Printed Letters: June 12, 2014

Next sheriff needs 
to be a strong leader
Voters are watching parties manipulate sheriff candidate selections to maintain a bevy of professional politicians.

Rumors have abounded of Republicans playing a round of musical chairs. In one scenario, Sheriff Hilkey would resign to move to Florida with the FBI, Steve King would be appointed as interim sheriff and run as an incumbent, Ray Scott would fill the Senate seat to run as an incumbent and Steve Acquafresca would be given the seat in House District 55 and would run as incumbent.

The catch in this is that Republican candidates John Pennington and Dan Thurlow upset the apple cart at the Republican Assembly.

Let’s take a look at where the sheriff’s incumbent and the candidates have now landed. Sheriff Hilkey dropped our county sheriff’s participation in a suit against the state gun control laws. Does this mean that gun control is now good? He now has a job with Governor Gun Control. He’s not employed with the FBI, but he doesn’t have to leave Colorado.

What of King? He brought us more cooperation with local law enforcement departments and the militaristic federal agents. King now would give local police status for those agents. King must now work to be elected rather than run as an incumbent. I can hear his and our outgoing sheriff’s appeal to other candidates to not run, as they will split the vote.

There has been concern of illegal road closures by the BLM, overt land grabs by presidential decree, and Forest Service issues with ground water rights. The Constitution, the law of the land, had been abandoned and disregarded. The sheriff is charged to protect those rights.

We expect our sheriff to be first and foremost a peace officer, a protector, and, when necessary, a law enforcement officer. I charge the candidates for sheriff: King, Pennington, Arotin, Harlow, and Phillips, to be the strong leader needed to protect the residents and people of Mesa County


Issues to consider in race 
for Colorado House District 55
Before casting their ballot in the Colorado House race between Dan Thurlow and Steve Acquafresca, voters should consider the following:

Acquafresca is the only commissioner of three to admit that he knowingly voted in 2007 to exclude sales tax from Mesa County’s TABOR revenue limit calculations. He then reluctantly voted last year to re-include sales tax only after Commissioners Pugliese and Justman voted to reverse his 2007 vote. He said he wanted to make it unanimous — so much for principle.

For the past 18 months Acquafresca has stubbornly resisted all efforts to investigate Mesa County’s numerous alleged TABOR violations.

Recently, when asked if he thought that the commissioners violated an open meetings statute, his response was immediate and reflexive: No. A more thoughtful response from Commissioner Pugliese to the same question was, “I can see how someone might draw that conclusion.”

It is time for a change. Choose Dan Thurlow.

Grand Junction

Acquafresca contradicts
 vocal support of TABOR
I would like to urge Mesa County Republicans to select Dan Thurlow as our candidate for the District 55 House seat.

Thurlow has stated in no uncertain terms that he will support all aspects of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. His opponent, in contrast, had a clear record of supporting TABOR only when it improved his political position.

Hopefully, voters will remember that Steve Acquafresca was in office in 2007 when county staff instituted several major changes in how TABOR limits were computed. These changes resulted in Mesa County retaining over $30 million that should have rightfully been returned to the taxpayers.

In 2013,when several citizens pointed out these flagrant abuses, Acquafresca doggedly held to the position that what was done was legal and refused to comment on what the “right” thing was. Not once did he reach out to those of us who held a view that was different than the county staff. Not once did he comment of the staff’s attempt to obfuscate the facts. His intent was obviously to bury the issues rather than to get to the right answers.

If it had not been for the persistence of Rose Pugliese and the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the County would likely have continued with the despicable practices of the past.

TABOR includes a provision that prohibits governments from creating debt without prior voter approval. The bond salesmen and bond lawyers of the world have concocted devious devices called Certificates of Participation that allow the form of the debt to override the substance.

Unfortunately, the obviously anti-TABOR Colorado Court of Appeals has sanctioned this subterfuge.

In 2010, when Mesa County was about to become debt-free, Acquafresca and his fellow commissioners let the staff and their bond lawyer convince them to use the COP end-run around TABOR. When several citizens raised concerns about TABOR, Acquafresca refused to explain himself and voted to ram through the debt issuance without an election.

Acquafresca says he is a supporter of TABOR. But his actions speak louder than his words.

Grand Junction

Let’s consider easy steps to avoid diverting more water
If the governor and those on the Eastern Slope have their way, we’ll see what this valley looked like before the canal went in. However, there are some simple and reasonably inexpensive things that can be done to delay major and expensive projects to take water to the other side.

1. Subsidize and require all large-volume flush toilets be replaced with low-volume units on that side of the mountain. (We provide California water with our flushes.) 

2. Look at Las Vegas’ plan for paying people to remove grass where treated water was used to water yards.

3. Allocate no additional water for downstream users until all swimming pools have covers. (Evaporative loss is huge.)

Secondary use of water should not justify the wasteful primary use of water.

Grand Junction


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