Email letters, August 19,  2013

Law enforcement center provides essential training

Being a law enforcement officer or firefighter in our complex, modern world is a demanding and often dangerous profession. For our community, few things are as important as insuring that we have well-trained professionals providing these services.

The new Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center is an important step toward providing the quality training our emergency service personnel need and deserve.

Kudos to Sheriff Hilkey, Chief Camper, Chief Watkins and all the emergency services administrators who understand the need and took steps to address it. Special thanks go to Tim Foster for the involvement and support of Colorado Mesa University.

I was privileged to take the inaugural lap around the driving track in a beautiful new Ford Mustang provided by Western Slope Auto, and I would like to thank them. The car is awesome.

Because of the farsightedness and dedication of the folks involved in this endeavor, lives will be saved. No community service is more important than that.

Former Mesa County Sheriff
Grand Junction

If more funding will help schools, then abolish Department of Education

Information presented by the Sentinel on Thursday, Aug. 15, regarding results from District 51’s Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, which was then followed up by an editorial on the subject, justifies my comments and hopefully from others, as well.

In your editorial the point is made again about per student funding in our district compared to others in Colorado. It is quite understandable for many to conclude that the problem of lower scores is directly attributable to lack of funds. If only that was the solution, which it is not, where can more money be found?

Let’s assume that more funding could raise test scores. One of the greatest money sponges ostensibly to improve education in our country can be found in Washington. D.C. in the form of the U. S. Department of Education led by Arne Duncan. At last count, that bloated bureaucracy has a current annual budget of more than $90 billion + a multi-billion injection from the 2009 stimulus.

This writer searches diligently for any program from Washington that results in improved teacher effectiveness or student learning. There is little or nothing at all. To improve test scores in our area, one needs only to look locally. There are schools and programs that are doing very well indeed —find them, replicate them.

The Sentinel needs to report scores from parochial schools and from students being taught at home. Oh, how good it would be if the money flow to the U.S. Department of Education could end and be put to use in local districts.


Grand Junction

City should charge panhandlers a fee

It would seem to me that the city could charge a fee of say $1,000 for a panhandler’s license. If it is a legitimate organization like the Salvation Army, then at the end of the year make a charitable contribution to it for a like amount.

Simple, effective and cost-neutral.

Grand Junction

Get back to basics before proposing more education taxes

Yesterday on the news it said that Gov. Hickenlooper is going to have a measure on the ballot for a large tax increase for education. Why?

I am looking at the school calendar for 2013-14, and there are 14 teacher workdays/planning sessions, etc. besides all of the breaks. It is incomprehensible to me that before school started the teachers had a full week of workday/in-services.

Maybe someone can tell me why all of the workdays, planning days, etc. are hooked in with weekends or holidays. I have lived here for 50-plus years and have never seen the likes of this.

I also have driven by different schools on the above-mentioned days and, guess what, the parking lots appear empty. Please don’t tell me they are off-campus having meetings. Don’t the schools have conference rooms or large gymnasiums to hold meeting?

Let’s get back to a basic education of our children and less accommodation of faculty, and we would be ahead of other districts and other nations. Do not count on my vote for more money until things turn around in our education system.

Grand Junction

Grant rushes to judgment on Obamacare’s inevitability

Poor old Bill Grant’s column claiming that Rep. Scott Tipton was using faulty information to claim that congressional staffers were being given special treatment under as Grant called it, “a technical adjustment to bring certain congressional employees into coverage.”

This technical adjustment allows, according to the Office of Personnel and Management, for some staffers not to have to join the new health care exchanges at all or those who will have to will continue to keep their health care subsidies (meaning our tax money) up to $10,000 per year to pay for them.

The way I read that is the congressional staffers (some of them) will have to join the health care exchange but the government will pay for it.

It sure doesn’t seem to me like the same deal everyone else, outside of Washington, D.C., is going to get. As far as Republicans not having a way to stop Obamacare, I wouldn’t be so sure. Why is Grant so anxious to call this law inevitable?

If the Republicans in the House vote to defund Obamacare and fund everything else then the Senate will have to take this up and our two Democrat senators, Udall and Bennett, will then get their opportunity to vote for one of the most unpopular laws ever passed and shut down the government. I believe Udall will be up for election next year.

Finally, if Grant wants honesty, let’s start with Benghazi, the IRS or the NSA.


Grand Junction

Area 51 workers deserve respect for ‘silent labor’

The article in the Sentinel on page A5 on Saturday, Aug. 17 about Area 51in Nevada contained too much silly speculation. As one who worked sometimes in the vicinity, there is much of value to report. Here is one source that pays more attention to the facts.

I hope your readers will check it out and pay their respects to the workers and those who lost their lives in the service of freedom. Below is from the site’s introduction.

