Email letters, September 30,  2013

  Mikolai, Kiesler and Butler served in nonpartisan fashion

I had the honor to serve with one of the finest school board members we will ever have, Harry Butler. I am offended that Sue Benjamin, in her letter to the editor, would even suggest that Harry and I, both Republicans, were “highly partisan.” I feel that Harry, Greg Mikolai and I listened objectively and voted accordingly. We did not have an agenda.

I do not know what school board meetings Benjamin has attended, but in the last two years I can only recall two split votes. The first one concerned the clinic agreement with Community Hospital. That vote was 4 to 1. The clinic has been very successful at providing quality health care for the employees of District 51, along with saving the taxpayers money.

The only other split vote (3-2) was this past spring over approval of the MVEA contract. It should be noted that on the last day of negotiations with MVEA, the most critical in the process, the only members present to represent the school board were Mikolai. Butler and me.

It saddens me that some have taken to spreading such misinformation about our school district to win an election. I think Butler would be very disappointed in the tone the election has taken as, am I. He didn’t believe that partisan politics had any place in our schools or with our students. When you vote for representatives to the school board this year, think about the falsehoods spread by these persons and their chosen “slate” of candidates.

I think Butler would have preferred that caring people vote for the nonpartisan candidates of Mikolai, Tom Parrish and John Williams, who care more about our students and their learning.

LESLIE KIESLER
Grand Junction

Selective law enforcement is wrong; so is mandatory Obamacare

Last November I got ticketed for coasting through a stop sign at 5:30 a.m. at a deserted intersection. When it was all said and done (driving school, etc), the municipal court beat me out of $230. I do not mind taking accountability for my actions, but a couple of things bother me about this process.

When revenue collection (legalized extortion) is the primary goal of the system and safety is a secondary after-thought, then I am a bit resentful.

Since that incident, I have seen many, many people roll through stop signs in the same manner I did. I’d like to see enforcement evenly and equally dispersed. Selective enforcement is wrong.

It’s like this ‘mandatory’ Obamacare being rammed down our throats. Congress is exempt, union officials are exempt, and big business is exempt. You and I will probably pay through the nose for a service that is anything but, knowing the government’s record for mismanaging everything.

The point is: Why should I have to pay? Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner won’t be paying a dime, and that amounts to selective enforcement. I am more than a “bit” resentful over this.

DOUG QUINONES
Grand Junction

It is naïve to believe in a perfect world

A stopped watch is right twice a day. That’s what came to mind seeing Ron Paul on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno touting his latest: the school revolution, which would privatize education, and make it family based, funded and guided.

This all sounds fine, but the assumption is that people function without accountability and have the private funds to support world-class education. What about people outside the loop of caring or outside the means of dollars to jump through the hoops?

It all comes back to those who naively believe in a perfect world. Wake up! This world isn’t perfect.

The most profound thing that Jesus said is, “The poor will always be with us.” At some point, at some level, we all will be among the “poor,” whether it’s in the world or in our souls. Excluding that part of humanity is excluding us. Fear of being left out of an irrational system leads to the irrational. Wanna be a National Socialist, a follower of Ayn Rand, L. Ron Hubbard, et al.? Ask the Jews about the National Socialists; ask Alan Greenspan about Ayn Rand’s theory of economics that fueled the 2008 economic crash; ask John Travolta or Tom Cruise how well Scientology would be without them.

This is what armchair historians practice: half-cocked ideologies that leave out the rest of us. To add insult to injury, they get some facts right and discard others. Do you want to be in their trash basket? On the other hand, do not totally discard these people and their ideas; we enrich civilization by learning from them.

Enshrine them in the pantheon of greats, and find them in these blended names, entities and/or possible statues: the Ayn Rand Paul effect… or The L. Ron Paul Hubbard effect. Among these greats one would be hard-pressed to find The Smith-Cruz to Washington. Ted Cruz doesn’t measure up to Smith’s charge.

