Email letters, March 12, 2013

Candidate McArthur agrees with concept, but will vote “No” on Ref. B

The Daily Sentinel recently endorsed my candidacy for city council. While I appreciate the acknowledgment, the endorsement indicated that I supported adoption of Ref. B, which is on the City of Grand Junction’s April 2 election ballot. I am writing today to clarify my position on Ref.  B.

In regard to sales tax in the City of Grand Junction, I support the concept of a TABOR override because it lessens the burden on the city’s residents when paying for capital improvements. According to the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, of the total sales tax collected by the city, 18 percent is paid by city residents and 31 percent is paid by city businesses. This equates to 51 percent of the total sales tax being paid by individuals and businesses outside of the city and helping to pay for capital improvements.

Ref. B lists a number of proposed capital improvement projects, and I feel that each of these improvements will be important for the future of the city. However, Ref. B does not give any indication of the amount of money being requested or a timeframe for the override to cease. When the voters approved a TABOR override to pay the Riverside Parkway bonds, they were told the expected amount of money that was needed and an estimated time frame for completion. Ref. B fails to do this.

Imagine a general contractor going to a bank and asking the bank to agree to start sending money to help pay for the list of projects the contractor wanted to build. The bank would likely ask how much money he or she wanted and for how long. If the contractor would reply that he or she would figure that out later, the contractor wouldn’t get very far with the bank, and I do not think Ref. B will get very far with the voters. I will be voting “No” on Ref B.

I apologize to members of the editorial board of the Sentinel for failing to make my position clear to them, but I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my position.

DUNCAN MCARTHUR
City Council Candidate District E
Grand Junction

Citizens need more details on Ref. A before voting

Referendum A is an issue being presented for a vote concerning land use along the Riverfront Trail on April 2. I hope there will be more discussion about this before we go to the polls, because in my attempt to research Ref. A I have been unable to find much information in the media.

This issue is very important to the efforts and commitment that so many have made over many years to create a special environment for our community. The Riverfront Trail has given my grandson and me numerous opportunities to walk and talk about nature and to view birds and animals in a more natural setting. These are priceless experiences for a five-year-old to have, and the trail is easy to get to and experience in all weather conditions.

I realize that jobs are important to the Western Slope and the voters of Grand Junction will make a decision about Ref. A, but I sincerely hope that they have access to enough information to make an informed decision. The outcome of important votes in a community can have long-lasting consequences beyond the scope of the original intent of any single referendum.

I personally will be voting “No” on Ref. A, because there has not been enough informed discussion in my opinion. What we decide now can have a negative impact on the future of the Riverfront Trail and on future development in all of our city and county land use decisions.

MITCH FOUGHT

Grand Junction

Be aware of health dangers during spring burn season

Last January’s record number of inversion days produced air so thick with pollutants I had to wear a mask on my daily walks.

Now through May 31, it is spring open-burn season in Mesa County. This doesn’t mean residents get to set fire to anything, anytime or anywhere – regulations include obtaining a permit through the local fire department. The laws forbid burning garbage, household trash, construction materials, leaves and grass trimmings. The list goes on to include rubber, plastic and other materials that release toxic smoke.

In addition, residents are required to wait two hours after sunrise before burning and put out fires two hours before sunset. Even agricultural burns are “requested” to work within the designated daytime hours. See http://www.health.mesacounty.us for information.

Much to the credit of our predecessors, Mesa County has an air quality planning committee, a group of stakeholders (aren’t we all?) working under the health department to make air quality protection recommendations to local elected officials. Stakeholders include governmental, industrial, educational, medical and legal sectors of the community, as well as interested citizens.

I am grateful for the regulations in place to help protect the air we breathe. But when I look to the monument and see a thick yellow haze or billowing grey smoke, I realize we are not doing enough.

It is time to step up awareness of the dangers, especially to our children. All of us are inhaling microscopic, toxic particulates that stick to the tissues in our lungs and hearts. I encourage Grand Valley residents to report violations to your fire department.

KAREN SJOBERG
Grand Junction

Fewer folks are likely admitting to gun ownership

I am sometimes amazed at articles that say something yet leave out the most important part. An example was in yesterday’s paper (March 11) with the article about how fewer households in the U.S. now have guns than before.

This was based on a survey taken, and fewer folks said they had guns in their home. The obvious thing to me is what the survey actually said. In today’s political climate, who in his or her right mind would admit to having a gun at home? That would immediately put such people on a list for removal of the guns when the government decides to round them up.

What the article should have said is, “Fewer people admit to owning or having a gun or keeping one in their home.” I suspect the truth is that a great many MORE people now have guns in their homes.

Thank you, President Obama, for encouraging people to protect their own now that they can no longer depend on the Obama government for protection.

DAVID SHRUN
Grand Junction

Red flags overlooked in Owen Reak tragedy

I find the Owen Reak tragedy very hard to even think about, and I did not know this precious child personally. I feel terribly sorry for all involved.

There are, however, a few questions that come to mind to perhaps prevent this from ever happening again.

According to the story in the Sunday Sentinel, many red flags were totally overlooked by Amber, the mother (such as not letting Justin Keel babysit). I have tried to imagine how hard someone would have to kick/punch a 19-month-old child to rupture his intestines. I have no answer.

For some reason, some women feel they can go from one relationship to another with no harm done, yet it seems that way too often it is the “new” boyfriend who seriously injures/kills the small child.

The problem is compounded by the mother sometimes lying to cover for the boyfriend and neglecting to mention these suspicions to the doctor or to even clue the medical profession in as to the fact that perhaps the child was injured, not sick. 

The mother states she knew Keel was trouble, and now she is seeing a therapist to get fixed. She wants to be a child-abuse prevention advocate?  Owen needed an advocate.

