Email letters, Jan. 20, 2012

Revisiting resource plan is a step in the right direction

The West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association offers a huge thanks to Gov. John Hickenlooper, Congressman Scott Tipton, Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet for agreeing the Colorado River Valley Resource Management Plan needs revisiting. And in the rough and tumble world of energy politics, where thanks rare, I’d be remiss not to extend appreciation to the Mesa and Garfield county commissioners who quickly pointed out the economic consequences of the administration’s preferred course of action.

The Daily Sentinel also deserves accolades for a thoughtful editorial pointing out the contradictory nature of presidential energy rhetoric versus the reality of ongoing policies and how they can affect our economy on the ground. Just two weeks ago, the local natural gas industry assumed it inevitable that the Colorado River Valley RMP decision would follow the path of the Keystone Pipeline decision where election politics trump domestic economic and security interests. But members of Colorado’s congressional delegation and executive branch showing unified demand for additional time to review the resource management plan puts Washington squarely on notice that Colorado is watching this process closely, and that nothing short of getting it right will be acceptable moving forward.  

DAVID LUDLAM
Executive Director
West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association

State dragging feet on creating energy-related jobs

In a time when many community programs are being cut, we should be doing everything in our power to get projects moving in Colorado. For example, Gov. John Hickenlooper said in his State of the State address that the $100 million property tax credit for seniors must be removed because of the state’s finances, yet another reason why lawmakers should concentrate on attracting business.

But while Gov. Hickenlooper is giving a pep talk to elected officials to promote business, it seems that his speech fell on deaf ears when it came to energy projects on public lands. It seems that across the Western Slope, the feds are working diligently to make development of our domestic resources as arduous and possible. From the woefully inept draft Resource Management Plan for the BLM Colorado River Field Office, to the foot-dragging antics regarding the proposed expansion for the McClane Canyon Mine, to the fresh look at oil shale leasing and development, to the unbelievable roadblocks on the Roan Plateau, the BLM seems to have a chip on its shoulder when it comes to energy.

And it’s too bad: energy jobs pay much higher on average and allow employees and their families to have a better quality of life. In addition, local communities gain much from sound, sensible development of public lands in the way of taxes and royalty payments which go to pay for roads, schools and many community services. I really hope that the BLM’s Western Slope field offices will take heed and support the businesses that support our communities.

MEGHAN LEHR
Grand Junction

Commissioners are standing up for energy development

I am so glad that at least our Mesa County commissioners are supporting western Colorado. In a time when the BLM seems to be making daily attacks on access to our public lands, it’s about time our western commissioners support us.

Recently Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis stood up and told the truth about the threats to our economy because of the BLM’s actions on the Colorado River Valley RMP and several weeks ago, Garfield County Commissioner John Martin is finally saying what we’ve all been thinking when it comes to the expansion of the McClane Canyon Mine. Both commissioners have finally, publicly called the BLM out for engaging in delay tactics and obvious anti-development sentiments.

Why is the BLM trying to stop oil and gas development in the RMP and why has it taken so long to get the mine expansion going? Mining and energy jobs average more much more than the average salary on the Western Slope. These jobs are stable, safe jobs that are important for the vitality of our community. Thank you Commissioners Meis and Martin for standing up for Western Colorado and I really hope the BLM will listen.

WILLIAM TAYLOR
Grand Junction

State should have more control over our land

We owe a thank you to Craig Meis for recognizing and speaking out against the BLM management plan that threatens to upend our economy. However, it should be recognized that the BLM’s federal ownership over our state’s public lands threatens our economy and our state’s successful operation when based in Washington D.C. rather than here in the state of Colorado.

How can we call our state sovereign when the feds control around 40 percent of our state’s lands and resources? How can we pretend to be a state on equal footing with the original 13 when our regulation, laws and control of our economy is handed down from bureaucrats who are not elected or answerable to the public here in Colorado? Doesn’t the guarantee of a Republican form of government implicitly give us the right to control our resources and law? It’s time for Colorado to recognize that constitutional government gives us the right to control our state and make decisions here at home that are best for us and our state, not the centralized corporate behemoth in Washington DC.

DAVID L COX
Grand Junction

Close the tax loopholes for the super rich

The super rich pay no income tax, only 15 percent capital gains tax, because all of their income comes from investment profits. But it’s still income, and they should be compelled to treat it as income, and pay the amount of tax their income level dictates, just like the rest of us 99 percent, who don’t have extra money to take advantage of the capital gains 15 percent tax rate loophole.

RICHARD L STOVER
Grand Junction

Liberals have done a lot for this country

I am so tired of people bashing liberals apparently ignorant of its definition, aims and accomplishments. Liberalism is “a political philosophy advocating personal freedom for the individual, democratic forms of government, gradual reform in political and social institutions.” Liberalism brought us the vote for women and acceptance of more equality for women and minorities, the Civil Rights Act, Social Security, and the Peace Corps.

