Printed Letters: August 18, 2017

Support art teachers for our students

I was so pleased to read your article about the economic impact art has on our local financial well-being. That being said, isn’t it time for our citizens to support certified visual art teachers for our elementary students?

Most people I talk to are unaware that our students have no visual art access until middle school. We have an excellent volunteer Art Heritage program headed by Connie Brady and presented by parent volunteers, but many of our most underprivileged children have no such access because their parents are working so hard to just to put food on the table and a roof over their children’s heads and haven’t the time to volunteer.

If I were the CEO of a manufacturer that requires employees with fine motor skills, I would not locate here for the lack of potential employees. When I had the privilege of teaching art to a local school (because the PTO funded a teacher) I was appalled at the number of students who had no scissoring skills, had trouble controlling a long handled paint brush, could not understand how to translate a 3-dimensional object to a 2-dimensional surface or knew all of the primary, secondary and tertiary colors, much less how on earth to mix pigments to create all these colors.

Let us hope the new superintendent realizes visual art teaches history, math and science in a fun way and does something about this lack in our children’s education. Of course he can’t do much if our citizens don’t pony up the funds to support our schools. I hope people think about the loss of economic expansion because our elementary students are missing out on the training of a certified art teacher, which limits our pool of future skilled employees.

DEBORAH ROBINSON
Grand Junction

Trump, stop the rhetoric and state what America stands for

Our president, every word he speaks is analyzed and criticized. He speaks his mind like a New York street guy. Nothing he has said offends me, even though I might have liked it said differently. I agree with what I believe to be his core beliefs. I believe that his comments on the riots in Virginia were proper. Both sides deserve scrutiny because the entire event could have been planned by one entity to bring down his presidency.

On the other side, we have the mainstream media, including Fox News, with a deluge of words spoken by individuals with no proven record of accuracy and no accountability for what they say. In my day, I would say they fill empty air.

President Trump, stop the rhetoric. Just state, clearly, what America stands for and what Americans will support in the time of crisis. Any wrong to the freedom of anyone on this planet is against what we believe is right, and we will defend ourselves and those wronged with whatever is in our power.

RONALD BRAUKHOFF
Grand Junction

Extremism is morphing into fascism here in the U.S.

My father and father-in-law both served in World War II to make us safe from fascism. Now extremism is morphing into fascism more than ever here in the U.S. Pillars of fascism include scapegoating and demeaning groups of people to make them seem sub-human. That’s what small men do to feel big: blaming their inadequacies on others. Today’s acts by the KKK and white nationalist groups mock the ultimate sacrifice of over 400,000 American service men and women who gave their lives to beat fascism and win WWII for democracy.

BILL CONROD
Grand Junction

Germany has remembrances to learn from, not glorify, past

In Germany 2017 there are no monuments to historical figures associated with the real Nazi regime, the Aryan supremacists. No statues of Hitler, Goring, or Goebbels. No statues of Generals Rommel, Rundstedt, or Kesselring. Germans have remembrances in which they learn from the past and do not glorify it.

ERNIE STECH
Grand Junction

Regulation requiring methane capture is misplaced

The Aug. 6 guest column (“Coal mines, methane and our common future”) drew our attention for several reasons. First, we thank Mr. Danielson for acknowledging coal’s importance to the economies of several Western Slope communities and in supplying affordable electricity. Colorado coal continues to directly employ more than 1,100 miners, providing high-paying wages and benefits that enable those individuals to purchase homes, cars and other necessities, affording a comfortable standard of living. The mines also support thousands of additional jobs in associated retail and service businesses, and pay millions in taxes and royalties that go to public schools, and to state and local governments.

Colorado Mining Association believes that a regulation requiring methane capture from coal mines is misplaced. West Elk Mine and the other North Fork mines have encountered methane during mining; however, it is not pervasive throughout the other mines in the state. Further, Federal laws require that methane levels must be monitored and maintained at minimal concentrations for worker safety. This is accomplished primarily with large ventilation fans, and if needed, is aided by supplemental venting through boreholes that are typically open for several weeks to a few months. This short-term removal of gas though boreholes is insufficient to justify the infrastructure required to process and place the gas into the commercial market, nor will it benefit the taxpayer in the form of royalties.

The recent supplemental draft EIS considered the use of helicopters to avoid roads, as suggested by Mr. Danielson, and concluded that approach to be infeasible, stating, “it is impossible to drill MDWs using heli-portable rig systems.” The roads contemplated will be temporary and will be fully reclaimed when mining is completed, a process that was anticipated and authorized under the Colorado Roadless Rule. The “subsidized energy” criticism is a red herring. Government policies to encourage affordable commodities such as food and fuels have always included research money and tax incentives, and in some cases (such as renewable energy), even legally mandated purchases. It just depends on which commodity one currently seeks to encourage or discourage.

