Email letters, Oct. 14, 2011

It’s time to reject the false prophets of alternative energy

The advancement of the science of energy production over the past four decades pales compared to the advancements made in electronics and medicine. It still takes several square miles of solar panels or windmills to produce the same amount of energy produced by a single hydrocarbon facility located on just a few acres, and with far less reliability. Production of these alternative sources of energy require huge amounts of rare earth elements, over 95 percent of which are produced in China under incredibly polluting conditions. Our government has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing alternative energy, with little success.

It is time to realize that the extreme global warming/pollution believers are following the dictates of a religion, not those of science. In the future, some form of alternative energy will certainly replace hydrocarbons, but that time has not yet arrived.

The devil of their religion is carbon dioxide. There are thousands of credible scientists who disagree that an increase in CO2 is either dangerous or responsible for global warming, as our chaotic climate system is far too complex to be driven by a single, tiny parameter. CO2 comprises .038 percent of our atmosphere. During the Jurassic period our atmosphere contained 1500–2500 PPM of CO2, compared with 380 PPM today, and the dinosaurs did just fine. Besides, analysis of ocean sediments tells us that the increase in atmospheric CO2 follows, not precedes, global warming. Actually, increased atmospheric CO2 increases photosynthesis rates for plants allowing for greater food production for a hungry world.

It is time to reject the false prophets of alternative energy and utilize our natural gift of hydrocarbon energy for the benefit of all. Reduce unnecessary government regulations and allow our entrepreneurs to safely and efficiently mine and drill for hydrocarbon energy from the North Slope of Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. We know how to do this with minimal environmental impact today.


Don’t let the School District fritter away any more taxpayer money

School District 51 asked us what we thought about increasing our taxes for schools. We said “No.” District 51 paid a Denver firm $48,000 to survey local voters to gauge support for raising taxes. The district was advised that since the level of support was not at least 58 percent, the mill levy override would likely fail. The district pressed on with the ballot measure. Since 2011 is an off-year, the district is counting on light voter turnout from voters who are not School District employees.

It’s no wonder raising taxes is not a very popular idea right now. Times are really tough. Most of us have had to cut our own budgets in this weak economy. Some of the hardest hit have been Social Security recipients, who have not had a cost of living raise since 2008. The School District should look for ways to tighten up its budget instead of asking for more money from voters.

School District 51 wastes a lot of money. To take just one example, they finance an entire department devoted to “multicultural education.” Perhaps if District 51 spent its existing funds on real education, it wouldn’t need more tax dollars to do its job.

District 51 frittered away $48,000 on a survey by not taking the advice of the consultant who conducted the survey. Taxes should not be raised in a weak economy. The district wastes money on programs that contribute nothing toward education. District 51’s mill levy override will only give the district more money to squander. We urge you to vote “No” on Referred Measure 3B, District 51’s mill levy override.


Throwing more money at education won’t help

My voting ballot came in the mail today and it made me stop and think. As a volunteer for an organization that sends boxes and letters to troops, who better than me to see the awful writing skills coming out of schools today? I’ve read a lot of letters in 7 years.

Spelling and grammar skills are almost non-existent, but the older writers (60+) seem to be better. So, I wondered, if education today is so great, why can’t kids write and spell as good as those older folks?

The letters and notes I read span from ages 6 to 80 and I guess the point is, when did we stop teaching the basics? From about age 45 down, the skills almost disappear.

Imagine this for a moment: What if there was a company where a worker who’s incompetent can’t be fired unless he or she doesn’t get better in two years? Are you kidding? No. This will be School District 51 if 3B is voted in.

I’m not in favor of Proposition 103 either, it’s voting to allow taxes to raise a bunch of money to pay for more of the same.

I firmly believe education here and everywhere is a complete mess and nothing short of a complete do-over and elimination of the teachers union will clear up the choke hold they have on school policy. Unless we do that soon, we’ll continue to see cut backs and budget short falls year after year.

As for me, my vote is “No” to any tax increases, including 3B. I believe throwing more money at this without complete reform is nuts.

Grand Junction

School District needs to live within their budget

I would like to know who died and left the homeowners of Mesa County the ones in charge of bailing out School District 51? Every time somebody needs more tax money, they always turn to the homeowners.

With the rate of foreclosures in Mesa County, it seems like the homeowners are becoming older folks — the younger people move out because of the lack of jobs. That leaves the people like myself and my husband — both of us are almost 70 years old. We have paid for 40-plus years while our children were in school. Now maybe it’s time to get some form of tax that hits all the people in Mesa County, like a county sales tax.

We would vote “Yes” on that sort of tax but I will not vote on any tax that hits a homeowner. Look at your tax notice. Out of the $1,300 a year we pay on our home alone is over $800. Maybe the school district needs to live within their budget.

Grand Junction

Drilling on the Roan Plateau will lead to degradation

We were surprised by The Daily Sentinel’s reporting of claims by energy company Bill Barrett Corp. in the Oct. 7 story on the Roan Plateau. Barrett official Duane Zavadil’s comments contained numerous errors about proposed development on the Roan Plateau.

First, Mr. Zavadil got the name of the judge wrong.  U.S. District Court Judge Krieger will be deciding the pending lawsuit — not Magistrate Judge Mix.

