Email letters, February 27, 2013

Tipton must aid Coloradans by working to avoid cuts

I was dismayed by Rep. Scott Tipton’s remarks reported in Monday’s Sentinel. Clearly, he does not understand what the sequester will mean to everyday Coloradans. There are very real reasons many of us are concerned about the future of Colorado if the sequester goes into effect.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Colorado will lose approximately $8.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 120 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 12,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding.

In addition, Colorado will lose approximately $8.1 million in funds for about 100 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities. Around 1,170 fewer low-income students in Colorado would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college, and around 430 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college. Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 700 children in Colorado.

We would lose about $2 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Colorado could lose another $1.2 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection. In Colorado, approximately 12,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $68.5 million in total.

For the Army, base operation funding would be cut by about $57 million in Colorado. Funding for Air Force operations in Colorado would be cut by about $8 million.

Tipton said, correctly, that the federal government “employs no police officers or fire fighters in Colorado.” However, he might have overlooked the Upper Colorado Fire Management building at the airport that is used to bring in federal firefighters to fight Western Slope fires. Additionally, Colorado will lose about $213,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives. Maybe the sheriff can offer insight on the impact that will have on his operation.

Colorado will lose about $331,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral and placement, meaning around 14,810 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment. Up to 300 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Around 2,240 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and Hepatitis B, due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $153,000. Ask the Mesa County Department of Health and Human Services what that will mean to it.

Colorado will lose approximately $480,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats, including infectious diseases, natural disasters and biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological events.

In addition, Colorado will lose about $1.3 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3,500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Colorado State Department of Public Health & Environment will lose about $212,000, resulting in around 5,300 fewer HIV tests. We would lose approximately $720,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

In total, the Pew Center shows Colorado to lose 7.3 percent of state revenue in federal grants subject to sequester. We are among the top third most vulnerable states in loss of federal revenue.  This is not political smoke; these are the very real consequences to the Western Slope of the sequester.

Rep. Tipton is doing the people of the Western Slope a grave disservice by not working with the president to prevent these cuts. Tipton needs to think about our future, not Speaker Boehner’s political behind.


Republicans refuse to make financial sacrifices

Dave Kearsley’s online letter (“We need to rebuild country”, Feb. 25) evinces Republicans’ schizophrenia. 

When Michelle Obama said in November 2008, “For the first time in my life, I’m proud of my country,” she was vilified by the right for implying a prior disloyalty. However, when Limbaugh says he’s “ashamed of my country,” Kearsley, et al. are “mesmerized.” 

Kearsley poses a false dichotomy between those who inspired our Revolution against autocratic government and those who “opposed limited government,” when the initial causus belli was absentee government – “taxation without representation.” 

Both “patriots” and Tories pursued their respective economic interests, but few (if any) actually “saw the opportunity to create a great nation and did it.” Thus, Kearsley relies on a teleological fallacy to imply that eventual outcomes were foreseen and intended.

Kearsley also ignores the fact that those same “founders” actually opted for less “limited government” by replacing the Articles of Confederation with our Constitution. Today’s Republican “elites” equate to the Tories of 1775 – preferring oligarchy to democracy.

Parroting Limbaugh, Kearsley claims that President Obama “resembles a cult leader,” but the “country first” rhetoric of those who would have put Sarah Palin “a heartbeat away from the presidency” remains profoundly suspect.

The 2010 elections proved that, when Republicans resort to exaggerated fear mongering after eight years of their own fiscal profligacy, less-informed folks can be taken in by their spin. 

The 2012 election proved that, having systematically gerrymandered many Congressional districts, anti-democratic Republicans can cynically distort electoral results. 

Arnold Toynbee wrote that “civilizations die by suicide, not by murder.”  While Obama’s policies would “rebuild this nation and replenish national pride” without hitting “the debt wall,” Republicans such as Kearsley seek to accelerate our economic suicide by “sacrificing” what America built in spite of them – while refusing to make any financial sacrifices themselves.

