Email Letters: May 8, 2017

Western Colorado deserves better than Scott Tipton

Congressman Scott Tipton cast his vote to support the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The reckless and shortsighted approach of this legislation cannot be understated.

In Tipton’s statement defending his vote, he claimed that the bill provides assurance that those with pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable health insurance. This is a blatant lie – the AHCA allows insurers to charge more to people with pre-existing conditions, meaning they can easily be priced out of the system. One in four adults have a pre-existing condition, so this will certainly affect a large share of residents in western Colorado.

I grew up in the Grand Valley and now study health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I have my issues and concerns with Obamacare, but this bill is not a solution. I am worried about how this law will affect my friends and family back home, and it concerns me to see shameless lies spouted by Tipton.

This leads to a question – what is a Congressman’s responsibility? Shouldn’t he look out for the interests of his constituents? Shouldn’t he try to improve the population health of his community? Aren’t we paying him to give careful consideration and thought to the policies that affect the people of western Colorado?

If so, he failed to fulfill his duties. It was a shameful vote, and he should be held accountable for putting Coloradans at risk.

KOLTON GUSTAFSON
Boston, Mass.

Can we employ ‘pass through’ mechanism at a county level?

Friday’s paper related a story about a state-level solution to the hospital provider fee issue. Proposed is the establishment of a stand-alone government enterprise for the purpose of avoiding TABOR revenue caps. Can such a mechanism be employed at the county level to allow county officials to “pass through” grant funding (such as the recent $5 million grant for the expansion of the local psychiatric hospital) without coming under the TABOR constraints?

FRANCIS X. HOLT
Fruita

Gardner, vote to retain current BLM methane rule

After a 25-year absence, I’ve returned to Grand Junction to hike, bike, and play again in a place I love. Instead, I find myself on the living room sofa weak and sucking supplemental oxygen all too often when our air quality is poor.

My heart aches for the currently healthy babies and growing children slowly becoming sensitized by toxic air. I think of the loving parents trying to do everything in their power to raise healthy kids – thinking the air looks good when invisible molecules permeate their playgrounds, backyards and bedrooms.

Thank you to The Daily Sentinel for a fine op-ed and to the letters written by many people concerned about the impending vote in the Senate, and Cory Gardner’s key role in maintaining the current BLM methane rule. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that to vote against this bill will make people sick.

Sen. Gardner, this is a no brainer. Support the large contingency of Colorado voters who want to breathe clean air. As a bonus, put more money back into the public system that is currently being lost through wasteful flaring of methane. Vote to retain the current law. Our health depends on it.

BARBARA LEE
Grand Junction

Republican senators reject an advocate for the LGBT community

The Republican rejection of Heidi Hess for a continuing position on the civil rights commission is nothing less than a demonstration of homophobia, no matter how they try to spin it.

With this vote, Republican senators rejected both an advocate for the LGBT community, so often denied a voice, and a resident of the Western Slope.

The Republicans are fighting a war on civil rights, which they believe they can define. Their version of civil rights does not include rights for their LGBT constituents.

SARAH L. SWEDBERG

Grand Junction

Sentinel shouldn’t sensationalize disturbing incidents

Echoing the sentiment of a previous letter to the editor, I too am concerned that the Sentinel has a tendency to sensationalize disturbing incidents occurring in our community. The May 2 article on the top of page 2 of the Sentinel headlined in big bold print “Woman accused of kicking, biting officers” is an example that should have been confined to the police blotter section. Presenting the “news” story in this manner incidentally smeared the reputation of a young woman who obviously needed help and perhaps unintentionally incited further fear and loathing of an already stigmatized sector of the population.

The article cites several apparent mental health red flags presented by the woman, indicting she was suffering a psychotic breakdown. Whether an incident is drug induced or a result of a mental illness, there is often a reciprocal relationship between the two.

Criminalizing afflicted persons in lieu of treatment is a muddied response, yet apparently local courts are constricted under the law to few options. Other communities in the nation are implementing innovative strategies proving cost effective results that serve the best interests of the individual, police officers and benefit society. In Grand Junction we too should be inspired to a new approach.

I, for one, appreciate that the Sentinel has become a more politically balanced paper of late. I also recognize the abundance of do good/ feel good stories generated. Yet it is the challenge of editors and journalist to discipline themselves not to sensationalize cases of inappropriate behavior as breaking headline news of egregious criminal acts. A balanced article with something that brings to light the deeper and broader issues beneath the surface which might provoke discussion of ways to improve understanding and renovate outdated practices might serve the community better while improving our image to readers.

PATRICIA JUSTICE
Grand Junction

Tipton should vote with the 3rd District in mind

Representative Tipton should vote with the 3rd District in mind rather than party politics.