More importantly, Bill Barrett Corp.‘s environmental claims don’t pass the straight-face test.  The Roan Plateau has been recognized as one of the four most biologically rich areas in Colorado, of the same caliber as our state’s national parks and monuments. When approving the Bush administration’s drilling plan for the Roan in 2008, even BLM staff predicted “substantial degradation” of the area. BLM’s environmental impact statement anticipated that drilling would cause irreversible losses of native trout, wilderness-quality lands, and rare species that depend on the Roan.

That forecast turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg; shortly after acquiring the leases, Barrett announced that it plans to drill more than 3,000 wells atop the Roan — 15 times more than BLM had considered.

That intensity of drilling will turn the Roan into an industrial zone and jeopardize the hunting, angling and recreation that sustain western Colorado’s economy when energy booms inevitably go bust. 

Barrett also dredges up the false choice between economic growth and environmental protection.  While we don’t know how the court case will be resolved, we do know that cancellation of Barrett’s leases can be structured in a way that won’t hurt the state’s finances.

Even without Barrett’s leases, BLM projects that thousands more wells will be drilled in the area surrounding the Roan over the next 20 years. That makes it even more important to protect islands of wildlife, rare plants and undisturbed backcountry like the Roan Plateau. 

Earthjustice, Rocky Mountain Office

It’s time to try something different in public education

Questions occur to me each time the Board of Education seeks more money for School District 51 and trots out the well worn “for the children” ploy to dig further into our pockets, one of which is how much smarter and better educated are our kids now than in the past? Does the District have a track record of improved skills and intellect per additional dollar spent? Do “the children” perform better on standard tests each time we throw more money at them?

A decade or so ago the SATs were dumbed down so performances would look better across the board yet, if I’ve read The Daily Sentinel correctly, over the years the performance level on SATs for the most part has remained stagnant or declined. Are we turning out kids with adequate skills to enter society and the workplace and succeed? Ask employers that question and you likely won’t like the answers.

And those who go off the college, are they prepared to succeed or do they too often have to sign up for remedial classes in basic subjects? Across the nation our colleges bemoan the lack of preparedness of incoming freshmen. So what have our education dollars bought us, the taxpayers, in the past?

As far as I can see, the classroom toys have improved and the schools and landscaping look pretty good, but there seems to be little change in the quality of education.

Other things that haven’t changed would include a continuing abundance of redundant administrators; teachers who are overloaded, often overwhelmed and daily disrespected by parents, kids and, behind their backs, many administrators; drugs still available on school grounds and the beat goes on. There has been little, if any, measurable improvement in the quality of education attributable to more money.

Whatever gains there have been is due to the dedication and diligence of classroom teachers, the last in line to see any money. I’m beginning to think that we voters should eliminate the federal, state and collegiate departments of education and turn education over to private enterprise with local controls who would be held accountable for education value per dollar spent. Throwing money at the school district hasn’t paid off in the past and likely won’t pay off in the future so maybe it’s time to try something radically different.
Grand Junction

Students seeing the effects of budget cuts

I am aggravated when people say the school district is wasting money. I am a student of this district and I have seen problems with trying to push a large amount of students into an underfunded school. The statement by a letter write: “When School District 51 had all these additional dollars, were they graduating all rocket scientists and high-test-scoring students.” is ridiculous. Schooling takes years and the difference in test scores is obvious.

The school district is building debt and hasn’t had additions to its capital reserve fund in years. When I spoke with Jody Diers, principal of Central High School, she said, “We are down to the bare bones; we don’t have money to truly give all the students the help they need.”

In the past month at our school, I have seen dead mice and dead birds on campus for over a month without being disposed of, I have seen custodians who can’t clean every room so rooms may go months without cleaning and I have seen students choosing only classes they can afford.

In Sir Ken Robinson’s speech: Do schools kill creativity (if you have 20 free minutes watch it) “if you’re not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original. By the time they get to be adults most kids have lost this capacity.” And “we grow out of creativity.” Later he bases this off one major problem schools treat all children the same because standardizing is cheaper.

So, a larger education budget may not create one more rocket scientist, but infinite new ideas that may change the world.

Vote “yes” on 3B.

Grand Junction

Protest over regulation

After reading the article in Tthe Daily Sentinel on Oct. 13,  concerning protestors in Glenwood Springs blaming the lack of jobs and the economic problems the nation faces on Wall Street, I could not find the correlation. By nature, people tend to find someone or something to blame their misfortune on.

Today, we live in a country that is so heavily regulated that all policy and direction starts and stops with government intervention. We should be protesting the volumes of federal regulation passed each day making it impossible to start businesses, expand the economy, create jobs and support the American dream. 

The Declaration of Independence, a basic part of what our country is founded under, is 1,300 words.  The federal regulations for the sale of cabbage is 26,911 words. How can anyone believe that Wall Street is in control when the federal system is so encumbered with red tape that creating any jobs, supporting any job creation and reducing unemployment is next to impossible if we expect the government to solve these issues. 

The government cannot create jobs, but the government can, and should, amend the vast volumes of regulations and support business development in the United States. Our country offers everything a company looks for in business development with the exception of the over regulation taking place today.

If you want to protest please protest the overzealous regulation taking place with the people we elect to represent us, the American workforce.



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