Email Letters: September 30, 2016

Consider sources cited in chamber’s anti-amendment 70 ads

The chamber’s anti-Amendment 70 TV ads say that 90,000 jobs will be lost if the amendment passes, but consider their source for this figure: a guy named Eric Fruits, of “Economics International Corp.” “Economic International Corp” is a one-man consultancy run by Fruits, who aside from being president and chief of the “organization,” is also its secretary and sole proprietor. Fruits works out of his house in Portland, Oregon, specializing in “litigation support,” which means he hires himself out as an expert witness who will say what his corporate paymasters need him to say in court cases and in producing non peer-reviewed reports. Mr. Fruits is the chamber’s sole source for their 90k figure, so the questions the media should be asking are, how much did the chamber pay Mr. Fruits, and why did they have to go clear out of state to find someone who would produce a figure that agreed with their beliefs?

In citing Mr. Fruits, the chamber also chose to completely ignore the opinion of more than 600 professional economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, who in 2014 signed a letter to President Obama and Congress urging an increase in the federal minimum wage to over $10.00/hour. The economists stated that academic research in recent years has shown that increasing the minimum wage has little to no effect on the number of jobs, and could actually stimulate the economy as lower wage workers get and spend their additional earnings.

The overwhelming opinion of hundreds of distinguished professional and academic economists should certainly hold more sway than the lonely Mr. Fruits, if the chamber only chose to pay attention to them.

The media should also check out who is behind “Keep Colorado Working,” the organization sponsoring the chamber’s ads. It consists mostly of other chambers of commerce and does not include any organizations that represent the best interests of workers, as you might expect from a group called “Keep Colorado Working.”

Grand Junction

St. Mary’s patient thankful for excellent care

I arrived at St Mary’s Hospital on the evening of Aug. 17 after being transferred from Delta Memorial Hospital. I had fallen on the Grand Mesa and fractured two vertebrae in my neck. I spent five days in the hospital, in the orthopedic ward, and had the best care I could have hoped for. The nursing staff was first class, professional, and caring. The doctors, from Dr. Gebhard down, were the same. My husband was able to stay at the Rose Hill Hospitality House, a tremendous help as we were from out of state.

We would like the community to know what a marvelous hospital they have in St. Mary’s. Thank you for all who took care of us.


Bernalillo, N.M.

Tipton’s entire incumbency has been based on lies

Talk about “projection,” Don Pettygrove’s Friday partisan screed (“Gail Schwartz isn’t fit for Congress”) takes the cake!

As the Sentinel’s Charles Ashby previously chronicled (“Tipton ad: Schwartz is enemy of coal; Claim is murky; bill had support of GOP leaders”), Congressman Scott Tipton – not Gail Schwartz – has a proven proclivity for lying to his 3rd C.D. constituents. Thus, Tipton’s first 2016 campaign ad falsely claimed that Schwartz is part of a non-existent “war on coal” because in 2010 she voted for a bill sponsored by Western Slope Republicans, and then in 2013 sponsored a bill “to help boost new jobs for coal miners” in the renewable energy field – supported by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Tipton represents the Koch Brothers at the expense of the 3rd C.D., and has himself waged a “war on coal workers” and all rural Coloradans by voting for cutting Food Stamp funding and against extended unemployment benefits.

As to public lands specifically, on July 14, 2016, Tipton voted against an amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, which would have preemptively thwarted attempts to divest from federal control any of America’s parks and public lands that remain outside the established land-use planning process. See:

Likewise, in his periodic “Updates,” Tipton has lied about imaginary federal “water grabs” and expressed support for others’ bills that would transfer control of federal public lands to states – thereby endorsing the public pronouncements of such bills’ avid proponents who openly seek to transfer national public lands to states control, which could then sell-off those lands to the same developers and polluters who have been financially benefiting Tipton with generous campaign contributions since 2010.

In fact, Tipton’s entire incumbency has been based on lies. Remember, this is the same Scott Tipton who defeated Democrat John Salazar in 2010 by cynically lying about the financial impacts of “ObamaCare” on Medicare.

In 2011, Tipton joined his fellow “Tea Partiers” to threaten “the full-faith and credit of the United States,” costing taxpayers billions in increased interest expenses on that debt.

In 2013, Tipton voted to “shut down” the government – and then publicly lied about his vote at a local “town hall” meeting (at which he also fear-mongered about the National Debt using fraudulent projections ginned-up by fellow-Republicans), before admitting to his irate zealots that the scheme to extort repeal of ObamaCare had been futile all along.

With a record like that, it is Tipton – not Gail Schwartz – who “isn’t fit for Congress”!!

Grand Junction

Bill Ela’s long-term vision and leadership will be greatly missed

It is with great sadness that we honor the life of William (Bill) Ela who passed earlier this month. Bill was one of the founders of the riverfront project, which strives to enhance the riverfront for the benefit of Grand Valley residents. He served with Jim Robb and Pat Gormley to lead the Riverfront Commission in the formative years of the riverfront project 30 years ago.

