Email Letters: October 3, 2016

CareerWise Colorado attributes success to committed support of partners

CareerWise Colorado is committed to bringing access to youth apprenticeships to communities across the state, including Grand Junction and Mesa County. But our work would not be successful without the committed support of partners on the ground, like Mesa County School District 51, local workforce centers and the Mesa County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has particularly become a champion for this work, convening businesses working groups to develop pathways. All of these groups have worked to build a local coalition of thought leaders in this work. They are promoting the voices of business leaders while ensuring that apprentices will have opportunities to gain skills they need to build meaningful careers and all local businesses will have access to the talent they need to grow. Our success depends on their investments.


Raising the minimum wage actually creates jobs

Raising the minimum wage actually creates jobs, as proven by previous raises. Businesses hire only the number of employees needed to provide the goods or services they provide – no more, no less.

When business picks up, they hire. When business falls off, they layoff employees, as we currently see in the oil and gas industry. When the minimum wage rises, people naturally have more money to spend, which causes business to hire to keep up with the increased demand.

It is important for minimum wage workers to get out and vote. They will improve their lives, and the lives of others.



With new leadership, we can turn Mesa County around

In the Sunday paper, Sheriff Lewis says that it is time for Mesa County to begin rebuilding. Rebuilding requires new thinking. New thinking requires a new vision. If we are going to have a new vision in Mesa County, we need new commissioners that have a broader vision of what is to come than our current commissioners have.

With this in mind, I believe it is time that we take a serious look at whether the two commissioners that are up for reelection represent the past, or the future. I believe that it is time that we elect Mel Mulder and Dave Edwards as fresh-idea, forward-thinking representatives of you and me, who are not just in it for themselves or for the extractive industries.

If we desire Mesa County to move forward, we must have broadband, we must have livable wage, at least $12 an hour now with an objective of $15 to $17 within a few years. We must have excellent schools, and increased transportation access to the rest of the world.

With new leadership it is likely that we can turn the county around and make this an even better place to live and work. But, we need to look at the future, and not repeat the past, a past of boom and bust.

Grand Junction

It’s important to put Trump as a ‘businessman’ into perspective

Some people have promoted Donald Trump for president as a businessman. That needs to be put into perspective. The Trump Empire is privately held. That means it may not have a board of directors and, if it does, the board consists of family members and carefully chosen friends. Should Mr. Trump be elected, he will be the chief executive with two boards of directors: the 435 members of the House of Representatives and the 100 members of the Senate.

Even presidents with the own party majority in both houses of Congress have discovered dealing with them is not easy. It is much more difficult if the majority in either side of Congress is of the opposite party. Mr. Trump would face an additional difficulty. Republican conservatives have pointed out that many of Mr. Trump’s proposed policies are actually progressive. So he would have to deal with members of his own party who do not share his views and values, particularly the Freedom Caucus. The power of the president is severely restricted in many ways as opposed to the chief executive of a privately held company. Mr. Trump’s appointees to key positions in the government, as an example, would have to be confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Trump’s national budget, which he would propose, would certainly be modified by the House. Further, the president of the United States and the Congress have to deal with a large number, a very large number, of stakeholders including special interest groups who often resort to legal challenges.

Finally, the bureaucracy of the federal government is large and almost impossible to manage, much less change. I say all of this as a former President and CEO of an aerospace company. Good luck, Mr. Trump!

Grand Junction

Amendment 69 will be a step forward for quality health care for all

I stand for women’s equality, and support women’s access to full reproductive health care, including abortion. I am also a supporter of ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, as an opportunity to ensure every Coloradan quality health care affordably. I am so pleased that groundbreaking women’s rights activist and journalist, Gloria Steinem, who helped create both New York and Ms. Magazine, has endorsed ColoradoCare. Despite the stance of certain progressives in Colorado, Amendment 69 will be a step forward for quality health care for all.

Vote No on Raise the Bar, Colorado Amendment 71

This November, Colorado voters will decide if the state should make it more difficult for citizen-backed constitutional initiatives to quality for the statewide ballot. Amendment 71, called Raise the Bar, would require petitioners to obtain signatures from at least 2 percent of voters in each of Colorado’s 35 state senate districts. Presently, it is 5 percent from all registered voters. Voters from a single senate district could have veto power over the petition, if they refused to sign a ballot petition. Five-five percent of voters must vote yes, for passage.

