Printed letters, April 22, 2012
As a concerned citizen and resident of Mesa County for over 35 years, I am tired of Denver folks dictating what they believe is good for us.
When I first heard about the effort to expand gambling to our great city, I assumed that this must be an effort headed by those in Denver. I assumed wrong. You would think, as a resident of Montrose, Rep. Don Coram would know better. You would think he would take the input of those whom he represents and those who helped elect him.
In 2003. 78.5 percent of Mesa County voters and 81 percent of Colorado voters rejected a similar proposal.
The proponents of this House Bill 1280 are ignoring what the citizens want and instead are more concerned about lining their pockets. Even Bruce Seymore, who drafted this bill, said that this is about helping Arapahoe Park and it is to “help him make money.”
Charles Ashby’s story was not even close to biased. He presented both sides of the proposed gambling issue.
It would bring jobs to Mesa County, but at what cost? Supporting this sends the signal to elected officials and the proponents that it’s OK to ignore what the citizens want. I ask the supporters of this bill to take into consideration what the citizens want, and not to just listen to those who agree with you.
Reporter ignored locals’ support for gambling bill
A group of citizens from Mesa County traveled to Denver on April 18 to testify before the House Finance Committee regarding House Bill 1280. The group of six consisted of small business owners, including myself, a representative of the chamber of commerce, an educator and a local activist.
HB 1280 would give the people of western Colorado the opportunity to decide whether or not we want a “video lottery/entertainment” venue to be constructed here. This business would potentially offer direct and indirect employment to hundreds of people.
But because it is connected to the world of horse racing, there are related matters that would need to be hashed out. The supporters from Grand Junction were essentially urging the committee to pass the bill and let it go to the next step, ultimately to be decided by the voters of western Colorado.
The Finance Committee was presented with a letter in support of HB 1280 that was signed by over 35 business owners from Mesa County. All attendees from Grand Junction took the opportunity to comment on their own reasons for supporting HB 1280. The testimonies were varied and passionate.
Daily Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby was present at the beginning of the hearing. There were 20 people who testified in the hearing. The chairman announced that the five testimonies against HB 1280 would be heard first, and the 15 in favor would follow. When those opposed to the measure were finished and before those in favor spoke, Charles Ashby disappeared from the hearing. One must assume he did not hear both sides of the issue on HB 1280.
It is disheartening, knowing there were citizens of his own city present, that Ashby chose to ditch the proceedings before he could hear them. This is further evidence the perspective from the Sentinel’s Capitol Hill reporter may not be as objective as one would expect.
I would hope that, as a small business owner myself who has laid off nearly half of our workforce over the course of this recession, the Sentinel would be willing to hear as well as report, both sides of this issue.
Editor’s note: Ashby listened to the remainder of the testimony from an office in the Capitol, while doing other work.
Candidate’s conservation work left out of letter about forum
Libby Collins, coordinator Mesa County Conservation Forum, had a letter to the editor published recently, talking about the group’s recent forum for Mesa County commissioner candidates. There were six candidates who attended, but only three were mentioned in the letter.
I spent several hours prior to the forum putting together the conservation work I have done on our farm. I thought this would be very interesting to a conservation group.
Our conservation practices on the farm saved 370 tons of salt from going into the Colorado River every year since the late 1970s, according to a U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service projection.
I handed out the maps of our property to the few board members who were there. This farm is much improved from when we purchased the property in 1972 and I’m proud of our conservation stewardship on the farm.
I thought I would get some mention of that from a conservation group, as I have done more real conservation projects than the rest of the candidates put together. But obviously, good agriculture stewardship isn’t important to this group. I’m very disappointed in Libby’s letter.
I have served on the Mesa County Soil Conservation District board for about nine years. I have voted to approve many conservation projects for Mesa County land owners. The Soil Conservation District’s mission is “too aid and assist land owners, not regulate them.” There is much more to conservation than trails and conservations easements.
I support people putting their property in conservation easements, if that’s what they want for to do. I have talked to the Mesa Land Trust several times, about putting some property in a conservation easement, but have never had any response.
Candidate for District 1
Mesa County Commission