Printed Letters: August 2, 2017

City could repurpose school for rec center

We have many different groups requesting fees and funds within slim budgets and now they’re asking for increased taxes to achieve their individual goals. It isn’t important to this discussion of how we gradually got into this mess; I’ve written about it along that path.

What is important is the one over the others that has been identified for many years: Orchard Mesa Middle School and the need to replace it. With limited chance to achieve all the goals at once we should look at merging goals to achieve any success with unified support.

There are those who want a recreation center. I have an idea that I have offered around the community with very positive results: repurpose the old school for a recreation center. With minimal remodeling and utilizing what is there, the main components of a rec center could be realized at great savings and quickly. A gym, a pool, lockers, rooms for activities, skate park, walking paths, a pedestrian bridge over the river, Riverfront Trail connectivity, a library, internet access, a cafeteria, offices for the Parks & Recreation Department and cheap seats for the fireworks on July 4th. Infrastructure of access and parking and it’s on the GVT bus route! There could be a cafeteria for rec guests and Riverfront Trail walkers. Maybe a takeout point for river users. It’s an excellent first step to the conceptual design at Los Colonias Park.

It’s a better way for two groups vying for limited resources to be successful together with mutual support.

PAUL MULDOWNEY
Grand Junction

Parks & Rec staff maintain countless amenities

I wanted to take a moment to recognize and thank the City of Grand Junction Parks & Recreation Department. If you’ve sent your kid to camp, hit up the pickleball courts or attended a concert at the new amphitheater at Las Colonias Park, you’ve enjoyed one of the countless amenities they maintain for our community.

United Way of Mesa County recently held a benefit concert at the amphitheater with tremendous support from local businesses, volunteers and attendees. As a nonprofit event planner, I know it takes the work of many to put on a successful fundraiser. Having Grand Junction Parks & Recreation’s help was key. Everyone I have worked with approaches their job with dedication, professionalism, humor, resourcefulness and humility. Over the years, they have given so much to help United Way’s mission in the Grand Valley.

Most people don’t have the opportunity to work directly with the Parks & Recreation folks. So the next time you see them before hopping off the diving board at Lincoln Park Moyer Pool, enjoying the shade of one of the city’s tree canopies, riding along the Riverfront Trail or playing a round of golf at Tiara Rado, give them a nod. My guess is they’ll smile back.

HONORA THOMPSON
United Way of Mesa County
Grand Junction

‘Unsavory’ invocation 
is the price of freedom

It seems every 10 years or so, the face of intolerance rears its ugly head. I recall many years ago a gift of the Ten Commandments was given to the city, and shortly thereafter a group protesting such a disturbing display of religious support demanded its removal. Refusing to be bullied, the then-council instead added the Magna Carta, The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Preamble to the Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, to the display and made a wonderful cornerstone to law and liberty. Inclusion was the legal remedy.

In my term of office as a member of council, our right to an invocation was challenged by the Atheists and Free Thinkers. They attempted to bully the council into discontinuing our historical practice. Again council stood firm, and by expanding our selection process to include everyone, we prevailed.

We recognized that there would occasionally be an unsavory selection among the many fine folks wishing to offer the invocation, but that is the price of freedom. Inclusion. Everyone has the same opportunity to be selected to offer the invocation. In setting this new policy, it was not meant to have selectees trade or give away their turn. Either they accept and offer an invocation, or we had a moment of silence in its place.

I would encourage the current council to take heed of past council actions and stand firm for what you perceive as right, and the will of the people you serve. It often is difficult, and pressure is brought from all sides, but past council have stood firmly on this issue, and despite atheists and free thinkers, and even The Daily Sentinel all advocating a moment of silence,

I urge you to follow your hearts. If a prayer before the meeting is gaveled to a start helps center you, calm you, and focus you, as it did for me, then refuse to be bullied by intolerant people trying to force their will upon us all. Never give in, never give up.

GREGG PALMER
Former mayor

Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr Palmer,

A moment of silence would do exactly what you describe, while offending no one.

Mr. Palmer speaks of “unsavory” invocations.  The sad thing is that he does not recognize the fact that the invocation one chooses may be quite “unsavory” to others.  However, he does not see that (many can’t) as he is unable to do so.  Not a “free thinker” (those he criticizes)he has to be what can be referred to as a “captive” thinker (which most really are).  Perhaps he has not the courage to be a “free thinker”.  Far too many don’t as, almost from birth, they have been taught to restrict their thinking to what others have told them is allowable, and nothing beyond that.

