Email letters, March 11, 2014

Delicate Arch parking issue raises red flag for monument

The story about parking at the Delicate Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park should be a matter of concern regarding the future of the Colorado National Monument.  If it has not been done as part of the effort to upgrade the monument to a national park, a study of the monument’s carrying capacity should be made to determine if a similar problem might arise at the existing view sites. 

The only logical answer to the Delicate Arch problem is to expand the parking, as all visitors  have the right to park, hike and view the arch. The same is true with the view sites on the monument.   If adequate parking is unavailable, visitors will not be able to enjoy all the monument has to offer and will be less than fully satisfied with their visit. 
The study should identify the needs of the monument for the next 20 years based on projections of anticipated visitor numbers.  This should translate into projected increases in infrastructure needs, including parking, and their projected costs.  If the monument is nearing capacity on peak days, then any consideration to make it a park should include the relevant costs to accommodate the anticipated facility increases and not just the costs to change the name on signs and brochures.

Is there adequate space available to expand parking at each of the view sites that will not adversely impact the natural values and create unsafe conditions for pedestrian traffic?  Under the current economic conditions and limited funding that the Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies are experiencing, now may not be the time to make the monument a national park.
If and when it should become a national park, the legislation to make the change should include adequate funding to make the necessary upgrades prior to a formal dedication.

If these issues have not been considered and plans developed to address the increased impact of more visitors; and funds are not available to make the necessary upgrades,  the rush to make it a National Park is premature. 


Aristocracy now controls state politics and laws

I want to thank more than 150 politicians for placing the $5,000 full-page “Energy Chaos” ad in the Pueblo Chieftain on March 10. Thus, making my case of an “aristocracy with a sense of entitlement” that is dominating Colorado politics and law as we know it. 

The ad said, “Under the guise of local control, special interests are trying to create energy chaos in Colorado ... It doesn’t make sense to throw our current regulatory framework into chaos, when the current regulatory system is working.”  

Yeah,  right, it’s working so well that poor people, the middle class (what’s left of it) and small business can’t afford their utility bills. And, Black Hills Energy is laughing all the way to the bank.

This is the same group that is suing Colorado voters because they have been “injured” and they can no longer tax us without our approval.

Pueblo West

Journal of the Western Slope only published by Mesa State

I was most interested in your recent article on the upcoming new publication by the Museum of Western Colorado. Such a publication is much-needed and has been for some time.

That said, I would like to make a small correction in
the report. Twice I have seen this same error repeated in your paper. I would like to correct the record.

The museum did not at any time play a role in the publication of the Journal of the Western Slope. This was a publication of Mesa State College edited by students and supervised by Professor Paul Reddin. Though writers who were not students also contributed articles, most were done by history students as part of their coursework.

When the decision was made to discontinue the publication due to lack of institutional support, Reddin attempted to get the museum to participate in the production of the publication —  to no avail.

The museum did make two earlier attempts to publish an historical journal of some sort; both were short-lived. I am hopeful that this time they will be successful. I hope, too, there will be space from time to time to publish seriously researched articles like those that appeared in the Journal of the Western Slope.

Emeritus Professor of History
Mesa State College (now CMU)
Grand Junction

Turning monument into park reflects a desire, not a need

After reading the front-page article on last Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Sentinel, it’s apparent that the catalyst for wanting to change our monument to a park is about the money.

It supports a theory I’ve had for sometime now — that well-intentioned people like Terri Chappell and others view the monument only through the prism of a dollar bill. Remember, the road to perdition is paved with similarly good intentions.

They speak of the “Big Boon” economically, and at the same time conveniently fail to acknowledge that any such boon is always accompanied by some sort of bust. They are the kind of naive good ol’ souls who live in denial about the negative effects of their efforts. And don’t kid yourself that there won’t be any negative consequences.

For several years now I’ve religiously followed the many arguments both pro and con about this monument to park status. The pros say it’s the panacea for the valley’s problems. The cons point out that it will create more problems than it solves.

The pros tell us that they are pursuing this in John Otto’s name, fulfilling his dream of a park. The cons argue that while he may have envisioned a park one day, it’s doubtful that he would have embraced the way it’s being exploited for a buck now.

The pros cite the increased numbers of visitors and the revenue from the same, as compiled by the monument superintendent, Lisa Eckert. The cons reply that if it is doing so well and setting new attendance and revenue records as a monument, why then the urgency to make it a park?

We’ve just come out of winter with heavy inversion days that lasted for weeks, and people complained of the pollution from cars and chimneys. We will soon go into our annual spring burning of ditches and fields for agricultural needs. Again we will hear the outcry about haze and pollution.

But little thought is given about the increased pollution and crime that will come from more cars and people when the monument becomes a park. The inversion is somewhat beyond our control, and the agricultural burning is a vital necessity for our vineyards, orchards and farmland. 