At a Raise the Bar meeting in Loveland, in the fall of 2015,the presenter commented on the following:

a. ” Voters in 2000 put funding for K-12, inappropriately, in the Constitution.” Not mentioned—voters first put school funding in the statutes. Several years later, the Legislature removed K-12 from the statutes, taking the funding for other purposes. Thus, voters petitioned and put funding in the Constitution.

b. “Colorado has more amendments in the Constitution than many other states.” Actually, of the 157 Colorado amendments, 44 are citizen initiated, the rest are legislative. Nine states have more, including Alabama (892) and California (505).

Raise the Bar would require extra time, organization, and expense to mount a statewide signature gathering campaign. The estimated cost is in the millions – available only to wealthy special interests (individuals, organizations, and industries) that already have significantly more influence on our legislators than mere citizens.

The Boulder Weekly, the Colorado Fiscal Institute, and the Denver Post have said no to Amendment 71. We, the citizens should do likewise. The choice is ours. As the Boulder Weekly states, “This is about whether we are going to choose to restore our democracy or continue to be governed by a handful of the state’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.”

Fort Collins

‘Historic Tales’ book appears to have multiples inaccuracies

In the article by Laurena Mayne Davis about the “Historic Tales” book by Kate Ruland-Thorne, I assume the quote from the book about what Captain Gunnison said about Loma was included to show the mistake. Captain Gunnison and his corps of Tropical Engineers went through the Grand Valley and Loma Area in the late summer of 1853, and he was killed in Utah on Oct. 26, 1853. She says, “Capitan Gunnison arrived soon after the Ute Indians left is 1881,” thus Captain Gunnison was here 28 years before the Indians left.

Ruland-Thorne also says the Escalante and Dominguez expedition in 1776 was trying to find a way from Santa Fe to Los Angeles. They were trying to find a way to Monterey; Los Angeles was not settled or founded until 1781, five years after the Escalante expedition. I’ve only read a little of the book, but these jump out.

Grand Junction

Time for Republicans to rethink supporting Trump

Sunday’s revelation that Donald Trump has likely paid no federal income taxes since at least 1995 (“Trump lost $916 million in 1995, per tax records”) should come as no real surprise to anyone, and – considered in isolation – is actually “no big deal”, because it merely manifests the extent to which our tax system is “rigged” to favor wealthy scofflaws.

However, when considered in connection with what else we know about “the Donald”, the report belies many of his many false but “base”-accepted self-promoting pronouncements. Thus:

First, while claiming to be a “successful businessman,” Trump apparently lost almost $1 billion dollars of his own money (and likely more than that of “other peoples’ money”), but nevertheless benefited from the “financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s” through his multiple business failures and bankruptcies – even while routinely “stiffing” immigrant workers, American tradesmen, and U.S. small businesses.

Second, while claiming to be a generous philanthropist, Trump’s carried-forward losses likely eliminated any tax benefits he might have derived from charitable contributions – which explains why there is no evidence that he has made any significant contributions to any legitimate charities and thus reveals Trump and his surrogates to be pathological liars when asserting that he has “personally donated millions” (e.g., to “the vets”).

Third, because there is nothing illegal and/or inexplicable about minimizing one’s taxes within the letter of the IRS Code (with or without charitable donations), Trump’s refusal to release his federal income tax returns becomes even more egregious – arguably reflecting a profound contempt for established political norms and his gullible “base,” while implying other even more suspicious reasons for his refusal to release his returns (which could irrefutably demonstrate his lack of personal integrity and/or document his massive personal indebtedness and business ties to Russian oligarchs and thus to Putin).

Fourth, Trump’s refusal to release his own tax returns (even if actually under IRS audit) justifies more intense scrutiny of the illegally operated Trump Foundation, which was never certified to solicit tax-deductible contribution from “the public,” but which Trump has unlawfully used as a “slush fund” for personal benefit and to pay business obligations.

Thus, in the aftermath of Trump’s Monday debate embarrassment and ensuing obsession with a Latina Miss Universe, local Republicans have even more reason to reconsider their blind support for the least qualified and most unfit candidate to ever seek our Presidency.


Grand Junction

Positions backed by fact, not personal conjecture, should be respected

I also respect one who states his/her position. That respect comes when backed by facts, not personal conjecture.

Ronald Braukhoff, in a Sept. 27 letter, bolsters his argument about Trump not being actively hostile to the coal industry, suggesting the line of RR locomotives were operated by idled train crews to haul coal once produced by idled miners. If Braukhoff looks at those locomotives, he’ll notice Ys before their engine numbers. Meaning they were set up and used exclusively for yard services as several “switch engines” attest to. The other, larger engines appear to be GP-20’s or comparable locomotives, which are small size and very seldom equipped for or used in freight service.

