Email letters, February 11, 2013

Holding only gun manufacturers liable for mishaps is absurd

From what I read, the Democrat legislators in Colorado want to make gun manufacturers liable for damages that occur when that manufacturer’s gun is used to cause damage to people and or property.

At first I thought that I hadn’t read the report correctly, so I reread the article. Sure enough I had read it correctly.

Now I never put a lot of faith in the Democrats in office, but with this obvious absurdity I am now positive that my opinion of this insane bunch is absolutely on the money.

If we’re to adopt such laws, why not get really crazy and regulate all manufacturers and hold them all liable for any harm brought about by any misuse of any of their products?

Or how about this: Let’s just outlaw all products and services of American origin?

We’ve tried this before. It didn’t work then and it won’t work this time either. Propositions of this type are insane. They do the same thing over and over again, getting the same result but expecting an opposite result.

That is the definition of insanity. Orwell was right, but just a few years early.

MIKE MCINANEY
Grand Junction

Colorado National Monument should keep current designation

The vast expanse of land that lies west and south of Grand Junction, known as the National Monument, is so named for a reason. Those sandstone spirals and deep canyon walls of Morrison and Kayenta formations are indeed a monument – a statue, a testimonial to the unique beauty that is Western Colorado and part of this Grand Valley

For far too long now, those of us who were born, raised or spent most of our lives here have been subjected to changes that at best were unnecessary. An example is our airport. For 75 years it was known as Walker Field. Then suddenly one day that was no longer acceptable. And our city fathers changed the name to “Big City Metropolis Municipal Airport.” Just to put us on the map.

Then, of course, Mesa State College, which had served exceedingly well with that name for decades, was suddenly too obscure for our local bureaucrats. The answer? Another name change crammed down our throats. Welcome to “Big City Metropolis University.” Perhaps now those scholarly skulls full of mush can find us on a map.

And now comes the latest assault on the national monument, with the same urgency to force a name change and citing the same arguments: obscurity, attendance, access, etc. However, it’s really more about the almighty dollar.  Our commissioners, town council, mayor and that rat pack known as Club 20 have been hell-bent for some time on turning us into “Denver West.”

And, I submit that they are well on their way to attaining that goal. We have the pollution, congestion, traffic flow woes, crime, violence, drugs, gangs, graffiti, all the things that make Denver such a desirable place to live.

Now evidently many of us don’t care. But, if we truly cherished what we have here, we would put a stop to this name-change nonsense. We’d find a way to keep our mouths shut, stop calling attention to ourselves at any cost, stop promoting ourselves at any price and stay off the radar. And leave our monument a monument, simply because it is one.
                                                                 
DUANE HARRIS
Grand Junction

Logic of rogue cop similar to logic behind banning guns

I have read the killer and former LA cop Christopher Jordan Dorner’s manifesto. In it he has several sections in which he shows his hate for the NRA and its leadership. Then he also goes on a rant against regular citizens of this country owning semi-auto military-looking rifles with 30-round magazines. Yet these are the guns with which he is killing folks and with which law enforcement is hunting him.

This is the exact reason why our Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment, so that citizens could have firearms. As a one-time cop in California, Dorner has these guns (restricted by California law) but he says ordinary citizens shouldn’t have them. He also is a fan of most of the major media liberal commentators such as Chris Mathews, etc.

Anyone can see the twisted and sick logic in his manifesto that is nearly identical to that of various laws and bills of politicians who want to ban citizen firearm ownership — like what is going on in our state right now.

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

BLM ought to lighten up on oil, gas industries

I was shocked when I read in Jim Spehar’s column that the BLM has still not released either the new leasing regulations or the required environmental review for oil shale in northwest Colorado. As I understand it, those regulations were supposed to have been released last May. It is now nearly eight months later, and the public remains in the dark about what the rules even are.

It was one thing that the BLM saw fit to exclude hundreds of thousands of acres of oil shale prospective land from potential leasing, but it does not seem right that it would withhold publication of the rules under which the remaining land can be leased.

The public has a right to know what the rules and regulations for operating on public lands are; just as companies have the right to know what those rules are so that they can properly and responsibly plan their operations. No business can be expected to comply with regulations they have not even seen.

