Email letters, June 5,  2013

Homeowners must resist a raise in mill levy this fall

Recently property owners in Mesa County received new evaluations of the worth of their properties in the eyes of the assessor’s office. Property lost value across the board, some by as much as 30 percent.

Under the current mill levy, this would result in a large property tax decrease for the year 2014. This seems all great and wonderful to the pocketbooks of all who own real estate.

I would like to appeal to those good people that what looks good now as far as a tax decrease is soon to turn into a double slap in the face as all of the entities listed on your tax bill to whom your taxes go will meet this fall to raise the mill levy.

This will insure them MORE tax funds. This also leaves us paying more in taxes AND owning property that has lost much of its value. A double whammy.

It is up to each of us, you and I, to let our local government entities know that we do not want to pay more taxes AND accept a lower value. Let them know that they must live on a tight budget just as we all do individually. Don’t wait for the other guy to fix our problems. Get involved yourself.

TIM MENGER
Whitewater

Humble beginnings taught Butler to care for underdog

Harry Butler and I have been friends for more than 60 years. As a matter of fact, he lived next door to me and we attended junior high and high school together.

Harry was a true shining light in the community and always went out of his way to comfort or help anyone in need.

My youngest daughter was killed in an automobile accident many years ago, and Harry was the first one to show up at my house. That told me all I needed to know about Harry …  he was a true friend.

As children, Harry and I always wondered what the future would hold because we were just two poor, minority kids. Well, Harry let his presence be known and became a productive member of our community.

He never asked for much. He just wanted to be a part of the decision making in the city and the school district. Harry always rooted for the underdog, because he had very humble beginnings.

RAY COCA

Grand Junction

National leaders mismanage country as average man suffers

For many years I worked out of state and daily wished I wished I were back home. This morning early while watering all the plants in the yard and thinking I should mow today sometime, I thought this wasn’t exactly what I thought I would be thinking about in retirement. I was thinking I don’t have as much pension as I would like, but we get by, at least for a while.

But what happens if I have to pay for Obamacare? Well, then we are looking for work in the over-60 market. The job probably wouldn’t be enough, though. Then I got to wondering about “wealth redistribution.” Would the millionaires and billionaires money be enough to subsidize my paltry pension?

Who figures this stuff out? Can’t be Nancy Pelosi, who admits she hasn’t read the entire bill yet. Maybe one of the president’s consultants as he was growing up has the answer? Folks such as Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Michael Plfeger, Rabbi Arnold J. Wolf or Eric Holder?

Ah, what the heck. We can believe anything. After all, we “can be more flexible” with Russia after the election. After a $700 billion bailout, Obamacare costs, having your promotional director put born in Kenya, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii on your website for 16 years may not be too bad. Might need a get-out-of-jail-free card soon.

Leaving my brothers at arms in Benghazi screaming for help, firing up the big guns of the IRS and the Justice Department and aiming at private citizens, and our government running guns to Mexican drug cartels is not what I had in mind for retirement.

Dude! Forget about the Second Amendment — they legalized choom? Does it get any better? Whew, I hope so!

RICHARD BRIGHT

Grand Junction

City, county must curb panhandling

I’m writing about the most visible issue confronting residents and visitors to the Grand Valley alike: the constant begging, panhandling and harassment by one group of people or another. This segment of society has become emboldened due to the permissive stance and lack of action taken by both the city and county in dealing with this problem and homelessness in general.

While the latter will always be with us, it is imperative that something be done about the former. Homelessness has always been with us at varying levels, but we have a very serious problem with the constant begging, panhandling and staking out of public areas by a persistent and growing segment of people.

The fact that an individual can literally set up a place of business on taxpayer- and business-funded property is an embarrassment for us all. Even more so for the hundreds of small-business people who have invested money, time and sweat equity to start, maintain, and grow their businesses.

Just recently we opened up a business presence within Shabby Chic over on Patterson at a cost of more than $5,000 in goods, fixtures and other items. What message are the city and the county delivering to those of us who play by the rules, pay our own way, and invest in the community?

Now we have an initiative to extend and improve the riverfront trail system for bikers, hikers and the general enjoyment by all. In addition to our beautiful scenery, they will likely be treated to encampments, litter and persons who set up long-term encampments on public land.

I travel around the country at least every other week and from a visibility standpoint, I would estimate that Grand Junction rivals or exceeds any major metro area on the numbers of beggars and panhandlers per 1,000 residents. Nearly every major shopping center, intersection, city park is occupied territory on a daily basis. In many cases multiple people are at prime highly trafficked areas.

