Email letters, Feb. 24, 2012

More thoughts on Bradford debacle

As the recent front-page story makes clear: Laura Bradford is the victim of a police protection racket. If only she had been arrested and jailed — like most of the other folks without legislative immunity are — she could have cleared her name.

To think she almost had to quit the game over some piffling matter like insisting she not be treated any differently even though she was obviously being treated differently at the time by Sgt. Packard. I too would demand I be ticketed, cuffed, jailed, humiliated, even disarmed, once it became clear that was never going to happen.

It’s too bad she wasn’t a drunken, armed and dangerous Democrat so we could have witnessed the mob howling for her immediate impeachment. Rep. Bradford should demand justice. Certainly she should be allowed to say whether she was drinking one or three glasses of wine, whichever — under oath — and be asked whether it was of Colorado vintage.

Wait, I think I got it. Why doesn’t Rep. Bradford threaten to resign the GOP unless she is impeached and keelhauled before the house ethics panel? Better yet, why not investigate the Denver police department (she is after all once again the chairwoman of the local government committee) and demand they stop such preferential treatment before they do this to a Democrat?

DAVID MUELLER
Grand Junction

County clerk inaccurately described upcoming bill

In her guest column recently , Mesa County Clerk Reiner inaccurately described an upcoming bill as allowing public inspection of voted ballots. Actually, the bill is expected to restrict public inspection of voted ballots. Under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) and as recently affirmed by the Colorado Court of Appeals (Marks v. Koch), voted ballots have long been open records if the voter cannot be identified. And under the Colorado Constitution, ballots are to be anonymously cast, that is, they are to be what we call “secret ballots.” So in order to improve election transparency and verifiability, Colorado citizens may use CORA to review and informally recount voted ballots or their images before an election’s outcome is certified or made final. The bill applauded by Clerk Reiner will prohibit inspection early enough for citizens to ask for corrections if errors are noted.

Clerk Reiner confuses confidentiality with anonymity. A person’s medical record is confidential. A ballot, however, is supposed to be anonymous, that is, impossible to connect with a voter’s name. Again, as required by our state constitution, a cast ballot must not be traceable to the voter. That allows ballots to be inspected and recounted by the citizens, and that is as it should be.

Back on Febr. 15, Clerk Reiner was quoted in The Daily Sentinel as saying, “It will help us make it even more anonymous.” Well, a cast ballot is either anonymous as required by the constitution or it is not, and if not, it is the clerk’s responsibility to correct the process involved.

MARY EBERLE
Boulder

Grand Junction Airport operates like it’s bush league

The Grand Junction Airport is still pretty much bush league as far as airports go. Recently I come in after 9:30 p.m. on United from Denver. The flight was an hour late, the arrival and departure board at the airport did not even list the Denver flight due at 8:28 p.m. When I arrived to pick up my wife there was no one representing the airport anywhere to ask when the plane was expected.

A plane from Dallas arrived and it was not on the board either. People waiting for passengers were quizzing each other and wondering where is a person at the airport go provide arrival and departure information. A gentlemen waiting for the Denver flight with an iPad said Flight Tracker said it was going to be there at 9:01 running late. My wife had called me from Denver and told me they were waiting on the runway. They were overweight and needed to take some fuel out and would be late. At about 9:40 p.m. — an hour late — the plane lands, still there is no one in the airport other than two rental car employees. There was no food available , no TVs on to entertain those waiting, it was abandoned.

First, they fence the place in so it is not suitable for tenants and they operate like this is a small-town airport. Where is the high level of security when there is no one even in the airport or at the information booth. Grand Junction is a pretty large city and should operate the airport on a par with larger cities like it is.

Maybe it needs new management?

RICHARD H MCBRIDE
Grand Junction

Student was courageous to speak out about crime

During the 1980s, as an activist prodding my governments — local, state and national — to pay attention to the AIDS epidemic, I became very familiar with the slogan, “Silence = Death.” We wanted to bring attention to the ways silence was, in itself, a policy, and one that had serious repercussions.

The public silence surrounding the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people contributes to homophobia and oppression. In recent years, the suicides of LGBT youth have made national news. One of the messages in these news stories is the ways silence, sometimes imposed in school policy, gives a pass to bullies and adds to the despair of these young people who have taken drastic measures to escape the hatred they face in their daily lives.

Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster was quoted in the Criterion as saying: “Whenever you have allegations such as these, you have to allow due process to work.” He continued: “Unfortunately, you see this too frequently, where people overreact.” It is not an overreaction to acknowledge that Chelsea Gallagher was assaulted and that she believes she was assaulted because she is a lesbian.

LGBT people are targets of violence. These crimes often are not reported because of the silence that still exists in our society. Over the years, I have urged a number of people to report the crimes against them, with very limited success. Reporting the crime is a coming out process, a public declaration that many LGBT people are not ready to make. It puts us in the public eye not as simply citizens who happened to be harmed, but as lesbians, gay men, as transgendered people.

Chelsea Gallagher has committed a tremendous act of bravery by reporting this crime and by talking openly about who she is. She is breaking the silence.

We do not have to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts, but we also need to not underreact, because by saying nothing, we are, in fact, maintaining a wall of silence that perpetuates homophobia.

SARAH SWEDBERG
Grand Junction

Bear Ranch Land Exchange would be beneficial

As a photographer, I love having access to the mountains and wide expanses of open areas like those in the Bear Ranch Land Exchange.

Having this land available to the public through this land exchange would be a benefit in many ways. It allows us more access to activities like hunting, hiking and fishing and would also improve public access to trails. In fact, Bear Ranch has said that they will build a new trailhead which will give access to areas that the public hasn’t been able to access before. There is a plan of a new visitor’s center to be built once this exchange is final which could give us beautiful views of the Dillon Pinnacles.

In addition, and most importantly, it would save the land on Sapirno Mesa from the threat of having up to five 12,000 square feet trophy homes built on it. These homes would ruin the landscape and beauty that we treasure in Colorado. The phenomenal photographic images we see of this land would be marred by these homes and the other buildings that are set to be built.

This land exchange benefits both parties: Bear Ranch gets land that they have had access to and have used for years and the general public gets land that completes National Forests and will be preserved for years.

I want this land exchange to move forward so we can enjoy and preserve our beautiful Colorado landscape.

ANGELA WETZEL
Clifton



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