Email letters, March 7, 2014

US must enforce immigration laws already on books

I’m missing something with immigration reform. Everyone says that we need immigration reform for the millions of immigrants that are in this country illegally as they’re just trying to better their lives.

What about the hundreds of thousands of people who have came to this country through the proper channels and filled out all the paperwork, paid all the fees associated with coming into this country and became legal citizens?

How long have these illegal people been in this country without making any attempt at becoming citizens? How many of their children are in this country that were born in hospitals in this country, which would make them Americans, excepting the fact that their parents were here illegally and still haven’t made an attempt to become legal citizens?

I believe the United States has immigration laws in place to get into this country legally. We don’t need new ones; we must enforce the ones we have and the people need to use them.

If they don’t understand them, someone will explain the laws to them and then they can come into the country legally, instead of paying someone to get them here illegally. If they didn’t know they were breaking the law, then they wouldn’t run from the border patrol, the police or immigration officers.

CURT CLAUSSEN
Grand Junction

Delaying school enrollment may be wise parental choice

I no longer have children in the public school system, but I have been paying attention to the pros and cons of shorter summer breaks and changing the age for beginning kindergarten.

Twenty years ago, when my children were starting school,  the young mother in me would have fought hard to keep the summer break at 10 – 12 weeks so our family could enjoy all the activities Western Colorado offers. I also would have wanted my children to begin kindergarten with all their friends from pre-school. I now believe I would have been wrong for making those two things the priority over giving my kids every opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead by spending more time at school and at their “just right” level of education.

I spent eight years as a teacher’s aide in first-grade classrooms in the district, and I saw firsthand the problems and struggles during the year that the young five/six-year-olds had compared to the older six/seven-year-olds. There are a lot of expectations for beginning first-graders, and if a student is not to ready to jump in on day one, it is very easy for that student to become overwhelmed. Even when each K-2 classrooms had aides for support, there was no way for a teacher and the aide to foresee each young student’s needs and teacher to the other children as well. 

Now that the aides are gone, I can only imagine the problem it creates for the teacher. It undoubtedly hinders the learning of the students who are ready to move forward. Having those young students in the first grade classrooms impacts every student in some fashion for years.

I remember how anxious I was to have my children enter first grade, but if I could do it over again, I would have them spend an extra year in a good pre-school, so they were very well prepared emotionally, physically and educationally to begin first grade at the age of at least six and a half.  I believe their educational success would have come more easily to them.

If I had school-aged a grandchild, I would want him to slow down a bit, learn in an environment that supports his learning needs and enter the first grade a mature, ready-to-excel six-year-old. It is also a benefit on the other end of the spectrum. I believe an 18- or 19-year-old senior is a little more mature when selecting a college and a career.

LINDA SAUNDERS-MARTINEZ
Grand Junction

As the Beatle are lauded, let’s consider their drug-laced lyrics

Is anybody else disgusted that the Beatles ended their 50th anniversary show with two overt drug sing-along songs? I think maybe the Beatles made drugs cool for middle-class kids — whether planned or not.

Lyrics from the last two songs:

“I’ll get high with a little help from my friends.”

And then from “Hey Jude”:

“Just let her under your skin and begin to feel better, better, better.”

And the last song disgusts me even more because we just lost one of the best actors of our time from heroin the week before their show aired.

“Na na na na na na na.” Hey, Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t sound the same.

I wonder how long ago they buried Jude?

DENNIS WHITE
Grand Junction

Penry should view documentary on the stolen American Dream

I read Josh Penry’s column on Friday with amazement. Of course, it could be explained as simply parroting the tea party rhetoric. But I would think Penry would “study history” to avoid repeating it.

He stated that “government should get out of the way” so the recovery could proceed. Well, excuse me, but the most recent economic collapse can be directly tied to the government doing just that. By weakening banking regulations over the last 20 years, we enabled the investment bankers to rob us blind (and the house of cards came down). If the “free-market” ideas were truly followed, those institutions would no longer be in business.

See,  the problem with those types is that they want a free rein as long as it aids them. But when there’s trouble, they want someone to bail them out. Something about “too big to fail.”

I, for one, would like to see the government still keep regulating banking (and other things). [ITAL] That [ITAL] is a function of government.

I would recommend a documentary movie to Penry. Its title is “Heist: Who stole the American Dream?” and it explains a lot. But I doubt he would view something so “liberal”. What a shame.
 
CHARLIE POST
Grand Junction

Government aid to Ukraine better spent on struggling Americans

President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Congress are in a big hurry to give away $1 billion in energy aid to the Ukraine.  Why?  

As far as I know, Russia has not cut off the natural gas pipeline to the Ukraine.  Even if Russia did, the Ukraine has nuclear power facilities for electric power.  Why the big rush to blow more American tax dollars overseas? During our winter months, we have thousands of Americans who can’t afford heating oil and propane to heat their homes, but it’s OK for our government to provide domestic energy to foreign countries at taxpayer expense.

Who would wind up with this billion dollars in energy aid?  Answer:  American oil and gas companies.  The American energy giants could just slip over there and offer them their services in exchange for high prices and leave American tax dollars out of it.  

