Printed letters, August 21, 2013

Information presented by The Daily Sentinel on Aug. 15 regarding results from District 51’s Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, which was then followed up by an editorial on the subject, justifies my comments and, hopefully, some from others, as well.

In the editorial the point is made again about per-student funding in our district compared to others in Colorado. It is quite understandable for many to conclude that the problem of lower scores is directly attributable to lack of funds. If that was the solution — it is not — where can more money be found?

Let’s assume that more funding could raise test scores. One of the greatest money sponges ostensibly to improve education in our country can be found in Washington, D.C. in the form of the U. S. Department of Education, led by Arne Duncan. At last count, that bloated bureaucracy has a current annual budget of more than $90 billion, plus a multibillion-dollar injection from the 2009 stimulus.

I have searched diligently for any program from Washington that results in improved teacher effectiveness or student learning. There is little or nothing at all. To improve test scores in our area, one needs only to look locally. There are schools and programs that are doing very well indeed. Find them and replicate them.

The Sentinel needs to report scores from parochial schools and from students being taught at home.

Oh, how good it would be if the money flowing to the U.S. Department of Education could end and be put to use in local districts.


Grand Junction

Get back to basics before 
proposing more school taxes

Recently, a news report said Gov. John Hickenlooper supports a measure on this November’s ballot for a large tax increase for education. Why?

I am looking at the school calendar for 2013-14, and there are 14 teacher workdays or planning sessions, beside all of the regular breaks. It is incomprehensible to me that before school started, the teachers had a full week of workday and in-service meetings.

Maybe someone can tell me why all of the workdays, planning days, etc. are hooked in with weekends or holidays. I have lived here for 50-plus years and have never seen the likes of this.

I also have driven by different schools on the above-mentioned days, and guess what? The parking lots appear empty. Please don’t tell me they are off-campus having meetings. Don’t the schools have conference rooms or large gymnasiums to hold meetings?

Let’s get back to a basic education of our children and less accommodation of faculty. Then we would be ahead of other districts and other nations.

Do not count on my vote for more money until things turn around in our education system.


Grand Junction


Grant rushes to judgment 
on Obamacare’s inevitability

Poor old Bill Grant is mistaken in claiming that Congressman Scott Tipton was using faulty information to claim that congressional staffers were being given special treatment under — as Grant called it — “a technical adjustment to bring certain congressional employees into coverage.”

This technical adjustment allows, according to the Office of Personnel and Management, for some staffers not to have to join the new health care exchanges at all. Those who must join will continue to keep their health care subsidies (meaning our tax money) of up to $10,000 per year to pay for the coverage.

The way I read it, the congressional staffers (some of them) will have to join the health care exchange but the government will pay for it.

It sure doesn’t seem to me like the same deal everyone else, outside of Washington, D.C., is going to get. As far as Republicans not having a way to stop Obamacare, I wouldn’t be so sure. Why is Grant so anxious to call this law inevitable?

If the Republicans in the House vote to defund Obamacare and fund everything else, then the Senate will have to take this up. Then, our two Democratic senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, will get an opportunity to vote for one of the most unpopular laws ever passed and shut down the government. Udall will be up for election next year.

Finally, if Grant wants honesty, let’s start with Benghazi, the IRS or the NSA.


Grand Junction


Commissioners’ pot ban 
reflects citizens’ wishes

On Aug. 12, the Mesa County Board of Commissioners adopted a ban on cultivation and retail shops for recreational marijuana. In that hearing, I listed many reasons for supporting the ban. It is most important to note that a majority of people of Mesa County did not vote for Amendment 64.

As a representative of the people of Mesa County, I feel comfortable supporting such a ban. I would also like to clarify my position that, while marijuana is currently classified as illegal on a federal level, this is really an issue to be dealt with on a state and local level, in conformance with the U.S. and Colorado constitutions.




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Michael Higgins’ letter – “Grant rushes to judgment on Obamacare’s inevitability” – suggests that the Daily Sentinel has been remiss in adequately informing its readers about the falsity of right-wing propaganda.

The “technical adjustment” for Congressional staffers to which Higgins and Bill Grant alluded fulfilled the intent of “ObamaCare” that members of Congress and their staffs be treated the same as everyone else under the law.  Therefore, Congressman Scott Tipton was at best “misinformed” in mischaracterizing it as “special treatment” (see:  “Sunday Shows Push Myth That Congress Is Exempt From Obamacare”, Aug. 11).

So, if Higgins “wants honesty, let’s start with Benghazi, the IRS or the NSA” – which include fake “scandals” propagated by unscrupulously irresponsible Republicans.

Demagogue-in-chief Darrell Issa (R-CA) turned the tragedy of Benghazi into a “scandal” about “talking points” vetted by the CIA, which—pursuant to National Security Council guidelines—avoided revealing our knowledge of the terrorist perpetrators by referring to news accounts of “spontaneous demonstrations”.

Issa next knowingly and falsely accused the IRS of “targeting” only conservative political groups and the Obama Administration of lying about it.  The Daily Sentinel then covered that fabricated “scandal” as if it were real – giving one local “Tea Party” group masquerading as a “social welfare organization” undeserved credibility.

Unfortunately, given Higgins’ continuing ignorance, the Sentinel has apparently not yet adequately reported that the IRS – routinely and pursuant to its own regulations—“targeted” both “conservative” and “liberal” groups seeking tax-exempt status, that no “conservative” groups were denied that status, but that at least three “progressive” groups were.

While the NSA “scandal” is still unfolding, a recently released FISA Court opinion notes that – under the Bush (not Obama) Administration – the NSA deliberately misrepresented its programs to that court.

Thus, Higgins and Tipton are indeed relying on false information to mislead the public.

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