Email letters, Dec. 14, 2011

Youth minister a great leader for teenagers

First, this letter is not for the glorification of the chilling events that led up to the recent death of Cody English. My purpose is to commend a man and his dedication to the youth of this community. That man is Doug Clayton, Youth Minister at the church of Christ of Grand Junction.

I work with Doug and every day I see him quietly expending selfless energy taking food, socks, candles, friendship and compassion to the homeless at their encampment on the river, substituting in the schools, ministering and playing with the youth of our congregation, and most of all just being an
all around good guy.

But let me get to the point. Doug was chosen by Cody English’s dad to conduct his memorial service here at the building where we attend services on Patterson Road. The auditorium will seat approximately 400 and it was packed with Cody’s peers, high school friends and relatives. The atmosphere was tense and tragic, the auditorium full with standing room only yet Doug was in complete control.

Cody’s father asked Doug to speak directly to the young people about the choices they make and the mistakes that could place every family in that room in the place of the English family. He did just that and in such an intimate, loving way as a dad would speak to his own kids. You could have heard a pin drop except for the grief stricken sobbing of Cody’s little sister.

I think Doug touched the lives of those precious, sometimes misguided and hurting teen-agers, hoping they would think twice before going off into such dangerous, law-breaking situations. I know that was his purpose. I know that he hopes that Cody’s legacy will be to perhaps inspire even one young person to think twice before diving into a thoughtless, harmful act that brought on his death.

I know Doug would probably wish that I not write this letter, but he touched me and it is my hope that everyone attending the service realized the very special experience they were witnessing by a very special man that I am honored to have as our minister.

Grand Junction

Where are the term limit petitions?

We have allowed Congress to do things their way for a lot of years and it is not working. We need new congressmen and a Congressional Reform Act.

1. No tenure and no pension. A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when he leaves office.

2. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately and Congress participates with the American people.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3 percent.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. No more earmarks. This will stop a lot of the pork.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective January 1, 2012.

The American people did not make this contract with our congressmen. Congressmen made these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

This is how you fix Congress and get this country back on track. 
Grand Junction

Current per-pupil funding is unfair

The Daily Sentinel is correct. Lobato vs. Colorado is a landmark decision with potential positive impacts for Mesa County School District 51. The Court ruled per pupil funding is not “uniform” and on this point the court is correct.
A major element of the case is the “J Curve”. The Public School Finance Act of 1994 created an unfair distribution system for per pupil funding. If you live in the six metro counties surrounding Denver, your child’s school district receives on average $280 more than if you live in Mesa, Larimer, El Paso, Weld, Moffat, Pueblo and Fremont counties. These non metro Denver counties are “floor district” receiving the lowest per pupil funding in Colorado of $6,462 per student.

Mesa County School District 51 received $6,462 per pupil in for fiscal year 2010-2011 from the Colorado Department of Education. Cherry Creek School District received $6,742, a subsidy of $280 more per pupil in state funding.

This subsidy has nothing to do with mill levies, school bonds, overrides or assessed evaluation of property. When Colorado’s legislators divide the general fund for K-12 education Cherry Creek Schools gets $280 more without reason.
The other big winners when compared to the floor funding include: Boulder County (+$254), Jefferson County (+$174), Adams County (+$154), Douglas County (+$79) and Denver (+$770).

Keep in mind that Jefferson County, Denver and Douglas County have twice the student population of School District 51. The state subsidy to Jefferson County Schools is $14 million and the state subsidy to Denver Public Schools is $56 million. All totaled the 6 metro Denver counties receive $129,296,471 in subsidies.

If Mesa County School District 51 were to be made equal, receiving an additional $280 per student, the budget impact would be an increase of $5,887,000. This is equal to the budget cuts potentially facing our school board.

Grand Junction

Social Security benefits are being cut

Are you aware that the Social Security Administration is trying to replace the money that they stole from the account over the years by cutting senior benefits ? I have been fighting them since July of 2011 on mine and there are thousands of others who are doing the same,or just sitting back and taking it.

