Email letters, March 20, 2014

City Council does indeed support efforts of Catholic Outreach

The Daily Sentinel recently published an editorial accusing the Grand Junction City Council of not being interested in helping get homeless veterans off the streets and that the council refused to pay development fees associated with the Catholic Outreach project. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What is true is that the council was presented a proposal to pay the fees by transferring funds from one budget line item to another and a majority of council questioned how the money was being accounted for. What is also true is that the council has to take a view of the bigger picture. Are there more nonprofit homeless-related projects that may be coming forward this year? (Another project is in the works). Will we have the funds to also help them? What about other economic development projects? What will be the source of the funds, and are there alternatives?

I was the one who asked Catholic Outreach whether the project would stop if this proposal were not approved. Not from the standpoint of refusing to assist the project, but from the standpoint of asking “Do we have the option of better investigating how to deal with the issue?” In the end, the council approved deferring the collection of the fees so Catholic Outreach could maintain its construction schedule while the council determined if this was the best way to handle the situation or if there is a better alternative.

Every council member has indicated his or her support for veterans and for Catholic Outreach’s effort to assist homeless veterans. This is evidenced by the unanimous approval of the site plan for the project, which didn’t necessarily meet all the requirements that would normally be required. But the council also has the obligation and responsibility to be a good steward of the public’s money. Just rubber-stamping whatever proposal is set before us does not accomplish that task.

DUNCAN MCARTHUR

City Council Member
Grand Junction


Teachers leave Title I schools because of scant job security

As an elementary principal of a Title I school for more than 15 years, I think I can answer the question about why Title I teachers do not stay at those schools. From my experience, it is not the money or the difficult
children. (I would put the children at Dos Rios up against any school in terms of how they behave).

The main reason given to me over the years was the uncertainty of the funding. Each year we never knew if we would have enough money to hire back all of the teachers. Some teachers had a difficult time not knowing where they might be the following year. These teachers are hired as temporary teachers, who have no guarantee of that position the following year.

If you want to keep the good teachers at a Title I school, give them some guarantee that they can stay at the school, which is difficult given the way federal dollars are allocated.

JEFFREY PHILLIPS
Whitewater

Sens. Udall, Bennett deserve thanks for Thompson Divide legislation

Very few issues have nearly unanimous support across the diverse communities of the Roaring Fork Valley, but the Thompson Divide is one of them. The people of our area have done an impressive job coming together to have our voices heard, and our leaders are listening. Thank you to U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall for sponsoring middle-ground legislation to permanently protect the Thompson Divide and to Gov. John Hickenlooper for supporting the effort, as well.

The next decision in the long process of protecting the 300 jobs and $30-million ranching and recreation economy that depends on this pristine landscape will be made April 1. The people have spoken: The Bureau of Land Management must deny further extension of the leases. These 220,000 acres are too valuable for wildlife, water and air quality, hunting, fishing, cattle and the way of life we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. BLM: Just say no.

AMELIA POTVIN
Carbondale

Leave wildlife management to Colorado Parks and Wildlife

I see one of the whiz kids on the front side of the state has come up with a bill to introduce the Black Footed ferret to the prairie dogs. Think about what is happening here. First and foremost, wildlife management should be left to the Department of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and not legislated. A few years ago they legislated bear hunting, and now some folks are up to their hip pockets in black bears.

Secondly, the Black Footed ferret is an endangered species and a killing machine. Who is going to teach him to kill just prairie dogs? We are already seeing declines in the Greater Sage and Gunnison Grouse. The Gunnison Grouse has some ranchers so tied in a knot that they can’t properly work their land and can’t find anyone stupid enough to buy it just so they can look for Gunnison Sage Grouse.

 Third, just a few years ago I thought the prairie dog was going on the endangered species list.

Some folks are just taking up good space that someone else could put to good use.

STEVE THOMAS
Montrose

If president steps down, think of the man who will replace him

No matter how egregious or unconstitutional his actions there is no way anyone in Congress, regardless of party, will ever consider asking the president to step down as long as Joe Biden is vice president. Talk about job security!

