Email letters, June 14,  2013

Exactly who will be coming to the Avalon?

Letter writer Paula Struckman states the Avalon project “is not just a business investment but also an investment in a quality of life that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.”

Perhaps so. Construction costs, however, are measured in dollars and cents, which is the exact nature of the controversy, followed by ongoing operating costs facing the same cold-cash test.

Struckman’s comparison of city parks to the Avalon as “not generating revenue but rather pleasure” is completely specious. Park use is intended to be without charge. Avalon attendance will require paid admission.

Her closing entreaty is “build it and they will come.”  The unanswered question is who “they” will be. Without proper front money and strong operating arrangements, the ultimate visitor may be the bankruptcy trustee.

Grand Junction

History serves to remind of consequences of complacency

As it proceeds into our courts (“Legal fight against NSA spying daunting,” June 13), the debate over the constitutional limits of the “surveillance state” sparked by Edward Snowden’s recent revelations demands consideration of the security vulnerabilities inherent in our free and open society.

Well before the attacks on the World Trade Center, our naive reluctance to acknowledge insidious threats permitted policymakers to under-prioritize counterintelligence. Two (of many) incidents illustrate the consequences of complacency.

In late 1946, cryptographers in the U.S. Army’s Venona Project broke the Soviet Union’s diplomatic codes – and began deciphering reams of accumulated Soviet intelligence and military traffic. Multiple Soviet spies were identified and neutralized (even though, the Manhattan Project was already compromised), but not prosecuted – to protect Venona.

In 1948, William Weisband, a U.S. Army Signal Corps officer during World War II (but a Soviet mole since 1934), was assigned to the Venona Project and informed the Soviets of its success. The Soviets then changed their codes, leaving us “deaf, dumb, and blind” as they planned and initiated the Korean War—in which 35,000 U.S. soldiers died and which then resulted in an ongoing security threat that has now persisted over sixty years.

In 1944-1945, Theodore Hall, a nineteen year-old physics genius employed at Los Alamos, betrayed—for reasons akin to Snowden’s – the implosion design of the plutonium bomb, saving the Soviets years of “trial and error.” Hall was not identified until 1997, when he conceded, “In 1944, I was . . . immature, inexperienced, and far too sure of myself . . . and was indeed mistaken about the nature of the Soviet state.”

Snowden seems similarly “immature, inexperienced, and far too sure of” himself, and thus perhaps is also similarly mistaken about the true nature and purpose of what he has dubbed the “architecture of oppression.”

Grand Junction

Sierra Club leader fails to understand economic reality

This letter is in reference to the story on June 13 about the Sierra Club leader flying over and criticizing the oil and gas industry.

As a Garfield County resident and someone who depends on the industry to feed and support my family and me, I personally think Michael Brune should kindly depart Colorado and please feel free not to return.

If Tony Cline honestly thinks industry has anything to do with his illness, why doesn’t he join Brune and anyone else that doesn’t like it and move out of here?

People like Brune haven’t been here and seen the economy go up and down like some of us. Unless they want to supply people with jobs that industry does, I have some words of advice: Stay the heck out of my state and my county.


Revamped Avalon would require parking garage

The Commentary page on June 13 was great. There was an outstanding editorial on common-sense considerations regarding handling of a familiar, hazardous substance, plus two letters and a column on The Avalon.   

The editorial illuminates very clearly and in some detail the truth of the old adage that   familiarity breeds contempt.

Bill Marvel gave clear examples of those things requiring/deserving government funding and of those that, according to our free enterprise concept, should be funded “for profit” by private money.

I feel that his very last sentence should be carefully studied, and answered, before anyone signs authorization to expend 3 megabucks on this ‘for-profit’ enterprise!  It is not government’s business to be in business!

Paula Struckman did a very nice job of reiterating the “nice-to-have” position, but may I observe that most of the “village-raised” children, i.e. “street kids” whom I’ve known would have happily changed their place for a loving mom and dad.  And Rick Wagner, while having fun with the situation, aptly noted that, effectively, just because “it was built” they didn’t necessarily come.

The bottom line is “the times, they have a’changed.” A long time ago, say, the ‘30s and ’40s, before widescreen TV brought unlimited entertainment everywhere and relatively low-cost public transport brought the masses to the shows, three megabucks might get paid off in a few decades. Stock certificates could be issued, and daring supporters could hope for payback.

But here out west, we only have automobiles needing parking space. To handle its debt, the Avalon will require a multi-storied, poorly located parking garage. How might it be, after the show, to drive down those crowded, winding ramps and out onto the crowded street? 

Or are megabucks to be a gift?

Grand Junction


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