Email letters, January 13, 2014

City’s many accomplishments refute recent editorial’s premise

On Jan. 1 The Daily Sentinel ran an editorial entitled, “Local governments must dare greatly.”  Since that editorial, various columns and letters to the editor have followed which expressed varying degrees of support for the newspaper’s premise.

Those pieces took local community leaders to task and implied that, other than the expansion at CMU (which, for clarification purposes, the city does play a role in), nothing is taking place that addresses the efficacy of our future, and that ours is a “community adrift.” 

We view that premise as simply untrue. Far from being adrift, this city and City Council, along with the ones before us, have worked earnestly to set the stage for Grand Junction to have a bright future.

Numerous clear examples include:
• the completion of much-needed police and fire facilities;
• improvements at Suplizio Field, including the Lincoln Park tower which brought us the Grand Junction Rockies and secured JUCO for another 25 years;
• the award-winning improvements at Lincoln and Rocket parks, making recreation even more accessible to all in our community;
• the Avalon Theatre renovation, which will result in an outstanding regional performing arts venue;
• the plans for development of Las Colonias and Matchett Parks;
• the Three Sisters open space and trail project;
• plans and efforts to revitalize North Avenue;
• the city’s involvement in economic development planning; and
• our long-range Comprehensive Plan.

These all indicate the council’s vision of a strong, positive direction for our community in the future.

All of this is in addition to that which often goes unnoticed — $23 million that has been spent over the last five years in maintaining the basic infrastructure of this community, supporting a high quality of life and the ability to expand and grow.

We are proud of the community and the work this organization has completed and has planned for the future, and we feel that these accomplishments clearly show ours is not a “community adrift.” 


Grand Junction City Councilors
Grand Junction

True believers have inflicted much pain and suffering
Comment is warranted about the letter from John Cox of Palisade published Friday, Jan. 10. Cox very nicely explained the thinking of the true believers he referred to as “Bible Believers.”

I wish to point out that many other true believers in this world also demonize those who do not conform to their worldview. A current example is demonstrated by a staff member and other supporters of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. They gleefully disrupted and endangered the lives of thousands of people to punish one man whom they believed did not worship Christie as they did.
Another shocking example of the mentality of true believers is the horror of 9/11. Almost daily, one’s senses are assailed by the horrors of the Middle Eastern and African slaughters of designated nonbelievers. In past times Catholics and Protestants demonized/murdered one another. The Crusades wrought untold misery.

Back to more current times, the slaughter of millions of Jewish people and others deemed unfit to live by true believers is within the memories of many of us. One can easily bring to mind other examples of the inability of true believers to live in the world with those deemed different.

True believers have inflicted a tremendous amount of pain and suffering on humanity throughout the ages. Hate is so destructive and so cruel.

Grand Junction

Veterans given apologies for under-planned event

I would like to offer my personal apologies to the veterans and veterans’ widows who attended the outreach event at the Veterans Art Center Jan. 8.

Many either had to wait several hours to be seen or had to leave before being seen because of other demands on their time.

As the primary coordinator for these visits, I vastly underestimated the demand for veterans’ services at an early evening event and the number of veterans who had complex issues needing to be addressed.

I will take the lessons learned from that evening and apply them to future outreach efforts in the Grand Valley and across the Western Slope.

Again, I sincerely apologize to the veterans and their families who attended this event and did not receive the services they were seeking.

Chief, Customer Relations
Grand Junction VA Medical Center
Grand Junction

It is important to distinguish between sportsmen, hunters

Without going into all the details, there is a great gulf between sportsmen and “hunters.”

Sportsmen respect the animals they hunt and their fellow sportsmen.  They adhere to the fair-chase concept and follow the rules. When there is a merger with both concepts, it is a beautiful thing. However, I have to believe there are more “hunters” than sportsmen today, with some merging of the two.
A sportsman understands animals’ protective instincts (smell, sight and hearing) and hunts appropriately. A sportsman also respects and considers other sportsmen in their quest. A sportsman realizes that any of the three will send the game elsewhere.

I hunted unit 62 for elk, and let me describe my exposure to “hunters.” We camped about one mile north of the Dominguez Canyon on the access road, along with what were obviously a number of “hunters” that may or may not have been there primarily for the hunt. At 5 a.m., the generators kicked on. No more sleeping for anybody. At about 6:30 a.m., all the ATV’s kicked on and headed out with enough noise that you’d think you were at the Indianapolis Speedway.