I believe that the BLM needs to start lightening up on its often heavy-handed approach to oil and gas. Without energy development (as we have sadly seen), many people are left without jobs and opportunity. Make it too difficult on them, and an industry will pull out.

All that potential oil shale developers are asking for is a chance to try to produce this resource. Knowing what the rules are as they go forward is not asking too much.

CHRISTY FLYNN
Grand Junction

County commissioner not living up to proclamation about transparency

It seems to me that Sgt. Schultz (of the TV show ” Stalag 17”) has been reincarnated, twice. You remember his signature exclamation: “I know noootthhing!” 


Duffy Hayes’ article on Feb. 8 quoted Commissioner Pugliese proclaiming, “We are going to be as transparent as possible.”  This after a meeting that the commissioners did not know, apparently, was a meeting in which “formal action” was taken to get rid of Unfug, but nobody remembers if there was any formal action. I’ve heard the “transparency” claim earlier by someone running for president, it seems to me.


County Attorney Lyle Dechant is quoted, after several different questions on legality of the affair, as saying, “I don’t know” at least three times. He has “very little understanding of what happened.” 


Pugliese, who was in the “meeting,” said she did not know if “formal action” was taken to dismiss Unfug. They “had discussions” but when asked if it was possible to produce an agenda, we get another “I don’t know.”  When asked about having any concerns about the process, we get (you guessed it) another “I don’t know.”


Now Sgt. Schultz was a charming comedic character. I find the many “I don’t know” comments not at all funny, but more like: Who the heck have we elected to run the city?  And the county attorney or Pugliese know” noootthhing!” 


“Keystone Kops” rings a bell.


CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

National park status would boost local economy

My grandfather used to hang out with John Otto. John Otto’s original intent was for a Colorado Monument National Park.

National Park status puts you in front of a lot more visitors from around the world and our own country. That visibility translates in many more dollars from tourism and a better economy for the surrounding communities.

In reviewing all the information for a redesignation to a National Park, I can’t see any negative impact. It is truly a win-win situation. I would hope that folks would support this great idea and, if they have concerns about anything, that they ask questions to get those concerns cleared up.

BRUCE BENGE

Grand Junction

WCC members should have worked with Brady Trucking

Thanks to B. Phillips for her letter regarding Brady Trucking. The Sentinel caption “City council lacked will…” is the only area in which we seem to agree.

While I agree the right of ownership doesn’t give the owner unrestricted right to use, pushing the issue to the extreme of a public vote to force the owner to move is an odious concept with perhaps worse ramifications than the placement of a trucking facility on the riverfront.

I support many environmental protection goals. I am very disappointed that my friends at Western Colorado Congress chose this issue to engage in such a vehement manner at the expense of its members’ pocketbooks, as well as the reputation of this fine organization.

I believe that the result will be twofold: The public will vote to leave Brady right there, and WCC will become even more marginalized than it already has become. WCC’s contentious image is one reason I am not a member.

A better choice would have been to work with Brady, who was willing to make expensive concessions in regard to access and beautification. This may have resulted in stronger relationships between WCC and various local entities and raised their prestige in the community. The present tactic is likely to do the opposite.

After all, this is not an environmentally critical piece of land by anybody’s standards. If it were, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have weighed in on the side of the endangered river fishes. I don’t believe it has done so.

The operation is separated from the river by some distance and an old built-up bank of cement rip rap. Moreover, the present use as a trucking company is much better for the river than the old rendering plant that predated it.

WCC is driven by idealism to not let a precedent be set for reindustialization of the riverfront. I would ask its members to open their eyes.

Are they fighting the placement of Kannah Creek beer bottling plant being constructed near the river and adjacent to wetlands? Same business- trucking, with manufacturing thrown in. I guess the WCC, along with myself, have more use for a microbrewery than for a trucking company.

STEVE FERRIOLE
Glade Park

Two essential words edited out of letter

By omitting two words in my letter to editor Sunday morning you inadvertently misrepresented the economic impact statement. 


You edited my words and miswrote that the BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office brings in $141 million per year to our local economy??  By omitting “Planning area” as seen in my emailed letter, you’ve mischaracterized the statement and gave the Field Office credit for helping our local economy?  When, in fact, the results of closing down OHV areas and closing more than 2,100 miles of routes will have a devastating impact on our local economy.


