Email Letters: September 11, 2017

Police and sheriff’s offices should continue to attend to public relations

First, vote yes on the sheriff’s and DA’s ballot issue. They are only trying to protect us. Beyond that, vote yes on every revenue improvement issue on the ballot. I cringe every time I hear the statement that we have to show the authorities that they can’t get away with fleecing us. Vote for, maybe, one issue but don’t give them carte blanche.

This is why more civic-minded people don’t run for office. Our system calls for our elected reps to be our spokesperson on issues before the various governments, not our adversary.

Second, the sheriff and DA are doing the right thing. They have to be out front with what they are doing and why the citizens should be better supporting them. They are the recipients of government funds and they need to attend to PR to prove what they do and what support they need. Yes, PR. It is not a dirty word. Public relations.

We have public safety organizations. The fire department can try to take steps to reduce fires but their main business is as first responders and transportation for medical emergencies. I’m not sure what preventative role they can play.

The police and sheriff’s office, on the other hand, biggest job should be to prevent crime, not just do a good job at doing reports for the insurance companies. Both offices should do a better job at educating the public at how they are preventing crime, not responding after the fact. What are they doing in the area of prevention and how successful are they? We read about crimes committed in the paper every day. How about crimes prevented? Response times? To crimes prevented or already occurred?

Yes, we know that there is a drug task force and we see that interventions take place in the transportation of drugs just east of the state line. What else? Some techniques, if revealed, might let criminals catch on to ways to deter them. Fine! But what else is being done and how successful has it been? I prefer crime prevention to good reporting after the fact if a choice has to be made. It shouldn’t.

Yes, those departments have to start emphasizing more how good they are at prevention. PR – not a dirty word.

Grand Junction

Grand Valley Drainage District’s fee actually an illegal tax

I flat out refuse to pay the Grand Valley Drainage District’s “fee.” Not because I’m cheap or believe they don’t need the money, but because I truly believe it is an illegal tax.

I understand the GVDD is in a tough position needing funds to cover their operations as mandated, but many government agencies face similar challenges. That is the core of what makes running government difficult.

Government is funded by taxes approved by the will of the people. It is a slippery slope to have it be otherwise. Should I thus expect an invoice from the police and DA if the public safety measure (1A) fails? Hey fire department, what’s on your wish list? Mosquito Control District? Airport? (Whoops, bad example…)

Grand Junction

Sen. Gardner’s CMU town hall in sharp contrast to Bennet’s

While I was pleased to see Senator Gardner come to a town hall at Colorado Mesa University, the contrasts with Senator Bennet’s town hall at CMU last March were stark. Sen. Bennet asked people to sign in and give their email addresses so he could send his regular updates. For Sen. Gardner, we were treated to police, security guards, bag checks and metal detectors. I asked one of Sen. Gardner’s staff why all the security. She told me that it was because the town hall was on a campus. When my wife quickly pointed out that Sen. Bennet’s town hall was also held on this same campus, without the heavy police presence, the staff person was literally speechless. Sen. Bennet’s people passed a microphone to speakers. Sen. Gardner’s people held their mics tight while you asked your question. I don’t know what they were expecting.

CMU President Tim Foster also saw fit to deliver a condescending warning about maintaining a civil tone (I had a flashback where I was momentarily worried about having to go to detention after school or getting a bad mark in my permanent record). I recommend he peruse Revolutionary Dissent: how the founding generation created freedom of speech, by Stephen D. Solomon.

Both of these gentlemen should have a little more awareness of the general intelligence of their audience. Gardner, responding to a discussion on corporate taxes, referenced the statutory rate structure when it was plain that the questioner knew that the actual tax paid (if any) was dramatically lower. Despite whom we have for a president, the electorate is well versed on the issues and knows how to conduct itself in public.


North name change will financially burden local businesses

As an owner of a small business on the west end of North Avenue, I am opposed to the name change that City Council is imposing on my business. I do not believe that changing the name of a street will have any effect on the community. This will, however, be a burden financially and I will spend many hours changing everything that pertains to this decision. You may have a donation for the cost of the signs, but when the signs are replaced this issue will not die. The cost and inconvenience will continue for the business owners of North Avenue for many months to come.

To suggest that this name change has merit for the city, citizens, etc. is ridiculous. This screams political favor. If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it is a duck. Diane Schwenke with the chamber has publicly stated that letters were sent out to the businesses on North Avenue with information about getting some help. I have never received any letter.

The City Council seeks approval from the voters when they want to be elected but are indifferent to the voters after they are elected. I believe that this issue should be sent to the voters to decide.

Grand Junction

Successful schools are the foundation of a successful community

We are writing in support of the proposed School District 51 bond and mill levy that will be used, in part, to add more school days to the calendar and repair, improve and replace District 51 schools. We support this measure for multiple reasons but most of them boil down to economics.

The valley has for many years experienced a boom and bust economy primarily because our economy is tied to too few types of businesses. It seems clear that in order to stabilize and improve the local economy we need to diversify, which means attracting different kinds of businesses to our area. One of the key factors in attracting companies here is good quality schools. Grand Junction ranks near the bottom of the list in per capita/student spending for Colorado cities. Our schools are suffering from deferred maintenance and our students attend class 162 days per year, which is the legal minimum. The national average is about 180 days. An investment in our schools is an investment in a future with a more robust economy that can attract and retain businesses, as well as build a stronger taxpayer base.

It really doesn’t require much analysis to come to the conclusion that improving our schools just makes good economic sense. We have not passed any measure to fund schools since 2004. The state government has also reduced funding since 2010. Because of this we are now faced with a much larger bill to improve and maintain our educational facilities.

