Email letters, March 22, 2013

President is more serious about “Final Four” than his leadership

With great amusement and perplexity, I have observed the news media excitement about President Obama weighing in on the “Final Four” basketball brackets.

I can’t help but wonder how many Americans are actually aware of, or even care about, the following facts. Over the past five years, Obama has never been late making his picks for the “Final Four.”

Yet, over that same period of time, Obama has missed the budget proposal date of Feb. 4, mandated by law, in four of the past five years. Is the president above the law?

Along the way, he has managed to achieve several budgetary records. He is the first president in 92 years to complete his budgetary responsibility after both the Senate and House versions. Likewise, he is the only president ever who has not been able to garner a single vote for his budget proposal, from anyone in Congress. Not only from his opposing party that he so fondly demonizes at every chance, but even from his own side of the political aisle. Not a single vote from Democrats in favor of the president’s budget proposal.

Does this not clearly convey to every American citizen just how serious Obama is regarding his leadership role, his budgetary responsibility or his concern regarding the massively destructive debt and continuing trillion-dollar budget deficits being layered onto the backs of our children and grandchildren annually?

With no other politician in Washington supporting Obama’s ludicrous “tax more/spend more/pile on the debt” budget proposal, it could sure make a reasonable-thinking American wonder just how serious Obama is regarding our very serious economic issues. It might even convey that the Final Four brackets seem to be more important to him than the financial security of the United States.

DON BOYLES
Grand Junction

German Shepherd used as prop for begging

Last Saturday, my husband and I were shopping near the mall when we spotted a man with a German Shepherd puppy. The man was begging on the median. His sign said he “needed help,” so we pulled up alongside and offered the man $100 for his dog.

We have two shepherds at home, and we were beyond upset that the poor dog had just the concrete median on which to sit. No water, no blanket. I told my husband the man wouldn’t take it—the dog was his “prop”—and I was right.

The man said the dog was a Christmas present (!) and refused the money. I called the police, and I was told it’s not illegal, but the next time I could call animal control and ask them to do a welfare check on the dog.

Please, people of Grand Junction, pass a law against this. At the very least, call every time you see a dog (or worse, children) being used by these scammers.


DIANNE HAYNES
Battlement Mesa

Cancun hotel personnel refuse to exchange U.S. dollars for pesos

We just recently returned from a two-week vacation to Cancun, Mexico. We stayed at a four-star Riu hotel.

Having some larger denomination U.S. currency, my wife went to the front desk and asked if its personnel would exchange them for smaller denominations or pesos. They told her they would be able to exchange currency only if they were euros or Canadian dollars.

They said Obama’s U.S. dollars were so shaky that the U.S. debt problems did not allow them to keep U.S. money available to exchange for guests from the USA. They told her all U.S. currency was immediately exchanged daily for Mexican pesos from their hotel.

The hotel would not even exchange U.S. dollars for pesos. This was not the problem in 2008 when we were last there.

ED and CLARA LOMELAND
Grand Junction

Voters’ opinions are apparently immaterial

It is springtime, and what do I see as I look out my office windows?

I see the beautiful new library that is under construction. The service is one I use and appreciate. Library managers moved their main facility out to an old furniture store location while their new facility is being constructed on the old site.

I think the argument is that it is not “new,” because the voters said they didn’t want a new library. It’s new if one is honest about it. The low-cost interim location is doing the job very well, maybe too well. Perhaps those pesky “voters” had it right, after all.

In my drive to work I have seen the new police and fire stations being completed. Do you wonder like I do how the new Grand Junction police and fire stations were built after the voters said, “No”?

I know the revised plans were less expensive than the original ones, but I don’t recall it being brought back to the voters for their approval. These facilities were needed, but having the voters’ approval would have been nice.

Another view from my office is of the city hall and beyond that the old courthouse county offices. Lots of people work at those two locations. What’s recently new is the big expansion of county offices down where the old City Market warehouse was, near the courthouse and jail.

In the distance I can see the rapidly expanding Colorado Mesa University campus. Here on the Western Slope the business of government is booming.

DAVID KEARSLEY
Mesa

Brady Trucking blocks right of way

To date Brady has blocked off a public right of way at 27 1/2 Road to the river. This is owned by all of us.

It is platted as a street owned by the city, according to the city’s GIS map, and yet the city has allowed a private landowner to control public right of way. Will Brady follow the law if we vote “Yes” for it?

STEVEN FLEMING

Grand Junction

Follow Comprehensive Plan in deciding upon Measure A

As a professional planner who daily works with private developers and the Zoning and Development Code, I want to speak to the real issues of Referendum A.

