Email letters, Dec. 5, 2011

Republicans whine too much

It is necessary to comment on the whining of the Republicans who, according to news, want to keep the congressional boundaries as they are, which means Republicans take all, as they complain that those horrid Democrats might have a better share of influence if the new, proposed map is approved. Do independents and Democrats need to learn this art of complaining, when they don’t get their way? Then, more of us need to comment on Congress being exempt from insider trading.

Did anyone listen to recent comments on CNN by 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft about Congress being exempt from insider trading while others can be arrested for the same. He noted that in 2008, Republican Congressman Baccus traded bets on the losses he knew were coming due to insider information about the banking crisis. Then former Speaker Pelosi bought stock from Visa just before a bill in the House was defeated that would have hurt credit card companies. Former Congressman Dennis Hester came to Congress worth several hundred thousand dollars and left as a multimillionaire, all due to insider trading. Current Speaker Boehnar and his cohorts are among those whose fortunes have been building.

No wonder so much is spent on campaigns to win seats in Congress, no wonder suddenly corporations are now considered individuals as Romney called them recently as he campaigns for nomination.

Democrat Congressman Baird has been trying for several years now to introduce legislation to stop this unfair and unethical practice. All of this wealth oozing around the Congressional halls makes the reports on the rise in homelessness within our country, families living out of cars, kids exposed to all sorts of abuse due to being homeless. Congress is truly out of touch.

Comments on fracking are due as well. Note New Jersey trying to pass anti-fracking laws. Pennsylvania, after finding out the negative effects on the very health of people, is having second thoughts. A watershed in Wyoming is now polluted which gives rise to oil and gas company greed. Aside from severe environmental damage, North Dakota finds people driven out of their homes as workers by the hundreds move into small towns, causing rent, food, survival services to skyrocket as they drive out the natives. North Dakota hasn’t thought about water tables yet. And yet, even though Colorado’s rules for energy extraction are weak, we have those who would do away with these and we see those in Congress rallying for deregulation. 

Why is it that partisanship allows the whining, the lack of ethics, lack of compassion for our own citizens and dirty politics to continue?

VERA MULDER
Fruita

Changing the name of F Road isn’t logical

Several months ago, the county and city listened to a proposed plan to rename portions of “F” Road. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t that shouted down by public feedback and outcry, and labeled a waste of money? Why is it not a waste of money now? And what brought it back?

As an affected property renter along that road, the decision to change the address will cost me money and I resent having to constantly bear the cost of unfunded mandates. If possible, would you please clear up this mess(reasons why this is necessary, etc.)in the minds of the general public.

There is no obvious logical explanation. It’s all so confusing

A.B. CARLEY
Grand Junction

Obama is not to blame for all the country’s woes

It occurred to me yesterday while reading the letters section of Commentary section that another of life’s seemingly unrelenting mysteries is why The Daily Sentinel continues to waste ink and paper to print the nonsense of Rick L. Coleman. Anyone with the slightest acquaintance with psychology would recognize his use of the term “clueless” as projection, and hardly applicable to a Pulitzer-prize winner like Thomas Friedman.

As well-researched as anything whose factual basis probably includes Fox News can be, his litany of evidence fails to include the genesis of the many problems President Obama and our country continue to struggle with.

I realize memories can be short, but I recall that the Great Recession began during the last of 8 years of President Bush.

After saying “No!” to everything President Obama proposed and then amazingly winning the House based on the president and Democrats having done “nothing” about jobs, Republicans in Congress have done absolutely nothing about jobs. Rather than work with anyone to improve the lives of people who have lost jobs, homes and prospects, they protect the rich and fiddle away the time in hopes that voters in 2012 will reward their treachery with the White House.

It is only a measure of our resiliency that things aren’t worse than they are and while we can argue until history has the ultimate say about 9/11, what qualifies as “ad nauseum” to me is people like Mr. Coleman acting as if President Obama came to office with peace and a surplus like President Bush did.

MICHAEL R MARQUARDT
Whitewater

Too many motorized routes cause problems for big game

The Rico-West Dolores (RWD) landscape of the San Juan National Forest (SJNF) comprises 244,550 acres of prime wildlife habitat. It contains the headwaters of the Dolores River and stretches from elevations of 7,500 feet to peaks exceeding 14,000 feet. The landscape’s value as wildlife habitat is unmistakable, but habitat fragmentation and watershed degradation is resulting from motorized overuse and abuse on dirt-bike trails being used in violation of the forest’s management plan.

