Email Letters: May 11, 2017

Government can obligate us to do about anything

I was glad to see Sean Goodbody’s commentary in the May 10 paper. I think he covered a lot of ground well. I was struck by a quote from Joe Walsh in answer to Jimmy Kimmel’s now famous monologue concerning his son’s health care. Mr. Walsh said, “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s healthcare.” I need to explain why this is wrong in many ways.

First, when you buy insurance you are not paying for someone else’s healthcare, you are guaranteeing your own. It is not an act of forced generosity but a very intelligent response to the fact that anyone can be financially destroyed by the health care costs they might generate.

Second, Mr. Walsh and the rest of us are now and always have been obligated to pay for other people’s health care. As stated in the same issue of the Sentinel in regard to a state bill, “It lays to rest more than $250 million in planned cuts to hospitals from the fee program, used to pay for the health care for the poor. That program, paid for by hospitals themselves and matched by federal dollars that go back to those hospitals, has created a budget conundrum…” I presume that “paid for by the hospitals themselves” means paid for by the insured patients and others who can afford their care. We know where federal dollars come from. It seems that we will not tolerate folks dying in the streets no matter what our politics are.

Third, as I remember it, the government can obligate us to go to a foreign land and go to war. If it can do that, it can do about anything. With proper consensus, that’s how it should be.


House passing the AHCA is a major milestone

The American Health Care Act does not eliminate the pre-existing conditions the liberals so strongly want us to believe. To quote the AHCA: “Nothing in this act shall be construed as permitting health insurance insurers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.” However it does reduce taxes on the American people by over $1 trillion in abolishing 12 taxes that President Obama put into place with the passage of the ACA, even though he promised no additional taxes. Bashing the rich on benefits from tax cuts serves no purpose. They will always benefit to some extent – since they pay the majority of the taxes. Premiums on the ACA are unsustainable for most Americans, including businesses that provide insurance to their employees.

Providing health care coverage is a difficult undertaking and Rep. Scott Tipton does have the interest of his constituents at heart. He withheld his vote on the ACHA until items, such as pre-existing conditions, were included. Passing this act by the House of Representatives is a major milestone. Now it is up to the Senate to step up to the plate and get this act passed.

Grand Junction

Tipton must join movement calling for independent investigation

President Trump recently fired FBI Director James Comey, the person in charge of overseeing the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. Comey’s termination came just hours after CNN reported that the FBI had issued subpoenas as part of the Trump-Russia investigation, and it came just days after Comey requested more funding for the investigation. The White House states that Comey’s termination was recommended by Jeff Sessions, who was supposed to have recused himself from the investigation after lying to Congress about his own contact with Russian officials.

Despite the obvious appearance of corruption and the threat to our country, Representative Scott Tipton has not joined the growing bipartisan group that is calling for an independent investigation. Instead, Tipton issued a weak statement saying, “None of the investigations should be impacted by the firing of Mr. Comey.” Is Tipton too daft to understand that the firing of Mr. Comey has already impacted the FBI investigation? Trump has sent a clear message that he will fire any member of the Department of Justice who dares investigate him.

Tipton must join the growing movement in support of creating an independent commission to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. Tipton was elected to defend American democracy, not Russian interests. He needs to start doing his job.


The ACA’s healthcare mandate and tax are unconstitutional

One thing that has always bothered me about the (Un)Affordable Care Act is the mandate that you have to buy the insurance or pay an income surtax to the IRS. No one should be forced to buy anything by the federal government.

In 2016, 8 million people had to pay $695+ each to the Feds. The Congressional Budget Office said that 69 percent of those 8 million people were solidly middle class. Didn’t Obama promise that if you made less than $250,000 annually, your taxes wouldn’t increase?

Colorado’s economy does extremely well from the efforts of its middle class workers and families (those earning $250,000 or less). This mandate and tax are unconstitutional. As I understand it, the new American Health Care Act will not have this mandate or tax. Why hasn’t the media told us this?

