Email letters, October 29,  2013

EPA to discuss limiting coal plant emissions in Denver hearing Wednesday

Why is the EPA trying to destroy America’s coal industry? That’s the only conclusion I can come to after hearing about the agency’s plan to further limit emissions from existing coal plants, which will be the subject of a hearing Oct. 30 in Denver.

The EPA’s approach would essentially eliminate existing coal plants and send electricity bills sky-high for my family and yours. These actions would destroy thousands of good-paying, quality jobs right here in western Colorado, at a time when we can least afford it.

I encourage people to join me in standing up to the EPA and attend the hearing or send in comments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Please voice your opposition to eliminating the nation’s lowest-cost energy option. 

ROSE PUGLIESE
Mesa County Commissioner
Palisade

New county clerks’ website provides election information

The county clerks of Colorado have launched a new website to disseminate elections information. The website, MyColoradoVote.com, is a one-stop resource for Coloradans. 

It is very important to the clerks that accurate, nonpartisan and timely information is provided. Now that the state of Colorado has a uniform voting process as a result of recent legislation, any voter in our state can refer to one source for information. 

The legislation that allowed this to be possible requires mail ballots to be sent out for every election; no more applications are needed — unless you have a special circumstance. Everyone who’s registered gets a ballot in the mail, but voters still have the option on how to cast that ballot.  You can mail it back, drop it off at a drop box or vote in person.

Colorado uses the Internet in all elections conducted by the county clerks so that all counties can access the statewide voter database and get information in “real” time. That means we can monitor a ballot’s status as it progresses through the system after it is returned and provide better tools to prevent multiple or ineligible votes. You can even use the website (MyColoradoVote.com) to find out if your ballot has been safely received by the Elections Division.

Regular updates to the statewide voter database using postal, driver’s license, Department of Health and Department of Correction data also means more accurate information, saving counties money by not mailing to people who have moved, passed away or are no longer eligible for various reasons.

Whatever changes lie ahead, whichever voting method our citizens and representative government choose, Colorado county clerks will continue to work with integrity and respect .  The clerks’ association mission statement is: “Create an organizational structure that supports best practices, use of technology and appropriate legislation through teamwork, communication and mutual respect.” I am proud to be a part of it.

Visit the website now.

SHEILA REINER
Mesa County Clerk & Recorder
Grand Junction

Walloping incident underscores heavy responsibility of teachers

A person who decides to become a teacher of children, obtains the necessary education and then accrues a working lifetime of experience has demonstrated a strong commitment to his profession.

Although our society says it holds teachers in high regard, that high regard is not expressed with generous pay and perks. Instead it comes with a high standard of expectation for teachers to educate all kinds of students, from those who come well behaved and ready to learn to those who come poorly prepared to accommodate themselves to the classroom.

It also comes with the expectation that teachers will comport themselves in a professional manner, exercising great self-control under whatever circumstances confront them. There is often little appreciation among non-teachers as to how demanding and wearing it is to be responsible all day, day after day, for a roomful of children.

A recent classroom incident is especially unfortunate because it involved a man who has had a long and successful career as a teacher and principal. Many past associates, students and their families would attest to that. It is regrettable personally for the teacher and also for the teaching profession to have such an incident occur. And for it to occur by a stalwart of education such as Harry Easton, who has always held himself to a high personal and professional standard, underscores the difficulty and challenges all teachers face in the work they have chosen.

Easton’s behavior cannot be condoned. But it can be understood. I hope this very unfortunate incident can serve to help us all appreciate the heavy burden of responsibility our teachers carry and the almost superhuman expectations we have of them. There but for the grace of God ….

JOHN HALVORSON
Grand Junction

Girl Scouts of Colorado to donate fresh cookies to VA Hospital

We at Girl Scouts of Colorado would like to address the issue of the expired Girl Scout cookies that were donated to the VA hospital residents. While we appreciate the kind intentions behind someone wanting to donate cookies, we encourage everyone first to check the expiration date and second to ensure donations are made through the proper channels of the organization receiving them. The VA hospital loves receiving Girl Scout cookie donations, but they need to go through Volunteer Services to be distributed.

We are so sorry for the residents who received the expired cookies, and we stress that we always advise customers to discard cookies after they expire. Girl Scouts of Colorado will be taking fresh cookies to the residents on behalf of the unknown gentleman who made the original donation.

Those wishing to donate more cookies to our servicemen and women can purchase them through local Girl Scout troops beginning Jan. 26.