FRED STEWART
Grand Junction


Even at risk of bloodbath, U.S. must withdraw from Middle East

The majority of the wars fought through WWII was among nations with established boundaries and based on historic rules and customs for determining victory or defeat. Since then the character of international conflicts has been significantly altered into guerrilla warfare, no longer between nations but involving political and religious factions that usually know no national boundaries and owe allegiance only to themselves. These factions consider anyone who does not support or agree with them their enemy, which include civilian populations.

Traditional military force, even with the aid of advancing technology and Special Forces, is relatively ineffective against guerrilla warfare, as guerrillas wear no uniforms, can extend worldwide and operate and attack their targets with great stealth. In 2001 al-Qaida did as much damage to America on 9/11 with a couple dozen terrorists than all of the destruction done by our massive army in the invasion of Iraq. A lesson we should have learned from defeat in Viet Nam is the ineffectiveness of traditional forces against guerrilla warfare.

Even if we could afford a 1,000-to-1 ratio of our troops to theirs, our Christian values will not allow us to slaughter our opponents’ defenseless women, children and aged. Our enemies choose the venue and kind of combat that will ensue. Our military strength and skills notwithstanding, we are unable to defeat an amoral and determined enemy willing to fight to the death, as our experience in the Middle East over the last two decades has aptly demonstrated.

Accordingly, with an empty treasury and a moral standard that will not allow us to compete effectively with an Islamic guerrilla opponent, it is time to withdraw our military from the Middle East and allow the Muslims to determine their own destiny even, sadly, if it will result in an extended bloodbath.

HANS CROEBER  
Montrose  
 
If Obamacare is so great, feds should sign up, too

Unhappy with the 20+-hour speech of Ted Cruz, in a Sept. 26 letter, writer Al Amirault suggests the “far righties” should try a new approach of allowing Obamacare to be implemented and, if it’s harmful, Americans will repeal it.

But on the same page as Amirault’s letter, we learn from George Will’s column that “no major entitlement, once tasted, has been repealed.” So after reading Proverbs 27:6 from the Bible, I wonder if Amirault’s suggestion is a “wound from a friend” or a “kiss from an enemy.” But I choose to believe that Amirault just wants what is best for our nation.

In the spirit of what’s best for our nation, if the ACA, AKA Obamacare, is as beneficial as they claim, I suggest the far-lefties should try the new approach of insisting that President Obama and his family, and his elite friends should also be forced into Obamacare with us non-elite folks. When the chef refuses to even consider taking even a taste of what he has cooked up and does everything possible to protect his loved ones from his cooking, are we time-wasting obstructionists for not diving right in?

In the aforementioned column, Will suggests that “members of Congress and their staffs must experience the full enjoyment of the ACA without special ameliorating subsidies.” Why does Obama want Obamacare for my children, but not his children?  Why are all the wonderful promises of Obamacare already proving false? It almost seems like Obamacare is only for us useful idiots, not the president or his special interest groups, nor for members of Congress and their staffs.

Was Cruz wasting time, or was he delaying disaster? No matter. The food is ready. Eat up, folks.

GARY YEAGER
Grand Junction
 
Forum on air quality was quite worthwhile, appreciated

Thank you to Alpine Bank, The League of Women Voters and Citizens for Clean Air for hosting a very informative forum, “What’s In The Air — A Community Discussion on Air Quality In the Grand Valley,” on Sept. 23. The panel of experts was impressive. Their presentations made it clear that from the health of humans to the health of agriculture we have a problem, and that it is growing.

Last winter, from mid-December to mid-February, Grand Valley residents experienced a record of 47 days exceeding federal air quality levels due to inverted cold air hovering over the valley. The inversion is natural, the pollution, which it held here, is not. A main contributor to our growing problem of air pollution is ozone. Levels above 75 parts per billion (ppb) are considered a health hazard by the EPA.

The Grand Valley has hovered in the 60 ppb at times. Many suffer health consequences when the pollution level is in that range. Those with asthma, infants, children and the elderly are at highest risk.

