Email letters, March 23, 2011

Unions have protected workers

Denny Herzog may not have learned or else conveniently forgotten a time when there was not collective bargaining and because of that, no middle class. There are good reasons we have a system whereby working folks can bargain collectively for issues that matter to them as a group.

I would like to take Mr. Herzog back to a time of sweatshops and company stores. A man would go to work in a coal mine breathing black coal dust all day and then was obliged to spend his pay check at the company store. The company store always charged more for food and supplies than the miner earned. The mine owners would tack the excess on to the miner’s tab thus building up liability that the miner could not pay. When the miner died of black lung, the next generation was obligated to continue the process in order to pay off the liability that had accumulated. There was never a chance to get ahead and the mining interest had a locked in labor force. This was all because there was no collective bargaining power. That, in a nutshell, is what life is like for the working class when collective bargaining is not allowed.
During the ’90s-dot-com years, I had several friends and acquaintances, quite boastfully tell me how well they were doing in the market and that early retirement was just around the corner. Their careers had paid them well and were investing and doing well. I never once, or did I ever hear a colleague complain or show any animosity toward them. We continued doing our job for the state being paid far less then our boastful friends. Now, that our pre-paid retirement plan, that we worked and paid for is working out, we are called the bad guys.
ROGER FULKS, President
Colorado School and Public Employee Retirement Association

Japanese disaster shouldn’t be used to ban nuclear energy

Japan just experienced a horrendous natural disaster, unprecedented in modern history. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.

Unfortunately, we are seeing national no-nukes activists on TV — posing as nuclear experts — using this tragedy to condemn nuclear energy. In fact, only a day or two after the earthquake, Daily Sentinel columnist Bill Grant exploited the disaster to coldly push his political agenda.

We need to recognize that Japan suffered a once-in-a-lifetime, cataclysmic natural disaster. Amazingly, the 40-year old (Mark 1) reactors survived mostly intact, but lost primary and backup cooling power. Yet, even under these disastrous circumstances, few members of the public were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Widespread, long-term environmental and health impacts should be very limited (or nonexistent).

Abandoning nuclear power in the wake of this catastrophe would be a terrible mistake. Realistic environmentalists recognize the need for nuclear energy. While I am not a global warming alarmist, the ONLY way to significantly reduce carbon emissions is through nuclear power. Global electricity demand is expected to increase exponentially in the coming decades. Wind and solar will never make a dent in meeting this demand.

Compared to the nuclear situation, tens of thousands of people died because they lived along the coast or because a building collapsed. Are no-nukes activists like Grant calling for a moratorium on construction in coastal areas? Are they calling for homes and buildings that can withstand gargantuan earthquakes and tidal waves? Then, why do they apply this double standard to nuclear power?

You cannot eliminate all risk from life. Every energy source has costs and benefits, and no one energy source should be eliminated, nor only one source be used, the US has enough consumption, to require all kinds of electrical power generation, be it solar, wind, and gas, nuclear or coal powered generation plants. Therefore, we need to learn from the tragedy in Japan, but not overreact to it.

I hope our politicians have the courage to do this.


Sports movie story was refreshing

Kudos to Melissa Mawdsley for her creative Sports Movie Bracket article. The article was fun to read and brought back many fond memories.

Obviously she could not include all sports movies but several that might make the NIT version would be “Sandlot,” the original “Longest Yard” and the “Lou Gehrig Story.”

In today’s turbulent times it is refreshing to read an article for enjoyment and enjoyment alone.

Grand Junction

Story showed that others have problems with state tax system, too

I want to thank The Daily Sentinel for printing the information about the breakdown of the state tax computer system in the March 21 edition.

For 2008 and 2009, our state tax returns were virtually the same figures, and we had no tax liability.
After the filing of each return, we received a bill of several hundred dollars because they had completely ignored the line items listing our exemptions. It cost an extra visit to the CPA on the first one and she showed me which copies to send to prove the exemption (which had been sent with the original return) and wrote a letter verifying our return. When the second billing came, I was able to send the same information.

What we did to prove this was accepted, apparently, but they never acknowledged the fact. We got a form letter stating that they had received the correspondence and never let us know if what we had done was correct. We can only guess what will happen when we file the 2010 return.

When we read the article, it eased our minds to know we were not the only ones having this trouble. We hope this will warn others to not pay a bill from them without investigating it further.


Context is necessary in reporting on attack

The news of innocents caught up in the death and destruction of war is always tragic no matter where or when, and such is the case in the report of several Palestinians killed and injured in the recent retaliatory strike by Israeli aircraft in Gaza.

However, to report this news in the absence of any context (the operative word here is “retaliatory”), would be the same as reporting the bombing of Hiroshima without any information regarding the four years of bloody war with and instigated by the Japanese that preceded it.

One may still view Israel’s actions as unnecessarily harsh and/or ultimately counterproductive, but to report this news without any reference to the unceasing shelling of the nearby town of Sderot by Hamas militants inside Gaza, militants that purposely and with outrageous disregard for the lives of their own people embed themselves in civilian areas, or the recent slaughter of almost an entire family of Israeli civilians a week before, is to suggest a willful ignorance on the part of your newspaper that leads one to suspect an underlying motive or intention, and a most unsavory one at that.

I will be interested to see if the Sentinel reports today’s shelling of the Israel city of Beer Sheva and the bombing in downtown Jerusalem as graphically.

Grand Junction


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