Printed Letters: April 8, 2014

Barbara Ann Smith intends to win state Board of Education seat

I am a candidate for the Colorado State Board of Education. In May 2013, incumbent Marcia Neal advised me she was retiring and would not run for another term. She encouraged me to run and sent an email to that effect asking for constituents to support me. She said I was very courageous to run.

Since then, I have traveled throughout the 3rd Congressional District and gained wide support. Because I am fiscally conservative, I was also approached by some of the state Board of Education members to run.

When it comes to financing education, one has to ask why our test scores are so flat after billions of dollars have been spent here in Colorado. Less is more! As a fiscal conservative, I would have voted for Mom’s Bill (Senate Bill 136) which would have saved Colorado more than $200 million. Just for the record, Neal voted against Mom’s Bill with the Democrats on the Board of Education which split the board’s Republican vote. That appears to be her pattern.

People throughout the district are excited about my qualifications: EdD in Education, MS in Education and BA in Psychology. I also have Colorado licenses to work as a superintendent, principal and teacher. I did post-doctorate work at Stanford University. As you can see, I am a strong believer in education.

You may count on me to be transparent and open, and my word is my bond. I will not change my mind.

Our children and grandchildren need a combination of the basics and 21st century STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge to get into college/voc-ed schools and eventually have successful careers.

I have asked Neal for a debate but she declined. What’s up with that?

DR. BARBARA ANN SMITH
Grand Junction


Ann Tisue praised for raising 
concerns about Title I pupils

Thank you to school board member Ann Tisue for her letter to the editor March 18, “Poor and minority students also deserve American Dream.”

Tisue had the courage to ask all of us how we can attract and retain qualified and dedicated teachers, and thus have higher levels of public school student education achievement so students can attain the American Dream.

Fortunately for our students, a few of the answers to her question are right here at home. As a county resident, father of a student and husband to a District 51 teacher, I, along with Tisue, have a sincere interest in improving educational achievement for children.

The conservative magazine National Journal recently wrote, “States that spend more on students tend to rank higher (educational achievement) and states that spend less rank lower.” How do Colorado and Mesa County rank?

Colorado ranks 35th in per-pupil funding among the states, while Mesa County per-pupil funding is 25 percent less than the Colorado state average. Colorado also ranks 35th in teacher pay, while Mesa County teacher pay is lower than the Colorado state average. About 60 percent of Mesa County students achieve basic overall academic standards.

So, why is Colorado and especially Mesa County education spending so low? In that same article, the summary explanation of the shortcoming in Colorado education funding is “heavy reliance on local property taxes with inadequate (and unequal) state aid to support low wealth.”

Furthermore, in Colorado, “legal controls on state taxation (TABOR) have degraded local property taxes.” Colorado has low property taxes compared to other states, and Mesa County has low property taxes within Colorado.

Increased Colorado and Mesa County per-pupil education funding is not the overall solution to greater opportunity for students, but it evidently has a great deal to do with it.

LOU VILLAIRE
Grand Junction


Author of WaronJesus ad
 shows little compassion

I have read many disturbing and vile things much like the WaronJesus.com ad that was placed in the March 23 Sentinel. The ad’s placer, Mike Bambino, is undoubtedly an Obama hater and staunch Republican neo-con.

What makes the ad so amusing is that it is filled with numerous lies, much like the ones to which he refers. His claim that Americans without health insurance, high premiums and huge deductibles are to blame Obamacare. This is simply not true; no data supports this.

The health care industry has had double-digit increases for years and years leading to the previous three items. The average patient has been subject to a broken health care system that can charge whatever it wants. Both parties are cutting our military medical benefits. This is disgusting, to say the least, since most of them chose to go to war along with “W” on false pretenses.

Bambino refers to an endless line of Medicaid recipients, illegals and low-income people as if they were the scum of the earth. What is the doctrine of his church? Obviously, it is not one of compassion.

Bambino complains about a tax that allows all Americans, including those beneath him, to have some sort of health care coverage. Then he goes on to knock the godless Democratic Party, which is not based on America working. How the godless and the Democratic Party become one makes no sense.

Finally, Bambino goes off on promoting handouts and taking money from other people’s bank accounts to pay for it. The saying that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones is appropriate here.

Using Jesus and fellow Christians to try to sway people politically is in itself godless and vile. From Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”

KEVIN C. TERPSTRA
Grand Junction


Are Hobby Lobby, others 
prepared for costs of children?

I understand that Hobby Lobby and other companies like it may not want to allow their insurance to cover birth control for their employees. I hope, then, that they will provide maternity coverage, paid maternity leave, required space and time for the pumping of breast milk, on-site day care, and paid time off for those days when the children have those pesky childhood illnesses they all get.

KATHRYN WEAVER
Grand Junction


Mesa County GOP coronates 
wrong man for commissioner

The county GOP has surely gone mad. It isn’t enough that Democrats are slapping the GOP around in the media nationally (and getting by with it). Republicans have to shoot themselves in their feet here in Mesa County, as well.

After all the infighting that has gone on among the WSCA, tea partiers, GJResult, and the Mesa County GOP, one would think the county GOP would be looking for someone who has the necessary knowledge, skills and honest background necessary to fill that position and make Mesa County look good in the process.

Sadly, such is not the case. The Mesa County GOP has “coronated” (the paper’s word, not mine) a man once accused of plagiarism and, obviously, not the sharpest pencil in the box for county commissioner or any other elected office.

Some may have forgotten about chronic wasting disease, and this same person’s view of it. Someone born in Colorado should have known better. McInnis thought the Rocky Mountains a “natural barrier” to animals infected on the eastern plains that would keep the disease from our western deer and elk herds.

I suppose he had forgotten that these same animals live in a mountainous state, and the Rockies are just another hill to them. Not only did McInnis think it — he was unconscious enough to voice that opinion to citizens, sportsmen and hunters.

I don’t know about other folks in Mesa County, but I can tell you this: There isn’t enough money in Colorado to get me to vote for Scott McInnis for dog catcher — let alone county commissioner. I can only pray that Bill Pitts and Gregg Palmer are able to petition themselves onto the ballot. For our county commissioners, we do not need people who are dishonest or lacking in common knowledge.

DAVID F. ZULIAN
Grand Junction


Retired pastor thanks staffers 
at VA Hospital for their ministry

An 84-year-old retired pastor, I was recently in the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center where I had surgery.

I am writing to say “thank you” to those who helped me during my stay in that facility. The surgeons, doctors, nurses and others who helped me in so many different ways were all so kind and helpful, and my purpose in writing is to let them know I very much appreciate their kindness and cheerfulness when I needed their help, and all they did to help me through a difficult time.

I’m sure the other hospitals in our community are just as helpful and kind, but I have especially appreciated those at the VA Hospital for the way they have ministered to me during my illness.

JAMES C. SPARKS
Retired Pastor
Grand Junction


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