With the increase in population and the current and projected increase in production by the oil and gas industry (a contributor), we cannot afford to
continue the business-as-usual approach. If we are not proactive to address and remedy a bad situation, the EPA will step in if/when the 75 ppb is reached.

The state has an opportunity with its upcoming rule-making to create strong achievable safeguards to protect public health and clean our air. We need to act on the local level, as well.

The Daily Sentinel was remiss in not reporting on this forum. The panel of experts made it known that their PowerPoint presentations are available. Please assign a reporter to cover this health crisis in the same excellent manner you covered the suicide crisis.

CAROLE CHOWEN
Grand Junction

People lauded for gorgeous lawns won’t be eating homegrown produce
A while back I saw a contest about who had the nicest-looking lawn, and it seemed strange to me that people could be proud of just a bare patch of grass. On my dad’s property we have grapevines, peach trees, pear trees, a plum tree, a walnut tree, corn, green beans, squash — you name it.

Halloween is coming up, and Thanksgiving will be right around the corner. I know that when that happens I’ll be eating beets planted and picked from my own yard, but
what will the people with lawns be eating but store-bought food at their own expense.

ERIC SEVERANCE
Grand Junction
 
Make the Democrats defend Obamacare

One version of the three greatest lies is: The check is in the mail. I’m just going to stop in and have a beer. I’m from the government and I am here to help you. These have been replaced by: If you like your current health-care plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. Obamacare will lower premiums for the typical family of four by $2,500 per year.

I’m not talking about fibs, half truths, but blatant out-and-out lies. Many more lies were spoken to pass this law into existence in a Congress where the Democrats had majorities in both houses and yet it took all sorts of shenanigans to get it passed.

According to Jim Spehar, the editorial page and I am sure poor old Bill Grant, the Republicans are wasting their time trying to derail this horrible monstrosity, saying that it can’t be done and they are wasting their time. Why the angst from liberals then?

Spehar wrote about principles and politics in his column. Isn’t truth a principle?

The truth is this legislation was passed using a mountain of lies. The truth is we have already seen what our government is capable of with the IRS scandal and the NSA surveillance program and now it wants to turn over 1/6 of our economy to the IRS and the federal government? The truth is the ACA is hurting our economy in every aspect from hiring to expansion. The truth is that the ACA is not even close to being implemented.

So, why not delay the individual mandate for a year until after the 2014 elections? How many special exemptions have been handed out already? Let’s make sure that Congress has to live under whatever laws its members come up with.

Let’s see how many Democrats are willing to defend Obamacare in 2014? How many will be willing to exempt themselves from it? Again, then I ask why the angst from liberals? Could it be that defending a mountain of lies makes it hard to get elected?

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction

Mesa County, Grand Junction incorrectly rule against MJ dispensaries

So Mesa County and Grand Junction have turned their red-veined nosed up and nicotine-stained thumbs down on the issue of marijuana dispensaries, thereby turning the legal and very profitable business over to the Front Range entrepreneurs and the local, illegal and very profitable business over to the criminal drug cartels.

And our children are safer because of this? If you truly believe that, let me interest you in a bridge I know about in San Francisco or maybe some really nice ocean-front property in North Dakota.

The feds have admitted that tobacco is a toxic weed known to kill people, bring serious harm to fetuses and cause all sorts of medical problems, but is this noxious weed illegal? No. We learned our lesson about alcohol with Prohibition: people are going to drink no matter what the laws or consequences may be. We know the costs of alcohol abuse to society in terms of crime, families destroyed, innocent people dead or crippled and local alcoholism rates sky high, but we no longer care. We just don’t care and we’ll never outlaw alcohol or tobacco.

So, many of us are blinded by the government’s marijuana myths and hysterical lies going back to 1939 and refuse to accept contemporary facts contradicting those lies. Even if we doubt the government’s views, we just can’t seem to get past the hand-wringing stage of “what will become of our children?” A legitimate concern, to be sure, but are present laws working? No. Are our young people going to get hold of legal marijuana? Yes, just like they get hold of legal alcohol, legal tobacco and legal prescription drugs. They need guidance and education with facts and truth, not myths and ineffective prohibitions.