Grand Junction

Clear understanding of ‘militia’ is important in current debates

In an effort to answer David Cook’s thoughtful questions on Feb. 26 regarding the Second Amendment, I offer the following:

(1) Contrary to “logic,” the incidents of firearms injuries, including death, have actually dropped significantly over the past several decades in spite of the fact that the number of firearms privately owned has doubled over the same period. I regret that I don’t have the precise figures at my fingertips. But the fact remains that firearm injuries and death have dropped while ownership has increased.

(2) A visible weapon warns the evildoer that you are armed, thus causing them to plan a more careful strategy to disarm you. Carrying it concealed provides no warning, so they can’t disarm you. When they ask for your wallet, the next thing they see is your concealed weapon pointed at them, giving you the advantage. You may not even have to use it. But they are the one surprised, not you.

(3) Explaining our founders’ intent of the militia requires a brief history lesson. The militia is not the National Guard, U.S. Army or Army reserve, which are under the direction of the state governor and/or the president of the U.S.

The original militia known to our founders was totally a self-organized body of local citizens supplying their own firearms for the purpose of protecting their community and themselves from criminals and other threats. They elected their own officers and answered only to their community and themselves. Self-organized militia with their firearms fought the battles of Concord and Lexington because the British intended to disarm them by confiscating their black powder.

Recently the Supreme Court ruled that the police have no obligation to protect individual citizens but are responsible for the community at large. Therefore, we as individuals are responsible for our own protection. 


Grand Junction 

National park status would erode quality of valley life

A hundred years ago, John Otto may very well have hoped for park status for his monument. That was then; this is now. If he could see how his name and namesake up there are being exploited for the all mighty dollar, he’d roll over in his grave.

Every article supporting this truly unnecessary name change centers around the big money “boon” they hope to get. Be careful what you wish for; you may just get it.

This “progressive forward thinking,” referred to by Abraham Lincoln as “simple greed,” always comes with a high price tag. And the greed that is gripping the Grand Valley now will, as well.

We’ve just come through a winter with the inversion problems that last for days, with air quality becoming severe. We’re asked to cut back, conserve, not to burn, not to drive, etc. We suffered a drought last summer and could be facing another one this year—with burning lawns, dying gardens and fistfights over water. And yet from the same mouths comes the cry to bang the gong of growth and fan the flames of progress.

Yet another truly unnecessary name and status change offers more notoriety and, consequently, more people with their problems, pollution and ideals. Hence the price of greed.

There are certain necessities in life: clean air, clean water, strong infrastructure, good schools and even a small town atmosphere. This monument to park status name change is not a burning necessity. It benefits mostly a special interest group of well meaning folks, who wear spandex britches and plastic helmets.

Stop hiding behind the facade of fulfilling Otto’s dream, when it’s really about your own and money. John Otto may have envisioned a park, but he didn’t envision it being exploited to this extent.

Perhaps some money from their “big boon” kitty can be used to buy back the quality of life that will be sacrificed. 

Grand Junction

Liberals distort history to support their views

The controversy pitting the president of Emory University and his essay about the “Three Fifths Compromise” of 1787 against liberal activists is a perfect example of how invented racism creates news.

Have the liberals become so desperate to destroy opposing thought that even historical events are fair game?

The “Three Fifths Compromise” of 1787 was merely a way for the delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to compromise, making “representation by population” palatable to both northern and southern states. The north of course wanting to exclude slaves to enhance their own number of representatives and electoral votes, and the south wanting them included for the same reasons. At that time in our history slavery was a sad reality, it wasn’t a question of being right or wrong. The compromise provided the means to reach “common ground”, acceptable to both sides. It appeased both the north and south by allowing the slaves to be counted, but only as 3/5ths of one rather than one. The 3/5ths connotation was in no way intended as detrimental as relates to a slave’s humanity. The question of slavery’s “rightness or wrongness” wouldn’t be decided until many years later.

By demonizing President Wagner’s essay, which simply cites the 3/5ths compromise as an example of reaching common political ground, the liberal activists and their willing allies in the press, are igniting controversy where none existed and twisting the truth. To even imply that Wagner condones slaver or is racist is not only nonsense, but false and vicious.

This obvious smear is so transparent that by taking the liberal side I suspect the public will see yet another reason why the media is losing so much credibility these days.


