Email letters, Oct. 3, 2012

How do Garco commissioners determine a majority of citizens?

While reviewing the news story concerning the forum for the candidates running for the board of county commisioners, I was disturbed by the comments of Commissioner Martin and his assertion that the board members were “elected to make decisions for the majority of the people.”

All this time I thought that the board members were elected as public servants to oversee and operate the county government in a manner that benefits the citizens of the county as a whole, not just the majority.

I am a taxpaying resident of Garfield County, and I would like the board members to explain exactly how they determined who are the majority of the people and what their definition is of the people who make up this majority. I do not need the board to make decisions for me, since I can make those decisions myself, so I hope that I am not part of that majority group.

This attitude is a perfect example of what happens when government is operated on a partisan basis and how elected public servants, especially long-term incumbents, abuse their power and serve only those they determine will enable them to preserve their government jobs.

It behooves every voter to determine which candidates will act in the interests of all citizens, not just the majority, and vote accordingly, instead of voting based on what letter of the alphabet follows a candidate’s name on the ballot.

GARRY EVENSON

Battlement Mesa

Spehar uses column to ruffle readers’ feathers

We’ve all met people who blurt out provocative crap just to shock us. “Shock jocks” on the radio are a good example. It’s an annoying personality trait used to attract attention.

Combine that with being a lifelong liberal and you have Jim Spehar. His talent lies in the ability to anger people with words. But, like the Bible story of Sampson and Delilah, the power to anger is fragile and only exists if you read his column. Take away the newspaper voice, and his opinion carries the same weight as yours; he’s simply another lonely liberal trapped in Happy Valley.

Remember, if there were a majority of people in Mesa County who thought like Jim, his column wouldn’t be published at all. The Sentinel only prints his opinions because playing devil’s advocate and creating controversy sells papers.

It’s bait that’s designed to ruffle feathers, and it looks like last week’s readers of letters to the editor took the bait hook, line and sinker. Apparently I did, too, except I know where Jim’s coming from.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

Gerow’s work experience, attributes merit endorsement

I first had the opportunity to meet Jana Bingham Gerow through the Associated Builders and Contractors board of directors in 1994 when she was manager of construction and maintenance for City Market. Gerow served on the ABC board until she left City Market and then again as she started her own business a few years later.

Jana is a hard-working, dedicated individual who takes her profession in construction management very seriously; she also looks beyond to the success of her fellow professionals and the community. At first, she was the only woman on our ABC board. She never hesitated to speak up and share her opinions, while also listening and contributing when others of us had agenda items. She was the chair of the programs committee for at least a couple years, and the quality of the programs and our attendance was high during that time.

Gerow also served with Richard Goodman, Michael Santos and a couple others to head the first-ever ABC awards dinner. It was a complete success and took our membership to new levels in numbers and in quality. 

I later had the opportunity to serve with Gerow as she served as the bank inspector for the loan on our new Family Health West Hospital. She was thorough and responsible, making sure each item was justified and documented. 

I have confidence Gerow will serve the community well as the next District 1 Mesa County commissioner, and I endorse her for that position.

MARK J. FRANCIS
President / Chief Executive Officer, Family Health West
Fruita

Most flexible candidates likely to snag victories

The debates are on with each political party stoking and stacking its positions, each aiming toward simple and perilous solutions to economic and fiscal problems perceived by many as a fiscal cliff. One necessarily has to be concerned with the depth of that cliff. Our elected officials have the legal, moral and very grave responsibility to assure that this country is able to meet its obligations and survive. There is no question many in this world have to be counting on us while others may be hoping for our demise. Thank goodness that there is an end to the spending madness the Supreme Court foisted upon us.


In this potential and catastrophic event we have to ask ourselves, “Who will derive, explain and propound the most responsible position?”  Without some loosening up by the extreme sides of each party, we might be like Wile E. Coyote, as Ruth Marcus, a pundit, suggests. If I recall correctly, he survived thousands of cliff falls. We may not survive many. We may not survive one!


Who will win? I believe it will be the candidate who expresses the most flexibility—tax the richer much more and tax others more; accept reductions in Social Security and Medicare programs; promote more responsibility and efficiency along with greater liability for wrongdoing in government and the private sector; reduce waste; and create more responsibility in the defense department, other government agencies and the private sector.


We may not be facing Armageddon, but the perceived and probable chaotic situation will no doubt require greater sacrifices by all, if it occurs. I am counting on President Obama to prevail and create a more negotiable and workable stance.

Republicans, not. I expect Republicans to be more maladroit and less expurgating in exhorting their malice. Any elected official who does not accept a more workable position should be considered on the verge of impeachment, if not treason. Yes, treason!


JOSE U. LUCERO
Grand Junction

Sen. King clarifies stance on CDPHE’s use of tax dollars

I have to admit I was a little surprised at the tone of some of the e-mails taking me to task for what the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been doing with our tax dollars. I think a little public clarification is in order.


First, this is not about smoking. Like most Americans, especially those of us blessed to live in the healthiest state in the union, I know smoking is a terrible, unhealthy habit. This is about the constitutionality of non-elected bureaucrats using taxpayers’ money to try to change law and policy by attempting to influence the outcomes of local policy initiatives.


When I, as a member of the legislative audit committee, find out that the CDPHE is spending millions of our dollars lobbying local governments to pass laws banning smoking in areas not covered by the Clean Air Act, I have a constitutional obligation to take action.


