Email letters, Dec. 14, 2012

Fiscal cliff a chance to reach across aisle

The fiscal cliff presents an opportunity for members of Congress to reach across the partisan divide and create a comprehensive, balanced deficit-reduction plan - an approach that doesn’t force the middle class to bear the brunt of the tough choices and helps strengthen our economy and job-growth again.

In order to reach this budget deal, I agree with my senator Mark Udall that we all need to set aside our rigid pledges, ultimatums and sacred cows and get to work. The Senate passed the bill in July 2012 but the House of Representatives is holding it hostage through members that will not compromise. Compromise is not a dirty word. Let’s get our country back in the black.

It is possible to find sensible spending cuts, responsibly reform programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and raise new revenues. The Simpson-Bowles model is a starting point for a deficit-reduction plan. Although the Simpson-Bowles plan is not perfect, this bipartisan approach could make the necessary reductions in our federal deficit while staving off harsh, automatic sequestration cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending.

If your elected representative Scott Tipton in District 3 is one of the representatives holding up this deficit reduction plan, please contact his office and request that he vote to bring the measure to the floor and vote for its passage.

We all need to work together, including Tipton.


Grand Junction

Urge Congressman Tipton to spare middle class

The fiscal cliff presents an opportunity for members of Congress to reach across the partisan divide and create a comprehensive, balanced deficit-reduction plan—an approach that doesn’t force the middle class to bear the brunt of the tough choices and helps strengthen our economy and job-growth again.

In order to reach this budget deal, I agree with my senator, Mark Udall, that we all need to set aside our rigid pledges, ultimatums and sacred cows and get to work. Compromise is not a dirty word. Let’s get our country back in the black.

Everybody on the Western Slope should write a letter to Congressman Tipton and tell him to forget about his tea party commitments and work with the other side just this once to avoid having the middle class bear the brunt of this fiscal fiasco caused by the Republicans from Reagen to Bush II. 



State patrol officers in Kemp case still not held accountable

I am thankful a judge recognized the illegal actions of two State Patrol officers forcing entry into the Kemp home and the failure of a sergeant on scene to intervene as unjust.  The judge voiced his opinion this was even more of an egregious act due to the minor nature of the traffic violations involved.

The most recent editorial in your paper suggests to me the remaining issue to put this matter to rest is some administrative reviews/sanctions into troop 4A’s culture.  I am a retired police lieutenant and believe you have missed the most important part of this situation.  Yes, the Kemp family has received some sort of financial compensation from the state for the actions of two of its former employees in civil court, but it is small consolation for their tragic loss. 

The violations of civil rights while acting under the color of authority by these former troopers is the much larger issue, as the rule of law must stand as a deterrent for future actions of all law enforcement officers.  To blatantly ignore the citizen rights afforded to us all under the constitution of the United States in Mesa County must not stand. 

The greatest issue left unsettled is the prosecution of those former officers in our federal courts for their blatant violations of a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights and the resulting execution of Kemp. The Daily Sentinel has stood the test of time as a watchdog in our community. Taking a back seat now runs contrary to the stance your paper has taken during my tenure as a public servant across the decades in our community.

Edmund Burke stated the issues in this case best. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This applies directly to your paper and its failure to push for a decision from the U.S Attorney’s office on its failure to weigh in when a judge has aptly pointed out the illegal entry and resulting killing of Kemp was a miscarriage of justice and these former officers have yet to be held accountable.


Leave Bangs Canyon as it is

The BLM Environmental Assessment includes plans to expand access to motorized use in the Bangs Canyon area and to the steep slopes of Horse Mesa. The expansion was promoted by an organization interested in increasing motorized use and biking, but other public involvement was not a part of the initial proposed action. Commercial interests should not drive any BLM plan.

The expansion of motorized access to Horse Mesa slopes should be curtailed for several reasons. This area supports mountain lion and deer as can be proven by their scat and tracks, and the expansion requires denuding the area of dense vegetation—native trees and shrubs. Flags on the slopes of Horse Mesa indicate the position of new motorized routes. This area is so geologically unique that it should have enhanced protection not degradation by increased motorized use.