Successful schools are the foundation of a successful community so we are urging all voters to vote “YES” on 3A and 3B. Show that you have pride in our city, support a brighter economic future for the Grand Valley and believe in the value of our children.


Grand Junction

Help keep the history of Commemorative Air Force plane alive

The world we live in is constantly changing; but if we forget where we have been, do we lose our way?

There are people here in Grand Junction devoted to preserving a piece of our history that is a constant reminder of where we have been and a reminder of the lives given to protect our way of life. The Commemorative Air Force has a beautiful plane, a TBM Avenger to be precise, that served this country well during WWII to preserve our freedom. Now they are working to preserve that plane.

Could you imagine being on a crew during the war? The long hours of working on those planes and the grueling flights in unpressurized cockpits to protect people you would never see? Many of those flight members never returned. That all becomes very real when you get to put your hands on the plane the CAF keeps here in our own city.

Now they want to bring another piece of that history forward for the city. They are hosting a hangar dance at their facility on Oct. 1,4 where people will be able to dress the part and experience what a night off duty in a USO style dance would be like. It’s like stepping into a time machine.

Live music, airplanes and costume contests are all part of their plans. Tickets are available by calling 970-256-0693, or visiting their booth at the coming air show. Also, online ticket sales to the dance will be available soon.

Please help us keep this piece of history alive. Thank you.


Bugles for the Buffalo Soldiers

Thanks to Mesa’s Beverly Duzenack for affording a timely opportunity to revisit and clarify several issues implicated by the accelerating removal of arguably objectionable and divisive statues and images from places of public prominence (“Removing statues shows disregard for our history”).

First, contrary to her letter’s title, “removing statues shows [no] disregard for our [true] history,” but rather constitutes a much-too-belated rejection of the false history with which some sought to deliberately obfuscate our true – even if tarnished – history.

Thus, the Confederates honored in government buildings and public spaces were not “heroes” or “patriots,” but rather traitors to this country whose statues were erected to intimidate Negro citizens. Christopher Columbus did not “discover America,” but rather initiated the decimation of indigenous peoples by Europeans. The Washington National Cathedral is no place to honor Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson – who led those who insisted that the Bible justified slavery – with idolatrous stained glass images.

Second, Duzenack’s reference to the Buffalo Soldiers proves more than she intended and exposes the false equivalency upon which she relies. These intrepid black men (and one woman) – some of whom were former slaves – fought for the United States of America, not against it, and were not responsible for the decisions that thrust them into battle in the Indian Wars and in Cuba, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Third, the number of statues honoring loyal black soldiers is far fewer than the number honoring disloyal rebels, and – while the former earned such remembrance – the latter were deliberately memorialized to announce the reemergence of white supremacy.

That explains why Native Americans are silent as to “this part of our history” (but not as to Christopher Columbus), and why “black leaders” seek to expose the most ignoble parts of that history (the perpetuated legacies of Slavery – Jim Crow, apartheid, lynching, church burnings and bombings, and voter suppression).

“Where does the Buffalo soldier fit in?” While Confederate statuary will continue to abound at Civil War battlefield sites (where what happened there and why is afforded proper historical context), the history of the Buffalo Soldiers reminds us that Confederate statuary elsewhere was an intentional affront to our Constitution’s 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and to the re-united nation that declared those soldiers legally equal to whites.

Grand Junction

Urge Sen. Gardner to act decisively to address climate change

I write to urge that Sen. Gardner act to address climate change. Now is the time for leadership, not for equivocation. Unfortunately, based on reporting from The Daily Sentinel, it sounds the latter was his tact at the recent town hall in Grand Junction (“Gardner meets the people,” Sept. 9).

Sen. Gardner acknowledged humankind was altering the climate. But affirming basic science is not leadership. And even this vague answer about climate reality required further qualification. Sen. Gardner noted that despite acceptance of scientific fact, he supports an “all of the above” energy policy. This is a focus-grouped favorite way of saying nothing, not unusual for a polished pol. Just another boilerplate talking point.

However, Sen. Gardner’s further qualification, that he opposes policies that would “destroy the economy” is straw-man nonsense. And more harmful, suggesting continual inaction is deliberative. So, who supports policies that would “destroy the economy” and more to point, which policies are those?

I ask for less hedging and more direct answers. Three policies Gardner has opposed, worked to thwart, or has remained silent on: The Clean Power Plan, the BLM methane rules for oil and gas on public lands, and requiring new coal mine expansions, if they are going to mine publicly owned minerals, at the very least capture the copious methane they spew into the atmosphere. While it is obvious how these have climate benefit, it is less clear how they might cause economic destruction.

I write to urge that Sen. Gardner act decisively to address climate change. I ask that the senator state a clear position on what he is going to do to be part of the solution. I ask Sen. Gardner to lead. The northwest is in flames and American cities are drowning. Vague talk and safely worded hedges are simply not sufficient.


Can’t we have civil debates without insults, personal attacks, and name-calling?

Republicans need to lay off their self-righteous criticism regarding the insults and name-calling coming from the Left, as if those on the Right are so morally superior on this issue. Snowflake, libtard, leftard, Obummer. Yeah, Republicans do it too. Why can no one just have an intelligent conversation anymore? Can’t we have civil educated debates without insults, personal attacks, and name-calling? We act like little children fighting in the schoolyard, shouting each other down like braying dogs until the other side finally shuts up. When are we going to grow up and begin behaving like adults?




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