Printed letters, February 18, 2014
Those of us who live in Grand Junction don’t need an air quality monitor to identify air pollution. Every winter we smell it and taste it.
Smog burns our eyes, noses and throats. We suffer from upper respiratory and sinus infections more often, and they last longer than normal.
I cough for months and feel dizzy. Every year, my physician insists I take antibiotics, because my sinus infection won’t clear out. I think antibiotics add to the problem, but physicians don’t have any other tools.
Air is our most basic, most fundamental need. Clean air must not be subject to the whims of agencies, officials, politicians or uninformed bureaucrats. Employees and students, struggling to stay healthy in order to work, should not have to compete with woodstoves, malfunctioning automobiles and volatile organic compounds.
Since 2006, the nation’s premier air pollution scientists who advise the EPA have been writing letters to the agency, condemning it for allowing politics to overwhelm science in setting those standards. For years, virtually every major medical organization has been calling on the EPA to make national air quality standards stricter.
Hundreds of new medical studies demonstrate smog’s adverse health effects, even if air quality is well within the EPA’s current guidelines.
Does the Western Slope, and all of Colorado, deserve improved air quality safeguards? Or will we settle for second-class status?
Before its meetings in Denver Feb. 19, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission needs to know how you feel about Grand Junction’s inversion and smog. Please ask for safe, statewide air standards on the Western Slope by visiting http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument too small, too close to urban area for park status
We are again bombarded with pleas from the local economic development crowd to change Colorado National Monument to park status. It seems economic development is the only argument for the change. Calling a frog a puppy, just because more people like puppies, does not make it so.
A quick search of the 58 national parks shows only three smaller than the monument’s 20,000 acres. They are Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Hot Springs national parks.
The two former are limited by their island locations; the latter was probably declared for economic reasons. On a trip a few years ago, my family made a 100-mile detour to visit Hot Springs National Park. Never in our visits to dozens of Park Service areas have we been so disappointed.
The urbanized area of the Grand Valley is visible from all of the viewpoints along Rim Rock Drive. Only for a few miles in the interior canyons can one escape views of the road or the urbanized valley. The monument is a great resource and well worth visiting, but it does not deserve park status.
A name change would also be required since “Colorado National Park” would imply a broader inclusion of Colorado’s ecosystem types.
How about changing the name to “Colorado Canyons National Monument”? This would be more descriptive to potential visitors, clearing up confusion for those looking for a statue or concrete monument, while not overstating the experience.
DENNIS GORSETT Grand Junction
Government workers provide services and support economy
A simple idea that seems reasonable to some is that government jobs do not add to the economy because they do not make anything. Unfortunately, simplicity often neglects reality.
Most businesses are not manufacturers. They buy manufactured items from anywhere and sell them for more money plus sometimes adding services or labor. These businesses are exchanging money for money, not making something. Grand Junction’s worth is measured by more than manufacturing.
Those who have jobs producing service in business also spend money, but they also are not manufacturing anything. Their wages help the community by circulating money.
Government employees provide various services. Police keep an orderly society. Teachers prepare the next generation. Firefighters protect us from fire. The Colorado Department of Transportation keeps the roads working. Local government workers pick up our trash, keep our streets clean, keep courts running and perform a host of other things.
That may not be manufacturing, but all of those jobs add value to the community. Their wages also circulate in the business community. In addition, government wages, pensions, etc. do not collapse so quickly in economic crashes. That mediates the effects on the whole economy.
Good government is us adding to the collective benefit of our country in a way we individually cannot. It makes nicer places to live and contributes to upward mobility. Good government is corrupted through indifference and antipathy when we believe that it gives nothing to our lives. Good government makes our country better for all.
Misunderstanding government’s role and benefits allows government to drift into Third World status regarding service to its populace.