The Comprehensive Plan is our “Zoning Constitution.” if you will. It is the guiding document for all zoning decisions. If the project is in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan, the developer can have confidence that it will be approved. The Comprehensive Plan has some fundamental goals. Here are some of them:

Goal 3: The Comprehensive Plan will create ordered and balanced growth.  Is it ordered and balanced to put a very low intensity of use next to one of the highest intensity of uses?

Goal 7: New development adjacent to existing development (of a different density/unit type/land use type) should transition itself by incorporating appropriate buffering. Is it possible to transition the second-highest intensity of uses to the lowest in 50 feet?

Goal 8: Create attractive public spaces and enhance the visual appeal of the community through quality development. Can Eagle Rim and Los Colonias parks be visually appealing with trucks in the middle of them?

Goal 10: Develop a system of regional, neighborhood and community parks protecting open space corridors for recreation, transportation and environmental purposes. Is the intended purpose of these parks being protected? Imagine parking 40 semi’s in Canyonview Park’s parking lot. Would you want to go play there? Would your experience be diminished?

I am sure both sides of this issue are passionate about our community. But decisions like this must be decided logically and without passion distorting reason. That is why we have the Comprehensive Plan.

There are no “bad guys” in this matter, only the question of whether the project fits the Zoning and Development Code and Comprehensive Plan.

JEFFERY FLEMING
Grand Junction

Noble an independent thinker, not tied to any interest group

Bob Noble is a candidate for City Council worthy of serious consideration. He has pledged to further economic development, enhance our current transportation systems and work on keeping Grand Junction a livable and safe community.

I like Noble because he is an independent thinker. When he is asked a question about a current issue, he researches and ponders it prior to rendering his opinion. No doubt this comes from Noble’s investigative law enforcement background.

His opponent, who has testified at the last two City Council meetings, identifies himself as a spokesperson for the Grand Junction chamber. I would rather vote for a candidate who is not beholden to any particular interest group. That’s why I am voting for Bob Noble for City Council.

ELIZABETH ROWAN
Grand Junction

Chamber oversteps its bounds as representative of businesses

Over my career my job took me to many communities around the country while I climbed the ladder of corporate advancement. I don’t recall in any of those communities where the Chamber of Commerce wasn’t considered a partner for good works in the advancement of the community. Only in this, the community of my retirement, is the chamber operated as an adversary of its customers.

The United States Chamber of Commerce is notorious for its adversarial position relative to policies good for its citizens, and our local chamber seems to have determined that the U.S. chamber is its model, and it follows in lockstep.
I think Diane Schwenke has finally overstepped her position in forthrightly stating that she and the chamber are the partisan spokespeople for members of our local business community.

Rumors abound about how the chamber actively takes steps to keep wages down in this community. Do we really need a council packed with chamber members to ensure that the will of the people is secondary to the will of local businessmen who, particularly in recent years, have shown distaste for their very customers?

Is that how our private enterprise market system is supposed to work? Businessmen and women need a stacked deck to survive and prosper? Quality of life here is measured by the contentment and satisfaction of the business community?


JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

Sheila Reiner has improved county election procedures

Whether on her own initiative or in response to lawsuits and/or a criminal complaint, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner seems to have made much-needed improvements in the administration of elections in Mesa County.

Most significantly, Reiner has eliminated the previously reported linkage of voted paper ballots to the identity of voters – an unconstitutional artifact of her local “batching” process—by presorting mail-in ballots by “ballot style” as they arrive.

As a result, when batches of 50 ballots are processed through the State of Colorado’s Registration and Election (“SCORE”) system to verify voters’ signatures, all 50 voters shown on the computerized “batch report” will have the same “ballot style” – such that the identify of an individual voter cannot be inferred from his/her unique “ballot style.”

This change should go a long way toward minimizing anecdotally reported incidents of “voter suppression” attributable to local employers’ and/or partisan officials’ rumored knowledge of how a citizen voted.

While constitutional issues regarding the actual anonymity of our “secret ballot” may be resolved, one remaining concern involves the potential for voter fraud arising from the proliferation of duplicate ballots in general elections.  Historically, “absentee ballots” (now known as “mail-in ballots”), have been a primary source of actual election fraud – whether by overzealous partisan campaign workers or by corrupt election officials.

In 2012, thousands of voter registration changes were processed through the SCORE system after Reiner’s cutoff date for providing finalized mailing lists to printing vendors.  As a result, Reiner’s staff was forced to mail out more than 9,000 duplicate ballots in October 2012 – when mailing deadlines precluded sufficient time to cull ballots from the original mailing list.