Talk radio is filled with hatred towards liberalism equating it with treason and worse, berating poor people as somehow being morally inferior and thinly veiling their racism.

Mitt Romney may think $350,000 for speaking engagements is chump change, he obviously has no idea what the value of a dollar is. That’s the total yearly income for about 300 people. If the $25,000,000 he has stashed in the Cayman Islands is all legal investment, why doesn’t he keep it in the United States and support American banks and investments?

The idea that the rich shouldn’t have to pay their fair share of taxes is absolutely totally amundo outrageous. If you believe that the rich need more of their money so they can “invest” in jobs you are delusional.
Without liberalism we would be back with kings and throwing the poor in debtors prison and widows and orphans begging on the streets.

MARTHA BARRETT SCOTT
Grand Junction

Republican Party is stuck in the 1950s

The most cogent comment made so far about the Republican 2012 campaign is from conservative columnist David Brooks, who says, “I sometimes wonder if the Republican Party has become the receding roar of white America as it pines for a way of life that will never return.”

Almost every position taken by the declared candidates so far has a definite 1950’s aura to it, especially when it comes to women’s issues. The right-wing has a kind of mystical fascination with the mid-twentieth century, but they forget that period was only special if one was white, middle-class, college-educated and male.

The role of women in the 1950s was repressive and constrictive in many ways. Women were supposed to fulfill certain roles, such as a caring mother, a diligent homemaker and an obedient wife. A diligent housewife had dinner on the table precisely at the moment her husband arrived from work. A wife was a “good” wife only if she carried out her man’s every order and agreed with him on everything. In fact, even if she wanted to voice an opinion, her education, or rather lack of thereof would not allow it.

In the 1950s, the fact that a woman was even attending a college was uncanny and paranormal. Most women married after high school and fell into their traditional roles right away. The brave women who chose to learn further were not taught mathematics and science (fields they were later going to succeed in) but home economics and cooking. Women did not join the conversations, they just stood near the men with platters of hors d’oeuvres. Men feared intelligent women because of their tendency to think for themselves and disagree with their man.

Many TV shows of the fifties portrays this angelic mother figure with not a care in the world except her children. That is merely an illusion: women were bored, they wanted something more mind stimulating and weaving just didn’t cut it.

So, ladies, if you want nostalgia, vote Republican; but if you want to move forward, I suggest you explore alternatives.

E. MICHAEL ERVIN
Grand Junction

Basketball academy owes thanks to First Baptist Church and others

On behalf of all members of the W. Wayne Nelson Memorial Basketball Academy (WWNMBA), I would like to thank the staff and members of First Baptist Church-Grand Junction for allowing us to conduct our practice and training sessions in their gym.

This past year was a great success for many of our young basketball players (several of them achieving levels of athleticism that had been previously unimaginable without the regular use of your facility). 

We want the community of Grand Junction to know about the valuable service they provide at no cost to us and the kids that make up our organization. 

In 2012, we will continue to work toward our goal of helping basketball players in the Mesa County area improve their skills and fundamentals. Fortunately, the First Baptist Church-Grand Junction is willing to provide the facilities to help the kids accomplish these objectives.

JACK MAGNO, basketball instructor
WWNMBA
Grand Junction
Increase in food stamps started under President Bush

Two articles in the Jan. 20 edition of The Daily Sentinel — “Food stamp families to critics: Walk in our shoes” and “Fiery debate tops bizarre GOP campaign day” — illustrate the profound intellectual dishonesty permeating Republican attacks on President Obama and the particularly hypocritical candidacy of Newt Gingrich.
 
As the GOP’s latest front runner, Gingrich has tried to brand President Obama as the “best food stamp president in American history,” claiming that Obama has overseen the largest expansion of the food-stamp program — technically, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — in American history, insinuating that Obama has done so to benefit his supporters in the African-American community.
 
However, as the AP accurately reported, the unprecedented expansion of the food-stamp program began in 2007 – at the start of the “great recession” for which the Republican administration of President George was properly held accountable in November 2008.
 
That expansion continued after President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 — precisely because of the deepening depression that Obama inherited from Bush.
 
President Obama’s own stimulus package included substantial increases in funding for the food-stamp program — in response to the growing need in both red and blue states.
 
Indeed, in May 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculated that monies spent on SNAP had 3.5 times the job-creating output multiplier effect as did the tax cuts for higher income people demanded by Republicans in exchange for passing the Stimulus Bill — which were funded by gutting President Obama’s proposed infrastructure investments (which the CBO calculated were over four times more beneficial than tax cuts).
 
And, notwithstanding Gingrich’s race-baiting, 49 percent of recipients are white, 26 percent are black and 20 percent are Hispanic, according to Census data.
 
So, until Republican rhetoric responsibly addresses the real-world realities with which President Obama must contend, their words merit only contempt.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction



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