It appears the Union Pacific may be eliminating RR yard switching services in favor of mainline freight. A way to eliminate yard switching and jobs – subcontract those services, maybe to non-union short lines that may have their own engines and/or crews. Or maybe the locomotives are being retired for tax benefits. We don’t know what the UPRR has in mind, but we can reasonably rest assured those locomotives had very little to do with moving any coal.

As far as providing incentives for solar energy, Braukhoff should remember Congress, controlled by my fellow Republicans, considered last summer, charging people extra fees for accumulating energy by solar panels. Prior to that, the conservative Public Utilities Commission lowered the amount paid for personally collected electricity below that charged by corporately produced electricity. Incentives?

I understand why Braukhoff regrets supporting Trump. Trump talks a good game as businessman, but fails to provide facts that support his statements. He’ll build fences and remove millions of immigrants. He’ll pay for it how? Start a war because he won’t tolerate being taunted? A Constitutional right in America, like it or not.


If you take the higher road on marijuana sales, you are penalized

Seems we heard these words before when misguided voters voted in recreational marijuana sales. GJCAN group (Mucino) and I quote, “People have seen we’re not getting the benefits here because we don’t have legal sales. People see that the schools need the revenue and the city needs it. Tourists expect it!” Where is my violin?
Fast forward to October, those counties who do not allow recreational marijuana get the shaft from DOLA. This will make wonderful fodder for the pushers to make it legal now. I guess doing the right thing no longer matters. If you allow recreational sales you will roll in moola but if you take the higher road, you are penalized.


Schwartz is totally unfit and unqualified to be in Colorado politics

I couldn’t agree with Don Pettigrew’s letter about that phony lying Democrat, Gail Schwartz. Her TV ad is a complete fabrication. She has no issues that she can campaign on, so she chooses a non-issue and lies about it. A check of Schwartz’s voting record while in the Colorado Senate reveals her to be a dedicated anti-gunner – something we most assuredly don’t want or need in the 3rd District. Schwartz is totally unfit and unqualified to be in Colorado politics. No one who loves his or her liberty should vote for the phony Gail Schwartz.
Grand Junction


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Talk about “projection”, Don Pettygrove’s Friday letter (“Gail Schwartz isn’t fit for Congress”) takes the cake, while Newt Burkhalter’s Monday letter above simply proves his own gullibility.

As the Sentinel’s Charles Ashby previously chronicled (“Tipton ad:  Schwartz is enemy of coal; Claim is murky; bill had support of GOP leaders”), Congressman Scott Tipton – not Gail Schwartz – has an oft-proven proclivity for lying to his 3rd C.D. constituents.

Tipton’s very first 2016 ad—which us still running locally—claims that Schwartz is part of a non-existent “war on coal” because she “crossed party lines” in 2010 to vote for a bill sponsored by Western Slope Republicans.  How disingenuous can one get?

Since well before 2010, the real “enemy” of coal has been the
“Drill, Baby, Drill” crowd who exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Air Acts, endangered the health of local communities, and produced a glut of natural gas that decimated the market for coal.  Thus, Tipton is just another two-faced “free market conservative” who rejects the unregulated operation of the
“Invisible Hand” when it works too efficiently – and blames
“climate alarmists” while denying the reality of climate change.

In Washington, Tipton represents the Koch Brothers at the expense of the 3rd C.D., and has himself waged a “war on coal workers” and other rural Coloradans by voting for cutting Food Stamp funding and against extended unemployment benefits for dislocated coal miners – while the 2013 bill that Tipton’s ad hypocritically criticizes was sponsored by then State Senator Schwartz “to help boost new jobs for coal miners” in the renewable energy field, and was supported by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

Remember, this is the same Scott Tipton who defeated Democrat John Salazar in 2010 by cynically lying about the financial impacts of “ObamaCare” on Medicare, and exaggerating the National Debt to justify spending cuts when the real problem is inadequate revenue.

In 2011, Tipton joined his fellow “Tea Partiers” to threaten “the full-faith and credit of the United States”, costing taxpayers billions in increased interest expenses on that debt.

In 2013, Tipton voted to “shut down” the Government – and then publicly lied about his vote at a local “town hall” meeting (at which he also fear-mongered about the National Debt using fraudulent projections ginned-up by fellow-Republicans), before admitting to his irate zealots that the scheme to extort repeal of ObamaCare had been futile all along.

With a record like that, it is Tipton – not Gail Schwartz – who “isn’t fit for Congress!!

A recent post by a local “bubblehead” demonstrates how just uninformed many local voters remain about the dismal voting record of 3rd C.D. Congressman Scott Tipton. 

