E-mail letters, August 20, 2010

What is Buescher’s agenda?

Scott Gessler’s recent letter to the editor pointed out that our Secretary of State Bernie Buescher and Western Slope resident requested that Colorado be exempted from the federal election law requirement that absentee ballots be sent to members of the military at least 45 days before each election. Given the thousands of active military residing in Colorado, this appears to be a deliberate effort to disenfranchise military voters. What is Buescher’s agenda here?

This spring Bernie and Terrance Carroll surprised us all by suddenly proposing sweeping “modernization” of Colorado Election Laws to allow same-day registration and voting (that’s an ACORN fill-the-bus specialty) and to allow certain individuals and “community organizations” to deliver large groups of ballots directly to the polls. Thankfully, this last minute effort by Colorado Democratic lawmakers failed.

Just by coincidence, Wisconsin Democrats had introduced almost identical voter reforms that March. John Fund wrote an excellent Wall Street Journal article about the “Wisconsin Voter Fraud Agenda” which ran April 24, detailing the many ways these proposed changes in voting laws facilitate fraud. He also noted that Wisconsin had documented large numbers of felons voting under their present “motor voter” laws.

In Minnesota, it was recently confirmed that over 500 felons voted in the last U.S. Senate race decided by only 312 votes. Felons for Franken carried the day for the Democrats.

There is obviously a nationwide Democrat agenda to “modernize” the states election laws and Buescher is working hard to force it on us. He wants to make it easier for certain folks to vote and a little harder (or impossible) for others. I think we can all see his real agenda. Who would have expected this from a Western Sloper?

BOB BARRETT

Grand Junction

Land swap is a good deal for all involved

I am writing to address a few articles and letters to the editor which have appeared in The Daily Sentinel recently about Rep. John Salazar’s Central Rockies Land Exchange. Unfortunately, there have been several mischaracterizations of the exchange by opponents who hold a personal grudge against the exchange proponent.

The bottom line is that this land exchange is a good deal for the public. Access to the Gunnison National Forest, Ragged Mountain Trail and Raggeds Wilderness will be enhanced. The National Park Service will get title to a parcel of land in the heart of Curecanti National Recreation Area. The Park Service wants to protect this land, because it has spectacular views of Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Dillon Pinnacles. In addition, they have expressed an interest in constructing a visitor center on a part of this land. However, there is no funding to purchase it. The same is true of the parcel in

Dinosaur National Monument which will go into Park Service stewardship.

Opponents of the exchange have been making outrageous claims about the exchange. They have engaged in a deliberate campaign of misinformation, innuendo and rumor, smearing Rep. Salazar, Delta County, Gunnison County, the BLM and Bill Koch. They have contacted all the local papers and submitted letters to the editor, spreading their falsehoods.

You just have to look at the facts and read the bill. Public access in the North Fork Valley and Paonia Reservoir area will be improved. Threatened land in Curecanti and Dinosaur National Monument will be protected. There is simply no downside to this deal. Whether you like Rep. Salazar or not, we should support him on this issue. Call his office and tell him you support the Central Rockies Land Exchange.

PAUL FRITZLER

Grand Junction

Salazar talks out of both sides of his mouth

Beware of John Salazar and what he says he stands for.

Think back to the health care feform fiasco. Salazar said he wouldn’t vote for it, “unless it had a public option.” However, when the time came, he put his name in the “yea” column, and tried to cover himself by saying, “It was the best we could do at this time.”

I have a letter from his office, wherein he states, “I have talked with lots of my constituents who tell me that they don’t have coverage, and cannot get medical care.” Really? In what world does that happen? Here in the world in which I live, emergency rooms are mandated to take care of the sick or hurt, regardless of their ability, or inability to pay. Hospitals are running in the red, and costs are going up for everyone because of those who cannot, or will not pay for medical care.

Illegals are, in fact, a large and growing percentage of those who visit emergency rooms for their care. Salazar will vote with the administration 99 percent of the time and oppose only when he feels it won’t hurt him. Blue dog Democrat, he isn’t. He’s a full liberal Democrat.

