E-mail letters, Feb. 16, 2010

Many gay people have

served honorably in military

Letter writer Clark Wingate says, “Those who want to drop “Don’t ask, don’t tell” have probably never served…” Well, from someone who is gay and has served her country honorably, I have to comment on Mr. Wingate’s ridiculous statements.

First, there are already homosexuals serving honorably in our military forces. They will not suddenly lose all sense of decorum and start “making love” in front of other people.

Mr. Wingate does point out a common problem in the military — higher-ranking individuals having relationships with lower-ranking individuals in the same chain of command. I agree that this is a concern, but it is already addressed by a military regulation against what is called fraternization — which is illegal regardless of the genders of the people involved. (It happens a lot between heterosexual couples already, by the way).

And as for fearing that a homosexual might “come on to you” — please don’t flatter yourself.

When I was in the Navy, I was not open about my sexuality due to fears of being fired for something totally unrelated to my job. The people I worked with, for the most part, knew of my orientation and responded 100 percent of the time with a “so what’s the big deal” attitude. I predict that attitude will be shared by 99.9 percent of military personnel and also that 99.9 percent of homosexuals will still keep their private lives private for other reasons anyway.

Repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” because it’s simply the right thing to do. I served my country honorably as many many other homosexuals have done and continue to do. My private life had no impact on my service and no impact on my co-workers.

Heather Smith

U.S. Navy 1989-1995


District 54 candidates

leave something to be desired

Independent is what I claim to be personally and politically. A registered Republican I am. I registered as a Republican years ago because I believe in the limitation of the federal government in my life as a person and as a citizen.

Grand Junction and the surrounding districts confuse me when they field Republicans such as Ray Scott, a professed fly-fisherman, who wants to sell off public lands, I assume to developers, since he owns a construction-type business, then put the money in some kind of fund (savings

account with .005% interest?) to be used at whose discretion?

Bob Hislop is already a Washington, D.C., insider a former Secret Service agent. Hislop stated back in January, “When we look at 2010, people are very happy that 2009 is gone with all the recession and problems.” Just what we need is someone who has ties to Washington and a Wall Street attitude. Hislop even used an old gent to write some syrupy tale about helping an elderly couple retrieve grossly heavy appliances from the freeway (see The Daily Sentinel Feb. 12 “Letters”) If not untrue, the specifics of the story have to be met with some uncertainty. If I should ever need appliances moved I know who to call.

Not to forget David Cox. He is dismissed by commentators and the other candidates probably due to his age and his unsophistication. Cox is the sole Republican candidate who was born and raised here. Despite his age, Cox has some old ideas. He would like school vouchers in conjunction with phasing out of public schools. Speaking of age, he and the other candidates want to get rid of Medicare.

Republicans can still demonstrate common sense and analyze our requirements better than outside influences like this cartoon group called “tea baggers.” We know we need jobs, yet none of these candidates have any specific plans for that biggy.

The Grand Junction City Council outlined a “comprehensive” growth plan based on the boom-bust cycle industries that have always been a problem for this area, namely the oil and gas

companies. We cannot rely only on oil and gas and retail for major job opportunities. Nor can we sell off our and future children’s birthrights to balance any budget at any level of Colorado government.

Can you imagine telling your grandkids, “You don’t really want to hear that old story about how it was when you could hike the mountains, hunt the deer and fish the lakes again do you? I wish you could have had those experiences.”

I don’t care about global warming or if Obama is successful at passing health care for all those not on Medicare or Veterans benefits. I care about my community. I believe this area is unique and can be self-sufficient by using all available power sources, exemplify a reasonable approach to long-term and steady job development and take care of our own by providing a healthy setting where democracy is not mistaken for unbridled capitalism at the cost of why we love to live here.

B.R. Phillips

Grand Junction

A message from FDR

Could we imagine President Obama giving this message?

“The Constitution gives the federal government no right to interfere in the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare, and of a dozen other important features. In these, Washington must not be encouraged to interfere … The doctrine of regulation and legislation by ‘master minds’ in whose judgment and will all the people may gladly and quietly acquiesce, has been too glaringly apparent at Washington during these past years. Were it possible to find ‘master minds’ so unselfish, so willing to decide unhesitatingly against their own personal interests or private prejudices, men almost god-like in

their ability to hold the scales of Justice with an even hand, such a government might be to the interest of the country, but there are none such in our political horizon, and we cannot expect a complete reversal of all the teachings of history.

“Now to bring about government by oligarchy masquerading as democracy, it is fundamentally essential that practically all authority and control be centralized in our national government. The individual sovereignty of our states must first be destroyed, except in mere minor matters of legislation. We are safe from the danger of any such departure from the principles on which this country was founded just so long as the individual home rule of the states is scrupulously preserved and fought for whenever it seems in danger.”

