Email letters, September 16,  2013

School children deserve nonpartisan school board

The children of Mesa County deserve nonpartisan school board members who do not intend to push their personal political agendas onto the backs of children if they are elected.

Without question, a school board election is the one election that should never be political. It should be about electing board members who care about kids, support teachers and do what they are charged to do — oversee the generalities of the district. In short, School Board members must do what is best for students. Making the upcoming election one about political gain and the privatization of our entire district is repugnant.

I am confident that parents, grandparents, students of voting age and anyone else in Mesa County who truly cares about children will see through their agenda and will vote for the candidates who are running for School Board who have no interest in making this a political race, but are pro public education, based on accountability, transparency, responsibility and doing what is best for kids.

Mesa County has never been a wildly or even mildly liberal area, so making this a political race is sad. Please listen to all the candidates and consider what they are saying. If you care about the education of students in Mesa County, please listen and get the facts.

Do what’s best for kids and public education. Please vote in support of children, not politics, when you receive your ballot in the mail.

SHEILA ELY
Grand Junction

Council made smart move in nixing pot retail shops

The Grand Junction City Council made a wise decision in joining Mesa County in just saying “no” to marijuana retail shops.

The tax revenues the drug dealers have promised to share with us to build “shiny new schools” won’t benefit students whose brains have been fried on marijuana.

A 20-year study recently published and printed in The Daily Sentinel revealed that an average high school student smoking pot once a week for one year dropped his or her IQ from the 50th percentile down to the 29th.

This should not surprise us, since marijuana has been hybridized since the ‘70s from 1 percent THC levels (hallucinogens) to 30 percent or more today.

Even Amsterdam classifies anything more than 15 percent as a hard drug like heroin.

Police Chief John Camper told the council that any behavior you normalize becomes more widespread. Sadly, we have seen this come true with the sharp increase in marijuana expulsions in Colorado high schools since medical
marijuana dispensaries opened several years ago. The “strict” regulations for dispensaries did little to stem that, and neither will the new “strict” federal regulations.

Councilman Bennett Boechenstein said he was eager to see how it worked for Denver (the only city to allow retail shops) and to revisit the issue.

He might want to consider how it worked in Alaska after they legalized in the ‘70s and their teen drug abuse doubled in a few years. Voters had the good sense to reverse the law.

How can we continue social experiments with our most precious resource — our youth?

DIANE COX
Palisade

Recall of Sens. Morse, Giron showed resistance to tyranny

We, the People, have spoken. Last Tuesday’s election was not only against gun control; it was for freedom.  Freedom from the tyranny of foolish bureaucrats who think the behavior of one deranged individual should dictate the behavior of millions of stable, law-abiding folks. How foolish and arrogant. 

Morse was not only guilty of pushing through useless, unworkable and unnecessary gun control, but he also pushed Senate Bill 252 through in record time. SB252 will unfairly burden already struggling agricultural people with much higher power bills. For whom is (was) Morse carrying water? Windmills? Solar? Solyndra? 

At least we are rid of both Morse and Giron. Is it now time to get rid of our liberal, mentally challenged governor?  Hickenlooper signed both the anti-gun and power bills without due consideration of the consequences. Let freedom ring!

NEWT BURKHALTER
Grand Junction

Kerry is still a traitor

On April 18, 1971, my peers and I watched Meet the Press in the dayroom in our enlisted barrack in Fort Carson. And we saw a man named John F. Kerry as he replied to a direct question on whether he had committed any war crime in Vietnam.

Kerry answered, “… yes, yes, I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers …”.

That was then, and I thought John F. Kerry a traitor then.

Now I still think he is. Now he is promoting war crimes against Syria. Will he, in his memoirs of his time serving Barack Hussein Obama, find it politically convenient to publish that he committed war crimes as secretary of state?

A reasonable question of a man entrusted with such power, I believe.

ROBERT JAMES BURKHOLDER

Fruita

Right-wing attacks ramp up in response to president’s foreign policy success

The greater President Obama’s apparent foreign policy success, the more vitriolic — and detached from reality — become predictable right-wing attacks.


On Sept. 12, Charles Krauthammer’s op-ed piece in the Washington Post (“The fruits of epic incompetence”) accused President Obama’s national security team of grossly mishandling the Syrian situation.


On Sept. 14, the Washington Post’s headline proclaimed “U.S., Russia agree on deal to seize Syria’s chemical weapons.” Common sense suggests that – taken together – the two items confirm Krauthammer’s utter incompetence as a foreign policy analyst.

