Email Letters: October 9, 2017

Volkswagen settlement is an opportunity for the Western Slope

Colorado received $68 million from Volkswagen as a settlement when they were caught falsifying their emissions. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently released a draft plan for what to do with this money that dedicated $10 million to electric vehicle infrastructure. With this money, we have the unique opportunity to better our air quality, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and save ourselves some cash by making driving electric vehicles (EVs) a reality for people across the state.

In fact, for me, it already is a reality.

As an owner of an electric car, I have experienced both the economic and environmental benefits of EV ownership. In addition to the tax credits on my 2017 Colorado and Federal income tax; in the month of September I saved around 21 gallons of fuel and prevented 414 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere by driving my EV. In short, I have been very happy with my experience as an EV owner.

I want others to be able to experience this too. Therefore, our community should strongly support allocating money for electric vehicle charging stations, especially on the Western Slope, where they are still scarce. This settlement money can make EV travel throughout the state a reality and brings people out to our communities, where they contribute to our local economies.

Colorado is the cheapest state to buy an electric vehicle. However, rural parts of the state like Mesa County still are lacking in the infrastructure to reap these kinds of benefits.

I urge you all to submit a comment to the CDPHE in order to make West Slope voices heard. Comments will be accepted until Friday, Oct. 13 and should be sent to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

RICK BAER
Grand Junction

Our community has to take responsibility for our public schools

Too often the word on the street in the Grand Valley is the school district doesn’t deserve our hard-earned taxpayer money. We have heard all the reasons: they waste it, teachers aren’t doing their jobs, administrators get paid too much, public education has become another outdated subsidized welfare program, and on.

The problem with these arguments is the math doesn’t add up. We have been forcing D51 schools to do more with less for 30 years. In 1986, a house worth $50,000 paid approximately $700/year in property taxes. In 2016, a house worth $200,000 paid approximately $520/year in property taxes.

We as a community have to take responsibility for our own public schools. We can’t wait for a subsidized government program to fix our school buildings and improve public education in the Grand Valley.

Many of those who complain to us about our public schools admit they have not spent time in a D51 classroom lately. Visit your neighborhood school and see for yourself how your tax dollars are being used.

If you have any doubt about how D51 would put new funding from the bond and mill levy to use, we urge you to spend 15 minutes educating yourself at http://www.citizensforsd51.com.

Now is the time for all of us in the Grand Valley to direct and invest our own money into our public school system, and thereby our community. A more diversified economy is a widely recognized goal within the Grand Valley, and it’s imperative that we prioritize our public schools’ role in achieving that economic diversification. To attract new businesses and industries, our schools must be better. Every day we withhold funding from D51 is a day we are stunting economic growth in the Grand Valley.

Join us in voting yes on 3A and 3B on your mail-in ballot.

DREW AND CAT MAYER
Grand Junction

It’s time to put our money where our mouth is and vote yes on 1A

Prior to the murder of my cousin, Deputy Derek Geer, I can’t say that I really appreciated how overburdened our public safety teams are in this valley. My family, like most, never thought it could happen to us. Because of my interest in public service, I had joined the Judicial Nominating Committee in 2012, but until recently, no nominations had come up.

I attend most court appearances in my cousin’s case, and have now participated in nominating three of our judges. Through these experiences I have seen first hand that the stresses on the sheriff and DA are real and it is critical that we act now to help.

What I have seen as I attend court is that cases are complex. They require more investigation and litigation in order to achieve the proper outcome than I ever imagined. These issues are important, the consequences are huge, and we are fortunate to have leaders that are doing a good job for us.

There is no way the sheriff and DA can sustain that level of service with the resources we have given them. Without more, they certainly can’t go that extra step to proactively drive down this rise in violent crime that we have seen. We are at a crossroads where we need to decide if we value living in a safe place.

My family is in the unenviable position of having lost a family member to crime. It is a crime that gets much attention from every agency and from the public. Every victim’s family deserves that much care and attention, and if the sheriff and DA say that this can be accomplished with a tax increase of a mere 37 cents on a $100 purchase, then we need to be there for them and make sure it happens.

I was overwhelmed with the showing of support that this community displayed after Derek was killed. If you, like me, were one of the people that put a blue line in your rear windshield, or spoke in support of law enforcement in their time of need, it is time to put our money where our mouth is and support them in this time of their need. Please join me again in Backing the Badge and voting yes on ballot issue 1A.

IVAN GEER
Grand Junction

There’s a simple solution to North Avenue name debate

Area residents have figured out the difference between F Road to Patterson Road back to F Road in Grand Junction for years. Name it University Avenue from 1st Street to 24th Street. Name the rest of it North Avenue from 24th Street to the east to I-70B. A small fraction of North Avenue business owners would have to bear the expense of the name change and CMU gets to market itself as a university internationally with the name “University Avenue.” Locals are going to continue to call it North Avenue for years, anyway.

