Email letters, May 30, 2013
House minority leader dismayed over stay of Dunlap’s execution
I am incredibly disappointed with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s executive order to stay the execution of Nathan Dunlap.
With a looming execution date set for this August, the governor was left with few options regarding Dunlap’s fate. He could have signed the warrant allowing the execution to proceed, or he could have commuted Dunlap’s sentence to life without parole. He chose neither.
Instead, he granted a temporary reprieve, meaning Dunlap will likely remain on death row for the duration of Hickenlooper’s administration. It’s a non-decision that leaves Dunlap’s fate and the pursuit of justice by his victims’ families up to the next administration.
The governor’s lack of leadership results in the worst possible option for the victims’ families, the integrity of our legal system and the citizens of Colorado, who have decided more than once that the death penalty is an appropriate sentencing option in our state.
Though it has been almost 20 years since this horrible crime was committed, we cannot allow our memory of the victims and the grieving families that Dunlap’s brutal crimes left behind to fade. Justice delayed is justice denied.
I understand the choice on Dunlap’s death warrant was one of the most difficult decisions Hickenlooper will make during his time in office. A decision that provides closure to the victims’ families would have been the right thing to do. To shirk his responsibility demonstrates a lack of courage, a lack of respect for the victims and a disregard for our judicial system.
If the governor had decided to commute Dunlap’s sentence to life without parole, I would have disagreed, but I could have respected his decision. At least then the families would have had some sort of resolution to their nightmare.
We expect our leaders to make tough decisions when circumstances call for it, even if we disagree with those decisions. Hickenlooper’s refusal to make a decision regarding Dunlap is a failure in leadership that ignores citizens’ views on capital punishment, marginalizes the judicial system and — most importantly — delays justice for the victims and families of this horrible crime.
REP. MARK WALLER
House Minority Leader
Refurbished Avalon would draw both locals, out-of-towners
City Council members should vote to support the refurbishment and upgrades to the Avalon Theatre.
The Avalon is a grand old building and an historic treasure, but that is not the primary reason we ask for a yes vote. The city of Grand Junction has done a very good job of keeping the downtown core from suffering the urban decay that has befallen so many cities and towns across the country.
Art on the Corner and the Main Street redesign are booming successes, but we believe that having a functional theater for not just movies but a variety of live entertainment is key to advancing the vitality of our downtown.
When we moved to Grand Junction eight years ago, we were very pleased to discover that the city had at least eight different venues for live theater productions – several in the Main Street area. One by one, due to economic factors, mismanagement or insufficient size to attract larger talent and productions, they have all closed.
An enlarged, refurbished and modernized Avalon would become a wonderful resource for the community to be able to enjoy quality entertainment: live theater and concert productions that our city cannot currently attract to the valley as well as becoming an appropriate venue for the symphony.
There are no venues in all of western Colorado that can rival what the Avalon can become and what it can provide. We believe that a new and improved Avalon will attract people from the entire region to enjoy entertainment not otherwise available between Denver and Salt Lake City.
Local businesses will benefit immediately from the additional downtown visitation from locals like ourselves going to dinner at one of the Main Street restaurants before a show and out-of-towners coming in for an overnight concert-getaway or theatrical production. We remember well sharing tables at the (now defunct) Cabaret with attendees from Montrose, Delta and eastern Utah.
We, like several folks with whom we’ve spoken about this, are ready to put our money where our mouths are. Many of us have been burned before with donations to private theater venues that didn’t go (think Cabaret) but once the city council votes to go ahead with the contract to begin this transformation, we know many local donors and patrons of the arts are ready to help.
We ask the City Council to please approve the contract to begin the construction. Let’s keep improving the city’s cultural opportunities and vibrantly moving the downtown business core forward.
JERRY and SUSAN NORTON