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Big government jobs to disappear if citizens cannot support them

Jim Spehar’s latest column uses the straw-man argument of situational ethics when addressing the proper role of the public and private sectors on our lives.

I’m not sure who the people are who want no government. My opposition to Spehar and his progressive and socialist adherents is the size of government.

Spehar mentions the 6,000 well-paying jobs, as well as other entities which rely on “government dollars.” He asks us to imagine the impact their loss would have on our economy.

There is a sure way those jobs will disappear: They will vanish when residents can’t support them with their taxes and fees.

This has occurred in Vallejo, Stockton and San Bernardino, Calif.. Each city filed bankruptcy, and those
high-paying jobs have been reduced in pay, benefits and number.

The city of Detroit has well-paying jobs with benefits. Its residents can’t support them, and Detroit has filed for bankruptcy.

When I was employed by City Market, we didn’t operate on “situational ethics.” We operated on the theory of “enlightened self-interest,” though this wasn’t part of our mission statement; City Market and its employees would “do well by doing good.”

JOSEPH A. LUFF

Grand Junction

Affordable Care Act hugely helpful to one Colorado woman

I think it is time that a true story of the effect of the Affordable Care Act was told and shared.

For most of my working life in Colorado, I could not afford insurance. I began working in the 60’s when most employers had insurance for their employees. Then the 70’s hit and employers dropped most if not all of their benefits. Insurance was my woman’s salary of $7.50 per hour as an accountant did not stretch to. While I was married I was on my husband’s insurance but after divorce I was once again without insurance.

My second husband was an Australian and I lived with him in Australia and New Zealand. I was in my 50’s. He had insurance for us from his job. When he retired we were eligible for free insurance under the bulk billing for retired people that was allowed to all Australians over the age of 50. When he passed away I returned to the US to be near my family and my children.

I received insurance when I was working for a bank, but when I left that position to teach part-time, once again I had no insurance. I am in my 60s and have had pneumonia twice. The second time I almost died because I could not afford to go to the doctor. I am now partially disabled with COPD from the pneumonia. Just when I was recovering from the pneumonia, I went blind from cataracts.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, I have insurance that covers my disability and my vision was restored. Before the increase in Medicaid caused by the ACA I had no insurance and became extremely ill. I was hospitalized for 22 days. The total of my medical bills was more than $300,000. I had no way of paying for that. The increase in Medicaid took care of all that.

If the Republicans got their way and repealed the ACA, I would be back to no health care. As I am too young for medicare, I would spend the next year with no health care at an age when health issues are beginning to affect me.

If you have not yet signed up for insurance at http://www.healthcare.gov, I highly recommend that you do it today. Even if you do not qualify for Medicaid you may find that you will have much smaller payments for insurance than you would have had before. And if you have a previously existing condition, you cannot be denied insurance. So stop listening to the Koch Brothers’ ads trying to keep you off healthcare and sign up today!

JANE DOWTON
Walsenburg

‘Sour’ headline on Koch shows bias, poor news judgment

The Daily Sentinel continues to editorialize in its front page headlines, without compunction. The paper and the writer also reveal left-wing bias with the headline “Koch’s sour words aside,” since he is a well-known conservative.

This headline and article should be in the editorial section. Whether or not his words are “sour” is a matter of opinion. What journalism school did you all attend?

At least no sexual headlines were in this edition, as The Daily Sentinel usually has on the front page.

JANET LOUISE BLACKMAN
Grand Junction

Gambling in De Beque would mean less travel time for many

I would like to respond to The Daily Sentinel’s front-page story on Monday regarding limited stakes gambling in De Beque. I am in favor of De Beque’s effort to bring this type of revenue generating activity to its community.

Why not De Beque?  Financially, the need for it is just as great as the mining towns of the Front Range.  In response to the Colorado Gaming Association (Lois Rise), I found, as a former business owner, that along with increasing your income revenue, “you must increase your inventory.”  It is true that there will be an increases in the department and expenses, but the revenue generated will increase as the inventory becomes greater. 