This does not go unnoticed by family and friends who come to visit and we take them out to show them around the area and the neighboring communities. So what memory sticks with them longer, the beauty of our area and what it has to offer? Or a view that Grand Junction is a haven for one group pressuring and preying on another?

Recently I was involved in an outing in Moab with participants from Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. On more than one occasion when I mentioned where I was from they would comment on the beauty of the area and then follow it up with something along the lines of “But there sure are a lot of people on the corners with signs. Why doesn’t the city do something about it?”

So, I in turn am asking the city and the county: Why don’t you do something about it?

STEPHEN FULLERTON
Grand Junction

Let county commissioners know opinions on Uncompahgre Pit

I write in regard to the special use permit application for the Uncompahgre Pit south of Montrose. We as a community do not have accurate information to make an informed and responsible decision at this time.

For example, the county application states 19 trucks a day access the highway, but the air pollution application states 87 loads/day. (Then the trucks return for their next load; add 40 water truck trips and it’s way more than 200.) This results in traffic more than 10 times what the Planning Commission was told. The Colorado Department of Transportation study has not even begun.

No other entity statewide has given approval for this operation. As many as 14 approvals are necessary. This is not an iconic gravel pit that will in 10 years become a pond; it’s a 250-acre, 105-year Industrial strip-mining operation that would be seen, heard and smelled for miles — asphalt production most of the summer and a concrete plant.

Colorado Air Pollution Control inspects these mines every six to eight years. That should make us uncomfortable about having this in our south valley. Our zoning resolution clearly prohibits the inclusion of “heavy industrial uses” in special-use permits to keep these processes away from our homes and farms. Heavy industrial uses are aggregate processing, asphalt and concrete plants and fuel storage tanks, all of which are included in this project.

After reading the road and bridge audit, it seems clear that the Land Use department exhibits a similar culture — favoring a few entities or businesses at the expense of the majority. These effects are monetary in the case of property values and taxes.
Additionally, in regard to the health, welfare and quality of life that our mission statement vows to protect, the land use director has stated, “It doesn’t matter if people are upset” and “it’s always been done this way.”  Hopefully, our last county audit demonstrated that the way it’s always been done is not necessarily the best way.

This application is incomplete, inaccurate and incompatible, and it includes items specifically prohibited by the county zoning resolution. Speak out to your county commissioners publicly at 1:30 p.m. June 17 at Friendship Hall in Montrose.

How do you safely get 200+ semi trucks a day onto very dangerous Highway 550 South? To sign the petition opposing:, go to http://chn.ge/10CBALd

JANICE WHEELER

Montrose

Morse recall efforts show why Republicans hate IRS

Charles Ashby’s piece today (Tuesday 6/4) regarding the recall efforts targeting Colorado legislators who supported commonsense, gun control legislation clarifies for me why Republicans hate the IRS.

The IRS, in doing its job of questioning whether the nonprofit status of political action groups is legitimate clearly would rile up groups such as that of Laura Carno cited in the article. She and her organizations clearly have a political agenda and have no business being nonprofit organizations.

Carno and her ilk are parasites living off the good name of legitimate nonprofits such as the Red Cross, public radio stations and the Cancer Society and cheating the American taxpayers by not openly admitting to being nothing but political hacks. If she were a real American, she would be paying her fair share to keep the country running.

Where you sit in the political spectrum is not as important as whether you are honest about it.

DIANE WOLFE

Hotchkiss

Out-of-control IRS needs thorough housecleaning

The abuse of power by the IRS is both unarguable and more and more obviously endemic. That American citizens were targeted, harassed and discriminated against because of perceived political views is unquestionably a fact.

American citizens with political views different from those of IRS employees were subjected to repeated and intrusive questioning up to and including demands for comprehensive transcripts of any speeches given at any of their meetings; names, addresses and phone numbers of their donors; and even the content of their prayers.

IRS agents slow-rolled tax exemption applications for organizations with which they disagreed, making them wait years. Many organizations still have not had their applications adjudicated, and, in at least one occasion, the citizen group was informed that its application was “going to the bottom on the pile” for having the audacity to contact a congressman after waiting more than two years.

The former head of the department in charge of these actions is scheduled to take over the department in charge of implementing Obamacare and has stated she did nothing wrong but refused to answer any questions.