Knowledge leads to sensible decisions, and that’s what we should want our children to be able to do, make sensible decisions. We, the taxpaying public, need to learn about marijuana and its many uses, especially its medicinal benefits that already help hundreds of local people dealing with debilitating pain on a daily basis. The recreational aspect of marijuana is far less offensive than alcohol, tobacco and other lethal drugs.

Would I like to see folks stoned out of their gourds in public? No. Neither do I like to see public drunkenness, folks driving drunk and killing innocent families on our streets and highways or drunken assaults on small children and terrified women.

When you’re high on marijuana, you don’t want to beat your wife, rob a store, drive or steal a car, hit your children, kick the dog, start a fight or yell at neighbors about whatever irritates you at the moment, but alcohol abuse is at the bottom of all these things and more. Very much so right here in our valley.

So, what to do? Well, I suggest we control and tax both recreational and medicinal marijuana from seed to sales just like we do alcohol and tobacco and prescription drugs. To rescind our current draconian prohibitions, educate ourselves and our children with facts, enact sensible ordinances and put increased tax revenue to good use in our schools seem like good ideas to me.
T. STREFF
Grand Junction


Douglas County does not merit praise for educational leadership

Recently School Board member Jeff Leany was quoted in your paper as saying, “Douglas County is 15 points ahead of us (on Transitional Colorado Assessment Program scores). Why wouldn’t we want to emulate that?” This question displays an alarming lack of understanding of what has happened in
Douglas County.

First, Leany makes the incorrect assumption that the current board is responsible for increasing TCAP scores. In fact, by comparing the 2009 and 2013 state data, you can see they have decreased their lead over the state
average in all core academic areas (http://www.cde.state.co.us). Prior to the current board taking over, Douglas County was “Accredited with Distinction.” That is no longer the case.

Second, while they have increased the number of upper administrators by 10 percent, they have decreased the number of teachers by 1 percent, which is especially alarming when you consider they have gained more than 6,000 students during the current board’s tenure. This has increased their average class size by 11 percent.

During the same time period the average teacher salary has decreased by 5 percent and their board made the superintendent the highest-paid public school
executive in Colorado by paying her $280,350 per year.

Third, Douglas County is now one of the least transparent school boards in the state. Overall it went from being 8 percent closed to the public before the current board to being 49 percent closed to the public with the current board.

Brian Malone, a man who was arrested for taking video of a meeting of the Douglas County school board, will be screening his documentary “The Reformers” Oct. 7 at the Mesa Theater.

Ironically, the same day that The Daily Sentinel reported Leany’s admiration for the Douglas County school system, the Denver Post reported 200 parents were rallying in support of their teachers outside the Douglas County district administration building. Some of their signs read “Save Our Schools!!! Flip the Board!!!” and “I Love My Teachers.”

Knowing parent satisfaction in Douglas County is at 38 percent and teacher satisfaction is at a staggering 14 perecent, the real question for Leany is “Why would we want to emulate that?”

DARREN A. COOK
President, Mesa County Valley Education Association
Grand Junction

 
Government cannot do good job of managing health care

Has everyone finally seen the lack of leadership from this president?

Honestly, the government shutdown should happen for a good year or maybe two. Congress can fund the military and the retirement programs, as well as Social Security. With the constant regulation we have been nickeled and dimed to poverty.

Does anyone honestly feel that our government can manage health care? Look at all the other systems; Medicare Medicaid are constantly overdrawn and corrupt. Fannie and Freddie keep needing money, and Social Security is coming to an end of being overdrawn. The post office keeps hiking its rates to try and cover the cost of delivering mail. The
government-run railroad never runs in the black, always in the red and constantly needs more money.

