Email Letters: August 29, 2017

The trash littering our community is an urgent problem

The debris littering our community is an urgent problem. Trash presents numerous public health and safety hazards, including but not limited to:

1) Crime. Trash and other debris is a direct cause for violent criminal activity – the “broken windows” theory.

2) Disease. Debris collects rain water, presenting opportunity for disease-spreading insects to breed; other debris festers disease: diapers, bottles and cans filled with urine or chew tobacco, for example, harbor dangerous bacteria that freely enter our canals and other open waters, are spread by insects, and are directly exposed to children and the public.

3) Pollution. Plastics, batteries, and other artificial materials break down with sunlight and precipitation into dangerous components that poison the land and water for hundreds of years.

4) Hazard. Some trash presents sharp edges that can cause damage and injury.

5) Ugliness. The debris is also unsightly.

The quantity of trash far exceeds any ability of the government or private individuals to clean. We must therefore:

A) Ban or tax plastic bags. Bags collect water, and become sources of disease – as well as are some of the most difficult debris to clean. They break down into pollutants in the presence of sunlight and precipitation. They are extremely unsightly.

B) Tax bottles and cans, for redemption. Redemption programs are effective in motivating litter cleanup. Bottles and cans collect rainwater, are used as depositories of chew tobacco, urine and other human waste that can cause disease, and are hazardous.

C) Strengthen and enforce litter regulations to hold landowners accountable for the accumulation of trash on their private property. Commercial lands especially are increasingly dangerous depositories of debris, where the drainage and winds result in trash accumulation. There is insufficient market incentive for these commercial landowners to reduce litter, and there are insufficient legal penalties to reform behavior.

AARON BRACHFELD
Grand Junction

Walcher epitomizes ideology that has captured economy, media, and civic mindedness

Generally, I pay little attention to Greg Walcher’s columns in the Sentinel’s Friday editions, as they mostly tend to conclude with the same takeaway: regulation is bad, and only the “invisible hand” that guides our economy can deliver solutions to our most pressing problems.

Perhaps because his topic on Aug. 25, climate catastrophe, is one close to my heart, I gave it a closer read than usual. And my takeaway is that Mr. Walcher, in his public expositions, epitomizes the ideology that has, over the past several decades, steadily and stealthily captured our economy, media, civic mindedness, and the Republican Party – and that is on course to edit democracy out of the U.S. Constitution in the not too distant future.

By now, some of the Sentinel’s more astute subscribers have already read Nancy MacLean’s deep dive into the above-noted conspiracy, “Democracy in Chains: The History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.” If not, I advise that you, including Mr. Walcher and the Sentinel’s editors, run at full speed to your nearest bookseller or library. Professor MacLean, a historian by discipline, has gifted us with a brilliant and meticulous piece of scholarship that, if luck is with us, might yet enable those of us who hold democracy in high regard to beat back the bogeyman that has invaded our hope for peace and prosperity, and our shared public spaces and social benefits.

As for Mr. Walcher’s prospects, however, I must hold a dim view. What tipped me off to his probable membership in this grand conspiracy to begin with was his near word-for-word use of the conspiracy’s disinformation campaign on climate change (which, itself, was lifted from the tobacco industry’s earlier success.) I fear he may have already drunk far too much Koch Kool-Aid to ever be rehabilitated into the community working our hearts out to restore the environment, public spaces and functions, and our own humanity to a fuller integrity.

KATHRYN CHRISTIAN
Grand Junction

Legalization of pot is not an entitlement to put other people at risk

The front-page story on Aug. 28 linking the rise of traffic fatalities to pot use is extremely alarming and should be disturbing to all citizens and politicians in Colorado. The highlights show that since pot has been legalized, its involvement in fatal crashes has increased 40 percent. In 2016 alone 71 of 155 (61 percent) of the survivors of fatal crashes tested positive and this does not include the possible condition of the fatalities themselves since the state does not require they be tested.

With all that data, the Colorado transportation and public safety officials say that this “does not definitively prove that the rise is linked to legalized marijuana” and the lobbying group for the cannabis industry cavalierly says this simply proves that “a larger number are consuming and at some point are driving a car.”

Legalization of pot use is not an entitlement to put other people at risk. I am sure that the increased tax revenue that the politicians drool over is of little comfort to those families of the severely injured, permanently handicapped, or deceased.

