Email letters, Oct. 13, 2011

Volunteers helped improve public lands

The Bureau of Land Management would like to thank the nearly 100 people who recently dedicated a Saturday to help improve public lands, along with the local businesses that supported them.

Volunteers who attended one of the three BLM Grand Junction Field Office events on National Public Lands Day Sept. 24 removed more than three tons of garbage and debris from public lands and improved over a mile of single track trail.

In particular, members of the Western Slope ATV Association provided critical support during the clean up of the north desert area.

A number of local businesses also supported the effort, including Castings, Inc., Which Wich, Chick-Fil-A, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Main Street Bagels, Starbucks, and Cabela’s.

These volunteers’ time made a difference to everyone who enjoys public lands and living in western Colorado.

CATHERINE ROBERTSON
BLM Grand Junction Field Manager

Columnist gets it wrong on protesters

Star Parker is wrong on all counts. Many young, educated Americans are more adult than Parker. It is the very rich, not the recipients of Pell grants, Medicare and Medicaid, who have benefited most from the redistribution of wealth.

She should at least display a modicum of understanding of facts. Her opinions are not synonymous with facts. Between 1979 and 2005, the inflation-adjusted income of middle-class families rose 21 percent while that of the top 100th of one percent rose more than 400 percent.

She apparently opposes funding for public education while favoring exempting a small number of the very rich from the social contract that applies to everyone else. That is the precise definition of real class warfare. Concern about Wall Street corruption and greed is not narcissism
DALE C. STAPLETON
Grand Junction

Education is cheaper than ignorance

I am a retired homeowner living in Mesa County and I am voting “Yes” on Referred Measure 3B. To balance the 2011–2012 budget, District 51 reduced over 70 administrative and support positions (reading and teacher Aids) and cut 80 teaching positions.

Improving District 51 students competitiveness in the global marketplace depends on the ability of closing the academic achievement gap including District 51’s increasingly diverse student population, many for whom English is a second language and who live in single-parent households, below poverty standards and/or homeless conditions.

Ensuring a stable and cohesive group of effective educators that provide instructional support and assistance to those children who otherwise would fail to achieve reading comprehension and/or math skills is in the best interest of our community and our children. Arguably, these teachers are the most important group of professionals in our community and for our nation’s future. 

District 51 School Board candidate Ann Tisue states in the Oct 11 edition of The Daily Sentinel that “it’s important to retain and reward our excellent teachers.” I agree, but I go one step further to emphasize that pay incentives alone have not been found, as in every other professional workplace, to increase motivation and insure long-term retention (Dist. 51 educators are in the second year of a pay freeze, have added an other unpaid furlough day and have undergone substantial benefit reductions).

Increasing class size to 30 and upwards to 35 students, in a 9th grade Core English class housed in a 1950s school room designed for 26 students, is not conducive to instructional quality or classroom morale. Scientific studies confirm overcrowding of classrooms has a negative effect on students and teachers including the ability to provide thoughtful, authentic instructional feed back in a timely manner, something recognized as best practices among those “excellent teachers’’ that Tisue claims to support.

District 51’s spends less on indirect spending than all but two major Colorado school districts. Most of the revenue received by District 51 goes directly to instructional support for our students. We, as a community, must come together and address the looming shortfall if we are to maintain the viability of public education in Mesa County. If you think education is expensive try ignorance.

RUTH YVONNE MICHELS
Grand Junction

Occupy Wall Street is just a ploy

I wonder if those who scramble to validate the animal-house-like street-happening that is the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) rabble have any inkling of what they are doing. Attempts to liken this to the street politics of the ’60s sadly miss the point. Protests then focused on an ill-conceived war and genuine civil rights disparities. Those demonstrations were not pure; they were messy, loud and disturbing but the results were concrete: the Vietnam war was ended; the Equal Rights Amendment was passed and meaningful actions were taken to address racial inequality. No such clear focus of cause or intended outcome drives the current movement.

That the size of the OWS groups are large and becoming larger is obviously more attributable to the new phenomenon of the social media than to the value of the cause itself. More disturbing, however is the support being given them by liberals, the national media and the Obama administration who doubtless see the ruckus as a timely and sorely needed diversion of public attention from the monumental failings in economic machinations and social engineering which we all are made to suffer.

What a wonderful day in the neighborhood our esteemed president must perceive as he believes so much embarrassment can be obscured by so little as the OWS activism. Sorry, more of us than can be imagined see this subterfuge for what it is: the furtherance of your campaign to obfuscate Obama’s record and create the divisive class warfare and chaos he can count on to ensure his re-election in 2012. One day soon the OWS gamers will go away and so will Obama.