Again, the kings and queens of our federal government show no compassion for America’s own citizens and American taxpayers.  

RANDY FRICKE
New Castle

Statistics do not indicate sufficient interest in Avalon

According to the 2011 census, the population of the greater Grand Junction metropolitan area, which includes Fruita, Colbran, Debeque, Palisade and the unincorporated areas of Meas County, was 147,083.

So far, a whopping 375 individuals have donated their hard-earned money to help to restore the Avalon Theatre. As you can see, an overwhelming majority of citizens think this is a great idea.

JACK WERNET
Grand Junction

Aid to Ukraine will only flow to Moscow and Putin

Just a thought here: As the European Union ($15 billion) and U.S.($1 billion) scramble to send money to Ukraine, how much of it will stay in Kiev versus being funneled through to Moscow and Putin?

With the aid packages Russia wins; without them Russia wins. Flip the coin and hope it lands on its edge. Hope is not a plan. Neither is “hope and change.”

STEPHEN M. DAVIS

Grand Junction

Envision effect of closing one entrance to the monument

Here’s an idea. Not far to the south of Grand Junction lies nearly 20,000 acres of public land in a single block. I have been there myself and seen the studies. It is inhabited by a myriad of wildlife, including deer, sheep and lions. Only one road runs through it.

If the road were closed to motorized traffic, the animal populations would be less impacted by man’s intrusions by 4-wheeled vehicles. Wildlife could flourish and this area would be pristine for generations to come. So, let’s do it!

I forgot to mention, though, that this area is commonly known as the Colorado National Monument. Could you imagine if the west entrance road was closed all the way to the Glade Park Road? You would have to hike for half a day to get to where you wanted to start your hike at in the first place. How many visitors would be willing to do that? How many fewer people would get to experience the beauty of the monument? When a simple hike becomes a two-day affair, not many, I’m afraid.

Yet, when the BLM and National Forest Service close public roads in the back country, that is exactly what is happening. The difference is that these roads are more off the beaten track, where the hiking clubs and bird watchers don’t come. There is no public hue and cry, because in general the
masses don’t go there or even know about these places.

Protesters to the closures are not “the off-road vehicle people trying to make roads all over the forest” as armchair commentators such as Bill Grant would have you believe. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

These roads are often accessed by the people who grew up on them and use them to go to a certain favorite camping spot or a place from which to hunt or fish.

Both the BLM and the Forest Service have procedures they go through to ensure public input before closures. Then they close them anyway.

The North Fork valley is rife with examples, and the BLM is working to redefine “public access” (administrative routes), so they can do it here in Mesa County, as well.

The BLM and the Forest Service do not have the authority to close roads; only the commissioners of each county do. Let’s support them and let them do their job. Maybe the voices of the actual residents will be heard.

JOHN TAYLOR
Grand Junction

 Republicans must take responsibility for Putin’s perception

Charles Krauthammer’s latest insipid polemic (“The wages of weakness”) epitomizes the lengths to which partisan propagandists will go to distort the facts to disingenuously and cynically criticize President Obama’s approach to foreign policy.

 
When Mitt Romney opined that Russia was “our number one geopolitical foe”, he and other “neo-con” Republicans (including Senator John McCain and pundit Krauthammer), refused to confront the logical budgetary and fiscal policy implications of that premise.

 
American power to influence world events (whether in Georgia, Syria, and/or Ukraine) derives – not from any self-proclaimed “exceptionalism” – but from a vibrant economic engine that generates sufficient revenues to sustain both a broadly attainable “American Dream” and military capabilities sufficient to deter aggression, but whose judicious use demonstrates moral leadership and allegiance to long-established international norms.
 

Saber-rattling critics like Krauthammer still advocate the same economic policies that tripled our National Debt under the hapless Republican President Reagan, and doubled it again under clueless George Bush – who squandered a budget surplus and trillions more by concurrently initiating two unfunded wars while (over McCain’s objections) enacting massive tax cuts, and who irreparably damaged our international reputation by endorsing policies of “preemptive” invasion and “torture”.  Since then, Republicans have imposed mindless cuts on the defense budget, and are still obstructing economic recovery and reneging on their commitments to veterans.  
 

Thus, it is “puzzling” that—while Krauthammer asserts that “[t]here is no U.S. financial emergency, no budgetary collapse.  Obama declares an end to austerity — for every government department except the military” – “Teapublicans” (including Scott Tipton) insist that a purported “financial emergency” (the debt) demands more austerity rather than more revenue, while conveniently ignoring the fact that President Obama’s budget increases military spending above Republican-imposed “sequestration” levels.

 
Therefore, Republicans are indisputably to blame for Putin’s perception of American “weakness” – and accountable for its consequences.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

BLM Field Office cannot vacate right of way legally

Just like water rights, legal rights of way on public lands and private lands are defined by law. On federally managed public lands, the first thing that needs to be determined is what level of legislative jurisdiction has been ceded (given) by the state, to the federal government, on the area in question.