Making the monument into a park is not a vital necessity; it’s a want or desire. It seems, though, they are hell-bent on following through. Perhaps, after Chappell has had to remove numerous empty water bottles from the bottom of Cold Shivers Point, litter along Rim Rock Drive and graffiti from the sandstone walls and after she has filled in potholes in the road from increased traffic and breathed in even more polluted air as a direct result of their big boon, park boosters will acknowledge that their end did not justify their means. 

This commentary won’t see the light of day in the Sentinel, because it falls too close to the heart, the home, or, in this case, the truth. But if the editorial staff of the Sentinel were to find the intestinal fortitude to print it, then I encourage and challenge readers to consider whether my analysis seems reasonable and my wisdom of the subject is sound.

Then, please contact Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Scott Tipton. Tell them that, while supporters of this monument to park status have demonstrated a strong want or desire, they have failed to present a strong prima facie case for the urgent necessity to change our monument to a park.

History has shown there is really no need to reinvent the wheel. In short, leave it be.


Grand Junction

Allow U.S. flag to fly high, remember its defenders

Recently a federal court judge gave permission to a school in California to ban the U.S. flag on Cinco De Mayo. Before any school in Colorado considers doing such an unpatriotic act, consider this:  The red stripes are for the blood that was shed in defense of this great country.

Have we as a nation become so concerned about who we offend that we don’t care about offending the families of those lost in defense of our flag and country, or that we offend those who are paralyzed or lost limbs in defense of our flag and country. I do understand that the U.S. is made up of other cultures and that is what makes us so great!

That said, this is the United States and not Mexico. The Mexicans who live here can and should celebrate Cinco De Mayo with honor and can do so without disrespecting the U.S. flag.
Many Mexicans have given their lives in defense of that flag and this country. Do we now slap their families in their faces and tell them the loss of their loved one was for nothing?

This is the United States. E Pluribus Unum, a phrase found on the Seal of the United States, is Latin for “out of many one.” Out of many nations and cultures come one nation, one culture!

I am a 21-year-veteran of the U.S. Navy who is 30 percent disabled as a result of my service to our great nation, and I would gladly give the other 70 percent of it to defend her and her flag today. That wonderful flag is a symbol of E Pluribus Unum.

Schools should be teaching the history of this nation, not tolerance for those want to change it, I love the line from the book, Friends of Voltaire: “I disagree with what you say
but shall defend to the death your right to say it.”

This is the culture of this country, tolerance without acceptance, disagreement without prejudice.

This is my opinion and my plea:  Allow the U.S. flag to fly high and don’t forget the price that has already been paid just so that our flag can symbolize “out of many one” and also be a symbol to the world this is the land of the free.

Grand Junction

Affordable Care Act is ‘steadily fulfilling its promise’

As usual, Dave Kearsley’s latest offering – “Obama fails on world stage, as well as on home front” – proves just how divorced from reality he remains.

“Issues of substance” are never a “focus” of Kearsley’s letters, because he’s a captive of the fact-free bubble bloviated by Rush Limbaugh, FoxNoise, and Dave’s favorite “back-seat pundit,” Charles Krauthammer.

We now know that President Obama’s defense of the Affordable Care Act was not “a bunch of misrepresentations,” but rather was undercut by insurers’ cynical efforts to profit from the transition to ACA-compliant policies by inducing consumers to abandon “grandfathered” coverage and by aggressively marketing noncompliant ones.

We now know that (as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid aptly observed) virtually every “ObamaCare horror story” touted by Republicans (and FoxNoise) has been proven by objective journalists to be fraudulent – including that cited by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R.-Wash., in the GOP’s response to the State of the Union message.

Meanwhile, studies released within the past week demonstrate that the ACA is steadily fulfilling its promise — by lowering the percentage of Americans who remain uninsured and by gradually reducing overall health care costs.

Similarly, Kearsley proves that (like Krauthammer) he is obviously unqualified to opine on foreign policy matters. Rather, as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned Sunday, Republican critics of Obama’s ongoing efforts to deal with complex foreign policy issues should “cool it” – noting that Democrats did not assail Republican President George Bush for failing to respond to Putin’s invasion of Georgia in 2008.

Since Mitt Romney opined that Russia was “our number-one geopolitical foe,” partisan Republicans have refused to confront the fiscal policy implications of their own premise – but instead have deliberately undermined our national security by obstructing Obama’s efforts to stimulate “renewed economic growth” (and thus American power).

Grand Junction


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In response to Mr. Babcox, the court ruling was regarding students wearing t-shirts with the American flag imprinted on the fabric,  not flying the flag on a flagpole on school premises. According to flag etiquette, the American flag should not be used as an article of clothing, with exception to uniforms of the armed forces, policemen, and firemen. The students in question were purposely wearing American flag t-shirts to stir confrontation on Cinco de Mayo.

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