E-mail letters, March 4, 2010

Immigration reform can benefit all of us

Letter writer Dana Isham expresses a widely held fear that reform of our immigration law will make difficulty for the American worker and for our economy. His fear has been heard throughout the history of American labor. Countless studies have proved these fears to have been groundless.

We are close enough in time to study and analyze the latest apprehension. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act indicates that the amnesty thus provided the undocumented Latinos ( during an economic downturn) raised wages and catalyzed increases in education, consumption, job creation and tax revenues. Small-business development and purchases of homes were specifically notable.

At root of the debate over the future of immigration reform is the larger question of our moral compass as a nation. As Professor Stiglitz has shown, the shift in the last 20 years from product-focused entrepreneurship to investor-driven profit making (of money, not usable things ) have made Wall Street and K Street the hub and attraction for so many whose forebears actually built America.

If we would be able to reform our present “enforcement only” immigration laws so as to respect the dignity of every human being, the integrity of his or her family, the educational potential of their children, the quality and diversity of their many talents and cultural richness, we should have taken a huge step of turnaround.

Reallocation of the vast expense needed to maintain the technological screen for prevention of newcomers to a new focus –—  fair trade rather than free trade — would allow many who now brave danger and even death to provide for their families the chance to remain in their native land and to meet there their parental responsibility to provide.

An America thus converted could learn from our mistakes, could reawaken to the dignity of all of our brothers and sisters and help to build with them a true icon of society

John Kiernan

Grand Junction

Census Bureau seeks too much information

Our Constitution grants the Census Bureau the right to count us every 10 years. It does not grant them the right to private information — not even individual’s names. Where does the Census Bureau derive the authority to ask personal questions?

They do not need to know our income, sources of income, how many cars we own, disabilities, housing costs, insurance costs, if we use food stamps, or our utility costs.

To interact with us in any way, the government must have constitutional authority. They cannot force us to cooperate with the contrived schemes they come up with for information gathering.

Why do they collect information every month on 250,000 people?

The 4 Amendment prohibits government search and seizure of private information without a court warrant based on probable cause in most cases. Don’t the current levels of data collection by the Census Bureau violate the 4 Amendment?

By what constitutional authority does the Census Bureau claim the right to threaten us with penalties for refusing to provide personal information? They have none!

Will security agencies have access to this information? The census folks claim the information is secure. Government information has been lost, hacked, and compromised before and will be again.

Why do they need a GPS location on us? Presumably law enforcement agencies can subpoena the census information, so why can’t we refuse to answer based on the 5 Amendment?

Unless the Census Bureau can prove its constitutional authority I don’t have to open the door for them. I have no issue telling them the number of folks living here and number of children and ages. That’s all folks!

Big Brother can’t watch you so easily, if you don’t cooperate. Keep a copy of your Constitution handy!

Juanita R. Williams

Parachute

Romanoff is not ‘outsider Democrat’

Kristen Wyatt’s recent Associated Press article, “Romanoff, Bennet weigh in on filibuster,” sets an inaccurate tone, bordering on disparagement, toward former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, referring to him as “an outsider Democrat seeking to unseat an incumbent Democrat in the.”

On the contrary, Michael Bennet is the Johnny-come-lately, never elected to anything by the voters of Colorado.  Instead, he acquired his present position as Colorado’s replacement senator by being selected by an unpopular, one-term governor

Andrew Romanoff, on the other hand, was elected by the people four times as a Democrat to the Colorado House.  And he held the title of Speaker of the House for four years, leading Democrats to back-to-back majorities for the first time in 40 years

No, Ms. Wyatt, Speaker Romanoff is not what one would consider as an “outsider Democrat.”  He is the admirable Colorado Democrat, unique in this campaign by having rejected corporate influence money

In contrast, Mr. Bennet has raised millions of dollars from special interest PACs and even recently had a courtesy visit from President Obama, once again reinforcing Bennet as the Washington elite, anointed one

Enough is enough.  Coloradoans deserve more than the Senate awash in corporate money.  Speaker Romanoff is the only candidate in this election, Republican or Democrat, with the wisdom and courage to recognize the problem and live an example of the solution.

Further, I find Mr. Bennet’s latest ploy, calling for the public option, as nothing more than an election cycle gimmick. Obama doesn’t even support it.  So where were Mr. Bennet and his Senate cohorts during the past year

As they diddled, another 45,000 Americans reportedly lost their lives because they couldn’t afford to see a doctor, and 2,000,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy due to medical indebtedness. And now they expect us to hail them as heroes of the Senate. For what?  They are all bought and paid for by the special interests, and Coloradans know it

There’s a grassroots political storm brewing in Colorado — get it right before history writes the story for you.

