Email letters, March 27, 2012

Politicians needs better ideas

Socialism means “government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” — Merriam-Webster. Obviously no major candidate has advocated for that despite accusations. The Constitution establishes in its preamble for laws that effect “domestic tranquility,” and “promote the general welfare.” Where does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) fall in that spectrum?

Outside of the Veterans Affairs, the government does not own hospitals, drug makers, pharmacies or salary doctors and nurses. The ACA keeps everything privately owned, but does make a bigger base of insured. We all need health care sometime, and when we do, it can wipe out a lifetime of savings. It is estimated that the uninsured cost the insured about $1,000 per year. Having everyone pay insures individual responsibility with freedom from financial fear. The ACA promotes the general welfare and domestic tranquility. It is not socialism. It is the responsible things to do.

Does and industry that is one sixth of the economy qualify to be regulated under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause? Some courts say yes and others no, but the size and universality logically put it there. Even some conservative judges concede that point. Somehow a plan that was originated in a conservative think tank as an answer to Medicare for all is now socialism.

Does keeping the individual mandate mean the government can make us eat carrots (McConnell)? No, we do not need to unite to keep carrot prices from bankrupting us. The CBO says ACA saves and bends the future cost of healthcare. Regardless of how political the Supreme Court has become, we cannot afford to go back to the old way. We could use politicians, however, that have better ideas than just to scare and oppose.

HARRY MCDONALD
Grand Junction

NRC has no jurisdiction over uranium mill licensing

The recent news of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s interference in the Pinon Ridge uranium mill licensing issue, as reported in the March 15 edition of The Daily Sentinel, raises some important and alarming concerns.

First is the fact that this is a state issue, in which the NRC has no authority. Colorado is an Agreement State, meaning that the NRC has transferred all regulatory and licensing authority for source materials (i.e. uranium) and related facilities to the state under an agreement signed by the governor and the commissioner of the NRC. Therefore, the NRC’s role is limited to providing periodic assistance to the responsible state agencies — it certainly does not include any right to intervene retrospectively in a licensing decision made by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Perhaps even more troubling than overstepping their authority is the manner in which the NRC did so. Rather than communicating directly with the CDPHE, the NRC chose to address their letter to the lawyers for one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the CDPHE over the issuance of the license, which is currently before the courts. In addition, the timing of the letter was such that it amounted to a direct intervention in an ongoing legal matter. To say this is inappropriate behavior for an agency of the federal government is a prodigious understatement.
The fact is that the Pinon Ridge mill received overwhelming local support, which was documented by the CDPHE at numerous public hearings. The failure to win in either courts of law or public opinion should not serve as an excuse for the fringe environmentalist lobby — and certainly not for a federal government agency — to inappropriately manipulate the process to their ends. The NRC owes Coloradans an explanation and an apology for their actions.
KELLY SLOAN
Western Slope Coordinator
Americans For Prosperity Colorado
Grand Junction

Citizens petitioning government is democracy in action

Regarding the BLM proposal to lease North Fork lands for oil and gas and David Ludham’s letter regarding that: First to clarify, there is no formal appeal in the works. The public is commenting on an Environmental Assessment as invited by the BLM. And citizens are making sure that Sec. Salazar and others know about concerns — including by taking them to Washington D.C. But what Mr. Ludham paints with dubious motivations I see as democracy in action — citizens directly petitioning their government. 

Unlike most other land use plans for public lands in the state, the one that covers the North Fork (developed during the Reagan years and signed in 1989) has no surface-use stipulations for oil and gas development. 

Both counties and all three municipalities in the area asked the BLM to defer these leases until its decades-old land plan is updated. The major ditch companies, water companies, area businesses, dozens of farms, ranches, a dozen wineries, all raised concerns and urged that BLM first ensure it has updated management in place. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, along with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all raised issues and questioned if the 1989 management plan for the North Fork was sufficient. And they all pretty much concluded it was not. 

Having personally reviewed the scoping comments, from individuals I have found a dozen from Delta and Gunnison counties in support of the BLM’s proposal. So far I have sorted through over a thousand from the North Fork alone that oppose it. And these are not the form letters. 

While the organizations raising concerns — as noted above — is long and impressive for the scope of stakeholders it represents, the single organizational letter I located in favor of the proposal: from Mr. Ludham at the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association. So I would like to turn Mr. Ludham’s question back to him: Should the self-interested aspirations of a single private industry override the input of the public and other stakeholders? 

PETE KOLBENSCHLAG
Paonia 

Don’t change school boundaries

The school board is proposing to change the boundary lines in Fruita to cut costs and send Fruita’s children to a different community. I do not want my children moved from school to school throughout their elementary education experience. What may look good on paper to the school board right now can change in the future.

The district can bring in modular classrooms or cut costs elsewhere; not with our children. Children need stability and consistency in order to thrive. A school is a community within a larger community, it takes time to meet people and build trusting relationships. If we change the environment and the people involved in our children’s education, our children’s education could suffer, especially if multiple changes are made concurrently. The best learning environment is where children feel safe and secure.

In the interest of our children, it does not make sense to put them on buses and transport them seven to ten miles away from their neighborhood schools to a different unknown community. Our children would be on the bus a minimum of 30–40 minutes a day, not counting the time spent stopping and letting children on and off the bus. Additionally, this would add extra costs to a situation where money should be saved, not spent for both the school district and parents.

Our children should be our primary purpose. There are other ways to cut spending. We do not want the school boundaries changed in Fruita, and our children shuffled around. Please consider other options to cut money, as this idea does not encourage the best potential our children have.

If you agree please go to the School Board meeting tonight March 27, at 6:00 at the Basil T. Knight building. There is also petition you can sign at:  http://www.change.org/petitions/school-board-do-not-change-the-school-boundary-lines-in-fruita-colorado

CHANDRA BOULDEN
Fruita

President trying to distract country from fiscal issues

During the 2010 election cycle the Tea Party emerged as ordinary people rebelling against out of control government spending. Although many are social conservatives, they pretty much stuck to fiscal issues and that produced significant results. They won the hearts of a majority of voters who agree we need to cut government spending and debt.

When you introduce social issues into the debate and give them a priority you turn too many voters off. Given the success of the tea Party in 2010, social conservatives now mistakenly feel free to give a higher priority to social issues. Although Mitt Romney supports their positions, it is not with enough fervor to suit them. Romney knows in order to win in November he needs to maintain a focus on fiscal matters and the economy. 

The president saw this rift and seized on the issue of birth control to fan the flames. Affordable birth control is here to stay and how we deal with it as a culture is not something the government can do much about. It is obvious that the president is trying to distract us by touching a cultural nerve. In the end it won’t work and voters will return to consideration of issues that are the responsibility of government, like a mounting debt.

DAVE KEARSLEY
Mesa

Bobby’s bluster was cheap entertainment

Each year, as in the past, I look forward to Country Jam, early summer’s first party. This year somethings missing though. But what?

Oh, now I remember. It’s Bobby bluster, the threat that didn’t work, and the bash at the fairgrounds that never was. For several months last year, he really had some of us going, and the big question, “Will he, or won’t he?” was on our mind. Some said it was just Bobby blowing smoke again, but others believed him.

In the end it was only a slight, though predictable, distraction and the party in Mack went on as usual. But, for a while we had the comic relief of Bobby bluster to interrupt our daily routine.

Now, it’s almost Jam time again and I miss Bobby bluster. It was fun. Where’s good ol’ Bobby when you need him? His bluster was a hoot, cheap entertainment, too

ALAN B. CARLEY
Grand Junction



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