BOBBY JOHNSON
Parachute

Occupy Grand Junction’s solutions worse then problems

I’ve had the opportunity to chat with many of the people involved in the “Occupy Grand Junction” protests. They are a disparate group, ranging from those who are just plain upset at the state of the economy to those who advocate anarchy, fascism and various forms of socialism.

The one theme which unites all of them is hatred of corporations. Never mind that corporations are owned by Americans like you and I. In their somewhat myopic view, it is corporate greed which is making American society ill. This group is determined to not only express their views that salaries should be capped, banks should be subjected to runs which will disrupt their ability to conduct business, but to effectively seize public property, the Old Mesa County Courthouse, “until corporations are no longer greedy.”

This movement must be taken seriously. While, as Americans, they have every right to express their grievances against the government, (1st Amendment), this movement in other places has gone far left of field. Rosanne Barr, for example, called for “reeducation camps” for CEOs, followed by beheading.
(I’m not kidding and neither was she.)

One of the organizers of the Occupy LA movement called for “French Style Revolution,” this was followed by chants of “Socialism! Socialism!” Occupy Grand Junction has clearly intoned support for these other sister movements. Rather than repudiating such repugnant ideas, the leaders are motivated by them.

I call upon local conservative movements to counter-protest this camp-in. This is the time to do so. The shrill voices of the left who are calling for complete disruption of the American economy in pursuit of economic equality must not be the only such voices out there — the complaints OGJ have are real, but the solutions they offer are far worse than the problems.

STEVE HENDERSON
Grand Junction

Our children deserve a chance at a great education today

School District 51 school funding is not about graduating rocket scientists. That’s what colleges and universities do after that essential K–12 education. School District 51 funding gets our future leaders and possibly rocket scientists ready to face the challenges of life. These children are the future of our society … really.

School District 51 ranks toward the bottom of school funding not only in our state, but across the nation. Funding for teachers, classrooms, and classroom technology is essential for our children’s’ education. Referred Measure 3B is essential for the education of our children.

Schools will close, and we will lose more teachers if this measure does not pass. Our economy, as we all know, is in a state of flux. It will level out and improve as time goes on, but until that time and the six-year sunset on this tax increase, this funding will keep our schools viable.

This viability is essential to our children’s’ education — their future, and even our own future. The children today will be the business owners and leaders of tomorrow. Shouldn’t we give them every chance with a great education today.

AMY AGAPITO
Grand Junction

Will local protesters follow national example?

I read both the news article by Gary Harmon and the column by Rick Wagner in Oct. 13 Daily Sentinel. I certainly hope the Occupy Grand Junction campers have their KOA permit and that the Grand Junction Police will enforce our laws.

I cannot imagine a thousand useful idiots in the valley, but then that atheist up on Glade Park does seem to have some following with her captive free stinkers. So we will see how many occupiers show up. Probably will be more from the local news media than protesters ,but that is speculation.

Funny is the fact that certain lefties continue to attempt compare the Occupy crowd of useful idiots to the Tea Party. I don’t recall arrests being necessary at Tea Party events. I don’t recall the filth — and obscene public sex — and the media photographs of some unwashed puke rubbing his bare behind on a police car at any Tea Party even.

And contrary to leftist propaganda the reports of Tea Party members spitting on public figures has been proven false. So we will see if the Grand Junction Occupiers reflect their national examples or if they will be at all like the local Tea Party gatherings.

ROBERT JAMES BURKHOLDER
Fruita

Link between terrorism and Iran

For the first time there is a direct link between a terrorist operation and the Iranian government. While their involvement has been suspected for many years, this link cannot be disputed. We have gotten ourselves into a real “catch-22” in the Middle East. If we just pull out, the radicals will see us as weak and they will take over the entire region in a relatively short period of time and become a bigger threat to our security. If we stay with the current directives and objectives we may slow things down a bit, but we will never curtail the terrorist threat.

With the world economy like it is, the oil rich nation’s poker hands look a lot better than most of the other players. China, who has their own agenda, still has a strong interest in Middle East oil and Russia (while becoming more energy independent because they don’t think the Spotted Winged Gnat is more important than drilling) still has a major interest in the region. Meanwhile, America and its European allies are quickly tiring of treading water trying to keep their financial heads above water. It’s a mess and I fear that once things escalate, they will do so exponentially.  When the feces hits the fan, I hope we are ready and that we have a Commander in Chief who is up to making the tough decisions. Settling things with a beer in the Rose Garden or sitting around the campfire singing Kumbaya isn’t going to cut it.
GLENN MENARD
Grand Junction


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