Grand Junction

To survive, conservatives must be cannier in politics

The release by DHS of thousands of illegal immigrants held in jails, claiming budget cuts as the reason, just shows that our politics have really hit rock bottom.

This is a department directly under White House control, and President Obama has the authority to transfer funds between government agencies. He has apparently decided that keeping things such as the free phone program alive is more important than keeping criminals incarcerated.

Of course, this, along with Obama’s threats of reductions in first responder personnel and budget cuts on the military will be used by the liberal media to show how those uncompromising, uncaring Republicans are undermining the government’s ability to meet its obligations to the American people. How about the obligation of a balanced budget?

Cuts were promised, and it was the White House that proposed the “sequestration” strategy in the first place. Now the Republicans are to blame for our current situation.

I have to admit, the lefties are definitely better at the political game than conservatives. This makes perfect sense, since progressives are more outspoken in general while conservatives are more … well, conservative. When looking at the political playing field it’s like putting a little league team against last year’s world champions.

If conservatives don’t soon speak up and figure out how to play the game, we will have forfeited our country and the principles on which it was founded. We need to play by the same rules.

When a new wind farm is proposed or a new solar project is put on the table, we need to challenge it in court. What are the ecological impacts? How many birds will be killed? How much noise will be produced? How will the solar panels, blocking the sun, affect the ecosystem? What are the total VOC’s produced by using ethanol?

The left doesn’t hesitate to file lawsuit after lawsuit to impede the progress of energy independence while members of the right silently shakes their heads and say, “There they go again.” We either play by the same rules that the left has established or just go home with our tails between our legs.

Grand Junction

Fruita 8/9 beating shows seriousness of bullying

Based on the Sentinel’s report of the Fruita 8-9 School beating, there are some issues that really bother me.

I am a parent, and I have also been a junior high school teacher. I fully understand teenagers’ growing pains. Bullying happens often, and the school should take these situations seriously before they degenerate into something worse.

It seems the school was notified there was a potential bullying issue, but if there was a response by the school, it seems to have been very weak.

When the incident happened in the lunchroom, where were the staff monitors?  According to the article, there were two staff monitors present. What were they doing at that time? How could they let the attack continue so long before interfering?

I don’t disagree with the District 51 policy that fighting is not tolerated. But this was not really a “fight.” It was clearly an attack on the person who chose not to fight.

For the school district to suspend the student who came to the victim’s defense is absolutely outrageous. This student was the victim’s sister. What did the school district expect, that she should sit and watch her sister being beaten? 

Shame on the school district for suspending her versus giving her a warning. And if this student is to be suspended then so should the staff monitors who allowed this bludgeoning to proceed.


Let’s reach a compromise on energy needs, climate change
In response to the Feb. 22 article titled “Energy Nexus Predicted,” I wanted to note Robert Bryce’s comments about renewable energy. While I agree that renewables aren’t the only answer to our energy demands, they are a very viable part of the answer. That is, if we do them right.

Investing in renewable energy doesn’t make this country anti-carbon or worse, pro-blackout – it simply gives us an opportunity to diversify our options, which doesn’t seem like too bad of a deal. Oil and gas has dominated the energy field for a long time. And as a sportsman, I think that hasn’t always been a good thing.

The issue for me is that renewable energy is approached with some forward thinking. We need to find places and processes that are agreeable both to industry and to the hunters and anglers who so value our public lands.

Recently, Congress re-introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, which would take a step in that direction. I firmly believe it will take legislation like this, which puts money back into the conservation of our public lands (with an added bonus of money to counties
and states) to balance out the energy vs. environment debate.

There can be happy balances out there, it just takes some thought and compromise to find them. In this era, we can’t afford to take extreme stances. We have to find some common ground.

Climate change is real. Energy needs are real. It’s time we take that seriously and start approaching them from a position of compromise, just as the sporting community has done.


Sequestration cuts represent a tiny part of federal budget

President Obama claims that the “sequestration” cuts of $85 billion will break the government. Bear in mind that it was he, not Republicans, who called for the sequestration. So back then it was good, but now its bad. Well, how bad it it really?