In total this EA would open up 21 more miles to motorized use for the mega 4x4 rock crawlers, ATVs and single track. Leave the plan alone so that hikers and horseback riders can still enjoy the area. Proposed motorized trails 2, 5 and 6 are close to Horse Mesa. Currently, there is plenty of damage to the area including erosion, pollution from oil and lubricants. Quiet use, including walking and horseback riding, is minimally destructive to the land and promotes exercise sorely needed by Americans.

The new Environmental Assessment for Bangs Canyon is not only devoid of environmental considerations and quiet use but also the main paved road, Little Park Road, would most definitely need to have additional egress lanes built in blind areas for safety. Why ruin a beautiful area?  Leave Bangs as it is, and do not implement the project. 

Western CO Congress

Proposed firearms laws constitute attack on constitutional rights

It took no time for our new Democrat and liberal-majority-controlled Colorado legislature to leak that there are 14 to 20 anti-firearm bills ready for 2013. Plans are for semi-automatic bans, bans on magazines over ten rounds, bans on private sale, longer waiting periods (to kill gun shows) and more. Due to their majorities in Senate and House and to the Democrat governor, they can probably pass what they want. 

Even if they needed compromises though grandfather clauses, which can mean little. this then is akin to confiscation, and that is a key “tipping point” for many citizens. A no-grandfather clause can mean instantly tens of thousands of Colorado law abiding gun owners will become (by enforceable legal definition) criminals and subject to arrest and a criminal record!

But don’t be fooled. A grandfather clause’s terms (if needed to compromise pass the legislation) is 100 percent up to how the law is or is not worded. For example, a grandfather clause can mean you can possess something but you cannot legally sell, give or in any way transfer the (your) grandfathered item to anyone at any time! A grandfather clause can also be a potential ban in disguise in many ways. 

Real criminals don’t care about gun or other laws; violating the law is their job description. Our new Democrat majority legislature (many imported in from other states) knows this, but many of the elected individuals have an agenda. That agenda includes NYC billionaire mayor Bloomberg sending a well-funded team to push this scheme in our swing state. 

We have thousands of state and federal gun laws and restrictions in force; the new ones are designed to eliminate private firearm ownership. So why do big government politicos fear our citizens and the Bill of Rights—which was written by our founders solely for the protection of individual citizens’ rights from the power of government?

If passed, our local and state law enforcement will be tasked to enforce these insane laws, and once things look like confiscation (which it is) many citizens are flat out not going to play that long time much feared government-control game. 

I have many friends in law enforcement across our state, and, were I them, I would be raising hell about these legislators’ plans for this, because when you turn tens of thousands of law-abiding Colorado citizens into criminals and attack their constitutional rights and order law enforcement to enforce—you have a problem.

Grand Junction

Thank the unions for essential workplace reforms

This is in response to your editorial, “Unions’ reality check” 

We have been having this “reality check” since the 1980s with union density diminishing in the United States in direct proportion to a stagnant working and middle class, while wealth, in this period, has been primarily accumulated by only the wealthiest 2 percent of our population.

Let us establish the real priority of union-busting through voting for “Right to Work” legislation as the legislature just did in Michigan: It is to further diminish the influence of unions.  It is to make them fight for workers’ rights on an unequal playing field.  It is claimed “Right to Work” legislation is passed to give individuals, in an elected union shop the right to join or not join the union, whether to pay dues or not pay dues for the right to be represented by the elected union.  After all, isn’t this the right of a free American in a democratic society? What total, outrageous hogwash!

After all, we are all obligated to pay taxes; as individuals we do not have the right to opt out.  We are all obligated to get and pay for a driver’s license and to carry car insurance.  We do not, as individuals, have the right to opt out.  And, so on.

Jim Robinson, regional director of the Steelworkers in Indiana, claimed in an article in the Sentinel on the same day you wrote your anti-union editorial, “Right to work encourages a culture of freeloading.…” Right to Work laws allow individuals to get out of paying union dues when their work place is represented by a union.  And yet, legally, unions are obligated to represent all workers in a union shop. 

