Email Letters: September 29, 2016

Gail Schwartz is not fit for Congress

I have grown tired of the absolute lies that are being foisted on us via TV ads on behalf of Gail Schwartz, who is running against Congressman Scott Tipton for the 3rd District Congressional seat.

In two of her ads she claims that Scott Tipton wants to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder and restrict our access to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tipton has been working to preserve access that environmental radical associates of Gail Schwartz are trying to shut off to public access. He has been working against the BLM, which is trying to do the same.

It is sad that the only issue that she seems to have is one she has made up in her head. She is actually the one that is trying to close off access. She is against coal mining and oil and gas production. She works closely with radical environmentalists to restrict access for her enviro buds. In one ad, she opens by speaking about a car accident of 35 years ago apparently vainly trying to make a connection that it was somehow Scott Tipton’s fault. What other purpose is there to bring that up?

She is typical of Democrat candidates everywhere that make up lies about their opposition when, in fact, they are the ones that are trying to achieve the same thing. There is a psychological behavior called projection in doing so. Projecting on another what one does themselves. Gail Schwartz is not fit for Congress. She is obviously a single-issue candidate and that one issue is based on a lie.

DON PETTYGROVE
Grand Junction

Voters who value federal public lands need to vote for Schwartz

Voters who value federal public lands need to vote for Gail Schwartz, candidate for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District, and not her opponent Scott Tipton. Gail has an eight-year track record as a Colorado State Senator of fighting for sustainable, multi-use access to public lands.

Gail understands the value of a balanced approach to the use of our public lands, an approach that includes recreational users, hunters and anglers, ranchers and oil and gas and mineral developers. She believes all users must be good stewards and cooperate in the preservation and health of our public lands. She does not believe in selling off our lands to the highest bidder. She would never jeopardize our public lands for short-term profit.

Her opponent Scott Tipton, on the other hand, is associated with a group in Congress known as the “Anti-Parks Caucus,” and has co-sponsored bills to privatize public lands and weaken laws protecting them. In 2015 Mr. Tipton co-sponsored H.R. 866, which advocates turning over federal public lands to the states without any oversight from NEPA, or the Endangered Species Act or the National Historic Preservation Act. This bill opens the door to privatizing and selling our public lands for oil and gas development.

Our public lands are held in trust for our children and grandchildren. Voters need to oppose these efforts to privatize our public lands and open them up for sale and lease. Scott Tipton would jeopardize the future of our public lands in the interest of short-term profits or to benefit the interests of a single industry or lobbying group.

I urge you to vote for Gail Schwartz, who will continue to fight for public access – for all Coloradans and for all Americans – to our valuable and also vulnerable public lands.

GUDRUN RICE

Grand Junction

Burn problem comes from those who burn simply for convenience

Thank you to the Sentinel’s Gabrielle Porter, who covered Monday evening’s public forum on air quality, sponsored by Citizens for Clean Air and the League of Women Voters of Mesa County. I hope those in attendance at the forum would agree that it was an informative discussion and an opportunity to learn how some farmers handle agricultural waste such as tree trimmings without burning while for others, burning responsibly is perhaps the only option for large acreages of alfalfa and grass seed.

I’d like to make a few distinctions in the story as reported and how I understand it. First, the Grand Junction City Council draft ordinance under discussion does not propose a ban on agricultural burning. Nor is Citizens for Clean Air advocating for a ban on “ag” burning. The City of Grand Junction ban under discussion was non-farm, residential outdoor burning within the city limits. As the article mentions, there are healthier alternatives available.

The purpose of the forum discussion on agricultural burning was to hear from farmers who have had great results by disposing of their organic waste using methods other than burning. We also heard from responsible farmers who burn. They are not the problem. The problem appears to come from farmers and urban dwellers who burn simply because it’s convenient.

What is clear is there are people in our valley, both urban and rural, who are burning without consideration for the 17, 800 residents in the Grand Valley, including children, whose asthma and other respiratory ailments are exacerbated when smoke and other pollutants consume our air (American Lung Association). Such burning is no longer acceptable in a county of nearly 150,000 people.

Thank you to those who shared their expertise; we hope this much-needed conversation continues.

KAREN SJOBERG
Citizens for Clean Air
Grand Junction

Amendment 72 is another attack on our freedoms

Amendment 72 is another attack on freedom. It is being sold as a cigarette tax, but it also raises the tax on other tobacco products, like cigars and pipe tobacco, by 22 percent. The current tax is already 40 percent, taking the tax to 62 percent.

Smokers know that tobacco use is unhealthy. Those who use tobacco know the risks. There are plenty of people who enjoy the flavor and relaxing experience of smoking a pipe or cigar on occasion and do not have an addiction to nicotine.

As a business owner, this tax will affect my sales. A large number of people already buy cigars and pipe tobacco on the internet tax-free. This amendment will drive more people to do the same, resulting in a loss of revenue for our state.

LUCAS BENSON
Grand Junction

Former DDA board member takes issue with recent editorial

As a board member of the Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority until June of this year, I must take issue with your editorial of Sept. 27, “City Council needs to discuss designee votes.”