First of all, the sequestration cuts are not cuts to the current budget, but rather cuts to the future increases. The budget will still be more than it was last year, it just won’t be as big as it could have been.

But let us look at how devastating $85 billion out of nearly $3.8 trillion really is. $85 billion is .023 percent of $3.7 trillion, not even one half of one tenth of one percent. Now, let us remove eight zeros and pretend that this is the budget of a normal American household. That would be $37,000 dollars. The cuts would be $850 dollars. Not even one thousand.

Are you telling me that the government can’t find .023 percent to cut? Are you kidding me? I make less than $20,000, and I could easily cut .023 percent out of my budget. This is just proof of how greedy an irresponsible the government is.

Grand Junction

Kerry’s ‘stupid” remark in Germany reflects Washington environment

Our newly elected Secretary of State John Kerry addressed students in Germany today and said to them “In America you have a right to be stupid.”

I guess Kerry would know, since he’s surrounded by “stupid” in Washington.



Read up on history behind Second Amendment

In the Feb. 26 Sentinel edition’s letters to the editor, David Cook asks some very valid questions on the issue of guns for a new comer to this country and I would like to make an attempt to answer them.

1} As for ‘logic” suggesting as guns become more available there will be more death and injury, actually data shows firearm accidents are at an all time low today, from nearly 3.5 per 100,000 in 1904 to less than .5 per 100,000 in 2006.

As for deaths due to firearms, overall firearm deaths (2009 FBI data): 9,146. That’s it. Total deaths from rifle wounds, 348.

Let’s look at deaths from other weapons: knives and cutting tools accounted for 1,825 deaths in 2009, 1,477 more than rifles; clubs, hammers and other blunt objects totaled 611 in 2009, 263 more than rifles and hands, fists, and feet killed 801 in 2009, 453 more than rifles. So why are the Democrat pushing to ban “assault weapons” (a small subset of rifles)? My only guess is they just don’t like guns in general and see an opportunity to start banning guns, one step at a time.

As for more guns becoming available, being new to this country (and probably young) you are unaware of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the first large-scale restrictions on gun purchasing.

As a 14-year-old in 1967, I worked with a buddy to put up hay for his dad, We took our earnings to a gun store, plopped our money down and purchased M-1 carbines (today called assault weapons) with accessories including bayonets and 200 rounds of ammo in bandoleers, slung them over our shoulders and walked home through town, in front of the police and sheriffs department and through the courthouse to get a drink and no one said a word.

You could order guns through the mail and have them delivered to your home; in the back of “Boy’s Life” a pre-teen boy’s magazine one could order a 20mm Boys Anti-Tank rifle (really a small cannon) and have it delivered to your home. In junior high we took our shotguns on the school bus, kept them in our hall lockers and went hunting after school, in High School we had a trap and skeet club, and during hunting season nearly every pickup in the parking lot had a shotgun hanging in the rear window NO, guns are not more available today than in times past.

2} If the purpose of personal weapons is to deter attack, why carry concealed?

Many would argue that by keeping sidearms concealed the would-be criminal does not know who is armed, thus my concealed weapon helps protect you because it is not known who is unarmed and who is able to resist.

Personally, I like open carry and that is my normal mode of carry, just like the sight of a cop on the road keeps your speed under control, I believe the sight of armed, honest citizens helps keep criminals under control.

But with the delicateness of today’s population, too many people are upset by the open sight of a firearm, so the push for concealed carry. (“What I don’t know won’t scare me.”)

3} The BIG one: What is militia as written in the constitution and how is it regulated?

“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.”  — Tench Coxe, 1788  
According to the Militia Act of 1792, passed by the first session of the Second Congress, many of the members having been in the First Congress and ratified the constitution, “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia… That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and
ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service…”  The prescribed accouterments were quite a load out for the times.

“Regulated” at the time of the Constitution did NOT mean bound by rules, constricted and restrained by “regulations” as is thought of today, instead it was well functioning, operating with precision, a clock that kept accurate time was said to be “well regulated” and the term regulated can be found proudly emblazed on antique clocks into the early 1900s. A “Well regulated militia” was a military organization capable of operating in a coordinated, efficient manor within the unit and in coordination with other units in military operations with precision.

