Email Letters: October 28, 2016

Gail Schwartz for Congress: water is our lifeblood

Water will be a top issue for Colorado’s foreseeable future, and that’s one of the many reasons why I will vote for Gail Schwartz for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District. She understands the importance of water conservation and went straight to work as soon as she entered the Colorado Senate, developing a great record on water issues as a Senator.

Gail chaired the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee – where water bills get their most detailed hearings. During her time in the senate, she sponsored more than 30 water bills, on key issues such as water conservation, quality, rights, gray water use, and wastewater treatment. She sponsored a bill allowing agricultural users to conserve water without losing water rights. She also sponsored a bipartisan bill that created our statewide Water Plan, a process that required input from the public, just to name a few.

In the senate, Gail showed her commitment to supporting and enabling local and regional solutions to our growing and diverse water needs and challenges. Gail understands the diversity of Colorado and of the West Slope in particular, and has worked to ensure solutions address specific problems in specific areas of the state. This will be invaluable to us in the diverse 3rd Congressional district.

We will need Gail’s expertise more than ever as we plan for the decades to come. Estimates say Colorado will grow nearly 50 percent in population by 2040, adding 2.5 million people. This means we’ll need more food, which requires water to produce, and of course enough clean drinking water for everybody. Since most of the growth will happen along the Front Range, we also must make sure diversion projects don’t drain our water supplies in Southern and Western Colorado.

We face real challenges ahead, requiring innovative solutions, and Gail’s already shown the ability to do just that. I know Gail will make wise decisions on water supplies and water quality in Congress, and she deserves your vote.


Justman deserves a yes vote for county commissioner

I was surprised and disappointed The Sentinel did not endorse John Justman for county commissioner for District 1. Justman has worked hard to represent his constituents in Mesa County, working in our best interests and managing our money wisely. He is a strong supporter of the energy industry and lobbied for us at the International Energy Expo in Canada this past year. He was instrumental in working on the improvements at the county fairgrounds that have increased usage resulting in increased revenue to the county. He is well versed in Colorado water rights, serving on several related boards, and works diligently to ensure that outside interests do not rob us of this valuable resource. As a farmer he represents the agricultural community, which is so important to this county and gives the county commissioners a good balance. His knowledge about agriculture, energy water, trails and business deserve a yes vote for county commissioner, District 1.

Grand Junction

Support Schwartz for the good of rural Colorado and the nation

As an unaffiliated voter I have tried to evaluate the candidates (Schwartz and Tipton) for the U.S. House of Representatives for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Congressman Tipton has falsely claimed Gail Schwartz’s actions while a two term state senator led to the closure of two
mines and the loss of 1,000 jobs in Delta County, not the two fires and lower natural gas prices that instead led to the closures. He also proposes selling to private interests public lands, which provide substantial employment in Western Colorado.

In contrast, I am continually impressed with Gail Schwartz’s energy, passion for public service, selflessness and tireless support for her constituents. As state senator she worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation that especially helped rural Coloradans. She sponsored legislation that reduced the state’s inheritance tax for farmers and ranchers so agricultural land can better be passed on to and afforded to be kept by their heirs. She chaired the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee and was recognized by the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts as its outstanding legislator of the year. She chaired three other committees during her second term, was member of another, and earned the well-deserved accolade as “the senate’s hardest working member.” She sponsored the initial Cottage Foods Act that now benefits small rural food providers and provides additional income for rural families. She championed the law that finally permitted inspection and approval of small hydroelectric installations throughout the state. She championed education and broadband for rural Colorado communities.

I have no doubt that the dedication she displayed representing her 11 county district in Western and Southern Colorado will continue as our Representative to the U.S. House. I urge voters to support her this November for the good of rural Colorado and the nation.


