Printed Letters: April 27, 2017
Responsible reporting by Sentinel is overdue
Last week, a physician from Denver visited the Grand Valley to interview for a job. After her thorough two-day visit, she expressed a single major concern. She and her husband wondered whether this town was a safe place to raise their family.
They stated that reading the local paper made them believe the crime rate was extraordinarily high. When I went back and reviewed the Friday and Saturday papers they referred to, I noticed the headlines were “48 years in GJ girls murder” and “Family dogs found mutilated” Furthermore, nearly half of the lead stories were crime-related.
Everyone needs to do his or her part in promoting Grand Junction as a wonderful place to live. Several editorials have been written by Jay Seaton, encouraging City Council and the Mesa County commissioners to make the Grand Valley more business friendly and more attractive to professionals. In fact, Mr. Seaton was a keynote speaker last year at the Mesa County Physician Association, where he emphasized that physicians have a responsibility to control medical costs, to make Grand Junction friendlier to small businesses.
I would like to task Mr. Seaton to do his part in promoting this community. There is no reason to glorify crime by continually granting headline status. It is true that the media is obligated to report all news. But I believe the news can be reported more responsibly. Place criminal activity stories in a less prominent section of the paper. Use the front page for major national/international or note worthy local news. Emphasize the good things happening in our community. I wonder how many visitors to the valley leave with the impression that we are a crime-ridden community after reading our paper. It is time for the Sentinel to step up and report in a more community friendly and responsible manner.
Gardner’s evasion an affront to democratic process
Recently, for the third time since February, I participated in Sen. Cory Gardner’s tele-town hall meeting. I’d like to point out that the senator avoided answering multiple questions, even when he was asked directly for a yes/no answer.
Some examples included: Will the senator vote no on any health-care replacement bill that allows insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions? Will the senator vote to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the BLM methane rule that protects the air of Colorado? Will the senator call for an investigation into possible ethics violations by President Trump and his family members and White House staff? (He said that wouldn’t be appropriate until we had “all the facts,” but I thought we obtained “all the facts” through an investigatory process.) Will the senator join calls for President Trump to curtail some of the expenses associated with his weekends in Mar-a-Lago? Will the senator ever schedule an in-person town hall meeting?
Sen. Gardner’s continued evasion of direct answers is an affront to the democratic process and to the constituents that he serves. I call on Sen. Gardner to immediately schedule a town hall appearance so that we, the people he serves, can press him on how he stands on the issues we so obviously care about.
Debate over oil and gas development must stay civil
Across the country, we know that the debate of fracking and oil and gas development is taking place daily. At times the debate can even be heated and controversial.
We know that we are not going to all agree. Let’s face it; sometimes “agreeing to disagree” is as close to compromise and common ground that we get to, but we should also be able to agree that this debate needs to be civil and respect the humanity and safety of all.
Recently, a newspaper in Boulder ran a letter to the editor that not only called the oil and gas industry a threat to humanity, but it also advocated for virtues of violence against the industry and its employees. After an outcry from the public, the editorial page editor from that publication wrote a response that amounted to “…I’m sorry…. not sorry.” This is unacceptable and thankfully we feel this would have never occurred with The Daily Sentinel or any of the other publications that we have read in Western Colorado.
Here on the West Slope we not only appreciate our friends, neighbors and family members that work in the industry, but we realize that if we want to heat and cool our homes, power our cars, fertilize our fields to feed our communities and support our economies we need and thank our oil and gas workers.
In addition, we can agree to debate and disagree, but statements like the one published in the Boulder newspaper and the response by its editor are unacceptable. They are shameful, reckless, dangerous, irresponsible and indefensible. They may behave that way on the “other side” of the divide, but I hope we can all agree it is not how we conduct ourselves here. It is not the “West Slope Way.”
The spirit of individualism and having an opinion is part of the fabric of Colorado, but deplorable behavior should not be tolerated by anyone and I hope the media, elected officials and citizens of this state can see to it that this kind of behavior is not the norm or is marginalized.
Piceance Energy Action Council