Email Letters: September 7, 2016
Homelessness a more complicated issue than many might imagine
Grand Valley Peace & Justice was recently mentioned in the article regarding homelessness and the city’s search for a solution. At Grand Valley Peace & Justice, the mission includes an imperative to serve the vulnerable and disenfranchised impacted by social issues of the day. It is the social issues in our communities and world that create burdens on non-profit and governmental agencies, not the people who are impacted by them.
It can be easy if you are uninformed to believe that if someone just gets a job that this solves the problem. In Colorado, a minimum wage worker must work 88 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, just to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rate. On top of that add day care, food, clothing, medical and other needs. It then becomes more apparent how difficult it is to afford housing, not only as a family but also as an individual. In Grand Junction, the wait for housing through the Housing Authority is two years and the vacancy rate here is extremely low – three percent – so those who wait have little from which to choose when there are openings.
Homelessness is a much more complicated issue than many might imagine. As Program Coordinator at Grand Valley Peace & Justice, I have access to more facts than most people regarding the state of homelessness in our state, country and community. I invite you to attend The Faces and Voices…Homeless in America exhibit at our own Western Colorado Center for The Arts from Dec. 2, through Jan. 21. During that time, you can read and hear the stories of how people became homeless and what the experience has been like for them. The myths and facts of homelessness will be displayed as well as the photographs of families, men, women, children and veterans who are members of our community.
There is so much more to homelessness than what one might perceive from seeing someone standing on a street corner or sitting at a park. Next time you see someone, ask yourself, what am I not seeing?
Emerge Colorado helps American women become politically involved
American women have had a lot to celebrate this summer. In June, The White House hosted the United State of Women Summit and 28 major companies signed their Equal Pay Pledge. In July, we saw the first female presidential nominee of a major party. In August, female athletes were the unquestionable breakout stars of Team USA. And two weeks ago, we celebrated Women’s Equality Day.
Despite these high points we can’t afford to take for granted what’s at stake for American women right now. Women are more likely to live in poverty and work a minimum wage job. Access to reproductive healthcare is threatened, and sexual assault pervades our campuses and communities.
We need quality legislation and leadership to address these critical issues. However, it’s difficult when the individuals who understand them best remain so underrepresented in government. Women bring a unique perspective and prioritize policies that help women and families. We need more of them to jump into politics and begin moving up the ladder.
Why not you, or a woman you know? When it comes to politics, many don’t know where to start. That’s where Emerge Colorado comes in. We’re Colorado’s premier candidate training program and give Democratic women the skills and network they need to run for office and win. We’re recruiting for the class of 2017 now. Applications are live at http://www.emergeco.org. Let us help you be a force of change.
Executive Director, Emerge Colorado
There are better alternatives to open burning
Thank you Charlie Post for correcting the flawed logic and untrue claims made in two “You Said It” column items concerning open burning. In addition I would like to address the stubborn and selfish position that some take in stating that “We’ve open burned for the last 75 years, that makes it OK and we ain’t changing!” I submit the following writing from http://www.cracked.com/article_15669_the-10-most-insane-medical-practices-in-history.html concerning another old time practice that once seemed like a good idea.
“To aide the stressed 19th-century mother, a series of “soothing syrups,” lozenges and powders were created, all which were carefully formulated to ensure they were safe for use by those most vulnerable members of the family. Oh, no, wait. Actually, they pumped each bottle full of as many narcotics as it could hold. For instance, each ounce of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup contained 65 mg of pure morphine. Finally in 1910 the New York Times decided the whole narcotic-babysitter concept was probably bad in the long run, and ran an article pointing out that these soothing syrups contained, “...morphine sulphate, chloroform, morphine hydrochloride, codeine, heroin, powdered opium, cannabis indica,” and sometimes several of them in combination.”
There are better alternatives to open and ag burning.
Transforming Whitman Park to mixed use an alternative to closing it entirely
The Daily Sentinel has done an admirable job of trying to educate us on our homeless problem. I think the first thing to do is to heed John Bradford’s observation from the 16th century, “but for the grace of God goes John Bradford” or you and I for that matter. Next, we should accept the admonishment of the apostle Mark, to not “have eyes but fail to see.”
I would like to comment on the closing of Whitman Park as one of the alternatives in addressing our homeless problem. I’m trying not to be mean-spirited (like I feel the county was in booting the community food bank from their Spruce St. location). A good way to evaluate this option is from the observation tower of our Museum of the West (the plight of which was reported in the Daily Sentinel).
From this vista, you can see the attractively done police department parking lot surrounded with a visually pleasing wrought iron fence. The cramped-for-space bus station is visible along with the not that distant train station. Of course the museum (another entity the county wants to banish to the enlightened and welcoming arms of the citizens of Fruita) is right across the street from the park.
I really don’t want to see the park surrounded by a tall chain link fence with barbed wire on top. I see a mixed use for the park with an eye toward extending the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Bustang’s Denver service the rest of the way from Glenwood Springs. The area could have a few shaded benches and tables on the police department side. This would provide the homeless a place to rendezvous but not stay all day. Additional needs of the police department could also be addressed.
The political communicator is an entire industry
To reference an apocryphal quote by Alan Greenspan, “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant.” And thus, an industry was born: the political communicator. This is like the person who makes a comment to the person next to him/her and asks to pass it to the person at the end of the row. At the other end, it becomes a whole different story.
This is actually a layered phenomenon in the shape of a pyramid. At the base (level 1), is the actual statement by the candidate. The hearing impaired has difficulty reading the candidate’s lips because they talk out of the sides of their mouths. Being perceived as poor communicators, the pyramid starts to grow.