This was spoken in a important speech by Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt of New York, on March 2, 1930. Did FDR really believe what he spoke? Or was he manipulating the public with

words over the leftward drift of the Hoover administration for political advantage?

We will never know. But you will know a tree by its fruit.

Robert Hemmerich


Don’t leave our children

another nuclear legacy

Future generations have the right to know the nuclear legacy handed to them and the right to protect themselves from it. Recent letters from folks promoting the proposed Pinon Ridge uranium mill haven’t provided us with a complete perspective on our nuclear past or what nuclear legacy we might be creating in the present.

We are a practical people on the Western Slope, we remember and analyze the past, look at present situations realistically and know that our decisions become our legacies.

Let’s remember there’s been four uranium economic booms and busts and no uranium mining or milling on the Colorado Plateau for over 30 years. Superfund sites, U.S. Government RECA compensations and class-action lawsuits prove the uranium health legacy of diseases and deaths. $86 million was spent to decommission the uranium mill at Naturita and the site is still leaking radioactive wastes into the Dolores River. Colorado has spent $1 billion to “destroy” dangerous mill sites.

In the United States today, there is only one uranium mill at Blanding, Utah. It isn’t processing uranium ore. It processes and stores “alternate feeds” — highly radioactive wastes. And yet, there’s 5,000 tons of unprocessed uranium ore and countless tons of waste laying unattended in this area.

There is a court challenge against all uranium leases in the Uravan region until the DOE further studies the effects of uranium jobs and socioeconomic impacts. We know that regulations don’t change the inherent 4.5 billion year nature of uranium. The stigma and realities of the uranium industry will destroy present and future sustainable jobs and economic developments in this agricultural region.

A new uranium mill operating for 25 years will quickly become the nuclear legacy we’ve left our grandchildren — $86 million adjusted for today’s rate for 85 short term jobs? That’snot my kind of legacy!

Janet Johnson

Grand Junction

Benefactor helped out

newly widowed woman

On Feb. 16 I received a letter with just the return address of GJG. Inside was a crisp $100 bill — no note, no nothing.

I suppose this was sent by someone who knew my husband Richard Bailey (an ex-city employee) and knew of his passing on Dec. 10

I just wish to thank you for the love and generosity that came with this and wish I knew

who you are. However, all I can say is thanks on behalf of my late husband Richard Bailey and myself Kay Bailey, and may God bless you forever.

Kay Bailey

Grand Junction

Immigration reform is

winning issue for pols

Letter writer Dana Isham uses “illegal” for its threadbare impact. The vast majority of undocumented people are here due to a labor shortage in the agriculture, construction and hospitality sectors of our economy. U.S. employers can’t find workers capable or willing to work in those sectors.

Isham is wrong to blame the workers. They are needed, pay more in taxes than any services used. They don’t displace U.S. workers, they complement them.

He uses inflated numbers: The official estimates for undocumented people in our country before 2009 were 12 to 13 million. Since then, many unemployed millions have returned to their countries of origin.

Who are the undocumented? In reality in the U.S. there are many mixed couples and families in which one family member is undocumented, the rest are voting citizens. These families watch their legislators. They are a powerful voting bloc and making this immigration system work to benefit business, workers and families unites them.

Family unity is a U.S. value.

Mr. Chris West of Catholic Relief Services, states recent surveys indicate that 60 percent to 75 percent of U.S. voters are in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and are tired of the U.S. image as a hateful, bigoted society.

Regarding lax U.S. immigration enforcement? Since 1994, 100,000 families have been divided by deportations.

Voters will support pro-immigration reform leaders. In 2008, pro-reform platforms won in 19 of 20 congressional races.

Get informed. Read “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic

Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform”


Our country’s success depends upon fair treatment of immigrants.

Tom Acker,

Western Colorado Justice for Immigrants Committees

Grand Junction

Grant misses crucial point

on river-rafting legislation

Bill Grant’s recent column regarding Rep. Kathleen Curry’s House Bill 1188 ignored the main issue of the bill, which is that it would give commercial river guides the right to trespass across private property without the landowners’ permission. It would overturn decades of case law and statutes that have served our state well.

While I would be quick to argue the economic and cultural importance of rafting to Colorado, it should be noted that this industry has developed and flourished under the conditions imposed by existing laws and constitutional guarantees of private property rights.

This bill was written because of a problem between one landowner and a rafting company on the Taylor River near Gunnison. It is never wise to make large, sweeping changes through legislation to fix a problem between two individuals. Certainly the solution to such a problem is not taking the private property rights of every farmer or rancher in the state who happens to have a stream running through his land

The agricultural community is united in opposition to this bill, as are other groups including Club 20 and the Creekside Coalition. I would like to thank Reps. Bradford and King for voting against the bill in the House and protecting the rights of landowners.

Carlyle Currier, Secretary

Colorado Farm Bureau Federation



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