Email letters, May 7, 2013

Teachers aren’t the only ones with demanding careers

In her column published Sunday Tyra Clinkingbeard’s barrage of accolades (very talented, deeply committed, qualified, caring, asked to do so much more, truly magnificent) portrays District 51 teachers as almost heaven-sent.

Perhaps some are, as several of her examples suggest. To those and their selfless actions, a salute for deeds well done. My guess, however, is that these are fundamentally good people who also hold teaching certificates.

Clinkingbeard asserts, “We do far more for kids than teachers in most other countries do.” Maybe so, maybe no. Attending athletic events and school plays is fine, but as a math teacher she must know, for example, U.S. high school graduates rank 32nd in mathematics globally. “Doing far more” still comes up plenty short for kids competing against the best.

As to her “12- to 14-hour day” lament, give it a rest already. Completely ignored in that perpetual pity-party is acknowledgment of other occupations with similar or greater demands.

And, to cite the obvious, those others don’t get two weeks’ vacation at Christmas, one week at spring break and three months in the summer.

Grand Junction

Schwenke’s opinion on bills based on no factual data

This letter is in reference to a recent column and editorial by Diane Schwenke, “Western Colorado is counting on governor to protect state’s economy.”

She states recent legislative bills will cost jobs, tax Western Slope employers and keep business from locating or expanding in Colorado. What a biased and speculative opinion based on no factual data.

Since Schwenke is president of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, a more cooperative spirit in solving problems would be in order. However, anti-regulation, anti-government is the favored approach by the chamber.

Grand Junction

Tipton wrongly voted for legislation that will be ineffective to combat violence against women

The House hurt women when it passed the Violence Against Women Act Feb. 28.  Rep. Scott Tipton wrongly voted for this nice-sounding legislation that obscures real violence to promote the feminist agenda.

VAWA now comprises ineffective programs that spend hundreds of millions each year.  In random audits by the Inspector General, repeated irregularities and misconduct were found, including unauthorized and unallowable expenses in 21 of 22 grants.

There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children.  However, this bill squanders resources for victims of actual violence.  Victims who can show physical evidence of abuse should be our primary focus.

This bill also cut the office monitoring trafficking by 64 percent. It eliminated shelters for adult sex trafficking victims and changed the Model Law to decriminalize prostitution for minors, which endangers victims.  This amendment provides a perfect opportunity for pimps, traffickers and gangs to exploit minors in the sex industry. Tipton’s’ vote hurt trafficked women.

If Tipton truly wanted to protect women in his district, he would support legislation to allow Colorado to decide how to address domestic violence within its borders.

CEO and President, Concerned Women for America
Washington, D.C.

Parachute Creek gas liquid leak released paltry amount of benzene

Dennis Webb’s May 4 article in The Daily Sentinel reports on carcinogenic benzene contaminates found from a natural gas liquid leak into Parachute Creek that exceeded state drinking water standards.  Benzene levels exceeded the drinking water standard of 5.0 parts per 1,000,000,000.0 (a more convenient abbreviation is 5.0 parts per billion or 5.0 ppb.)

Previous tests were well below the 5.0 standard but a recent test found 5.3 ppb.  The standard to protect aquatic life in creek water is 1,000 times greater at 5,300 ppb.

What does 5.3 parts per billion mean?  Two analogous examples may help to visualize 5.3 ppb.  First, 5.3 ppb of the 12,600-mile flight of a jet plane from the North Pole to the South Pole would be completed when the jet advanced four inches down the runway at takeoff.  A second example:  Five minutes in 2,000 years is 5.3 ppb.

Benzene is a substance of nature found upon and beneath the surface of our planet.  It is found in coal, oil and natural gas deposits and many other places such as forest fires and volcanoes.  You will often inhale 10 to 15 times the benzene limit for drinking water when you fill your car’s empty gas tank.

Common household products contain chemicals that can cause a multitude of health problems, including allergies, lung damage, birth defects and cancer.  Will Parachute Creek’s 5.3 ppb be more dangerous than what’s found under your kitchen sink?

Glenwood Springs

Don’t expect other people to meekly give up their rights

The Bill of Rights and the Constitution were written by citizens for the citizens of the United States of America. We are the only country with these rights.

Some people think that they are subject to change or to be done away with entirely I do not think this way. A lot of people have died protecting these rights, whether they are in wars or just simply murdered outright. We can’t stop people from being stupid or doing stupid things.

And if you want to give up your rights, that is your decision, but when you start infringing on the rights of other people and expect them to roll over and do nothing, then who’s being stupid? The persons who gave up their rights or the people who are fighting to keep their rights?

I, for one, will fight to keep my rights.


Grand Junction

Support for Rick Brainard at ceremony was dismaying

I attended the City Council swearing-in ceremony Monday, and, like many, turned my back on the swearing-in of Rick Brainard. Upon the completion of his swearing-in, those who had turned their backs walked out of the chambers in protest.

His supporters cheered and clapped for Brainard as we walked out. The remaining crowd was cheering for a guy who allegedly beat his girlfriend in front of her child.

God help us.

Grand Junction

Coons’ comment about working for greater good was impressive

I was delighted to see that Harry Butler in his first council meeting has supported two issues that are appropriate to the concerns of the so-called middle-class taxpayers of Grand Junction.

To me, the only apparent reason for the city of Grand Junction to contribute $6,000 per year to the Chamber of Commerce would be to support those political activities designed for the financial enhancement of the ultra-conservative group that is trying, seemingly quite successfully, to affect as many aspects of Grand Junction as possible.

I was particularly impressed by, hopefully accurate, the indirect quote from former councilperson Teresa Coons, indicating trying to work for the greater good. Obviously, this is not going to be an emphasis for our “new” council.

I’m sure there will be more comment from the Sentinel pertinent to the postponement of now councilperson Brainard’s hearing having to do with his self-confessed evaluation of gender behavior.

It is so good that there have been several individuals talking about due process and all that sort of thing in his defense. I certainly wouldn’t want those individuals to be associated with my daughters or granddaughters.

Until very recently in my eighth decade, I’ve never had the opportunity to observe court action having to do with person-to-person physical activity. Unfortunately, I’ve had that opportunity in our neighborhood.

In attending, for the first time in decades, it became clearly obvious the results had nothing to do with what was right or wrong, it was contingent on who you know. Will that be the case with new councilperson Brainard?

My goodness, once again, we got what we voted for.

Grand Junction

‘TABOR expert’ actually works to circumvent that amendment

The City of Fruita and the towns of Palisade and Collbran all include their portion of the 1981 voter-approved county sales tax in their TABOR revenue limit calculation. Mesa County and the City of Grand Junction currently do not include this same sales tax in their respective TABOR calculations.

Coincidentally, Mesa County and Grand Junction are clients of Dee Wisor, a high-priced Denver attorney. Wisor is billed as a “TABOR expert,” but in reality, his specialty is in circumventing the TABOR amendment.

Perhaps the smaller municipalities of Mesa County should add a few more dollars to their budget line item, out -of-town legal opinion fees, so they, too, could join in this fleece of the taxpayer.

Grand Junction



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