Senate should vote to delay implementation of overtime regulations

When federal bureaucrats create new rules and regulations, they often forget about small business owners. They think that every company has the resources to handle more paperwork, fees, and fines. But that’s just not reality. The Department of Labor’s latest move to implement its onerous overtime rule by Dec. 1 is a perfect example. Small businesses are scrambling to comply with the arbitrary deadline that the DOL has set.

The reality is that a small business owner usually has to handle all the compliance by himself or herself. The National Federation of Independent Business, on behalf of its members and all small business owners, has called on the DOL, the judicial system, and Congress to delay the rule to help ensure that we are in compliance and don’t face heavy penalties. The House of Representatives passed a bill to delay the rule, giving small businesses much-needed time to comply. Now the Senate must act.

Small businesses in Colorado are relying on Senator Bennet to protect us from potentially ruinous fines by voting to delay the implementation of the overtime regulations. This is a simple compromise that would be helpful to many thousands of small business owners in our state and across the country.


We need an honest discussion of liberal and conservative values

Rick Wagner’s column, “This election’s finish line is in sight” seems a little hypocritical to me. Wagner proudly states that, “Although a number of businesses under the umbrella of corporations owned by him (Trump) or those that he may have licensed his name to have declared bankruptcy, he has never done so on a personal level.”

The basic tenets of our Grand Old Party have been small government, low taxes and personal responsibility. Why is it that a person such as Trump, who likes to brag, “I am really rich,” cannot take personal responsibility for his poor business decisions but passes the problem on to some LLC, corporation or other tax loophole? Instead he leaves thousands of employees, contractor, lenders and taxpayers holding the bag for his missteps. He gets the gold mine and they get the shaft.

Hopefully from the ashes of this disastrous election, our country’s two party system will survive. We need an honest discussion of liberal and conservative values. Compromising our core values and principles is no way to perpetuate this system.


St. Mary’s should reconsider the closure of the Life Center

St. Mary’s “Sisters of Charity” closing of the Life Center appears to be a “big business time” when money means more than people. Closing this great facility is a travesty to all of the 1,500 members who utilize this facility three to five times a week, not to mention the employees who now join the ranks of the unemployed or who are reduced to part time.

Many of the members began their Life Center experience having physical therapy; upon completing PT they moved on to utilizing the “staying healthy” related programs offered i.e. aerobics, swim exercise, sit ‘n fit, gym equipment, workouts, etc.

The picture of the pool in last week’s Daily Sentinel showing six to eight people in it was deceptive, to say the least, as to the number of folks who use it. Monday of this week, the 9:30 a.m. swim class had 34 members, along with two disabled children and their trainers, for a total of 38 people in a pool that has a maximum capacity of 40. This pool gets used all day long. The above was only one hour.

The gym equipment is also used all day long. At times, you have to wait for the piece of equipment you need to use because of the number of members in the gym area.

Sisters of Charity, based on 1,500 members, why not increase the monthly dues by $10/month, generating another $180,000 per year or $90,000 if dues were increased by $5/month? Some of us – maybe most of us – live on low, fixed incomes but would be able and willing to pay more to keep The Life Center open. The newfound friends we see each time we attend a program have become “family” while at the same time we bask in the caring, loving, compassionate Life Center employees who are so very willing to help us. They are family, too. All 1,500 of us are not just names on a piece of paper; we are living breathing people with families. Plus, we hurt for the employees who are being terminated.

Sisters of Charity, “charity,” as your name implies, please reconsider the closure of the Life Center, which has benefited this community for so many years!

Grand Junction

Employment discrimination based on party affiliation is unacceptable

I have worked as a Mesa County election judge since 2008, usually as a lead in the mail ballot room. This year I am not allowed to work the election because I am unaffiliated. Since the 2014 election, the Secretary of State has enforced citations that in summary read as follows:

“Both the Colorado Revised Statutes and the Colorado Secretary of State’s Election Rules require that each major political party submit a list of recommended election judges to the County Clerk. The Clerk is then required, by statute and rule, to only appoint election judges whose names appear on those lists. If those major party lists become exhausted during the appointment process and all of the election judge vacancies are not yet filled, the Clerk is then required to fill the remaining vacancies with individuals from lists that have been submitted by the minor political parties. And it is only when those minor political party lists have been exhausted, that the Clerk may then appoint unaffiliated voters who have offered to serve as election judges.”

