Email letters, March 15, 2013

Vote ‘No’ on Ref. A to support riverfront vision

Brady Trucking Company is a fine upstanding business, but it failed to ask several questions when it purchased the three riverfront parcels that it now owns:

Were the properties properly zoned? No, the property was not zoned properly when Brady purchased it. The property was outside the city limits and had to be annexed into the city. The property had to be rezoned when it was annexed into the City.

The former City Council was deadlocked on the zoning decision after the Planning Commission voted to place the property in an industrial office zone. The former council zoned the property into industrial and industrial/office zoning. This zoning decision was appealed by citizen petition and after a five-year court battle, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the petition was valid and therefore the zoning has gone to the voters for a decision.

A “No” vote would deny the industrial zoning and send the issue back to the Planning Commission and City Council for another round of public hearings and a decision. A “No” vote on the current ballot would reaffirm the community’s long-standing support for a new riverfront, free from industry and waste dumps, and open to parks, trails, natural areas and businesses that are supportive of a vital, people centered riverfront.

Is the property in the floodplain of the Colorado River?  Yes, the property is in the floodplain and partially in the floodway of the Colorado River. This means that the property will be under water periodically. The flood plain and floodway have specific restrictions regarding the construction of buildings and outdoor storage, and in some cases this land is unbuildable.

Land is available for the expansion of Brady Trucking immediately to the east and north, not in the floodplain of the Colorado River and already zoned industrial.

A “No” vote on Referendum A would be a vote supporting the vision of the riverfront project and a vote to support the expansion of Brady Trucking at a proper location.


Grand Junction
Chamber committee bases its endorsements upon key criteria

Recently misinformation has been disseminated regarding the Grand Junction City Council candidates and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s endorsements.

As the governmental affairs manager for the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, I would like to share the chamber’s endorsement process to ensure transparency and dispel misinformation.

The chamber’s candidate endorsement committee comprises business owners and representatives who are not sitting board members. One chamber board member acts as chair of this committee.

All candidates in each race are invited to meet with our committee and answer questions that relate to business and our community.

After these interviews, the committee offers recommendations to the chamber board as a whole. These recommendations are based on the candidate’s agenda as to how it can help business create jobs and how that might compare to the agenda(s) of his or her opponents along with past voting records on key business issues when available. The board then uses strict guidelines and a two-thirds majority decision to endorse any candidate for office.

As the staffer on these committees, I set up the interviews and invite the candidates to participate. In this City Council election it is important to note that candidates Harry Butler and Laura Luke, while invited to participate in the endorsement process, declined to do so.

Governmental Affairs Manager
Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Junction

BLM takes right direction in trimming number of roads

I, for one, believe the proposal from the BLM is the right thing to do – reduce the number of roads. Many folks (as depicted on the front page of last Saturday’s paper) believe they are not being heard, and feel the BLM should start over.

While my personal opinion is for significantly reducing even further the number of roads available to travel on, I do believe in multiple use and am willing to compromise. There is nothing that interrupts a walk in the great outdoors more than an ATV zooming down a trail.

Multiple use means something for everyone, and why should I not be able to get to a quiet location within a short drive from the Grand Junction valley? There are very few locations these days where ATVs are not allowed – and animals, especially deer and elk – need quiet, roadless areas as well.

The BLM “creating sign pollution,” as noted in a recent edition of the paper, is the goofiest remark I have ever heard. If ATV users would stay off closed roads to begin with, signs would not be required or could be reduced.

Yes, “sign pollution” could be controlled by only posting signs on open roads (with the assumption that roads were closed otherwise), but we all know that would be heavily abused with no way to control it. At least now we know when a road is closed or open, but we still have no way to identify illegal ATV riders.

Why is it that I have never seen a public argument from ATV clubs or users in favor of larger ATV identification to allow themselves and others to police illegal off-road use?


BLM presents confusion, depending on its audience

Recently I wrote to The Daily Sentinel in praise and support of the BLM’s preferred plans for various closures of public roads and trails for study and reclamation purposes. It would appear that my comments were premature, as since that time what we were told has changed.

What we’re told now apparently seems to be based on the audience BLM is addressing. Lots of confusion is now loose upon the land, and I think it’s time the BLM clears the board of all its plans and return to the public with a clear statement of its needs, specific to site and science, and a map showing only the present circumstance of roads and trails. Ask the public lands users what they’d do in BLM’s place.

I think the responses will be mostly sensible and sensitive because public lands users, by and large, are both intelligent and conservation minded. Use that input as a guide to developing a plan, take that plan back to the public, encourage more input and then repeat the process until both parties are satisfied.

If the users have a significant ownership in the plan, it’ll fly. If they don’t, it’ll crash and burn. As it is, the BLM’s lack of answers to many critical questions, telling different stories to different people throughout the state, its occasional misrepresentations of its own vision (which is seen by some as less than artful lying) and some outright evasions confuse, irritate and anger users, and, in the long run, foster mistrust, disbelief and dismissal of anything the BLM says or does.

