Email letters, November 19, 2013

Council, commissioners urged to affirm commitment to CMU

Rather than stooping to the antics of some in our community (specifically “ You Said it”), I wanted to publically urge my friends on the Grand Junction City Council and the Mesa County Board of Commissioners to not only affirm their annual commitment to Colorado Mesa University, but also to be proud of it.

When and others in this community attended Mesa decades ago, no one ever would have thought that it would someday anchor our community in the way it has for the last 10 or so years. It serves close to 10,000 students and provides good-quality construction jobs, sporting events, concerts and banquets, to name a few.

The ongoing quality of the speakers brought to the area or any other activity owes a huge debt to those on the council and the board for the foresight to make the original commitments. Ask Tim Foster and the staff if CMU could have ever expanded without those original dollars from the city and county.

I understand times are tough, and I appreciate the difficulty of getting a budget to balance. That said, let’s avoid cutting off our noses to spite our faces. These are examples of great community foresight.

Grand Junction

Sentinel unfairly targets Secretary of State Gessler

Now that folks at The Daily Sentinel are finished manipulating the school board election news, apparently there is a new target in town, Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Why should I be surprised? He is a Republican, running for governor of Colorado, and I am sure the powers that be at the Sentinel will do everything they can to destroy his integrity and credibility. Gessler is a GOOD man.

I see nothing wrong with ensuring that voters are legally entitled to vote in Colorado.

Grand Junction

Leave ‘Grand Junkyard’ image behind in riverfront decisions

The Grand Valley Riverfront is under attack from the Mesa County commissioners and now possibly the Grand Junction city council, as well.

The Colorado River was once known as the Grand River, hence the names Grand Junction and the Grand Valley. The Colorado River is indeed grand and is the most important economic asset in this area. It is the lifeblood of our economy and the center of our community. Once it was littered with junkyards and radioactive waste, which prompted professional football coach and commentator John Madden to call it “Grand Junkyard” when he passed through on the train.

Do we want to turn our backs on the grand vision for our river and stop our stewardship of this precious resource? Do we want to go back to “Grand Junkyard”?

Yes, there may be some problems with the riverfront project. Yes, some areas should not have trails along the river, and more consideration must be given to high water events and the damage they cause to the trails, but we must not abandon our river and our vision for the place the river has in our community, our lives and the lives of our children.

The Mesa County commissioners’ and possibly the Grand Junction City Council’s decision to defund the Riverfront Commission appears to be misguided. These tea-party-captured entities believe, it seems, that just letting private enterprise do everything will solve all our problems. We have been there and done that. It’s the “Grand Junkyard” vision.

There are some things that government should do for the benefit of the community. Turning their backs on our grand river is perhaps the most effective thing our city and county leaders can do to destroy the economy and beauty of our grand city. Don’t let it happen.


Boost state economy, environment by working toward solar energy goal

Grand Junction and Colorado are known for their 300 sunny days per year, yet we get less than 1 percent of our energy from the sun. Coastal, cloudier New Jersey leads Colorado in solar.

I recently fulfilled a dream of adding active solar to my home. After I went online in July, the system is so efficient that we already have 1,000 kilowatt hours in our solar “bank.” We have sent more power out into the grid than we’ve drawn. As we have shorter day length, our “bank” will provide a “cushion,” so we still don’t have to pay the local utility for power.

Let’s convince the governor to set a state-level solar goal of 1 million rooftop systems for Colorado. Grand Junction could lead the charge to stimulate jobs and relieve dependence on fossil fuels.

Unlike large, commercial arrays, rooftop systems don’t require expensive transmission lines from the new site and they don’t disturb desert ecosystems. Rooftop solar systems are simply the right thing to do for the Colorado economy and the Colorado environment that we all love.

Grand Junction


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While Janet Blackman is certainly entitled to express her opinion as to Scott Gessler’s qualifications for higher office (“Sentinel unfairly targets Secretary of State Gessler”), her sentiments reveal how the low her standards are – given Gessler’s substantially fraudulent “crusade” to eradicate theoretical “voter fraud” from Colorado elections.

In 2011, Gessler falsely testified to Congress that Democratic Senator Michael Bennet’s narrow 2010 victory over Republican Ken Buck may have been due to 5000 illegal votes cast by some 16,270 non-citizens allegedly registered to vote.  Actually, at most 80?!?

That falsehood confirms the reportedly widely-shared bipartisan opinion that “the entire thing [was] an utter waste of time and resources” when “there [were] far more pressing issues [Gessler’s] office could have been working on”.

Precisely because Gessler is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Governor Hickenlooper in 2014, his willingness to “waste” government “time and resources”, his dubious sense of priorities, and his previously documented ethical shortcomings, should cause voters (and the Sentinel) to question his integrity and suitability for higher office.

Indeed, because Gessler must compete in next years’ Republican primary, his fact-free campaign against virtually non-existent “voter fraud” can best be interpreted as pandering to the right-wing “base” (including Blackman?) who are obsessed with imaginary “voter fraud” (despite the absence of any “factual basis”) for fear of minorities’ voting power.

Acting on this manufactured paranoia, at least nineteen Republican-controlled states have passed laws with the (sometimes admitted) intent and effect of suppressing minority (and thus Democratic) votes.  The Supreme Court further emboldened those Republicans’ anti-democratic, “un-American” activities by gutting the Voting Rights Act earlier this year.

Thus, Coloradans who believe that voting is the most fundamental constitutional right (upon which all other rights depend) should be extremely hesitant to vote for any such ideologically repugnant Republicans—especially Scott Gessler.

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