Email Letters: July 31, 2017

‘Unsavory selection’ for invocation is the price of freedom
It seems every 10 years or so, the face of intolerance rears its ugly head. I recall many years ago a gift of the Ten Commandments was given to the City, and shortly there after a group protesting such a disturbing display of religious support demanded its removal. Refusing to be bullied, the then Council instead added the Magna Carta, The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Preamble to the Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, to the display and made a wonderful cornerstone to law and liberty. Inclusion was the legal remedy.

In my term of office as a member of Council, our right to an invocation was challenged by the Atheists and Free Thinkers. They attempted to bully Council into discontinuing our historical practice. Again Council stood firm, and by expanding our selection process to include everyone, we prevailed.

We recognized that there would occasionally be an unsavory selection among the many fine folks wishing to offer the invocation, but that is the price of freedom. Inclusion. Everyone has the same opportunity to be selected to offer the invocation. In setting this new policy, it was not meant to have a selectee trade or give away their turn. Either they accept and offer an invocation, or we had a moment of silence in its place.

I would encourage the current Council to take heed of past Council actions and stand firm for what you perceive as right, and the will of the people you serve. It often is difficult, and pressure is brought from all sides, but past council have stood firmly on this issue, and despite atheists and free thinkers, and even the Daily Sentinel all advocating a moment of silence, I urge you to follow your hearts. If a prayer before the meeting is gaveled to a start helps center you, calm you, and focus you, as it did for me, then refuse to be bullied by intolerant people trying to force their will upon us all. Never give in, never give up.

GREGG PALMER
Former mayor
Grand Junction


Where are the pot funds to help schools?
I am a concerned citizen who is sick to death of hearing our education system is in such peril. When in the hell is Denver going to recognize that we need some of those pot funds that were promised for education? The Western Slope doesn’t have the means to pay for what is needed to bring education system up to par. Denver needs to stop ignoring the Western Slope and turn loose with what is needed. Denver should hide their heads in shame for the lack of interest in our schools .maybe its time for the voting public to recall some more politicians. Come on Denver, help!

STEPHEN HALL
Clifton


Let’s do away with Daylight Saving Time
It’s time to write my letter again: “Let’s do away with Daylight Saving Time!”

It serves no useful purpose. It disrupts school schedules, store opening/closing times, baby feeding schedules, pet feeding schedules….I could go on and on. Its wasted time to change all the clocks twice a year.

Why? Are we a bunch of lemmings? If I start up a petition will you sign it? I’ll even take it door to door. Whaddaya say?

NORMA JEAN SHUCKMAN
Grand Junction


Killing our beloved Little Bookcliffs horses?

As people enter Grand Junction on Horizon Drive, they are greeted by powerful scenes of our iconic national treasure, the wild horse. The Little Bookcliffs herd management area, located behind Mount Garfield, celebrates more than 100 free-roaming horses that enrich our tourism and brand image.

And now, a long-standing law designed to protect and preserve wild horses is being threatened. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (PUBLIC LAW 92-195), proclaims “Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people;… it is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death…”

But now Washington D.C. wants to slaughter thousands of these horses, our living symbols of the West! In Dennis Webb’s July 23 Daily Sentinel article,“Horses in the crosshairs,” an interviewee states “The bottom line is we have pushing 100,000 excess horses and we have to do something”.

In Colorado, we are doing something. Three of the four wild horse areas are successfully slowing the population growth of herds through birth control. The fourth is following now. Locally, at a mustang sanctuary in Glade Park, they support, protect, and honor our iconic wild horses which includes utilizing proven science to manage the horses in their wild habitat.

Make no mistake, our beloved Little Bookcliffs wild horses will not be able to “dodge” the bullet if the amendment passes. It will pertain to all currently federally-protected wild horses. What would our area image and tourism be like without horses running wild and free?

TRACY AND BLAINE SCOTT
Grand Junction


Trump is nothing politically
Donald Trump is a very sick man. He is an autocratic, narcissistic sociopathic egotist. He is a liar and anything he says cannot be trusted. He is dabbling in things of which he has absolutely no understanding. His candidacy for president was purely an egotistic endeavor.  In his mind it is a matter of prestige, not responsibility. He is the king!