The fantastic job that Colorado Mesa University has done on campus expansion is the future of Mesa County. Compromising with the community on a common sense solution would be a good step forward by CMU in the present.

RICK THURTLE
Grand Junction

Ballot decisions have real impacts for future of education in Grand Valley

Everywhere I drive I see signs for 3A and 3B. It is on the minds of many of us, but what do the two numbers and two letters mean? Who does this impact?

Voting for 3A and 3B means that voters understand that students at Orchard Mesa Middle School are going to school in a building that is crumbling away. Very few of us would like to work in an office with plants growing out of the walls and students feel the same way. Voting Yes means that students at OMMS will have a facility to grow and thrive in.

Voting for 3A and 3B means that students at Dual Immersion Academy will be able to have P.E. in a safe and controlled environment like all the other students in the valley. I venture a guess that every family at DIA would tell you how important this is for students. Voting Yes means students will have access to the same healthy and safe P.E. opportunities as all the other schools in D51.

Voting for 3A and 3B means improved security at our schools. Every teacher, principal, secretary, etc. worries about the safety of our students. We need additional security and voting Yes will provide this.

Voting for 3A and 3B means that students go to school more. When budgets required it, days were cut from the calendar. This directly impacts student achievement and the days should be added back in. Voting Yes gives students more learning opportunities and practice on important skills.

Voting for 3A and 3B means much more than this letter can describe. Find out for yourself at http://www.citizensforsd51.com/plan/. Your Yes vote for 3A and 3B positively impacts students now and for many years to come. Vote Yes.

MARIE MCGOWAN

Grand Junction

CPW should be ashamed for pushing policies not clearly backed by scientific evidence

The Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife once again says, “Trust us,” and in three years we will have an answer for the public regarding a highly controversial predator removal study, intended to buoy local deer numbers. In the meantime, we must accept CPW’s strongly held belief that over a 100 wild animals, part of a larger ecosystem, should be removed from their natural habitat, often killed, so deer can thrive.

The state of Colorado, the governor, and CPW should be ashamed of themselves, plain and simple, for pushing policies not clearly backed by scientific evidence, and for not providing such evidence on a clear and rational level and in a realistic timeframe for all Coloradans to clearly judge.

LANDON BAIN
Rifle

We each need to consider how we can be part of the solution

Thank you to the County Clerk and Recorder for the TABOR Information about the upcoming elections. Opinions alone are not enough. I encourage all citizens to study the facts as well as listen to and consider opinions of others (not just express their own). Each issue should be studied separately.

The growth of our communities is not only in population, but also in demands upon our physical infrastructure, social networks, and public safety issues. Our whole society seems to be in chaos. Again, we need to think not only of ourselves but also of others. Please, let us work together and not confront each other. “They” are not those “out there.” They are part of the collective U.S., just as we are all part of the community, the state, and the USA.

None of us really enjoy paying taxes or considering increases of them. However, improvements cannot happen without funds. You and I – we and “they” – must work together if we hope to build a better future for our community. Compromise is not a dirty word. There is no one hero to solve all our problems. We each need to consider how we can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. We each need to contribute as we can, whether by mental pondering, physical participation, civil discussion, political action, or even by voting to pay the suggested increase in taxes for programs we have informed ourselves about.

I’ve heard some say they shouldn’t have to support schools since they themselves do not have any children. Well, other people’s children, as well as our own, are the future of this country. Shouldn’t we all be involved in supporting the education of those young people so that they grow to become active and informed citizens and voters?

JOANNE DRAKE
Fruita

Zinke’s decision to suspend BLM Methane Rule is disappointing

I am very disappointed that Interior Secretary Zinke has chosen to suspend the BLM Methane Rule. This rule benefits taxpayers and residents because it encourages oil and gas operators to capture and utilize methane opposed to just venting it into the air. The city of Grand Junction already captures methane from our wastewater treatment plant and utilizes it to power our natural gas vehicles to the benefit of our community. We owe it to our constituents to guard our air quality, to look out for public health, and to work towards common sense solutions. Despite repeated calls to this effect, you still have still chosen to suspend this important and much needed rule. I am not alone in saying that I am disappointed in your decision.

This comment may not reflect the views of the rest of the Grand
Junction City Council.

BENNETT BOESCHENSTEIN
Grand Junction

Public’s interests, not oil and gas industry, is what needs protecting

I started reading today’s editorial entitled ”No more foot dragging” Then I came upon a quote from an industry executive: ”In an industry where time is money…”

Whoa! Will the petroleum products in the ground dissipate? Are the company finances such that they have to be drilling to stay viable? Since the last I heard we were not hurting with either natural gas or oil – is there a race to establish export markets?