STAN DEMPSEY
Denver

Commissioners should rethink decision on Gray Gourmet

Kudos to Jim Spehar for his excellent column on the dust-up between Mesa County and the Gray Gourmet program; he does an excellent job outlining the merits of the program, and the inequities of the decision by the county commissioners to charge market-rate rents for the Gray Gourmet building, so I’d like to add a more personal perspective.

I’ve been a volunteer driver for Gray Gourmet for nearly two years. During that time, I’ve learned a great deal about the Gray Gourmet program and many seniors in our community who depend on daily meal delivery as their lifeline. Every Friday, I deliver meals to some two dozen seniors, more than a few of whom are well into their 90s. They are amazing people who have lived full lives, and I am blessed to be able to serve them in a small way. I have also been extremely impressed with the staff at Gray Gourmet; by their commitment to their service, and the responsible manner in which they carefully spend the program’s resources with a singular focus on their mission: promoting health and good nutrition for house-bound seniors.

The county’s “contribution” to Gray Gourmet, consisting of building maintenance and repairs, is a small fraction of the county’s overall annual budget, but the impact on our community is large. The program is an essential service to Mesa County residents, and I strongly encourage the commissioners to rethink their decision, and work with Gray Gourmet and St Mary’s to find a more beneficial approach.

I would invite any of the commissioners to ride along with me or any of the volunteer drivers and see for themselves how much good this program does, for a small investment on the county’s part. I leave the Gray Gourmet building every Friday at 10 a.m.; come join me and I guarantee that you’ll see why looking at this rent matter as a “business decision” is entirely the wrong approach.

BEN HERMAN
Grand Junction

Would recent letter writer 
support statue of Hitler?

So, Judith Chapin, you would support at life-sized bronze statue of Adolf Hitler in the Fruita roundabout to “remind” us of what not to do? Really?

KITTY NICHOLASON
Grand Junction

Councilors should make 
statement condemning hate

I attended the Black Lives Matter Grand Junction community meeting Wednesday night. I want to commend their moderator for doing such a great job of leading by example. Everyone had the opportunity to have their say as long as they were respectful. It was heartening to have a nice crowd show up to discuss current events.

One topic that came up was asking our city councilors to make a public and explicit statement that they condemn hate and white supremacy and to affirm it has no place in Grand Junction.

I call on our city councilors to do so. Now is the time to stand up and say: not here, not now.

MARY THOM
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Kudos to Kitty Nicholason (“Would recent letter writer support statue of Hitler?”) for exposing the fatal flaw of Judith Chapin’s fatuous illogic (“Reminders of past atrocities keep us from repeating history”) – which offers one more spurious justification for the Confederate statuary in the South.

First, the very purpose and intended effect of the statuary was to “erase our [true] history” from the consciousness of unrepentant Southerners – the treasonous ancestors of whom were defeated in a bloody war to save the Union – and replace their seditious “States rights” and murderous pro-Slavery motives with a patina of “honor” and “tradition”.

Second, even if we need statuary as “reminders of past atrocities”, it does not follow that the perpetrators of those atrocities should be honored in the public square.  Rather, their statues should be relegated to cemeteries, battlefields, and memorial sites – and replaced (if at all) with statues depicting lynchings and honoring slain civil rights workers.

Third, Chapin herself needs a history lesson.  Contrary to her implied revisionism, the statuary at issue was not erected immediately “after the Civil War” – but rather years later, after the end of Reconstruction when White Supremacists regained political control of the South.  Indeed, the proliferation of Confederate statuary was deliberately intended to signal to locals that White Power had been restored – leading to decades of lynchings, church burnings, Jim Crow laws, forced segregation, and now voter suppression efforts.

Fourth, while “the very thought of slavery” may today be “repugnant” to Chapin, it was not so “repugnant” to the unapologetic slave-owners honored by Confederate statuary – including Robert E. Lee (who was formally charged with treason but saved from public trial and possible hanging by the intercession of General U. S. Grant) and Nathan Bedford Forrest (whose troops massacred hundreds of Black Union soldiers and white Union sympathizers at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and who later founded the KKK).

Fifth, even so – as Kitty’s rejoinder demonstrates—Chapin’s illogic collapses on itself.  Thus, just as we don’t need statues of Hitler in Fruita’s public places “as reminders of [his] atrocities”, neither do we need statues of Confederate war criminals to remind us of the depredations they inflicted on the Nation.  Rather, unflinchingly teaching our kids the unvarnished – even if tarnished—history of race relations in America should suffice.

Meanwhile, “an injustice is being done by not giving [many] Southern citizens enough credit” for supporting the removal of Confederate statuary – based on their own informed understanding of history and its main lesson:  the failure to oppose evil is to condone it.