I am old enough and cynical enough to believe that the federal government frequently gives lip service to wanting “public input” and believe, if this is the case with the BLM, there’ll be a serious increase in public lawbreaking, as folks will go where they wish, when they wish, and ignore BLM signs and warnings. Some will get nailed, but the greater number will remain roaming at will, even blazing new trails, and the BLM’s science and mission will suffer along with its public image.

This is prophecy, not threat, as my wife and I only use those unpaved roads with our CR-V that always remain open, and thus we have no dog in this fight. We do cherish freedom, however, and resent government limitations without permission and sufficient reason.


Grand Junction

State Republicans fight against draconian bills

I have been slightly involved and have been actively following the various Democrat-sponsored anti-Second Amendment bills in our Legislature on a daily basis. I have made one visit to deliver a letter personally to the governor and have been watching the live feeds on the Internet of the open sessions. I also have interacted with representatives and NRA officials and others in the state Capitol.

I can assure anyone who cares about the Constitution and our Bill of Rights (written for individual citizens and not government) that outnumbered Republicans are putting up an incredible heroic fight against these draconian bills.

Damn, I am proud of these folks!  Never thought I would say that about any politician.


Grand Junction

TABOR vote indicated citizens want control

City of Grand Junction Referred Measure B is exactly why the citizens of Colorado voted in the TABOR amendment in the first place.

Measure B sounds like a great idea, no increase in taxes or debt for ambiguous capital projects, but it tries to bypass the exact amendment that was put in place to prevent this type of political grab.

Local politicians have decided they know better than the people on how to spend their money. Just where do you think these over collected revenues come from?

Somewhere along the line the citizens paid for it—this is not free and should be refunded to the taxpayers. If Measure B passes, the money may pay for sidewalk improvements, an interchange at I-70 and 29 Road, Horizon Drive improvements and a recreation center. It may!

Excess money left in politicians’ hands may or may not end up doing any of those things. Think carefully who should have control over collected revenue—you or a politician.

I’m voting “No” on Referred Measure B.

Grand Junction

Are we still living in a democracy?

I’m confused. Are we still living in a democracy (republic) or have we covertly been transformed into a modified dictatorship?

In a democracy; we, the people (only the ones that are currently living) cast one vote apiece (not six) for our representatives. In a dictatorship (posing as a democracy), the voting is rigged. Hmmm.

In a democracy, when the country is facing tough times, the leaders set an example and do what is best for the people. In a dictatorship, the “leader” rides around in armored limousines with an armed escort, travels among his multiple homes and does whatever pleases him.

The dictator occasionally graces the public with his presence, ensuring he is surrounded by his loyal followers and smiles for the camera while members of the audience voice their approval.  When something doesn’t go as planned, the dictator finds a scapegoat to blame while distancing himself from the issue (no “buck stops here,” no ownership).

In a democracy the leader brings the people together to solve their cultural differences. In a dictatorship, the “leader” pits various societal groups against each other to maintain turmoil and distract the populace. (Think Kurds versus Shia versus Sunni or, in our case, blacks versus whites, Christians versus secularists, progressives versus conservatives.)

Our “leader” promised to change Washington, and he has. We are more politically divided now than ever before. He promised to change America, and he has. We are no longer the “melting pot” of cultural and religious tolerance; we now tolerate only what our leader and his loyal followers determine is acceptable.

Opposing views are not embraced, but ostracized. The loyalists blindly follow the empty promises, while salivating over feel-good laws that accomplish nothing other than chip away at our liberties. So, again, I ask: Are we still living in a democracy?

Grand Junction

Voters must make hard choice between industry, recreation

It’s a pity.

Here we are, the largest city on the Colorado River, with a gnarly problem. A magnificent park, Los Colonias, is planned between the Botanical Gardens and Eagle’s View Park. There will be a 10,000-seat amphitheatre and a kayak park, wonderful places for families and friends to enjoy this great river.

According to my straw poll, few folks know about Los Colonias or have even heard of it. And, when one googles Los Colonias, there is a tiny amount of info. That’s a pity.

Then we have a businessman who is being cornered about his industrial trucking business in the location he purchased for lots of bucks. Who wants to be told it’s not OK to have one’s business where one chose? That’s a pity.

And then while we’re listening to Garth Brooks or Sam Bush, visiting symphonies or being on our own, it will be difficult to hear. Truck traffic and business operations that operate 24/7 for this particular industrial use will be at the east boundary of the park. Now that’s a pity.

A 25-year-old vision with gobs of money and hard work has cleaned up the Colorado River so it is habitable to wildlife and enjoyable for viewers and doers, such as fisherman, boat people and more. Which pity shall we choose?