Perhaps it is time our politicians in Denver stop looking at the revenue they want to keep flowing and start putting the lives and welfare of all the citizens of Colorado first.

J.C. SMITH
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr. Smith, do you really think that there are more pot users than there used to be? And all the new users are more dangerous in their cars than all those who “used” previously? And, there is, of course, all the wrecks and deaths caused by the alcohol users. Why not step back in time and apply something similar to Prohibition to both pot, alcohol and virtually all recreational drugs? Every culture, and I mean every one of them, has some kind of stimulant or depressant that they rely on for escape. Prohibition will fix it, sort of,  but then what will we get, inevitably, to counter it illegally? Were you around in the Twenties and early Thirties? If people want it how are you going to keep it out of their hands? There are ALWAYS unexpected consequences. Been there, done that!

Wow, Mr. Borgen. I quote statistics from an analysis by the Denver Post and cited by the Associated Press that indicate that people on our roads in Colorado are at greater risk because of the legalization of recreational pot and I get a pedantic lecture on the prohibition laws from 100 years ago. Apparently to you any additional deaths, injuries, suffering, etc. are just expected consequences that we have to live (or die) with! Try that reasoning with the victims. Next perhaps you will take the position that since pot is now legal here testing of school bus drivers, teachers, and pilots is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy!
If you are not alarmed by what the studies are starting to show there is no need to say any more. Over and out!

Mr. Hunley, I didn’t see a suggestion of a correction in your post regarding highway accidends, Apparently you agree with the Prohibition idea. Are you sure that the legalization of pot is a major contributor to more traffic accidents? The ones already happening are okay and understandable? Liquor, driver lack of attention, drivers texting, other kinds of legal drugs, falling asleep at the wheel,  and on and on. Are you hooked on the decades old campaign to rid ourselves of the demon pot? Why not make every contributor to highway accidents illegal and add to our highway patrol ranks and get tough? Look how successful our multi billion war on drugs has been. Or is your post just an attempt to try to make a political statement to a card carrying liberal. As I said at the beginning of this, where is your answer to highway safety relative to all the varied causes of accidents? No answers, just political comments. What a surprise!

Mr. Hunley, did you notice that I was addressing J.C.Smith. Can I assume from your missive that you are a ghost writer for J.C.Smith? Is that kosher? I was not addressing anything that you have allegedly written in a post or Letter to the Editor. Are you aware the current testing for pot can’t distinguish between current usage and that occurred as long weeks ago. No, of course not. Now you’ve seen your name in the paper. Isn’t that enough for now?

Mr. Borgen, Ms. Smith is my wife and in spite of being in a very serious medical condition she still though it worth commenting on. I object to your insinuations and insults.
As usual you make it a point to insult anyone who disagrees with your point of view and always insinuate that anyone who disagrees with you is not as smart or as well read as you. Believe it or not people other than yourself are entitled to an opinion! What a pity that this is the only way you can make yourself feel like a better person than everyone else. And for your info both my wife and I have had many letters published and don’t do this for some self gratification. Coming from you that is hilarious since you use the Daily Sentinel as your personal blog. Please stop responding since I find your comments demeaning, unless of course you want to apologize for anything you may have said (like you would ever do that!).

Mr Hunly, Professor Borgen has far more knowledge on every subject than any one can match. When he assumed the cloak of liberalism he also assumed that his IQ took a miraculous 200 point jump. Similar to the anomaly that attacks politicians and political appointees.

A comparable would be taking a passed out drunk from the gutter, telling him he is now the senior advisor to the President on Urban Pollution, and he instantly becomes the smartest person on the subject…. 

Simply put, Progressives believe they are morally superior, therefore everything they believe or do is right by default.

He will now turn on me for his usual attack, even after dressing you down for daring to comment on something he was discussing with another person. That is only allowed when it is him doing it.

Ms. Patton

Mr. Patton, thank you for your comments. My old rule of thumb is that when someone has to spend all their time telling everyone else how smart he is he more often than not ends up failing to make a believer of anyone - except himself.
Since apparently he has nothing better to do but criticize us common folk, I wonder if he could take the time to call his previous gods, Kerry and Obama, and have them ask Iran to send us a plane-load of cash back to help our fellow Americans in Texas! Surely he has them on speed-dial!

Ms. Patton, sorry I mistakenly addressed you as Mr. Patton.

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