As hunters know from boots-on-the-ground experience, too many motorized routes increase big game vulnerability and can result in shorter seasons and fewer available tags. Excessive road densities negatively affect elk and deer behavior, reproduction and survival. Too many roads and motorized trails in the wrong places also contribute to increased sediment loads in waterways that are important to wild trout.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, “Motorized vehicle use … inhibits wildlife use of this important habitat by increasing fragmentation … [It] bisects important elk habitat, e.g., calving, nursery and summering area.” Put simply, without the proper balance of secure wildlife habitat and motorized traffic, habitat suffers and becomes less desirable for elk and deer, and the hunters who pursue them.

As a result, BHA is seeking to correct that balance on fourteen trails in the RWD landscape where unlawful motorized use is adversely impacting big game habitat. Given that there are some 2,800 miles of roads across the 1.8 million-acre San Juan National Forest (including 120 miles of single-track motorized trails in the adjacent Mancos-Cortez Travel Management Area), there is plenty of access for motorized users in the region.

Offering reasonable options for motorized access with sufficient quality and quantity of wildlife habitat between road/trail corridors will benefit wildlife and the hunters who seek them.

DAVID LIEN, co-chair
Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Colorado Springs

Protecting land helps protect jobs

This week more than 100 economists and academics in related fields from across the country sent a letter to President Obama urging him to “create jobs and support businesses by investing in our public lands infrastructure and establishing new protected areas such as parks, wilderness, and monuments.” I support this effort as a small business because federally protected public lands are essential to the West’s economic future.

Small businesses and communities like Ouray across the West know that protecting our parks and public lands like Ridgway State Park or our Uncompaghre National Forest protects American jobs, and our western way of life. Public lands, including all of the natural resources in them such as rivers, forests and wildlife are part of the fabric of our community and thus our businesses.  They help define who we are and are what attracts vibrant employees, exciting new companies, visitors and consumers to the West. The preservation of federal lands is vital to our economic growth and ensuring existing businesses like mine thrive.

KAREN AVERY, Owner
Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs
Ouray


It’s Christmas time, not holiday time

The other day I telephoned five major department stores in Grand Junction in search of a particular item. The first store receptionist greeted me with “Merry Christmas”. The other four stores answered the telephone with “Happy Holidays”. I reminded each one that this is not a “holiday time,” but it is Christmas that we are celebrating. One of phone people informed me, “I am required to say “Happy Holidays”.

It is interesting that our major stores are going out of their way to avoid offending a hand full of people that might be offended by the word “Christmas,” yet they don’t mind offending the thousands of people who hold Christmas as a very important part of our life. I am sure you can easily guess where I decided to make my purchases.

JOHN C. ROBBINS
Grand Junction

If new regulations pass, hang up the “closed to drilling” sign

As I read the editorial in Dec. 2 Daily Sentinel about contesting drilling permits. If this comes to pass, then you can put the sign out stating Colorado is closed to drilling.

The people with the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance and the Western Colorado Congress are striving for this. Once this is done then they will be the people crying about higher heating bills because we’ll have to buy it else where. They need to go out to their gas meter and shut it off, rub their hands together to keep warm and walk to work every day.

I’ve worked in the oilfield around here for 30 plus years. It’s been up and down through the years. 20 years ago, no one said much about wells being drilled. Now it costs $250,000 more to get a well started. You think this isn’t passed on to the consumer?

So just hang the sign up and all the people that worked in the oilfield or what is left of them can move out of state to.

I’m drilling geo-thermal wells in Nevada now.

CURT CLAUSSEN
Grand Junction

Disclosing contents of fracking fluid is essential

Dennis Webb’s report in the Dec. 3 edition of The Daily Sentinel, “Halliburton seeks changes to fracking disclosure proposal,” chronicles Halliburton’s ongoing efforts to avoid accountability for the potentially adverse public health and environmental effects of its proprietary fracking fluids.
 
Halliburton has long exploited the trade-secret exception to disclosure rules to avoid revealing the entire chemical contents of its fracking products. As the EPA reported on Nov. 28,  since 2009, “577 formerly confidential chemical identities” have been denied continuing confidentiality — suggesting the extent to which industries have abused the trade-secret exception to (especially) OSHA disclosure requirements.
 
Given company chemists’ ability to reverse engineer competitors’ products, any claim of “trade secret” is largely a red herring — and existing law affords Halliburton ample recourse against violators of its intellectual property rights. 
 
Proprietary fracking fluids are not the whole issue — because virtually every fracking job also involves the operator’s favorite additives. Thus, some reports of drinking water contamination can be attributed to the use of diesel fuel as a lubricant — rather than to the proprietary fracking fluid itself.
 