As he votes in the appropriations process he must consider the impact that budget decisions will have on constituents here in Western Colorado especially children. His health care vote did not do that but there are still so many opportunities to help his constituents.

Rep. Tipton must vote to maintain high quality public schools with solid Title 1 funding for essential reading and math interventions. He must vote to fund critical nutrition programs like the free and reduced school lunch program and WIC. He must vote to fund programs to lift people out of poverty.

Every time he comes back to the 3rd District, he is traveling by whole communities of people that are barely getting by. It is his job to look after his district and to work to lift people out of poverty or at the very least, support children with a high quality education and essential nutrition so they can lift themselves out of poverty.

MARIE MCGOWAN
Grand Junction

Congress should stand up to Trump’s abuse of power, waste of taxpayer dollars

In 2015, Trump said he would “rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.” Now, he is golfing and visiting a Trump-branded property every few days!

I’m deeply concerned with Trump’s taxpayer funded trips to Trump properties, Mar-a-Lago.

Here’s why:

Trump is putting taxpayer dollars directly in his pocket by visiting his properties so frequently. The Secret Service has spent tens of thousands of dollars on golf carts alone at Mar-a-Lago, and that’s the tip of the iceberg!

While Trump spends our tax dollars at Mar-a-Lago, he’s also hosting high-profile meetings with foreign heads-of-state there, like the Prime Minister of Japan. Talk about a photo op for his own property!

After Election Day, Mar-a-Lago doubled its membership fees to $200,000. That’s a lot of money in Trump’s pocket.

Nobody should be allowed to profit for the presidency. I’ve had enough. It’s time for our representatives in Congress to stand up to Trump’s abuse of power and waste of taxpayer dollars.

Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago have already cost $25 million. That’s enough to pay for over 2,000,000 Meals on Wheels!

If Congress continues to sit on its hands, our representatives should be held accountable for their complicity to Trump’s corruption. I’ll remember their inaction when I step into the voting booth.

CHERI LIVINGSTON
Loma

Let’s reject the dairy industry’s cruelty

Last week, The Washington Post published a major expose of the U.S. dairy industry concluding that mega dairies scam consumers into paying extra for “organic” milk that isn’t. The timing, a few days before Mother’s Day, could not be more appropriate. Dairy cows, worldwide symbols of motherhood, never get to see or nurture their babies.

The newborn calves are torn from their mothers at birth and turned into veal cutlets, so the dairy industry can sell their milk. The distraught mothers bellow for days, hoping in vain for their babies’ return. Instead, they are chained on a concrete warehouse floor, milked by machines, then impregnated artificially to renew the pregnancy and keep the milk flowing. When their production drops, around four years of age, they are ground into hamburgers.

This Mother’s Day, let’s all honor motherhood and our natural compassion for animals by rejecting the dairy industry’s cruelty. Let’s replace cow’s milk and its products, laden with cholesterol, saturated fats, hormones, and antibiotics. Let’s choose delicious, healthful, cruelty-free plant-based milk, cheese, and ice cream products offered at our grocery store.

GLEN ZAUCER

Grand Junction

You can thank Congress for the pain ahead should AHCA become law

Is anyone in your family on a prescription medication? Had a past illness or surgery? Female? There are a lot more “pre-existing conditions” than you’d think.

You can thank your members of Congress for the pain ahead should the AHCA become law. Start with Congressman Tipton. Tipton voted “yes” on this bill to pull a trillion dollars out of health care to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. A trillion dollars will be extracted from families like yours, through the loss of premium subsidies; rate hikes for “pre-existing conditions” (crushing for some), reduced coverage (for many) or even complete loss of health care (for tens of millions).

The choice of how you pay, cash vs. coverage is up to you! If you don’t like the sound of AHCA choices, perhaps you’d prefer the opposite as proposed by Senator Sanders: “Let us move to a Medicare-for-all system that does what every other major country on Earth does: guarantee health care to all people at a fraction of the cost per capita that we spend.” Sadly, it’s the AHCA that heads to the Senate next – what will your Sens. Gardner and Bennet do?

DOUG FULTS
Durango

Abolishing the BLM Methane Rule makes no sense

Who thinks we can afford to waste money and natural resources? Apparently, the oil and gas industry do, because that’s exactly what will happen if Congress repeals the BLM Methane Rule, and that is exactly what the oil and gas industry has been pushing Congress to do.

This is something, by the way, that Colorado has stood firmly against. 83 percent of Coloradans support this rule. And, the federal rule was actually based on a Colorado rule requiring that oil and gas companies capture and use natural gas instead of intentionally burning it off into the atmosphere or just letting it leak out (where it will heat no one’s house in the winter, but will increase greenhouse gas emissions as well as ground level ozone, which, anyone with asthma will tell you, is not good.)

