Email letters, May 15, 2013

Corner of 30 and D 1/2 roads is prime spot for grocery store

There is a huge empty lot at 30 Road and D 1/2 Road that would be the perfect spot for a grocery store. Our area at this end of town is “forgotten” and we need more stores here. I don’t drive so it would be great if a grocery store would be built there, I’d ride my bike when needing something at the last minute (and get my exercise also).

When buying a lot of groceries it would save on gas to drive to the store with it being so close to us (my husband is my chauffeur:). I hope one of the grocery stores will seriously consider building a store at that corner.

Please, please, please build a grocery store. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration.

PRISCILLA STEDMAN
Grand Junction

Statistics on students needing remediation should spur reform

Are we blind to our school deficiencies?

I think it was a week ago that it was reported that all of the schools of higher learning in our state were running over 50 percent of new students were deficient, in either math, English, or the sciences. These new students were required to take remedial studies in order to be able to handle first-year coursework.

Was anyone paying attention to this? There was not a word from our school district about this or no articles anywhere on how the schools in the state plan to change its curriculum to address this problem. It seems to me that there is a problem on what we teach our children that requires the above-average student to be tutored in essential subjects in order to be prepared for his or her first-year courses.

Are we spending too much time on subjects deemed essential, but not required to be successful in college? Should we be looking at our core subjects to insure that our children will be ready to continue?

I think it is time our school boards look at what it takes for these kids to move on and give them the requirements be successful. A thorough review of our schools’ curriculum is needed — and fast.

BOB MCCULLEY
Grand Junction

Tipton should visit a food pantry before casting vote

This is an open letter to Congressional District 3 Rep. Scott Tipton regarding the proposed cuts to SNAP (food stamps), via the farm bills being introduced in the House and Senate.

I urge you, Rep. Tipton, to please visit a food pantry before casting this critical vote and/or view the documentary, “A Place at the Table,” about the epic hunger issues millions are facing which features Collbran, a ranching community in your district.

Quoting Bread for the World, the “Senate farm bill cuts $4.1 billion from SNAP, a cut that could result in thousands of households losing up to $90 a month in benefits. The proposed House farm bill is even more severe: $21 billion cut from SNAP. If enacted, the House bill would kick as many as 3 million people out of the program and deprive 280,000 school children of school meals. Additionally, thousands more households would see their monthly benefits reduced. This is in addition to the drop in benefits all SNAP households will see this fall when a temporary increase in benefits expires.”

Rep. Tipton, this is appalling and morally wrong.

Two years ago the Child Nutrition Act was paid for in part, by taking $4.2 billion from SNAP. That’s like robbing Peter of his dinner to pay for his son Paul’s school lunch.

I’m a hunger-fighter, seeing the effects of the recession ongoing among my neighbors and those tearful and embarrassed former community and business leaders I see at the back doors of our food pantries.

Two important facts were reported in our local media recently. Our seven Lift Up food pantries experienced a 51 percent increase in demand in 2012 over 2011, and we have 8,651 fewer jobs in the Roaring Fork Valley than prior to the 2008 implosion of the economy.

How does it make sense to take money for food away from your constituents who are trying to get back on their feet? The money goes right back into the economy.

According to Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, SNAP has a stimulus effect of $1.73 for every dollar spent. He said that their recent study shows the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the SNAP/Food Stamp program. “If someone who is literally living paycheck to paycheck gets an extra dollar, it’s very likely that they will spend that dollar immediately on whatever they need – groceries…” You can view the very interesting stimulus comparison chart here:
http://frac.org/initiatives/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act/snapfood-stamps-provide-real-stimulus/

It’s estimated that 65 percent of people who qualify for SNAP have not applied. Of SNAP recipients, 47 percent are children. Hunger is a matter of national security.

Please study the food insecurity rates in the 29 counties of your district, Rep. Tipton, in the Feeding America “Map the Meal Gap” interactive map of every county in America.

http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx

One in six Americans or 122,368 of your hungry constituents deserve to eat, sir.

KIM DOYLE WILLE
Carbondale

DC currently seems rife with crooks

“My, oh my” is how Dave Niehaus of the Seattle Mariners baseball team used to describe a great play. That’s kind of how I feel about Washington politics right now. “My, oh my, somebody is either lying, cheating or stealing, and it ain’t second base, boys and girls, it’s our future and our kids’ future.

The last five years I have pointed out things like “fast and furious” gun running by the government. Our president’s propensity is to throw others under the bus and sell us out every chance he gets. Obfuscation is not a style of governing that I personally relish. I quit a job one time because everybody I dealt with would lie to me about everything. Don’t ever be a cop; respect what those men and women do.

I would like to send a few good ones with the authority into Washington D.C. to do some serious arresting. The town seems to be a target-rich environment for crooks right now. They should ask the simple question, “Who dreamed up this $70k video and story of riots causing SEALS and embassy personal to be left to die?” Then ask, “Who recalled the troops that were on board the plane ready to deploy?”

They should set what supposedly passes for a leader in today’s society down and tell her, “It, by gawd, DOES MATTER and don’t think this will go away.”

