Email Letters: September 21, 2016

Tipton a huge supporter of multi-use access to our public lands

I want to thank Congressman Scott Tipton for his commitment to ensuring continued access to and enjoyment of our public lands. I keep hearing Gail Schwartz’s adds accusing Scott Tipton of selling off our public lands, but my experience with Congressman Tipton has been just the opposite.

My husband and I have been enjoying our public lands and national parks since we moved to Colorado in 1978. Jeeping and off-roading are our preferred method of doing so, and Scott Tipton has been a huge supporter of multi-use access to our public lands.

Scott Tipton was a co-sponsor of HR 1581 – Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act that gives off-road vehicles greater access to land that is not suitable for wilderness designation.

Scott Tipton’s bill gives people with off-road vehicles access to public land only where that activity has been determined to be appropriate. Gail Schwartz’s ads are plainly false and I want to thank Scott Tipton for his continued work on public lands.


Grand Junction

Roundabout incorporates several noteworthy design elements

I was disappointed to learn that the City of Grand Junction’s engineers were not primary in the design of the proposed roundabout on Highway 340. Granted, the roundabout at 12th and Horizon will never, and should never, be entered into an engineering hall of fame. But as the city built roundabouts moving west on G Road they improved.

The roundabout on 23 Road and G Road incorporates several design elements that are noteworthy. The open view in the center allows drivers to get the “big picture” of traffic flow. On two occasions, at the 24 Road and I70 roundabouts, I have witnessed confused drivers start down the off ramps and get halfway down before they realized their mistake and backed up. A friend was driving eastbound on I 70 one day when a vehicle did make it down the off ramp. That vehicle missed him, but hit a truck head on. A fatality resulted.

At 23 and G Road, the apron to the center is of minimal slope and the driving lane is of consistent radius. This reduces disorientation and confusion that some drivers get. The mountable curbs and usable apron negate the damaging effects of the AASHTO W.B. 67 design standard. The city’s Lee Cooper applied common sense when designing the roundabout. This design is superior to others being used, and can be expanded to meet high traffic demands. Safety, highway users, and taxpayers would benefit if this design were adopted statewide.



Chamber sets itself up as the adversary of local wage earners

Diane Schwenke, the CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce, was the narrator of an ad seen on TV Tuesday night urging viewers to vote No on Amendment 70 in November’s election. Amendment 70 would raise the minimum wage in Colorado to $12 per hour. Clearly, as always, the local Chamber sets itself up as the adversary of local wage earners.

For years, the street talk is that the local Chamber has been very vociferous in advising new businesses in town to keep wages down in a way that intimidates those businesses.
Schwenke’s appearance in this ad advances the usual threat that the only result of passing such a rise in the minimum wage would result in lost jobs. In other words, if you want to keep your job you better vote No.

So why the loss of jobs? The assumption should be that a well-run business has just enough employees to handle the sales volume. In other words, employees have to go and either you won’t be able to buy the things you want or the service will have to suffer. Not mentioned was a rise in prices or a reduction in profits, or both. The key here is what percentage of employees is at minimum wage and, as a result, how much do prices have to be increased to compensate for lost profits. Also unsaid was the inevitability of lost profits, which may not be inevitable at all.

Finally, also unsaid was the possibility for increased sales due to better paid employees. Apparently, rather than the Chamber advancing better business practices and programs to improve sales our local Chamber feels that it is an ongoing effort to race to the bottom with employee compensation.

Is our local economy a reflection of those practices? Squeeze, don’t expand because people can’t afford to buy. I wonder why?

Grand Junction

Sentinel editorial on Amendment 71 needs challenging

Tuesday’s Sentinel editorial on Amendment 71 needs challenging. It is definitely not “too easy to amend the state constitution.” Actually, it’s very difficult and costly. If proponents really want rural voices to matter, they would change the voting process to require a majority in every district, not change the petition process to require percentages of petition signers from every district.

Petitioning the ballot (AKA We the People exercising our right to decide our rules of governance) doesn’t do anything except give all registered voters the opportunity to vote on the issue, so it doesn’t matter where the signatures on the petition came from. And the reason people amend the state constitution rather than a statute is because state legislators can’t change the constitution on whim, like they can the statutes. Imagine if TABOR (which started out as a petition) were a statute instead of a constitutional amendment.

The Sentinel makes it sound nefarious that paid petition gatherers are involved in the process, instead of more truthfully pointing out that any initiative must collect almost twice the number of signatures actually needed in a very short amount of time – something nearly impossible to do on Uncle Bob’s farm outside of Craig when you have to take time off from work to do so.

All this smoke and mirrors about the petition process, and how rural areas aren’t represented, is fake. Sure, we aren’t represented as well at a state level as more populous areas – but that has nothing to do with petitioning, and everything to do with representation. The proponents of Amendment 71 don’t want to admit that they don’t want you to participate in government. They just want you to sit back, shut up, and let them decide what is best for you (and your wallet). Vote NO on Amendment 71.



Money should be spent on improvement of valley, not homeless

I read with interest in The Sentinel about the city council’s ideas on the homeless problem. It would seem that every time the taxpayers in the valley ask for something to be done to improve the valley or for entertainment we get the same old tune from the city and county. No money, no money, no money. Revenues are down, can’t afford it, hiring freezes, and no pay raises for city or county employees.

But all of a sudden we can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a minority group of people who are a drain on the valley and contribute nothing but problems. I would venture to guess that very few of the homeless in this valley were once homeowners here who fell on hard times. The truth of the matter is that most of them moved here because they heard from word of mouth that the kind people in this valley are an easy touch for free food and housing.

I am sure the person who wrote the “You Said It” in last Sunday’s paper would say I am mean for not supporting the homeless. However, I for one am sick and tired of paying taxes to support these people who stand on every corner in the valley doing nothing but beg for money to buy smokes, booze, drugs and pay their cell phone bills. So just call me Mr. Meanie



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In reply to Mr. Gerhart (Mr. Meanie) some of us wonder if he sees these homeless as human beings or just “things”, “things” to be removed from his sight.  Has he ever stopped and spoken to such people, and does he even know what their story is?  I would venture to guess that, like most, he has not done so. Therefore, he just “assumes” things about them.

Perhaps Mr. Gerhardt should not “venture to guess”, but take the time and make the effort to understand, he might be surprised with what he hears, and learns.  While there are some who perhaps do “beg for money to buy smokes, booze, drugs, and pay their phone bill”, most of them are looking for a place to stay, and to eat.  However, Mr. Gerhardt (as he has not taken the time to establish things for himself), and undoubtedly concerned only with his own “quality of life” (which is what most mean by the term - “MY quality of life”) will never make any such effort.  He would prefer, as far too many do, pay law enforcement to “remove them from his sight” and, in that way, does not have to look at them or concern himself with them as he goes on his “merry way”.

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