I see no need to protect what is already in operation in towns now involved in gambling; the Front Range communities will more than take care of that. Take a page from the big-box stores, open the front door and expand your business. Who can guess how much income will be generated from Amendment 64?

I enjoy gambling, as I am sure others do. Having a place in close proximity to those of us on the Western Slope would nice. Many of us have been to Black Hawk but from the Western Slope it is a long day trip, and certainly an overnight trip during the winter months. Traveling to De Beque from most communities on the Western Slope would be easier and allow for more frequent visits. 
It seems as if the state of Colorado wants to tell all of the state what is best for them.  I believe in self government.  Counties and cities should be able to determine what is best for the folks who live in and around their communities.  The Front Range seems to like to impose its thinking on the rest of the state.  Let the folks who will be affected by the decision decide what is best. 

If western Colorado is considered the playground for the Front Range, then let western Colorado be your great weekend vacation with a wide variety of activities for all to enjoy.

JOHN B. SCALZO
Rifle

Barbara Smith intends to win state Board of Education seat

I am a candidate for the Colorado State Board of Education. In May of 2013, the incumbent, Marcia Neal advised me that she was retiring and would not run for another term. She encouraged me to run and sent an email to that effect asking for constituents to support me. She said I was very courageous to run.

Since then, I have traveled throughout the 3rd Congressional District and gained wide support. Because I am fiscally conservative, I was also approached by some of the Colorado State Board of Education members to run for this seat.

When it comes to financing education, one has to ask why our test scores are so flat after billions of dollars have been spent here in Colorado. Less is more! As a fiscal conservative , I would have voted for Mom’s Bill (Senate Bill 136) which would have saved Colorado more than $200 million. Just for the record, Neal voted against Mom’s Bill with the Democrats on the Colorado State Board of Education which split the board’s Republican vote. That appears to be her pattern.

People throughout the district are excited about my qualifications to be on the state board:  EdD in Education, MS in Education, BA in Psychology. I also have Colorado licenses to work as a superintendent, principal and teacher. I did post-doctorate work at Stanford University. As you can see I am a strong believer in education.
Also, I will strongly represent everyone in the 3rd District with my 20 years experience in education, 20 years as a rancher and farmer and 20 years in business.

Consequently, with all of the support I have been receiving, I am still in the race. You may count on me to be transparent and open, and my word is my bond. I will not change my mind. I am going to win this election and take home the gold!

It is all about our children and grandchildren. They need a combination of the basics and 21st century STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge to get into college/voc-ed schools and eventually have successful careers.

People of the 3rd district, thanks again for electing me as your 2012 delegate to the Republican national convention. I found I now have lots of friends and name recognition throughout the entire state of Colorado.

I have asked Neal for a debate but she declined. What’s up with that?

DR. BARBARA ANN SMITH
Grand Junction

Stop the supply of harmful substances by stopping the demand

I agree with Dennis Patton that  police shootouts with drug dealers are probably no more effective than shootouts with bootleggers were in the 1920s, nor is spending billions of dollars on military aid to Latin American governments  to fight drug cartels, nor any other supply-side approach.   

The only way to stop the supply of harmful substances is to stop the demand, and the best way to reduce the demand is to kindly help people see that drugs  are bad and that there are better ways to be happy, and to lovingly and sympathetically help users overcome their addictions.   (A church-sponsored addiction recovery program helped my cousin with that, for which he will ever  be grateful.)  

In contrast, if society promotes drugs as a healthy and acceptable form of recreation, then demand will go up and supply will increase.  If Patton is correct that alcohol is just as harmful as marijuana, then “two wrongs do not make a right,” and he should encourage his friends to drink less alcohol, not to smoke more pot.
 
The one effective part of the war on drugs in the 1980s was Nancy Reagan’s strong message to kids that drugs were wrong and harmful.  It may not have worked on everyone, but it worked on me and millions of other kids.  We were scared of frying our brain like an egg and we did “just say no.”     

Some say Reagan’‘s message failed because millions of Americans are now on drugs, but without that strong message the number of drug users might be triple what it is now.   I fear that her strong message is now being weakened.    