Hell, it all comes from the top and trickles down to the local level. Our school district gets more than half of our property taxes, but still needs more. Everyone hates drilling and fracking, but I don’t see anyone riding a horse around town or wearing cotton-only clothes. I am sure that all the tree huggers in the valley are using candles for light and heating their homes with decomposing fecal matter converted into methane gas to run the furnace.

The website had a vote for Obamacare and how the majority voted that everyone deserves health care, I think that the health professionals in the valley need to be commended for their work and help in forming the CICP program. It is not perfect, but does help those that cannot afford or are not willing to jump into the system that is in place.

On top of all this, should we not also have some personal accountability in our own actions? Stop eating the crappy food that is so cheap and easy to get. Get our butts off the couch and go for a walk.

Excuses are like, well, you know, just get up and move! Seriously watching all the left and right fight and who pays? What is left of the working class?

Folks, we need to come together and start effectively electing people who are NOT politicians. The agenda needs to come back to center of common sense. Borrowing more than 40 cents of every dollar is not smart, and eventually we all pay. I may not have all the answers, but as a group I think we can come together and find a way to make things work. We just need to get involved.

MIKE PARKER
Fruita
 
Myth of climate change pushes costly green energy subsidies

Here we go again…Climate change, according to some from Colorado Outreach, is the culprit for the latest flooding on the Eastern Slope.

Somehow if we follow a green agenda by killing more birds while operating more wind turbines, and fund more solar companies, until bankrupt, it would not have rained so hard causing the floods??  I understand you need a PhD to understand this complicated process and the science behind climate change, but I tend to believe the simple answer is generally the correct answer. It just flat rained a lot!  In another time after raining 40 days and 40 nights, I believe most would call it the will of God, or would some still lay the blame on climate change?

First the PHDs called it global warming until the data would no longer support this. Then they moved on to the catch all term “climate change.”  Today the data, measurements and science are pointing to the reality that climate change is not the doomsday trigger some would like us to believe and man is not the primary influence. In fact, for every statistic supporting climate change there are statistics debunking the argument. Again, the simple answer supports the facts that the climate change theory is perpetuated to serve an agenda, money and power.

I do agree that “climate change” is a contributing factor in one major issue we face today. The push to subsidize green energy is definitely contributing to the out-of-control national debt and never-ending deficit.

RANDY LITWILLER
Crawford

Letter writer wrongly called Stanford a liberal university

It’s always interesting and informative to read the letters to the editor in the Sentinel. It is a wonderland of strange ideas, misinformation and outright falsehoods. Sunday was no exception.

A letter from James O’Malley went on at length about the dangers to the country of liberal influence in our institutions, particularly to our schools. I have no idea where O’Malley received his education, but he used one example of his beliefs that is informative. He referred to some example of the dangers to the country emanating from Stanford University in California. Of all the prominent universities in California, and in fact the country, Stanford is recognized as one of the most conservative.

One can only wonder just what kind of world O’Malley seeks when he’s dubious about ideas flowing from one of the most conservative universities in the country. Or is it possible that his influences have led him astray and his worldview is not based on strong analysis but on the strong prejudices of others, primarily in the media, that are purposely attempting to inculcate support for their own selfish interests in gullible folks that then write letters that inadvertently expose their lack of understanding of the matters which they have addressed?
JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

Friedman doesn’t understand desires of American people

I was quite disappointed to read Thomas Friedman’s column in the Sunday Sentinel. He is obviously out of touch with the desires of the American people who want less intrusion by the federal government in their lives and businesses.

He openly attacks the Tea Party and conservative representatives in Congress who are attempting to return this nation to the ideals of liberty and freedom. He calls them “angry radicals and barking fools.” This sounds like an angry liberal at his finest. How disappointing.

Friedman’s final sentence, “And thus does a great country, with so much potential, slowly become ungreat” would be a fitting summary to five years of the Obama administration’s performance, showcasing the poor management of the economy, the hastily passed Affordable Care Act, inept handling of
foreign affairs, and other internal scandals such as NSA overreach that are yet unresolved.

