Email letters, Oct. 8, 2012

Kids leaving public schools take top part of bell curve with them

In a recent article concerning the House race for District 55, Rep. Ray Scott missed the point concerning public education, charter schools and teacher unions. The main difference between charter/private schools and public education is the population they serve. Parents that have the time to volunteer and resources to transport their children to the school of their choice also have time to spend with their kids engaged in enriching activities.

As more of these children leave public education, they also take the high performing end of the bell curve with them. That leaves the rest of the bell curve in public education. And no matter how great a teacher you are, sometimes it is difficult to get through the layers of contextual issues and family problems that characterize public education.

Private/charter schools and their teachers aren’t any better than public schools or teachers. Their main difference is the population they serve.

Vouchers would only compound the problem. And, no matter how hard they try, politicians will never flatten the bell curve. Support ALL our teachers and the politicians that support them.

GARY CONKLIN
Grand Junction

Rich ante up fair share of income tax revenues

Your editorial on Romney’s comment about 47 percent of Americans paying no federal income tax betrays either your ignorance of the U.S. tax code or a bias toward Obama.

First, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has shown that low-to middle-income Americans pay unusually low taxes. It also showed that the U.S. has the most progressive tax system in the world. Besides, what’s so great about a progressive tax?  Karl Marx was one of the first to push such a stupid idea.

Also, the 47 percent aside, those in the top 1 percent pay nearly 40 percent of the federal income tax revenues collected by the federal treasury. When all their taxes are added together, they pay between 40 and 60 percent of their income to government, depending on where they live, tax deductions, etc.

‘Then there’s Obama’s perpetual lie about millionaires and billionaires paying a lower percentage in federal income tax (effective rate) than the middle class pays. In reality, according to the IRS, they pay more than twice what the middle class pays:  24.4 percent vs. 8.9 percent. There are exceptions, but not many.

Finally, liberals are fond of claiming that low- to middle-income earners pay the payroll tax. Well, so do the “rich.”

The fact is the “rich” pay more than their fair share. But that’s not good enough for Obama and his merry band of liberals. It’ll never be enough.

Taxes don’t need to go up; government spending needs to come down. It’s fun to watch liberals. As Ronald Reagan once said, “ It’s not that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” They could also learn from Maggie Thatcher, who said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

RUSSELL KEITH
Grand Junction

Waiving nation’s fuel standard would have dire effects on rural communities

Among the topics not addressed at the first presidential debate was the need to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard and the economic, clean energy and national security benefits it provides. It’s time for our elected leaders to recognize the central role that renewable fuels play in increasing America’s energy independence.

Colorado is on the cutting edge of the renewable fuel economy. We are creating jobs on farms in research centers and in production facilities. We are reducing national dependence on foreign oil and innovating our way to the most advanced transportation fuel technologies in America.

That’s why Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has joined a large coalition of renewable fuel stakeholders throughout the nation who are working to protect the nation’s RFS. The coalition’s launch comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a request to “waive” the RFS, a move that would have serious negative consequences for Colorado’s rural communities and clean-tech innovators and for our energy independence.

We are strongly behind maintaining the RFS because of the benefits it has brought to Colorado and the promise it holds for our future. Visit http://www.FuelsAmerica.org  for more information and help us send a clear message to Congress. Keep the progress going; keep the RFS in place.

KENT PEPPLER
President, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
Platteville


Spend extra money in council coffers on vital services such as emergency responder training center

I am concerned when a request for our city money and the need by deadline date comes up quickly in the city council. That appears so with the college request for $7 million of our (it is our money) along with $3 million from the county to build more infrastructure for the college that allegedly over a long period of time will come back to the city treasury by more sales tax (2.75 percent) and income spending from students.

Mesa’s people are experts at getting and mooching free money; I can’t fault them for trying, but at this time in our economy, if the city (our money) can support gifting them $7 million, then how do we justify not paying down our various city debts or just hanging on a while in the event of an economic emergency in these times in our area? 

If the money is burning a hole in the council’s pocket, why not use it better, like for a much lower-price regional fire and emergency responder training center and so much more to maintain our needed city survival infrastructure? 

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

Glen Gallegos’ skills make him a strong choice for CU regent

I highly support Glen Gallegos for the University of Colorado board of regents. His enormous experience in the field of education spans more than 26 years.

