Email letters, Nov. 15, 2012

Those who paid into Social Security should draw from it

In regard to President Obama’s re-election, it’s just for four more years so that he can try to make everyone dependent on the government. I have always paid my own way, even when having a special needs child. I didn’t depend on the government to help me out—I worked

The Lord helps those who help themselves. 

Mr. betting man, you lose. The insurance jumped $600 per year starting next year. I have always paid my share for insurance and worked for my retirement. I paid into it, so I guess I’m entitled to use my own money. The only way to not draw a retirement is to be independently wealthy to not draw Social Security or Medicare, which, if you work, you paid into it. 

Under Lyndon Johnson’s administration, Johnson took from Social Security to pay for other programs, was not supposed to be done. Then Bill Clinton started taxing Social Security, which people paid taxes on the whole time they worked, so it became double taxation.

We do not need or want a socialist society. So, tell me once again how lucky we are. Oh, wait. I don’t believe in sitting and waiting for a handout like Obama wants us to do, so he can be our forever dictator.

LORIE CULLUM
Grand Junction

Labeling welfare recipients is thoughtless stereotyping

Yada, yada, yada! They just drone on and on—entitled, taker, lazy, illegal and all those defining words are used to refer to Hispanic people and African-Americans. What about all the white folks who are on welfare and food stamps and get free food and clothing?  I become incensed with such stereotyping. 

Most people on welfare, regardless of their ethnicity have pride and want to work. Many do work and cannot make enough to provide for their families. 

We cannot ignore those who need governmental assistance to survive. Capitalism doesn’t work unless everyone has an equal opportunity to become self-supporting and successful. That will require investments in education, i.e. training more qualified teachers and providing support for them in the field, ample and equal learning materials and building better schools. 

It will require training programs, cleaning up the ghettos, putting money into the infrastructure and providing affordable birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies. There are too many children born whose parents are not involved in their lives.

Would you let them go hungry?  Would you leave them homeless and cold?  Have you ever wondered where your next meal is coming from or had to sleep on a park bench? One way or another, your tax dollars are going to be used. Better to use them trying to improve the conditions for millions of people than to give them handouts, I agree, but we cannot let them flounder and die in the meantime.

I wonder how some of you can call yourselves Christians. Jesus said, “If you do it unto these, you do it unto me also.”  How much clearer could his message be?

HOLLY VON HELMS
Montrose

Bureaucrats, Democratic senators kowtow to energy interest groups

In Saturday’s story regarding the BLM’s adoption of a plan restricting oil shale development in the American West, federal bureaucrats and Colorado’s Democrat senators seemed to try to outdo each other in making misleading statements.

First, BLM Colorado State Director Helen Hankins said that this plan “lays a strong foundation to explore oil shale’s potential.“ This plan, however, does no such thing; on the contrary, the sharp reduction in land available for potential oil shale leasing opportunities removes any foundation to explore those potentials by removing the possibility to capitalize on any research – not to mention that even much of the land available to conduct research has been taken off the table.

Incidentally, the media release was in response in part to a well–timed bone tossed to the industry by finally approving a few leases to Exxon Mobil – a cynically calculated move to try to paint the agency as being dedicated to oil shale research, despite its not-so-veiled agenda to prohibit any oil shale development.

Colorado’s senators decided to quickly weigh in with some Orwellian doublespeak of their own: Sen. Udall, for example, said that he welcomed “measured steps” – then went on to praise a proposal that removes the staircase.

He came close to the truth when he said he had “concerns about the potential impacts of commercial oil shale development,” such as the threat that it would succeed, and further marginalize his campaign contributors in the “renewables” industry – but relapsed when he then said, “I look forward to seeing this technology explored further,” knowing full well this plan will preclude much further exploration. Sen. Bennet echoed the same.

Once again, federal bureaucrats and Democrat senators are subordinating the best interests of Western Colorado and the nation to the indefensible and purely political concerns of a handful of special interests. 

KEN ROBAR
Grand Junction

Property rights of mineral estate owners disappearing

Recently, Routt County Commissioners put in place regulatory restrictions that effectively stop energy development in Routt County. That de facto ban likely goes against Colorado state law. But, there is an even more basic right that is being impinged by the actions of Routt County: the property rights of the mineral estate owner are being eliminated.

The established law of Colorado is that the surface rights are subservient to the subsurface rights. It is clear that some residents of Routt County do not agree with that approach. But, without such a system, traditional ideas of property are meaningless.

The proper avenue to change the law would be through the state legislative process. But, anti-energy advocates know they cannot even hope to get such a drastic change through the state legislature. So, they go against state law and remove the property rights locally.

In this instance, the county is attempting to supersede the authority of the state, and it is the state that should take measures to uphold state property laws. Ultimately, this dispute is between two state actors – the county and the state. Resolving this dispute is important for all the citizens of Colorado. Today, it is someone’s mineral rights being taken away by local fiat. Tomorrow, it will be something else, as local elected majorities change.

