Email Letters: August 21, 2017

Gray Gourmet an essential and appreciated service

I am writing in strong support of both Jim Spehar’s column and Ben Herman’s very articulate commentary on the Gray Gourmet program in Mesa County and the county commissioners’ poor treatment of this most essential and valued service.

Several years ago, while director of nursing at St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center, I encouraged my nursing managers to join me in volunteering several hours each week to a worthy community service. We selected the Gray Gourmet service and after each volunteer day, talked about a caring experience we came away from that day of volunteering. These caring encounters made each of us better nurses and individuals…the poignant experiences from being the only people they interacted with each day and their eagerness to visit with us to their incredible appreciation for the meal they were provided from the Gray Gourmet program. And, like Mr. Herman so well articulated, I, too, found the very dedicated and caring staff to be so committed to the mission of the program.

So, to read the very shortsighted decision by our county commissioners to change the rent structure for the Gray Gourmet building when this program is such a needy and worthy service to a very deserving population in Mesa County is very disturbing. The “business decision” by our county commissioners is clearly not impactful to the county’s overall budget and I urge each of them to immediately rethink their decision and image themselves as Mesa County residents who might “someday” be in need of this very valued, appreciated and needed service.

KAREN HILDEBRANDT

Grand Junction

Reader feels spiritually compelled to leave the church

Today I left the church after 61 years of church membership. I’ve taught Sunday School and read my Bible until it fell apart. I met my wife of 37 years while doing mission work. I even wrote a hymn once. But today I left the church.

When I was a child, adults in church ridiculed Martin Luther King Jr. who, like Christ, was murdered because of his compassion for the oppressed. As a young adult, my church condoned harming the environment since the world would end anyway with Christ’s return. As an older adult, I heard twice-divorced church members misuse scripture to condemn loving same-sex relationships.

Recently I’ve seen too many church members elect and support a president who undermines truth, obstructs justice, admires tyrants, colludes with the enemy, bullies the weak, and brags about sexually assaulting women.

For me, Charlottesville was the last straw. Many church members continue supporting Trump, who only when under pressure gave lip service to condemning hate crime murder by a white supremacist, only to flip-flop, laying blame instead on those like Heather Heyer who risked their lives protesting hate that Trump empowers.

And General Lee? He led thousands to senseless death defending America’s Original Sin; Lee was a rebel against our nation and God’s will to end slavery.

So today, I feel spiritually compelled to leave the church. I join many who can no longer be counted among church members who still support Trump. As I leave the church, I see the steeple and realize for some church members, the “T” on the steeple still represents the Cross of Christ and I support your staying. But for many, the “T” on the top of a steeple closely resembles the “T” of Trump Tower. And we will not bow down to it.

To the Trump supporters who now realize how bad Trump is, I’ve never thought of you as “deplorables”; you voted your conscience. But now we know and I humbly request your help in peaceful, lawful efforts to remove Trump and his congressional supporters from office.

DAN FORD
Fruita

Anyone with a conscience will be grieving at racial enmity

Anyone with a conscience will be grieving at the rise of racial enmity in our nation. While we hear many decrying the hatred, violence, and division, to whom can we look to find leadership in love, peace, and unity? Who is leading with their soul rather than their agenda?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in elected leadership who can’t seem to overcome their own partisan animosity and work together in healing our nation. One party’s agenda is to bring down the other party (and the president, too). In light of all the vicious character slander during elections and beyond, why doesn’t anyone condemn the Democrat’s or Republican’s lust for supremacy?

I don’t have a lot of confidence that institutional religion will fill that role. Generally speaking, self-righteous, sectarian churches have taken greater interest in partisan religion (and politics) than to busy themselves in teaching and demonstrating the values of love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

We have fallen a long way in one generation from what Dr. Martin Luther King said:

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

While we are right to condemn the violence that is rising, we might also fear the possibility that we have no “soul force” to fight with.

TIMOTHY KING
Grand Junction

City needs to go back to the drawing board as respects downtown parking

Earlier today a friend and I met downtown for coffee. I pulled into the parking lot behind the Rockslide and was horrified to find that it would cost me $1 in coin to park for 1 hour and 20 minutes. This is not enough time to do anything downtown and certainly not enough time for two women to enjoy a fine coffee and chat.

Tourists staying at the downtown hotels have hotel parking. Some neighborhood residents can walk downtown. I don’t live within walking distance for a woman my age (almost 81). A park card only allows 1 hour and 20 minutes and I don’t have one. I don’t know if I could have plunked in more change when I parked. I figured I would probably just lose it to the city. The cost of a parking ticket is one heckuva tax to locals wanting to go downtown during the day and patronize the various merchants.

Furthermore, does anyone realize how difficult it is to gather parking meter change in this nearly cashless society? I have a cell phone but it does not accommodate the parking program.

Go back to the drawing board as respects downtown parking before the downtown area is finally killed.