As we hunted about three miles south (as the crow flies), all the elk sign indicated they were leaving the area. That was a mystery until we heard gravel popping under tires (the only graveled road was near where we were camped) and then we understood. The generators awakened the elk, as they did us, and when the ATV’s took flight, so did the elk.

In addition to the elk tracks (what there were of them), were ATV tracks (a mile or more inside areas where they were not permitted to be). We also spotted an ATV and realized the hunt in that area was over.

I also hunted deer in the next season, with the same impact from “hunters.” If all we (sportsmen) are going to get is exercise, it can be had in the summer when there is some peace and quiet.

Grand Junction

Counties banning pot sales don’t deserve state funds

Watching a Colorado political program on PBS Friday night, I was stunned to hear that representatives from Montrose, Delta, Ouray and Mesa counties are going to request their “fair share” of state monies set aside to deal with the “impact” of legalization of recreational marijuana.

In light of the fact that all these counties have banned recreational marijuana businesses from doing business in those counties, I find this action repulsive and typical of conservative politics. These counties should not benefit from any funds involved with the new marijuana laws unless and until they stand up and allow these businesses to operate in their counties.

Republican politicians and conservatives should not be allowed to enjoy the fruits of this new industry unless they are willing participants and share in the risk.


Christie’s response to scandals a vast improvement over Obama’s

As a staunch conservative, I would be one of the very first people to say that IF Chris Christie did in fact play any role in the temporary closure of the George Washington bridge last fall for political purposes, that he should resign, banishing all hopes for a presidential run.

That said, I also believe that in order to expedite the apparent investigation of these allegations, that Christie should be transparent and instrumental in providing all pertinent communication records which might in any way connect him to this alleged scheme, and that he should do this immediately following the release of all communication records that have been requested of the Obama administration, which would provide all pertinent details pertaining to the inept handling by the Obama administration of the Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS and the Obamacare scandals.

While I am not a big Christie fan, perhaps the most revealing of the two aforementioned individuals’ character and honesty is found in the way that they respond to scandals. Christie, within 24 hours of his alleged scandal hitting the airways, immediately holds a two-hour news conference, apologizes, takes ownership, promises an investigation to hold people responsible and decisively fires two top officials in his administration.

Conversely, Obama on the above scandals starts out with his typical don’t know, deny, deflect, defend strategy, holding brief news conferences whereby he feigns outrage about possible scandals and promises to “hold those accountable” for any involvement.

In all instances, this is followed by blatant stonewalling of the respective investigations by many Obama appointees, lying to Congress, labeling of the scandals as “phony scandals,” no one being held accountable, and, in most instances, those involved being reassigned or promoted to higher government positions. It appears that only one of these individuals possess any real leadership abilities.

Grand Junction

Commissioners urged to support safety measures on air quality

I want to urge our Mesa County commissioners to support the state-proposed safety measures for tighter restrictions on air pollution by the oil and gas industry. An attractive environment that includes clear air is critical to tourism and new companies locating here, and it ultimately leads to more jobs.

While the relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel, it still needs to be carefully handled during production operations, since this is when the majority (63 percent) of methane escapes to the atmosphere.

Atmospheric methane levels are of interest due to methane’s impact on climate change, as it is one of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth. Methane traps 34 times more heat per mass unit than carbon dioxide.

Our Mesa County commissioners say that since we are not within an air quality non-attainment area, the Western Slope does not need to do anything additional to improve our air quality. So, it is OK for the residents of Mesa County to breathe some of the worst air I have seen in the nation in the last 25 years?

Some opponents of the safety measures contend that the state’s cost estimate was low-balled. The groups say that discrepancies are due to factors such as failure to address significant costs of leak repairs and follow-up monitoring.

This is rather astounding, since it implies that if their production systems have a leak there may not be any repair or follow-up monitoring unless regulations are in place to enforce action.

In view of the apparent lack of responsibility from some of the gas producers in the area, the serious potential threat to the atmosphere and our already marginal air quality in Mesa County, I sincerely hope that the commissioners will support the clean air regulations.

Grand Junction

Scott sounded like spokesman for energy industry, not the public

What an incredible op-ed piece by Rep. Ray Scott in Sunday’s Sentinel. Last time I checked we, the public, were paying him to serve us. His op-ed this morning could easily have been written by a representative of the energy industry.

Everywhere I go in this community I hear people complaining about our air quality; some people are having serious health repercussions with respiratory ailments beyond just being an annoyance. Scott seems to imply that people in less populated areas don’t need clean air to breathe. Apparently, we are a hardier breed.

