Email letters, March 14, 2013

Honor those working to clean up riverfront

Referred Measure A is a question of assigning appropriate zoning to land. The ballot question is burdened with language referring to trail easements that are irrelevant to the real issue at hand. The Grand Valley Master Trail Plan designates that the city will require any entity that develops along the river to allow for a trail easement, so Brady Trucking will not be adding anything that isn’t already required.

However, that’s not really the issue. The issue is zoning. Not jobs, not trails, it’s not a popularity contest. It’s about zoning an area that was required to be rezoned when it was adopted from the county into the city.

It is an area that is no longer on the outskirts of town where industry development first occurred due to access to the water. This land is now in the middle of town. It’s in the middle of parks, adjacent to homes and on the banks of a major waterway in a floodplain. We know better than to apply Industrial 1 zoning in such an area.

I am asking you to honor the citizens who have fought so hard to clean up this mess. Honor the organizations that have fought to improve the ecosystem. Honor your children and protect this invaluable feature that breathes life into most of the southwestern United States.

The Chamber of Commerce and a trucking company from Utah are blurring the real issue. I am asking the citizens to take control of their fate and vote “No” on Referred Measure A. The issue will go back to the planners and a lesser intensity zoning will be suggested as it was in the first place.

I urge you to ask everyone you know to vote “No.” Actively seek out people to vote “No.” Otherwise, the land will be zoned Industrial 1.

When that land eventually changes hands, that zoning will remain with the land, not the company.

Grand Junction

Industry, recreation can indeed exist side by side

I am a longtime Grand Junction area native who enjoys the experience of the river trail. I also work in an industry that provided part of the right of way for the trail.

Not only is this type industry participation essential to constructing these high quality trails in a timely fashion and at a reasonable budget, but also oversight by multiple state and county agencies ensures that industry will have minimal impact on the environment.

These agencies include but are not limited to the Colorado Division of Public Health and Environment, Air and Water Quality divisions, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corp of Engineers, United States Fish and Wildlife and others.

Such oversight ensures that industry and recreation can and do co-exist, with little or no complaint from either side over the last several years. Brady Trucking is simply seeking to join an existing neighborhood of multiple employers demonstrating compatible use.

Our community has a history of supporting property rights and jobs. It is frightening that there is even a question that Brady Trucking could both lose those rights and not be able to provide jobs—jobs that are sorely needed given the disparate economic impacts we have experienced due to the Great Recession.

A “No” vote on Referred Measure A is a vote against jobs, property rights, and cooperative, environmentally friendly expansion of the river trail system. I believe the level heads of our community will prevail and vote “Yes” to the benefit of us all.

Grand Junction

Unsightly billboards trash beautiful views

Look around when you’re driving around town. The gateways to the valley and the key corridors and arteries in and out of Grand Junction are increasingly being filled with the visual pollution of giant billboards.

We now find cherished views of the Bookcliffs, Mount Garfield, Grand Mesa, the monument and the sky itself grossly blocked by in-your-face billboards. This is a great pity, for their effect substantially degrades both our natural and urban environment for the sake of crass commercialism.

The proliferation of these monstrous eyesores is the result of the failure of the Grand Junction City Council and the Mesa County government to implement the goals and guiding principles enunciated in the Comprehensive Plan for development adopted by both in past years.

The Comprehensive Plan repeatedly calls for preserving and reinforcing the aesthetics of areas visible to the public and for protecting and enhancing scenic vistas. It cites the consensus of residents thus, “as a community we value our agricultural background; we enjoy open space and a small town feel.” A major goal is to “create attractive public spaces and enhance the visual appeal of the community through quality development.”

In the development of parks, both the city and the county have done these things, but their failure to curb the blight of billboards has badly damaged the quality of life here.

Maybe the newly elected commissioners and council members will see the need to impose regulations that would carry out long-accepted policies that would prohibit the visual trashing of the valley.


Open gun training facilities to more people in community

As an avid shooter and a long-time gun-rights activist, I want to say that the Sentinel was right on the mark with its editorial March 13.

People who carry guns at schools ought to have a lot more than a little card issued by some government agency. People who carry guns ought to be proficient.
Now, I don’t know any Mesa County law enforcement officers other than socially, so when I say that my experience is that “most” law enforcement officers are “proficient,” it means that a little better than half meet that standard. I mention this because lots of people think that the fancy suit and the badge mean proficiency. That’s not the case.

