to fund recreation center

The emotion-laden proposal for the construction of a recreation center in Rifle has not fallen on deaf ears. We understand the desire for a community center, and we appreciate the efforts to build such. There are, however, some real financial obstacles that cannot be ignored. We are in the midst of a financial crunch, which must be recognized by all concerned citizens.

The city currently has nearly $28 million in current debt. Adding another $21 million is clearly irresponsible for the following reasons:

1. Sales taxes are down by an average of 6 percent from last year.
2. Sales taxes are down by 10 percent when compared to budget projections.
3. Oil/gas property taxes are down by 53 percent and the good paying jobs have been reduced with it.
4. Residential property taxes are also down as are property values, and we could reasonably expect to see mill levy increases as a result.
5. Reserves have shown a downtrend since its 2009 balance of $7 million. An average decline of $1 million per year has been realized and can reasonably be projected to be under $4 million by the end of 2013. What happens if we have an emergency?
6. Due to a balanced budget requirement, the general fund will absorb any losses incurred by other funds, if cost cutting measures are not taken. The general fund is what funds the police department among other essential services.

These are the reasons why a sales tax is not a viable solution for funding the construction of a recreation center. You can clearly see why we cannot afford to take on another multimillion-dollar debt. The cost of the center will be a substantial strain on the city as local businesses continue to close, taking the possibility of generating much needed sales taxes with them. The money is just not there because the revenue generators are going under in this economy.

The emotional side of this issue is well understood by the No Tax group. We do not deny nor discount that Rifle citizens could reap health benefits from having a recreation center; that our senior citizens might like a place to enjoy community time and activities; that our kids may enjoy swimming in February. We do not doubt these benefits.

We only ask that the Rifle Recreation Center Committee and our fellow citizens acknowledge the financial constraints that the city currently experiences and thus, consider different revenue streams. Why have the committee not solicit fundraising activities that the town could participate in together, just as other area towns have done to help fund their recreation centers? That endeavor in itself would build alliances among the community.

None of this has been proposed by the committee, because its members have determined that a tax is the “only” way to fund this endeavor. We say that is just not true. The residents of Gypsum conducted fundraisers and their senior citizens recycled materials to help pay for their community center. Why can’t Rifle do the same thing?

The answer is we can. If our citizens truly want a recreation center, they will come together to raise the funds to offset its construction costs. Gypsum successfully did just that, and its construction bond was around $8 million as opposed to our $21 million bond.

Ballots are going to be mailed out next week and are due back Sept. 10. Vote NO on D.

Rifle No More TAXES is available on Facebook or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



Public access to private land would create quite a few problems

As you are aware, irrigation water in western Colorado is a very precious commodity. So, if you were running a business, would you welcome general unrestricted access by the public to your operation and facilities?

If you did so, would you find impacts during emergency situations and normal operation that would affect your ability, safety and cost to provide the necessary services involved ? Perhaps you would have situations with the public that you would have to police a nd encounter liability problems ... all for the fun and access of members of the public ... and what about their safety in an environment with water?

So, if your ditch easements go through many, many front and back yards, your shareholders in these areas would welcome access by the general public at all hours of the day, with anything they wanted to do, no matter how this affects your security, peace and quiet and perhaps your personal property and livelihood?  Why would you let someone diminish your property rights?

Frankly, there is nothing wrong with a “common-sense” realization that the public access does not always mix with every liberal idea and as such the trail development on irrigation ditches.  These trail planning efforts and monies need to be concentrated in other areas not irrigation providers ditches. We are already blessed with many existing trail opportunities in our area, and these can be enjoyed by anyone.

There are also many other opportunities for future trail development, probably more so than any place I have ever been. However, this is western Colorado, and the flow of irrigation water over the 100 plus years is precious and worth protecting at any costs. Our future challenges with adequate water for all in the state are enormous.

Please do not complicate our efforts with recreational trails on the very lifeblood lines of our valley.  You need to support and respect the irrigators’ efforts to continue to “green” this wonderful valley and the lifestyle we enjoy.

I would strongly recommend a resolution and Mesa County/City of Grand Junction policy to delete any present and future trail development references shown on existing irrigation ditches for the county-wide trail systems.


Board President, Redlands Water & Power
Grand Junction

Use of solar arrays, plug-in or hybrid cars would create many benefits for communities

If the same investment for one fracked multi-well (about 8 million+), were used to put up solar arrays shading high-use parking lots in any American city, to allow local solar developers to install approximately 3000kw of clean energy per well investment. The solar panels would be good for 20 years, providing summer shade for shoppers and their cars. If the arrays were charging stations for electric or hybrid cars, we would gain 11 important win-win benefits for local development that no gas or oil-drilling proposal ever written could yield.