CINDI GRAVES
Fund Development Manager/Western Colorado
Girl Scouts of Colorado
Grand Junction

Front-page coverage of LDS did Sentinel readers no favors

I was quite shocked at today’s main section!  In this day of growing anti-Christian political correctness, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints now rates front-page center coverage?  Can’t wait until you feature Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, and Scientology with the same exposure ... I’m sure they’re expecting it very soon.

If Rachel Sauer had done real research about LDS instead of parroting its propaganda line virtually word-for-word, she’d know its members are not the family-oriented, smiling and friendly missionaries we see biking around town in their crisp white shirts and clean-cut appearance.

Their doctrines are bizarre, absent any archaeological substantiation, and tell us we can become “gods” if we work hard enough. Their founder plagiarized entire portions of the King James Bible and called it his own “revelation.” He died in a hail of bullets in an Illinois jail cell after shooting several vigilantes who were attempting to lynch him for his heretical fantasies ... very different from the substitutionary death of the true God and Savior Jesus Christ.

You do your readers no favors in unquestioningly promoting this cult that bears no resemblance to Christianity.

RICHARD PUTER
Grand Junction

To repair Social Security, cut out tax break for rich

The Republicans in Congress want to go after the entitlement programs of Medicare and Social Security. I don’t know much about how you would save money on Medicare, but Social Security is an easy fix.

For the year 2013, only individual wages of $113,600 or less are subject to the 6.2 percent social security tax (FICA). Wages above $113,600 are not subject to any FICA taxes. So, for example, if you make $113,600, the FICA tax that you pay into Social Security is $7,049, which is 6.2 percent of $113,600. If your individual wages are $1,000,000, you only pay the 6.2 percent tax on the first $113,600 or the $7,049. And that’s all you pay!

That’s because the rest of your wages above $113,600 are not subject to the FICA tax. Therefore, the person with $1 million in wages only pays $7,049 in FICA taxes, which is less than 1 percent of his or her wages.

This is known as a regressive tax system. Why should lower- and middle-class wage earners making $113,000 or less have to pay 6.2 percent toward Social Security when a person making $1 million pays less than 1 percent? Does that make any sense? This is just another tax break for the rich.

If we subjected the $1 million wage to the same 6.2 percent FICA tax, this individual would be paying $62,000 toward Social Security instead of the ridiculously low amount of $7,049. You can see that having a progressive FICA tax, would make Social Security solvent immediately and for all time.

No one has ever given me any reasonable explanation as to why we have this regressive FICA tax set-up. Republicans in Congress are always talking about revising the tax code. They should start with the FICA tax. Oh, but wait, the Republicans don’t think the rich should have to pay ANY taxes. My bad.

JIM CIHA
Grand Junction

Negotiated agreement indicates true priorities of teachers’ union

The articles concerning the District 51 school board election demonstrate a fevered interest in what kind of influence is being peddled. Much has been made of the donation to the three reform candidates by someone from the Front Range who shares the philosophy that parents need to have a choice in where their students attend school and taxpayers deserve to have students graduate with basic academic proficiencies that will set them up for success in life.

What has never been addressed is the 44-page negotiated agreement between the teacher’s union and the District 51 school board. This may be found on the Internet by entering Mesa Valley Teachers’ Association, About Us.

There you will find a plethora of topics beginning with the myriad of types of work absences available; the acceptable methods of being transferred on the job; evaluation, employment files; planning time, association rights; health, dental and vision insurance; activity passes; resignation/retirement; class size; and other issues germane to teachers and support staff. The union does exactly what it is designed to do: represent the interests of its membership.

Donors support candidates who agree with them on the issues. It seems the union and individual members support the candidates they know agree with them. To say that the union puts the interest of students and parents first is simply not true, based on the negotiated agreement signed by Darren Cook, association president, and Greg Mikolai, president of the District 51 school board.

We need a school board to represent the interests of the students and parents. My vote is for Kanda, Lowenstein and Sluder.

JERRY ARLAND HUNSINGER
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Ms. Pugliese,

First of all, I am a pro affordable energy supporter…carbon based or otherwise. I don’t want to see ANY regulation passed by the EPA or “Green” agenda that will cost jobs and increase utility rates or prices at the pump.

What I don’t understand is why I’m not seeing a PR campaign by the coal industry, backed by knowledgeable scientists from places like M.I.T. or other highly recognized universities on how well modern coal technologies scrub and treat their emissions. I’m sure the technology is sound and working well, but the coal industry needs to get the word out on national media or something to counteract this demonization process going on.

While you are at this hearing, please see if you can get the ear of some coal industry officials and mention my comment to them.

Thank You.

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