Email Letters: September 1, 2016

There are viable alternatives to open and agricultural burning

There needs to be a response to two items in the “You Said It” column of the Sunday, Aug. 28 Sentinel that supported open burning.

First, one commented that burn season was three months long. That is incorrect. Burn season is five months long – three months in the spring and two months in the fall. (This only covers burning affected by the need for burn permits. Agricultural burning can take place at any time, even as we saw this summer during a fire ban). And these five months also coincide with some of the most desirable times to be outside.

Second was the suggestion that we all could stop driving during the winter months and they would stop burning. Perhaps it escaped the contributor, but it should be noted that all cars and light trucks built after 1995 have between $2,500 and $4,000 worth of pollution control equipment. We all have already paid a significant price to reduce vehicular pollution. There was a statistic that I saw that one agricultural burn of one hour in duration creates more pollution than a current vehicle driving about 10,000 miles. If you do the math, open/agricultural burning creates a lot of pollution.

The other contributor noted that wildfires are a significant source of visible smoke. And that is correct. What is not correct is that they stated that the Grand Mesa was only made not visible during wildfire season. There are often times during burn season that the Mesa is not visible. And those burns are done willfully, not like a wildfire.

There is one sad note to be added to all of this. Our County Health Department and the State Health Department can’t tell us what the components of our air pollution are. This is truly an unacceptable state of affairs and needs to be changed.

There are viable alternatives to open and agricultural burning. If we want to grow our businesses in the Grand Valley, we must make this a desirable place to live. Open burning doesn’t really fit into that equation.

CHARLIE POST
Grand Junction

Schwartz will work to find common ground on all sides

People say Congress is “gridlocked” and “broken,” yet repeatedly elect leaders for their hardline positions, rather than for their collaboration skills. This year, I choose cooperation. I am voting for a Colorado District 3 candidate who, above all, can work effectively with anyone.

Gail Schwartz made impressive contributions as a Colorado state senator. She championed the Building Excellent Schools Today or “BEST” bill, which is currently enabling the school where I teach to rebuild after decades of structural problems. More importantly, Senator Schwartz lives up to her motto, “No one will ever work harder for you,” and was even named the senate’s hardest working member.

Contrast that ethic with our current Congressman, Scott Tipton. For three years, I have volunteered with an organization that promotes a bipartisan proposal to stop climate change. Rep. Tipton has made scant time to discuss the topic with constituents, even after eight or more trips, on our own dimes, to meet with his (low-level) staff in Grand Junction and Washington, D.C. Republican leaders from other districts around the country have granted our groups a warm welcome, but Tipton, apparently, has been too threatened or narrow-minded to consider a promising proposal.

Gail Schwartz, on the other hand, is known for finding common ground with those on all sides. No matter what future Congresswoman Schwartz’s position on climate change or any issue, I trust she will listen carefully to opponents and host productive dialogues. Vote Gail Schwartz for District 3 this fall!

AMELIA POTVIN
Carbondale

Think twice before you believe the anti-fracking rhetoric

Thank you to everyone who refused to sign proposed ballot initiatives 75 and 78. Despite the hundreds of petitioners out in force throughout the state over the past couple of months the “anti-fracking movement” was unable to collect enough signatures to get their anti-fracking initiatives on the November ballot. Both initiatives would have added even more limitations on an already struggling oil and natural gas industry in Colorado. We already have some of the toughest oil and gas regulations in the nation. These additional rules are not needed and, by the lack of credible signatures collected, it’s obvious the people of this great state do not want them.

The “anti-fracking movement” often tries to wordsmith these proposed ballot initiatives to sneak them by an unsuspecting public – a tactic that has worked in the past, but hit a road-block this time around. However, it now appears that their deceitful ways didn’t end there. What is not shocking, but very disappointing, is that the petition processing team has potentially identified some of the signatures collected as forged; prompting an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.

So, think twice before you believe the non-factual rhetoric that is too often spewed by the people and organizations behind the “anti-fracking movement.” If they’re willing to break the law in an effort to get their way, imagine what else they might be capable of as they try to manipulate the facts and you.

MICHAEL ROBERTS
Cedaredge

Had whistle not been blown, challenges facing airport would remain

I was pleased that The Sentinel took the time to detail the challenges facing the Grand Junction airport and to introduce Kip Turner, the man whose task it will be to lead the effort to fix the mess left behind by the previous administrator. As a recent transplant from Maine and a pilot I was somewhat taken aback to move to an airport that was, to put it succinctly, an utter mess. It is good to see Kip on the job and I wish him luck and support in his efforts.

After reading your coverage, I feel that The Sentinel conflates the issue of the airport terminal building (you know, the place where one goes to check bags, clear TSA security and get on an airplane) and the issue of the airport administration building (the place where Mr. Tippets and staff were to have offices, now know as 2013 project 800 Eagle Drive). I trust that this is purely accidental, but urge The Sentinel to be clear on this point in the future.

Had the whistle not been blown on the actions of Tippets and the building now know as “2013 Project at 800 Eagle Drive” been completed, the challenges facing the airport would be the same today. We’d still be dealing with an aging terminal building to accommodate our airlines and passengers. The only difference is Tippets and staff would be sitting in a nice new office building, with a spectacular view of the Grand Valley and we’d be paying the FAA back millions of dollars for an improper grant. While I am all for nice things for our community, their existence needs to be legitimately justified.

The fact the grant application for the “2013 Project at 800 Eagle Drive” was pulled by the airport, never resubmitted, and consequently the building never completed should tell us something about the validity of the initial grant application.

