Email Letters: May 15, 2017

Contact Interior regarding Bears Ears National Monument

Recently President Trump ordered Interior Secretary Zinke to review all national monuments of over 100,00 acres designated since the Clinton era. Of particular concern at this time is Bears Ears Monument, which (notwithstanding Interior’s press release) was the subject of extensive
public comment (including a trip by some Grand Junction locals to Bluff, Utah in 100 degree weather for a public hearing with then Secretary Jewell). The effort to establish this monument was initiated by five tribal nations in a highly unusual collaboration. The designation, made by President Obama, allowed current drilling and grazing to continue, as well as current hunting and gathering practices. But it benefited us all by preserving stunning country, including 100,000 (some of them personally viewed) amazing archaeological sites. Local economies in Bluff, Blanding and Monticello stand to benefit greatly from the tourist traffic this monument will generate.

Bears Ears was federal land before it became a monument. It belongs to all U.S. citizens, a point that can be driven home by your far-flung friends and relatives. But because it is so close, it appears that our comments will bear extra weight with this administration. Please write, call, or email the Department of the Interior before the comment period expires on May 26. You can find the contact information on the internet by searching for “DOI-2017-0002” at We tend to doubt our efficacy, but the recent grassroots victory saving the federal methane regulation demonstrates the power our joint efforts can yield.

Grand Junction

Tipton is trying to make health care better for Coloradans

Regarding the scorch to Congressman Tipton from Mr. Gustafson, formerly of Grand Junction, now at Harvard. Sorry, I agree with Scott Tipton. Something must be done with the ACA. Sure the AHCA may not be perfect – but it is a start that gets the Senate and House talking. The responsibility is to get help for all the people in the middle, the employers of companies under 100.

I talked to one such employer. An employee makes $13 per hour. His insurance is 25 percent of his wages ($1,000 a month) with a deductible of $7,500. Another part time worker makes $320 per week. Her insurance is also 25 percent of her salary and she also has a $7,500 deductible.

A friend is retired. Her insurance premium is $1,000 per month. Her deductible is $6,000.

This isn’t “insurance.” It is scaring or forcing people to pay for something in a so-called exchange, which they can never afford to use. The only possible care for these millions of people is the emergency room in case of a terrible emergency. Then, the hospital and doctors will probably receive no compensation at all.

The shameless lies are that ACA is all worth it to cover 20 million people. There are millions more that have no hope of coverage – even though employers are struggling to give some coverage. Employees are trying to pay for insurance they can’t use.

Yes, Scott Tipton is trying to make health care better for Colorado – like others in Washington. It is very difficult to back out of an entitlement that is complicated and a big tangle of regulation. At least some are giving it a try.

Grand Junction

Mesa County should exempt all state grants from TABOR

I totally agree with Robin Brown’s suggestion in the Sunday editorial page that Mesa County should exempt all state grants from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). I would also suggest that the county commissioners and administrators go one step further and research the other sources of income that exist in the county budget that are not local tax generated but are part of doing daily business.

For example, the county operates an excellent community corrections program, putting inmates to work and charging them for part of their room and board and other treatment services. Inmates also pay restitution to their victims. Our criminal justice system generates several revenues that I feel should be exempted from TABOR such as cost of prosecution fees, victims compensation and victim assistance and law enforcement surcharges that are paid by offenders to the County. These sources of income should not be counted against our TABOR limit.

A review of funding sources in other county departments may also reveal similar sources of income that may be generated from clients or other sources that may be appropriate for exemption. While the total fiscal impact may only be in the hundreds of thousands instead of millions of dollars, such exemptions will allow Mesa County to address pertinent needs of our citizens.

Grand Junction

AHCA fails to provide less expensive options or better coverage

In the initial paragraph of Joan Kelsey’s letter to The Daily Sentinel published May 14, the writer states categorically that the ACHA does not eliminate pre-existing conditions. I do hope Scott Tipton reads the entire ACHA. If he or you (the reader of this letter) would read the ACHA you would find Kelsey’s quote, only without the words “health insurance” and you would discover waivers. With the ACHA, each state may request waivers that would allow health insurance carriers to: avoid coverage for essential health benefits, reinstitute annual and life-time maximums, eliminate mental illness and maternity coverage, and eliminate pre-existing conditions. Always read the fine print.

The president promised less expensive insurance with more choice and better coverage. He and House leadership have, so far, failed.

Grand Junction

Sunday’s editorial on the airport contained a significant error

I am aware of the difference between news reporting and an editorial opinion. But I believe both should be factually correct. Sunday’s editorial on the airport contained a significant error.

The editorial erroneously states that the federal investigation stopped construction of the administration building. This is incorrect. The execution of a federal search warrant prompted the airport board to commence a full internal investigation to determine what had caused federal intervention in the first place. It was that internal investigation by airport employees that uncovered fraudulent documentation that described the new structure as a “terminal building” which would qualify for federal funds instead of its actual intended use as an administration building, which would not qualify. Once discovered, that fact alone caused the airport authority to cease work on the project and to withdraw its application for federal funds, which would have reimbursed the airport for construction money already spent.