Then round them and the IRS and people pulling illegal phone taps up and take them to jail. And while they are at it, take 9/10ths of the news reporters in Washington with you to jail for filling our boot full of smelly pond water and administration obfuscation of a hidden variety while they sell us and our futures down the river, Shame on you, Washington.

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction

Educate gun owners instead of trying to take away rights

I read with interest a couple of articles in the Wednesday May 8th Daily Sentinel. The articles reiterated something that I have been saying in previous letters to the editor, to our elected officials and to everyone else — gun homicides have dropped steeply since 1993. Why are we suddenly in the middle of a firearm firestorm?

A study by the government’s Bureau of Justice statistics show that gun related homicides from 1993 to 2011 dropped 39 percent. The PEW research center found that gun homicides from 1993 to 2010 dropped 49 percent. Both reports found the rate of nonfatal crimes involving guns was down by 70 percent during this same period.

In the same paper, in the Outside section, is a story titled, “Hunting 101.” This story tells about the fine efforts of volunteers statewide that teach hunter educations to all persons who want to hunt in Colorado who were born after 1949.

This article also had some very interesting statistics. According to the National Safety Council, hunting resulted in fewer injuries than many other sports including cycling, bowling, golf and tennis. This article also states that out of 28 recreational pursuits that hunting ranks third in safety behind only camping and billiards.

So why do 56 percent of the people think that gun related crimes are up? Why are the politicians and the media trying to make the American public think that gun-related crimes are up when the opposite is true? Why are some trying to take away our Second Amendment rights? Why are some trying to blame an inanimate object (firearms) for committing crimes?

These are questions I am asking our elected officials, and I suggest you do as well. Maybe it is smoke and mirrors to try to make all of us to forget about our national financial downward spiral and our failed international policies. I suggest we stop trying to rewrite the laws we already have in place and instead enforce those laws. It seems that Colorado Parks and Wildlife and its brothers and sisters nationwide have the best idea.

Let’s educate people how to safely and responsibly handle weapons and stop trying to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens.

BRIAN LANGFIT
T
Grand Junction

Driving mishap points out goodness of western Coloradans

God love Colorado’s Western Slope people. With no doubt they personify the goodness that seems to be inherent in this farming-oriented community.

My story: I topped what we call Talbot’s Hill. I lost my left rear wheel, which went traveling through one of their orchards, causing, I hope, minimal damage for which I am willing to pay.

Two young men stopped, rescued my tire and then drove me home so that I could get my buddy’s truck and go back and fix mine. Upon reaching the scene, Jerry, his son Zack and his boss from Talbots showed up with a forklift and willing hands and put me back onto the road. They also drove my pals truck home for me.

The last word I heard when I offered to pay (dumb move) was, “What the hell are friends and neighbors for?” God, I love this kind of thinking. I am so damn proud to be part of this community, valley and state.

PETER M. EINARSON
Palisade

Public has right to know when legislators defeat bad bills

Objective readers may justly have concern about the Sentinel’s reporting style when it evaluates accomplishments by the Colorado legislators in the term just now completing.

Nearly every article – that presumably passes muster with an editor —measures performance of legislators by the number of legislative pieces they initiate or support that become law.

Let’s keep in mind that every new law is an expense for Colorado taxpayers. Legislative and administrative costs are required, even in the rare case that it is a law written to relieve us of obsolete statutes still on the books. Most laws, of course, cost us much more than that and may require citizens to pay additional fines, fees, taxes and personal expenses or make further demands upon us not considered (or admitted) by elated legislators voting for the new law. 

President Calvin Coolidge wrote to his father in 1910: “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” Perhaps our good Sentinel journalists would consider telling us how frequently legislators voted against proposed legislation, thereby lending balance to their evaluations.

ALAN METCALFE

Delta

Wiser letter reveals intent to sidestep TABOR refunds

The only document Mesa County has produced to circumvent TABOR now is the single document exposing the county to a scandal. The letter explicitly reveals intent to sidestep voters, preventing millions in refunds.

Attorney Dee Wiser’s May 2007 letter affirms Mesa County was seeking Wiser’s opinion: “If Mesa County retains all the sales tax revenues without seeking voter approval … how have Colorado courts ruled?” Dee Wiser specifically cautions those enquiring that there is a risk.

He writes: “It is important to note I am unaware of any government or municipality that has taken this position with respect to sales tax … distinctly meaning excluding sales tax without voter approval.” Wiser also notes that Mesa County’s practice of including sales tax in its TABOR calculations is inconsistent with the approach of now excluding sales tax.

What exposes the county to taxpayer fraud is two former county commissioners openly denying they had any knowledge, involvement or discussion of eliminating 50 percent of the county revenues.

The million-dollar question: How did Mesa County circumvent TABOR with only one commissioner vote?

The Dee Wiser letter used to justify the county’s position is the single document that links those involved in an embarrassing scandal. Oddly, the letter is addressed to ladies and gentlemen. With no minutes or even an email to affirm any commissioner was involved, the county has created a shameful scandal.

