Email Letters: August 30, 2017

What we really need are tax increases to fulfill the many tasks of governance

On September 6, 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore proposed accruing a $300 billion “rainy day fund” as a prudent hedge against optimistic projections of a $4.4 trillion budgetary surplus over the next 10 years (enough to retire our national debt).

Republicans and conservative economists belittled the suggestion, Gore narrowly “lost,” and Bush’s tax cuts – along with two off-budget wars and the financial crisis – converted that projected surplus into a $14 trillion national debt by the end of 2010. Then came the rains.

Within a week after Hurricane Katrina submerged New Orleans in August 2005, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was insisting that no federal disaster relief should be provided unless “paid for” by a $30 billion reduction in Medicare prescription drug benefits for the elderly.

In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy inundated New York City, Long Island, and the Jersey Shore, both Republican Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn voted against the final Sandy relief bill – and Cruz’s lame excuse for his vote was assigned “three Pinocchios” (“mostly false”) by the Washington Post’s fact-checkers on Monday. Now, these anti-government and anti-tax hypocrites want a “government bail out” for Texas.

Ironically, Gore’s “rainy day fund” presaged the “Inconvenient Truth” about the effects of global climate change. While scientists predicted that warming oceans would increase the frequency and intensity of “extreme weather events,” Republican “deniers” still prod their gullible “base” to dismiss that science as a “hoax” – even as Houston and its environs have just experienced the most extreme rain event in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, our president is exploiting Houston’s devastation as a product placement opportunity for his $40 baseball caps, has endorsed Arpaio’s anti-immigrant lawlessness, has proposed a corporate tax cut that will add $3 to $7 trillion to our debt, and threatens to “shut down” the government unless Congress funds his “wall” – when what Houston will really need are immigrant workers to help remove debris and rebuild (just as they did after Katrina).

On Monday, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson opined that Republicans’ reliance on perpetual tax cuts has proven an utter failure. Rather, what we really need are tax increases – primarily on the top 20 percent of taxpayers – to fulfill the many tasks of governance and respond to the increasing likelihood of natural disasters.

Grand Junction

City and university shouldn’t change history

I have lived here all my life and don’t like the way the city and university want to change history. When Grand Junction was founded, it was surveyed in a one-mile square from 1st to 12th Street south to North Avenue. Please keep some sort of history in Grand Junction and a feather out of Tim Foster’s hat.


Grand Junction

Name change a halfhearted attempt to better our community

Once again it appears that only a halfhearted attempt has been made to better our community. Change the name of North Avenue and it is said they will come, by the hundreds! Apparently the name of the street is at least equally, if not more important, than the choice of courses or the quality of instruction.

Then there are a number of claims about how the community will benefit from this name change. Seems like such a simple fix, change the name and prosper. Why didn’t we do this before?

If this is indeed the case, then why are we not changing the name of the city? Maverick, Colorado has a nice ring to it and would draw new students by the thousands! Who could resist being a proud Maverick from CMU in Maverick, Colorado? And for sure the streets would end up being paved with gold, or perhaps the stuff that Mavericks leave behind when they pass by.

Let’s not just go halfway!

Grand Junction

Fireworks are not allowed on public lands

A suggestion was made in a recent You Said It to “please take your fireworks to the desert.” I’d like to remind folks that fireworks are not allowed at any time on public land, regardless of whether fire restrictions are in place.

The desert may not look like it would carry fire, but our firefighters responded to more than 15 fast-moving grass fires there this summer. Please help us out by not using fireworks on your public lands.

Field Manager, BLM
Grand Junction

Is sales tax increase a crime prevention measure or is it not?

It looks like I won’t be voting for the law-enforcement sales-tax increase. According to The Daily Sentinel, apparently about 67 percent would go to the sheriff’s office, and about 17 percent more to the prosecutor’s office. And then about 15 percent more divvied up among 14 other county offices?

Is this a crime prevention measure or is it not? How about the sheriff’s office and the prosecutor’s office split the entire tax increase?

Why the extra 14 percent to be split up among other county offices? Have the county’s voters been made financially whole since the 2010 slowdown?

And when you draw up a ballot measure, county commissioners, how about including a sunset provision? You know how tax increases without one tend to become forever things.

Once the sheriff and prosecutor offices have been properly taken care of and the sunset provision has brought the tax rate back to 2 percent, then let’s consider what to do about the other 14 county agencies.

And a parting thought. Did commissioner Justman really ever think that marijuana legalization would work out well for anybody except stoners?

Grand Junction

Trump’s actions, company, point to him being racist

Trump is not a racist. Well you are known by the company you keep. When the KKK and neo-Nazis consider you their supporter and you show no emotion when disavowing their support, I question your sincerity. Get all worked up about “them” attacking your heritage but soft pedal opposition to those working to put history in its place (a museum)?