I don’t buy what he has to sell, because he talks out of both sides of his mouth.  This is a representative (“representative” doesn’t describe John Salazar) who cannot find the time to attend a town hall meeting (along with Bennet and Udall) held here in Grand Junction at Mesa State College, but can expend plenty of time to cajole Obama into holding a town hall at Central High, where the attendees are hand-picked. Some representative of the people. We would be as well off if we elected someone from Nebraska. They wouldn’t be any more out of touch than he is.

DAVID F. ZULIAN  

Grand Junction

Like alcohol, marijuana should be legal

I’m a child of the Great Depression and grew up before the Age of Aquarius and the general public’s awareness of marijuana use throughout our society. I was imbued with the 1930s Anslinger absurd diatribe, “Reefer Madness” claiming marijuana caused the “enraged” user to “rape and kill.” I believed the myths of marijuana being the gateway to serious drug addiction; of it turning normal users into virtual zombies incapable of normal function in society; of it destroying the brain cells of its users and of dozens of other assertions from the 1930s, all evil. All lies.

Once I grew up and became a teacher and learned how to access and use information in a more objective way, the more I became aware of a vast and dreadful fact: the greatest harm of marijuana in our society is the criminalization of its use and the demonization of its users. In the past several decades, hard evidence has shown the weed to be both benign in its effects and significantly useful in treating a variety of medical problems both physical and emotional. I encourage greater use of marijuana in the treatment of illnesses, pain and depression. Do I advocate its recreational use? No. Do I object to its recreational use? Not so much, so long as it’s used moderately and discreetly. Do I advocate the use of alcohol and tobacco? No. Do I object to their recreational use? Not so much, so long as they’re used moderately and discreetly. In all cases, it’s not the moderate use of a legal drug that’s harmful; it’s the abuse of the substance that’s harmful.

Having been taught to learn from history and knowing well the dangers of unexamined, emotional beliefs, I am concerned with the current angst in our state legislature concerning the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries in our state. They seem to think that severely limiting marijuana’s legal availability to a very narrowly defined medical use somehow will make the general use of it disappear. Have they learned nothing from history? The great social disaster of the 1920s, the prohibition of alcohol, failed miserably to eliminate or significantly reduce the general use of alcohol and resulted in turning honest citizens into legal criminals and was directly responsible for the birth of nationwide organized crime. This, as in all cases of popular drugs, should be worth noting: prohibition results in increased crime and significant moral and monetary cost to the public. The recreational and medicinal use of marijuana has been part of mankind’s social fabric predating Biblical times. Marijuana use here and throughout the world will never go away no matter what laws are passed. In our valley illegal drugs even have been available to students in our schools for at least fifty years to my direct knowledge. My sons attended GJHS in the early 1980s and later told me that any day of the week they could have bought marijuana, LSD, cocaine, amphetamines and barbiturates in any amount right out of lockers in the hallway. The schools tried to stop that and to some degree were successful, but it still goes on. And who are these student drug users? They were and are and will be honor students, athletes, musicians, artists, singers, leaders, followers, scholars, dunces, community volunteers, drop outs, college bound, smart, not so smart and real smart, right handed, left handed, rich, poor, ethnic, non-ethnic, blue eyed, brown eyed and green eyed, blond, brunette, redhead, black, white, brown, tall, short, fat, thin, male and female. It’s no different in the adult world. Among tens of millions of citizens of all ages marijuana has become a recreational drug of choice. And it won’t change, ever. And what evils can be attributed to marijuana use? Only those laws making it illegal. There is no more significant corellation between marijuana use and hard drugs than there is between beer and hard drugs. How many people are killed, maimed or traumatized by drunk drivers or drunken adults in the home? How many by pot smokers? The demonization of marijuana must stop.

So what to do? Simple answer, easy enough to implement: legalize it, tax it and control it just like our other drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Let the free market system work and governments large and small will see increased revenues and reduced crime. Immediately the illegal marijuana trade, the deaths associated with it and the often violent criminals involved will disappear. Crime goes down. That’s a good thing. Most likely, the use of marijuana will decrease somewhat over time since there’ll not be the excitement and enticement of forbidden fruit. That’s a good thing. Law enforcement will be a bit freer to pursue serious criminals and have more time for proactive public service in significant matters like neighborhood patrols and traffic enforcement and their already successful attention to hard drugs. That too is a good thing.