Just one example is his commitment to keep CU affordable and accessible for Colorado students by incorporating partnerships with various business organizations and creative entrepreneurs to assist with offering real work experiences and scholarships.

Providing CU with a vision of global competitiveness in the free marketplace with programs that will give each student a more than adequate education to compete globally and contribute to the economy of this great nation is one more example of Gallegos’ rich educational background.

Furthermore, when Gallegos was on the Colorado Mesa University trustee board, he was instrumental in establishing an engineering program through a partnership with CU.

In closing, I will be voting for Glen Gallegos for CU regent; he has repeatedly demonstrated the skill set and experience necessary to collaboratively improve the educational system, which is very complex when one adds in CU’s medical component.

Just anyone will not do. A statesman such as Gallegos will triumph where others have failed. CU needs a tough leader with a vision of academic excellence for all students, someone who will set higher standards for all faculty and students.

We do not need another Ward Churchill incident. We need a leader that will give students an economic edge to help them make a difference in the world. That man is Glen Gallegos. There is no other.

DR. BARBARA ANN SMITH

Grand Junction

No matter whose plan is accepted, Americans will pay for health care

While Republicans are praising Mitt Romney for his debate win, did any of them, especially the Tea Party, hear what he said?  Massachusetts Moderate Mitt showed up instead Tea Party Trooper Mitt. Maybe what really stunned President Obama is that Romney nodded his head and agreed with him so much—about regulations, education and Obamacare.

So, did people hear what he said about Romneycare?  He said, as President, and according to his belief that states such as Massachusetts should be the ones to create a health care plan, that after repealing Obamacare he would “help” the states set up health care plans like he did in as governor.

Well, what he did as governor is exactly the same as what President Obama did as president. In case anyone has missed it, Obamacare originated during the 1990s Clinton-era efforts to create universal healthcare, and it was a Republican plan. Republicans wanted the mandate. Republicans like the mandate (except they’re really mad that Obama swiped it from them).

Post-debate spinners have said Romney would “help” the states adopt health care by using incentives and initiatives. And those who think that would not include mandates are fooling themselves because that’s the only way any state or country can pay for it. No matter what the plan, including universal plans, we will be paying for it one way or the other — as some of us are now.

Wonder what Mitt would take away from the states if they refuse to follow his lead?

EILEEN O’TOOLE
Grand Junction

GOP must own up to its part in financial downfall

I wonder when the GOP and the Tea Party are finally going to assume responsibility for the financial downfall in 2008 and the continued lag in our recovery due to the filibustering and unwillingness to compromise on the part of their congressmen and senators. I wonder when they are going to quit blaming President Obama for everything. 

Are they totally unaware or do they just choose to ignore the fact that a plan to limit Obama to one term was hatched by the leaders of the GOP and the Koch brothers on the night of his inauguration, no less.  I find that to be an abominably unpatriotic move on their part. Their hypocrisy is the most despicable aspect of their behavior.

It’s more than a little bit annoying to read their constant accusations and paranoia regarding the current administration. Only those who refuse to follow the facts and train their ears for the truth could honestly believe that Obama is leading us down the path of a “progressive socialist takeover.”  As he has said so many times, he wants us all to pay our “fair share.” If the rich are the job providers, and deserve tax breaks to that end, then why haven’t they pulled the country out of its financial doldrums?


HOLLY VON HELMS
Montrose

Romney/Ryan election may be only hope to avoid financial disaster

An irresolvable divide is between the ideological political opinions of our citizens. Alexander Hamilton mused, “Opinion, whether well or ill founded, is the governing principle of human affairs.”

On the left we have the continuation of Progressive policies of big, centralized, intrusive government, legislating wealth redistribution and limiting individual freedoms. American Progressive thinking stems from Woodrow Wilson, who first coined the phrase “Living Constitution,” implying that government power is unlimited. This policy always leads to a degree of citizen dependency that no economic system can sustain.

On the right we have Constitutional Originalists, who believe in limited government and individual liberty and that the interpretation of our Constitution, as envisioned by our founders, is the law of the land and cannot be easily altered by any current mores of our society. Free market principles are the only path to prosperity.