The 2nd level are the journalists asking questions. Their job is to restate the question and repeat the answer (you know, like a reporter used to do). Level 3 is where the fog rolls in. The pundit, or so-called expert, is called in to explain the facts (or what he/she perceives was a fact) to the unsuspecting viewing audience. And then, they begin to shape it as a fact.
So, the media (being a supporter of job growth), adds a 4th level (I’m getting there) that I call the “Blond Bitches.’” And, you might also add some hardliner radio/TV personalities to stir the pot. This is the level where the filters are applied (you know, red/blue, black/white, wealthy/poor, etc.). It’s the birthplace of conspiracy theories, sticks and stones, and oh yeah, “step outside and we’ll settle this”. This 4th level is brought to you by the cosmetics, fine clothing apparel, Botox, and beer industries. Their mouths may move but they speak in tongues.
Finally, and definitely not least, level 5. The “surrogate” or stand in for level 1. We are now at the top of the pyramid – the person who personifies the quote by Alan Greenspan so that their candidate will get elected. Cheeky smiles and fast talking golden tongues. The master at over talking, the deaf ear, and evading the question. Journalism of the future where the 36C and Ken Doll teeth come into focus. Just distractions in case things are going wrong. Sadly, the future is now. Who are all these people?
If we have funding, what’s not to like about Redlands roundabout?
Yet again there was a letter to the editor about roundabouts, albeit, one proposed; the intersection of 340 and Redlands Parkway/South Broadway in particular. Roundabouts, properly designed, have unequivocally proven to be efficient and safe ways to control traffic. We have a number of them locally. What are the statistics for accidents and injuries, before and after the installation of roundabouts? Overwhelmingly, they are safer and move traffic more efficiently and quickly than traffic lights.
The letter writers worry about construction delays. What were the experiences of the construction of the other roundabouts in town, particularly the new ones at I 70 and Horizon Drive? How do you move ahead to a better way without some inconvenience?
The speed of traffic coming down hills in either direction on 340 was mentioned in the letter. If that is an issue, it is the case no matter what kind of traffic control is used at this intersection.
Kids going to school and crossing this intersection? In over 22 years of frequently going through this intersection, sometimes during school beginning and ending times, I’ve never seen a kid trying to cross, as is true of anybody walking trying to cross.
During heavy traffic hours for Grand Junction trying to get onto and into traffic on 340 is often difficult because traffic comes in spurts because of the traffic lights at the intersection. Roundabouts spread traffic out more evenly.
Finally, two of the signatories of the letter are well known locals who are generally opposed to anything of change in the city and county. In this case they have even resorted to using the national debt as a reason for maintaining the status quo.
The intersection has proven to be dangerous in ever-increasing 2016 traffic conditions. The state CDOT has decided to act to correct the situation and they have the funding.
What’s not to like considering it is not likely to increase the national debt?
Hillary Clinton has not accomplished ONLY one thing of importance
Tuesday’s inane letter from Jerry Wilson (“Clinton has not accomplished one thing of importance”) – in response to last Thursday’s much more cogent letter from Don Bell (“Vote for service record, not a narcissist”) – proves only that Wilson (not Bell) “didn’t do his homework” and deliberately remains “simply oblivious to the facts.” Rather, what Wilson proclaims to be “facts” are ignorant and unfounded falsehoods.
Thus, contrary to Wilson’s baseless contention, his assertion that “this woman has no record” is patently and provably false. http://addictinginfo.org/2015/04/13/heres-a-list-of-hillary-clintons-accomplishments-so-quit-saying-she-doesnt-have-any/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_career_of_Hillary_Rodham_Clinton.
Perhaps Clinton’s three most important “accomplishments” are the Children’s Health Insurance Program, securing federal funds for lower Manhattan reconstruction and 9/11 first-responders’ medical care from a hostile Republican Congress, and her tireless efforts (once lauded by Trump) to restore our reputation and credibility abroad following Bush’s lawless duplicity in Iraq – which truly did “disgrace our country.”
In contrast to Donald Trump’s narcissistic braggadocio, Hillary Clinton makes no “claims to fame” – because she has never sought it. Her lengthy record of public service – replete with both successes and failures – speaks for itself, while Trump’s history of bankruptcies, fraud, and stiffing small businesses suggests that he’s the only “crooked” candidate. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/09/05/trumps-history-of-corruption-is-mind-boggling-so-why-is-clinton-supposedly-the-corrupt-one/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.fcaa7d6a72f1.
Hillary Clinton was not “a disgrace as a lawyer,” but successfully advanced the legal agenda of the Children’s Defense Fund, before serving on the Watergate Committee staff. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/09/06/the-zombie-claim-that-hillary-clinton-was-fired-during-the-watergate-inquiry/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_fact-checker-8a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory.
While Trump is indeed “talking a lot about fixing our broken country,” our country is not really “broken” and Trump’s nonsensical “solutions” would make its real imperfections even harder to “fix.” Meanwhile, Trump refuses to disclose his personal tax returns, any credible medical history, and his deportable third “trophy” wife’s immigration file.
In sum, Wilson’s bubbleheaded support for Donald Trump merely proves the continuing relevenace of P.T. Barnum’s old adage: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trumps-candidacy-is-one-giant-insult-to-the-american-electorate/2016/09/04/d3f039b4-7135-11e6-8533-6b0b0ded0253_story.html?utm_term=.e5e097043bfd; https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-must-think-were-all-fools/2016/08/25/62ca1c96-6ad7-11e6-ba32-5a4bf5aad4fa_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.fd5a3d06a796.