FRED ZIMMAT
Grand Junction

Media blame budget crises on GOP  

Crisis. What crisis? Harry Reid was so worried he sent the Senate home for the weekend and said he won’t compromise. The president? He was so worried he decided to play golf after stating that even if Congress came to a compromise, he wouldn’t sign it unless it was exactly what he wants.

And how does the media see this? Blame Republicans!

L.W. HUNLEY
©rand Junction
 
Walmart’s practices squeeze “the little guy”

If a large international retailer such as Wal-Mart or Target doesn’t pay a living wage, whose fault is that? Or is that even a fault at all? Is it Ok to create a new “serf” class in the USA? Is it OK to devolve into a good old-fashioned feudal state – with lords and peasants and all that good stuff from the days of old?

Let’s say we don’t want to go there – again. Let’s say it “just ain’t right” that the little guy at Walmart can’t make a living wage, yet the 6 Waltons of Walmart fame have more wealth than the bottom 30% of the entire US population (Forbes).

So, how did they get this rich? Some say they are just plain brilliant business people. Maybe, but could the US Government, courtesy of you and me, be helping them get rich by subsidizing their employees’ pay?

How would that work? Simple, Walmart squeezes the little guy employees by keeping their pay low. This increases corporate profits at the expense of the working class employees. These employees do not make enough to provide food and shelter for themselves and their families. Food stamps, and other ‘safety net’ programs pick up the slack for these ‘working poor’. If Walmart paid more, these employees wouldn’t need this ‘welfare.” Yes, Walmart’s profits would then be lower, but so would our
taxes. Do we have to pay higher taxes just so Walmart can make more profit?

Why do we the taxpayers have to take care of Walmart’s employees? Why can’t Walmart do that itself? Something just ain’t right there.

Raise the minimum wage and help Walmart get off welfare.

THOMAS PHILLIPS
Palisade

Third-grade math teacher does not indoctrinate her students
 
When I read the letter by James O’Malley about how the “leftists” teachers are indoctrinating their students, I was angry, then baffled, and then I just had to laugh at the absurdity of what was just coming out of his mouth.

I am a third-grade teacher and I teach math. By the way, I got my basic education from District 51 and degrees from “liberal” Mesa College, University of Northern Colorado and graduate degree from Adams State, not that leftist unknowledgeable Stanford.

I can assure every extreme conservative that when I am teaching regrouping, number sense, decomposing numbers or multiplication I am instilling my “leftists” ideals in every lesson. I always try to bring gun control into the lesson through story problems sprinkled with a few anti–American comments. However, I save the “leftists” lessons on the environment and family values when we learn division; by then I have them well indoctrinated.

I am a bit curious to know which principals our Founding Fathers O’Malley would like to return to.  Would it be disenfranchisement, slavery or discrimination against women and minorities?

I am certainly happy to know that his qualifications to interpret the Constitution are far superior to these “stupid” Stanford people. I am wondering where O’Malley received his education. Others may want to apply.

A suggestion to the writer of this letter would be to get accurate information, not from his “fixed” news sources, and do some studying of American history and the principals that the United States was founded on, and then maybe he can speak without sounding so biased himself.

There is a saying at a museum in Washington, D.C. that reads, “Freedom of speech is not a license to be stupid.”

CHRISTINA HOBBS
Grand Junction

Take a positive approach and promote liberty

To promote liberty you must step up.

This event had been actively promoted on the Western Slope for a couple of months. For three weeks there was a billboard on Highway 50 in one of the most visible spots in Grand Junction promoting the event. For several days before and up to the event radio spots happened on three local and popular radios stations.

The Daily Sentinel had a front-page article and picture of Dr. Paul a couple weeks before the event, then more articles leading up to and after the event. All three television stations that serve the Grand Junction area did interviews before and the day of the event. The college radio station produced and aired radio spots on their station.

So, basically thousands of dollars were spent with local media and their professional advice was followed. So, what Tom Ripper is saying is that professional advertising and marketing groups in Grand Junction must not have been effective to their audience? We disagree. We accept criticism quite well to improve any event when it is valid.