Honoring the legacy of the men and women at Groom Lake and on the NASA High Range in Nevada the battleground of the Cold War. This site is dedicated to the memories of our band of brothers, especially those we lost in the CIA U-2 and A-12 Projects Aquatone and OXCART at Groom Lake, during Operation Black Shield at Kadena, Okinawa, and on the NASA High Range.

“For it is the lot of some men to be assigned duties about which they may not speak. Such work is not for every man. But those who accept the burdens implicit in this silent labor realize a camaraderie and sense of value known to few. These memories cannot be stolen. They will last always, untarnished, ever better.”
Col. Larry McClain, Former commander at Groom Lake


Citizens in Rifle cannot afford to take on more debt

Seniors in Rifle already have a center, which the city supports, and it’s budgeted for $527,520 this year. Activities include lunches, card playing, card tournaments, bingo, monthly dances, day trips and many others.
When many seniors have less than $1,000 a month of income out of which housing, utilities, Medicare (oh yes, Medicare does come out of Social Security checks), Part D insurance for drug coverage (a requirement of the feds or you are subject to penalties) and supplemental insurance.

If you own a vehicle, you have maintenance (tires, oil changes, air and oil filters, etc.), gas, license plates and, to be legal, auto insurance. If you own a home, you have homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance. There is tax on our phone bills and utility bills.

Have I left anything out? Oh, yeah, if you have anything left over, you might, just might, be able to go to the grocery store for a few eats. Have you noticed that food prices are up, but the package sizes are down?  We are taxed on goods and some food items at the store.

RRCC is selling the citizens of Rifle a budget-buster bill of goods. The city of Rifle’s flier on the recreation center states $42 million will be added to city debt, bringing the total debt for the city of Rifle to a whopping $75.1 million! 

Take heed. This is unsustainable debt for approximately 7,500 citizens to take on. It would average somewhere around $10,000.00 per man, woman and child.


Writer impugns motives of Mason, Voss on TABOR issue

An anonymous writer of a recent “You Said It” item impugns the motives of Hal Mason and me regarding allegations against Mesa County and the resulting investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation of TABOR calculation violations.

Has it ever occurred to the anonymous writer that The Daily Sentinel has done its own investigation of Mesa County’s finance department and concurs with many of our findings?

Grand Junction

Many arguments can be made against Obamacare

Thanks for the Aug. 15 editorial noting the problems with Obamacare. The flurry of news articles and op-eds reveals how very confusing it is. No wonder more than 50 percent of people polled wish the legislation would be repealed.

Instead of columnist Bill Grant’s derision of Rep. Scott Tipton, Tipton should be praised for siding with the majority opinion. Doesn’t majority rule?

Some may think I am a “partisan detractor” of this new grand plan for health reform, which was conceived along “partisan” lines in Congress, judged to be constitutional by a court which redefined the law, changing mandate to taxation, and now is promoted by a flurry of “navigators” and a government sponsored ad campaign, all funded by the taxpayers.

But besides the four significant problems you posed, there are more arguments against Obamacare.

IRS enforces the tax credits and relies on individual honesty for income levels. If one’s income changes, you must notify the friendly IRS. Navigators will have personal ID, which could lead to identity theft.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which hopes to reduce cost by authorizing only evidenced-based care (i.e. ration care), is derided by Howard Dean, MD, Democrat adviser. Obamacare will diminish patient care and threaten the traditional doctor-patient relationship. The Office of Management and Budget predicts premium cost will rise (134 percent in Colorado) as will total government expenditures.

These arguments are not hollow as your editor suggests. The only things hollow are the promises, “If you like your insurance, you keep it,” and “You can keep your doctor,” and “This will save families $2,500 a year” when the average increased premium is $2,100. Now we discover what the bill actually demands. Were we duped again?

During the late “phony” Watergate scandal investigative reporters coined the phrase “follow the money.” This applies now. Other than the beneficiaries of government funding for insurance and money grants for the many “navigators,” only those receiving waivers or exemptions to the new policy seem to be happy. What will happen to the state budget for roads, education, public protection and prisons when health care and Medicaid consume more of the budget? Follow the money and see who benefits.

Cool minds such as Dr. Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon, are not hyperventilating when they advocate for repeal and revisiting health care reform from a more patient-centered approach.

Grand Junction

Commissioners’ MJ ban reflects citizens’ wishes

On Aug. 12 the Mesa County Board of Commissioners adopted a ban on cultivation and retail shops for recreational marijuana. In that hearing, I listed many reasons for supporting the ban. It is most important to note that a majority of people of Mesa County did not vote for Amendment 64.

As a representative of the people of Mesa County, I feel comfortable supporting such a ban. I would also like to clarify my position that while marijuana is currently classified as illegal on a federal level, this is really an issue to be dealt with on a state and local level, in conformance with the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions.






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