Or are the complaints bogus about the BLM taking too long to determine whether drilling in the localities desired is appropriate? In other words, are citizens given too many opportunities and too much time to protest? Is the BLM adequately funded to speed up?

Once the drilling starts it is too late to stop a variety of problems to occur. Will the drilling company be certain to correct short-term problems? How about long term? Will they still be around? Are they required to put up a bond that would be able to cover any cleanup situations or accidents that might arise? Are they basically a nuisance in many places?

Does the term Superfund ring any bells? The public had to pay to clean up the environment in abandoned mines and surrounding areas. That was then, this is now. Could that happen with drilling operations and subsequent regular operations revolving around holes that had been drilled years ago?

How about the yellow river near Durango caused by leakage from an old mine? The EPA was blamed but who mined there in the first place and where were they when the fix was necessary? Our responsibility?

No, the BLM taking too long for approvals is an energy red herring. If there are questions it takes time to make sure the public is protected. I think the energy industry has done well in western Colorado and I think the Sentinel’s editorial is out of order.

It’s always time for as much time as needed for the public’s interest to be protected. The industry shouldn’t be the one protected. They are here today and gone tomorrow.

Have we learned nothing?

JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

Working class taxpayers are being asked to support an ocean of debt

I received my Mesa County elections information. I see all the needs for money to keep the schools operating, and all the other agencies that make up the services we have been accustomed to. The government we have had in Washington for the last 16 to 20 years is to blame for the loss of working class people who pay taxes into the system. The governor of Colorado and the senators are all to blame. Now the elderly, and whoever is left that has a job, are asked to support an ocean of debt, because of the incompetence of the leaders of past.

RAFAEL SALAZ
Grand Junction

Let’s leave North Avenue alone, and rename 10th Street

A solution to the North Avenue “question” may be simple, if not elegant, and acceptable to the majority of folks who have a dog in this fight. The solution? Rename 10th Street “University” street or boulevard, either because it will only be referred to as University. Why 10th Street? Because CMU, so goes the word on the street, has purchased or is negotiating purchases of property from North Avenue to the south end of 10th Street.

CMU’s presence on 7th Street portends its desire for future expansion to the west and, there is little doubt in many minds that an eastward expansion is all but certain in the future. How about CMU’s perimeter being North Avenue, 7th Street, 12th Street and Patterson, with corridors on 10th and 9th for future expansion? Not an impossible dream. So let’s leave North Avenue alone, rename 10th Street, sit back and watch a legacy in progress.

TC STREFF
Grand Junction

Endorse more effective and intelligent gun safety laws

Thanks to the Daily Sentinel’s editors for endorsing a timid “first step” in the direction of more stringent and effective gun safety regulations (“Ban bump stocks”).

However, contrary to the editors’ hopeful “surprise” in response to the NRA’s statement, the NRA’s feigned “support” for increased “regulation” of such devices is disingenuous, because it knows – as the editorial notes – that they are perfectly legal under current law and thus would require Congressional action to “ban.” Meanwhile, the NRA remains supremely confident that no such action will ever occur – because the combination of its targeted campaign contributions and voting “scorecard” will scare-off many Republicans.

One deceptive myth repeatedly cited by the NRA to justify its adamant opposition to gun safety legislation is the proposition that any such controls would “infringe” upon the Second Amendment rights of “law abiding citizens” – as if that status were un-changing. Of course, every American is “law abiding” until they are not; every potential gun buyer is of sound mind until they “crack”; every potential felon is presumed innocent until convicted; and every husband remains devoted to his wife until he begins abusing her.

Thus, the real purpose of gun control legislation is to protect “law abiding citizens” from the unfortunate status changes that can lead their previously sane and law-abiding fellow citizens to gun violence – by limiting their access to “weapons of mass destruction.”

Another deceptive trope perpetrated by the NRA is that “guns don’t kill people, people do.” However, the forensic evidence confirms that – while both guns and people can be blamed for “killing people” – it is actually bullets that inflict the fatal damage. Recalling that the drafters of the Second Amendment had no knowledge of any firearm capable of firing more than one round without reloading, common sense suggests that prudent gun safety legislation can and should reasonably limit the ammunition capacity of “arms.”

Nevertheless, NRA-funded Republicans oppose banning semi-automatic assault weapons (which can readily be converted to fully-automatic) and/or limiting magazine capacities. Moreover, having made such weapons and magazines “legal,” these Republicans refuse to close the “gun show loophole” – the nonsensical exception to “universal background checks” which allows criminals, the deranged, spouse-abusers, would-be mass shooters, and even determined terrorists to acquire lethal weapons at will and with no waiting.

Therefore, Sentinel readers should encourage its editors to move beyond “first steps” and take more confident strides by endorsing more effective and intelligent gun safety laws.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction


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