W. Jerry Allen

Boulder

CDOT process ignores most critical highway needs

How ironic. Rio Blanco County was recently denied $9 million of impact funds for improvements to County Road 5, the Piceance Creek road that is the only all-weather public road providing access to two major natural gas refineries and the dozens of gas wells in the Piceance Basin.

The last time this road had any major improvement was about 30 years ago, when it was resurfaced using impact funds during oil shale development. It remains today a narrow, crooked, dangerous road used by large trucks, heavy equipment, and workers commuting to Rifle, Meeker, and Rangely. No other county road has suffered the impact of energy development as much as County Road 5.

Here is the irony:

Colorado Department of Transportation recently awarded an $8.8 million contract for building four roundabouts in the Edwards area, paid for from “stimulus” (our) money.  Two of these roundabouts are at county road connections, two at the Edwards interchange with I-70. All the roundabouts will accomplish is to make it slightly more convenient to clear intersections. Public safety is not an issue. The truly dangerous intersection of County Road 5 and State Highway 13 at Rio Blanco is ignored.

How can priorities be so screwed up? Back when highways in Colorado were the responsibility of the State Highway Department, highway commissioners would hold public meetings around the state, where delegates from cities, counties and organizations like Club 20 would plead for projects in their areas. Then district engineers would recommend projects supporting, in some cases those requests, but keeping the big picture of district-wide needs in mind.

But along came the Department of Transportation and more politically correct thinking.  Locals were to be given a stronger voice in selection of improvements.

When I questioned the reason for funding roundabouts at Edwards last year, I was told that locals in Eagle had put this project as their number one priority and, therefore, deserved the funding.

CDOT is locked into a “process” that ignores actual needs. Until that system is changed, we can expect more misuse of our money. The Colorado Department of Transportation needs to restore authority for choosing projects to regional directors and Denver staff, with consideration of local requests, but keeping in mind the “big picture” of regional needs.

Dick Prosence

retired district engineer

Meeker

Sentinel appears inconsistent on law

Thanks to the Sentinel’s editorial board for choosing to opine further on the recent acquittal of former Grand Junction police officer Courtney Crooks on harassment charges that led to his resignation from the department last year. The following passage stood out the most for me:

“We hold police officers to higher standards than most people because they must enforce the laws, as well as abide by them. But like all others accused of crimes in the United States, they must be presumed innocent until proved guilty. Courtney Crooks was found not guilty by a jury of his peers, and that is the only judgment that should matter in this country.”

If those managing the Sentinel truly believe in the above statements, then I am tempted to ask how this opinion affects the Sentinel’s Blotter feature, in which the paper prints the names of adult citizens that are arrested or cited for criminal offenses in our area, and are thus presumed innocent until they get their day in court.

It’s true that Mr. Crooks received a good deal more media attention than the average person accused of the same offense. However, if “all others accused … must be presumed innocent until proven guilty” and “that is the only judgment that should matter in this country,” then perhaps each person whose name appears in the Blotter should have the disposition of the charges against them published in a similar manner when that disposition occurs.

At the very least, some form of the Sentinel’s own words above should appear in each future edition of the Blotter as a disclaimer.

John L. Linko

Grand Junction

Say no to latest

Health care plan

If you watch, listen, or read what is coming out of the liberal media, it is easy to see where one might come to the conclusion that the Republican Party is blocking this health care bill.  The party of no, as it has been called.  Poor old Bill Grant even pulls out a New York Times poll that says Americans support the public option on health care reform, although this is contrary to every other poll I see.

Democrats have a sizeable majority in the House, had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and a socialist, deceiver in chief (think Slick Willy on steroids), in the White House. If the American people were truly behind this bill, this should have been a slam dunk and finished a long time ago.

The reason that it hasn’t passed is that a majority of the American people have clearly spoken that they don’t want this bill. The Republicans do not have the votes to stop the bill.  We clearly have our government working against the will of the people. They think that they are our rulers and not public servants. They exempt themselves from having to live under this very bill.

We are $14 trillion in debt and they want to add another $2.5 trillion dollar entitlement and make government bigger. They want to force people to buy insurance that they themselves won’t have to. If there really is $500 billion in fraud in Medicare, wouldn’t we be better served dealing with that first?

We, the people, are stopping this and we must continue to speak out, even though our senators and representatives believe that they know what is good for us better than we do.  Health care reform is needed but this is bill is not the answer

Michael Higgins

Grand Junction



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