Before Aug. 21, Syria and Russia denied that Assad even possessed (much less used) chemical weapons. Since Aug. 21, missile-laden ships were deployed within striking distance of Damascus, Assad has not used chemical weapons again, the denial ruse ended, Syria has signed on to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and Russia publicly committed Syria to prompt accounting for and eventual destruction of its arsenal.


If those are “the fruits of epic incompetence,” we need more of it.


President Obama presented Syria with the credible threat of a “limited attack,” using 200 to 300 cruise missiles, intended to deter and degrade Assad’s capability to use chemical weapons against sleeping civilians again. Such an attack would have crippled Assad’s “command and control” nodes, seriously degraded his air defenses and left him exposed to regime-ending retaliation should he opt to launch chemically-laden rockets into Israel. But that threatened attack was never ordered – allowing time for diplomacy to work.


While Secretary of State Kerrey rhetorically referenced the consequences of appeasing Hitler, the “Munich moment” Putin rightly fears is a sarin gas attack by radical Islamists and/or Al Qaeda at the Sochi Olympics, ala Black September at Munich in 1972.


Thus, Putin keeps Assad temporarily in power, but the international community secures his chemical weapons. Putin takes credit; Obama grins; Krauthammer rants.


BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction

Pork N Hops’ extreme noise distasteful to park neighbor

It is time to shut down the Pork N Hops venue at Lincoln Park. I am at this moment listening, unwillingly, to the extreme noise coming from the current event. I am in my house with the windows shut. I am about five blocks away from the event.

No one is available to complain to. The police can’t do anything, and no one is answering the Parks and Recreation office telephone number. It is closed until Monday. The noise is not being moderated, as promised in the letter to the neighbors. It is unbelievably horrible.


I don’t know where this event should go, but I have some ideas that are not printable.


SHEILA JOHNSON
Grand Junction

‘Gadfly’ Simpson praised for questioning city spending

I thoroughly enjoyed your front-page feature article about Grand Junction’s gadfly, Dennis Simpson. He may have missed out when they were distributing the “tact” gene, but anyone who makes city councilors nervous when they are questioned about their spending and decision-making can’t be all bad.

Keep it up, Dennis,

LLOYD HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Article invites folks to drink, then ride bikes on public roads

Loved the Lifestyle section front-page story on Sunday’s Sentinel, inviting folks to drink and ride their bikes on the roads. I can’t imagine the uproar if this were purposed for automobile drivers. Guess bicycles do have a different set of laws.

STEVE THOMAS
Montrose

Pork N Hops took toll on revitalized Lincoln Park

I attended Pork N Hops this weekend as a professional BBQ competitor and was sickened when I saw what was done to the just-finished, revitalized Lincoln Park. I realize that we cannot predict the amount of rainfall a year out, but when the entire competitions was placed in the newly worked areas and the grass turned to mud and the mud to mud pits, who is accountable for the damage?

As a local taxpayer, I want to know why the event was not held somewhere else or at least have competitors park in areas that will not damage the grassy areas. Like the parking lots on pavement?

On occasion I enjoy walking in the park, as well as taking my dog to play, but how much should we have to pay to fix the damage to the area in question? Heavy equipment was used to pull out some of the huge RVs and trailers that got stuck in the deep mud ruts, as well as on the slick
grassy/muddy areas. Are we as taxpayers now liable to pay to replant the grass, re working the areas that were completely ruined?

Again, I love the Pork N Hops event but question this year’s decision to go ahead and park in the grass. Maybe next year we can hold it in an area that will draw more people, as well as be able to accommodate the event without damaging our public use areas.

Lastly, I ask why was there not even a mention of the event in Sunday’s paper? Wine Fest gets promotion, Mike the Headless Chicken festival get promotion, as well as Country Jam, but Pork and Hops was not mentioned? Again, maybe next year.

Thank you to all the competitors and most of all to the
public at large that came out to support the event and enjoy the best BBQ in the country. Your support does not go unnoticed!

DOUGLAS WINTER
Palisade
 
Access to canal banks would mean condemning strips of land

Wow, Robert Tallarico threatened us with a New York attorney to grab our canal banks. Still, he’s avoiding the word “condemnation.”

Why is a New York attorney more threatening than the local ones who value their trespassing rights and would love to comply?  Any lawyer would face more than “fear, intimidation and shortsightedness.” 

It means condemning thousands of small strips of property owned by private citizens. How many years and how many
dollars is he willing to dish out?  Can the city of Grand Junction legally condemn property outside the city limits? And, if one property owner agrees to sell 50 feet but the one next door doesn’t, do you use that 50 feet and then turn around to go find another available 100 feet?