Apparently convinced that Tipton is not “conservative enough”, this familiar troll asserted that Tipton “has voted about 90 % of the time with Pres. Obama and the Democrats”.  Arguably, if this were true, Western Colorado might be far better off. 

Fortunately, a cursory survey of the various “Congressional Scorecards” readily available on-line establishes that Tipton – while not quite as extreme as his Colorado Republican colleague Ken Buck – seldom votes with President Obama and responsible Democrats. 

As of October 6, 2016, the right-wing conspiracy-touting Conservative Review scored Tipton at 57%, radical extremist Ken Buck at 93%, and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet (who defeated Buck handily in the “Tea Party” year of 2010) at 8%.

As of October 5, 2016, the conservative Christian Family Research Council scored Tipton at 82%, Buck at 80%, and Bennet at 0%.

As of October 5, 2016, the John Birch Society’s “The New American” (based on its own dubious interpretation of the U.S. Constitution) scored Tipton at 71%, Buck at 78%, and Bennet at 8%.

As of September 30, 2016, the conservative Heritage Action Fund scored Tipton at 76%, Buck at 100%, and Bennet at 5%.

As of September 28, 2016, the Koch brothers’ FreedomWorks scored Tipton at 73%, Buck at 100%, and Bennet at 50%!

Through April 28, 2016, the tax-cut-obsessed Club for Growth scored Tipton at 87% (lifetime 75%), Ken Buck at 97% (lifetime 97%), and Bennet at 6% (lifetime 10%).

Through 2015, the venerable American Conservative Union (sponsors of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference – “CPAC”) scored Tipton at 91% (lifetime 83.2%), Buck at 100% for both 2015 and lifetime, and Bennet 0% (lifetime 5.29%).

Through 2014 (before Buck took his House seat), “independent”
VoteSmart gave Tipton a “conservative action score” of 67% and a “liberal action score” of 6%, and Bennet a “conservative” score of 0% and a “liberal” score of only 25% (and reported that, in 2010, Disabled American Veterans scored Bennet at 100%.

Also in 2010 (in its last “scorecard), the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America reported that 92% of its “D” and “F” ratings went to Republicans (many of whom then became Tipton’s anti-government colleagues in threatening “the full faith a credit of the United States in 2011 (costing American taxpayers billions in increased interest expenses) and actually shutting down the federal government in 2013 (after which Tipton then lied about his vote).

Through 2014, the pro-life Madison Project’s Madison Performance Index (a composite of Heritage Action’s and the Club for Growth’s ratings of Republicans) scored Tipton at 69%—which it calculated was nine percentage points less conservative than his district!

Scorecards for Ms. Patton (Part 2):

Through 2014, the disreputable conspiracy-oriented anti-jihadist Center for Security Policy (often cited by Donald Trump and Michelle Bachmann) gave Tipton a score of 80% and Bennet 0%.

On the more progressive side:

On September 27, 2016, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws released its “updated and revised 2016 Congressional scorecard”, which graded Tipton and Buck at “B” and Bennet at “B+”.

As of July 7, 2016, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund had scored Tipton at 0%, Buck at 7%, and Bennet at 100%.

Through 2015, the pro-union AFL-CIO scored Tipton at 4% (lifetime 9%), Buck at 9% both for 2015 and lifetime), and Bennet at 71% (lifetime 89%).

Through 2015, the League of Conservation Voters scored Tipton at 3% (lifetime 9%), Buck at 3% both for 2015 and lifetime, and Bennet at 84% (lifetime 87%).

Through 2014), the LGBT activist Human Rights Campaign scored Bennet at 100% (lifetime 92%) and Tipton at 35% (lifetime 15%).

A spreadsheet analysis yields the following “takeaways”:

Tipton has voted over 82% of the time with radical right-wing Republicans (88% of the time with “Tea Partier” Ken Buck) and against President Obama and the Democrats.

Tipton has been more supportive of religious extremists and more hostile to women’s reproductive health than even Buck, who lost to Senator Bennet in 2010 in large measure because of his callously misogynous rhetoric.

Tipton has been more hostile to both labor and the environment than Buck, and lately has actually become even more hostile to both in the most recent Congress – which should be of particular interest to union members in Pueblo and Grand Junction and environmentalists in Durango, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Crested Butte.

Recently, Tipton has apparently become somewhat more “moderate” only as to marijuana and LGBT issues, while Senator Bennet has voted with President Obama and responsible Democrats only 81% of the time – less than “Ms. Patton” falsely accused Tipton of doing!.

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