1. You would want to park under the array to keep your car cool on a hot day, especially if you were grocery shopping.

2. Any town with charging parking arrays would be the place to go because if you owned a plug-in vehicle, you wouldn’t have to burn gasoline to go.

3. We would buy electric or plug-in hybrid cars because we could recharge both at home and in town.

4. With more business-owned parking arrays connected to the grid, cities could begin to produce more non-carbon energy than they were using.

5. There would be a new spike in infrastructure construction.

6. More people would get a home solar array to charge their car and cut their power bill.

7. There would be a boost to vehicle production because of this new power source.

8. Jobs created in building the solar infrastructure would become jobs to maintain that infrastructure.

9. It would be a long time before we needed another coal-fired power plant, if ever.

10. The sun won’t run out of energy and we won’t have another toxic leak, bleeding into the landscape.

11. Most importantly, we could keep our precious water and tillable earth free of petrochemical toxins.


Affordable Care Act leading nation on path to socialized medicine

Sunday’s paper offers a mea culpa by Dr. Pramenko. Yes – it is his fault – not the ACA, mind you – just the fact that he, like Obama, wants to blame Republicans for at least these two elements of the ACA.

I don’t know how you get by with that, unless you do at least three things:  You have to forget the ACA was written behind closed doors; you have to forget about the arm-twisting, the payoffs, (the Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback) and also the capitulation of a group of Democrats, led by Congressman Bart Stupak, who could have saved “we, the people” from this monstrosity known as the ACA.

Beyond that, you have to go back – way back to the 1990s, according to Pramenko, to find Republicans who championed those things he attributes to them. Surely, if one goes back far enough, we can find Republicans who have championed socialistic medicine more than once. Fortunately, other cooler heads have been able to thwart socialistic-based medical care, like Britain’s and Canada’s, over and over.

I remember when alcoholism wasn’t covered by medical insurance. Same with drug addiction. If you had a drunk or a druggie in the family, you were on your own. Made a good argument for instilling in your kids the bad effects of both – then came mandates by government for medical insurance to cover both. All of a sudden, medical costs rose at an alarming rate and continued.

Add to the costs of medical care, people who go to emergency rooms for nearly all their care, and the cost of medical care will go sky high.

Pramenko says:  “Access to affordable health care should not be considered a liberal idea. It’s a human idea.” Being in the medical profession, he would be in a win-win situation if the ACA is fully implemented, regardless of cost.

What an uninsured person might beat him or other medical professionals out of this year, he will sooner or later get with the ACA, because now the government will take it from others to subsidize those who are uninsured, and it will pay for even more “mistakes,” according to Obama, like free contraceptives. 

Oh – if you forgot to get your “free” contraceptives, we will pay for the abortion, as well. He doesn’t want anyone to be “punished” for unprotected sex. It is more redistribution of wealth, perpetrated by this government.

If what I have mentioned above doesn’t meet Pramenko’s definition of “liberal” thinking, he is even farther off base than I thought. “Wasting time on politics,” as Pramenko puts it, sounds a little like the former speaker of the house’s remark, “We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” Not very bright.

Grand Junction

Shell earns praise for its research Into safe ways to tap into oil shale

In reference to last Friday’s article about Shell holding on to its oil shale research project even though divesting itself of conventional oil and gas holdings, I would like to thank the company for sticking with what could be a critical component to American energy independence, in spite of the obstacles thrown in its way by radical environmentalists and the federal government.

The fact that Shell views oil shale as among the projects with the greatest potential for growth should speak volumes about the future of the resource, which has been maligned by some on the far left as being nothing more than fantasy, never to advance beyond the research stage and actually produce something of value. Clearly Shell, one of the companies that has been leading the way in oil shale research and development, disagrees with that assessment.

This is good news for northwestern Colorado, as we are the ones who will most directly benefit from the jobs, revenues and general economic development that a full-fledged, commercial oil shale industry will bring.

The steady and methodical research that Shell has been conducting on its leases is the best way to get us to that point. Oil shale can and will be developed someday, and thanks to the research of companies such as Shell, it will be developed in the safest, most efficient, cleanest manner possible. It would be a shame if that research were to end because of constant environmental litigation and a spineless, nearsighted BLM.

I applaud Shell for carrying on with its efforts, and I would ask all those who live, work and raise their families on the Western Slope to do the same.







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