If you want to know more about the realities of marijuana, seek information at your local library, it’s the most reasonable place to find good information. Don’t count on bookstores for information for I have heard of them saying, “we don’t carry those kinds of books” [emphasis theirs]. Or, here’s an idea, visit one of the better medical marijuana dispensaries and look over their selection of books and magazines, talk with the people there and learn the realities versus the myths. It will be an enlightening experience. And you’ll become a more knowledgeable voter. That’s a good thing.

T.C. STREFF

Grand Junction

Grand Valley Hospice is an impressive organization

A dear friend of mine was recently put on hospice transitional in-home care. I suspect few of us realize the high quality of care available in our community. Previously I thought hospice only provided care for terminal cancer patients, but it is not limited to that.

At the first interview with the patient, four professional care givers meet in the home with the patient and a family member or friend. The team includes a registered nurse, certified nursing assistant, social worker and chaplain. The patient will have continuity of care with the same caregivers each week. The nurse keeps the medication dispenser filled, medication orders renewed, assesses the patient and calls the doctor when necessary. The patient can call the hospice number day or night and a nurse is available.

As a retired nursing administrator, it takes a lot to impress me — but I’m very impressed with our hospice service.

GAIL PRITCHARD

Grand Junction

Sentinel does good work covering area news

I thought readers might like to hear for a former Daily Sentinel staff photographer who was recently in town, and picked up the paper.

After leaving the Sentinel, I have worked at the Denver Post, LA Times and for the past 22 years as a staff shooter at the LA Daily News.

I just wanted to congratulate the Sentinel and its staff on a terrific job of regional reporting, while making great selections on state, national and world news.

Of course, I would like to compliment your staff photographers in particular. Christopher Tomlinson is doing his usual exceptional job. I really enjoyed his image of the Colorado National Monument reflection. Obviously, while he was driving out to the Dino-digs, he stopped and made a very relevant image of one of his favorite subjects.

Gretel Daugherty also had a wonderful shot of the Harley accident. It gave the injured parties some privacy, while capturing a nasty crash. The photo did a great job of story telling. However, personally, I would have moved in for some close-ups to get more drama, (I am sure those images were part of her take). However, I understand the need for anonymity for the victims in a small town like Grand Junction.

GJSentinel.com is great, much better than I could have expected. The video work is superb. Overall, it is easy to navigate and informative.

Here is my one bone to pick. Why doesn’t the Sentinel attribute wire stories and photographs to the authors? Photographers and reporters are often freelance who work for the Associated Press. Many other stories come from well-known journalists from newspapers and wire services around the country. Its a shame that they do not receive credit for their work. I know, policy is policy, but please give it some consideration.

Thanks for serving the Grand Valley with such a great piece of journalism.

JOHN MCCOY

La Crescenta, Calif.

Mosque near 9/11 site would not be an insult

As leaders in Grand Valley Faith Community and participants in the Grand Valley Interfaith Network, we respond with sadness to the flurry misinformed editorials and letters that fan the fires of religious prejudice against Muslims.

Our concern is that editorials such as a recent column by Charles Krauthammer and the recent Daily Sentinel editorial feed anti-Muslim hysteria and reinforce false cultural stereotypes. In the editorial, the Sentinel said there’s no question why so many Americans oppose the center, and then you blithely accede to the fear mongering of religious prejudice by saying that such a center would be a slap in the face to those who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

We would assert that a center representing the best values of Islam would not be an insult but would be an honor to those who died. A neighborhood center built on their principles as “a living monument to mark the tragedy of 9/11 through a center dedicated to learning, compassion, and respect for all people” would honor not only those who died but would honor the best values of all of our faiths.

Your editorial asked how those in Srebrenica would feel if a Christian center were built near to where the murder of 8,000 Muslim men and boys took place. Perhaps the best way to answer is to point to the peace march that occurred in Srebrenica last month with 50,000 Muslims, Orthodox Christians,

Catholics, Protestants, and others to observe the 15th anniversary of the tragedy. Maybe we could learn from that example of reconciliation.

As a community, if we are to weather difficult times intact, it is important to counteract those who would fan the fires of fear, prejudice and hatred against any minority. Perhaps it would be best to let the neighborhood handle the issue. The community board that represents the sites and the Manhattan neighborhood voted 29 to 1 in favor of the Center.

REV. MICHAEL J. BURR, Chair

Grand Valley Interfaith Network

Grand Junction



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