Email Letters: October 6, 2016

Amendment 72 a proven strategy to reduce smoking, save lives

I support Amendment 72 because I see the injuries caused by smoking every day and Amendment 72 is a proven strategy to reduce smoking and save lives. This year 5,100 Coloradans will die from a smoking-related illness.
Don’t be distracted or fooled by the tobacco industry’s campaign against Amendment 72. They know tobacco taxes work to lower smoking rates and they want to keep selling more cigarettes and to get more kids hooked on this deadly addiction. In Colorado, 23,900 high school students smoke. Cigarette sales increased in 2015 for the first time in over a decade. Remember this is the same industry that repeatedly claims with “scientific” studies, that cigarettes were harmless.
Amendment 72 is a tremendous opportunity to fight the deadliest and most preventable health problem in our state, and to create a healthier future for our kids and grandkids. Vote yes on Amendment 72.

Grand Junction

Americans must unite as a people and work for justice for everyone

What defines an American?

Like most, I am concerned about the upcoming election. With either candidate, we will see changes in our nation, some to our liking and others not. It occurs to me that what we are as Americans does not fundamentally depend upon the bureaucrats in Washington, but rather whom we choose to be as individuals. Historically, Americans have had faith in God, e.g., “In God We Trust,” and have shown love, kindness, goodness and generosity to others. And many of our finest have bled and died to defend those who needed our help. Because of our faith and the character of this nation, God has blessed us beyond measure.

I believe that who we are as Americans has been and will continue to be defined by who we are as individuals. My prayer for this nation is that we will love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

We all want to live in peace and safety. For that to occur, there must be justice for all. We must unite as a people and work for justice for everyone, regardless of the differences that now divide us. This is my hope for America.

Grand Junction

Gail Schwartz will stand up for West Slope and our outdoor heritage
I wake up every morning amazed by how lucky I am to live in this beautiful region, surrounded by some of the most unbelievable public lands in the nation.

This unparalleled access to public lands was one of the primary reasons my husband and I moved our family to the West Slope. It’s why we’ve established our careers here and are raising our son here. We want him to experience the night sky away from city lights. We want him to grow up among wildlife and open spaces.

As we look ahead to the election, we don’t need someone who pays lip service to our public lands and our outdoor heritage or someone who would sell off our lands. And we certainly don’t need to send someone to Washington who prioritizes wealthy campaign donors over the rest of us.

That’s why I’m voting for Gail Schwartz this November. I know she’ll stand up for the West Slope, for our outdoor access, for our communities’ heritage, and for my son’s future.

I hope you’ll join me.


Amendment 71 will diminish our power to initiate constitutional amendments

Think about how difficult it already is to get a citizens’ initiative placed on the ballot in Colorado. A yes vote on Amendment 71 would make it more challenging to collect enough signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot, and it would also impose a 55 percent supermajority requirement for proposed constitutional amendments.

I am passionate about animal welfare and therefore concerned that Amendment 71, if passed, will diminish citizens’ power to initiate constitutional amendments. This will bode poorly for animals.

Local animals groups do not have unlimited cash to spread out their signature gathering process as Amendment 71 suggests they should. That limits which groups can enact change at the ballot, severely diminishing the democratic process to change the state Constitution.

This is manipulation at its finest and adds hurdles to the power of petition and the ability for Colorado citizens to enact meaningful change. If you care about opposing animal cruelty and supporting voting rights, vote “no” on Amendment 71.



Amendment 71 would protect Coloradans from special interest groups

I support the “Raise the Bar” Amendment 71 and here’s why. Imagine a well-funded special-interest group spending millions of dollars to amend the Colorado constitution to benefit an out-of-state corporation. Ridiculous? Well, this is exactly what happened in 2014 when a Rhode Island gaming corporation spent millions trying to pass Amendment 68, which would have permitted casino gambling at horse racetracks in three Colorado counties. The amendment would have benefited one out-of-state corporation, but hurt Colorado’s homegrown gaming industry. The amendment failed, but the issue remains. Do we want our state constitution to be easy to manipulate by deep pocket, out of state special interest groups?

Colorado’s constitution is among the easiest state constitutions to amend. In 140 years of statehood, our state constitution has been amended more than 150 times. That is because Colorado requires fewer signatures than any other state to get on the statewide ballot, the 98,492 threshold reflecting 5 percent of those casting ballots for Colorado’s Secretary of State. Also, there is no requirement that petition signatures be gathered throughout the state. Currently, the majority of petition signatures are gathered in the Denver and Boulder areas, leaving rural Coloradans without a voice. Once on the statewide ballot, it requires only a simple majority to amend our state constitution. Many other states require a 60 percent popular majority to amend their constitutions.