So, how do you convince workers to continue paying dues to be represented by the union for better compensation, etc., when they can get this representation without paying dues?  Hence, Jim Robinson’s concern about “the culture of freeloading.”  It inevitably kills the union, which is the real purpose of the legislation.

Why are we anti-union?  The union movement brought us the 40-hour work-week, Social Security and many other social benefits we take for granted today. In the 1970s when union density was 30 percent of the workforce (today it is under 10 percent) we had great prosperity in America.  The middle class was growing and prosperous, much of it driven by strong unions. 

And yes, at the same time, we had very wealthy Americans who still accumulated great wealth at a time when there was a much more reasonable distribution of this generated wealth than presently.  Wages were growing and today they are stagnant.  Workers, factoring in inflation, have not had a real wage increase since the 1980s.

Right to Work” laws are union busting, pure and simple.  It is primarily driven by the Republicans’ unconditional commitment to the unlimited accumulation of wealth and assets by only the 2 percent of Americans they truly represent.

Shame on us for letting this happen and shame on the Sentinel for supporting “Right to Work” laws that are killing the unions and killing our middle class.


Obama’s re-election means we’ve crossed the Rubicon

With the re-election of Obama we have crossed the statist Rubicon. We are no longer a republic but a socialist democracy. To understand what a republic entails, read Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution in which the limited, enumerated powers of Congress are stated. Then read the Bill of (Individual) Rights, the first 10 amendments to our Constitution. Now compare what you have read with our extensive government control and wealth redistribution programs, particularly the Obama agenda. The only conclusion one can come to is that the Constitution is no longer the guiding document for our nation.

More than half of our citizens are now on some form of government largess or regularly receive government checks. Government redistribution of wealth is not only immoral under the laws of nature, and of nature’s God, but also never intended by the founders.

In 1802 President Jefferson wrote to his Treasury secretary, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Is not our voluminous federal tax code plunder, and associated class warfare rhetoric a moral code?

James Madison, Father of our Constitution, wrote, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one…” The “Living Constitution” defined!

John Adams: “There are two ways to enslave a country, one is by the sword, the other is by debt.” And, “When people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

The founders knew what would cause a republic to become a democracy, and also, that all democracies eventually fail.


Grant’s Bangs Canyon column undermines GVTA’s efforts

After reading Bill Grant’s column on the discrepancies in the Bangs Canyon trail plan, I have to say that I was very disappointed in what he had to say and the insinuations made. I was rather baffled at what was said about the Grand Valley Trails Alliance and its shadowy objectives.

I guess my greatest concern is that people who are not close to what is actually happening on the ground will misinterpret this column. My fear is that Grant’s comments will fan the flames of conflict that have caused so many problems in the past.

In defense of the GVTA and Dave Grossman, coordinator, I would like to offer some insight as to what the GVTA is doing and the immense contribution being made to facilitate better understanding and cooperation among the user groups.

I am a member of a trails working group under the direction of the GVTA. This group brings together members from all the user groups and looks at all the concerns that everyone has. The objective is to find ways to share and enjoy our lands through better understanding of our differences and similarities. This group is making big strides in finding common ground and will be a new way to resolve conflict with land management issues. There are no hidden agendas or bias, as the column alluded to.

Grant’s column attempts to erode the progress that is being made to resolve future conflict. We need to move forward in our thinking and not fall back on the old worn-out strategy of pointing the finger at others and crying “foul.”


Christians have relinquished rights in public settings

Martha Barrett Scott is right. Honoring and worshiping God in private doesn’t make you ungodly. But that is not what I said. To be ungodly is not to honor or believe in God.

And, yes, a group of people does have that kind of power. But only because Christians have set back and not fought for our rights, such as prayer in school. They want the cross that appeared at Ground Zero that is part of the rubble destroyed. It’s all these things that make me question, but the liberals and ungodly are so afraid of.

The liberals and ungodly who fought hard enough to make the courts rule that unborn babies are not persons. Oh, yes, I would say a group of people does have that kind of power.

God made people to be loved and things to be used. People have made it so things are loved and people are used.



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