It is unfortunate that Ripper did not notice that more than 1,000 people attended the event, from all over the area and out of state. Somehow, they found us and knew about the event. The venue was full and overflowed, and, yes, Paul attracts big crowds, but the facility would not have been big enough for much more attendance. In fact, this is an example of a well-planned event and one that is not out of control with more people than a venue can hold.

Regarding the event organizer, Tisha Casida, I find it amazing that Ripper would call her a wanna-be politician since she actually was on the ballot in 2012 for a congressional run, not an easy task. That’s doing, not a wanna-be.

Even more concerning is that Paul actually said to the audience they should send her to Congress and this was not only unsolicited, but she isn’t even actively running for any office. I’d say she has earned some credibility, and Paul doesn’t just run around endorsing anyone, even at a paid event. If Ripper is challenging Paul’s credibility, I question his motivation in criticizing an event that could have not happened at all in Grand Junction without Casida organizing it. It was a free event so that anyone could attend, and that’s a very important note in all of your criticism to consider. Casida stepped up, and so did all the wonderful people who attended.

The real problem is when people don’t reach out to invite liberty-curious people to come along to a positive, meaningful event. Did you consider bringing anyone to help reach out for liberty or just wander around campus angry and setting a bad example of your version of what liberty-minded people are like? Since you found the website, the instructions and directions/details were there for you to see and print and bring with you.

We can’t hold everyone’s hand, but we do extend our hand in friendship for liberty. I encourage you to think about liberty and reach out with a positive message to others and stop bashing people who do the work. Your somewhat spiteful words are what’s wrong with American politics. We fight
for everyone’s right to be heard and encourage people to have the courage to support principle before party.

STEVE THOMPSON
Pueblo

Mikolai, Williams, Parrish have impressive skills for school board  

“The school board election next month is one of the most important local contests in this election cycle. Yet it is hard for most of us to know which candidates we should vote for because very little information is available about the candidates’ respective platforms. At Save Our Students in District 51, we chose to address this problem for our members by interviewing each of the candidates at length. I believe we may be the only group in the valley that has done so.

For those of you who are not familiar with SOS, we are a grassroots organization made up of more than 300 parents, educators and concerned citizens working to support public education in District 51. We take the time to understand the complex issues facing the district, engage in discussion within our group to reach a consensus and then try to share what we have learned.
Based on our interviews with the candidates, we have found that, for us, the choice for each open school board seat is clear. We will be voting for current School Board President Greg Mikolai, John Williams and Tom Parrish.

Mikolai has been a smart and balanced leader on the school board over the last four years. He has proven his ability to quickly grasp the complex issues facing the district, to ask intelligent questions, and to make sound, rational decisions. From observing him at school board meetings over the past few years, we have been impressed by the depth of knowledge that he has acquired.

John Williams has been very active as a volunteer helping kids in District 51. He has been a part of the Chamber of Commerce’s 500 Plan, has been a board member and fundraiser on the District 51 Foundation Board, and has served as the chair of the D51 Explorer Program – a program organized by the district to educate key decision-makers in the valley on the details of operations in District 51. John is innovative without losing sight of the fact that each change must be carefully considered to avoid sacrificing the hard-won progress the district has made over the last decade. In short: John gets it. 

And as for Tom Parrish, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows more about the operations of District 51 than he does. He has been a teacher and principal at several schools in the district, as well as an administrator who oversaw a “pod” of elementary schools, middle schools and a high school. He has more than 30 years of experience in the district and will hit the ground running with a wealth of knowledge that will enable him to ask the right questions, find solutions and help move the board toward making the best decisions for our kids.

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. We hope our conclusions regarding the candidates will help you in deciding which candidate deserves your vote. If you’d like to learn more, we’d encourage you to attend the PTA/PTO-sponsored School District 51 School Board Candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 3 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Grand Junction City Auditorium located at Rood and 5th Street

ROB PIERCE
Grand Junction

Consider effectiveness of home-schooling children

Schools costing more and more tax dollars to educate our young citizens with poorer results. Jobs becoming more and more scarce making daycare impossible to pay. Soooo, what-r-ya-gonna-do?