Pardoning Joe Arpaio who flouted the ruling of a federal judge – a man who places his beliefs before the rule of law. Martin Luther King refused to bow down to racist laws but was willing to go to jail rather than comply. Nelson Mandala spent years in prison rather than give in to a racist government but “Sheriff Joe” will avoid six months of confinement in support of his racist beliefs. And Trump consolidates his racist base.

Congress, whose Republican members did not hesitate to launch an investigation of Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades, can’t find the will to investigate Trump’s pardon. Bill Clinton’s actions may have offended your moral code but did not send a message to racists that your conduct can be pardoned.


Politicians even at local level are only concerned about themselves and legacy

I attended Mesa Junior College in 1969-1970; my parents retired to Grand Junction in the early 80’s. On a recent visit, there was much discussion over changing the name of North Avenue to University. In the week I was there I didn’t hear anyone say they supported the change, however the politicians, in typical fashion, decided they are better able to determine what is good for the people than the people are themselves, and voted for the change.

One thing is certain: politicians, even at the local level, are only concerned about themselves and their legacy. Ten years from now this current group will still be praising themselves for the name change.

I currently live in Illinois, the most politically corrupt state in the nation, and so I see it on a regular basis. November is coming; that means elections. I don’t know if the mayor or any of the current trustees are up for election, but if they are you need to vote them out. That is the only thing politicians understand. If reelected, they will take it as a mandate to do whatever they please, regardless of the desires of the people.


Lombard, Ill.

Rulemaking hearing will be conducted professionally and appropriately

Dear Commissioners Bolton, Rector and Woodruff,

Thank you for your Aug. 24, 2017 letter regarding your concerns about the Air Quality Control Commission Administrator Michael Silverstein’s statements to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and his ability to fairly guide the Commission through its upcoming oil and gas regulatory rulemaking hearing. I appreciate your engagement on this matter and want to assure you that the Department is committed to a fair and impartial rulemaking process founded on sound science, and an open and transparent assessment of the policy implications of potential new air quality requirements.

Before addressing Mr. Silverstein’s comments directly, I’d like to emphasize where the Department stands with respect to the upcoming rulemaking, as well as discuss the interplay between the Department, the Commission, and other parties to the rulemaking. As you allude to in your letter, the Department, through the Air Pollution Control Division, has proposed a new set of regulatory requirements that apply only in the Denver Metro/North Front Range ozone non-attainment area. However, the Commission has its own independent statutory authority to adopt rules that differ from what the Department proposes, including the geographic scope of the requirements. Likewise, other parties to the rulemaking have the legal right to advance alternate proposals, including in this case proposals that would expand requirements to the rest of the state. But while recognizing that the Commission and other parties have independent authority and rights under Colorado law, the Department remains committed to the scope of the rule as initially proposed, and does not intend either to modify its proposal to include a statewide component, or support any alternate state-wide proposals that may arise during the rulemaking process.

With respect to Mr. Silverstein’s statements in The Grand Junction Sentinel article, I understand that your overriding concern is that they suggest he may be advocating for expanding the proposed non-attainment area rule state-wide, and that such advocacy might unfairly influence the Commission in these rulemaking proceedings. I have discussed this with Mr. Silverstein and I can assure you that it was not his intent to advocate for statewide applicability of the rule. Rather his sole intent was to provide the reporter with information regarding where the rulemaking process stood, including the fact that applying the rules statewide was one possible outcome. As reflected in the article, the interview did include a discussion of arguments that could be made for or against applying the proposed rules statewide. Taken as a whole the statements attributed to Mr. Silverstein are factual and do not misrepresent CDPHE’s long-standing positions on air quality science, namely that emissions from other parts of the state can impact front range ozone, but that those impacts are very slight. I appreciate your concern that the article may have placed greater emphasis on the arguments for applying the proposed rules statewide. Understand, however, that this is not the position that the Department has taken, nor was it Mr. Silverstein’s intent to take a position one way or another on the advisability of statewide applicability.

Nor was it Mr. Silverstein’s intent to suggest that he was in any way speaking for the Commission. As Administrator for the Commission, Mr. Silverstein fully understands that his role is to manage the rulemaking process fairly and impartially, and he cannot in any way advise or attempt to influence the nine member, independent commission on policy matters. Mr. Silverstein’s role is to ensure that the Commission’s Procedural Rules for rulemakings are strictly adhered to and that the Colorado Administrative Procedures Act is complied with. I can assure you that Mr. Silverstein is acutely aware of the concerns noted in your letter and that this rulemaking hearing will be conducted professionally and appropriately.

Executive director and chief medical officer
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment


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