Email letters, Sept. 1, 2011

Delta commissioners did the right thing approving chicken farm

The Delta county commissioners recently approved the Hostetler’s chicken farm unanimously.  I want to complement them on doing the right thing.  Particularly, I was most impressed with Commissioner Doug Atchley.  He clearly stated that the state law recognizes only agriculture without modifiers like Industrial or Commercial or Corporate or Family which the opposition attempted to use to confuse the issue. He supported the Right to Farm unequivocally. Thank you Doug for your principled stand to uphold the laws of the state and county.
Then I want to thank Commissioner Lund’s detailed analysis of agriculture as the principle industry to be protected in Delta County as even defining the nature of the county.

However, I hope no other farmer has to ever go through this process again.  The Hostetlers hired a consultant for the 4 ½ months this process has drug on.  They also flew in experts from Minnesota and Illinois at great expense.  I urge the commissioners to remove agriculture from the Specific Development Regulations (SDR) as the SDR illegally strips every vestige of the right to farm from farmers. 

As the state law says and commissioner Atchley quoted:  Any ordinance or resolution of any unit of local government that makes the operation of any agricultural operation a nuisance or provides for the abatement thereof as a nuisance under the circumstances set forth in this section is void.”

If agriculture is not exempted from the SDRs then the potential exist to repeat this nightmare experience and to further drive any new potential agricultural enterprises from Delta County. 
Something I’m sure we do not want.

Thank you, commissioners, you did the right thing.


AP story mostly opinion

The Daily Sentinel’s front-page article challenging Michelle Bachmann’s statements regarding energy in the United States should have been placed in the the commentary section as it was saturated with opinion and was not subjected to any fact check of its own by an opposing viewpoint.

The article also had the unbelievable byline of The Associated Press. Why did a supposedly unbiased news reporting organization take it upon itself to denigrate a Republican candidate for president by offering questionable opinions on a very complex issue and why did it appear on the front page?

AP should stick to reporting news stories and leave political opinion to the pundits.

Grand Junction

Confusion persists on scientific theory

Kevin McCarney’s letter to the edito illustrates the point of my recent letter that the general public and Mr. McCarney don’t understand the significance of a scientific theory. There is a general confusion of the terms hypothesis, theory and proven law.

Contrary to Mr. McCraney, I think I have this correct. I have a bachelor’s degree in biology, worked as a biologist for 20 years, and my letter was reviewed by a biology professor.

A hypothesis is a more preliminary concept undergoing testing, and may or may not be generally accepted as a predictive model of nature. The public often confuses this with theory.

A theory is based on a huge amount of data, has undergone numerous tests, and is well accepted in the scientific community. What is a bit harder to grasp is a theory can’t be proved because there is always the next discovery that may invalidate it. Until then, it is useful. “Proofs” and “laws” are terms used in mathematics and theoretical science, not empirical (based on data gathered) science.

Especially since the 1980s, American conservatives denigrate modern science when it challenges their beliefs, such as with evolution and now climate change. The Pope accepts evolutionary theory, so why don’t American conservatives? I suspect that objectivity goes down the drain when heavily vested in a belief.

In the case of climate change, modern conservatives choose a belief that removes them from responsibility. How convenient. Conservatives of the era of Presidents Nixon and Ford, wouldn’t take the risk of destabilizing world agriculture and rising sea level.

Grand Junction

Is our country run by benevolent dictator?

The immigration legislation failed to pass in the House of Representatives. This administration believes that the way around this is by passing regulations to give illegals amnesty. This political move is for the Hispanic vote. Are we now a country run by a benevolent dictator or by the rule of law?
Grand Junction

That corporations are over taxed is a myth

There is an often-repeated myth about excessive corporate taxation in the United States. The truth is that 25 of the top 100 U.S. corporations pay their CEOs more annually than they pay in U.S. federal taxes.

Included in this list of corporations are Ford, GE, Verizon and Prudential.  Some corporations also spend more on lobbying and political contributions yearly than they pay in federal taxes. Some pay zero taxes and others actually receive huge federal tax refunds. This is in an economic environment where, as a percent of GDP, corporate profits are at unprecedented levels and worker compensation is at a 55 year low.

Despite assertions by many, low corporate tax rates during the last decade did not translate into more domestic jobs. When the disparity between the rich and the poor is huge, it is difficult to hear political candidates voice strenuous opposition to social safety net programs for America’s poor and middle class.

Grand Junction

District the bottom in terms of per-pupil funding

At first glance Kelly Johnson’s Aug. 31 letter to the editor about the upcoming ballot question to override the District 51 mill levy and increase financial support of the school district seems fairly reasonable. But on reflection, some facts not in this letter deserve the attention of voters.

The national average per pupil funding is currently close to $10,000 per student per year. Colorado is expected to fund at about $7,000 per pupil next year.  (Colorado places in the bottom 10 states consistently on spending per pupil.)  District 51 projects funding for 2011-2012 to be nearly $6100 per pupil, placing them in the bottom ranks for Colorado districts. These numbers illustrate that this district has not been lavishing funds on its students and the suggestions Kelly Johnson make will in no way address the shortfalls.

The above statistics came out of an excellent document written by Jeff Kirtland in his capacity of director of communications for the district. That same document goes on to itemize the cuts already made including days of work reductions (which are actually pay cuts), declined pay increases, 83 teachers and 70 administrative positions being cut over the past two years, and concessions from the Teachers Union as regards eliminating pay increases, experience increases and post graduate education increases. 

As the election gets closer a lot of information will be brought forth but in the meantime, I hope voters will keep an open mind on this issue and look at the facts. District 51 needs this funding. 

Grand Junction

Green energy proving to be unsustainable

The Daily Sentinel is to be congratulated for providing some real news that may be omitted by the mainstream media. I refer to the Sept. 1 article describing the failure of a California solar-panel manufacturer that was touted by the Obama administration to become the “poster child for government investment in green technology.”

Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif., is filing for bankruptcy and laying off 1,000 workers after receiving a half-billion dollar federal stimulusloan .

Back in May 2010, President Obama made a highly publicized, photo op, motorcade visit to the company during which he told employees that the “incredible, cutting-edge solar panels being manufactured there were testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world.”

The “bests” — ingenuity and dynamism, universities, technology and workers — to which Obama refers are true, but not because of government sponsored failed programs. We are “best” because of a private enterprise system that creates positive results by allowing for creativity through individual investment, productive effort, and intelligent risk management.

Will more green technology stimulus investments be part of his much publicized job plan that now has become a priority following his vacation?



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