When did employment based on party affiliation become an accepted part of the process? I am being discriminated against because I choose not to align myself with a major party, and am being blocked from working for the county because of my political persuasion. Could discrimination be any more blatant? Keeping things in perspective as of Sept. 5, unaffiliated
voters represent the largest portion of voters in the state, and are the second largest portion of voters here.

I was impressed by the efforts that were made to keep the election process unbiased. The only trouble was when the Republican or Democratic parties sent their representatives to work the election. They were disruptive and combative and were warned by election officials on more than one occasion. These same parties are now controlling the selection of all the election judges. Sure doesn’t make me feel more confident that the process is above reproach.

I am at a loss as to how and why such discriminatory policies have been instituted and why we allow them to continue.

Grand Junction

Simpson’s column proved informative last Sunday

I had a Eureka moment while reading Dennis Simpson’s informative column last Sunday. The county commissioners are embarrassed by the irrigation district’s display of intestinal fortitude in charging a fee for storm drainage services. The facts seem to be completely analogous to the landfill situation.

Perhaps the commissioners feared the Chamber of Commerce would sue them if they raised the fees for use of the landfill.

Grand Junction

Voting yes on 71 will protect constitution and energy industry

As Energy Management students at CMU, we feel that raising the bar (Amendment 71) will help protect the Colorado Constitution as well as our industry. Currently the state constitution has been amended over 150 times, and our state is often considered the easiest to amend (close to Oregon and California). By ensuring that two percent of every county in Colorado agrees on a ballot initiative to amend the constitution, it helps give the entire state a say in what is on the ballot rather than just the Denver and Boulder regions.

As it stands all it takes to amend our state’s constitution is 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for the office of Colorado Secretary of State (generally 75k-100k votes). With the passing of Amendment 71, it will require 55 percent of the super-majority vote within the state as well as the two percent from every county. This is an increase from the previous 50 percent super-majority vote that is currently in affect. This amendment will help prevent special interest groups from dumping money into proposed initiatives that most of the citizens do not agree on.

Amendment 71 has huge bipartisan support among the state locals who feel that outside groups should not have a say in whether or not the constitution of Colorado should be changed and it has our support to.

When you fill out your ballot in the coming days we urge you to vote yes on Amendment 71.


CMU students
Grand Junction

The Sentinel’s ‘distorted’ reporting leaves paper without credibility

As an over 50-year resident of Grand Junction, the consistency of the liberal left reporting of this “newspaper” is just as disturbing as it was in the 60s and 70s. What has become of honesty when a newspaper reports deceptive, distorted or, in this case, stories that promote or fit its political leaning?

What has become obvious through all the WikiLeaks releases is the reality that the Democratic machine has been behind the Republican rallies inciting of violence and damage. Seems like little Grand Junction isn’t any more distant from the shaded, violent and destructive ways of the same Democratic persona. The shame in this is that the law-violating and destructive factions in the Democratic Party in Grand Junction clearly get a hall pass from The Sentinel when it comes to reporting the truth in their behavior. The exceptional destruction perpetrated by those who don’t share an opposing party’s views is as disgusting and disgraceful as the distorted reporting by The Sentinel.

Apparently those who control the paper’s pictorial views of a situation or story – with totally destroyed Trump political signs vs. a wrinkled Clinton sign – are biased and support distorted and falsely represented news reporting.

What I would suggest is that there is a reason why the usual thin few pages of The Sentinel daily papers is the result of biased reporting. Translated – that means that about 50 percent of the residents in your circulation area find your news reporting not worth paying for.

