Email letters, September 18,  2013

Cool down use of hyperbole, accept election outcomes

It always catches my eye when a letter to the editor uses the word “tyranny” to describe the actions of a politician (almost always a liberal or Democrat) who works to pass legislation that in some way or another puts some restriction on “gun rights” or some other conservative
passion.

The politician in question is obviously an evil lickspittle of a nefarious group whose sole goal in life is to destroy the Constitution of the United States and allow the Democrats to create a dictatorship that will destroy your way of life and that will put all “right-thinking patriots” into concentration camps secretly being built in the hinter regions of the U.S. Or some such silliness.

Before tossing the word tyranny around, I would suggest you read the definition in the dictionary. Synonyms are despotism, absolutism and dictatorship. Now you may think these politicians fit those words, but any politician who can be voted out of office in a year or two (or in a recall
election) is not a dictator, no matter what you think.

What you’re witnessing is actually pure democracy in action. Your guy didn’t get elected. The other guy did. Some times you don’t win. Maybe you got too many trophies for just showing up when you were a kid and you think you should win all the time. Life is not like that. There are other people in this country that don’t think like you. Sometimes they win.

You want to change things? Work harder to get your guy elected. And remember this is basically a nation that is divided equally between right and left. National elections are won by 51 percent to 49 percent, not 65 percent to 35 percent), and it can go either way any given year. Local elections are obviously more polarized.

Rejoice in the fact that in a year or two you can toss the rascals out and get your guy in. And please cool down the hyperbole.

GENE SPINNER
Grand Junction

Flood victims will be aided by many entities, not just feds

Jim Spehar has truly outdone himself, “Tragedy, it seems, creates some pretty imaginative conservatives. At least temporarily.”  If that statement isn’t the height of arrogance, I’ll eat my hat.

Conservatives, it’s true, honor the flag, support the Second Amendment and always urge the government to adhere to the Constitution. In regard to the recent terrible destruction in the many counties on the Eastern Slope, the government will be here with financial and other help that all states and the Conservatives support and expect. The “leave me alone” philosophies from the left have to do with the invasion of our privacies and the taking-away of our basic rights.


Sure, the government will be here with help, but the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the compassionate people of Colorado are already there with hands-on help — providing necessary food, clothing, money, comfort and help with the cleanup. Spehar seems to think that the government is the only help we are getting and fails to acknowledge our self-help.


Perhaps Spehar has not purchased a property needing a mortgage or refinanced an existing mortgage recently. Every lender requires a flood insurance premium if one is within 50 miles of a river or an area subject to flash flooding. “We the People” pay these premiums, and I am sure this disaster qualifies for flood insurance payments.


The people of Colorado and neighboring states will be there for as long as needed, offering assistance and comfort to our friends who have been devastated by this disaster. At the forefront will be the conservatives Spehar so maligns.


SYLVIA MORRISON
Grand Junction

Recent news stories illustrate GOP stinginess

Page 6A of Tuesday’s Sentinel explains precisely why my personal definition of Republican is stingy and mean. House Republicans would rather see worldwide economic chaos than actually work with the president to provide health care for our citizens, support a program that feeds children or raise taxes on the wealthy.

Let’s start with the first story: The GOP wants to stop funding the government and refuses to raise the debt ceiling because the Affordable Care Act would insure an additional 31 million Americans, end lifetime maximums on benefits, provide free mammograms and end denial of insurance based on pre-existing conditions among other reforms beginning Oct. 1. That’s stingy.

The second story is about the GOP wanting to cut Food Stamp benefits. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that the income from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, pushed 4 million people above the official poverty line in 2012. Seventy-six percent of SNAP benefits go toward households with children, 16 percent go to households with disabled persons and 9 percent go to households with senior citizens. These vulnerable households receive 83 percent of all SNAP benefits (many SNAP-eligible households contain all three categories of vulnerable people).

The average SNAP household has a gross monthly income of $744; net monthly income of $338 after the standard deduction and, for certain households, deductions for child care, medical expenses and shelter costs; and countable resources of $331, such as a bank account.

SNAP error rates declined by 57 percent since FY2000, from 8.91 percent in FY2000 to a record low of 3.80 percent in FY2011. The accuracy rate of 96.2 percent (FY2011) is an all-time program high and is considerably higher than other major benefit programs.

The last sentence of the story implied drug testing would help cut benefits: actually, in Florida, programs to drug test welfare recipients ultimately wasted $45,000 in taxpayer money, because the cost of the testing surpassed the savings it created.

Basically, Republicans are happy to let children, old folks and the disabled go hungry for absolutely no reason. That is both stingy and mean.

The third story was headlined “Combined net worth of nation’s richest rises.” This is despite the reality that the Census Bureau’s annual report on incomes and poverty shows real median household income over the past 25 years; that is, the money earned, in inflation-adjusted dollars, by the family at the exact middle of the income distribution, was $51,681 in current dollars in 1989 and was $51,017 in 2012.