If the Fruita town government promotes the establishment of marijuana bars, does it not risk sending kids the message that pot use is a suitable recreational activity?  Will Colorado marijuana use triple during the next decade because of the new messages society is sending?
 
Most Americans agree that adultery is wrong because it can lead to broken homes. Of course, we do not arrest and stone people for adultery like they do in some Middle Eastern countries, but neither do we promote adultery as a healthy recreational activity by establishing a Fruita town brothel to generate tax revenues.  

Grand Junction is full of billboards encouraging people to quit smoking tobacco, but if Fruita were willing to increase tax revenues by any means, it could also vote to build billboards to encourage tobacco use to increase tobacco tax revenues.   I know Fruita is better than that.
 
Sorry if it sounds like I want to force my values on others.   I am just scared about the world my kids are growing up in.   It scares me when I hear from a high school student that in the past year pot use has gone way up at Fruita Monument High School.  

When I read the news that 40 million Americans now regularly visit porn websites, I am scared about what pedophiles and date rapists my children might face someday.   I am scared when I hear how meth is hurting people and their families.    

The police cannot make us all be good, but hopefully each of us can make our community a safer and better place by choosing to abstain from these things ourselves, and by teaching our children by example that true happiness comes from nurturing family relationships, living productively, serving others and having good clean fun. 

RANDAL BAGWELL
Fruita

GM’s latest recall incident is similar to what happened in 1990 movie

GM, what a surprise! GM, a behemoth corporation, might have covered up, glossed over, etc., a real safety problem, which may have, directly or indirectly, been the cause of at least 300 deaths (according to most recent estimates). Likely, even more?

Ironically, the faulty component, which many observers say was known by GM to exist since 2004, the ignition switch, is the same as that used in the 1990 movie “Class Action.” And, the dynamics of the corporation’s responses and actions, also the same. So far. Is this a case of fiction resembling reality?

BILL RAMSAY

Clifton

Protest unfair state game licensing practices by returning licenses

Looking through my ‘14 big game brochure, I see that I will be applying for a license to be sent back just before season starts, as I have been doing in protest of special licenses since the advent of vouchers. 14 years.

It doesn’t get any easier, but I figure it is a small sacrifice compared to sacrifices of millions so that all are to be treated equally.

The CPW touts that the game belongs to everyone, therefore the programs involving game should be equal. No more vouchers, ranching for wildlife, governor’s or hybrid license.

The only way one moves ahead of another is by preference points because they are earned. All special licenses about is money and apple polishing. The only way to get a change is by money. Several people and I have been returning her license for refunds for years, but we need help to create a dent big enough to get the attention of legislators and the business community.

Oh, we could follow the rest of the world’s example and march on the state capitol with our favorite sporting equipment in hand. Wouldn’t that be a sight? One-quarter million people in 12 x 12 formations marching down Colfax.

I prefer the returning of licensing withholding any hunting-related expenditures. Just obtain a license refund application form either online or at a Colorado {Parks and Wildlife office ASAP, so they have a warning of what’s to come, and then return your license with the form just before the season starts if action hasn’t been taken to ensure equality for all.

Thank you, readers, for your consideration of this and the publications for printing this in the interest of game management with furnace to all.

DOUGLAS LAWYER
Grand Junction

When does government become too big?

This is in response to Jim’s Spehar’s March 18 column concerning the amount of “stimulus” created by public-sector (government) jobs.

Spehar fails to mention where real wealth originates. Real wealth comes from the earth. A corn or bean crop being harvested, timber, new baby cows, coal, iron ore and oil, to name a few examples.

These raw materials are processed and manufactured into products we all use. This comes from the private sector.

During this process, profits, wages and taxes are taken out. The public sector (government) exists and grows from these taxes. The larger government grows, the more taxes it must have to survive.

Phyllis Hunsinger was right. “The government does not produce anything to grow the economy.” It simply takes tax money and redistributes it in the economy.

Spehar seems proud of the fact that six out of the eight largest employers in Mesa County are government entities. There is a question here if we care to think about it. At what point does government get too big?

ROGER BENNETT
Delta


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