Email letters, February 4, 2014

City should do better job of removing snow

Is it a good thing that there is free parking on Main Street downtown? You betcha! Now wouldn’t it be nice if the parking in front of the stores on the south side of the street had the ice removed?

Some parking spots are not only impossible to walk on when you get out of your car, they are also dangerous for everyone, not just the elderly and handicapped. They have been that way for weeks.

I am surprised the storeowners are not all over the city to do something about it. Just a thought to all those politicians who promote downtown business.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Grasp debt size by seeing $500 set on every NFL stadium seat

Who can relate to a trillion dollars? Ever see anything that you knew for a fact is a trillion of whatever, or a billion or even a million? 

An ad against doing your own taxes is running on TV. It shows that if $500 were placed on the seat of every seat in every NFL stadium (31 at my last count) it would not add up to 1 billion wasted do-it-yourself tax dollars.

Well, most of us know what an NFL stadium looks like: a whole lot of seats. One trillion is 1,000 billion, and our national debt is more than $17 trillion. If we were to place $500 on every seat in every stadium to cover the current national debt, we would need way over 527,000 NFL stadiums.

Still think our country is going to pull out of this disaster, especially with all new financial giveaways, supports, welfare plans and spending programs on the way?

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

Adding government workers won’t spur economic growth

This is in response to the local economic outlook by the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce in the 2014 business update that was included in The Daily Sentinel. I quote: “In terms of the key industries such as health and education, hospitality and leisure and financial services, the Grand Junction MSA has not recovered as much as the state as a whole has. The one key industry that has mirrored the state’s recovery is government.”

May I remind folks that the government is not an industry and makes no money? The only way any government entity has money is to first confiscate the money from its citizens through taxes. Even though public employees also pay taxes on their salaries, the salary for the public employee originates from collected taxes. Increasing the number of government workers results in more money in salaries taken out of the taxes collected, leaves fewer private employees producing to grow the economy, and encumbers the private sector to pay for increasing numbers of government employees.

The government does not produce anything to grow the economy; therefore, limiting the numbers of government employees is critical to a vibrant, healthy economy. As Martin Fridson stated in “Who are the Real Job Creators,” there are only two ways for economic growth: population growth, which raises aggregate demand, and increased productivity. Re-circulating tax dollars will not produce economic growth in our community.

PHYLLIS HUNSINGER
Grand Junction


Blame inadequate revenues, not excessive spending, for nation’s economic struggles


Local investment adviser and conservative talking-point-parrot Dave Kearsley is at it again – peddling nonsense to his fellow travelers disguised as informed opinion (“Nation must rein in spending madness”).


Contrary to Kearsley’s paranoia, there is still no evidence that – under President Obama — the IRS engaged in selectively partisan examination of political groups masquerading as “social welfare” organizations. Rather, both conservative and progressive groups were “targeted” in a bureaucratic attempt to enforce the IRS’s long-standing guidelines.


Likewise, given Republicans’ determination to oppose everything Obama is for – and the “Teapublican”-controlled House’s refusal to conduct constructive hearings on “technical corrections” to the Affordable Care Act (routine with any major legislation), Obama is compelled by that partisan obstructionism to exercise the full limit of his executive authority. Whether he has exceeded his legitimate constitutional powers is for courts or the Senate (if the House impeaches) to decide. Good luck with that.


While “spending and debt” were indeed “out of control” under Republican Presidents Reagan and “Dubbya,” there has been no “spending madness” to rein in under Obama. Rather, every reputable study concludes that any perceived “debt crisis” was caused by four factors:  the Bush tax cuts, the Bush Recession, Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the bailouts (initiated by Bush and implemented by Obama).


With the “bailouts” past, the wars ended/ending and the economy slowly recovering, what remains is to restore the revenues redistributed to the “1 percent” by Republicans in the name of “trickle down” economics and to close corporate tax loopholes.


Under President Bill Clinton, the economy created 22 million jobs when the top tax bracket was 49 percent — but net zero new jobs under Bush’s tax cuts. Meanwhile, 25 percent of profitable corporations pay no corporate income taxes at all.


Thus, the real problem remains inadequate revenues, not excessive spending.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Council, Airport Authority both trust staff too much

The recent shenanigans at the airport highlight a shocking lack of supervision by the folks who were supposed to be doing the supervising. There is much to be learned from this affair and not just by the current members of the Airport Authority.

The Grand Junction City Council lives in much the same environment that existed at the airport. The council for years has placed blind trust in its senior staff (the city attorney in particular) and has ignored pleas to open the decision-making process to make staff accountable to both elected officials and to the general public.

A perfect example of this behavior is the recent council decision on the community solar garden. On Jan. 13 the council met with the staff in a “workshop” and discussed the ongoing negotiations with the California vendor that wants to line its pockets at our expense. This contract discusses the intent of the city to make monthly payments to the vendor for the next 20 years.

At the end of the discussion, the staff asked the council to remove itself from the decision-making process and to delegate remaining negotiations and the execution of the contract to staff.

The vote was 7-0 to allow the city manager to sign the contract with whatever provisions the senior staff feels are appropriate. The final version of the contract will not be presented to the council for approval and will not be discussed in an open setting with cameras running for subsequent display on the city’s website. Public comment on this contract has not been (nor will it ever be) sought.

This same tactic was attempted at the school district and at Mesa County (both are considering participation in the solar garden). To their credit, both of these entities told the vendor that the important task of approving the final version of the contract would be reserved for the elected people.

Members of the City Council need written policies that define the rules by which their game is played. Some decisions are appropriately delegated to staff. This was not one of them.

DENNIS J. SIMPSON
Grand Junction

Running photo of dead dog was a disappointing decision

The shooting of a dog in a shopping center parking lot was a traumatic event for the father, his children and the dog’s owner. Printing a picture of the dead animal in Monday’s paper was unnecessary. I’m disappointed that someone on your staff thought otherwise.

LINDA CALACI GREGORY

Grand Junction
 

 

 



COMMENTS

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Ms. Hunsinger’s statement that “The government does not produce anything to grow the economy” is not just wrong, but blatantly ignorant. Government builds and maintaining the roads, interstate highways and airports that allow commerce to occur; the government is responsible for funding and carrying out massive, life-sustaining infrastructure projects, like building Hoover Dam, our own Government Highline Canal and the Grand Valley canal system, which provide life-sustaining water and allow people to make a living off their land. The government assures the air is safe to breathe and water is safe to drink, and guarantees every citizen a free public education which is the underpinning of our civilized society. The government regulates the purity of our drugs and the cleanliness of food service establishments and hospitals to prevent the unchecked spread of communicable disease. Government funds the parks where families go to enjoy the outdoors together. Government provides a system of justice that is the great equalizer of our society. Need I say more? Like so many people in Mesa County, Ms. Hunsinger’s profound lack of understanding about the important role of government in our society makes it clear she is in dire need of a refresher civics class.

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