He further seems to imply that clean air is somehow a detriment to employment, particularly locally. May I remind him that there is a nationwide glut of natural gas and that production will only take place where it can be done for the least expense, and that doesn’t include production in our area? The cost of production locally is the result of natural conditions, not oppressive regulations.
Scott’s suggestion that we fight the Air Quality Control Commission is outrageous in the face of the facts. We live in an area that is subject to wintertime inversions that hold the bad air in for days and weeks at a time.

We also can’t seem to let go of the practice of open burning and using fireplace burning for heat. Scott is correct in the importance of natural gas for heating. Fireplaces are nice, but in a sensitive area such as ours, gas logs work well and can be just as welcoming as a nice fire in the fireplace.
Scott needs to pay attention to his true constituents, the public, and stop being a lackey, a water carrier for the energy industry. Fortunately, he will have a very credible opponent in the upcoming election. He should be shown the door.

Grand Junction

Airport Authority members should be held accountable
In my opinion all of the Airport Authority people should resign or be taken off by the groups they represent. Why?  Once again in Sunday’s paper I read that the building that is being built is a complete mess and that no one has any idea what the plans for building it were since Rex Tippetts kept it in his head. This, coupled with his creative financing, has once again left the authority scrambling.

Correct me if I am wrong, but was it not the authority’s job to oversee the airport manager? And keep track of what he was doing and follow their guidelines?

I am led to only two conclusions. Either they had no idea what he was doing, which means they did not do their job. Or, they knew exactly what he was doing and now are running for the hills that the proverbial stuff has hit the fan and will deny all knowledge of his wrongdoing. Either way, they were not doing their job and all need to be replaced.


Smoke from wood stoves significantly polluted air recently

Last Friday we were on the way back from Montrose. For some time it has been a no wood-stove-burning time. On the way, we closed the car vents because the smoke was so strong it would burn your eyes, but that did not help much. This smoke was all the way into Grand Junction.

I was wondering what drilling company or gas company would be getting the blame for such dirty air.

Grand Junction

Oil and gas industry captures our local government

The state is proposing new rules that will improve air quality throughout Colorado, including the Western Slope. Our Mesa County commissioners have said these new proposed rules will have ”no clear benefit to the health of citizens of the Western Slope.”

This statement is untrue and indicates that the oil and gas industry has captured our local government. It is a well-known fact that emissions from oil and gas operations increase ground level ozone, which has negative effects on human health and agriculture.

Mesa County’s economy is dominated by agriculture, not oil and gas. Why are our local politicians so obviously biased toward the oil and gas industry, which has never been a reliable source of economic growth, instead of our well-established agriculture industry? Whom do our local politicians serve, the people of the Western Slope or the oil and gas industry?

The cost to the oil and gas industry resulting from these new regulations will be more than offset by savings in health care costs and an increase in agriculture yield and quality. Human health and agriculture should not pay the price for sloppy oil and gas operations. If it can’t be done right, then don’t do it. Opposition to the new air regulations is an admission that it can’t be done right.

With oil and gas operations on the Grand Mesa slopes potentially in our future, with the emissions from these operations wafting down into our valley, why would our local politicians sell us out like this? Every resident of the Grand Valley who breathes air or grows crops should stand up now and tell our local politicians to protect all of our interests, not just their big-donor oil and gas companies.


Feds have no business running local schools

State and local control of our schools is seriously eroding, and no one seems to care. It represents a serious trend that negatively affects the education of our young people.

We should be reminded that it is the responsibility of states and local school districts for this vital task – yet once again the U.S. government represented this time by both the U.S. Department of Education AND the U.S. Department of Justice announced another unnecessary intrusion this past week.

During my tenure as a school principal (I’m now retired), each school in our district, with the needed support and approval of the school board, established a well-publicized set of behavioral standards for our students. This was necessary to set an environment for effective teaching and student learning.

Local school districts need no guidance or help from Washington in this regard, none. Yet powers that exist in Washington in a new directive this past week did just that.

The effect was a lowering of behavioral standards for “some” students, not all, mind you. This will only result in confusing students and parents. A most ludicrous environment, I would say.

Please, let’s get the feds out of the business of running our schools; they do not know better. Common sense would indicate that behavioral standards in our schools should be the same for kids across the street as for those several blocks away. Parents and taxpayers should insist on no less.

Grand Junction





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