This cession of legislative jurisdiction on public lands, within a state, is required under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the U.S. Constitution. This constitutional requirement supersedes any congressional act, past or present.  The BLM would have us believe that the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 and a typo in the Public Land Statistics book since 1980 give it exclusive jurisdiction over all public lands.  However, FLPMA, Section 701, states specifically that FLPMA does not alter any level of federal or state jurisdiction.  FLMPA, Section 701 also goes on to reveal that nothing in FLPMA limits a state’s criminal statutes or police powers.

Research by the Public Land Access Association reveals that 97.2 percent (more than 23 million acres) of our public lands in Colorado are held by the federal government in proprietorial interest only. This means the federal government has not obtained any measure of the state’s authority on lands held in proprietorial interest. The state of Colorado retains police powers and legislative jurisdiction over all legally established rights of way on these public lands as defined in the Colorado revised statutes.  CRS 43-2-201(e), CRS 29-20-104 and CRS 43-1-202 define most legal rights of way on public lands in the state of Colorado.  

Since the Grand Junction BLM Field Office lacks exclusive legislative jurisdiction within the boundaries of the Grand Junction Travel Management District, it cannot legally vacate a legal right of way as defined by federal or state statutes.

BRANDON SIEGFRIED
Grand Junction

Feed Europeans, slash costs by slaughtering wild horses

In regard to the problem we have with so many horses, wild or domestic, it is not inhumane to kill horses for people to eat. Indians ate them, and earlier settlers such as the Donner Party ate them to keep from starving.

People in France, Italy, Belgium and so forth would rather have horse meat than any other kind of meat. So, we have a ready market for excess horses. Before closing the horse plants in 2007, we had a good market for horses, bringing on top of 70 cents a pound live. Now the price is anywhere from 10 to 35 cents a pound alive.

Canada and Mexico are just loving it, as they are more than doubling their money on horse meat.

Horses are a product, just like beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkeys and fish. We taxpayers need to step up and let horses be part of that product.

All animals killed in slaughterhouses are killed instantly by a stun gun or a bullet to the brain. This is better than being starved to death or dying of old age and in pain from old age. I like horses as well as anyone, but will not let them go hungry or suffer from any pain.

If we slaughter the 49,000 locked-up (horse prison) horses, taxpayers will see about $700 a head in the government budget. That is $34.3 million in taxpayers’ pockets.

Locking up a horse costs $938 per year. Multiply that amount by 49,000, and you get nearly $46 million out of taxpayers’ pockets. Most horses live 25 to 30 years. Multiply $46 million by 25 … my calculator just went up in smoke.

If we leave 10,000 horses in the wild, in 12 years we will have 80,000. If we keep horses in check, they will not eat themselves to starvation and will never go extinct.

BRYCE W. PURKEY
Meeker

‘Forward, click’ patriots just preach to the choir

Knowing my mostly conservative values, many people have put my email address in their circle of friends. Subsequently, I received many of those political poems, quips, pictures and stories which alert me to the hidden agenda and treasonous actions that our non-responsive government officials are trying to pull. I appreciate the thoughts behind these emails, but something much more serious bothers me about those who send them.

They should all realize that when they “forward-click” them, they are only “preaching to the choir” and that nothing really gets done to solve the problem. Patriotic-minded folks feel that they have done their duty just by sending messages in conservative circles. I refer to these people as “forward, click” patriots.

In order to change the world more to their liking, it takes more than a few seconds punching buttons while sitting at their computers. For things to get better, we must all speak out, attend, ask questions, write, assemble and act physically or nothing will be changed for the better for our country.

TIM MENGER

Whitewater

Unaffiliated candidate Fletcher
offers ‘earthy authenticity’

With all the interest to replace Republican Jared Wright as House District 54 representative, the candidate list is a plethora of options.

Wright appears headed out the door, as he tries shedding all the negative baggage he brought with him and continues finding more. The former officer, who resigned rather than being fired, is struggling to show any kind of legislative effectiveness. He should’ve taken the advice of party leaders to withdraw from the 2012 campaign rather then eventually embarrass himself.

His Republican challenger, attorney Yeulin Willett, now in the race, appears to have the backing of some well-monied interest groups. Willett’s endorsers include former county commissioner Janet Rowland, who two years ago was a nominator for Wright’s election to the ticket, apparently sees Wright’s flaws of the past 12 months as a threat to maintaining a Republican hold on that seat.

Democrats took a pass two years ago. Political and valley newcomer Brad Webb of Palisade is now on the ticket. The vintner’s platform of the economy, jobs, natural resources and education echoes the campaign picture of all announced candidates.

A refreshing approach is that of [ITAL] unaffiliated [ITAL] candidate “J.J.” Fletcher. This successful blue-collar Palisade businessman recently shed “the ties that bind” from the Republican Party. The leadership did not look favorably on Fletcher’s announced candidacy as a Republican, and the powers told him he couldn’t win.

I salute Fletcher on his decision to go it alone with a shoestring campaign. After all, look at where the two-party system has brought us.

Fletcher brings to the campaign that honest and original “earthy authenticity” sorely lacking in today’s political arena. The two major parties are more interested in money, power and control then they are in governing for the people.

I’m confident Fletcher will represent me, rather than a political party.

MAX L. SMITh
Fruitvale


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