Email letters, August 6, 2012
President asked to remember importance of Colorado River
My job depends on the Colorado River, so when President Obama arrives in Grand Junction this week, I’ll be listening closely to see what the president’s plans are to protect this economic lifeline for the Grand Valley, our state and the entire Southwest.
Every year a population 2.2 times greater than the entire Denver metropolitan area descends upon the river and its tributaries in Colorado to recreate, leaving a trail of $6.4 billion behind in exchange for hotel stays, meals, souvenirs, rafting trips and countless other products and services.
In fact, if the Colorado River were a company, it would be the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500 and rank ahead of companies such as General Mills, USAirways and Progressive Insurance.
But without the leadership of President Obama and the adoption of conservation measures, we won’t always be able to rely on the river to create jobs and support our tax base. Years of drought paired with large population increases across the West have taken a severe toll on the river, and now more water leaves the Colorado River than enters it each year.
If we stay on our current course, the Colorado River will slow to a trickle. And so, too, will the tourism dollars flowing into our state, the profitability of our outdoor recreation economy, our jobs and our current way of life.
Mr. President, if you remember one thing from your visit it should be: The Colorado River is good business for Colorado.
Adventure Bound River Expeditions
Defendants in secret ballot lawsuits ignore historical facts
On July 15, 2012, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner (“Marks is involved in multiple court cases”) itemized eleven ongoing state and federal lawsuits seeking judicial intervention on issues relating to voting in Colorado, three of which involve Reiner’s own denial of a truly “secret ballot” in Mesa County.
As Sentinel readers may recall, the defendant clerks (including Reiner) and the Secretary of State maintain, first, that “there is no fundamental right to a secret ballot” in Colorado or the U.S., and, second, that even if there were, Colorado’s constitutional prescription that “ballot secrecy be maintained” applies only to the public, not to sworn election officials (who are therefore entitled to know how everyone votes).
While it is true that – since the Australian “secret ballot” was first popularized in the U.S. beginning in 1888 – our Supreme Court has never ruled that we have a “fundamental right” to a truly secret ballot, nor has it ruled otherwise. Rather, the court has presumed that a “secret ballot” is indeed “fundamental” by noting that our First Amendment right to anonymous political expression “is perhaps best exemplified by the secret ballot, the hard-won right to vote one’s conscience without fear of retaliation.”
Defendants also ignore the historical fact that for the 80 years prior to enactment of Colorado’s Open Records Act in 1969, the struggle for that “hard-won right” was motivated by the need to counter the unchecked power of partisan (albeit sworn) election officials over the outcome of elections. Indeed, the very reason that CORA made anonymous voted ballots “public records” was to impose added public transparency onto the previously opaque activities of “sworn” election officials.
Meanwhile, Reiner is expending taxpayers’ money to defend procedures that pre-date the “secret ballot” and policies that pre-date CORA, and risking thousands more by doing so.
Chick-fil-A flap shows un-American religious discrimination
We all know the firestorm sparked by the chicken shop owner’s statement became the aiming point for the continuing culture war. I’m really tired of hearing about it, but on closer examination, I sense something very un-American here.
That company didn’t intentionally start a controversy. Has this country finally degenerated to a point where even biblical beliefs are “fighting words”? Chic-fil-A has certainly become so and has drawn the ire of some.
And, as so often happens with negative smear attempts, the ire turned out good for business and brought favorable publicity that a company could never have paid to achieve.
The downside, if there is one, is being banned by certain cities. Once upon a time in America it was unconstitutional for a city to ban a private legal business. But nowadays, since the Constitution seems insignificant anyway, I guess “unconstitutional” is just another word. (I believe it’s our first little taste of what it’s like to be told what not to say in public.)
Here’s a word of warning to Christian-based businesses. Religious discrimination is centuries old. It’s best to lie low a while, keep beliefs to yourself or risk being banned and/or protested.
Have you noticed? Favored businesses, holding pre-approved mainstream beliefs seem to be entitled to special treatment by the media.
Placing labels on others raises complex questions
An editorial tells us the editors will be using precise language to help us recognize people who have “rejected much of society’s norms, even while they eagerly accept its charity” from “the truly homeless” who have “involuntarily fallen on hard times.”
I’m all for precise language as long as it reflects precise distinctions. However, the editorial doesn’t tell us how these differences will be determined.
Have the mentally ill fallen on hard times voluntarily or not? Will compilers of the blotter determine for us which persons arrested are trying to better their lives?
Will reporters ask people without homes whether they “eagerly accept“ charity or do so reluctantly? How long must someone try to get back on his or her feet before that person qualifies as a vagrant?