Amendment 71 would require petition signatures to reflect 2 percent of the registered voters in each of the state’s 35 senate districts and would require a 55 percent popular vote to pass. These changes would protect Coloradans from special interest groups who use citizen’s initiatives to advance their causes. Once cemented into our constitution, these policies are difficult to update or remove because of the permanency enshrined in our state’s foundational document.

Vote “Yes” on Amendment 71.

Grand Junction

Trump comes off like a third world dictator

I have to qualify this by saying that I haven’t been much interested or involved in presidential politics since the turmoil of the late 1960s. The calculus for me has now changed because the poster boy for narcissism, Donald J. Trump, is now the GOP’s nominee for president of the United States.

In my opinion it is very clear that Trump has encouraged outrage among his supporters by proclaiming opposition to various social classes and stirring up nationalist sentiments by focusing on peoples’ anxieties toward minorities (ban the Muslims, Mexicans, and his perceived “enemies.” Trump has urged his supporters to rail against and terrorize political opponents, protestors, and others by threatening to sue, through insults, or by physical assaults. (In the old days, protesters would be carried out on stretchers.)

By Trump spouting, “I can fix everything” he comes off like a third world dictator. If elected, it is within the realm of possibility that he may want to gradually dismantle many of our democratic institutions, including the press, and then declare himself as the only one who can save the country. In essence then, he becomes a de facto fascist.

Does this sound totally ridiculous? Well, I certainly hope so, but something similar happened before during 1919 -1922 in pre-World War II Italy. The man: Benito Mussolini whose rise to power followed a similar road that Trump appears to be taking. Think it can’t happen here? Well, one just has to look at the way Trump has run his presidential campaign and then check out the parallels. A lot of people say “No way” but those who deny the past don’t seem to realize that history has a way of repeating itself!

Grand Junction

Book on Grand Valley history contained multiple inaccuracies

It is too bad that neither Laurena Mayne Davis nor Kate Ruland-Thorne seem to know what happened first in the Grand Valley.

The Davis article of Oct. 2 chose to lead line a quote from Kate Ruland-Thorne’s book Historic Tales of Colorado’s Grand Valley that is so inaccurate as to be laughable.

It says in part “When Captain Gunnison arrived soon after the Ute Indians left is 1881, he declared . . .”

Capitan Gunnison came through the Grand Valley in the late summer of 1853 and was killed in Utah in October of that year. Thus Gunnison was here nearly 30 years before the Utes left.

The book also says that Escalante and Dominguez were looking for a route from Santa Fe to Los Angeles on their expedition in 1776.

Los Angeles was not settled or founded until 1781, five years after the Escalante and Dominguez expedition; they were looking for a route to Monterey.


Grand Junction

Take measure to keep your beloved pets safe when disasters strike

Hurricane Matthew – the Category 3 storm roaring towards the U.S. coast after ravaging Haiti –underlines the urgent need for emergency preparedness, which includes precautionary measures to keep your beloved pets safe when disasters strike.

American Humane is reminding pet owners everywhere to put together kits containing essential emergency supplies, including: enough water and nonperishable pet food for several days; an extra leash or harness; a week-long supply of any medications your pet requires, stored in a waterproof container; copies of your pet’s medical records and vaccinations; and recent photos of your pet.

Pets should always wear collars with up-to-date identification information, including a cell phone number, in case of disaster-related power outages or evacuation. American Humane also recommends microchipping your pet to increase the likelihood of reunification in the event of separation.

But above all, pet owners should follow one simple rule to keep their animal companions safe in disasters: If you evacuate, bring your pets with you.

President and CEO, American Humane
Washington, DC

Dependability, hard work, and education are qualifications for good paying jobs

Those minimum wage jobs that have been around for 50 or more years were never intended to become an income to buy homes, cars, support a family, and buy all the other things people want. The main thing to qualify for a good paying job is to know how to read and write, have some good math knowledge, and finish high school. Also, be dependable and show up for work every day.

Promotions will probably not come fast. You have to put in some time to learn the job to be done and to be worth the better pay. The government leaders are the ones who have run off a lot of good paying jobs in the name of a lot of different excuses they dream up.

Grand Junction


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