The responsibility for making public policy rests with the people, through their elected representatives in the legislative branch. The state’s executive agencies, such as the CDPHE, are tasked with carrying out those laws and policies. This state agency has no authority to lobby or to fund local changes in law, and either our governor or the legislature must put a stop to it.


The CDPHE’s actions also violate the constitutional principle of equal treatment under the law. If a government agency can exert its tax-funded power and influence to affect the outcome of local elections regarding tobacco use, what realistically is there to stop it from doing the same thing with any other industry, whose only sin may be nothing more than falling short of the ideals of some government regulator? This is not materially different from the state using tax dollars to lobby for laws that favor, for instance, cable over satellite TV.


CDPHE has taken it upon itself to directly influence local laws and policies with our money; that is an abuse of power, putting freedom and the processes of our constitutional republic at risk. With roughly 7 million taxpayer dollars having been misused for this abuse already, this must stop and right-this-minute is not too soon.


SEN. STEVE KING
Grand Junction

Mavs deserved better than ‘theatrical tirades’ of defensive coach

Sitting in the stands with the Homecoming crowd last weekend, I was shocked at the behavior of the Mavs’ defensive coach. The theatrical tirades he displayed and the throwing of headphones, breaking of clipboards and curses aimed at the players during a second-half meltdown were pretty embarrassing.

Maybe he should look in the mirror and ask why he changed from a pass-rushing scheme and a big lead on the scoreboard in the first half to just rushing three men and laying back and letting a quarterback pick his defense apart in the second half.

The kids didn’t deserve the treatment he laid out.

JOHN HINES
Limon

Be sure to cast well-informed vote

Americans need to stand up and shout this November. The way to do this is to vote, and the way to vote is to be well informed about the candidates.

I’m not going to tell you who’s done what. I’m not going to tell stories about one candidate over the other; the proof is out there. Research each candidate, do the math and then vote.

This country depends on the American people to vote. If you don’t vote, don’t complain about what’s happening to the American way of life and the freedoms that people fought and died for so people like you and I could enjoy them.  One voice, one vote. Stand up and be heard.”

CURT CLAUSSEN
Grand Junction

Americans urged to show unity on energy independence

Does it really take a threat to world peace as in World War II or an attack on American soil such as 9/11 to make our country come together?

In WWII, men volunteered in droves while women “manned” the factories to produce everything from bullets to airplanes. After 9/11 more flags were flown in neighborhoods than ever before, and all of Congress assembled on the Capitol steps to show unity.

Now, we are headed on a very dangerous course, and people seem to be living their lives with blinders on. Having visited eight countries outside the U.S., the one thing that was blatantly obvious was that people in other countries are much more attuned to world politics than the average American. We get up, have our coffee and breakfast, get our kids off to school, go to work, come home, maybe watch some news (which, no matter what your preference, is biased), have dinner, maybe watch some TV and go to bed to start over again tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the world looks at our current administration as weak and plots against us every day. The Middle East puts pictures of our president on the ground and stomps on it before lighting it on fire. The “reset button” hasn’t worked with the Middle East, nor has it worked with the Russians; meanwhile, the Chinese are buying up our country.

Wake the hell up, America! We send a letter to the energy secretary asking to delay exporting natural gas, which would help our GNP, because it will cause more “fracking,” which might affect our groundwater. After extensive studies, though, that has never been proven.

Politicians have been talking about energy independence for years, while the only thing keeping us from achieving that is politics! We have more people living off the government than ever in our history. The tactic is: Vote for our party and we will keep giving you money; vote for the other party and you will have to work for a living.

Every democracy in history has failed when the citizens realized they could vote themselves money.

GLENN MENARD
Grand Junction

Christians respond differently to societal injustices

A recent letter lamenting the release of the ridiculous movie trailer depicting Mohammed as a buffoon and claiming that it caused all the violence around the world was rather suspect as the trailer had been on the Internet since July and ‘”spontaneously” erupted Sept. 11.

The letter naively ended by asking what Christians would do if Jesus were depicted in such a manner. Well, Jesus has been depicted as such, and Christians have complained, written letters and demonstrated.

What they don’t do is riot, burn buildings, kill innocents or respond with automatic weapons and RPGs!  Could it be that the reason for the difference is that Mohammed was a military commander who had his soldiers kill and torture people while Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and love their enemies?

FRANKLIN DAGLEY
Grand Junction

Pay back Social Security funds, raise starting age for benefits to 70

Joseph Luff’s last letter to the editor tries to persuade us that the Social Security Trust Fund is in the red. He says, “55 million of us receiving Social Security checks are borrowing $500 each and sending the bill, with accrued interest, to our grandchildren.”

The fact is that the Social Security trust fund has been helping to keep the government solvent for the last few decades by lending its surplus cash to the government in return for bonds. The cash lent to the government never went toward Social Security payments; remaining cash in the fund always covered them.

This fact is central to understanding the controversy: Social Security taxes are the most regressive taxes imaginable; all income over $100,000 is exempt, and there are no other deductions.


Luff wants to persuade us that the billions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund that were lent in good faith to the government to carry out other functions don’t need to be paid back. This would perpetrate the largest pension-fund fraud in history.


Sensible solutions abound. To me, Social Security is an insurance policy. If you don’t need it, you don’t get it. The definition of “not needing it” is sure to spark controversy, but it’s a start. I think it is appropriate to raise the starting age, as well. Good food and medical care are making 70 the old 65.


Lastly, if the taxes for Social Security have to be raised, so be it. Remember, the last president to do that was Saint Reagan.


PETER FORTE
Palisade



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