Grand Junction

Sentinel should continue to put positive happenings on front page

My compliments on the current format of the Sentinel. It is good to see positive happenings on the front page instead of the region’s dysfunction. This is more in keeping with the paper’s mission of being the custodian of the area’s history, and I am sure that it can only have a positive influence on the economics, progress and general good feelings of the citizens and businesses here or planning to move here.

Grand Junction

Local HOA Board of Directors encourages cronyism, biased against women

My husband and I moved from Montclair, New Jersey to Grand Junction five years ago this month. We adore Grand Junction and now that we consider ourselves “Coloradans” we cannot think of a single place that we’d rather live. In fact, I have told many people that had we known about Grand Junction 20 years earlier, we would have moved here then.

During our house hunting (and property hunting), there were several communities (including Fruita) that we considered moving to. My husband and I did much research on Spyglass Ridge and liked the idea of an active HOA, the wonderful views in the subdivision and of course the people. We chose to live in Spyglass Ridge in spite of the many negative comments about the subdivision (including the soils up here) and its residents, as well as the numerous negative comments about the HOA’s Board of Directors. I have always tried to form my opinions about anyone and anything based on what I experience – not what others say. (As a retired English teacher [and administrator], I have always tried to come to my own conclusions – without
allowing the opinions of others to “color” my own conclusions.)

Upon completing the building of our home (we lived in our motorhome in an RV Park in Clifton for eight months), I was asked to fill a vacant Board of Director’s position on the Spyglass Ridge HOA. Having served on several boards back in NJ, I was more than willing to assume the position.

Since my appointment (and re-elections) approximately four years ago, I have witnessed many “inequities” and overwhelming biases some male members of this Board display; I find it offensive the way women are treated by this Board of Directors. I am sure that those on the Board who read this will say, “Oh, well. It’s simply a case of ‘sour grapes.’” Not only are women not valued, but the way in which this Board’s President speaks us to is intolerable and disrespectful. And thanks to the developer (who owning the most lots carries the most votes), this Board’s President continues to be re-elected since they both share the same views.

It is unfortunate that Spyglass Ridge has “attained” the reputation of being compared to the Nazis. Unfortunately, it makes sense to me now. (Sadly, on May 8, I felt I had had enough of the “cronyism” this Board encourages and supports; I resigned my position as Secretary of the Spyglass Ridge HOA Board of Directors.)

Grand Junction

Many intersections in city are unsafe in real life

I was hit on my bike by automobile at the intersection of 7th and Main. There are near misses there daily, caused by statues and plants blocking the views of drivers, along with unpainted crosswalks. Drivers cannot see across the roundabout.

Like many intersections in Grand Junction, it looks good on computer but is a farce and mockery of safety in real life. For example, there are near misses daily on 12th Street involving CMU students. It defies common sense. That is the real story.

Grand Junction

Gardner not supporting constituents with vote on BLM methane rule

I was pleased to learn today that the Senate failed to summon enough votes to bring the Congressional Review Act to revoke the BLM methane rule to the Senate floor. The methane rule, of course, is the regulation requiring that methane gas that is leaked, vented, or flared must be captured to save the resource (more profits for the industry and the taxpayers) and to curb the pollution that contributes to so much disease, especially in children and the elderly.

The vote was extremely close, and unfortunately, after declining to publicly take a position on such a straightforward matter, Sen. Gardner voted to bring this CRA to the floor, presumably so that he could vote for it.

This act was the subject of voluminous emails, phone calls, and letters by those who want to preserve and improve our quality of life – as well, presumably, from corporations that don’t want to cut profits in the short term, notwithstanding the assurance of long-term gains. It is truly hard to fathom why Sen. Gardner would not support the interests of his constituents.

It should be noted that Sen. Bennet, on the other hand, has repeatedly endorsed the methane rule. He has also spoken and written on record, seeking to preserve other necessary environmental protections at a time when our president has threatened to undo what took so much effort and so many years to accomplish.

