Email letters, January 7, 2014

Taxpayers picked up cost of first lady’s birthday gift

I guess two weeks in Hawaii isn’t enough for queen Michelle? She didn’t want to get on the bus home just yet, so I guess we have to deadhead Air Force One back to pick her up when she’s ready to come home?

What a carbon footprint! And on whose dime? President Obama said it’s part of her birthday present. So, I guess he’s paying for it all?

Well, at least it’s better than her trip all over Europe and then on to Africa. This time, somehow, they managed to stay in the U.S.


What if local leadership is as good as it gets?

Accurately citing the rapid economic recovering growth of our entire state and how it is being accomplished, with the exception of the West Slope, primarily with Mesa County at the “epicenter” of this area? There is a caution of just “hunkering down and waiting “at the mercy of a couple of extraction companies,” actually a proven long-term unacceptable way of running a city. The old cliché, “Winners make it happen; losers let or wait for it to happen,” appears to be very apropos to some of our local leaders’ attitudes or worse yet, possibly their aptitude?

Possibly they have “misunderstood” their elected duties? Pretty simple actually; a dual-duty task. One of balancing budgets (as well as future improvement financing options available) for infrastructure, improvements and secondly, social projects/events that enhance overall a good life for residents and visitors. It’s a blend of both each dependent on the other.

Financing for “way of quality life improvements” should be done with the thought/vision that Grand Junction will be here in 50 years, not just next year or next election. Utilization of special “Metro-Tax District” or COPs is a prudent way to get this done. Relying on Halliburton, EnCana, WPX and others to recharge or improve our city is just the same old school “wait and see” process that has Grand Junction and Mesa County in its current situation; STAGNATION! boom and bust, wait, and it will happen again!

People who think these companies have ANY civil obligation(s) to a city or its residents’ lifestyles just truly don’t get it. Their bottom line is where their first loyalty is, as it should be. They too are totally at the mercy of world pricings for their products; over regulations, phooey, those additional costs are just passed on to the end user, they don’t just absorb them from the profit line! Woe is me they cry!

Woe is me, I cry as a citizen; where is our Halliburton Educational Campus, EnCana Recreation Center, any major contributions from all toward the Arts and sciences or the Avalon’s future? Where are our leaders in getting these things done for the overall good of the entire population? Seems as though nobody previously has bothered to ask “what about tomorrow”? Is that possible because the money was too easy during the “boom era”? Well, tomorrow is here; and how’s that working for you?

This area, with its great natural beauty and God-given outdoor recreations available should be an absolute mecca for any and all tourists (not just a drive-through on their way to Moab or to stop short in Glenwood) and/or to a company looking to “set up shop,” i.e. administrative research and call centers for a wide selection of Tech Companies (Bio, Social, Retail) should be beating down our doors to locate here; they are not! Why not? This must be addressed.

This should be a major project of both county and city officials: romancing them to locate here. Lifestyle here will appeal to their “new-age younger generation” employees. I would suggest you find people that have cut the Grand Junction umbilical cord and experienced life in a more progressive atmosphere to head this effort. Elected officials are always saying, “jobs, jobs, jobs” to get elected; let’s see some action and results.

Finally, if you have taken the time to read the Sentinel, or have seen the perpetual political turmoil — county, city, chamber of commerce — you have attended county/city meetings, you have witnessed your elected officials constantly labor and struggle over even minor financial decisions that will have impacts on “lifestyles” here in Grand Junction and Mesa County.

Examples are the Avalon, trail system completion (88 percent paid by GoCo funds), re-categorize the monument or Orchard Mesa Pool etc. What if these officials ARE performing at the peak of their blended civil service mental capacity? Does this mean…maybe this is as good as it gets? 

Grand Junction

Community must help stop sex trafficking of youth

Imagine a child running away from an abusive home — most often female but can be male — who has gradually been lured into the trap of sexual slavery by an older man offering her the love of a father or showering her with praise and gifts. Imagine this child confined to a space where s/he is forced to sexually service between 20 and 48 men per day.

Perhaps, this child is in a crew of youth transported from truck stop to truck stop to perform sex acts for which s/he will be paid $5 to $100. Imagine the child’s isolation and certainty that no one will deliver her from her suffering because nobody recognizes her plight or cares.

Such children exist. They are victims of the crime of sex trafficking, which is committed whenever youth under the age of 18 are asked or made to perform sex for money or whenever people over the age of 18 are persuaded by force, fraud or coercion to sell sex.

Victims of sex trafficking are working in and/or passing through our Colorado communities. Between 2007 and 2012, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline received 220 calls from potential victims in Colorado who needed urgent assistance or people calling on behalf of potential victims.

Please help XSWOTT, which is a Grand Junction organization educating our community about sex trafficking, celebrate National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by doing the following: educate yourselves and those around you about the problem, particularly children and those who have or work with children; learn to recognize the signs of trafficking and how to report it when you suspect it (call 1-888-373-7888); and help to change people’s attitudes
towards children who are victims not criminals.

