Email letters, May 8, 2013

BLM ought to manage staging areas, rather than riding areas


Why would the BLM want to dismantle one of the great off-road recreation areas in the U.S.? The desert north of Grand Junction is perfectly suited for off-road activities and little else, so why “manage” it out of existence?

We don’t hear answers to these two questions in any press release from the BLM. What is really the agenda here?

Now let’s talk some common sense. Dirt bikes and ATVs are not bicycles. The same type of single-track use that works for a mountain bike will not work for a motorized cycle or ATV in open-desert country. Dirt bikes and ATVs travel at greater speeds for much greater distances. To put them all on a small network of trails is foolish. The collisions would be catastrophic.

This is why over the decades we have a spider web of trails out there. The spider-web network of trails creates options for riders to avoid other riders and keep safe distances. No one wants his or her six-year-old on the same path as a 20-year-old going 60 miles per hour.

In the open desert ORVs don’t butt up against one another and putt along like play cars in an amusement park. It’s about throttle, freedom and speed. The trail mentality works fine in the mountains and trees with much slower speeds, but the open desert is an entirely different program.

I have read arguments about hikers wanting more access to watch birds and such. I have ridden this desert for 30 years. I have seen one deer, six coyotes, a dozen or so vultures and hundreds of rabbits. There are no pretty birds, trees or much else. It is a barren, alkaline, hardscrabble environment. This is exactly where you want off-road machines.

Note to hikers, bird watchers, river floaters, etc.: Motorized use does not want to infringe on your delicate areas. We respect the fact that all our natural areas have unique qualities. We respect your right to enjoy your activity in your own way. Let us enjoy ours.

I think the best solution is for the BLM to manage the “staging areas” along 25 and 27.5 roads. Not the riding areas, the staging zone only. There is room for improvement here. Give the off-road recreationalist some decent surfaces to park on and some vault toilets. A few signs if you have to.

To pay for this, go ahead and charge a fee. Make all off-road vehicles get a stamp. Never mind that all motorized users are already required to pay for a state license, but go ahead and add another. Call it a “Desert Endorsement” tag. Honestly, we would be glad to pay it.

Have an annual option for locals and a monthly option for out-of-town guests, and sell them at retail shops the way fishing and hunting tags are sold. The terrain access is worth paying for. Folks who spend $10,000 or more on their rigs will easily pay another use fee for this terrain.

BLM staff can patrol the staging areas for compliance and issue fines if needed for not having the right stickers on riders’ machines, etc.

Before long, we will have a world-famous motorized riding area to complement our mountain biking. Retailers and tourism officials will have another activity to promote. and everyone will be happy.

RON WILSON
Grand Junction

Put apprehended Delta graffiti artists to work

The City of Delta discovered three graffiti artists at work. Here’s a novel concept: Put them in charge of graffiti removal. As they are working on this project, they may like to come up with some names of other artists who may want to come and help them. If they get enough names, they could be released as more and more help takes over.


STEVE THOMAS
Montrose

Tea partiers remain mum over county TABOR tax issue

After reading The Daily Sentinel’s article about the misuse and possible fraud by the former county commissioners regarding TABOR and use of sales taxes to get around refunding money to the local taxpayers, I thought it was important to attend the county commissioners’ meeting Monday.

I must thank Bill Voss and the others for exposing the misuse of power by the former board. They have done a great job (along with The Daily Sentinel reporter) of calling out the county for its attempts to cheat the taxpayers of Mesa County out of tax refunds as required by the TABOR amendment.

My confusion and concern is: Where is the tea party in all this? Only one other Mesa County citizen (besides the three that have been involved from the beginning) spoke out against this policy of including sales when determining tax refunds.

I thought a cornerstone of the tea party was to watch over our government and how it manages our money. Yet not one tea party person has spoken out. One has to wonder what is their true agenda.

Here you have three county commissioners (two no longer there) who were self-appointed tea party members cheating the people out of tax refunds.

I guess this is another example of “it’s better to keep quiet when it’s one of our own,” as most tea party members did when Jared Wright ran for office. As long as there is an R in front of a person’s name, what they do in government must be correct.

JEFFREY PHILLIPS
Whitewater

Bainard may be sworn in, but won’t remain on council for long

After the comments recorded by the Sentinel and other media outlets, the only one in the council oath ceremony not aware of the protest was Rick Brainard. It is such a shame that this entire sham is being shoved down the throats of the citizens of Grand Junction.

In that chamber Monday the clerk, who noticed the protest, appeared nervous to me, and the attendees (whether pro or con regarding the newly sworn council member) certainly knew we were there. I didn’t, however, expect anything else.

The newly chamber-anointed City Council then forged ahead with its agenda, with only Harry Butler showing the courage not to go with the flow. Thank you, sir, for showing them what ethics look like.

In 60 days we will be submitting recall petitions, and we will be making sure the council members don’t stonewall that like they did the two sitting members Monday.

As an outraged citizen and voter, I believe the fire has just started. I also believe Brainard and his supporters will find it too hot to bluff their way through the ensuing storms.

RON WATERMAN
Grand Junction

New online sales taxes to burden everyone

Reading the newspaper Tuesday morning, I saw an article about how the U.S. Senate has “closed a tax loophole” with its vote to allow online sales taxes.