Among the 19th century Presbyterian minister Henry Boetcker’s “Ten Cannots” is, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.” Destroying the rich seems to be the goal of Obama’s class warfare and wealth redistribution policies. Milton Friedman, Nobel economics laureate, noted that, “We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.”

Obama’s “Mendacity of Hope” exhausts me. It should be obvious that these two philosophies can’t survive together, and that one must defeat the other. It is compromise that created this situation, that compromise always being that both sides received all of their desired spending.

Our nation is currently borrowing $4 billion a day, expanding our $16 trillion debt at an unsustainable rate. There is a limited opportunity for our economy to avoid a total collapse within a few years. The election of Romney/Ryan is our last chance to possibly avoid this national tragedy.

HANS CROEBER
Montrose

Gerow’s experience, leadership make her best candidate for commissioner

Please accept these words on behalf of Jana Bingham Gerow, independent candidate for Mesa County commissioner.


We first met Gerow when she joined City Market, Inc. as manager of construction and maintenance. This was in the early 1990s, a time when City Market had undertaken a major store expansion and remodel program. She pursued her duties with competence and enthusiasm. Her responsibilities included managing construction of six stores and remodeling existing stores located from Alamosa and Buena Vista to Rock Springs and Rawlins, Wyo. She was responsible for complex construction projects such as the store in Vail, which involved building 67 housing units, an underground parking garage and 60,000 square feet of retail space.


Simultaneously, Gerow was committed to community interest nonprofit work with the Blue Ribbon Campaign, “don’t shake a baby,” to prevent child abuse, and she represented City Market in organizations such as Associated Builders and Contractors and Western Colorado Contractors Association.


Gerow exhibited the ability to multitask, problem solve and work collaboratively with different interest groups such as store management, subcontractors, governmental agencies and our customers. She kept our projects on schedule and within budget.


Gerow has strong leadership and business management skill to bring to our county. We heartily endorse and recommend Jana Bingham Gerow for the office of Mesa County commissioner.


TONY and SALLY PRINSTER

Grand Junction

Details on duck droppings disgusting

The story on the duck derby to benefit Gateway school that ran on page 7A Oct. 5 stated, “If the duck relieves itself on a person’s square, the person who purchased the square wins a prize.”

How disgustingly crude! Where are the parents and teachers?

PAT COTTRELL

Grand Junction

Wipe out national debt by trimming wages of government employees

Jose Lucero’s recent letter lambasting Rick Wagner and anyone not a Democrat reeks. Romney was no longer with Bain Capital when jobs went overseas and the “Wall Street shenanigans” were dictated to the banks by the same clowns Obama chose to fix the real estate mess, Dodd and Frank.  Fox in the hen house?


Wagner also makes a great point when he points out that government employees, who are 17 percent of the employed in the U.S, collect benefits and wages on an average of $68,000 more a year than nongovernment employees. Take that 17 percent of the approximately 150 million employed in the U.S. and multiply it by the $68,000. In just one year, if corrected, that amount would wipe out the national debt and then some. Go figure.


R.M. SHERMAN

Grand Junction

VP debate no big deal

What’s the big deal with this Biden/Ryan debate? After all, they’re just vice presidential hopefuls. With both men parroting partisan “talking points” as I’m sure they will, then I don’t get it.

In the past four years, I’ve only heard Biden’s name mentioned after he’s said something stupid. If all they’re going to do for an hour and a half is “sing to the choir” and trade stupid remarks, why bother? I can’t name one worthwhile thing Biden’s done since being elected. He seems to be pretty experienced at only saying stupid things.

Ryan, on the other hand, is unproven in every category, including saying “stupid things.” so, I guess it’s only fair he go on national TV and start catching up. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it.

At any rate, it looks to be another wasted hour and a half of primetime TV that night, so we’ll need cable or dish to fill in once again.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

Serious highway problems ignored during current political season


The Oct. 4 edition of the Meeker Herald Times reported that three auto accidents had occurred along SH 64 (Meeker- Rangely) in the space of a week and a half, resulting in two serious injuries and others less serious. Drivers’ actions preceding each accident were similar, including possible lack of full attention, and, in one case, excessive speed. However, SH 64 is a very unforgiving highway where a small mistake can lead to tragedy. Not having had significant safety improvements for 60 years or so, the highway lacks shoulders, guardrail amd wide lanes. In some areas it includes surprise curves and short-sight distances. A few miles of the highway could be classified “paved wagon road.”

