Email letters, December 30, 2013

Udall, Bennett voted to give away Second Amendment rights

I would like to follow up on Frank Roger Little’s letter published in the letters to the editor in the edition of Dec 26. His letter was right on the mark as far as there are those in this government who never miss an opportunity to cede away some of our freedoms and vital laws, and therefore give control of these laws to others, notably the United Nations.

Little notes that three times in recent months, treaties have been proposed in the U.S. Senate for ratification and in each case the proposals were narrowly defeated. However, Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennett voted to give authority and control of some of our laws to outside entities.

Specifically, Senate Bill 139 was passed 53-46. Forty-six senators voted against this: “To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nation Arms Trade Treaty.” That’s right. Forty-six senators voted to hand over our constitutional rights to the U.N. Among those 46 were both senators from Colorado: Sens. Udall and Bennett.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., offered Amendment 139, which was passed on the 53-46 vote. His amendment contained language to affirm that foreign treaties would not trump the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Inhofe said from the Senate floor, “I want to very briefly read this so nobody over there or over here misunderstands what this amendment does. This is right out of the Amendment. To uphold the Second Amendment rights is one thing. And secondly, prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations arms trade treaties.”

If you don’t want your representatives in the Senate voting against your Second Amendment rights, we can start to right this boat by voting out Sen. Udall in November.

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction

City’s marijuana stance stymies growth of jobs

As the Jan. 1 mile-stone (no pun intended) is upon the state of Colorado, and people throughout many parts of the state will be able to stroll into a retail marijuana pot shop and support local business, that will not be the case here in Grand Junction.

Apparently, the City Council prefers all the thousands of Grand Junction residents who use marijuana to make their purchases of Mexican Cartel Brick Weed from some shady individual in some back alley, or buy it from the guy who gets it from this other guy who grows weed illegally in the national forest. The paranoid, not-in-my-backyard ethos that seems to run rampant in the City Council needs to be broken down with common sense and, more importantly, tax revenue and increased job growth.

Various jobs sectors, including construction and advertising, would have seen temporary or permanent growth in Grand Junction had the city councilors NOT continued to set their watches back 50 years.

If there were just five shops in Grand Junction, they would all have needed to undergone intensive infrastructural upgrades to meet inspection standards and be able to grow, process and sell legal marijuana. All those rickety empty businesses in the downtown area would have been candidates.

As for myself, I don’t partake in the industry, but I did just move here from Denver and witnessed four years of explosive growth in the industry. The Denver Post is full of articles covering this period of time that cite the growth in marijuana industry as having saved several metro warehouse districts, as well as giving a much-needed boost across the board to the construction industry, keeping the lights on for many families.

Not to mention some much-needed sales tax and permit fees that could be used for alcohol and drug enforcement, education, schools, etc. Face it, tax coffers are coming up lighter and lighter as more shoppers find bargains online, and marijuana is one thing Amazon will not sell.

Oh well, what matters most is that the City Council continue to hold onto the notion that Grand Junction is sober, small-town America circa 1955 and we can all go down to the sock hop and get a milkshake.

JEROME SANTIAGO
Grand Junction
 
Brooks’ column, article on airport lacked values

I am concerned about the quality of the news reported in The Daily Sentinel. I believe that a newspaper should report, not try to change the beliefs of the readers.

On Dec. 15, the Sentinel ran an editorial by David Brooks stating that even though our president has failed with health care and a lot of other issues, we should give MORE power to the executive branch of the government. Brooks wrote that we are better off if it is powerful.

We are never better off when ineffective and unethical people have more power. The stance of the writer didn’t deserve the coverage.

Then on Dec. 23, the front-page headlines questioned whether we would be better off with a manager of the airport who was fired for illegal and unethical behavior, that maybe we are going to be sorry that we don’t have all the growth (which actually didn’t seem like much to this reader) without him.

Results do not justify wrong.

I am worried that neither our society in general nor our local paper in particular has any values at all.

LORRAINE OLIVER

Clifton
 
Would anyone come to defend United States?

Over the last five years we have lost the trust of our allies, our enemies openly and without fear defy us, we are no longer looked upon as the only financial and military superpower, and even our own citizenry question our government and its policies. This leads us to now wonder this: If the United States were attacked today by a foreign power, would anyone come to defend us? Just food for thought.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction
 
Grand Junction should also allow hunters to bag drones

Normally, if you shoot down an aircraft owned by the federal government, you’d be in trouble.

Not so in Deer Trail and Deer Park.

In 2014 Grand Junction should join these other small Colorado towns in proposing a $100 bounty to any hunters who shoot down unmanned drones that appear to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.

The ordinances would also require a drone-hunting license, issued after a background check and a $25 fee.

History teaches us the bigger the government, the less the liberty.

The ancients warned the Athenians that the tyranny Athens imposed abroad would return to haunt them at home. It did.

LEE MULCAHY
Aspen
 
Toleration of debt moves nation toward Third World status

Ever since the Constitutional Convention of 1787, this nation and the great experiment of free-market capitalism have been moving steadily toward demise.

Much like humans, we begin to die from the moment of birth. Government is the same. Only as it’s grown, our personal freedoms have shrunk. It’s always seemed “top heavy,” but that top heaviness has become more obvious these past few years.

