Email letters, May 20, 2013

Webb’s article focused on problem of bad air

I was happy to see Dennis Webb’s article in The Daily Sentinel, bringing attention to a severe problem: our bad air.  The story was correct in tying high ozone levels to the oil and gas industry.  Many studies show that oil and gas operations have a huge influence on our clean air, particularly along Colorado’s Front Range. 
We have many industries in Western Colorado that provide jobs and boost our economy while being regulated for the benefit and sustainability of our community and land, such as tourism, hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and agriculture.


Webb’s story about high ozone levels tied to oil and gas drilling confirms my support for further regulation of the industry. While we need the resources, if left unregulated, oil and gas drilling will discourage other industries, families and already-threatened wildlife from the areas we hold most dear. It’s time to step up and take our air quality seriously for the long-term viability of the industry and for the sake of our community.

KAREN SJOBERG

Grand Junction

Where is the outcry over commissioners’ TABOR decisions?

Once more, I am amazed and dismayed by the apathy of locals regarding what the county commissioners have done and are trying to continue to do to get around the TABOR amendment. A few dedicated citizens, Bill Voss, Hal Mason and Dennis Simpson, discovered that since 2007 the county has been excluding sales taxes from its calculations regarding possible refunds, thus cheating the taxpayers of Mesa County. In addition, the previous commissioners did not follow the law regarding open meetings.

Yet where is the outcry from the conservative element? Now one commissioner wants to use taxpayers’ money to take this to the Supreme Court, even though no other county includes sales taxes in figuring refunds for TABOR.

Yet there has not been one word from either columnist Bill Wagner or Josh Penry. Both seem more interest in national scandals rather then this local one. Nor have Bill Grant or Jim Spehar said a word.

JEFFREY PHILLIPS
Whitewater


President Obama refuses to take responsibility for scandals

I cannot believe that our “Community Organizer in Chief” can stand in front of the American people at a press conference and tell us that he first heard about the IRS scandal and the grabbing of the AP’s phone records in the news just like we did and have us believe such an unbelievable story.

President Obama does not take responsibility for anything that happens on his watch except those that help his political agenda. He makes light of the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi and doesn’t even give “Fast and Furious” a second look when our misguided and illegal gunrunning got two of our border agents killed.

It is time to impeach this incompetent, self-serving man.

RICHARD BLOSSER

Grand Junction

Small farmers have tough fight against biotech companies

The Supreme Court decided Bowman v. Monsanto for biotech companies holding patents to genetically mutated seed. Now, they can force farmers growing cross-pollinated organic seed to pay for the use of their patent. This is a major boon for biotech, which are held harmless for genetics that trespass into other farmers’ property and fertilize their crops. Thanks to this transparently larcenous decision, biotech can use the immutable power of wind as a coercive itinerant salesman. Regardless of a farmer’s wish to avoid biotech’s death knell to creation, he or she cannot. The technology will be implanted by the wind in their seed.

This decision is the end of natural agriculture and customary agricultural property rights. The uncontainable patented property of Monsanto has been protected; the in-patentable right to life of God’s creation is mortally wounded.

Monsanto created a unique product that it wishes to protect and profit from, but its trespass precipitated the action for which it seeks protection. A farmer’s right to use his property in the customary fashion to naturally propagate crops supersedes biotech claims to an uncontainable, mutant, trespassing pollen.

Accordingly, damages should be assessed against Monsanto for their infringement on property owners’ rights to propagate seeds free of genetic pollution. This is the argument in a related case, Osgata v. Monsanto.

Sadly, the Osgata case is likely to be decided against farmers in light of the twisted view of SCOTUS. It is irrelevant to SCOTUS that biotech pollution of the gene pool is rapidly eliminating natural genetic makeup via the same trespass that they seek protection for.

The takeaway message? Don’t produce natural seed downwind of a biotech crop or anywhere in the world for that matter. While patents will eventually expire, mutant genetics that have corrupted natural God-given life will never expire. 

DAVID L COX
Palisade

Governor placed special interests over citizens’ health, safety needs

Last week, it was disappointing to watch Gov. Hickenlooper use political power to protect oil and gas interests instead of the citizens of Colorado. Several bills that made sense to me went down in flames, calling for more inspectors for oil and gas drilling, protecting water resources and increasing fines for violators.

House Bill 1316, for example, would close some loopholes in ground water testing. And House Bill 1269 would have required the state’s oil and gas commission to focus on health and safety, instead of fostering oil and gas development.

Wasn’t the governor elected to represent the people instead of special interests?

Tomorrow, we may discover Colorado has not required adequate bonding from well drillers. Taxpayers will pick up the bill for more leaking wells with faulty cement jobs, such as the West Divide Creek seep.  Will farmers suffering through the next drought discover huge quantities of Colorado water loaded with toxic fracking chemicals and unusable?

Does Gov. Hickenlooper understand that diligence today is essential to prevent disaster tomorrow?

JOANN MOON
Grand Junction

Those involved in IRS scandal must be held accountable

Washington D.C. has erupted in a volcano of innuendo and corruption, but then it does that about every 10 years or so it seems. Democrats are now taking to blaming Republicans for taking the funding away that would have provided security increases for embassies.

Yet they decided to use locals for security personnel. That’s how a guy that was a phone salesman last week is an embassy guard this week. Yet the funding for security went up from 2008 to 2012 more than $400 million, according to congressional budget reports. It still doesn’t matter to Hillary?