That means that 24 years ago, a middle-class American family was making more than a middle-class family was making one year ago. Still, the GOP refuses to raise corporate or individual or capital gains taxes on the top 5 percent. That’s just mean.

I’m sure there are Republicans out there who love their dogs and don’t have cloven hooves; unfortunately, they aren’t in Congress.

DIANE WOLFE
Hotchkiss

Strong public schools needed for strong communities, nation

School board elections are to be nonpartisan for a reason. Partisan elections emphasize politics that are not helpful in selecting school board members.

Furthermore, party labels distract voters from asking who has the knowledge and skills to serve the educational needs of students. All party affiliations have a vested interest in local public education.

The strength of our community is directly tied to economic development and to creating a community that attracts more business and industry. Both are directly affected by the training of our future workforce. Smart change is needed.

School Board candidates must work collaboratively as a five-person board to make careful decisions to help our school district improve in spite of diminishing resources. We need a board to create strong schools today to ensure a strong community and a strong America for our future.

We invite our neighbors who wish to work toward smart change to join us in the effort. All school board candidates have been invited to speak at a public forum in the CMU Ballroom at 6 p.m. Sept 23. We invite business owners and community members to attend and hear candidates’ views.

RICK LANGLEY and HEIDI HOFFMAN

Co-chairs of Strong Schools Strong Community Group
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Grand Junction

Bicyclists get free ride on licensing, insurance

Regarding ATV/OHV regulations and funding, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the math on the dollar amount the state gets for registration fees alone, which is $3.5 million. That doesn’t include the taxes we pay for our trailer plates to transport them, which tripled a few years ago.

I’ve got to wonder what the state pays the director and assistant director Ken Brink. I’d bet the state wouldn’t want to make that public.

It’s horrible for anyone to be killed, be it an adult or a child. Children should be the responsibility of the parent in any recreational vehicle.

That’s not the only thing under my skin. How about all the bicycles causing numerous accidents on our roads?  No licenses, no registration, no insurance and no driver’s licenses.

The money it cost every taxpayer to pave the bicycle paths throughout the state and communities closing roads for their bicycle races is beyond comprehension. What makes bicycles street-legal?  As far as I know, every other recreational vehicle has to pay for a license or registration and insurance.

Let’s stand and fight, western Colorado!

People come from miles around to enjoy our state and they spend a lot of money, not just here, but on their way.

JACKI THOMAS
Montrose

Unarmed people were sitting ducks in the Navy Yard

I can agree with the editorial headline for Bill Grant’s piece. The Navy Yard shooting should send a message to Colorado legislators.

One can rightly compare the Washington D.C. gun control laws to Colorado laws and note the fact that, despite the strict gun laws in Washington, D.C., the shooter had the guns. As true in EVERY case of assault with guns, the shooting continued as long as the shooter was the only one with a gun.

The wisdom of our nation’s founders is sound. Had every man been armed, that shooter would have been stopped much earlier. Unarmed people do not make a safer society but become easy targets for the enemy.

ROBERT BURKHOLDER
Fruita
 
Repeal Obamacare, replace it with truly affordable, patient-centered plan

USA Today and Wall Street Journal confirm polling results of 53 percent disapproval of Obamacare, emphasizing the Sentinel’s op-ed on the confusing aspect of the law.

Some may think I am one of the “partisan detractors” of this new grand plan for health reform, while conveniently ignoring that it was originally conceived and passed along “partisan” lines in Congress.

It was later deemed constitutional via a legal contortion that changed “mandate” to “tax.”  Now it is promoted by a flurry of “navigators” and a government-sponsored ad campaign (funded by taxpayers). Also:
•  IRS enforces the tax credits and relies on individual honesty for reported income levels.
•  Navigators will have personal IDs, which could lead to identity theft.
• The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which hopes to reduce cost by authorizing only so-called “evidenced-based” care, will ultimately will lead to rationing of care. (IPAB is derided even by the extremely partisan Howard Dean, MD).
•Obamacare will diminish patient care and threaten the traditional doctor-patient relationship.
•The Office of Management and Budget predicts premium costs will rise (134 percent in Colorado), as will total government expenditures.
These arguments are not hollow, as your editor suggests. What are hollow are the president’s promises: 
“If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” 
“You can keep your doctor.”
“This will save families $2,500 a year.” 

For now, Obamacare is the law of the land. I hope our legislators have the wisdom to repeal or at the very least defund it. If they do not, partisan supporters of Obamacare need to bear the full responsibility for the detrimental effects. If your editorialists are going to tout this legislation as the solution, then your paper must acknowledge that it is a failure when it inevitably fails.

Those of us who oppose Obamacare, including Dr. Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon, are not hyperventilating when we advocate for repeal and legislating a patient-centered and truly affordable plan.

LARRY D. TICE, MD

Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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To Jacki Thomas: How many uninsured, license revoked/suspended motorists are involved in accidents? What about all of the sales and lodging taxes paid by those participating in bicycle races and related activities? Rather than a drain on taxpayers, these events provide an economic boost as well as recreational opportunities. Just ask the cities of Fruita and Grand Junction.

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