Consequently, Reiner responsibly referred a record number of apparently illegal attempts (whether deliberate or inadvertent) to cast multiple ballots – detected during signature verification—to the district attorney for possible prosecution.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Aunt of student in explosion blown away by kind acts

Amazing! That is what I keep hearing about Grand Junction. My nephew is one of the students affected by the house explosion and fire earlier this week.

He has had so many offers from friends, the university and the community for assistance in finding a place to stay, clothing, food and money to buy replacement clothes, sundries and household goods. The community has wrapped its arms around these young men.

Their lives have been impacted by the tragedy, but will continue to be changed for the better by the good people of Colorado Mesa University and Grand Junction. Hooray for Grand Junction and many heartfelt thanks!

JILL LARSEN
Bloomington, Minn.

Alteration of Colorado’s ‘brand” comes at a cost

The rule of law is not changed by the announcement of fact by any sheriff—or the misrepresentation of it by the progressive media. When human laws are reflective of the law dictated by God, Himself, they are valid.  When contrary to the laws dictated by God, Himself, they are ill-made.

I have heard no sheriff claim an intent to change bad law—most have said the law as written is not enforceable—and that is a statement of fact. No rebellion or lawlessness seen.

As to Quimby and the Colorado brand, the brand is a sign by which a people or property can be known. Thus the Colorado Constitution could be said to be our brand. One does not need to read it through a gun scope to see “We the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme ruler of the Universe .... in order to provide for the common defense .... secure the blessings of Liberty… Article II Bill of Rights ...Sec.1 All political power is vested in and derived from the people…. instituted for the good of the whole ...Sec.2 ...whenever they deem it necessary to their safety and happiness…Sec.3 Inalienable rights—the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness…. Sect.13 Right to bear arms—the right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in the aid of the civil power when legally summoned, shall be called in question…”

Now fundamental law—the enabling Act adopted March 3,1875, provided our Constitution would be republican in form, not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

Laws passed in my lifetime seem intent upon reducing us to slavery, coming from a legislature that has bragged IT knows what is in the best interest of the people. The brand has been altered, and the alteration has cost /will cost jobs—and perhaps a loss of good citizens as well.

ROBERT JAMES BURKHOLDER
Fruita

Colorado is now as ‘crazy,  leftist, liberal’ as California

The editorial “The Right Way to Fight Gun Laws” was well written and right on point. I believe the sheriffs of Colorado who have made these statements are only demonstrating their local county positions on gun control. I have never seen a law enforcement officer not try to enforce a law.

However, there are many ways to fight ridiculous laws that will have no effect on the terrible crimes we have witnessed. The real right way to fight gun control is at the polls.

We have nobody to blame but ourselves for letting the liberals grab control of both houses of our Legislature. Link these liberals with a sympathetic governor, and they are drunk with power.

You can’t convince me that these liberals are not aware of the fact that the Republicans, Libertarians and independents are gearing up to make significant changes in the State Houses and governor’s office in the upcoming elections. In the meantime, these “Democrats” are going to jam every liberal special-interest group issue they can into law, before they are replaced.

I personally never thought I would see the day that Colorado and California were lumped into the same crazy, leftist, liberal mold in conversations around the country. It is truly embarrassing.

JAMES O’MALLEY
Grand Junction

Making Brady Trucking zoning a ballot issue has been unfair

A zoning case similar to Brady Trucking’s happened in the newly incorporated City of Lakewood forty years ago.

The Regional Transportation District had just developed its plan for a
future network of an overhead light-rail system for Metro Denver. At the same time, the newly formed Lakewood Planning Department was drawing up its plan for the city, labeling it “Concept Lakewood.”

Because a high-traffic, major arterial street running the full length of Lakewood was designated by RTD as one of the light-rail corridors, Lakewood’s plan had arbitrarily downzoned all commercial property on that street. Future sales of commercial property would automatically convert them to residential zoning.

That meant, of course, that no one in his or her right mind would buy an existing business on that street, business owners would not invest in further improvement of their businesses, and RTD would be paying much less for any properties it might have to acquire in the future.

Property owners united to fight the plan and eventually succeeded. The court concluded that the downzoning amounted to “the taking of property,” and was unlawful.

Construction of the overhead light rail planned for that street has never happened and may never happen.

What percent of voters are business owners and would therefore have empathy for the public’s “taking” of Brady Trucking’s property? This is a matter of property rights and should not be left to public opinion. This is a matter of fairness, a matter of law.

SUE C. HUGHEY
Grand Junction



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