Now every time a department head or manager gets up in front of Congress the standard answer is “we didn’t know.” If somebody changes policy where you work, you know damn good and well who told you about the change and usually there is a document to back it up. So, is a plea of ignorance by top officials a real reason? And if your organization at work were run this poorly, with this lack of communication and poor customer service, would you be in business very long?

How about this? Ask each senator who sent the letters to the IRS requesting just this policy, who they sent those letters to, then lock the senator up. Take that list of folks that got the letters and ask them who told them to enact those policies, and then lock them up. Finally, all the IRS agents who enacted the policy should also be locked up.

Give them a get out-of-jail-free card if they testify and tell the truth as to where the felony of targeting individuals and organizations by a federal agency was enacted, and lock those people up. Just the elimination of government payroll should tally more than any amount redacted under sequester?

And the efficiency of eliminating half of Congress and the IRS would save us even more. Then put the Marine Corps back on duty where it belongs. OOOOOO rah!

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction

Sheriffs take correct stance in bringing lawsuit

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
 
Readers familiar with our Supreme Court’s inconsistent and incoherent interpretations of the Second Amendment should commend Sheriff Stan Hilkey, et al., for joining in the constitutional challenge to Colorado’s recently enacted “gun laws” – particularly when they are doing so at minimal taxpayer expense (assuming that Attorney General John Suthers diligently defends the statutes’ constitutionality).


As public officials sworn to uphold our Constitution, county sheriffs are entitled to an unambiguous determination of “what the law is.” As elected officials answerable to voters, they are understandably inclined to reflect the views of their supporters.  As law enforcement officers, the public relations benefit of the sheriffs’ participation may help protect their subordinates from confrontations with like-minded constituents armed with assault rifles.


In Heller, Justice Scalia effectively erased the “prefatory clause” from the Founders’ text by giving it no practical effect.  Nevertheless, the Second Amendment is totally silent about the government’s authority to regulate the design, manufacture and sale of “arms” in interstate commerce and does not limit Congress’s power to tax them under Article I, Section 8.


Likewise, while the Second Amendment guarantees some citizens the right to “keep and bear arms” (at least for self-defense), nothing therein constrains governmental power to “regulate” how such “arms” are acquired.  Therefore, impliedly, just as the government could order “able bodied men” capable of serving in a “militia” to obtain specified weapons, it could also tax those sales, require their registration, confiscate weapons from tax-avoiders, and/or prohibit criminals and the insane from acquiring them.


Hopefully, by resolving the pervasive ambiguities in Second Amendment jurisprudence, the sheriffs’ lawsuit will contribute a valuable public service – but not achieve the result they desire.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Driving while stoned bill based on inadequate, inaccurate research

I take issue with Rosemary Litz’ commendation of Sen. Steve King for research she suggests he works so hard at. His DUI bill from the very start was a misrepresentation of facts as two of the three examples he repeatedly showed, involved alcohol and all were tested when THC levels were zero. Manipulate facts?

King’s research for nanogram levels didn’t include medical marijuana patients, where there have been examples of 16 nanogram levels with no impairment. In 2000 voters passed a law for medical marijuana patients, and I’m disgusted that patients weren’t considered in the overzealous rush to establish an arrest level now. We’re “guilty” unless we have the funds, time, energy and ability to prove our innocence in court when we’ve never been considered. Thorough research?

King’s bill advanced only when public discussion was not allowed as in the two days between reintroduction and passage. He is absolutely wrong when he says I agreed to surrender blood to receive a driver’s license. I agreed to drive unimpaired for my safety and others, and if there is a question, we have roadside sobriety or breathalyzers, proven tests. The ignorance displayed when stating, “we want to drive high” is unprecedented. Any research that doesn’t address all known variables can’t realistically be regarded as valid. That’s too much like the corporate self-regulation failings; if an issue isn’t addressed, it can’t be an issue.

The nanogram level has more to do with arrest levels for law enforcement than it ever had with actual impairment. After a 4-1 vote to kill it in committee, and just before it was slid through the legislative back door, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger vehemently stated King’s bill needs to pass so law enforcement has an arrestable level. Guess he got his wish.

RALPH HICKS
Clifton

Affordable Care Act actually forces folks into particular kind of commerce

Jim Spehar is certainly right:  Elections do have consequences, as he noted in the results of Colorado legislative sessions that favored progressive positions.  However, that truth can work both ways.

It seems Spehar might have jumped the gun when he wrote, “When you hear about all that being too ‘progressive,’ just remember that the opposite of that is ‘regressive.’”  Hmm ... let’s check some other “progressive” doings lately, such as the bungling-while-passing-the-hot-potato issue of Benghazi; factions at the IRS targeting conservative groups; maintaining heavy fines, understandably, for oil and gas companies responsible for massive bird kills, but nary a dollar fine for wind farms that, according to a Wildlife Society bulletin, kill upward of 573,000 birds a year, including 83,000 raptors; seizing phone records of news reporters; and, not least, Obamacare, which the administration defends as legitimate exercise of the expressly delegated power to regulate commerce among the states.

However, as Robert George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, states, “The trouble, of course, is that the mandate (for the Affordable Care Act) does not regulate commerce at all; it forces people into commerce — a particular kind of commerce— on pain of a financial penalty.” 

As an independent, I wonder if perhaps the next elections will have consequences, too.  Unless, of course, enough of the voting public have already succumbed to the progressive opium of the nanny state now that they — excluding the truly needy prefer to be taken care of rather than embrace the personal responsibility and moral virtues upon which our constitutionally limited government has historically depended.

BILL FORBES
Whitewater



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