Email letters, June 21,  2013

In light of scandals, it’s time to take page from FDR’s book

For students of the U.S. political scene beginning with FDR to the present, it has been fascinating to observe various leadership styles of presidents. Of course there have been vast differences.

Characteristics of successful presidents certainly stand out. Perhaps the singular quality of success is that of clear communication skills. Who can forget listening to former presidents who, when faced with distinct challenges or crises, would speak to us from the Oval Office without a teleprompter, look us square in the eye and/or camera on national TV, tell us about serious issues facing our nation and give definitive information about what he and our nation needed to do?

A short, well planned talk would allow us to know the president’s thoughts and plans on our behalf about Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the Associated Press snooping episode, the NSA surveillance affair, the State Department prostitution events and now, for sure, our involvement in Syria. All could be explained within 20 minutes.

After all, we do have the finest communication system in the world, and any president can use it with short notice. Such a talk with us now and periodically would be so refreshing and certainly welcome. It would also serve to alleviate the noticeable lack of transparency.

Grand Junction

Kids’ fountain wrong place to carry out personal hygiene

After reading Rick Wagner’s column regarding the “bumper crop” of vagrants downtown, I am prompted to write about a recent observation.

Father’s Day brunch was great at the Rockslide Brew Pub. Afterward, my husband and I set out to enjoy the beautiful morning with a stroll down (a mostly deserted) Main Street.

Our enjoyment took an abrupt turn for the worse as we glanced across the street to see a disheveled man, naked except for a pair of baggy gym shorts, standing in the kiddies’ fountain with his hands up his pant legs receiving a cleansing bidet in the gushing streams of water. My first sickening thought was for the little children who would soon be romping in this same recycled water.

Where is the presence of a friendly foot or bicycle policeman patrolling our lovely Main Street and downtown area?  Why aren’t more of our interesting and unique shops open to pedestrians on Sundays? Our tourists spending weekends at the hotels there and those just out to enjoy breakfast on Main Street could provide an additional source of revenue.

No wonder Main Street was mostly deserted, except for providing an opportunity for a cleansing spa experience for the less fortunate.

Grand Junction

Math and Science Center deserves volunteers’ time

The Math and Science Center needs your help. As a retired environmental scientist who has lived and worked in the Grand Valley for almost 30 years, I know there are lots of fellow retired scientists and engineers around. You, as I, have grumbled at the state of science education in this county.

Here’s your opportunity to do something about it. I wanted to name names, but you know who you are. Remember the old mantra: If you are not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

A career can challenge one’s love of science and take the fun out of it. You can feel it again, and see science just for the fun of it at the center.

Along the way, you may relearn some chemistry from a CMU student headed to med school and extract DNA from a strawberry. (I never did that in college, is that cool or what?) Seeing the joy of discovery in the eyes of a fourth-grader viewing for the first time the critters in skuzzy water (my favorite) is well worth missing that afternoon nap.

I cannot understand why local environmental/engineer firms and government agencies are not helping. This would be great PR, especially on family deduction. (Check with your
accountant first.)

For those who do not have a science background, don’t worry, anyone is welcome. It is more important to have a love of children.

Remember when you wanted to save the world? You can still help. Usually it’s mentoring a group for a couple of hours. Most students are from local schools, but some come from as far away as Durango and Vail.

You can take that nap afterward (I do). Call 254-1626 for more information.

Grand Junction

Grand Valley residents fortunate to have recreation areas so close

Do the people who live and recreate in the Grand Valley know how fortunate they are?

Within minutes they can be into whatever mode of recreation they wish. In sight of Grand Junction and Fruita are trails and roads for all types of users. There is the 27 1/4 open area. The North Fruita area has not only open areas, but areas set aside for non-motorized use and a horse/ hike only area.

The Mc Innis Canyon area has a trail system of more than 100 miles open to foot and horse use only that is unique in that a person can drive his or her sports car to a trailhead, hike fewer than 10 minutes and be in a Wilderness Area (non motorized, no bicycles).

The trail systems in Kodel Canyon, Devils Canyon, Flume Canyon and Pollock
Benches are some of the most spectacular I have ever seen. All are within sight of a city, and most enter the Black Canyon Wilderness area. You can hike for a few minutes or all day, or you can even do overnight trips.

We have other very popular recreation areas such as the Lunch Loop (non-motorized), Bangs Canyon, which offers both motorized and non-motorized, and Rabbit Valley, one of the most popular recreation areas in all of Colorado. It offers recreation opportunities for all users.

The Kokopelli trailhead area has many non-motorized trails for all levels of users.

My point is that there are too many “blindsiders,” people who can only see one direction. If it’s not something they like or understand, they don’t want it.

After 40 years in another part of this state with another agency and seeing the problems with travel management firsthand, I think the local BLM has done a very good job in managing this large area with the resources it has.

If it’s not broke, why fix it?


Vote on Farm Bill a disappointment for Tipton, others

Thursday, the House rejected the “Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act” (HR 1947) – the 2013 “Farm Bill” – 234-195 (172 Democrats and 62 Republicans voting “Nay”).

For Scott Tipton (“Tipton:  U.S. House missed opportunity on farm bill”) and for those fellow members on the House Agriculture Committee who would have received some $300,000 each had it passed (one of whom has already received $3+ million under existing farm subsidy programs)—that vote was undoubtedly a disappointment.

While the House version of the 2013 Farm Bill would have “saved” $40 billion over ten years, $20+ billion came from cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps) by lowering allowable income thresholds – thereby depriving an estimated two million recipients (mostly women and children) of needed assistance.

Food Stamp eligibility criteria were expanded to current levels in 2003 and renewed in 2008 – both with broad bipartisan support under “compassionate conservative” George Bush. As the CBO reports, Food Stamps are the most cost-effective and “job-creating” component of the “social safety net” – because every dollar returns to the economy, administrative overhead is minimal and outlays shrink as recovery raises incomes.

House Democrats opposed Tipton’s favored version – and President Obama threatened to veto it—because it cut Food Stamps too much, given current unemployment levels.

The House Republican “Tea Party” caucus – apparently still clinging to the Romney-Ryan myth that Food Stamp “takers” are shiftless minorities rather than white working single mothers and the elderly — opposed it because it didn’t cut Food Stamps enough.

Republicans also rejected amendments that would have precluded members of the House Ag Committee from receiving direct payments, and/or would have limited eligibility for subsidies to farms generating less than $250,000 (instead of $750,000) in net revenues.

Absent compromise with the Senate, we will automatically revert to the 1949 Farm Bill.

Grand Junction



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