I was on the board when the vote was taken to financially support the amphitheater phase of the Las Colonias project. The motion was unambiguous that the City must obtain full funding of the project for the DDA’s funds to be given. At the Sept. 22 meeting of the DDA board (which I did not attend), it was reportedly revealed that the bids for the project were over the estimates previously presented to the board and that full funding was not achieved. Apparently there followed some spirited discussion among board members on how to proceed with the DDA’s funding, as I would expect knowing the wording of the motion and the makeup of the board. To imply that some board members were attempting to “attach strings retroactively” is simply untrue; rather it was an attempt to ensure that the intent of the original motion was followed. To further characterize some board members as “disgruntled” for voicing dissenting opinions does a great disservice to the dedicated volunteer citizens who make up the board. These people are responsible for making sound fiscal decisions with district taxpayer funds and take that responsibility very seriously.

Furthermore, to categorize City Councilmember and ex-officio board member Chazen as a potential “one-man wrecking crew” or “single rogue council member” cannot go unchallenged. My experience with Councilmember Chazen reflects a dedicated public servant with strong values and opinions with whom I often disagreed but who acted in what he believed were the best interests of the citizens and taxpayers, which I respected. I felt when Councilmember Chazen was fulfilling his responsibilities as a DDA board member he was representing the DDA and it’s stakeholders to the best of his ability.

My hope is that the shortfall in funding will be made up with community contributions as was offered at the board meeting in Oct. 2015 and that this phase of the project can proceed. Denigrating DDA board members and City Councilmembers for fulfilling their fiscal responsibilities and voting for what they believe is irresponsible and unnecessary.

LES MILLER
Former Board Member, Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority
Grand Junction

Remembering Arnold Palmer as the fans’ golfer

The year was 1965, the setting was the annual PGA Tournament near Pittsburgh, PA, and I was fortunate enough to be there. Arnold Palmer (Arnie, as his Army called him) gave me something for life; golf should be fun even though it can be competitive.

On a par three hole, paired with Billy Casper, Arnie was addressing his shot when a butterfly started flying around his head. He brushed it away and readdressed his shot. Again, the butterfly did its thing, only this time Arnie took off his cap and started chasing the butterfly around the tee box. Not to be outdone, Casper joined Arnie running around trying to catch the butterfly (unsuccessfully, I might add). The fans were having a ball, including me. This is the Arnie I remember. He was “the fans’” golfer, never to be forgotten by ” his Army.”

GARY R. REEDER
Grand Junction

Commissioners mislead public regarding support for building

The Daily Sentinel has reported multiple times recently on comments that Mesa County commissioners, principally John Justman, have made regarding the 750 Main Street project (former county administration building) and their support for it. As the owner of the building, I would like to clarify the support I have received from the commissioners, as I feel they have been misleading the public.

The building sat vacant for four years, time that the county could have developed the building into a place to attract entrepreneurs. During the purchase of the building I provided an offer, which was immediately rejected without a counter offer. Once an agreed price was negotiated the commissioners required a clause that stated if a higher offer was presented they could accept that offer despite being under contract with me. This did not seem supportive of the vision I shared with them for redevelopment in downtown. The building was purchased at market value despite Commissioner Scott McInnis declaring it was a “huge bargain.” Other commissioner candidates have requested to use the project for their own campaigns, which I have denied.

I have not requested or received financial support from the county or city for this redevelopment. All costs are by my company alone, a software startup based here in Grand Junction. I am fortunate to work with local contractors, craftsman, and businesses to stimulate the valley economy with this project. Although I appreciate the commissioners’ words in support of economic diversity, I hope we elect commissioners that do more than take credit for others’ work. We need leaders in this valley who have a vision and take progressive action to grow our economy in parallel with businesses that are willing to take risks here. This is something that we have lacked for too long in the Grand Valley.

AARON YOUNG
Grand Junction

Refusing to stand for National Anthem is truly American

As a Viet Nam-era Army vet and son and nephew of now-deceased World War II vets, I can appreciate why Leroy Latham is “incensed at the sports teams and players who refuse to stand for our national anthem” (“Refusing to stand for national anthem is shameful”).

However, I would remind Leroy that the oath of service we all took was to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same” – an oath that makes no reference to either our flag or our national anthem.

Indeed, the poem that later became the “Star Spangled Banner” was written in 1814 – well before enactment of the 13th (1865), 14th (1868), and 15th (1870) Amendments – and, in its third stanza, celebrates the death of slaves who sought freedom with the British.

It has also been unconstitutional to compel recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance” to our flag since 1943 (in the middle of World War II). Rather, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, our Supreme Court impliedly held that Latham’s brand of patriotic dogma is antithetical to the constitutional principles of this Country, concluding that: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

Among the core constitutional values we veterans were willing to die for was Freedom of Speech (and Assembly) – guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. Thus, it is entirely apropos (not “careless”) that – rather than passively enjoy the “blessings of liberty” bestowed by their athletic prowess in a free society – citizen-athletes risk their celebrity and livelihoods to peacefully protest the failure of that society to fulfill the Constitutionally solemn promises of “equal protection of the laws” and unabridged voting rights for racial and ethnic minorities.

Likewise, it is neither “shameful” nor “ignorant” for such athletes to call attention to the disconnect between the cherished words of our Constitution and the disparate treatment of minorities by our criminal justice system. Arguably, to the extent that our flag still serves to camouflage ingrained structural racism, it deserves some modicum of “disrespect.”

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction


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