Email letters, February 6, 2014

County attorney was always polite, professional, prompt

During Lyle Dechant’s 30+ years tenure as county attorney, he was bound to ruffle some feathers, have some disagreements and even cause a few bad feelings along the way. However I want to say that I always found him to be courteous and professional.

Whenever I had any questions, Dechant was always quick to respond, returning phone calls and, in recent years, emails promptly with his answers and suggestions. I appreciated that.

I hope that his replacement shows the same consideration to the residents of Mesa County.

Grand Junction

Is our great nation heading down the wrong path?

I want to respond to the letter by John Wood in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel. I wholeheartedly agree with Wood.

In connection with his assessment of spreading the wealth in this country, I came across the following statement made by a pastor, Adrian Rogers of Memphis, Tenn., sometime prior to his death in 2005.

I quote: “Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for, that, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”

Is this where our great nation is? Or where we are heading? It is very sad indeed!

Grand Junction

CASA will hold new training for volunteers Feb. 24

We have all experienced it. We read in the paper cases of severe abuse and neglect of children within our community   some resulting in death. It shakes us to the core and breaks our hearts, and we wonder how this can happen.

I come from a childhood of abuse, but I know it is a foreign place for most people. And when we see these stories we might ask “Why isn’t someone
doing something?”

While playing with my grandchildren one day, it hit me. It’s not the system that can change the epidemic of child abuse here in our community; it’s us. One person at a time can volunteer to help these children who desperately need an adult in their life who will not abandon them, who will stand up in court for them, be their voice.

That‘s the day I searched our community’s resources and found Court Appointed Special Advocates. I made the call, and after my interview with CASA’s staff I knew in my heart I wanted to become a CASA volunteer. The training classes were full of information but were also fun. A network of other volunteers made me feel as if I were part of an amazing program.

Alone, I can’t help them all, but together we can. We can help one child at a time and make a difference for these children who need us.

I was sworn in Nov. 6, a day I will not forget. Now as a CASA volunteer I am working my first case and I am dedicated to making a change in our community. The CASA staff members are amazing and provide great support and encouragement.

Now in my mid-life, I know this is I was meant to do. I did not have a CASA volunteer as an abused child, but now I am the CASA dedicated to help change the lives of children who are suffering in silence as I once did.

CASA is holding new training for volunteers starting Feb. 24. I hope you’ll consider joining me.

One child at a time, we can make a difference!

Grand Junction

Rely on armed volunteers to keep our schools safe

There is a simple way to protect our schools. Put a large sign in the window that says “This school is protected by armed guards.”

Accomplishing this can be done in a number of ways, such as arming school staff and/or using city and county police officers, retired law officers, volunteers or former military. We need those who are familiar with weapons and know the responsibility that their use carries.

The most important part is training. I believe that anyone participating in this program must be firearm trained by local law enforcement and train monthly at the same schedule and standards as law enforcement does. Familiarity with their weapon will give school-armed guards a clear focus on defending our children.

You might find out that there are many qualified individuals who would be willing to volunteer their time to provide this safety in our schools.

School access should be much tighter by controlling entrance points possibly with door alarms on lesser-used doorways.

The crazies of the world are very reluctant to pull off their attacks when they fear being shot and punished for their crimes. Let’s make them fear going near a school and our children.

Grand Junction

New taxes come at what cost to the American people?

“A major report by the CBO confirms that Medicare premium support would make the financially troubled federal program more fiscally sustainable.”

The CBO even found that a new competitive system of health plans and private plans can offer the same benefit as traditional Medicare fee-for-service plans at a lower cost to taxpayers. They also found Obamacare to be counterproductive to society excelling at achievement!

Throw in the massive pile of new taxes that have already and are soon supposed to kick in and the cost of the ACA is becoming very apparent along with the CBO’s findings that this will cause millions to either lose their jobs and the incentive to work. That combined with the new tax burdens heaped on businesses that will intercept their incentive to hire new employees or expand their businesses.

It makes no economic or moral sense, it would seem, yet we have a logjam of congressional reprobates that feel “we must have this new tax.” I ask them at what cost to the American people?

A list of some of the new taxes:
¬ Increased payroll tax for hospital insurance from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent for couples
¬ Mandate for individuals to buy health insurance and for employers to
offer it to employees under penalty of fines
¬ Annual fee on health insurance providers based on each individual
company’s share of total market
¬ 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” heath insurance plans costing more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families
¬ Impose an annual fee on manufactures and importers of branded drugs on
each individual company’s share of the market
¬ 2.3 percent excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical
¬ Higher corporate taxes
¬ Elimination of corporate deduction for Rx expenses for retirees
¬ 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services
¬ Increase corporate taxes making it more difficult for businesses to
engage in activities that reduce their tax liability, like charitable
¬ Repeal special deductions for Blue Cross/Blue Shield organizations.

This seems more like my government targeting me rather than helping anyone?

These all seem to be slowing economic growth and reducing incomes, as well as the numbers employed. That, coupled with the new taxes on investments, where the hell is the incentive to produce anything in America today?

It’s as though a liberal war of political policy is being leveled on this nation. I know some doctors who are refusing to comply because their patients are being penalized by these policies. Wake up, America!

Grand Junction

Bill Grant’s gun assessment ruined a perfectly good day

I woke up Tuesday morning to a beautiful morning, sunshine, new snow and altogether a day to enjoy. I made a cup of coffee and opened up my copy of The Daily Sentinel to read about the goings-on of our gorgeous area.