We now move on to other concerns: our national monuments, the EPA, the Antiquities Act, and healthcare, to name just a few. In regard to these issues, I hope that Sen. Gardner will act on behalf of his individual constituents – real people, not corporations. And I commend Senator Bennet for his hard work and consideration of the personal impacts of proposed legislation.

Grand Junction

Trump should be forced to show us the truth

One small step for transparency, one giant leap toward the truth.

Enough is enough. I certainly have had enough. Trump should be forced to show us the truth or else be removed from office. This man and his compatriots are all about lying and maybe hiding the truth.

Firing James Comey? This smells like Nixon and the Watergate scandal. Sounds like Comey was getting too close to the truth and revealing it. We deserve to know who gave Trump money and for what purpose. Trump seems to be accomplished at stiffing subcontractors, declaring bankruptcy and avoiding paying his debts. Is there traceable money from Russia in his tax returns? Or from whom and for what that might be questionable? Does he have dealings that demonstrate an inability to work and play by the rules and the U.S. Constitution?

Enough. Take one small step. Please write to your Congressperson (Tipton or another, depending on where you are registered to vote), and request that Congress pass the Presidential Tax Transparency Act (H.R.305) which would require the current and all future presidents and major party presidential nominees to release their tax returns for the last three years. All presidents and presidential candidates for the last 40 years (since the Watergate disaster) have released their tax returns. Until now.

Trump is hiding something. Had his tax returns been revealed in a timely manner, I believe he would likely not have been elected. We have been duped! The answer is not the wall, the wall, the wall. The answer is honesty, transparency and the truth, the truth, the truth.

Let’s require it now.

Grand Junction

Thanks to Sen. Bennet for preserving methane rule

I write to express my gratitude that The Daily Sentinel has been such a staunch supporter of the November 2016 BLM rule requiring the capture of heretofore wasted gas from oil and gas wells, thus reflecting the concerns of so many western Coloradans.

I am grateful that Wednesday the U.S. Senate, in a close 51-49 vote, refused to forward the repeal of this rule under the Congressional Review Act, which the U.S. House had already done. I am grateful that all the Senate Democrats plus Republicans John McCain, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham opposed the repeal of the rule.

I am also grateful that Colorado provided the model for BLM, establishing a methane capture rule in 2014.

Last month, I traveled west from Rangely into Utah with a small western Colorado group. One of our group was an infrared (IR) cameraman whose $100,000 camera allowed us to see and record emissions otherwise invisible.

We visited several wellheads, observing emissions at each site. In one case, in addition to constant smaller emissions, we were surprised by a sudden, large blast of gas. The surge lasted for more than three minutes. This IR camera has been used on many Colorado sites without finding such emissions. My home of Rio Blanco County, however, has been given an F grade by the American Lung Association in their 2017 Report, released in mid-April, for ozone levels.
The public and tribal lands across the border were pockmarked with wells and our camera showed how polluting these sites could be. Uintah and Duchesne Counties in Utah also received F grades for ozone with many more days of hazardous ozone levels. The natural gas emissions in Utah mix with nitrous oxides and sunlight becoming ozone smog, some of which drifts into Colorado.

The anticipated effects of the rule nationally include increased royalty revenues for U.S. taxpayers, improved air quality and reduced health hazards. It is very disappointing that neither our 3rd Congressional District Rep. Scott Tipton nor U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner voted to keep the rule or these benefits.



Kudos to West Slope lawmakers for supporting rural hospitals

Thank you to state representatives Dan Thurlow, Yeulin Willett and Bob Rankin for supporting Senate Bill 267.

The bill provides more stable and reliable funding for needed hospital services in the Grand Valley region and throughout rural Colorado.

Western Colorado hospitals like St. Mary’s would have lost millions of dollars, forcing medical service reductions or staff layoffs.

SB 267 is a win for rural Colorado healthcare and for our local economy. Thank you both for your courage!

President, St. Mary’s Medical Center
Grand Junction


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