Email letters, Feb. 17, 2012

Let illegal immigrants earn their citizenship

I am surprised The Daily Sentinel editors have joined the local and Washington Democrats in supporting state financing of local illegal high school students for state-supported college education. This is all about ethnic politics; especially considering Colorado’s high education fund shortage and a Federal way could easily resolve this.

Analyze this solution: Have all military recruitment centers initiate a temporary green card to all local residents (illegal) who provide a copy of his/her first semester senior transcript showing a C+ average or better. With diploma in hand, this student signs up for 3 years (in any U.S. military organization) and takes the oath, then his/her green card becomes permanent. When this military member finishes the enlistment with honor he/she joins the many green-card military members who currently take the full oath of U.S. citizenship on any given month. 

This is called earning their citizenship and their college place as a VA subsidized education. 

This will bring many Mexicans to useful citizenship. This springs out of my personal experience of many decades ago when the military transferred my civilian job to Fort Bliss at El Paso, Texas. My U. S. Marine Reserve status also transferred as well. Most of my fellow Marines there were of Mexican origin. What a gung ho bunch. There are many cultural strengths of this group that make them excellent citizens not the least of which that they make excellent Marines.

This tea party Republican would like to see something along this line initiated as a win-win solution which could set the atmosphere for a better resolution to the root problem of illegal immigration. Also, It places the cost and responsibility for this issue with the federal government where the fault lies.

ROLAND REYNOLDS
Grand Junction

Protecting the Colorado River is essential

Thank you for Sen. Mark Udall’s Jan. 29 editorial “Federal study will be critical for use of the Colorado River.” As a small business owner in Frisco who relies on the Colorado River for income, I applaud the senator for bringing much needed attention to this critical issue affecting thousands of Coloradans.

Because for many of us, protecting the river means protecting our livelihoods. Outdoor-recreation activities contribute more than $10 billion annually to our economy and supports 107,000 jobs statewide. Recreation and related tourism generates more than $500 million in annual state tax revenue and produces $7.6 billion annually — or 4 percent of gross state product — in retail sales and services. The river, put simply, is the backbone of our economy and we cannot ignore it is in a state of crisis.

Over the last 12 years, we have lost 35 percent of the stored water available on the Colorado River through consumption and drought. Until 1998, the river stretched all the way from its source in the Colorado Rockies to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Now, it dries up in the Sonoran Desert miles before it reaches the sea. This trend will continue to move upstream to the basin region communities and severely impact local businesses and those who rely on the multi-billion dollar recreation industry the river fuels, unless real solutions focused on striking a better balance between the river’s supply and demand is reached.

It’s absolutely crucial Congress support strategies that will focus on improved urban conservation, improved agricultural efficiency, and expanded water sharing options to resolve the supply and demand problem and protect this invaluable resource upon which so many Americans depend.

ZEKE HERSH, Owner,
Blue River Anglers
Frisco

ASSET bill is a win-win proposal

Thank you to The Daily Sentinel for endorsing the Colorado ASSET bill. SB 15 is great for our state. It would help boost our educational level and economy by encouraging new students to enroll in our institutions of higher education.

It would mean that students who were born in another country but educated in the United States could access a tuition rate that is much more within reach. These students would not receive state or federal financial aid (which means that they would still pay a higher rate than their in-state peers), as opposed to the outrageous out-of-state rates they currently pay.

My nieces recently benefitted from the Texas in-state tuition law. One continues to waitress as she builds up clientele and experience as a photographer and clothing designer; the other works in a daycare and in a restaurant, and she will graduate with her teaching degree in a year. These young ladies work harder than most American-born college students I know.

Having watched their single mother struggle as a nanny, they know that the way up and out is through education. Texas wised up long ago and realized the potential that would be lost if the thousands of undocumented high school graduates (which they had educated K–12) did not go on to pursue a degree.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have a bunch of hard-working, college-educated young adults coming into their own in this country than millions of frustrated and dreamless young people with nothing but time on their hands and little ambition to speak of. So let’s take a hint from Texas and get all high school grads in Colorado moving on toward a college education. After all, it won’t cost tax-payers a dime, and it will boost our state revenue through tuition. It’s a win-win.

NICOLE BERNAL RUIZ
Fruita

It’s time to downgrade the Federal Highway Administration

Rick Wagner’s column about the failure of Congress to pass a new highway bill supports my contention that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) be downgraded to a minor agency within the Department of Transportation. Currently they do little but pass money back to states from whom the money was collected. The cost of doing that amounts to several billions of dollars annually.

FHWA had an important role in development of our excellent highway system. They performed valuable research that established standards such as lane width, shoulder width, bridge width, design speeds for various rates of curvature to which all states adhered. They also coordinated the efforts of various highway department especially at state lines. They played a major role in the development of the Interstate Highway System. Since the completion of that system, the agency has become less important. All states have professionally staffed highway design, construction and maintenance organizations. They do not need the feds looking over their shoulders.

The federal gas tax should be abolished, leaving states the prerogative of raising the state gas tax to match the loss of federal dollars. This would end the federal action of threatened loss of highway funds for some violation, real or imagined, often not related to the highway program, such as an air quality violation.
 
DICK PROSENCE
Meeker

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner’s guest column – “New legislation aims to clear up ballot problems” – is a bit misleading.
 
While the bill does “allow for public inspection of voted ballots”, its intended effect is to restrict public and press access currently permitted under the Colorado Open Records Act (“CORA”) and judicial decisions, and would preclude any such access during the most critical timeframe – before election results are officially certified. Meanwhile, CORA already affords election officials reasonable protections against abusive requests.
 
The rationale for the bill is the same as Reiner cited in denying Marilyn Marks’ CORA request for anonymous voting machine printouts last year: a combination of procedures and reports could possibly allow penetration of voter anonymity and thus compromise the secret ballot. Reiner’s premature denial then precipitated litigation that has exposed inherited local discretionary procedures which are the real cause of that problem.
 
Significantly, a venerable Colorado court decision voided an election not conducted by secret ballot.  Imagine that happening in November 2012.
 
To be fair, Reiner is not responsible for the unsupervised mess Colorado elections are in – our Secretary of State is.
 
Moreover, because statewide redistricting was delayed by partisan wrangling in Denver and because the Republican Party moved up their caucuses a month, Reiner and other County Clerks were deprived of at least two months needed for redrawing county precincts. As a result, on Jan. 9, the Mesa County commissioners approved new precinct boundaries without even knowing how many voters were in each precinct.
 
State statute permits a minimum of one precinct per 1,500 voters — and thus 43 precincts in Mesa County. Our 57 new precincts range from 149 to 1,941 voters, but no one knows how many voters reside in each of Mesa County’s 68 special voting districts.
 
The new legislation ignores those issues; Reiner shouldn’t.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction



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