Your inability to accurately report and show in your supporting pictures the reality of a news story and instead basically lie by omission makes The Sentinel an unreliable and biased news source. Misrepresentation in this way, to the public about the destructive nature of these Democratic Party supporters that it seems you support through distorted representation, simply leaves you with no credibility.

Grand Junction

Vote for Tipton because of work he has done for agricultural community

I was thrilled to see that Congressman Tipton has received the official endorsement of the Colorado Farm Bureau.

As the owner and operator of a cow/calf operation in Montezuma County, it’s refreshing to see a politician who was also a small-business owner. It is apparent after spending just a few minutes talking with Tipton, he consistently weaves in personal stories about making ends meet while running a small business into his speeches and talks about public policy. He sounds like one of us, because he is one of us.

Many of us in the agricultural community had serious concerns with the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, which would have greatly increased their jurisdiction of small bodies of water on agricultural land. Whether it was dealing with the EPA over Waters of the US or the BLM over grazing rights and fees, Tipton and his office always answer the phone and have been a huge help in navigating these federal bureaucracies.

I am concerned that some in our district might be duped by the big money that is being spent trying to deceive us into believing Tipton wants to sell off public lands. The Durango Herald, Pueblo Chieftain, Denver Post and Daily Sentinel (just to name a few) have all stated that Schwartz’s attacks that Tipton is scheming to sell off our public lands are false.

I am voting for Scott Tipton because of all the work he has done for the agricultural community and his commitment to striking a balance to multi-use access to public lands.


What’s the logic in promoting marijuana but taxing tobacco?

We now have three legal addictive substances: alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. Now we want to pass a law to raise money to combat the evils of tobacco (addiction and to discourage people from buying it), but marijuana is OK because we promote it by opening pot shops and putting it in cookies and candy. Guess I’m too dense to see the logic in this. Will someone please explain it to me?



Tipton actually represents the ‘gullibly misinformed’ citizens

Thursday’s letter from Janet Blackman (“Tipton actually represents the people of western Colorado”) contains an element of truth – if she is referring to the gullibly misinformed.

As to Gail Schwartz’s purportedly “lying campaign,” Tipton relies on the same dishonest disingenuousness he used to falsely deny that he voted to “shut down” the government in 2013. Thus, even if Tipton has never explicitly proposed “selling off our federal lands,” he has supported and participated in the drafting of legislation that would effectively give control of some public lands to the out-of-state interests that are funding his campaign and would profit from their sale.

Likewise, Tipton’s co-sponsorship of H.R. 5836 – the misleadingly titled “Hunting, Education, and Recreational Development Act” – is an attempt to ingratiate himself to local developers by authorizing the “orderly disposal” of some public lands.

To allege that “Ms. Schwartz apparently is OK with the loss of over 1,000 jobs on the Western slope due to the closure of coal mines in Delta County” is laughable. As Ed Marston explained in his Oct. 9 letter-to-the-editor (“Tipton misleads on Delta’s devastation”) the real cause of that job loss is the low price of natural gas.

As Charles Ashby reported on Oct. 8 (“Tipton ad: Schwartz is enemy of coal; Claim is murky; bill had support of GOP leaders”), Gail Schwartz voted for bipartisan bills in the state legislature to provide displaced coal miners with job retraining in the renewable energy sector (with the support of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association). Meanwhile, Scott Tipton was voting with his fellow Republicans in Congress to deny those workers Food Stamps, Unemployment Benefits, and Health Care.

As to supporting national park status for the Colorado National Monument, there are indeed practical considerations mitigating against that upgrade – most of which can be overcome with sufficient additional funding. However, having resided in Grand Junction for over 20 years now, I don’t recall any “public rejection” of the idea. Rather, rabid opponents of the change flooded the most recent “public comment period” with multiple discredited allegations as to its impacts – a tactic typical of Tipton and his supporters.

Grand Junction


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