For those Republicans who jumped on his band wagon there will be a sad awakening. He is no more a Republican than he is a Zoroastrian. He is nothing politically. He is on the ultimate ego trip which characterizes his entire life.
Some of the people he has nominated are reasonable people. Watch what happens when they disagree with one of his edicts. As on his TV show —  ”you’re fired”. Donald doesn’t consider them employees,. He owns them and they are beholden to him to carry out whatever his latest whims are.

People who are followers often claim that he is a successful business man. He could have made more money by investing in an index mutual fund. But then he couldn’t order people around, stiff employees, fail to pay debts and try to negotiate down legitimate liabilities.

He is a miserable human being and those that voted for him are the victim of one of the biggest con jobs in the history of our country. He cannot change after 70 years. The die has been cast. He cannot do anything for our nation and that of the world but drag it down.
Some very good people are in for not only a great disappointment but life threatening occurrences in finances and health, not to mention peace of mind. He may be a man of action but that action is erratic and meaningless in the welfare of the citizens of our country except in terms of drastically damaging disaster.

JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction


Cattle shootings prompt concerns

Everyone is all upset about someone drowning a cat. That is bad news, however some friends of ours just had five cows shot and killed on Grand Mesa and not a word about that.

These folks are trying to make a living and that is about an $8,000 loss, not to mention the stress of maybe being shot at yourself the next time.

STEVE THOMAS
Montrose

Lifelong Republican wants his party back
I’m a 60-year-old Coloradan who has voted Republican most of my life. But not any more. The Grand Old Party has been taken over by fanatic idealogues owned and operated by a handful of billionaires who want to have their way.

The party that had seven years to do something about health care couldn’t win even though they own the casino. Republicans have made a laughing stock of America. Our allies have been thrown aside and are laughing at us. Our president has tried to drag us all down to his level, but he’s shown us he’s nothing but an incompetent, draft dodging bully who can’t help but to lie. Where is the all the legislation we were promised? Seven months in and they still haven’t passed one piece of legislation.

Trump’s Cabinet picks look like a Wall Street board room. His family is using the White House to line their pockets and his staff picks are incredibly amateurish and ill-suited to their jobs. Trumps phony religious piety, his backstabbing his friends, his disgusting behavior should have been enough for the GOP to do something. But they are being paid to look the other way for their short term gain. Right now the GOP is owned by four people: Charles and David Koch, and Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. Between the four of them they run Alex, The Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute and a hundred others. They write new laws for state legislatures, spend
millions to put their candidates in and now control over 30 states.

I want my party back. I didn’t sign up for some billionaires controlling our way of life. I want my party back.

MARK DeMIST
Palisade


Parks & Rec staff maintain countless amenities
I wanted to take a moment to recognize and thank the City of Grand Junction Parks & Recreation Department. If you’ve sent your kid to camp, hit up the pickleball courts or attended a concert at the new Amphitheater at Las Colonias Park, you’ve enjoyed one of the countless amenities they maintain for our community.

United Way of Mesa County recently held a benefit concert at the amphitheater with tremendous support from local businesses, volunteers and attendees. As a nonprofit event planner, I know it takes the work of many to put on a successful fundraiser. Having GJ Parks & Recreation’s help was key. Everyone I have worked with approaches their job with dedication, professionalism, humor, resourcefulness and humility. Over the years, they have given so much to help United Way’s mission in the Grand Valley.

Most people don’t have the opportunity to work directly with the Parks & Recreation folks. So the next time you see them before hopping off the diving board at Lincoln Park Moyer Pool, enjoying the shade of one of the city’s tree canopies, riding alongside aRT on the Riverfront Trail or playing a round of golf at Tiara Rado, give them a nod. My guess is they’ll smile back.

Sincerely,

HONORA THOMPSON
United Way of Mesa County
Grand Junction


Thanks to Republicans who put Americans before politics
Americans woke up Friday to the news that the GOP’s latest effort to repeal Obamacare had failed thanks to the courage of Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and John McCain, all Republicans.

We have them to thank for choosing to put the interests of everyday Americans above party politics Unfortunately, our Senator Cory Gardner continues to dance and vote to the tune of those pulling his puppet strings.