If the State of Colorado does not actively protect all aspects of private property, all value in property will eventually be lost, and its economy will wither and die, as even those few that choose to remain will not be spared from the incentive to take the property of another via the political process what they were unwilling to rightly pay the market price. Without enforceable property rights there will be no safe harbor from sheer, political, brute force.

Because this is a conflict between regulating bodies, it is inherent that those bodies resolve their differences – not foist the responsibility of a resolution upon private citizens. Gov. Hickenlooper, acting through his attorney general, must intercede to bring order in Routt County.

Colorado residents deserve clear guidance on the nature of their property rights and the regulatory environment in Colorado. Without clear guidance, private investment dollars will leak to neighbor states that also enjoy enriching domestic energy resources. In the end, when property is taken by force through the political process instead of voluntary exchange in the marketplace, we all lose something.

MICHELLE E. HALE
Hayden

GJHS gun incident raises school boundary questions

I read the article sometime back on the gentleman who had the gun around Grand Junction High School. At the time I was concerned about the events that transpired and what happened to the gentleman in question. This particular question can affect many of those that have decided to carry a weapon for protection not only at home but also elsewhere. 

First, I am impressed that the students were observant to see the weapon and reported it.  My concern, however, is that where the gentleman was and where the kids were. According to the article, he was riding his bicycle on a public sidewalk parallel to the high school grounds. This brings the question, “Why was he considered being on school grounds?”  In my research through the State of Colorado statutes there is currently no law on a distance from a school that you must be, if carrying a weapon (i.e. in California you cannot carry within 1,000 feet of a school).   

Colorado is also an open-carry state. Should you not have a concealed carry permit and ride or walk past the school and you are on the public sidewalk and not on school property, you would be doing so legally. This would be my interpretation of the law that I have been able to research and ask input from the state.

For someone apparently covered by the current gun laws in Colorado, I am not sure why the gentleman received the punishment that he did. This could affect many people in this area on a daily basis going past many of our schools that sit on the street with only a sidewalk separating the street and school property. 

ARTHUR EDWARDS
Grand Junction

Latest BLM oil shale proposal bad for Western Slope, nation

We are already starting to see the consequences of a second Obama term: the denial of the largest energy reservoir in the world, located right here in western Colorado, to the American people who own it.

Is anyone really surprised that the BLM waited until after the election to announce its adoption of an oil shale proposal that is even worse for the Western Slope’s economy, and the nation’s energy security, than expected? Had this news come out before last Tuesday’s election, the lid would have been blown off of President Obama’s ridiculous claim of supporting an “all the above” energy policy.

Actions speak louder than words, and this president’s actions have quite loudly contradicted what he said during his re-election campaign concerning energy. He said he was for “all the above,” but did nothing to expand American development of our offshore resources and denied America access to cheap Canadian oil by refusing to permit the Keystone pipeline. Now his Department of the Interior has effectively halted research and development of oil shale, a resource that dwarfs both the Canadian and Middle Eastern oil fields – but which also, unfortunately, is largely located on land under the federal government’s control. If this is reflective of an “all the above” approach, the list must be pretty limited.

Just what are this administration’s energy policy goals? Increased reliance on Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil? Higher fuel prices, so the middle and working classes can no longer afford to drive or heat their homes? Ensuring that Americans will never be able to benefit economically from our own resources?

Maybe Obama and his administration do support an “all the above” plan – it’s just that the entrepreneurs who seek to tap our immense oil shale resources did not pay to be on the list.

MATTHEW MARKAKIS
Grand Junction

Now it’s time to start impeachment proceedings

Now that the uninformed voters of America have re-elected President Obama, we must start impeachment proceedings against him because of his gross dereliction of duty (Syria, allowing Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans to be murdered in Benghazi, and border agents murdered through his Fast and Furious gun-running scheme).

I am appalled at the mainstream media’s lack of coverage and cover-up of this incompetent and corrupt president and administration.

RICHARD BLOSSER

Grand Junction

Animal services director does commendable job

I’m writing regarding Kathi Wiley’s letter to the editor criticizing the director of Mesa County Animal Services, accusing her of seeming detached and uncaring regarding animal suffering. I can assure Wiley that nothing could be farther than the truth.

I have volunteered at MCAS since before McCarty worked at the shelter, and I have watched her turn the shelter into a facility that animal welfare groups all over the state regard with respect. I know this because I personally work with many of these rescue groups to facilitate transferring homeless animals at MCAS to their care.

Do not misinterpret McCarty’s professionalism with lack of empathy, and don’t, for a minute, believe that she values public opinion above animal welfare. McCarty has led Western Slope animal welfare groups in the creation of an organization with the common goal of improving the welfare of animals in our part of the state. She was also instrumental in obtaining a Maddie’s Fund grant, which provides financial support to several animal rescue organizations that work with MCAS to assist animals in need. Penny has built a staff and volunteer base that care deeply about animals and many times go “above and beyond” in order to help animals in need.