Unfortunately, this conditioning of “limited thinking” in one area all too frequently leads to limited thinking in other areas as well.  Such as Mr. Palmer is simply one such person. 

Some of us wonder why, when there are so many churches and other places of worship around, such people have to place their monuments on public lands or “pray” publicly in public places?  The answer is really quite simple. They are laying claim to those facilities;  i.e. “Being as we are superior to others, we claim ownership of those as well.”  It follows the thinking of many in physical things as well:  “If it’s not tied down or locked up, it’s mine”.

There is no need to center oneself with either a moment of silence or an invocation, the individual should be able to do that on his/her own, and it should be done long before any meeting.  Those who waste their time talking or doing somethin/anything else, right up to the start of the meeting, and are in need of some “extra time” to do so, are just not in control of themselves to begin with.

Mr. Palmer,

Did it ever occur to you that religion and government are separated for a reason. This is no longer a Christian country. We have so many religions and spiritual people that your prayer to your god is out of place in a government meeting. If praying centers you, great, do it in private before the meeting. It unfortunately doesn’t surprise me that this train of thought is from a former mayor in this city. Your views are correct, but backwards. You praying is bullying other people who want no part in this. And to those I say “never give in, never give up”. A silent moment will do just fine.

Ms. Bullen.  This country was never a “Christian” country, nor was it ever meant to be.  That was clear from its very inception, and the claim that it is, is really of fairly recent origin.

This country was what is referred to as a “Child of the Enlightenment”, a period in history which many know little about, never mind understand.  They should go back and study history.  Some (nay many) today don’t only want to go back pre-Enlightenment but pre-Renaissance where church and state were one and the same.

like Gregg Palmer but he is all wet talking about our “historical practice"of Christian invocations at city council meetings. They were wrong when they were first started and they are still wrong. We are not a Christian country. Our citizens are specifically not burdened by a national religion, which continues right down to the smallest governmental unit in the country. You may follow any religious practice you desire, or not,  but not when an official government sponsored event is involved. How does Mr. Palmer know that the selection of a satinist for an invocation is unsavory? The Sentinel and all thinking people are correct. A moment of silence before council meetings may be in order but even that is questionable. Why not everybody in attendance come prepared to do the public’s business? Why not think about what the meeting is all about at home. What is the purpose of an invocation or a moment of silence? Some outside imaginary power will not make those in attendance do a better job of dealing with the public’s business. Come prepared. This is 2017, not 1817.

I would be nice if former mayor Gregg Palmer would come and politely listen to the Satanic invocation first,  to see if it is indeed “unsavory” before jumping to conclusions. By the way, Mr. Palmer owns Brown’s Shoe Fit on Main Street in Grand Junction, for people who would prefer to patronize a different establishment.

Honestly, Gregg…” In setting this new policy, it was not meant to have selectees trade or give away their turn”?

Substitutions happen all the time for the invocation, and you don’t say boo. Did you write any angry letters to the editor about the 2/15/17 city council invocation in which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints substituted Elder Layne Ward for Bishop Mike Bench?

Didn’t think so.

Try another argument.

Ms. Landman.  Some of us would not cease frequenting an establishment simply because the owner/operator had certain religious beliefs.  However, when we see a “cross” or other religious display in that establishment, we are more than likely just to bypass that establishment and go somewhere else.

As you have undoubtedly yourself noted, that while such individuals may claim that they are worshiping some “god”, their “rewards” for being “virtuous” and even “moral” are always materialistic in nature, either physical things like money and property, or power and influence over others.

Robert, I respect your point of view, but in 2008 the City Attorney informed Gregg Palmer and the rest of Council that the City’s majority-Christian invocations had long violated the U.S. Constitution. Despite this, Mr. Palmer sought way to continue to host primarily invocation speakers from his own religion and to keep allowing them to use the invocation opportunity to proselytize. I don’t feel good about patronizing a former public official who worked to keep violating Constitution. It seems to me elected public officials should strive to uphold the law, not willfully violate it. Mr. Palmer doesn’t deserve my dollars.

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