The “Planning Area” for the Grand Junction Field Office District, covers 1.2 million acres in the RMP . COHVCO has revealed that this 1.2 million acres brings in $141 million per year to our local economies and produces 214 jobs.  Just a note, the BLM economic impact state in the RMP only gives credit to about $7.2 million worth of impacts to our local economy. Pretty scary difference. Worth a story. I’ve attached the COHVCO report, in case someone is interested.

I understand that this was mistake, but when trying to inform the public it’s critical the information in relayed accurately. So many local residents are already under the misinterpretation that this is only an “ATV issue,” Many don’t realize that the BLM is closing roads that cars, campers, and trucks can drive year-round. Many of the small spur roads that provide private camping opportunities are going to be closed. We will all be camping off main artery roads, and the traffic will only increase on these roads as they are closing 65 percent of the routes. More trucks with fewer routes.

We thank The Daily Sentinel for its coverage and look forward to more.

BRANDON SIEGFRIED
Grand Junction

As first responders in school,
adults should be armed

As a Pediatric physician, I mourn the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary, but I can no longer remain silent amid the flood of politicians and celebrities cynically using the Newtown incident to call for infringements on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of law-abiding citizens.

The underlying premise of my profession is to be an advocate for children. I strive daily to protect children. I have been in this field long enough to know that bad, or even deadly things happen to innocent children, almost always from causes beyond our control.

When I have a young patient who needs heart surgery, I include him in the discussion. I believe we do our children a great disservice with false reassurances. It is a lie to tell them their school is safe, when the school in fact is a gun-free and target-rich environment.

There is little to deter a deranged individual intent on doing maximum harm with minimum resistance. Mental health professionals are unable to accurately predict imminent violent acts. We surely cannot eliminate evil by legislation.

Therefore, the adults at any school are our first responders, and willfully disarming them puts children at grave risk during the long minutes between the first gunshot and the arrival of police.

This raises another important role of pediatricians, fostering the transition to adulthood. Growing up includes learning how to use tools to improve our lives. Safe operation of a car, power tools and, yes, even firearms are important skills for youth.

Beyond this, though, the most precious tools we give our children are the ground rules that bind us as a nation. Our Founders understood the fragility of liberty, and each generation bears the responsibility of passing that torch on to the next. Freedom can be chaotic and messy.

Freedom does not mean that we are free from danger or free from infringement upon our God-given rights. It means we are free to chart our own course as responsible citizens. It means that we use free speech responsibly, that we bear arms responsibly, and that we do our best to stand up for those who are weaker than us. These are principles worthy of conserving.

JAMES SCHROEDER MD
Grand Junction

Pugliese’s resolution violates her oath of office
 
Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese has created a timely opportunity to educate local citizens on the meaning of the Second Amendment and the implications of two “recent” Supreme Court decisions interpreting it. (“Pugliese puts gun resolution before board,” Feb. 10).


Of course, as Pugliese already knows, nothing in her oath of office requires her to “support” or enforce a “federal order” or state law that is actually “unlawful” or “unconstitutional.” The meaningful question is: Who decides what is “lawful” and/or “constitutional”?


Because our county commissioners are sworn to uphold “the Constitution of the United States and the State of Colorado,” they have also sworn to support and defend – not only the Second Amendment – but Article III of the U.S. Constitution and Article VI of the Colorado Constitution, as well.


Under those articles, the federal courts (and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court) and/or analogous Colorado courts (but not any locally elected board of county commissioners) – are the final arbiters of “what the law is.”


Thus, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that in-home possession of handguns (only) was indeed an individual right that could not be infringed by D.C. – a federal enclave. However, Justice Scalia also wrote that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and did not preclude federal regulation of “dangerous and unusual weapons” (originally, machine guns; by extension, “assault rifles”, etc.).


In McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that in-home possession of handguns (only) was an individual right that could not be infringed by any state or municipality. However, Justice Alito also recognized that extending the Second Amendment’s prohibition to the states also precluded them from regulating firearms less stringently than federal law requires.