To clarify for Wiley the way our justice system works, MCAS does not decide who is innocent or guilty or what penalty they may pay. MCAS is, in addition to a shelter for animals in need, another branch of law enforcement. It investigates and, when necessary, presents evidence to the municipal and county courts. It is these courts that decide.

And finally, I would like to take issue with Wiley’s characterization of McCarty as uncaring. I have spent countless hours over the years with McCarty celebrating one of our many “wins” as we get an animal in need the care it deserves, and commiserating with her over some of the really awful things she has to face every day.

I have no greater role model than Penny McCarty. Mesa County people and animals are darn lucky she is at the helm of Mesa County Animal Services.

CINDY HAERLE
Grand Junction

Citizens asked to help reduce child abuse, neglect

The recent Failed To Death series in the Denver Post and 9News creates an important opportunity to have an open dialog regarding the real issues of child protection.

It is as imperative that my department is as accountable to the community in responding to referrals of child abuse as it is the community’s responsibility to join us in addressing this issue.   

The articles focus on system deficiencies and fatalities since 2007. These are issues that Mesa County DHS, other Colorado counties and the state have been aggressively addressing for the past five years to deal with the entire spectrum of child protection well before a fatality occurs. While extremely tragic, focusing solely on fatalities misses the majority of the opportunities we have to impact child safety.   

DHS has undergone significant, positive changes to better detect, identify, prevent further abuse and intervene earlier to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect. This progress is largely attributed to a team of hard-working, dedicated staff.

Despite this effort, government alone cannot keep every child safe. To further improve and address the challenges facing the child welfare system in our community, everyone in Mesa County and across the state can and should play a role in preventing our most precious and vulnerable population from being abused or neglected. We all share this responsibility.   

I challenge each and every one of you to step forward and engage those around you, to become involved when you feel that a situation is unsafe, to care for those who work for/with you and may be struggling with young children.

We ask you to join us in our efforts to reduce child abuse and neglect in our community. We welcome your input, criticism, opinions and engagement in addressing this issue in Mesa County. Please contact us with ideas, concerns or disagreements and join us by becoming engaged in caring for the most vulnerable, precious resource we have – our children. 

For more detailed information on the changes we have made within our system, visit our website at http://www.humanservices.mesacounty.us or call 970-248-2703. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call our child protection hotline at 242-1211 or call 911.

Together we can prevent child abuse and neglect.

TRACEY GARCHAR
Executive Director  
Mesa County Department of Human Services  
Grand Junction

   
U.K. standard of living not as inferior as Wagner depicts

This letter is in response to a recent article by Rick Wagner on the election loss by the conservatives.

Somewhat unrelated to this title, he makes a comment about how bad things are in the UK by stating, “Take a trip to Great Britain and look at the average size home, the number and kind of cars people have and what conveniences and amenities they surround themselves with.”

He then goes on to say what you will see is “apart from some celebrities and a few NORMAL wealthy folks” (whatever that means) is a standard of living most would not aspire to in this neck of the woods. (I assume he means the Grand Valley). 

Well, I am not sure when or where Wagner went on his holidays and how many normal U.K. houses he managed to get inside.  I suspect not too many. First, I hope my answer to Wagner does not offend people living in the valley. I find it one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the houses, no matter how modest, are appropriate for the area and climate.

There are few if any wooden houses in the U.K. All are brick and many are more than 300 years old. I suggest you go on the Internet and look at houses for sale in the U.K. All have lots of photos, both outside and inside. Some of the houses may be old and some are new, but all are very modern with all amenities. Pricewise, for about $200,000 you might get a two-bed, one bath lower-middle-class home. For a million dollars, an upper-middle-class home.

Some UK friends of mine, when seeing some of the Grand Valley houses referred to them as shacks (mine included!), and the large amount of trailer parks in the valley are virtually unknown in the UK. No offense. The property of this area is in the tradition of this part of the West. Let’s face it; nearly all the houses in the valley are built out of two-by-fours and particleboard. This includes the trailer parks and the “imitation castles.” No problem. It’s a desert climate and even a tent would almost last forever.

Cars … in 2011 the average U.K. family owned two to three cars. How many more does one need?

So, let’s not judge or compare other people’s countries if one’s knowledge is limited. No one, wealthy or poor, goes bankrupt in the U.K. or the rest of Europe because he or she has a health problem, unlike the U.S. where 60 percent of all private bankruptcies are caused by this very problem.

This is just one attribute of the standard of living in the U.K. and Europe to which many people living in, as Wagner says, “this neck of the woods” may aspire.

PAUL ROSS
Palisade  



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