SHEILA JOHNSON
Grand Junction

Oil and gas development does not equal more school funding

As a former educator, I am well aware of how convoluted and difficult to parse public education funding is.

I am also aware of the frequent promise made by oil and gas operators that increased development will improve our school and increase funding. Recent studies have called into question the validity of the promises, and I believe we need to see a more detailed local study conducted on the impact of oil and gas development on our public schools and their funding.

Public education funding in Colorado has a particularly fraught relationship with oil and gas production. Colorado public education funding depends on local revenue sources to a greater extent than many other states, and Delta County already sits toward the bottom in per-pupil funding.

Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights further complicates the funding issue by capping the amount of revenue a district can collect. That cap means that as local severance tax revenue increases with production, other sources of revenue are automatically ratcheted down. As bust inevitably follows boom, severance tax revenues diminish, and school districts are let in a hole, unable to increase revenues without voter approval.

A new study by Resources for the Future highlights many of the risks school districts face when in the path of an impending oil and gas boom: rapid increases in student population, greater student turnover rates, decreased per-pupil funding, and greater difficulty in retaining faculty and staff. These risks are especially relevant for Delta County. As I mentioned above, Delta County is already at the bottom of the pack in per-pupil funding. Decisions being made on oil and gas development must have more specific details outlining the positive and negative impacts on a broad range of issues, and in this case, our local education system. As a mother of three young children who are embarking on their educational journey here in Delta county, I would hope to see that economic decisions being made at the local level, have been thoroughly researched, identifying specific effects, that reflect on short-term and long-term benefits and consequences. Education is the foundation of the future, and Delta County must fully consider the impact any oil and gas development could have on our school district. We owe it to the students, teachers, and community.

MELISSA MUNOZ
Paonia

Those in the ‘swamp’ trying to keep Trump from doing what he promised

President Trump was elected to enact reforms in our federal government, attempt to ease burdensome and questionable regulations, stimulate growth in our economy and thus create more meaningful jobs, reducing unemployment and the burgeoning welfare rolls.

He must be striking a nerve, as the members of the swamp are criticizing him and crying out to keep him from doing the things he promised to do. These dwellers of the swamp are found everywhere: the media, lobbyists, Democrats, and yes, many Republicans. Rather than insisting on observing their excessive vacations and continually sniping at the president, shouldn’t they be hard at work creating a balanced budget, reforming healthcare, reducing the number of citizens who depend on the many forms of welfare and looking for ways to support life, rather than continuing the funding for killing the unborn, commonly known as abortion?

How could they be so tired as to need all these vacations when they have accomplished so little? I continue to believe the members of the swamp are primarily interested in continuing their undeserved lifestyle at the expense of the citizens who deserve better.

FRED ZIMMAT
Grand Junction

Remembering history, not celebrating it

No, Kitty Nicholason, I would not support a statue of Hitler in the Fruita roundabout. Celebrating history is different than remembering it.

There has to be a way for communities to come to a consensus on what part of history to celebrate and what to remember. The Civil War was a two-sided war – it had brother fighting against brother, and families torn apart for different causes and beliefs.

To erase the memory of those lives lost would be as bad as erasing the memory of those lost during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and continuing today as our brave men and women make their ultimate sacrifice fighting for and serving their country.

Slavery is an abomination, the reason to carefully choose which statues, or memorials should be removed. Haphazardly removing our historical markers without first considering what they actually represent is as bad as ISIS destroying ancient, cultural heritage and archaeological sites because of different beliefs and causes.

The United States is so very young compared to other civilizations, we have to realize what we destroy today will be remembered differently by future generations.

JUDITH CHAPIN

Fruita

What are left are remnants of a lost cause based on economic profitability of slavery

According to science, anyone with intellectual honesty knows all races are descendent from the black race. The black race is the foundation of humankind.

No one is going to a Confederate monument for solace, inspiration or hopes that the South will rise again unless they are extremists. What puts a different spin on some of them is that many of these monuments were put up in the 1920s during the heyday of the KKK. This corrupts their authentic historical significance.

What would Abraham Lincoln do? Any statue deemed vintage Reconstruction Era or any statue revering leaders of the South on a sentimental epic scale, such as Stone Mountain, might be the exception. These are legitimate counterpoints to who we are today, and nothing can take away the honor of the black race. What are left are the remnants of a lost cause based on the economic profitability of slavery. It’s something we do not want to revisit even if it’s disguised as “cheap labor.”

FRED STEWART

Grand Junction

Recent letter was toxic drivel disguised as food for thought

While the cowardly Sentinel has not taken an editorial position on the current kerfuffle over Confederate statuary (perhaps for fear of losing advertising revenue from local “conservative” businesses), it has responsibly published multiple letters on both sides of the issue.

Among the most sophomoric is Dave Kearsley’s latest offering (“It is extremists of any stripe who think that rewriting history is a good thing”), which – as usual – serves-up shallow toxic drivel masquerading as “food for thought.”