Hopefully, Republicans and Democrats will now work together to make the needed improvements to Obamacare. Let’s hope Sen. Cory Gardner finds the courage to cut his strings and work with the Democrats to give millions of Americans the piece of mind they need regarding their medical needs

JOHN SULLIVAN
Grand Junction


Cattlemen respond to portrayal of their industry
Penelope Blair’s inaccurate portrayal of the cattle industry cannot go unchallenged. As the President of the Mesa County Cattlemen’s Association, I say the “cowboy is not dead.” Cowboys continue the daily work of feeding your families, local communities, and the entire world.

The USA produces 20 percent of the world’s beef with only 7 percent of the world’s cattle. Of the top 15 cattle producing states, nine are in the High Plains and the West, including 10th-ranked Colorado. Cattle sales account for 60 percent of Colorado’s receipts from all agricultural sales. Beef products are the first or second most valuable product of any kind exported from Colorado, Colorado ranks fourth in the USA in the value of its beef exports, and beef is the most valuable agricultural product produced in Mesa County.

Contrary to Ms. Blair’s unfounded claim that grazing is damaging the landscape, an estimated 587 million acres of pasture is used primarily for livestock grazing in the USA, and most is not suitable for growing other food products. Grazing this land more than doubles the USA’s food productive land area. For generations, the productivity of grazing land has continued to increase, which is most assuredly NOT a quality of a “damaged landscape.” Wildlife management by ranchers and state governments has improved wildlife survival throughout the USA, including improving the prospects of several endangered species.

Cowboys might be your neighbor bottle feeding calves at 2:00am, or irrigating hay in the heat of the summer sun. They work hard, often in harsh conditions, to create thriving, environmentally sustainable economies. They ensure that healthy food is on the plates of an ever increasing population. Cowboys are your friends, and they most decidedly are not dead!

Sincerely,
TONY ROSSI
Cowboy
Mack


In defense of satanism
While the recent letter from Gary Reeder (“Atheists and freethinkers should not give invocation”) presumably reflects the prevailing contra-Constitutional religious opinion in our community, his plaintive questions nonetheless deserve answers.  Thus:

“In God We Trust” is itself the product of “political correctness” – first gaining currency during the Civil War when it “was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment” (which presupposed that God was on the Union’s side).

In 1954, faced with the Cold War threat of “godless Communism”, the Republican 83rd Congress added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.  In 1956, not to be outdone in pandering to the growing electoral influence of organized religions, the Democratic 84th Congress passed legislation adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the U.S.—which Republican President Dwight Eisenhower promptly signed into law.

Prior to 1956, the official motto of the U.S. was “E Pluribus Unum” (“From Many, One”) – reflecting the Constitution’s implied reliance on secular collectivism to “promote the General Welfare” (as reflected in the economic/social policies favored by Democrats).  Since then (and particularly since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980), Republicans have embraced the kind of faith-based wishful thinking implicit in trusting reliance on divine intervention in our civic affairs.

Meanwhile, perhaps the single most legally significant legacy of the Civil War was the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed “the equal protection of the laws” . . . “to any person within its jurisdiction” – regardless of their religious faith or lack thereof.  That is why our Supreme Court building bears the hortatory admonition “Equal Justice Under Law”.

That is also why our Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that local governments cannot favor one religion over another (or over non-religion) without running afoul of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.  Invocations at public meetings are an exception to the strict separation of Church and State because mere “ceremonial deism” arguably lacks any “significant religious content” – whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. or satanist.

Similarly, athiests no more believe in Satan than they do in God – but recognize and reject the civic evil that is too often hypocritically perpetrated in the name of religion and/or the Bible.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction
                                                         

 

 


COMMENTS

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I like Gregg Palmer but he is all wet talking about our “historical practice"of Christian invocations at city council meetings. They were wrong when they were first started and they are still wrong. We are not a Christian country. Our citizens are specifically not burdened by a national religion, which continues right down to the smallest governmental unit in the country. You may follow any religious practice you desire, or not,  but not when an official government sponsored event is involved. How does Mr. Palmer know that the selection of a satinist for an invocation is unsavory? The Sentinel and all thinking people are correct. A moment of silence before council meetings may be in order but even that is questionable. Why not everybody in attendance come prepared to do the public’s business? Why not think about what the meeting is all about at home. What is the purpose of an invocation or a moment of silence? Some outside imaginary power will not make those in attendance do a better job of dealing with the public’s business. Come prepared. This is 2017, not 1817.

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