Some of us in the old days certainly enjoyed using the canal banks, at least the areas where private property owners allowed us to use them (not all of them did). We were mostly respectful of property owners.

I allowed the use of my canal bank for many years, until people began saying, “This is mine. I have a right to it.” It is that, and the general belligerence of people you don’t know giving the proverbial “finger,” both figuratively and literally to property owners. That and the obnoxious treat of seeing someone stop to pee right in front of you.

I’ve had to give up a lot of the old carefree days I once enjoyed to serve the “growing needs and wishes of the people.”  Like New York, we are an island, except that instead of water we are absolutely surrounded by thousands of acres of public land available for all to use. It is not the canal companies that are Tallarico’s problem.

EILEEN O’TOOLE

Grand Junction

School board members are indeed responsible for curricula

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Linda Gregory’s letter regarding school board candidates. My initial letter has established a dialog among voters that I hope will continue throughout the election process. That was my original intent.

However, based on the comments that have been posted online about her letter, I need to express additional concern. First of all, the school board members ARE responsible to review and approve all school curricula. The idea that only educators can establish and approve curricula is a myth supported by teacher’s unions and the liberal elite.

School boards are responsible for two major elements of the public education system.  First of all, they hire and fire superintendents. Second, they are responsible for all policy of the district. The adoption of curricula is a district policy.

I have talked with some of the candidates supported by Gregory’s group. I am impressed with their positions on these issues. If they can walk the talk, I can support their candidacies.

However, whatever happens in the election, don’t be misled by the liberal elite. They are convinced that parents and the community have nothing to say about the education of their own children. “They know what is best for your kids.” Show them whom, in fact, they work for.

JAMES O’MALLEY
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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This is to letter writer Sheila Ely. The non-partisan School Board is a myth. When candidates receive thousands of dollars of support from Unions which give consistently to only one Party, there is partisanship.

When folks talk about non-partisan elections it means they are only interested in their particular point of view being represented. There is nothing non-partisan about the current make of the School Board, the majority on the Board support the Agenda of the Democrat Party, period.

School Board Elections have been partisan for years. Getting the Conservatives involved only evens the playing field.

As suggested by Tim Pipe’s on-line letter Tuesday (“Constitution incorrectly cited in letters about recall election”), when Newt Burkhalter (“Recall of Sens. Morse, Geron showed resistance to tyranny”), Ray Langston (“Dems’ tyranny spurred recalls, secession drive”), John Smith (“Recalls demonstrated citizens’ objections to abuse of power”), and Dan Davidson (“Respect for Constitution led to ouster of Morse, Giron”), assert that gun laws are “unconstitutional” or government policies are “tyrannical”, they simply mean that they don’t like them. 

However, the substantive weakness of their position is betrayed by their own hyperbole.

In the “nation of laws” so treasured by gun-rights advocates, any legislative enactment is presumptively constitutional until a Supreme Court decides otherwise.  Thus, Langston’s claim that Colorado’s duly enacted statutes requiring universal background checks and limiting magazines to 15 rounds are “unconstitutional” is at best premature. 

As chronicled by the Sentinel, those statutes were “fairly” debated, and the proposed 10-round magazine limit was increased to 15 following a public hearing.  Closing the “gun show loophole” was even less controversial.

Of some 69,000 registered voters in SD 11, only 17,089 (25-%) voted.  Thus, the “power of the people” to oust the incumbent was wielded by only 9094 (12.5%) voters.  So, what that tally actually revealed was the indolence of common-sense gun-law supporters.

Edmund Burke once wrote, “All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing”.  As Dr. Janis Orlowski, Medstar Washington Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, opined after the Naval Yard mass shooting, “There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate.”

Gun violence has become a public health crisis – with some 85 Americans dying daily therefrom.  The redundant proliferation of guns in our society is statistically associated with the increasing frequency of mass shootings and gun deaths (including suicides).  If guns were tainted food, we’d all be demanding immediate action.

Kevin, you are completely ill-informed. Check your facts as the teachers union has always supported those who champion the cause for kids and not those who push individual agendas for notoriety!  The truth be known there have been candidates, if asked, to politicize their candidacy were probably consider rated to be from the GOP.

Bottom line now is the GOP is so desperate to find leadership it has politicized a school board election.  In the past , members were considered for their interest in education, not because they were from a particular political party.  In fact, they never discussed what party they represented.

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