I was on disability in 2002 when my husband passed away. I was getting only $225 a month. I applied for my husband’s and was awarded his at $817 a month. Instead of just giving me his amount under his SS number they continued to send me mine ($225.00) and issued a second check for the difference ($592.40) which with my $225 made up the $ 817 that I was entitled to.

Then in 2007, I got a letter from Social Security saying they were going to combine the two checks into one under my number. It should have been under my husband’s number not mine. I have been getting $1,229 since then. (It grew with 9 years of cost of living raises.)

Then in July of this year, they looked under my number and wrote me and told me I have been overpaid, and wanted it back. If they had checked my husband’s number they would have seen I was drawing his, and not over paid. A 10 year old could figure this out, but I have been fighting them for five months now.

I received a letter yesterday saying I got a cost of living raise that would make my check go up to $947. Now, how does $1,229 a month drop to $947 a month with a raise? I know that there are thousands of other seniors fighting this same battle with Social Security. The lady at our local office is doing what she can to help but she’s just one person.

I would love to know how many others just on the Western Slopes are fighting this, too.

Grand Junction

Politicians have no place in holiday parade

As new residents of Palisade, my family and I love the small town atmosphere and the events that come along with it. Last Saturday, we were thrilled to attend the Palisade Christmas parade. My son was a proud elf on one of the floats. It truly was a joy to watch the rosy-cheeked children throwing candy and waving for all they were worth.

What a neat experience.

Imagine my disappointment when amongst the bedazzled floats, and wonderful Christmas cheer marched the Mesa County Republicans. We are all entitled to our opinions, but is a Christmas parade really the venue to publicize your political beliefs?

Worse yet, the two women holding the banner at the front were wearing lush, fur coats. A little hard to stomach with a huge sign behind them proclaiming “Fiscal Responsibility!” Not so fiscally responsible spending all those thousands on tortured animals, I opine.

As an animal lover, I was nauseated, but as a mother and town resident, I was outraged.

Keep your politics and your fur out of my kid’s Christmas celebration. Honestly.


Defense Authorization Act is a travesty

Although it is likely that the Senate has already passed the final authorization of the Defense Authorization Act, please take immediate action to call your congressman, Scott Tipton, and demand that the House reject the DAA if it does not include the Udall or Paul amendments.

The intentionally misleading language in sections 1031 and 1032 allow for the indefinite detention of US citizens suspected of association or aid to arbitrarily defined “terrorists.” This treasonous subversion of the rule of law, if acted upon, erases the sacred right of being charged with a crime upon arrest or the requirement to release the subject from custody. The Bill of Rights is out the window if we allow such travesties to stand.

Grand Junction

Government should cut funding 25 percent

In all the political futz about who should be paying taxes, it should be equal for everybody. Just because one person strives to work hard to be sucessful in life, should he have to pay more than the other people that might make more or less than he does. The fair tax or flat tax would let everybody pay their share. Tax equality for everyone.

As for government trying to raise our taxes, it would be easier to just cut your spending.
Gailure to pass a federal budget should mean you don’t get any tax money. I guess you can’t cut what you don’t have, is that it? I think we could cut spending, say, 25 percent across the board (maybe more). Government spending would be cut 25 percent for all departments, agencies, foreign embassies, foreign aid,benefits, everything. Salaried employees wages, cut 25 percent. Hourly employees go to four day week, half get monday off, the other half get friday off. Too bad. Deal with it.

I don’t see many spending cuts being offered by this administration. It seems to be all about growing the size of government all at the expense of the few of us that are left that even pay taxes, and they still want more, more, more.

Grand Junction

Our constitutions require redistricting every 10 years

Rep. Ray Scott is incorrect to suggest that the court somehow “overturned” the 2010 election in upholding a set of reapportionment maps that his party did not favor.

Redistricting, and its state counterpart reapportionment, happen every 10 years as mandated by the United States and Colorado Constitutions. People move, others are born and die. The fact is, every 10 years districts get shifted depending on shifts in the population. This is as the founding fathers set it up, and as our constitutions require. One would hope that our elected leaders would grasp such basics about our republic and American civics.  

As the saying goes: Mr. Scott is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.



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