Not to mention that the gas most often leaked or “vented” is methane. The worst of the worst. The mother of all greenhouse gasses.

And then there’s the money. Without this rule, companies would be wasting about $330 million a year in leaked and vented natural gas. That means less natural gas for us to heat our homes with, which means higher heating bills for all of us. It also means companies have less gas to sell, thus less revenue, and thus they pay less in taxes that could be used to benefit local communities. All this while they operate on public land. Our land.

Abolishing this rule makes no sense. The House has already voted to do so. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Wednesday. We all need to call Cory Gardner; because we can be sure industry lobbyists are doing just that. Tell him to represent his constituents and vote NO on the BLM Methane Rule CRA.

ELIZABETH HOWARD
Fruita

Intelligence and logic are under a serious attack worldwide

I just watched the victory gloat from French elect, Pretty Face Macron. His speech asked all Americans who stand with him on the global warming fantasy to come join him in France. Please do!

If anyone were paying attention, they would have noticed the near deadline accusation that Macron’s party was hacked by outside sources in an effort to kill his slight margin two days before the election. This accusation was coupled with a convenient statement that any (at all) actual evidence of this hack be not printed or shared for the sake of protecting the country of France.

Can you imagine the huge outcry of protest and whining by the media and S.W.I.N.E. (Students Wildly Indignant of Nearly Everything) had this unsupported and false accusation been released by Marine Le Pen and the right wing in such a timely manner and without evidence?

Does this happening ring a bell to anyone besides me? Oh yeah, it was tried in America to undermine Trumpy and the right wing just before our election. The only difference was that American people are smart enough not to buy and eat such a rotten apple of media based cheating.

The reason that the left, Pretty Face Macron, and the media did not allow any of the “hack” to be released is that there was none in the first place. The accusation, however insinuated that the hack must have been an attack by Le Pen’s side to disgrace Macron. French voters fell for the ruse. Macron won by a 2 to 1 margin in the end.

The main thing that this proves to me is that 66 percent of French voters are even dumber than Hillary’s 51 percent.

Intelligence and logic are under a serious attack worldwide.

TIM MENGER
Whitewater

Grand Junction based manufacturer recently awarded Larry Fischer award

Seek Outside, the Grand Junction based manufacturer of lightweight tents, backpacks and other essential outdoor public land exploration gear was recently awarded the Larry Fischer award at the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) spring rendezvous in Missoula, Montana.

BHA has 34 state Chapters, two Canadian provincial chapters and over 15,000 members. The three-day event had over 6,000 outdoor public land and water enthusiasts in attendance. There were numerous nationally known individuals giving presentations as well as congressional attendees.

The award recognizes a business’ exceptional dedication to America’s backcountry values and public lands and water. The award honors the memory and longtime conviction of Larry Fischer an original board member at BHA and founding contributor to Traditional Bowhunter magazine.

The award was accepted by Angie and Kevin Timm, owners of Seek Outside. “Receiving the 2017 Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Larry Fischer Award is an honor that underscores our commitment to protecting public land access for future generations. It’s easy to be good at something you love. Our passion is the outdoors.”

RICK SEYMOUR
Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Silt

Our government is only as good as the people we choose to run it

And now we have a letter to the editor from a Ms. Sigrist that beautifully repeats what I inevitably hear from conservatives when discussing politics. It is a classic Romney mantra about the makers (or “givers”) and takers. The conservatives just mind their own business and work hard and the takers run rampant in their desire to take as much from the government as they can.

I am not a conservative and apparently I’m in the taker category of citizens. I worked hard over a period of 40 years and paid taxes every year but I’m now laying back and enjoying Medicare and Social Security. This living off the government is great!

Over those 40 years of work I have taken great exception to the way my tax money was spent. Not always, but occasionally. I did spend a little time over the years educating myself as to how our government worked. I discovered, early on, that we are all in this together. The taxes I paid were sometimes spent on a variety of things I didn’t approve of.

Horrors! In some obvious cases I was apparently spending money on people who were taking advantage of the supposed safety nets the government provided. After looking into this “theft” I discovered that there were very few thieves, particularly ones who were continuously living on the dole, as it were.

Somewhere back in elementary school or junior high I learned that our government is only as good as the people we choose to run it. The government is us.

Apparently Ms. Sigrist is complaining about the people she helped elect. Has she urged her representatives to take measures to stop the “theft”? Has she looked into whether ”theft” is actually occurring or has she discovered that those she, and others, elected apparently disagreed with her?

Finally, what is to be done by the existence of we takers? Will writing letters get the job done?

JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr. Menger, if logic and intelligence are under serious worldwide attack, your letter serves as the first barrage.  The French are not revolting!

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