XSWOTT (970-210-7708) would be happy to address your civic or professional organization.

Grand Junction

Commissioners correct in removal of Granum as step in fixing airport

I disagree with the Sentinel’s editorial of Jan. 5 (Turbulence) in which county commissioners are criticized for their handling of Airport Chair Denny Granum’s removal. Our focus should be on taking effective community action to fix the airport, not on protecting individuals from hurt feelings or perceptions.

Commissioners undoubtedly recognized that Granum failed to call a special board meeting after the FBI raid, ignoring a crisis for two weeks, failed to immediately place Tippetts on paid leave and recused himself from voting on Tippetts’ removal. Commissioners should be commended for acting.

Whatever contributions Granum has made to this community, and I am sure there are many, his removal was in the public’s best interest. Let us put our time, energy and attention back on the core issue — fixing a broken airport and restoring public trust and confidence.


President, Grand Junction Airport Users and Tenants Association
Grand Junction

Penry’s commentary on dogma reflects age-old rift in beliefs
Josh Penry’s Sunday commentary on church dogma and love reflects an age-old rift between church people and Bible believers.

Church people take church doctrine or a leader’s belief as authority for what is right or wrong. Their beliefs change based on current church doctrines, their current leaders, their own beliefs or society’s morals.

Bible believers take the Bible as the authority for what they believe based on Bible teachings, including 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”, and 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 

Bible believers change their own beliefs to reflect Bible teachings. The purity of the message is of utmost importance. The Bible warns of the consequences of changing the message. Galatians 1:8, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.”  For a Bible believer to tell someone that what the Bible identifies as sin is O.K. would be very unloving.

If you believe that God is the creator and lover of your soul, then you have to believe that He is qualified to determine what is right and wrong for your life and society. He loves us and does not want to withhold any good thing from us. Scriptures concerning homosexuality can be found in Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9.


Governor does want to use air fleet to fight fires

In response to Sen. Steve King’s Dec. 30 letter regarding Gov. Hickenlooper’s continuing efforts to address our wildfire threats, as executive director of the Department of Public Safety, I would like to relay the following:

First, the governor’s recommendation to train “ranchers and farmers to be first responders in remote areas to fight fires” makes sense and is based on a successful program implemented in the state of Idaho. Hickenlooper has tasked the Department of Public Safety to research Idaho’s “Rangeland Fire Protection Association” program to determine if it should be considered for replication in Colorado.

Second, the governor did not suggest that we must make a choice between purchasing an air tanker firefighting fleet or training more local volunteers. In fact, the governor is aggressively pursuing both. He has supported efforts to determine how the state — either alone or with other
western states — can secure, at low cost, aerial resources.

As King is aware, the Department of Public Safety has been working on this issue since the governor signed his legislation directing that it study the options.

As the costs are not insignificant, the governor has been engaging his gubernatorial colleagues in other western states to pool resources and have a fleet that could be cost-effective and deployable in a way that works. The
Department of Public Safety also has been examining cost-effective ways of pooling regional firefighting resources.

Hickenlooper has been a leader in addressing wildfire threats, both in Colorado and across the western United States. He continues to identify new ways to mitigate the threat and enhance response. To say that the governor has lacked courage and leadership in addressing wildfires ignores the evidence of all his efforts.

The governor and the Department of Public Safety are committed to doing all we can to address Colorado’s wildfire threats. We would encourage King to continue to work with us to address the obstacles and find the resources we need to make this work.


Executive Director
Colorado Department of Public Safety

Obama’s childhood a factor in his promotion of wealth envy
President Obama in his books describes himself as not the best student. He says he didn’t like to put too much work into his studies and he did enjoy partying. That part of him is pretty much all-American.

He was probably fortunate to get into Occidental College and even more fortunate to transfer to Columbia. Yet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, given his expert skill at promoting himself. I can see his applications now, making the point of his Kenyan father and his Indonesian Muslim stepfather. He would have underscored that he spent years in schools in Indonesia. He probably sold himself to Columbia as more or less a foreign student. We can’t know; his records at Columbia are sealed.

The president gets testy when he is called a socialist or, worse. a communist. His grandparents, who were the ones to raise him while he was in a private high school in Hawaii, were sympathetic to socialists. His mentor in Hawaii was the poet and communist Frank Marshall Davis, of whom he talks fondly in his book. I wonder if there are letters of recommendations from Davis at both Occidental and Columbia.

The president is a Christian U.S. citizen and not a communist. However, both his Muslim father and stepfather were not citizens. While growing up, Obama was influenced by those with Communist leanings. It’s fair to say he does have an exotic background. He has played those cards well when it is in his best interests.

Remembering this background, which he doesn’t stress today, helps us to understand why he now promotes wealth envy. Was it hard work and true achievement that got him to where he is today? 





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