Email letters, May 31, 2013

Speak up, ratify amendment to curb unfair election funding

Amendment 65 to the Colorado Constitution passed by a majority in every county of Colorado (74 percent of the state voters and 72 percent of Mesa County voters). It charged Colorado’s legislators to promote, support and eventually ratify an amendment to the U.S Constitution to allow states and the federal government to restrict campaign election monies.

Voters should be contacting their legislators to find out exactly what specific actions their offices have taken to accommodate our voters’ wishes.

The number of sham and secretive organizations and individuals pouring hideous amounts of cash into our elections is a disgrace. The favorable legislation and policies these organizations and individuals expect after the elections, along with ludicrous volumes of lobbying, has made our government nothing more than a purchasable commodity.

If we are to restore the integrity our forefathers desired with our Constitution, we have to return to a democracy of, by and for people, only publicly funded election campaigns and drastically reduced lobbying by big-money interests.

Unfortunately, this requires a vociferous citizenry accosting our elected officials at every opportunity. If you want to salvage our democracy, you need to be part of that citizenry.

JOEL PRUDHOMME
Grand Junction

Volunteers at The House are committed to solving problems

I’d like to take a minute and address the concern of the neighbors living near The House, a safe place for teens. As a long-time citizen of this great community and a yearlong volunteer for The House, I am saddened to hear that problems have accumulated between the neighbors and the administration of The House.

I don’t believe the problems that exist are things that can’t be addressed. I know that the administration of The House is working tirelessly to address the issues about which residents have voiced their concerns. I would like to add my thoughts about it all.

Firstly, I, as well of most of the volunteers to whom I have spoken, am committed to helping solve any conflicts that may arise between the neighbors and The House. In defense of the administration and problems that have been brought to light, this program grew faster than anyone had expected, and all involved has been running fast and hard just to keep up with the demands for the services provided.

We never at any time blatantly ignored the impact we were having on the neighborhood; we have just not had a minute to breathe and take a look around to see what the needs were outside the wall. I am truly sorry for that and vow to do all possible to see that we stay on top of the needs of the community.
Secondly, I would like the address the statement by one of the neighbors, who said her daughter and she did not feel safe. There is no more reason for concerns living in that neighborhood than what would be for going to school, church, the skate park, the movie theater or anywhere else in town.

The residents of The House are kids who are down on their luck and are staying there because they are ready to get themselves together and make a change. No one has been mandated to “do time” there. Residents can walk out at any time.

There is more supervision behind those walls than most households with teens. Those of us who have chosen to give our time to see that the teens are successful are moms, dads, grandparents, college students, etc. who know the value of making residents feel as if they are a part of the inner workings of a functional home environment – curfew, chores, respect for others and providing whatever is needed to make certain that the “home” runs smoothly.

I am with the teens several days a week and, in addition, work a four-hour shift a week in which I spend my time doing exactly what I would do with my family. At no time have I ever felt threatened, unsafe or vulnerable. I want the neighbors to know that the safety of their neighborhood will not be compromised. The administration and volunteers are committed to making sure of that.

I, personally, will serve as an ambassador for the two entities and help in any way possible to see that the needs of the neighbors are met. I would rather spend a little time in making this work than I would having those kids being left on the street to fend for themselves.  Helping to keep these kids safe is just the right thing to do.

LINDA SAUNDERS-MARTINEZ

Grand Junction



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