In addition to Kitty Nicholason’s apt response to Judith Chapin, Sentinel readers should also review Dave Kearsley’s Thursday on-line offering (“It is extremists of any stripe who think that rewriting history is a good thing”) – which offers more shallow and toxic pablum disguised as sagely informed “food for thought”.  However:

First, the current shift of public opinion toward removal of Confederate statuary from public buildings and spaces is not a contemporary attempt to rewrite history, but rather to eradicate the last remnants of unrepentant White Supremacists’ efforts to do so – by obscuring their history of treason and murder behind a patina of “honor” and “tradition”.

Second, while Dave concedes that “Slavery is evil, plain and simple, and is a curse on our country”, he fails to appreciate that the statuary at issue originated as part of a deliberate campaign to perpetuate the racist bigotry that fostered such evil and still inflicts its curse.

Third, while Dave fatuously opines that “we have come a long way since” passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he blithely ignores why it took almost 100 years to reaffirm the 13th,14th, and 15th Amendments and what happened during their hiatus.  Instead, he gives racist-in-chief Trump’s vacuous promises undue credence—while “blaming the victims”.

Fourth, during the decades following the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and again at the 50th anniversary of the Civil War (coinciding with the resurgence of the KKK following release of the movie “Birth of a Nation” in 1915), Confederate statuary proliferated in the South and the Confederate flag reemerged as a signal to locals that White political power had been restored, such that Negroes could once again be denied their civil rights, lynched, and/or treated as second-class citizens.

Therefore, removal of those racist symbols “helps Blacks” by signaling to all that our Constitution’s promise of “equal protection of the laws” is to be diligently fulfilled, not given mere rhetorical “lip service”.

Finally, both Robert E. Lee himself (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/here’s-what-robert-e-lee-thought-about-confederate-monuments/ar-AAqdaUZ) and the great-great grandsons of Stonewall Jackson (https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/8/17/1690705/-Great-great-grandsons-of-Stonewall-Jackson-weigh-in?detail=emaildkre) appreciate(d) the divisive intent and effect of such symbols – even if Kearsley doesn’t.

Ms. Thom is asking public officials to condemn hate. That is all well and good.  However, this very newspaper has failed to clearly do so.  There is nothing “good” about racism, but that is not the only source of “hate” in this country.  Anything, from whatever quarter, which enables one individual to consider him/herself superior to any other human being, is a source of “hate”, and that includes economics (I have more money), religion (I believe in the “right god”), etc.  In fact, many of those are all too frequently used in tandem, and all too frequently totally unconsciously. And, if the lady were more perceptive (as many should be) she would have noted that this is all too prevalent in this country which, while it preaches “human equality” does not appear able to practice it.

Mr. Conrod does not make the distinction between fighting “fascism” and fighting the armies of fascist regimes, something which is all too common.  So, while the efforts of those who did fight those armies are to be appreciated, one does not “kill” those ideologies, only those that support them.  One does not “kill” ideas with physical weapons, but with other ideas and concepts.  So, “fascism” is still alive and well in this world and, as proven by these demonstrations by white supremacists and neo-Nazi in Virginia, even in this country.

Mr. Braukhoff sees nothing wrong with the President’s statements. But what is often wrong with statements is not what is said but what is not said or clearly stated. And here, President Trump failed by not outrightly condemning the white supremacists and the neo-Nazi.  It is also interesting that, in response, the DOJ did not ask for information on them but only on those in opposition to them.

No, Mr. Braukhoff, your statement is but an attempt to excuse, or rationalize, the President’s failure to condemn both “white supremacy” and Nazi ideology. There is absolutely not excuse for his failure to do so.

Ms Nicholason
  Your comparison of Hitler to the leaders of the south during the Civil Was era just shows your ignorance of history.

Mr. Blosser apparently doesn’t realize that Judith Chapin—not Kitty Nicholason—introduced Hitler into the discussion of Confederate statuary.
See her letter:

“We need those reminders; we need the reminders of all atrocities, the same as we need the reminder of Hitler. We need those reminders not to celebrate the memory, but to let next generations be aware that this really did happen so that we don’t repeat those horrific actions our countrymen did to one another.”

Thus, Blosser is barking up the wrong tree.

Mr. Hugenberg
  Judith Chapin did not suggest we need any statues for Hitler. She just said we can not erase history and we can not forget the horrible things that Hitler did during his life time.  The leaders of the South can and should not be compared to Hitler like Ms Nicholason did.  So again, you just want to infer things that were not in her letter while she is actually agreeing with your thoughts.

Yes, by every means study history, just not an expurgated version of it, or point to a single person as being responsible for atrocities arising from racism.  It is noteworthy Mr. Blosser that it is only during the last month, at a meeting of the Southern Baptists, that the organization finally admitted that their denomination came about largely as a result of those who were looking in the Bible to rationalize or justify their beliefs in racial superiority.  While Hitler may have used other means, some of them religious, he and his followers, now and then, believe and are working toward that same end, domination and control (as well as elimination) of those whom they consider “lesser” humans.

Mr. LAITRES
  So what does that have anything to do with this topic.  I am tired of you so goodby.

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