They go on to talk about the $23 billion they have “lost” in sales taxes not collected. Excuse me, but taxes are not an entitlement for the government. The passage of this legislation can be one thing and one thing only — a huge tax increase on basically everyone who shops online. Do you know anyone who shops online?

People, this is not something that needed to be corrected. It is something that the tax grabbers wanted to pass to enhance their social-program pots of money. This is just another hand in the pockets of the middle-class taxpayer.

When sales tax was placed on our purchases years ago, at least the politicians used an excuse by saying it was for something such as education or roads, even though that was a lie, too. This new law will only increase how much they already are collecting from the working stiff of America.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying the new tax is right or wrong. What I am saying is please don’t continue to try to pull the wool over our eyes by making us think you have righted some wrong with this legislation.

It is simply a significant tax increase on virtually all of us. If it looks like a duck and flies like a duck, it must be a duck or a liberal tax grabber.

JAMES O’MALLEY
Grand Junction

Brainard’s actions mirror strategies of other politicians

For the edification of any newcomers to Grand Junction, the ruling party of this city is neither Democratic nor Republican but is now identified as the Chamber Of Commerce. And one of the really true politicians now on the City Council, backed by this ruling party, is an accused woman abuser known as Rick Brainard. To my knowledge, the chamber still backs him.


I say “true” politician, because he exhibits the qualities of many of our elected representatives and senators at both the local and national government levels. These are: If accused of something, deny it; if caught in an untruth, justify it with something like “she needed to shut her mouth”; try to buy your way out by donating money (not from your own income) to the local charity helping abused women (Latimer House, here); and then finish the sordid story by intimating that you may consider becoming an advocate for abused women. I suspect he also needs an optometrist, since he did not “notice” the silent protest at his swearing-in.


What a sad state of affairs. I wonder if the District Attorney will offer a plea agreement of some kind to avoid an embarrassing hearing on the matter or if council member Brainard will perhaps plead nolo contendere. In his case, I personally would consider that plea the same as an outright guilty plea.

I sincerely hope Brainard’s previous live-in girlfriend goes on to better things. Yelling to your 12-year old-son to “call 911” would lead me to believe she was truly fearful of Brainard.


CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

How does one define an intentional politician?

This letter is in regard to the front-page article of May 6 on Teresa Coons. First, I know and like her.

Second, she moves here and within just four years runs for Colorado state representative and then makes two successful runs for City Council, holds several government-appointed positions and still calls herself an “accidental politician,” which is your story headline.

If all of that is “accidental,” then please tell me what the definition is for an intentional politician.

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

Illegal immigrants receive undeserved societal benefits

Can somebody tell me how an illegal immigrant can get better benefits, food stamps and more money in state aid when I don’t even get those things after busting my hump for more than 40 years?

And now we want to provide drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants ? Why are we not arresting illegal immigrants and deporting them back to where they came? How is it we can’t find 12 million estimated illegal immigrants? We apparently have to wait for them to blow up Boston or worse?

Are state legislators so stupid that they don’t know the meaning of the term illegal immigrant ”? Why are we making it more lucrative for illegal immigrants   to live off of our welfare program with cheap college tuition, food stamps and the rest of the perks our society provides when members of our own society can’t find work?

Why do a certain element and news agencies in our population feel we’re not supposed to judge all Muslims by the acts of a few Muslim crazies? The acts of a few American crazies, however, are enough to judge all Americans who own guns.

Or, that immigrants such as my great-great-grandfather who came legally should now be shamed by allowing anybody who can jump the river a free ride? Or my other great-great-grandfather that was here before Europeans came should be punished after stripped of his dignity and lands?

Yeah, I got a few issues with Democrats selling us out and buying votes.

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction

Legislature should fund air corps to help fight impending wildfires

One unattended campfire. One lightning strike. Or, even darker and more sinister, one intentional terrorist’s or arsonist’s strike of a match.

That is all it will take for a catastrophic wildfire to erupt in any part of our state’s four million acres of dead trees.  A wildfire that will show no mercy and will not yield as it destroys lives, homes and our environment. The fear of fires in Colorado’s most precious watersheds alone should sound alarm bells to the highest reaches of state and federal government.

How can we stop it?  I believe the solution lies in funding the Colorado Firefighting Air Corps I know on the Front Range elected officials and bureaucrats continue to say that we can rely on the federal government to assist us if one breaks out.

When I hear this, I want to shout “Wake up!” The paralysis by analysis that is strangling Washington right now makes every issue a political football thrown back and forth from one party to the other. We should not trust our lives, homes and environment to political theater. 

Let’s remember that this is the same government that over the last decade allowed the federal wildfire air fleet to “die on the vine” from 44 air tankers to nine. Yes, nine air tankers for the entire United States. So when fires break out across the nation (and they will), we will be on our own. 

Colorado’s wildfire season is fast approaching. This is why the legislature must fund the corps immediately.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Democrats need to show leadership on this issue. We must encourage them to find the courage of their convictions and prepare for the coming battle with one of nature’s most powerful forces. 

The General Assembly just passed a $21 billion budget, and yet we cannot find $20 million for a critical public health and safety issue?  Last year alone the state suffered six fatalities, lost 647 homes and incurred $48.1 million in fire suppression costs.

Colorado must be able to take care of itself, not if, but when a wildfire rages through its dead forests. Our choice is clear: This legislative session can be our legacy or our liability. I hope my colleagues and the governor choose wisely.

SEN. STEVE KING
Grand Junction



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