Unfortunately, this is the story for hundreds of miles of rural highways on the state highway system that have not been significantly improved since constructed in the 1930s and 40s. Highway users are being injured and killed unnecessarily.

Similar tragedies can happen any day along SH13 (Meeker-Rifle) especially between the intersection of Rio Blanco County Road 5(Piceance Creek) south to Rifle, some 18 miles. Heavy, slow truck traffic and few opportunities for passing make drivers take chances. Passing lanes are needed. The intersection of County Road 5 and SH13 could be the site of a multi-fatal accident at any time.

Our spineless legislators, who care more about getting re-elected than about solving real problems, are partly to blame, but the finger also needs to be pointed at the Colorado Department of Transportation. After the adoption of an ill-conceived scheme of accepting priorities set by transportation planning regions instead of by CDOT professionals, roundabouts at the Edwards interchange (about $10 million) are being built instead of real problems being solved. Poor design decisions resulted in a documented waste of nearly $1 million on a SH13 project completed about two years ago.
Highway problems are ignored during the current political climate, but the carnage continues.


DICK PROSENCE
Meeker

Are there more lemmings on the right or left?

Here are some observations on an Oct. 7 letter and the Sentinel’s efforts to maintain, or at least promote, a “civil discourse” in the Letters to the Editor section. I had used over several years a couple of terms to refer to the far right and far left. These were deemed not to contribute to this civil discourse.

Thus, I am surprised by what appears in the Oct. 7 section. John Panek of Cedaredge writes that we need to keep our “true leader” and is upset over several printed observations/letters (”...the idiotic, mindless letters….) in the Sentinel. He then accuses the Sentinel “...of following the right-wing nut jobs and gladly expressing their views….” 

Panek goes on to castigate “the fools at Fox News and their lemming listeners.”  He then says we now have “an intelligent, well-spoken…true leader” and should “keep him in office.”  Further, we need to rid ourselves “of all the Republican legislative lemmings who blindly follow…their misinformed party leaders and their very own TV ‘news’ network.”

Perhaps Cedaredge only receives NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc. That might explain his Democratic lemming-like blind support for a failed presidency. I suspect Panek is one of the left-wing nut jobs and does not receive Fox News on his TV.

CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

Celebrity in chief ruining country

I am also surprised that The Daily Sentinel published John Panek’s letter. Not because of “bias” but because of his personal scurrilous attacks. When someone doesn’t have any facts or any original thoughts, they usually resort to personal attacks.

I have a degree in physics from the University of California and worked for a top Navy research lab for 34 years. I am not mindless or a lemming! If Panek would quit listening to MSNBC and the mainstream media, maybe he would understand how our Celebrity in Chief is ruining our wonderful country.

RICHARD BLOSSER

Grand Junction

PERA plan not in dire straits

On page three of the Oct. 2 edition of The Daily Sentinel was an article entitled “State retirement plan in peril, official says.” I would like to respond publicly to two statements attributed to State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a current PERA ex officio board member.

One, he believes the system does not have “meaningful transparency” and two, the state is “operating under the false premise” of 2010 Senate Bill 1.
Trustee Stapleton filed a lawsuit against Colorado PERA for not providing the information he requested concerning individual records of the top 20 percent of Colorado PERA retirees based on benefit level. Denver District Court Judge Edward D. Bronfin ruled in favor of Colorado PERA by stating, “The treasurer – just like any Trustee of the PERA Board – is not entitled to unlimited, unfettered access to individual PERA member and benefit recipient information which is rendered confidential by statue. … Colorado law requires PERA to maintain the confidentiality of ‘all information’ in PERA’s member records.”

Senate Bill 1 signed by the governor in February 2010 had the following provisions: “A – Reduced PERA’s liabilities and returns PERA to long term sustainability. B – Ninety percent of the savings are from members, retirees, and new hires. C – All PERA Divisions are expected to be close to fully funded in 30 years.  D – PERA Board and member, retiree, and employer organizations supported SB 10-001.  E – PERA will usually earn higher returns than individuals. F—- PERA’s investment program is designed to produce attractive risk-adjusted returns over long term periods.  G – PERA’s financial projections are based on an 8 percent annual rate of return. PERA is a long term investor so that doesn’t mean that it will make the 8 percent benchmark every year; PERA expects the rate will be higher some years and lower others, but average 8 percent over the long term.”