Why is losing a home through foreclosure taken as evidence of good intentions, while having a one’s campsite repeatedly disrupted by authorities is no excuse for wandering from place to place?
What about common criminals and suspicious characters with fixed addresses? Do we need labels for them, too?
It would be instructive to have special terms for those living in trophy homes who paid for them with funds obtained through fraud, drug dealing or other exploitative behavior. I hope you have someone working on this.
Sentinel should re-examine its priorities for front-page news
Just when I figured that there was no way you could make the Sentinel’s front page more obnoxious and negative, you have proven me wrong.
Over the past five days, you have headlined Olympian Jordan Wieber’s unfortunate “Golden Hopes Dashed,” twice publicized an ex-cop’s “alleged” improper request, featured a prominent lawyer’s license suspension and then featured a “sex suspect” accused of abuse by a fourth victim.
Why was I not surprised to see the ultimate in trashy news coverage when your Saturday daily tabloid flaunted your readers with an Associated Press photo of two homosexual males kissing?
What has happened to good taste and proper discretion in reporting the really important news? Hey, don’t get me wrong. I am neither offended nor disgruntled. I am simply disgusted with your sense of priorities in reporting and in depicting what is truly newsworthy.
Regardless of whether or not this epistle on free speech gets published, I am still proud of the fact that I have responded and relieved for having said it.
“To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” - Abraham Lincoln
Let freedom ring.
It’s good to live in a community sans ‘Chicago values’
This letter is in response to Peggy Shaw’s letter, published Aug. 5, which states she’s embarrassed to live in a community that supports a business that has traditional values.
What? We seem to be in an interesting time in this country where someone’s opinion supporting Bible-backed, traditional marriage can be corkscrewed into meaning hate speech.
All you have to do is read the statistics to know that traditional values have a big impact on the health of our children, resulting in the health of communities. On top of which, I’m happy to live in a community that doesn’t have “Chicago values.”
Spending wildfire rages in DC
If you can imagine Congress as an out-of-control spending wildfire, then it is easy to accept that additional revenues (taxes) are just more fuel for the fire.
When new tax revenue goes to Washington, it immediately creates new ways to spend it.
GJ VA hospital needs to restore high-quality service
What ever happened to the V.A. Med Center in Grand Junction? I worked there for 27 years as a nursing assistant, housekeeper, O.R. tech and finally substance abuse counselor.
We had our ups and downs, but in the end we were a very good hospital. We received commendations and at one time were rated the number one medical center in the nation. This was achieved by all of the employees at the V.A.
What did we have to do to achieve this? We had to do our jobs and do them well.
I pointed out once to the staff that we were the V.A., not the building. When people looked at us they saw the V.A. We were the V.A. I know there are a lot of good people working at the V.A.. If I worked there now, I would be embarrassed.
When I worked there all the directors had an open-door policy; you could talk to them about anything. No longer. If you would like to talk to the director, he will have the patient advocate return your call.
I recently needed a brace for my knee. After six weeks I found that they had forgotten to order it. I went to Denver V.A. for a cardiogram. I called the social worker in my group to ask for help with housing for my wife and me while we were there. I got a voice mail. I left a message and asked the social worker to please return my message. He did—the day after I returned home from Denver, Not to worry, the V.A in Denver took care of my wife and me.
I will be returning to Denver soon for a triple bypass. Denver is a great V.A with a very caring staff.
The V.A. in Grand Junction has a lot of great people, especially in the audiology and dental departments. I have a great primary physician. I wish they had a good PTSD program.
Hopefully the V.A. in Grand Junction will return to the V.A. it used to be so they can again give the care to the brave men and women who fought for the freedoms we now have in our great country. Sooner rather than later.
Meis once again in trouble, wrong on some issues
Oh, Craig Meis is in trouble again—imagine that. I will be so glad when Meis no longer a county commissioner. His positions on some of the issues put before him were totally wrong.
He had a lot going for himself except one thing: common sense.
Government policies toward Detroit may steer rest of country in same direction
The article in the Friday edition of the Daily Sentinel about the urban decay of Detroit only touched on the aftermath of the four decades of failed leadership that brought this city to the lows that the article described.
In 1961 the last Republican mayor of Detroit lost his re-election bid to Jerome Cavanagh. Mayor Cavanagh would later serve 10 years in prison for tax evasion. He instated aggressive affirmative action policies, taking advantage of President Johnson’s “Model Cities Program.” Basically the program, directed by federal bureaucrats and Democratic mayors, was telling people where to live, what to build, and what businesses to open and close. In return people would receive cash, training, education and health care.