Grand Junction

If looked at closely, most government grants have no real merit

The article in Sunday’s paper by Robin Brown, “Let’s exempt state grants from TABOR revenue limits,” is well thought out until she reaches the last two paragraphs where she makes the common mistake of assuming grant money is free money to the county.

What we all need to keep in mind is that all money distributed by any government entity is still tax money; a grant to one county is still money taken from the taxpayers of the county receiving the grant along with the taxpayers of all the other counties in the state or nation depending on where the grant is coming from. The county receiving the grant hopes it gets more in grant money than its constituents paid out in taxes, but it is a zero sum game in which each municipality, county, or state is hoping to be a net beneficiary at the expense of others.

The sad part is that the total money disbursed in grants is necessarily less than the taxes collected because of the bureaucratic overhead that must be paid out of the tax revenues to administer the grant program. And if the money disbursed in grants is more than the tax revenues taken in we have deficit spending and inflation so we are back to the old truism “there is no free lunch.” A very few special grants probably make economic and moral sense, and this particular grant request may have been one; but in general, if looked at closely, most government grants have no real merit.


Tipton should call for independent investigation re: Trump’s Russian connections

This is a copy of a letter sent to Representative Scott Tipton;

Dear Sir,

Partisan politics be damned! It is time for my 3rd District representative, to show some integrity and backbone now and call for an independent investigation or special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s White House-Russian connections. After the firing of the FBI director and excuse(s) used by his Department of Justification, you need to ponder the fact that loyalty to the United States does not require absolute loyalty to our chronic Liar-in-Chief. Mike Pence can and will step up to restore the true American values we, and hopefully you, have.

Do this for your country, Sir.



Community stands united against bigotry and hate

Last February the Grand Junction community was greeted with news that the KKK was distributing “Valentine’s Flyers” of hate here in Grand Junction. Today we wake up to the news that one of our Jewish neighbors has had their home targeted with messages of hate filled racist rhetoric as a form of blatant anti-Semitism.

As a community of many faiths we stand together to say that we will not allow hate to have the final word in our town.

In many of our churches and places of worship we talk about welcome and the inherent worth and dignity of every person and we teach our children about the interconnected web of all existence of which we are a part.

We now stand united to say to our neighbors of color, you are not invisible. You are not alone. We see you. We stand with you and we will protect you.

We find it extremely disheartening and sad that in the year 2017 this is even a statement that we must make. But, since it has come to this, let us be very clear. The KKK is not welcome
here! We will counter your hate with love. We will meet your bigotry with acceptance, and we will counter your divisive rhetoric with our own songs of inclusion.

Rev. Wendy Jones, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley
Rev. Brad Barton, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Jeffrey Dodson, First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ)
Rev. Nature Johnson, Church of Nativity (Episcopal)
Rev. Aline Silva Koininia (American Baptist & Church of the Brethren)
Rick MacArthur Presbyterian
Rev. Blaine Scott Methodist
Rev. Kaila Ambruster Shepherd of the Valley (Lutheran)
The Ashram at Loka Hatha Yoga
Vic Stinemetz
Dr. Dee Jaquet Rocky Mountain Center for Spiritual Caregivers
Pastor Kirk Yamaguchi from Canyon View Vineyard
Black Lives Matter GJ
Colorado West Pride


Grand Junction


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Ms. Dunn, people without health insurance can try to get coverage from Medicaid, or from insurance companies, or both. The ACA does that with the provisos that there is no cap on coverage, you are covered regardless of pre-existing conditions and a policy will be affordable. The president and Republicans said that was no good; they could do better. Primarily they could do everything cheaper, presumably both to the individual and the government. In addition they said there need not be any mandate to have coverage. So how iareTipton and friends going to pull the rabbit out of the hat? If full coverage can be obtained cheaper to the individual, who is going to pay to do that? All of us through our taxes? The ER is more expensive than any other medical coverage. All ER medical employees and facilities are getting paid - by us - with higher prices, presumably paid by our insurance companies or us directly. You hold a responsible job at CMU. Does doing your job include the magic that has to occur for Tipton and friends to fulfill their promises? Medical care is expensive. All involved get paid - by us, one way or another. The ACA was sabotaged by the ruling that it couldn’t be mandated. In other words, for insurance to work the young and healthy pay for the old and infirm. When the young age and become infirm their expenses will be paid for the new, young policy holders, and on and on. That’s the way insurance works. It isn’t magic. So how are the Republicans going to provide insurance other than by magic? Who are the liars here?

Ms. Dunn, I’d like to apologize for mistaking you with someone else who is affiliated with CMU. That, however doesn’t change the gist of my critique of your letter. The support for Mr. Tipton in spite of the illogical position he’s taken relative to medical insurance is perplexing. He either doesn’t understand insurance or he is not leveling with the public and he seems to be taking the position of making people think that the Republicans can somehow present a plan that will satisfy all the objectives of the ACS while making the system cheaper. It won’t and your support for him is unexplainable.

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