Email letters, September 17,  2013

Autumn Breeze neighborhood grateful to area professionals

The residents and board of directors of the Autumn Breeze Homeowners’ Association would sincerely like to thank all those who responded to the tragedy that was discovered in our neighborhood Saturday, Aug. 31.

Sheriff’s Deputies Beagley and Cowley are especially appreciated. These two fine officers were kind, compassionate and deeply concerned for the well being of the family in whose yard the tragedy occurred. Their professionalism is a credit to the Sheriff’s Department. The Clifton Fire Department personnel responded quickly and compassionately. Jody Hudson with the coroner’s office is also to be commended for his professional conduct and kindness.

We are fortunate to live in an area where these our public servants not only take pride in doing their jobs to the best of their ability, but also demonstrate true concern for all those involved.

SANDY ANDERSEN
Grand Junction

High Desert Opera to bring Les Mis to Grand Valley

The High Desert Opera’s slogan is “Stars shine brighter in the desert.” Our Grand Valley is in for an epic treat on New Year’s Eve (with three encore performances in January).

Jim and Marnie Werner and the passionate HDO ensemble are indeed reaching for the stars. They have been rehearsing tirelessly since June to bring Les Miserables to the stage in Grand Junction.

When tickets go on sale in early November, this will be the stocking stuffer of the century. Yet another reason why I would never live anywhere other than the Grand Valley.

STEPHEN DOYLE
Glade Park

Promised amendment never made it into county bylaws

Many of your readers will recall the public outcry that took place after public access was lost to S. 21 1/2 Road last year (“Access denied again” by Duffy Hayes, Aug. 6, 2012).

County commissioners in office at that time had promised the public it would not happen again. Instead, recreational groups could register to receive notification of right-of-way closures that were being considered.

Now we learn that amendment never made it into the county bylaws. A new amendment is being considered that will NOT include the wording that “Written notice shall also be mailed ... for Right-of-way Vacations, to registered recreational and trail user groups.”

I’ve written to the commissioners, pointing out they are disenfranchising many of their constituents by foregoing this proposed notification.

Many people I know live in Mesa County because of the great recreation opportunities in nearby public lands. I hope many people have expressed their concerns to the county.

JANICE SHEPHERD
Grand Junction

Regulate marijuana … while we still can

The Sentinel article about Dennis Simpson keeping a watchful eye on City Council made it sound like Simpson is an annoyance to the council, but Simpson has a point. City Attorney John Shaver is a wonderful, helpful person, but he does make mistakes, and so does the council.

For example, at the Sept. 4 council meeting in which the ordinance to ban production and retail sale of marijuana was discussed, it was clear Shaver had failed to inform the council about the U.S. Department of Justice’s momentous and long-awaited announcement just days before on Aug. 29 that they would not move to block the recreational marijuana laws voters passed in Colorado and Washington state.

The council also didn’t seem to know that in that same announcement the feds said they would come into states to deal with black market and trafficking activity, prevent marijuana cultivation on public lands and assure cannabis is kept away from children.

This lack of information could have contributed to the council’s poor decision making on the retail marijuana issue. One council member cited marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level as contributing to his vote to block the creation of local marijuana regulations. In any case, having some regulation is better than having none. Banning marijuana simply won’t make it go away.

Failing to develop robust regulations for the cultivation, distribution and retail sale of marijuana now can easily lead to major problems and expense farther down the line. One needs to look no farther than how the U.S. has handled tobacco products to see how this will play out.

Legislators waited far too long to robustly regulate tobacco products, which now cost a fortune in medical care and routinely kill more than 400,000 Americans each year with nary a squawk from the public.

We are also saddled with a wealthy and politically powerful commercial tobacco industry that dodges virtually every attempt to effectively regulate its products. We have a golden opportunity right now to be proactive and develop strict regulations for marijuana before it gets out of hand and we are forced to deal with powerful opposition from Big Marijuana.

We will pay dearly later if we continue to do nothing to regulate marijuana now, while we still have the upper hand to do so.

ANNE LANDMAN
Grand Junction

President Obama impelled to engage in juggling act on world stage


“Manifest Destiny” justified our invasion of Mexico in 1846 and the Spanish-American War in 1898, because American “expansionists” believed that “the country was young, with God on its side” (Bob Dylan).


The slaughter of the “Great War” prompted Woodrow Wilson to propose the League of Nations – to promote national self-determination, peaceful dispute resolution, and collective security in (particularly) Europe.


Wilson’s efforts failed because Republican isolationists refused to surrender even an iota of “sovereignty” to “Europeans” and rejected U.S. membership in the league.


Europe’s inability to prevent World War II prompted FDR to propose a “United Nations” – to promote collective security and mediate international disputes among (initially) the victorious Allies, and (ultimately) the entire planet.