The Model Cities program created a state-supported Democratic political power base, resulting in much higher taxes. Mayor Cavanagh pushed new income taxes and a commuter taxes. By 1966 middle class residents began moving out of the city because of this initiative. Next the riots of 1967 led to an additional 140,000 residents moving out of the city.
After five years of centralized planning and higher taxes what happened to the “Model City”? The Model City program was expanded and enlarged by the 1974’s community development block grant program. Again, politicians would decide which groups, or individuals, would receive state funds for various “renewal” schemes.
The end result was that centralized planners did not succeed with any of their plans and residents continued to leave the city. The “Model City” lost 63% of its population and 45% of its housing units from the inception of the plan through 1990. Every single mayor of Detroit since 1961 has been a Democrat. Detroit has been a major recipient of every major social program since the early 1960s and has received hundreds of billions of dollars in government grants, loans and programs.
We now have a Democrat president who is promising to do to America as a whole what his political mentors have done to Detroit. The likelihood America will become a giant Detroit is growing fast. With control of the banking sector, auto manufacturing, media, health care and now electrical production (through overregulation by the EPA), is the government creating the “Model Country”?
Mass shootings indicate inadequate mental health counseling
Another shooting and, I’m sure, soon another chorus for gun control.
Gun control is not the problem or solution. The problem comes from the general population, politicians and rabid gun control voices not addressing currently inadequate mental health treatment.
Two of our local hospitals closed their mental health centers and the regional mental health center is inadequately funded. Look at the common thread in the recent mass shootings. Besides guns being used, the shooters had serious mental health problems.
The Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Tucson shooters could have been screened if detected by a functional mental health system. A suggestion to the NRA and Pro-Gun politicians: Campaign for support and funding for more community mental health programs instead of deflecting blame.
I’m a NRA member, and I would not mind increasing my membership dues if the increase went to this funding.
Maybe it’s time for a new Pittman-Robertson Act for community mental health treatment. If this campaign was successful the anti-gun advocates could not demonize the pro-gun advocates.
RICK SPALENKA, RN
Amtrak losses a good example of how Obamacare spending will derail nation’s economy
Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman once said, “If you put government in charge of the Sahara Desert in five years you’ll have a shortage of sand.” To which I would add, what sand is left will cost more.
Now we have the spectacle of Amtrak. In 10 years it lost $834 million on its food service. Its overall losses dwarf the food service loss. What does the government run without a loss? Nothing I’m aware of.
Yet somehow there are people who think that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which is really the Unaffordable Care Act, will run efficiently and lower costs. Folks, if you believe that for even a nanosecond, you are living in a fantasyland.
This November there is only one course of action to save this country; you must vote for candidates who promise to shrink the size of government, and then make sure that they do. It’s the only way. Otherwise, we’re doomed.
RICK L. COLEMAN
Nation’s soldiers deserve protection of rights to vote
On July 17th, the Obama for America Campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in Ohio to strike down part of that state’s law governing voting by members of the military. Their suit said that part of the law is “arbitrary” with “no discernible rational basis.”
I know I am not the only one disgusted with how that fool in the White House is constantly suing one state after another—at our expense! The left scream that Voter ID laws disenfranchise minority voters, yet work overtime to disenfranchise our soldiers. It’s time to put a stop to this insanity.
Here’s just one more obvious example of just how out-of-touch and selfish this current administration is. Anyone with a brain knows members of the military have the most difficult time getting their votes counted due to time constraints. Obama is only concerned about his re-election. Because of proposed budget cuts to military spending, Obama fears backlash from military personnel at the voting booths. He should be afraid, very afraid. His total lack of respect for the military and our need for a strong defense is screaming at us at every turn.
Additionally, patriotic Americans need to demand that the ballots get to those serving overseas quickly so the ballots can be returned in time to be counted. The men and women in our armed forces protect us. The least we can do is stand up and protect their right to vote.
JUANITA R. WILLIAMS
Along with Romney’s sons, Presidents Clinton, Obama did not join military
We do enjoy reading letters to the editor, as it always amazes us what people are thinking and writing about. The letter from letter writer David L. McWilliams really caught my attention, and I felt the need to respond.
Mitt Romney’s sons did not serve in the military. Our military is, and has been since the Vietnam War, an all-volunteer force. Thank heavens for those wonderful individuals who have chosen to volunteer their services to our military.
May I remind the letter writer that Bill Clinton never served in the military? He never even wore a Boy Scout uniform. As far as Barack Obama is concerned, he never served in the military. In fact, he wouldn’t know one military uniform from the other without a teleprompter. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Color me red.
Regarding the ridiculous diatribe about Romney’s offshore accounts, until you can verify or disqualify these accusations, don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you read.