Consequently, Pugliese’s resolution’s misguided call for “nullification” is profoundly unpatriotic and antithetical to her oath of office.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Eliminate political appointee jobs as a cost-cutting measure

It seems every time the conservatives say we must cut spending, the liberals and special interest groups immediately take to the airwaves and claim this will just hurt the “little people,” such as teachers, social workers, beat cops, etc. However, they never even consider that they could get substantial savings by just reducing the overhead costs of each department.

Of course, this means eliminating some political appointee jobs along with their family members and campaign workers who are rewarded with nice-paying jobs. In most cases these people contribute little and just draw salaries, a portion of which they contribute to the very same politician who appointed them.

Nah! It’ll never happen.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Horizon Drive, 7th, 12th streets must remain major arteries

Now that the feds have stepped in and designated more major roads in Grand Junction as part of the National Highway System, maybe we can finally fix Horizon Drive and 12th and 7th streets. Horizon Drive feeds into 12th and 7th streets, and all three are major arteries into the city.

Somewhere along the line during the planning process, some genius thought that it would be a good idea to narrow all three down from four lanes to two where they intersect, creating a bottleneck. Horizon Drive and 12th and 7th Streets need to remain for the entire way. Why is it a good idea to create a traffic bottleneck on one of the major arteries into the city?

JEREMIAH HABECKER

Grand Junction

Do zoning codes not apply to Monument Baptist Church?

So, Monument Baptist Church, with property valued by the county assessor to be worth more than $1.2 million and which pays $0 in county property taxes annually, can infringe upon its good neighbors and put a commercial use Verizon tower in the middle of a residentially zoned neighborhood.

The more than 200 residential owners within the adjoining neighborhoods pay roughly $1,200 each annually to the county in property taxes, and have received zero notification, input or representation at hearings that are supposed to be in place to protect our zoning codes and the public good.

The Monument Baptist Church stands to profit from this infringement, while paying nothing in property taxes. The area residents stand to watch their values decline, while paying their fair share of property taxes.

We don’t see why the code was not properly reviewed and enforced. The Mesa County website identifies the purpose behind adoption of these codes as “for the purpose of preserving and improving the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens and businesses of Mesa County.”

JIM and DENISE HENNING
Grand Junction

School choice a major step into high tech, affluent society

The recent AP article about computerized machines taking over middle-class jobs does not describe it in the classic way, “problem vs. opportunity.” 

The AP gives three scenarios, two very bad and one not good. The bad ones are that good paying jobs are lost, along with the ability to sustain a large middle class, and that there are no jobs at all for most citizens. The least pessimistic possibility is that, given the right kind of retraining, folks can eke out a living.

This kind of thinking comes from those who promote big government. They see technology as causing problems that needs government fixing.

We who think “small government” see opportunity. After all, people are smart enough to not only get a job as technology improves, but to have a better paying, more fun jobs. The middle class and those striving to move up there are quite capable of learning the ropes. They don’t need big government to give them the “right” training, although government could help by getting out of the way.

It could simply give vouchers, thus allowing parents and students to find the school where kids can have the best shot at getting ahead. Schools run by labor unions and politicians place teacher longevity above diligence and intelligence. Freedom to choose one’s own school would be a great step forward into a high tech, affluent society.

BRUCE TAYLOR
Grand Junction

Park promoters thank Club 20’s tourism committee

Much thanks to The Daily Sentinel and Gary Harmon for their excellent continued coverage of the discussion to redesignate the Colorado National Monument as a national park.

Just wanted to make two important clarifications regarding your Feb. 11 article: Our group’s goal is to coalesce support for an astounding opportunity.

We did not present a resolution for Club 20’s tourism committee to approve. We made a presentation, but all of the wording of the resolution was theirs.

Though it’s true their resolution refers to a Fruita water line on the monument, our research tells us that 100+-year-old line has been ruled out for any future use per an agreement between the city of Fruita and monument representation. There are no inherent water sources within monument boundaries and no city, county or individual water rights will be impacted by designation as a national park.

Further Club 20’s tourism committee resolution requested a newly formed park be required to hold two bicycle events per year, and I’m certain that when Congressman Scott Tipton and Sen. Mark Udall create legislation they will consider that request. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

Our group at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) along with the Colorado National Monument Association would be happy to answer any further questions. GVRCNP commends and thanks Club 20’s tourism committee for its forward-looking leadership and support.

TERRI L. CHAPPELL
Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park
Grand Junction



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