The law enforcement leadership in Mesa County ought to encourage and facilitate training and tactical practice for all people in the county who carry guns. Not just law enforcement officers, but also the small army of concealed carry permit holders. A new training facility meant only for law enforcement officers is not in the community’s broader interest.

Instead of mere toleration, law enforcement organizations ought to become engaged with and encouraging to citizens. This is not an “us versus them” issue. We are all in it together.

Grand Junction

Replace city council members with fiscally prudent thinkers

City Council will determine our direction during the upcoming lean years. It’s imperative that these decisions be made prudently. The issues are simple and straightforward, and they need nothing more than an overview.

The old City Council says to rebuild the Avalon Theatre, which could eat $10 million of future spending, not just the $2 million now budgeted. How about a new building to replace, not restore it? What were they thinking?

Regarding the Greyhound/GVT Terminal, the old City Council wants taxpayers to pay for not just remodeling the brand-new building, but for staffing a for-profit business at our expense. It’s hard enough watching empty GVT buses running on natural gas, wasting the tax dollar. Do we need to get into the national transportation business?

Steve Aquafresca’s right on (“we are not a business”). Laura Luke’s wrong (“we can become more profitable”). What are they thinking?

White Hall, bought by the City Council, is full of asbestos. Cleaning up the site will cost taxpayers millions, money the original owner/insurance could/should have paid for.

New, very expensive trucks, running on natural gas, and the repair facility cost us hundreds of thousands—why? Paying rent for our new police building instead of owning it—why? TABOR on the ballot. Why? What in the world are they thinking?

It’s time we changed our old problems with some new problem solvers. We need new members on our council, some people that will be a bit more financially prudent, some people that are actually capable. (Did you read about Beckstein in the Sentinel?)

Grand Junction

Beautify river without spending taxpayer money

This letter will probably get me into trouble, but the large amount of money spent down by the river is said to be mostly taxpayer money, which I think could have been spent more wisely instead of on a vision.

I grew up in Grand Junction and floated the river extensively. If you call putting cement trails and trash that people throw down beatification, I don’t see it. Again, I say if you want Brady to move, buy it out. If you want to beautify the river, do it without taxpayer money.

You can’t beautify something if you change it, thinking you made it better. And increasing the number of people to an area is not beautifying it. From what I’ve seen, when you increase the number of people, you increase the amount of litter left behind. There’s the real beauty.

Grand Junction

Toddler’s death shows many need training

This letter is in regard to the headline: “State report: Toddler’s death shows need for training in Mesa County.” I think the training in Mesa County needs to happen at the Social Services Department, not with those who did report the broken leg March 22, 2012.

It seems the mother chose to blame everyone else, but not herself for her son’s death. She wants to blame Community Hospital for not being clairvoyant regarding the abuse her son suffered at the hands of a child abuser, who first abused her son in October 2011in front of her. She chose this abuser, over the well being of her son.

Where is the culpability of the mother in this situation?  “I don’t blame myself … I failed,” Reak said in a recent interview with The Daily Sentinel. Reak admitted to lying to a caseworker regarding who was watching Owen when he was hurt. The mother went against social service recommendations about who should watch Owen, even after she saw this man spank her son until there were bruises. How is this someone else’s fault that this little boy is gone?

Why wasn’t a social worker following up with this mother after the last phone call listed on March 26, 2012?  Poor Owen died because of his mother’s choices and lack of follow through by social services.  Why was the social worker not capable of finding out about the boyfriend’s criminal record? Was it even checked?

Maybe the social workers could use some training regarding researching criminal histories and follow-up. Was Owen’s father or family ever interviewed? It seems as if there are many who are in need of training and many questions yet unanswered.


Grand Junction

Wait for two years to vote on override

The March 10 edition of the Daily Sentinel provided a great deal of information regarding the City of Grand Junction Measure B. I was undecided on this issue until I read the various opinions. I have concluded that Measure B should be defeated.

The issue that bothers me the most is why this issue is on the 2013 ballot when no money will be available for the road projects until 2016 or later.

Jim Doody admits that all TABOR excesses are spoken for until 2015. Does that not mean that the first-time money would be available for road projects is 2016? We will have another election in April of 2015. If the voters approve a TABOR override in 2015, there will be at least nine more months before any money would be available to spend on road projects.

Many things can change in two years. There will be changes in the people serving on the council, and our priorities may change. In 2015 we will know more than we know now. Waiting until we have this knowledge will improve the quality of the decision.

Since the argument presented by Doody is so obviously faulty, there must be another reason for this rush for judgment. Could it be that Doody and other council members are letting their egos get in the way of sound decision-making?

Grand Junction



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