Email letters, July 12, 2012
Homeless people should be called what they are: human beings with basic rights
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our new mentoring program, One For One, with the people of Grand Junction. Since the article on July 3, Grand Valley Peace and Justice has received numerous contacts from candidates for the program, people interested in creating mentor teams and landlords willing to work with our clients.
In response to the question posed in your editorial of the same date, we suggest that all of our homeless be referred to as human beings having a right to food, clothing and a safe place to live We would ask no less for anyone whether or not we agreed with that person’s choice of lifestyle or point of view
SHERRY COLE and JULIE MAMO
Program Coordinator and Executive Director
Grand Valley Peace & Justice
Unwieldy permitting process, environmentalists’ pressure inhibit mineral, gas development
On July 10 the Daily Sentinel posted an excellent article detailing the contribution that energy development makes with regard to employment and revenue for the country. On the same day a letter to the editor was posted that complained about the gas permitting process.
Mineral and gas development in the United States is completely bogged down in bureaucracy, undue regulation and constant harassment by out of touch environmental groups. The permitting process can take more than ten years to procure approval in the United States. The process is streamlined and takes minimal time in other countries.
Because this process is uncertain, cumbersome and so difficult in this country, many companies are taking U.S. money and jobs to other places. The catchy phrase today for this is “outsourcing.” As a result of these burdens in the U.S., we are outsourcing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars because we are giving into pressure from select groups with specific agendas
These agendas may give us a warm and fuzzy feeling, but the truth is they are detrimental to our country, the future of our kids and any hope of an economic recovery. We are already seeing government supported “green jobs” either being outsourced or bankrupted once federal subsidies dry up. At the same time, the facts provided in the July 10 article clearly show the jobs created and the contribution the mineral and gas industry has on the economy.
Let’s get busy supporting these businesses and bring the country back to the position we once were proud of. Whether it is mineral development or gas development, today it is done in a responsible, safe and efficient manner. These businesses do not need the misguided help from uninformed and agenda-driven groups that have no interest in jobs or the tax base. The tax base generated by mineral and gas development is a major contributor to school systems, roads, libraries, police and fire protection and all the other services and jobs that our county and state governments support.
What kind of jobs and tax base do these so called “environmental groups” provide? Truth is, they drain the economy instead of improving it. Let’s remember the 52,678 jobs and $12.2 billion in economic impact that the article talked about and support those that created it.
Romney draws many young people to town hall meeting
The article on Wednesday’s front page, below the fold, indicates the Romney town hall meeting drew a “diverse” crowd of among others, “curious Democrats.”
I wonder how your reporter was able to make this characterization. Looking over the overflow crowd, how was he able to determine that, other than himself, who
was a curious Democrat? I didn’t see any “Obama” T-shirts or any other signs of anyone being other than very enthusiastic Romney supporters.
What was notable but not mentioned, was the surprising number of young people in attendance. This was a very successful display of united opinions on the answers that Romney gave to questions from the audience that prompted many standing ovations. This was all done without notes or (also not mentioned) Teleprompters.
Grant’s Op-Ed piece wrong about parties in ballot-inspection lawsuit
Several factual errors were published in the July 10th Op-Ed piece by Bill Grant (“Commissioners should encourage county clerk to settle ballot lawsuit”). The article inaccurately states that Marilyn Marks sued “Pitkin County” after her request to inspect voted ballots was denied, that “Pitkin County” appealed the case to the Colorado Supreme Court, and that the “Pitkin County commissioners recently decided to ask the Supreme Court for reconsideration” of its decision “not to review the Pitkin County ruling.”
While the City of Aspen is the county seat of Pitkin County, the mayoral election referred to was a municipal election conducted by the City of Aspen, not Pitkin County. The litigation described in the article was between Marks and the City of Aspen. Pitkin County was and is not a party to those proceedings
All decisions relating to the manner in which the City of Aspen has conducted that litigation –- including any motions for reconsideration recently filed with the Colorado Supreme Court—presumably were made by officials of the City of Aspen, not by the county clerk, county attorney or commissioners of Pitkin County.
The Pitkin County Election Department strives to conduct fair, accurate and transparent elections and is not involved in litigation with Ms. Marks.
Pitkin County Clerk and the Pitkin County Elections Department
Building affordable housing cheaper in long run than throwing homeless into jail
Since coming out of prison last year, I’ve struggled to stay clean, address my psych issues and secure and maintain employment. Despite my best efforts I’ve found the job market for aging ex-convicts isn’t what it could be. Soon my 180 days at the local shelter on North Avenue will expire, and I have nowhere to go.
The Sentinel would have its readers believe the people camping along the river are bad people, and some are. A homeless guy attacked another homeless guy with an axe during the feed in Whitman Park recently. Both men, I believe, were camping. I was sent to prison after being involved in a similar altercation in a homeless camp here in ‘07.
From the standpoint of much of the community, I suspect there is a lot of support for the city to do something. People claim they are afraid to walk the trails. A lot of residents feel themselves taxed with hundreds of drunks, many dangerous, who overrun public space.
The cops charge that many of these folks don’t want services; some don’t. But many who do want services are at times barred at the shelter in any case. We still have no drug and alcohol detox program here longer than 72 hours unless a judge sentences you to Summit View.
If anything is happening with those 40 units of SRO housing for the chronically homeless called for in the 10-year plan, I haven’t heard about it. As far as I can tell, Sheriff Hilkey’s jail is the leading provider of housing and mental health services in Grand Junction. The jail is not cheap. It costs the taxpayer $52 a day to throw a homeless drunk into a cell, more if the person has mental or physical health problems. Many have both.
For a fraction of the cost of hoping police can solve the problem of chronic poverty, Grand Junction could have built the affordable housing units called for in the 10-year plan. How leaving wet-brained drunks, some outright psychotic, to fend for themselves in the street differs from refusing to do anything when a person with Alzheimer’s wanders off is difficult to say, other than the guy with Alzheimer’s has people who care enough about him to get him indoors. During the winter of ‘08 when 17 men froze to death on the street here, I was in prison and fortunate to be there.
Now I have great respect for Eric Niederkruger and share many of his concerns over the lack of viable options for Grand Junction’s homeless. I’m homeless myself. But I have to agree when the cops say the camps are filthy and dangerous.
That said, people have to go somewhere. Many, probably most, of the people in the camps are functionally disabled and won’t ever work again. Whether they quit drinking or not no one is likely to hire them for more than the occasional day of labor.
I know from experience just how tough the job market for men like us is, and I haven’t drunk in some time now. The editorial board of the paper knows as well as I do that the majority of what Housing and Urban Development calls the “chronically homeless” are largely unemployable, drunk or not.
So why then does the Sentinel choose to demonize us? As Niederkruger said in his letter, calling chronically homeless people names is unlikely to make us go away.
Many other cities and towns are criminalizing poverty and homelessness, from one end of the country to the other. If the HOT cops do succeed in running bums out, the next town will only ship us back.
THOMAS L. GOMEZ
Obama voters seem willing to be fooled yet again
Reading some of the articles in the paper about Romney’s visit to Grand
Junction and responding to some of the people saying they were still going to vote for
Obama, I’m reminded of the old adage, “You can fool some of the people all