First, the current shift of public opinion toward removal of Confederate statuary from government buildings and public spaces is not an attempt by liberals to “rewrite history,” but rather to erase the remnants of unrepentant White Supremacist extremists’ conspiracy to do so – by hiding their history of treason and murder behind a facade of “honor” and “tradition.”

Second, while Dave concedes, “Slavery is evil, plain and simple, and is a curse on our country,” he fails to appreciate that the statuary at issue originated as part of a deliberate campaign to perpetuate the racist bigotry that fostered such evil and still inflicts its curse.

Third, while Dave opines that “we have come a long way since” passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he entirely ignores why it took almost 100 years to reaffirm the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and what happened during their hiatus – lynchings, church burnings, Jim Crow, forced segregation, and now voter suppression. Instead, Dave gives undue credence to our “racist-in-chief’s” empty campaign promises – while “blaming the victims.”

Fourth, during the decades following the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and again at the 50th anniversary of the Civil War (coinciding with the resurgence of the KKK following release of the movie “Birth of a Nation” in 1915), Confederate statuary proliferated in the South and the “Confederate flag” reemerged as a signal to locals that whites’ political power had been restored, such that Negroes could once again be denied their civil rights. Therefore, removal of those racist symbols “helps Blacks” by announcing to all that the Constitutional promise of “equal protection of the laws” is to be fulfilled, not given mere “lip service.”

Finally, both Robert E. Lee himself (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/here’s-what-robert-e-lee-thought-about-confederate-monuments/ar-AAqdaUZ) and the great-great grandsons of Stonewall Jackson (https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/8/17/1690705/-Great-great-grandsons-of-Stonewall-Jackson-weigh-in?detail=emaildkre) appreciate(d) the deliberately divisive intent and effect of such statuary – even if Kearsley does not.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Protests by players a reason for decline in NFL viewership and sales

Another year, another football season, and another group of overpaid, fantasyland players, who want to protest the American flag while living the American dream. Their dream consists of making millions for playing competitive football 16 days a year.

They seem intent on killing the goose that laid their golden egg. There are literally thousands upon thousands of active duty military personnel serving in Colorado. Add those to the untold thousands of veterans who reside here and proudly display their flag. One should be expected to forgive and understand the plight of the poor football players. After all, they were never provided the opportunity to serve their country. Oh wait, I guess they were. They choose to decline that opportunity so that they could make their millions while presenting themselves as the representatives of the downtrodden and oppressed people they “represent.”

NFL viewership and sales declined last year. The NFL cannot understand why, but has assured us that the protests by players are not the cause. Newsflash NFL, it is one of the main reasons. Well, that and the trend, by players, to act like spoiled brats on the field. If a player does not want to stand up for the National Anthem, fine. Keep him in the clubhouse until game time. If a player comes out and protests then do what every other business would do – fire him and send him packing.

God Bless the USA.

DANIEL MOORE
Fruita

Bicycle tax is not worth the time spent thinking about it

Some people think that registering bicycles and taxing them will cause the operators to stop at stop signs and all the respectable things. What if the same thing would be done at the grocery stores with the shopping carts? Do you think this would stop people from leaving the carts in the center of the aisles while they look for something, or that the tax would keep them from shooting out of the ends of the aisles, with no regard for others going across? The best of all this would be that the tax and registration fee would keep all shoppers from pushing you out of the pay out counter before your finished paying for your things and bagging them. This bicycle tax is not worth the time spent thinking about it.

RAFAEL A SALAZ
Grand Junction

Changing North Avenue’s name makes no sense

North Avenue is arguably the most historic street name in Grand Junction and perhaps the best known. Changing it makes no sense, a public view apparently lost on our City Council.

It makes more sense to rename 12th Street to University Avenue as it abuts far more of the college than does North Avenue and is somewhat less provocative. People entering the city from Horizon Drive or the bypass or North Avenue would have a useful clue as to where they might find our sterling institution of learning. Renaming North Avenue still leaves the location of the college somewhere between Grand Mesa and Piñon Mesa.

Also, it isn’t out of the question to consider 10th Street for that name change as it would connect the college to its latest dormitory at 10th and Grand, another City Council deaf-to-the-public irritation.

If I understand the comments on the internet correctly, there is on the order of 96 percent of people sincerely resentful of the college president and City Council for the North Avenue name change while those in favor of it seem few and far between. But, as it so often the case of public opinion and private enterprise questions before the Council, PE trumps PO every time. And the next elections are when?

T.C. STREFF
Grand Junction

North could have been renamed North University Avenue

Concerning City Council’s change of North Avenue to University Boulevard, I have a few comments:

First, when and where were these petition signups sheets placed?

Second, were the 1,000 signers open to all the public?

Third, have you ever thought of possibly renaming North Avenue to North University Avenue?

This way you might be able to appease more of the voting population and we keep the original north boundary on the original plat of the city.

RUTH COATNEY
Resident since 1967
Grand Junction


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