JOE FOURNIER

Grand Junction

Sentinel’s commentary section showed how liberals truly think

Reading Sunday’s edition of The Sentinel the commentary section showed liberals as they truly think. First, Patti Inscho, who works for Mesa County, decries the situation that every employed person that works outside of the government is familiar with. We have no further to look than to see what has happened at the coal mines, in the energy industry, or with the railroads with the layoffs due to market conditions. She must have missed reading about all of the other people who have recently been laid off. It appears that the commissioners are acting in a prudent manner to me and I am sure they don’t enjoy it.

Then we have Mark Udall, our former Democrat Senator and Obamacare supporter, climate change believer, and believer that when it comes to public lands the local people are incapable of deciding what is best for the public lands. He wants to leave that up to a small group of people back in Washington, D.C. By the way, Udall, there is no science on climate change, only computer models. By the way, believers should read up on the “Maunder Minimum.” It is similar to where we are today.

Finally, Dr. Pramenko is so embarrassed by Obamacare he can’t even bring it up now or talk about Amendment 69. Do we really want the government to take over our health care system? He talks instead about Initiative 143, which raises the taxes on the sale of tobacco, which he is for. I don’t smoke. I agree with most of what he writes in his column; where I disagree is on how much money the new tax will generate. Liberals assume that people aren’t smart enough to find ways around the tax, like buying cigarettes somewhere else. Just a thought, why can’t we have a health bonus on your taxes where you are rewarded by not smoking and keeping your blood pressure and weight in check?

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction

November’s the time to prove Trump wrong

Thursday’s thoughtful letter from Don Bell (“Vote for service, not a narcissist”) lends further credence to the conclusion that Tuesday’s fact-free letter from Dan Bledsoe (“Americans deserve better than Clinton”) proved the truth of P.T. Barnum’s famous adage:  “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

While Bledsoe claimed that Donald Trump is “honest,” “tells it like it is,” and speaks “the truth,” multiple independent fact-checkers have authoritatively belied that fiction. 

Thus, for example, after Trump asserted in Mexico yesterday that there had been no discussion as to who would pay for Trump’s ludicrous “wall,” Mexico’s president confirmed the contrary:  that he’d told Trump that Mexico would not ever pay for it.

Then, Trump’s much-anticipated “major immigration speech” in Phoenix last night turned out to be just another jumble of false “facts” and specious “proposals.”  See:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/09/01/fact-checking-donald-trumps-immigration-speech/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_factchecker-1245am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory.

Sentinel readers actually interested in the facts should also review the following:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-facts-behind-donald-trumps-many-falsehoods/2016/08/01/0571b048-582d-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f:homepage/story; https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/few-stand-in-trumps-way-as-he-piles-up-the-four-pinocchio-whoppers/2016/05/07/8cf5e16a-12ff-11e6-8967-7ac733c56f12_story.html; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/08/31/trumps-repeated-claim-that-more-hispanics-are-in-poverty-under-obama/; http://bigstory.ap.org/article/3e132f145e0c44cf96cb7f4fd448b34a/ap-fact-check-crime-stats-dont-back-trumps-dire-view.

As suggested by Thursday’s front-page headline (“Trump vows to deport millions; Tough talk comes after milder words in Mexico City”), Trump is a venal two-faced demagogue who thrives by telling his latest audience what they want to hear – regardless of “facts” and/or consistency. 

Presumably, “Trump opens office in GJ” precisely because he’s confident that less-educated rural Coloradans will swallow his spiel.  November’s the time to prove him wrong.   

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Give Coloradocare a chance before counting it out

Three taxpayers swam 100 feet off shore and could not get back to land. A Tea Party member came by and threw out a 50’ rope and said to man number one “with just a little effort on your part you can make it” and then he left to picket the local welfare office. The first man drowns. An Occupy Wall Street activist arrives and throws out a 200’ rope to man number two. But, the activist heard cries from someone else in need further down on the shore, so he dropped the line and left to help. The second man drowns. A pragmatist came by, threw out a 100’ rope and pulled the third taxpayer safely to the shore.

Obama was the pragmatist who advocated for and got Obamacare passed in 2009. But, it only covered 20 million of the 50 million uncovered. Now, we need Medicare for all to control cost and ensure quality while providing healthcare as a right of all Americans. ColoradoCare is the first step on that road and that is why it is opposed by entrenched interests that have placed negative media pieces.

Canadian single payer, similar to ColoradoCare, is half the cost per capita compared to the U.S. while having better mortality and morbidity.  Give ColoradoCare a chance before counting it out.

JACK BERNARD
Peachtree City, Ga.

Shame on Hillary for not thanking brave servicemen

Unless I missed it, in the almost four years since Benghazi, Hillary has never called, made a public statement, or dare I say emailed any of the brave men who gave up their careers, and in two cases, their lives, to save 30-40 state department employees and attempted to save a U.S. consulate office. Perhaps it was mixed in with the “insignificant” emails she had destroyed, thinking this was not relevant or involved official business! Of course they were not “donors.”

I know I took the time to personally thank them. Shame on her!

J.C. SMITH
Grand Junction

Third party candidates should be allowed to participate in debates

Open debates are essential to solve urgent issues facing our nation and world. Therefore, presidential debates must include all candidates who are on enough state ballots to win 270 electoral votes. Politico says Jill Stein and Gary Johnson meet that requirement.

However, Democrats and Republicans, creators of the Commission on Presidential Debates, seized control from the non-partisan League of Women Voters who called this commission “a fraud on the American voters!” The commission has set totally unreasonable and unfair requirements that prevent third party candidates from being in the debates.

We propose four debates, three for the presidential candidates and one for the vice-presidential candidates.

While only one can become president, great strides will be made if we confront problems and define solutions in open debates among all four candidates.

MARTHA LOUISE FOSDICK
La Pine, Ore.


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