The Colorado and Gunnison rivers had long been neglected in the Grand Valley. Junk yards lined the River and a huge low level radioactive uranium mill tailings pile was placed on the riverfront in south downtown Grand Junction. An oil refinery leaked pollution into the river in Fruita and polluted the air. There was almost no legal access to the river. There were no trails, and virtually no natural areas or parks or wildlife sanctuaries.

Bill, a former District Court Judge, had long been a supporter of creating natural areas along the river. He started by working with other community leaders to reclaim the Grand Junction riverfront from uranium mill tailings and junkyards to a series of riverfront parks, natural areas and trails. The Lucy Ferril Ela Wildlife Sanctuary was dedicated in the 1970’s in the Connected Lakes area in honor of his mother and was the first attempt to set aside a natural wildlife area along the River. That area is still open to the public and managed by the Grand Valley Audubon Society.

Bill’s vision extended beyond the Audubon wildlife sanctuary; he continued to advocate for river trails from the State line to the county line and from Grand Junction to Delta. His passion and challenge to the community to “think really big” helped to catalyze the riverfront project into what it is today – a 30 mile stretch of riverfront consisting of soft and paved trail, connectors, and open space providing access to the Colorado River and linking the communities of Palisade, Grand Junction, and Fruita. His long term vision and leadership will be greatly missed.

All donations made in support of the riverfront project through the end of the year will be in honor of Judge Ela. To donate visit

Grand Junction City Council member
Grand Junction

Insufficient public funds shouldn’t go towards politicians’ Oregon trip

Thursday’s front page had an above-the-fold article indicating forthcoming reductions of city personnel, while lower on the page is a piece regarding some local politicians’ planned trip to the Oregon coast. The reason given is “to show a united front in hopes of” a pipeline which has been denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, for various reasons.

This seems more like a trip to the beautiful Oregon coast than a good use of our obviously insufficient public funds. At the very least, the companies who stand to profit from this pipeline, if it is ever approved, should pay for this. And maybe these high-powered politicians could better spend this time figuring out how to save one or two jobs instead. The Coos Bay area is a beautiful and pricey tourist destination.

This really rubs me the wrong way and I’d bet city workers who are worried about their jobs like it even less.

Grand Junction

National Active and Retired Federal Employee Association strongly opposes Amendment 69

The National Active and Retired Federal Employee Association represents the interests of almost 100,000 federal employees and retirees in the state of Colorado.

ColoradoCare, also known as Amendment 69, would replace the Affordable Care Act, (or Obama Care) as a single-payer health care system in Colorado. It would cover all state residents and include coverage for primary and specialty care, hospitalization, and prescription drugs, among other services.

ColoradoCare would be financed by a ten percent payroll tax on workers in the state. Workers would pay 3.33 percent of the tax and employers would pay 6.67 percent. Non-payroll income including interest, dividends, Social Security benefits and pension payments and annuities would also be subject to the ten percent tax.

For federal employees and retirees, the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan is one of the most important benefits they have. It provides comprehensive health care benefits with insurance premiums partially paid for by the federal government. If FEHBP coverage is dropped by the insured, it is lost forever.

Federal employees and retirees would be able to keep their federal health care plans under the ColoradoCare Act. However, they would be subject to the same 10 percent tax rate as other Coloradans to finance ColoradoCare. This would increase state taxes for federal employees and retirees for health services they would chose not to receive. In addition, health care providers may be driven out of the state due to ColoradoCare, which would limit the number of providers of health care services available to federal employees and retirees. For these reasons, NARFE strongly opposes Amendment 69.

President, Colorado Federation of NARFE Chapters
Buena Vista

There is interest in the North Fork Valley to move towards energy independence

There is interest in the North Fork Valley to move towards energy independence by producing 50 percent home grown power by the year 2025. This is to be accomplished through sweat and ingenuity from local sources. There is no question that wind, solar, hydroelectric and methane capture have been identified for expansion. Due to the abundance of methane in the North Fork Valley and 900 lost mining jobs, one might consider building a power plant that would convert methane, natural gas, to electricity. This would create additional employment, enhance state and local revenue and protect the world from our greatest threat: climate change/global warming.

The North Fork Valley could follow in the footsteps of California Gov. Jerry Brown and pass legislation that regulates greenhouse-methane gas emissions from cattle. Called the cow fart legislation, which also promotes methane capture and storage devices known as the cow farting backpack. The cattle rancher does not have much to say about the legislation. It’s the law; compliance is not optional and increased cost of doing business can be passed onto the North Fork Valley consumers. What is great about this endeavor is the populists can celebrate their
contribution to saving the planet throughout the next 200 years.


Grand Junction

City should reconsider burning guidelines

On Monday, Sept. 26, the city of Grand Junction held a meeting to discuss burning of yard waste and recreational fires. What I can’t understand is the city approves burning in so-called approved containers like outdoor fireplaces or fire pits. These containers still give off as much smoke and bad odors, no matter what they are called by name. And these containers are still used by people to burn rubbish. After they are done, the ashes are thrown in places where the wind blows them to other people’s yards and homes.

Wednesday evening around 9:30 p.m., I wanted to open a window for some fresh air to sleep, but the smoke was so bad and sour outside that I changed my mind. There has to be some common sense used when making up these guidelines.

Grand Junction


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