History has shown that true democracies collapse after a few centuries. Ours is a combination of democracy and representative republicanism, and it somehow has managed to struggle into its third century.

Our love affair with largess and our toleration of an increasing debt are making us into the largest Third World country on earth. Ironically, it’s those who contribute the least who elect politicians to govern those who contribute the most.

Our tragic end is predictable, a giant socialist society advanced by two major political parties and a clueless president. Its reckless political behavior — a welfare state being created for the sole purpose of perpetual re-election with no thought to the future.

The government is moving virtually unchecked toward cradle-to-grave control of our lives with no slowing in sight. No one knows when we’ll reach the “tipping point,” but reach it we must, and one day collapse is inevitable. God willing this generation won’t be around to witness it; unfortunately, others will.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

Rep. Scott must explain stance on oil, gas industry


Kudo’s to Charles Ashby (“Economic development talks planned with state trade office”) for exposing State Representative (and would-be State Senator) Ray Scott as a shill for the energy industry—and partisan hypocrite.

Scott’s initiative – albeit conceptually admirable – is tainted ab initio, because it indulges the all-too-familiar false premise:  “This is an energy-based economy, so that’s where we have to start.”

In fact, the Grand Valley’s (and thus House District 55’s and/or Senate District 7’s) real economy is not “energy-based” at all (although there may be opportunity for responsible expansion).

Rather, Fall 2013 employment data published by the Grand Valley Economic Partnership reveals that no energy developer ranked among the top 25 employers in the Grand Valley (although Halliburton did in 2004). Thereafter, in 2009, the energy industry accounted for only some 3 percent of local employment.

Thus, Scott is correct in admitting that his “ideas” may not be the “right ideas” – because they are obviously not – and could even jeopardize market-driven diversification already in progress by favoring one segment over others.

The best idea Scott offers is to expand Colorado’s governmental presence on the Western Slope, both “as a way of helping stabilize the economies in some local communities and getting them closer to the local people they work with”. Does Scott support increasing the number of state environmental inspectors and officing them closer to the “gas patch”?

Of course, whenever Democrats propose such Keynesian notions, Republicans insist that “government can’t create jobs” – much less “stabilize economies.”

Therefore, Scott would have more credibility if he advocated repealing the Halliburton Exceptions to the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, and Clean Air Acts, and – in the midst of another unhealthy inversion – explain to his constituents why the oil and gas industry still deserves preferential treatment under those essential environmental laws.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

People of Colorado should control use of public lands

Although I appreciate the concern of Tim Menger around the lack of funding and resources for the state to fairly manage public lands, I have to say I believe it is unnecessary.

If the U.S. government ever got to serious consideration to, in fact, relinquish control of lands within a state’s boundaries, it would require a transitional period where the federal funding currently going to the departments of Interior and Agriculture for managing public lands would have to go to the states involved in the transition.

Other funding sources, such as 100 percent of the gas and oil royalties, would also flow directly to the states to manage these lands. U.S. Forest Service lands managed would return timber royalties and recreational funds in ski resort land leases, etc. Some states might want to contract back with BLM or the Forest Service for management services. The difference would be that the people of the state would decide how and what the lands would be used for.

Look, to me the bottom line is in states’ rights. Why do all the people of the states east of us have control over 95 percent of their lands and we do not have equal control? Why are we required to bow to the eastern powers to try
to utilize our own public lands, when we have nothing to say about the eastern-land uses?

The non-radical populations of Colorado know how to manage these lands for the hunting/fishing industry, ski industry and public access, better than the current extreme environmentalists of the current administration directing the BLM and Forest Service. Do we trust our own people making these decisions or the radicals currently running this country?

Finally, I want to commend Menger for his well-written argument. It is comforting to see some people in our society can present another side of an argument without personally attacking individuals to try to make their
points.

As for his concern about locked gates and rich Texans, keep in mind that the BLM and Forest Service are currently snapping locks on roads and trails every day, with plans to close more and more lands in the future. I would rather have the people of Colorado deciding my access.

JAMES O’MALLEY
Grand Junction

Shooting of 14-year-old girl illustrates nation’s paranoia

Kiara O’Neil, an innocent 14-year-old girl, is shot to death with multiple gunshots by her stepfather, Daniel Meade, as she tries to enter her own home through a window.

My question is: Does one not attempt to identify the person entering the home before one starts shooting? Apparently, since Colorado has a Make My Day law, people with guns in their own homes feel as if they can just shoot anybody and not have to suffer any consequences. And, the fact that Meade has yet to be charged with a crime means that no one is going to pay any price for this tragic death, except of course, the girl’s biological family.

We have a sick gun culture in this country. It’s shoot first and ask questions later. How many people actually have to defend themselves in their own homes from a real intruder each year? You can bet that the gun nuts and the NRA would report such stories if they existed, but they are so rare that you hardly hear about them. However, the statistics are clear on the tens of thousands killed by guns each year.

The only reason so many Americans have guns is nothing more than twisted paranoia about being in fear of their lives and their loss of liberty, which is not warranted by any known statistics. Yet with so many people in this country having guns, it is not a surprise that we continue to have one senseless shooting after another.

JIM CIHA
Grand Junction



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