Because proprietary fracking fluids and additives chemically interact with each other — and with naturally occurring compounds underground (and can produce reproductive toxicants) — it is difficult to assess the potentially deleterious effects of fracking fluids without knowing the chemical composition of every substance injected down the hole. But this is exactly the cloud of uncertainty that Halliburton seeks to perpetuate.
 
Remarkably, non-toxic (i.e., green) fracking fluids are already available — and are used by Halliburton both in Alabama (where a 2001 federal judicial decision prompted the “Halliburton loophole” in the Energy Policy Act of 2005) and in off-shore operations.
 
Therefore, the COGCC should require complete disclosure of all substances injected into oil and natural gas wells — as originally intended by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae aren’t to blame

It is erroneous of those who continually vilify the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae programs for crashing our economy. These pseudo-governmental entities only underwrote mortgage loans that had been given hearty approvals by the private credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, etc. The mortgage brokers who instituted the loans were also void of integrity and knowingly committing casual fraud by submitting loans for people with totally insufficient wages and unsubstantiated business incomes.

The most heinous criminals, however, were those Wall Streeters who packaged known bad mortgages and then bet against them with insurance policies and made millions on both transactions. Can you imagine the outrage and criminal charges from a restaurateur poisoning the meal of a football team the night prior to their game and then phoning his bookie and betting against that team winning the next day?

The anti-government/anti-tax crowd needs to turn off the ill-directed vitriol towards Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that spews from hate talk radio. They should instead join the Occupy activists and go after the private financial entity criminals who actually perpetrated the devastation upon millions of Americans.

JOEL PRUDHOMME
Grand Junction

One percenters can no longer support the Occupiers

Occupy infesters need to engage their tunnel-vision brains before continuing their drum beating. Wanting something for nothing seems to be where the 22- to 45-years olds are coming from, being taught by a school and media that are 72 percent liberal.

It has landed Europe in a mess that looks like our near future. If we keep demanding shorter work weeks, less work and free everything from the government, eventually the lack of produced revenue won’t match the demands of the welfare state. At that point the 1percenters can no longer support the 99 percenters’ free ride and then infesters will have no choice but to work for what they are worth to eat, and they will.

R.M. SHERMAN
Grand Junction

Generosity allowed wreaths on all veterans’ headstones

The Patriot Guard Riders in conjunction with the Wreaths Across America want to express our deepest appreciate to all the individuals and businesses who sponsored wreaths which helped us make our goal in providing a Christmas wreath on each headstone and those in the columbaria at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2830 D Road for 2011. Each of you are invited to the ceremony on Dec 10 at 10a.m.

ART(GROADY)EDWARDS
Western Slope Assist State Captain
Colorado Patriot Guard Riders
Grand Junction

AP stories full of opinion

I get so darn sick and tired of reading articles from The Associated Press that are nothing more than editorial and opinion pieces. The article “2-man GOP race for White House more sharply in focus” on page 7A, on Dec. 4 is a prime example.

The descriptions of Romney and Gingrich are opinions. Many of us may not regard Romney as “bland” or Gingrich as bombastic. If the writer has these opinions, then make them use a byline, and put the articles on the Editorial Page. The article referred to is certainly not a news article containing facts.

JANET BLACKMAN
Grand Junction

Obama’s plan is for more taxes

We are all tired of politicians and our economic malaise. What will break that gridlock and what appears to be a downward economic spiral? The spread-the-wealth advocates feel every problem can be solved by taxing the millionaires and billionaires. Under President Obama government spending is 25 percent of our economy. Typically it is 20 percent. That 20 percent has been pretty steady even when the tax rate for millionaires was 70 percent (double today’s rate). The president’s 25 percent growth in federal government is unprecedented. Whenever government spends more than 20 percent of our economy, it is borrowed money.

Tax rates will increase automatically at the end of next year. President Obama signed the extension of these rates into law himself, but like everything else he’s not responsible. What the president is actually proposing is increasing taxes even more, but that is just political smoke. The president’s only chance of re-election is to divide and conquer, by pitting us against each other. He can’t run on the success of his programs and you have seen nothing yet. Much of his change, like ObamaCare, will not take effect until what he hopes will be his 2nd term. We would face even higher obstacles to growth.

A 2011 Nobel Prize for economics went to Thomas Sargent, who is known for his rational-expectations theory. Business owners will remain cautious until they feel government will be more of a help than a hindrance. Expectations do count. If voters don’t re-elect President Obama you will be surprise how fast the gridlock breaks and the country heals. One vote and we can get back on the track of strong economic growth.
DAVE KEARSLEY
Mesa



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