In contrast to the traditional “realpolitik” of competing national interests that afflicted pre-war Europe, since WWII, all American presidents have at least paid lip-service to the hopeful idealism of universally shared principles expressed in international law/norms.


Viewed from abroad, U.S. foreign policy all too often seems inconsistent with its stated values, disingenuous in its pronouncements, and hypocritical in its execution. The Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq and resort to torture gave ample credence to that cynical view.


President Obama was embraced by Europe and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 precisely because he rhetorically rejected the unprincipled policies of his predecessor.


Today, the ghosts of prior partisan jingoism haunt Obama and impel him to gingerly juggle two mutually reinforcing potential sources of “American exceptionalism” — unequaled military might and properly garnered legal legitimacy.


The U.N. Charter precludes unilateral interference in the internal affairs of another member state (except in “self-defense”), but authorizes the Security Council to declare any internal civil war and/or genocide a “threat to international peace and security.”


Thus, while “diplomacy” would substitute talks for tanks, in Syria it was precipitated by credible threats of cruise missiles.


BILL HUGENBERG                                               
Grand Junction

 
School board candidates invited to another forum

I read School Board Candidate John Williams’ letter to the editor Sunday with wry amusement. My group, Freedom! Colorado, has been attempting to contact him regarding the forum we are hosting for the School Board candidates. He has never bothered to call us back. Neither have we heard from Lonnie White or Tom Parrish.

Perhaps this will solve the problem. Freedom! Colorado is hosting a forum for the School Board candidates on Oct. 10. The forum starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs until approximately 8 p.m. It may, however, run later depending on the quality of questions. The location is Grand Junction City Council chambers at City Hall.

To John Williams, Lonnie White and Tom Parrish: This serves as your official invitation. I invite all of the public and the press to join us, as well.

There is no cost for attendance. Come on out and find out if John Williams will show up or if his complaints are all about hot air.

KEVIN MCCARNEY

Chairman, Freedom! Colorado
Clifton

Truck drivers deserve recognition for delivering critical goods daily

This week, Truck Driver Appreciation Week, provides us with a chance to recognize the contributions of those who provide us with the essentials of life. Everything in our country, whether it be food, fuel, furniture or anything else, is carried at one point by a truck driven by a professional truck driver. 

As examples of their importance, most service stations have fuel supplies of two days or less, grocery stores realize serious shortages within three days, and many hospitals require daily shipments. Trucks are used to meet those critical needs, and truck drivers make it happen. They accomplish this despite challenges such as adverse weather and poor road conditions.

While everyone sees trucks daily, many have never met truck drivers. These people are merely faces behind large windshields. Few understand the level of training, the complex laws and the challenges of navigating a large vehicle on our nation’s highways. For these professionals, safety is their passion and they are the reason why the truck accident rate has consistently dropped for the past 20 years.

So, who are these people?  Many are veterans of our armed forces who appreciate the blessings our country has bestowed.  They are hard-working and dedicated individuals. They tend to be strong family people who are generous and give more to charity than others. Truck drivers also are compassionate and when tragedy strikes, they are the first to volunteer. 

They tend to be selfless. If there is an accident, chances are that you will see a truck driver stopped and rendering assistance. There are countless stories each year of truck drivers risking their own lives to rescue others.

Sometime this week, go up to one of these professionals and thank him or her for bringing all of us the quality of life that we enjoy.

GREG FULTON

President, Colorado Motor Carriers Association
Denver

Constitution incorrectly cited in letters about recall election

How many times can I use the word “Constitution” in this post? Or maybe “common sense” or “regulation.” I will use the word “pathetic” just once to describe the latest recall election. So, you have to conduct more background checks, and you can’t buy a hundred-round drum for your AK.

I know plenty of conservatives (at least one is a genuine hunter) who have no problem with either of these. Hell, even street rods have restrictions, but it does not mean one cannot legally own and drive a car (unless, of course, one has been convicted of one of a number of offenses).

I wonder how many of the folks mentioning the Constitution participated in protests against the Iraq war, torture (and its admitted presidential authorization), indefinite detention or the USA Patriot Act. From a document that calls for a “well regulated militia,” one cannot assume an unregulated citizen.

TIM PIPE
Grand Junction



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As suggested by Tim Pipe’s on-line letter today (“Constitution incorrectly cited in letters about recall election”), when Ray Langston (“Dems’ tyranny spurred recalls, secession drive”), John E. 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 exercised by only 9094 (12.5%) voters.  So, what that tally actually revealed was the indolence of common-sense gun-law supporters.

As Edmund Burke 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 85 daily deaths attributable thereto.  The redundant proliferation of guns in our society is statistically associated with more mass shootings and gun deaths (including suicides).  If guns were tainted food, we’d all be demanding immediate action.

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