The agency is obviously out of control and unrepentant. The IRS requires a thorough housecleaning. And it starts in Washington.

KENNETH BROWNLEE
Grand Junction

How did state mange to jack up auto insurance rates?

Lately I have been on the Internet more since my operation probably more than I should. But the other day I was checking on my auto insurance because it was time for renewal, when I saw what they are now charging I went ballistic.

It had jumped from $335 for 6 months to $466 for six months. When I asked why the increase and why so much since my wife and I have outstanding driving records, I was told that the state of Colorado raised the rates from 2 percent to 20 percent depending on age and other factors.

How many others are being ripped off by the state? Where is all that money going, and where does the state Legislature get the right to arbitrarily come up with these figures and stick it to us?

Is this another way that the Democrats and far-left loonies are trying to milk us all so that they may have more money? I don’t know whom to contact to find out who and when started this.

FRANK TRANCHINA
Grand Junction

Bureau of Reclamation urged to fill Lake Mead to meet water demand

In his May 30 op-ed, Josh Penry calls Glen Canyon Dam “indispensable.” A more appropriate term is “obsolete.”

A recent study by the Bureau of Reclamation found that rising water demand and declining flows have created a water deficit of 1 million acre-feet per year in the Colorado River Basin. This deficit is predicted to increase to 3.2 million acre-feet per year by 2060.

Lake Powell is a big part of the problem. Lake Powell loses vast amounts of water through evaporation into the desert air and seepage into its porous sandstone banks. Both Powell and Lake Mead downstream have been shrinking since 1999 and are now less than half full. The water supply of 2 million people who depend on Lake Mead is in jeopardy.

A better option is the Fill Mead First plan, proposed by Glen Canyon Institute. This plan would change Glen Canyon Dam operations to allow water to fill Lake Mead before impounding water upstream in Lake Powell. Powell would be kept at a lower level, but still high enough to allow flood control, power generation, reservoir-based recreation and more natural water flow through the Grand Canyon.

Fill Mead First could save up to 300,000 acre-feet of water per year due to reduced losses from Lake Powell. This is almost a third of the current Colorado Basin annual deficit. Moreover, it would not require any new facilities, would be inexpensive, is technically feasible and could be put into action very rapidly.

Glen Canyon Dam was built based on now-outdated 20th century assumptions. We need new solutions for the realities of the 21st century. Fill Mead First is such a solution. We urge the bureau to give it serious consideration.

MICHAEL KELLETT

Program Director, Glen Canyon Institute

Salt Lake City

Many valley residents cannot afford simple pleasure of fishing

There is no place around Grand Junction where the fishing is low cost. Many people in Grand Junction cannot afford to fish. Even the free fishing on Grand Mesa is too expensive because of the distance to get there.

The fishing license for the young people under 16 is free, and for residents 64 and up it only one dollar, but the parks pass required is more than most of them can afford.

With the number of people on welfare and getting free food, none of them can fish. I, myself, can afford the change, but no one else seems to understand this problem.

EVELYN CLARKE

Grand Junction

Either do something monumental or do nothing about park statu
s

Well, here we are, citizens of Mesa County at the crossroads faced with another decision. Do we make Colorado National Monument a national park or not? More than a hundred years ago John Otto made his decision. One of his famous quotes says it all, “I came here and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”

I believe it should be a national park, and plenty of others feel the same way. According to Congressman Scott Tipton, a third of the public thinks it should be a national park, a third thinks it should be left as is and a third doesn’t know.

If you don’t know, but do care, please get involved. Start reading and researching. Ask questions, study the facts and talk with others about the pros and cons. It would be a real shame if this legislation failed because a third of the people just didn’t care.

Are we proud of our riverfront corridor and the network of mountain bike trails around the Grand Valley? You bet we are! Was the effort to create these things worth it? Without a doubt!

Who is against the cultural and economic benefits that we receive from these two particular projects?  Opponents to the national park effort cite traffic problems. So, are we opposed to JUCO and Country Jam?  Should we never build another subdivision because more people will move in and traffic will increase?

If the monument is made a national park, it will join an elite family of other world-class parks in the vicinity. We will be at the crossroads of Black Canyon and Mesa Verde to the south and Arches and Canyonlands to the west. It will be a source of pride and goodwill in run community, and it will contribute to a strong and diverse economy.

It is up to us. We can do something monumental, or we can do nothing.

MICHAEL O’BOYLE

Grand Junction



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