Even today federal law recognizes the militia. The current United States Code, “Title 10 (Armed forces), section 311 (Militia: Composition and Classes), paragraph (a) states: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”[39] Section 313 of Title 32 refers to persons with prior military experience. (“Sec. 313. Appointments and enlistments: age limitation (a) To be eligible for original enlistment in the National Guard, a person must be at least 17 years of age and under 45, or under 64 years of age and a formermember of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular Marine Corps.”)

If you would really like to understand what is behind the Second Amendment I suggest you get a copy of Stephen P. Halbrok’s “That Every Many Be Armed” available through the Mesa County Public Library.


Grand Junction

National park status may lessen local control

I read with interest Seth Anderson’s letter promoting national park designation for the monument. He speaks glowingly of this valley and its people. I agree with him about the beauty of the monument and I, too, would gladly see the numbers of visitors increase. However I think National Park designation at best provides mixed benefits and at worst brings hardship to the local citizens.

Other communities have welcomed national park designation for their unique features and found advantages from increased tourism. But for some the federal government ended up controlling the entire area and destroying the local economy.

One such place is Hatteras, N.C., where the citizens have negotiated, argued, pleaded and endured the heavy hand of the national park for years. Due to a lawsuit brought on behalf of a bird (Piping Plover), officials closed access to the area, leading to restricted tourism and devastated businesses.

Once national park status is attained, there are entities that will gladly use the federal government as a hammer by which to accomplish their goals without having to negotiate with the local citizens. Here in Colorado such groups have had years of practice and are quite proficient at ruling segments of society via lawsuits.

The national park will not belong to us, nor does it now, but the present lower status allows us a meaningful seat at the table for discussing bicycling events and more importantly in regard to access to the Glade Park community.

Though Rim Rock Drive requires careful attention, Glade Park commuters get to enjoy the monument as if it were their backyard. However, our beautiful scenic rim is inconveniently placed if one’s main concern is the management of a national park.

Let’s find other ways to promote the monument that does not put our local communities at risk.


Grand Junction

Is it time to hold legislators accountable?

A state official violates his/her/its oath of office to defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado. Both contain “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” The U.S. Code annotated clearly defines “Militia,” and, as the U.S. Supreme Court has at least twice affirmed what Thomas M. Cooley published back in 1880 on constitutional law, weapons are protected by our “palladium of the Liberties of a free Republic.”

(See Joseph Story—a Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, Regnery, 1997 edition.)

So, my question for state Sen. John Morse is: Can the people sue legislators who write bad laws? Can the people hold them liable?

I am weary of “progressives” who write laws affecting the law-abiding. When their laws do more harm than good, oh, the legislators are never held accountable.  Isn’t it time to expect responsible legislation?



Catholic outreach programs address suffering, not sin

I am one of the many Catholic women religious (sisters) in the United States who belong to the Leadership Council of Religious Women and one of the few who live in this beautiful valley. I was surprised at a recent letter to the editor that invited us to leave the Catholic Church if we “don’t like it.”

Any response from the LCWR to the Vatican Assessment of us has been thoughtful, reflective and respectful. It has been transparent and honest. If there have been critical, demeaning or uncaring responses, please bring them to our attention and an instant apology will be forthcoming. No one needs to be turned into a scapegoat or excluded in this world.

Sister Pat Farrell, president of LCWR, spoke publically at LCWR’s annual meeting this last summer. She asked the question “What would a prophetic response to the doctrinal assessment look like?”

Her answer: “I think it would be humble, but not submissive, rooted in a solid sense of ourselves, but not self-righteous; truthful, but gentle and absolutely fearless.”

What about this answer contradicts gospel values?

Ecumenical, catholic programs, services and ministries in this valley are run or were started by sisters. These programs do not address sin. They address human suffering and participate in the transformation of that suffering.

We need each other in this community. We need to reflect the face of The Christ through love and acceptance,

I invite all of us to find this common ground to stand on and in this valley to support each other in our “Staying Power” until….?


Grand Junction



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