The father states that he and other relatives left messages with the caseworker on Owen’s case and never received a call back (might need a bit of a hotline here so someone is always present or at least the messages get transferred to a real live person).

The mother is pondering a lawsuit against the hospital—unbelievable!  I am sure mistakes were made along this route, but they start in the mother’s ballpark. There shouldn’t be an attorney anywhere interested in this terrible case of suing the hospital.

Mesa County has seen several cases in which small children have been put at risk and died because of the mother’s new boyfriend. Please, mothers, take note and take care of your children. If you don’t want to do that, give them up; don’t wait till they are forever gone.

LOVELL SASSER

Mack

New monument moniker would hike revenues – and problems

With both interest and discomfort, I’ve been reading the discussions regarding a name change to the Colorado National Monument.

I believe the arguments can be summarized fairly easily. For business owners and any commercial enterprises that would profit from an increase in visitors to the Grand Valley, a name change is great. For community members who live here because of the slower pace and who are not vested (or interested) in income derived from additional tourist dollars, a name change is a topic with which to be dispensed.

I understand how economics work. Businesses rely on an income stream, and additional people in our community eventually equates to more profit. That generates increased tax revenue that can be spent on more big-ticket items and improvements. That’s good.

On the flip side, though, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Many people are content with the size of the local community. These folks won’t stand to benefit from the tourist dollars (in terms of revenue generated) and they see a different picture: seas of tourists, increased traffic, longer waits, crowds, trash and crime.

Residents want it left alone. Businesses want it changed. Simple as that.

RALPH HAMBLIN
Grand Junction

Documentary on Northern Dolores landscape to be screened next week at KAFM

The beauty of the Northern Dolores landscape is indisputable and was fantastically showcased in the Sentinel’s Sunday edition. And while its beautiful vistas are second to none, there is even more to this region—from dinosaur tracks and rare plants to outlaw tales and hanging flumes—which makes it a unique treasure.

If you are interested in learning more about this incredible area, then I encourage you to attend “A FOND Affair” at 7 p.m. this upcoming Wednesday, March 20. In partnership with KAFM Community Radio’s Lifelong Learning Series, “A FOND Affair” features a screening of the documentary “Stories from the Land: The Dolores River Valley” and will be emceed by author Bill Haggerty.

This amazing documentary by Grand Junction filmmaker Mara Ferris of Gen9 Productions uses beautiful photography, historic images and insightful interviews to celebrate the landscape, wildlife and way of life found in the Northern Dolores watershed from Unaweep Canyon south to Uravan.

This is a free event, though a $5 donation to KAFM is encouraged. KAFM’s Radio Room is at 1310 Ute Ave. To reserve your seat, please RSVP at http://www.kafmradio.org or 241-8801 ext. 223.

LANEY HEATH
Friends of Northern Dolores
Grand Junction

Being pro-gun does not mean being anti-gay

When do Colorado common sense and rural values trump social issues and agendas? Unfortunately, never if the Colorado Democratic Party is running Colorado unimpeded by the constraints of independents and Republicans. A prime example is the ineffective gun legislation spewing forth from Denver.

I am not here to debate the effectiveness of such legislation. It has already been debated in the press by me and hundreds more. Because of my opposition to the Colorado Democratic leadership and its liberal gun agendas, I now find myself accused of being “anti-gay.” Pro-gun and pro-constitutional rights is anti-gay?

That is going to be a big shock to many gays in Colorado. I knew going in to this debate that the Colorado House and Senate are both lead by openly gay males, because they made a special point of crowing about it in the Front Range media.

Do I care? Sorry to disappoint my accusers, but I don’t care one whit.

I do care about the perception by many Colorado voters that if you speak out or vote against a female, minority, gay or lesbian politician you are closed-minded and bigoted, no matter their agenda. Sorry, folks, but inept politicians come in ALL colors and genders.

It is OK to put the good of Colorado and our constitutional values ahead of progressive liberals, even when they espouse alternate lifestyles or come from a different ethnic background.

When I hear the sex or race card played instead of people addressing the issues, I then know that the accuser has an indefensible position and is attempting to deflect the debate away from the real issue.

I will continue to speak out in defense of rural Colorado values and my constitutional rights—no matter the politician or his or her lifestyle.

DANIEL MOORE
Fruita

Vote down Ref. B, bring new faces to council

I am an opponent of the City of Grand Junction Ballot Measure B. I totally agree with the Daily Sentinel’s opinion that this issue should not be on the 2013 ballot because excess funds will not be available until after 2015.

In fact, it is likely that it will be 2017 before money will be available to refund or spend.

The fact that the current City Council members could conclude that this vague, misleading wording should be put on the ballot speaks volumes about the qualifications of the people on the council. It is obvious that they have no respect for the citizens of the community.

Many of the current council members were serving in 2010 when the decision was made to override the will of the people and put us all into debt without an election. Both Tom Kenyon and Bill Pitts voted “Yes,” and Laura Luke (who was not on the council in 2010) has voiced her agreement with the concept of debt without voter approval.

Another concern regarding the three incumbents is the fact that many of the meetings of the City Council are not recorded electronically nor are minutes taken. The incumbents not only refuse to change their behavior, they also refuse to explain why they believe better decisions are reached when no record is kept of their discussions.

We have the chance to elect three replacement council members: Phyllis Norris, Marty Chazen, and Rick Brainard. All three have expressed strong opposition to Measure B, believe that voters should approve all city debt and favor changing the backroom method of decision-making.

In this election, there is a clear choice for voters. I urge you to vote for Norris, Chazen and Brainard.

VIRGINIA BROOKS

Grand Junction



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