Well, let’s see, consistently children who are home-schooled come out smarter, more positive, and far better citizens than children pushed through “government schools.”
So, why not allow families to home school with a small tax deduction? It costs the government less to educate, it helps the citizens by reducing tax burdens, and our young people would be all the better for it.

So, if we home-school and pay a tax deduction of say $15K a year to the family, it would tick off the teachers union, look great to the taxpayer and save our youth. Nah, that
ain’t gonna happen. “Common sense will not be tolerated when discovered at the company.” Yeah, I used to work with engineers and executives   does it show?

Saves building costs, fuel, costs, maintenance, contract costs, healthcare costs, later costs of incarcerations, stress levels lower, national figures show families stay together when home schooled. Hmmmm … and, oh yeah, give them Obamacare, no exemptions, Congress, president, businesses, everybody is in, then see what happens.

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction
 
Hold Tipton accountable for tying up Obamacare

When the Founding Fathers of this country put in checks and balances, they didn’t have extortion in mind. That is exactly what House Republicans, including our Representative Scott Tipton, are doing by tying Obamacare to the government shutdown.

Their rationale?  The public is wary of Obamacare, so “we” should get rid of it by any means possible. It doesn’t seem to matter that it was a legally passed law, the Supreme Court reaffirmed it and Obama was re-elected despite McCain’s promise to repeal the law, or the fact that shutting down the government won’t get rid of the law. It will just once again slow our economy and disgust the American public with their elected officials. This is an abuse of power, and any effort to blame the president or Democrats for the shutdown is disingenuous at best.

Why are the Republicans trying so desperately to get rid of the Affordable Care Act?  They know the more the public learns about the act and experiences its benefits, the less fearful they will become. It’s ironic they are so opposed to something that is modeled on the Republican idea of health reform anyway.

We need to remember that Tipton is embracing the Tea Party in these actions. One year from now we need to hold him accountable.

PETER WESTCOTT

Carbondale



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As the “Tea Party” caucus steers cowardly Repugnican leadership toward a government shutdown, they are simultaneously mounting a disingenuous public relations campaign to make themselves appear “reasonable” to the American public.

“Nobody wants a shutdown” they repeat in unison, but Speaker Boehner refuses to even bring to the floor of the House a “clean” Continuing Resolution – because he knows it would pass with a combination of Democratic and a few responsible Republican votes.

“We have compromised” they exclaim, because we now only want to delay President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) one year, rather than repeal, de-fund, or replace it – when “ObamaCare” was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, held constitutional by the Supreme Court, “relitigated” in the 2012 election, and won.

Since 2010, Repugnicans have had three years to hold committee hearings in the House with which to build a legitimate case for repealing, de-funding, replacing, and/or delaying the ACA.  Instead, they chose to bombard the public with falsehoods about “ObamaCare”—while wasting taxpayer dollars investigating fake “scandals” (“Fast and Furious” guns, Benghazi “talking points”, and IRS “targeting conservatives”) to no avail.  Repugnicans steadfastly refused to hold any serious hearings on “ObamaCare” – precisely because they did want the public to be accurately informed about its personal and fiscal benefits.

Today, Boehner accused Senate Democrats of “running out the clock” by not convening yesterday – conveniently forgetting (?) that Senate Republicans refused to waive the “30-hour rule” so that “Tea Party” demagogue Ted Cruz (R-TX) could talk for 21 hours.

This morning, a “Tea Party” spokeswoman on CNN complained that “President Obama will negotiate with Iran, but not with us”.  Of course, for 34 years we didn’t negotiate with Iran either—because they took American hostages.  Only Republicans like Ronald Reagan “negotiate with terrorists” or domestic extortionists.  President Obama doesn’t.

Congress is not exempt from the ACA.  And traffic penalties result in fines.

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