Really, isn’t the question what do we want in this plucky little city? Of course, we want and need jobs and industry. Can we have both, a magnificent new park and continued trail? Can we have a vibrant economy where industry is welcome, within guidelines, that brings more money to a very special place on the Colorado?

If not, guess what? It’s a real pity.

Grand Junction

Brainard already AWOL in current positions

I cannot believe that the Sentinel would endorse Rick Brainard for the City Council.

This is the same Brainard who resigned from the Grand Junction Economic Partners because he did not have time to attend a one-hour meeting once a month. He did not attend any meetings while he was serving on the Grand Junction airport security fence and hanger lease committee.

It is my understanding that he only attends 20 percent of the Community Hospital board meetings and he is a member of the board. Thursday night he wasn’t at the City Hall candidates forum.

How in the world can Brainard expect to have time for a seat on the City Council, which will require his daily attention to phone calls, studying issues, responding to citizen’s concerns, attending meetings and serving the public in so many ways.

My candidate is Bill Pitts. He works for the citizens of Grand Junction and gives the public his time and expertise. We don’t want a “no show” for the City Council.


Grand Junction

Harlem Ambassadors thank community for fun event

On March 9, the Kiwanis Club of Grand Junction hosted the Harlem Ambassadors professional show basketball team for a night of high-flying slam-dunks, hilarious comedy and feel-good family entertainment.
The Harlem Ambassadors would like to extend a special thank-you to event organizers Vikki Bell and Roxie Denning, who planned and promoted the game. The Kiwanis Club and Community All Stars proved to be an energetic, enthusiastic and challenging team, and we thank all of the players for their good sportsmanship.

The event would not have been possible without the support and generosity of local community sponsors, the members of the Kiwanis Club of Grand Junction and the event volunteers.

The Harlem Ambassadors thank the community of Grand Junction for its warm hospitality and look forward to returning to Grand Junction in the future.


Harlem Ambassadors President
Fort Collins

Southern Poverty Law Center critic should rely on more than one source

In the March 13 critique of Bill Grant’s March 6 column, the gentleman from Whitewater makes a number of incorrect assumptions about the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC does not exist to fight poverty, per se. It exists to bring justice and healing to individuals victimized by the lawless elements in our society.

The SPLC keeps extensive records on people who might become a threat to society. This enabled the center to apprehend a man in Las Vegas who was guilty of killing a 10-year-old girl in California.

The SPLC issued warnings to several congressmen about the impending shooting of a guard at the Holocaust Museum. Nothing was done, and the guard was killed. There are numerous similar examples.

Now to the cost of the so-called “Poverty Palace.” Several years ago the building occupied by the SPLC was firebombed by extremists and burned to the ground. The new building was built with extreme attention to the well-being of people who work for justice.

Even this building, with numerous safety safeguards, is being threatened by the same extremist hate groups who firebombed the first building. Well over 1,000 hate groups exist in the United States, three of which are in southeastern Colorado.

Forbes relies on one source (Salvo Journal winter 2002) for his information. In my extensive reading, I find that one source is not completely reliable. It is necessary, as Grant does so effectively, to consult several sources before arriving at a judgment.

To counter injustice and all levels, it is necessary to remember these words from Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Grand Junction

Susuras needs conservative company on city council

The City Council race has become obvious. Council members failed to bring us forward with economic assurance. They led us down the dark alley called Muggery.

We have little say how those dollars are spent. Relying on members we elect, we can only hope they are not just honest, but visionary, full of ideas and fiscal restraints.

Old members of the bad-counsel council need to be replaced. Sam Susuras is the only true conservative on that board. He needs some conservative company.

Phyllis Norris, running for District A, proven leader, president of City Market, has fresh ideas.

Tom Kenyon, current councilman, claims to be a progressive and a conservative at the same time. Really?

Marty Chazen, running for District D, financially savvy, heavily experienced, listens to and understands the taxpayer viewpoint.

Bonnie Beckstein, D, her story was in the Sentinel! She left the council
under a cloud that has yet to be answered. OK.

Laura Luke, D, wants taxpayers to pay for Greyhound’s terminal/staff. She voted for a budget that dug into other funds. OK.

Duncan McArthur, running for District E, appears the only one from E who has an original idea of his own and actually understands our Constitution and amendments.

Robert Noble, E, thinks the Second Amendment is out of date and not needed. Maybe that’s because he’s recently from Chicago.

Harry Butler, E, thinks anyone else’s ideas are all right, as long as they aren’t his. I’m sure he is a nice guy, but where are his ideas?

Richard Brainard, at-large seat, successful businessman, West Star official, is worried enough about Grand Junction to offer his services. He brings a vision of what we could be.

Bill Pitts, at-large seat, a nice guy, but under his leadership as mayor, taxpayers have been sold short.

New council, anyone?


Grand Junction




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