Email letters, November 27,  2013

King blames feds for wildfire problem rather than homeowners


State Sen. Steve King’s latest offering – “Don’t count on federal landowners to aid in fighting wildfires in Colorado” – epitomizes the incoherence of Republicans’ pandering policy prescriptions.


The federal government manages 23 millions acres of wilderness, National Forest, and BLM lands in Colorado – where fires are often naturally occurring regenerative events.


Coloradans have chosen to build homes adjacent to those lands – ignoring the inherent risks of doing so, which are apparently increasing as a result of global climate change.


King conveniently places the onus of fire suppression responsibility on the public side of the “wildland-urban interface”—rather than on “urbanites”—and falsely insinuates that the federal government is “absent” when wildfires originate on federally-managed lands. 


Moreover, King curiously does not advocate a commensurate exercise of “eminent domain” against absentee private landowners who neglect their property, counties that refuse to enact sensible zoning ordinances, and/or individuals who fail to demonstrate “personal responsibility” by acquiring adequate and actuarially-priced fire insurance.


Instead, King calls on Colorado’s “government” to insure those “free riders” by imposing increased tax burdens on more prudent citizens who opt not to assume the risk of closely locating near the viewsheds afforded by Colorado’s scenic landscapes, while begging the question of how many firefighting aircraft are needed and who would pay for them.


Thus, King’s co-sponsored SB 13-245 (signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 5) created the Colorado Firefighting Air Corps and authorized (but did not require) acquisition of firefighting aircraft (at a cost of $17 million to retrofit two surplus C-130s).  Recommendations regarding firefighting helicopters are due April 1, 2014.


On July 22, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee released its proposed “Interior and Environment” appropriations bill, which included $130 million for two modern fire-fighting aircraft.  Neither that committee nor the full House has yet voted on that bill.


BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction

For welfare of Colorado, Udall should be defeated in 2014

So, our two senators, Udall and Bennett, voted for the “nuclear option”, in effect tearing another page out of our Constitution.

The nuclear option essentially eliminates opportunity for the minority party (at this time, the Republicans) to filibuster. The Republicans no longer have a voice when it comes to some appointments, such as lifetime appointments to circuit courts, and other presidential appointments. With the nuclear option, the Senate needs only a simple majority instead of 60 votes, as previously required, to bring to a vote of confirmation such appointments, then a simple majority vote to confirm the appointments. That means that the Senate majority can impose its will, and the minority has absolutely NO voice in the appointment process.

It’s interesting that Sen. Udall comes around trying to convince us that he is a centrist. This is always the case when liberals are running for re-election. It behooves us to remember that both senators Udall and Bennett voted for, and continue to support, Obamacare.

For the welfare of Colorado, and indeed, the entire country, it is essential Udall be defeated in 2014. No need to worry about Udall, as he will have a very generous retirement package provided by the taxpayers after six “tough’ years of work in the Senate.

RAY BRANDON

Grand Junction

Solution for the sage-grouse issue is within reach

I would like to congratulate the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for its coverage of the sage grouse issue and the potential impacts on Western Colorado. The articles by Gary Harmon and Dennis Webb, plus numerous editorials, have help crystallize the issue. Timing is everything.

Additionally, I would like to commend Gov. John Hickenlooper. It is apparent that the input by cooperating agencies, local governments and stakeholders on the sage grouse issue in Craig and Rifle has had an impact. The governor came to Western Colorado to “lean in and listen.” It is apparent our governor intends to add a little elbow grease, as well.

With the governor, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, county commissioners, Club 20, cooperating agencies and stakeholders all working together, with diverse opinions, a true Colorado alternative to solving the issue of sage grouse is within reach.

Good on everyone. It is nice to see our governor pulling local leaders together to combat the biggest economic issue facing rural Northwest Colorado.

WADE HAERLE
Grand Junction

Pugliese, Justman only represent interests of tea party

It is time to talk about recall of John and Rose. These people only work for the tea party. They want to defund anything that helps the low-income people of this valley. They are willing to risk losing funding of GOCO, for a paltry amount of money, compared to what they spend on the Avalon and Two Rivers, both of which should not be owned by the city!

It’s bad enough the wages here don’t allow many people to own a car, so they want to cut funds for the buses, or the hours they run, preventing many people getting to work.

If you want more sales taxes, raise the minimum wage, and watch people spend money! Allow marijuana shops and reap the taxes and benefits of better paying jobs. The reason we are so far behind in recovery is because we are regressive not progressive, compared to the rest of the country.

JENNIFER BOWDEN
Grand Junction

Acquafresca thanked for support of riverfront trail system

I would like to say thank you to Commissioner Acquafresca for his support on the riverfront trail system.
As a longtime resident of Mesa County, I would like people to know what a great gem we have. The monies leveraged from the great outdoors and others are well spent for us, the local taxpayers.

My family uses the trail system from Palisade to the parkway at the Redlands. Our mid-30s handicapped son and our five-year-old grandson love to walk and ride bicycles for miles through the valley.

Now we will soon have the chance to park near Fruita and ride or bike with my parents as they live close to the new trail to be built.  My father, a World War II vet, still enjoys a brisk morning walk.

This is money well spent for generations present and those in the future.

Put up the phone and computer games and hit the trail. See the changing seasons and the wildlife. Access the fishing right in your own backyard.

This is not about people coming from outside the country the county or the state to enjoy. These are dollars spent for the citizens here.

What a shame to talk down the spending. Wake up, walk or ride this trail system. Take your family to see the eagles, ducks and deer. You will get excited about life and the wonderful place to live. Make a memory. And say thank you to those who struggle to make this happen when you see them, as they are friends and neighbors also.

GARY GREENOUGH
Clifton

General aviation pilots now prefer friendlier airports

My reaction to the Sentinel Thursday editorial was identical to Bill Marvel’s – disbelief, as was that of nearly all general aviation pilots I know, most of whom have stopped flying into Grand Junction at all.

My old logbook show two or three flights a week to Grand Junction to shop, eat or see a movie. I spent thousands of dollars per year at the old Monarch Aviation for parts, repairs, pilot supplies and gas, along with shopping in town. I highly recommended the then-friendly Walker Field and Monarch Aviation to other pilots. It has been more than 10 years since I’ve flown in to shop. Montrose is much friendlier.

The general public is not aware that general aviation pilots are very mobile and tend to spend a little more than the average person. GA flights are not big and noisy, but we spend a lot of money and the gas tax on avgas we pay helps maintain our fields.

Grand Junction Regional Airport has been very hostile to general aviation pilots in recent years unless one flies a million-dollar plane and refuels at a very overpriced gas monopoly, with avgas much cheaper at far smaller fields like Paonia. 

I have no idea what the present FBI raid is about, but many of us have observed, with some degree of astonishment and suspicion, the security fence debacle, and the running off of the “little guy” by the fixed based operator, while other airports such as Colorado Springs, Alamosa, Montrose, Cortes and Gunnison dealt with the problem in a reasonable manner barely notice by GA pilots. 

On the bright side smaller local fields such as Delta, Westwinds and Mack have benefited from the influx of GA pilots and airport businesses fleeing the nonsense. Maybe we will soon have better days ahead.

DON GEDDES
Crawford



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