Email Letters: October 11, 2017

Perhaps we should rethink economic development strategies

We have to rethink economic development (which we must have) and pesky regulations (which must go). Pump out every barrel of oil and cubic foot of gas. Dig up every ton of coal. Cut down every tree. We will have untold jobs and superb economic development.

Then 30, 40, or 50 years from now when it is a moonscape, the feds can designate us as a superfund site for cleanup. Look how much money was spent to clean up the mill tailings here and in Moab. Look at how much will be spent in Silverton on the mines.

Folks, there are two pots of gold here. Get busy now.


Letter relating to ballot questions 3A and 3B stated incorrect figures

Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Mayer penned a letter relating to ballot questions 3A and 3B. In the letter, they wrote: “In 1986, a house worth $50,000 paid approximately $700 a year in property taxes.” Also, they stated that, “In 2016, a house worth $200,000 paid approximately $520 a year in property taxes.”

Some taxpayers might be looking at their property tax bills and scratching their heads at the $520 figure. They would be right to do so since both statements are incorrect.

Perhaps their mistake came from looking at the taxes based on the 2016 school district mill levy alone, then improperly combining it with the 2017 assessment rate. Doing so would calculate $520. Back in 1986, district 51 received about $603 on a $50,000 home. In 2016 the district received about $574 on a $200,000 house.

Comparing total property tax bills, back in 1986 a typical mill levy in Mesa County was 91 and the statewide residential assessment rate was 21 percent. For 2016, a typical mill levy was 61 and the residential assessment rate was 7.96 percent. Calculating with 91 mills and the 21 percent assessment rate, the tax bill on a $50,000 house would have been about $956 in 1986. Calculating with 61 mills and the 7.96 percent assessment rate, the tax bill on a $200,000 house rose to $971 in 2016.

Deputy Assessor
Grand Junction

Follow the campaign contribution money to understand Tipton’s pro-pollution stance

Rep. Scott Tipton is fond of calling his energy approach an all-of-the-above energy policy, which sounds innocent enough. It means endorsing gas, oil, coal, wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. The problem is they are not all-of-the-above equally polluting our air, water, and atmosphere.

All-of-the-above development plan is a permission slip to pretend all energy sources are valid and on a level playing field with each other. It’s pretending the externalized social costs of increased health care bills from toxic pollution and cleanup costs don’t exist. It’s pretending the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels don’t cause global warming and thus affect the Colorado economy, tourism, forest fires, drought and agriculture.

So why is Tipton so pro-pollution? Follow the money. Tipton is addicted to the easy flowing campaign contributions (dark money) from the fossil fuel industry. Upton Sinclair writes “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Given this, it would follow that Tipton is on both the House subcommittees for Mineral and Energy Resources and Federal Lands. Those are the committees one can most influence the flow of fossil fuel extraction, thus pleasing his donor base.


Building a good academic environment, not changing street name, is the answer

Here is a comparison worth sharing:

In Manhattan, there is a prestigious institution called Columbia University. It is an Ivy League school, and is ranked in top 10 universities both nationally, and globally.

Columbia’s mailing address is on Broadway. And at last count I see no effort on Columbia’s part to change the name of Broadway.

I am very glad Colorado Mesa is a finally a university: the recognition is long overdue, but we need to look at facts. CMU has just been declared a university. The postgraduate programs are still in their infancy, it is a Division II program and still paired with a lot of institutions, which are not universities. CMU’s accomplishments and history pale, and mightily so, to Columbia’s. There are institutions in the American Midwest that are the same age as Colorado Mesa University and are quite frankly better developed. There is only a tiny fraction of majors currently available and many, many students growing up here still have to leave to the Front Range, or even out of state to pursue their careers. CMU is a good institution, but there are greater ones out there.

If Columbia is content on not trying to rename Broadway, then it seems to me the effort to rename North Avenue is over-inflated and points more to someone’s or some groups ego rather than creating positive change or actually improving the university. I hope this is not the case. It seems a more meaningful approach to create nodes, places to incubate businesses, plazas, and a student-friendly, walk-friendly environment is more of an appropriate approach than discarding decades of history in a superficial name change which seems to only have opened up a lot of raw nerves, hatred, vendettas, and discord.

Changing a street name is not the answer; putting honest effort into building a good physical and academic environment is. And yes it will cost more – a lot more – but will be much more worth it in the long run.

Grand Island, Neb.

Pence only shows outrage when it is politically convenient

Mike Pence is a hypocrite. He walks out of an NFL game because players are kneeling during the national anthem but there is no outrage when Trump criticizes John McCain for being a POW or when Trump belittles the Khan family who lost a son during the Iraq war.

Pence’s little walkout stunt just goes to show you that he only shows outrage when it is politically convenient. Oh my, how Mike Pence has debased himself. The same can be said for Paul Ryan and most of the GOP. Cracks are beginning to show, however, as Sen. Corker’s recent tweets can attest.

Anyone who thinks that Mike Pence is a pillar of the political right should just be laughed off the stage. He, like many others in the GOP, has just decided to drink the poison and enfeeble himself. In the big picture, the GOP is a soulless party, willing to put up with a president who only wants to conquer and divide this nation.

Grand Junction


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