Everything was fine until I reached Bill Grant’s assessment of the gun situation we are confronting in our daily lives. Wild West shootouts, 30 ounces of chromed steel tucked legally under belts at Wal-Mart, paranoia, toxic politics, evil people with evil intent, armed and dangerous population. I read the bit twice to make sure I was fully aware of the dangers I was facing and went back to bed, depressed and frightened. After sleeping a couple of hours, I got out of bed and had a shot of whiskey to brace me for the coming travails of the day. It’s now 4 p.m. and my family is still safe. Whew!

After reflecting on Grant’s frightening assessment, I have reflected on my experiences to determine if I should ever go outside again. I am 70 years old and have been to Wal-Mart several times and so far have never seen a shootout. I have seen a few races to get a more favorable position in the checkout line, but no guns were pulled. I do remember a recent trip in which I noticed a young lady with an impressive chest, which I now suspect could have been a new, dastardly designed concealed-carry holster hiding 30 ounces of chromed steel. One can never be too careful. I have not been threatened or felt the least bit concerned a Wild West shoot out would break out.

Grant also cautioned about “embodied cognition” which indicates the simple holding of a gun turns otherwise well-intentioned folks into crazed murderers. I suggest Grant read “On Killing,” an excellent book by Dave Grossman that goes into the history of the difficulty of training young men to kill other young men in combat. Most will not kill to protect themselves. The Defense Department has spent millions of dollars researching way to overcome this fact.

Grand Junction

Oil and gas workers also want to keep Colorado safe

For more than 60 years the oil and natural gas industry has worked closely with local community leaders to ensure fracking exists safely alongside Colorado’s communities and environment.

With more than 10,000 oil and natural gas wells drilled in western Colorado in the past ten years, this community partnership remains stronger than ever. We hope to see that continue.

In fact, one of my favorite organizations, Community Counts, provides tools to strengthen communication between oil and natural gas companies and Coloradan communities. And many Colorado energy companies have joined Community Counts to do just that — communicate with their neighbors across Colorado.

By listening and responding to Coloradans’ concerns, these industry members strive to balance the economic and social benefits of energy production with the impact of operations on the environment.

Because in the end, oil and natural gas workers call Colorado home, too. Like you, they strive to keep Colorado safe and prosperous for generations to come.

Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED)

‘Fact checks’ are a long overdue public service

Kudos to The Daily Sentinel for anticipating and preemptively debunking the latest misinformation campaign being waged by FoxNoise and Rush Limbaugh about the CBO’s recent report on the predicted effects of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) on “jobs”:  “Fact check:  Anti-‘Obamacare’ chorus is off key over health act, job loss.”

For too long, the Sentinel has allowed right-wing propaganda to infect its national news coverage (and letters to the editor) without regard to the falsity of its content. Likewise, the Sentinel’s editors have allowed Congressman Scott Tipton to parrot “Teapublican” talking points without questioning the factual accuracy of his assertions.

Consequently, positioning “Fact Checks” on the front page constitutes a long-overdue and invaluable public service – whether falsehoods emanate from the “right” or the “left.”

Similarly valuable are articles such as “What is the farm bill?” which attempt to inform readers about the actual contents and objective “pluses and minuses” of complex laws.

Meanwhile, another false right-wing meme that has not yet gotten the Sentinel’s attention is the bogus claim that the ACA contains a “bailout” for health insurers.

The “usual suspects” of disingenuous politicos and right-wing commentators are deriding the ACA’s “risk corridor” – which protects health insurers from excessive losses for three years if they initially under-estimate actuarially sound ACA health insurance premiums (but requires a rebate to the Treasury if they over-estimate)  as a TARP-like “bailout.”

Medicare Part D contains permanent “risk corridors” which have generated a net gain to the Treasury. Similarly, the CBO predicts that the ACA’s “risk corridor” will generate $8 billion to the Treasury over three years – because, even though ACA-compliant policy premiums are 15 percent lower than anticipated, they may still be higher than required to cover “pre-existing conditions,” free contraception, etc.

The Farm Bill funds a genuinely objectionable “bailout” – for corporate “farmers.”

Grand Junction

Sentinel thanked for running front-page ‘fact-check’ articles

Are pigs flying? What a surprise it was to find in the Feb. 6 issue of The Daily Sentinel the article rebutting information published in The Daily Sentinel’s Feb. 5 issue. Both articles are from the Associated Press, and both were on the front page.

An article headlined,  “Health care law means fewer on job, analysts say,” was published Feb. 5.  It was followed by “Fact check: Anti-‘Obamacare’ chorus is off key over health act, job loss” the next day.

Thank you, Daily Sentinel, for both articles. They represent how our political leaders can be so misleading in informing their constituents of the facts. Fact-check articles are becoming more popular, as they are written in a bipartisan point of view, actually no view, just the facts.

“Just the facts” is the way journalists used to report the news. Sure do miss those old days.


Let people smoke, drink, gamble at an earlier age

Charles Ashby’s article on Jan. 27, “Bill hikes Colorado tobacco age to 21,” was about the new bill that would raise the legal age for the purchase of tobacco. It raises some questions.

In the article Sen. Steve King is quoted as saying there needs to be consistency in the law in regard to how it regulates legal vices. I agree with this, but I would say to go the opposite direction. Instead of raising the age for the purchase of tobacco, we should be lowering the age for access to alcohol, marijuana and gambling.

By the time most people in Colorado have turned 18. they have already had repeated access to alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and sometimes even hard drugs such as acid and LSD. Raising the age for tobacco consumption isn’t going to stop underage smoking or smoking in general. People will find a way to smoke if they really want to.

At the age of 18 a person inherits the right to vote and serve in the armed forces. This means we are trusting people of this age not only to help pick the next leader of our country, but also to help defend this country from those who would destroy it.

Having the age of legal consumption set at 21 sets a double standard for these people. We trust them to die in our defense and pick the person who will lead us, but we don’t trust them with their own personal life decisions.





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