“Colorado has over 96,000 retirees and the benefit payments made to Colorado retirees have far-reaching effects. Colorado PERA makes payments to benefit recipients who reside in every county in Colorado.  Western Colorado, which includes Mesa County, has over 6,000 retirees which contribute over 197 million dollars to the economy of Western Colorado.”

Much PERA information is readily available to any interested party. Ask any PERA retiree.

BUD ROOT

Grand Junction



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The on-line letters from Creighton Bricker – “Are there more lemmings on the left or right”? (October 8, 2012) – and Richard Blosser—“Celebrity-in-Chief running country” (October 8, 2012); “It’s time for America to have a true leader” (October 3, 2012) ring hollow given Romney’s lie-a-minute factual distortions – because we already have one.

Defined objectively, our foreign policy was “a shambles” when President Obama took office.  Our international standing and moral leadership were at their nadir because of Bush’s false-pretensed invasion of Iraq and “cowboy” incompetence of his “Neo-Con” advisers.  President Obama concluded that war, is ending another, and delivered “red, white, and blue” justice to Bin Laden.

Defined objectively, our economy was already a “mess” when candidate Obama first appeared in Grand Junction on September 15, 2008 – the day Lehman Brothers collapsed.  After meeting with President Bush, John McCain, and their respective advisers the next week, “insiders” concluded that McCain “didn’t have a clue” as to how to address the impending collapse of our economy – but Senator Obama did.

After his inauguration, President Obama completed Bush’s TARP to prevent financial meltdown and saved the auto industry (ignoring Romney’s “experience”), reversed and began offsetting the massive job losses precipitated by the Bush recession,  (see Daily Sentinel, October 6, 2012, “Theorists claim jobless rate drop is number crunch”), and thereby induced stock markets to restore much of the lost value of IRAs and other invested pension plans.  Meanwhile, the housing market continues to slowly recover.

Consequently, ossified “conservatives” like Bricker and Blosser now resort to trivia to satisfy their anti-Obama obsession – diminishing his accomplishments as “celebrity”. 

As exemplified byn his historic appearance here on August 15, 2009, President Obama also courageously “led from the front” on the biggest albatross still dragging down our economic competitiveness – the exorbitant cost of our inadequate health care “system”. 

Therefore, President Obama has earned re-election.

                Bill Hugenberg

Contrary to Russel Keith’s on-line letter – “Rich ante up fair share of income tax revenues” (October 8, 2012) – do not “ante up a fair share of income tax revenues”.

First, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development bases its analysis of comparative tax structures on the nominal tax rates published by each country’s taxing authority, not on the effective rates actually paid.  As evidenced by Mitt Romney’s 2011 federal income tax return, there can be a far cry between the nominal rate (about 25%) and the actual rate (about 14%), and the latter is also subject to elaborate manipulation (Romney could have paid only about 9%) using tax shelters, self-loans, etc..

Second, even if it is true that the “U.S. has the most progressive tax system in the world”, there is nothing “stupid” about the “idea” – which was championed by Republican icon (and closet “Marxist”) Teddy Roosevelt beginning in 1910.

Rather, the progressive income tax is eminently practical, because “that’s where the money is”.  Moreover, if it were really true that the rich “pay between 40 and 60 percent of their income to government”, our budgetary/debt problems would be insignificant.  In fact, the top marginal tax rates – both actual and effective – are at their lowest since 1930.

Thus, as a matter of “fairness”, because the wealthy benefit disproportionately from the “ordered society” (“rule of law”, etc.) paid for with tax dollars, so too should they pay disproportionately more for that privilege.  How much more is a matter of politics.

Keith also forgets that the U.S. expends more on national defense than the rest of the world combined.  As evidenced by Mitt Romney’s plan to increase defense spending by another $2 trillion over the next ten years, both the already wealthy—and would-be-wealthy defense contractors—will benefit disproportionately from needless “over kill”. 

                Bill Hugenberg

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