Equally disgraceful, The Daily Sentinel reports Commissioner Acquafresca recommends challenging any lawsuit, all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court, indicating he is willing to spend millions more defending this scandal.

I would suggest that Commissioner Acquafresca do what is right morally. He already participated in preventing millions being refunded to taxpayers. These are the very people who elected him and pay his salary.

I might remind Commissioner Acquafresca that the statute of limitations on fraud begins when fraud is discovered.

HAL E. MASON

Former Mesa County Budget Director
Grand Junction


Simultaneous scandals now plague Obama administration

Three scandals now face President Obama and his band of merry men. I seriously doubt there are enough credible lies to explain them away.

These simultaneous eruptions, the net result of which is the public’s complete distrust in government, will probably plague this “lame duck” presidency until it ends.

I perceive the Benghazi thing as an egregious error compounded by a cover-up. And, the IRS thing as something that exploded, but was timed to take some heat off Obama.

The Associated Press/Department of Justice thing is just another example of the Department of Justice having little regard for the rule of law and the First Amendment. The attorney general recusing himself smells like more executive privilege to me.

So, I believe the old saying, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” applies. If the investigations find the scandals are political and hold no basis in fact, then they should be welcomed and the air cleared.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

Liberals show their bias in local, national issues

In the last week the editorial page has been filled with righteous liberals on a variety of issues. First, Jeffrey Phillips asked where the tea partiers were regarding former county commissioners “possibly” cheating local taxpayers by not refunding money under TABOR.

I normally don’t equivocate on issues, but he is a little late in coming to the party. Where was he when Bill Ritter got around TABOR with the mil levy increase? I guess as long as the person has a D in front of his name, what they do in government must be correct.

As far as Rick Brainard goes, can we not at least wait until he is convicted of something in a courtroom before calling for his removal? I suspect that both Ron Waterman and Creighton Bricker were strangely quiet during the Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, et al, affairs. I guess as long as you have a D in front of your name you believe you can get away anything you want.

Paul Diaz called for Gov. Hickenlooper to sign the bill increasing the renewable energy standards for rural electric co-ops in the state. He believes that this will help his business, but he fails to mention how much it will increase the electric bills of rural Coloradans. Diaz mentions all of the liberal talking points on renewable energy, more jobs, less pollution, and more energy security, none of which has been proven out by the Obama administration. Think Solyndra.

The question is: Why are we continuing down this path when the evidence against global warming continues to pile up?

Finally, my favorites, John Borgen and Bill Grant, believe that if you are a member of the Western Colorado Business Alliance you are for dirty air and water and only more government and more regulations will assure clean air and water. I bet a big share of taxes collected by the city come from members of the chamber and the WCBA. Why should they not have a say in how they are spent and collected?

By the way, for those calling for more transparency from the county, please also call for the same transparency in the Benghazi affair, the IRS affair, Fast and Furious or any of the many other untrue things that have been put out by this administration.

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction

Scandals fueled by right-wing fanatics

While the Sentinel’s self-righteous indignation at the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of telephone records of selected Associated Press reporters/offices is to be expected, its penchant for distorting the facts to serve a biased editorial agenda is getting old.


In June 2012, with congressional Republicans demanding action (including continued prosecution of leaks occurring during the Bush administration), the Justice Department began investigating the AP’s revelation that the CIA had successfully infiltrated a mole inside Al Qaida in Yemen – who foiled a plot to blow up an airliner headed for the U.S. by giving the CIA access to the terrorists’ unique explosive device.


Obviously, the AP’s reporting directly threatened national security—by compromising our ability to thwart “the next attack.”


President Obama had no knowledge of the inquiry’s details because—since Watergate (another Republican abuse) – presidents are precluded by law from an involvement with ongoing criminal investigations. Because Attorney General Eric Holder was privy to the highly classified intelligence regarding the mole and the plot, and was consequently interviewed by the FBI, he correctly recused himself from overseeing the continuing investigation.


Precisely because “the subpoena was filed with a federal court,” a federal judge will ultimately determine whether the Justice Department properly complied with both the law and its internal procedures. Meanwhile, the Sentinel conveniently failed to mention that – during the Bush administration—Republicans filibustered Democratic efforts to enhance “shield law” protections for the press.


Both “Fast and Furious” and “Benghazi” were/are faux “scandals” fueled by right-wing fanatics who subordinate both the facts and the national interest to partisan political gain. Likewise, the “IRS scandal” is proving to be an inept effort by civil servants to deal with widespread abuse of nebulous tax exempt status – particularly by “Tea Party” groups falsely claiming to be “exclusively” or “primarily” engaged in “social welfare” activity.


BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction

Sen. Steve King commended for hard work, thorough research

Thanks to Sen. Steve King for his hard work again this legislative session.

It is apparent that he works hard, does extensive research and presents bills that are in the best interest of the people of Colorado. His focus is not on himself, but on the work that is required to keep citizens safe — the main purpose of government.

His bills on impaired driving, protecting citizens’ gun rights and other topics are right in line with what I want for this state. I hope that he will continue in politics as long as possible because he is a rare specimen — an honest and caring politician.

ROSEMARY LITZ
Grand Junction



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