Printed letters, January 10, 2013

The Grand Junction City Council is deciding whether to return excess TABOR funds. On Dec. 17, a meeting was held in which council members discussed this topic among themselves.

The city has invested substantial funds in technology that allows meetings to be recorded and made available through the Internet. But the council members chose not to record their discussion or to keep minutes. This process is not unique to this issue.

Given the opportunity to publicly explain this reprehensible behavior, council members have declined.

Council members correctly argue that what they do is legal. A loophole in state law makes the current process legal as long as no official vote is taken.

I have attended many of these backroom meetings on other topics, and the discussions generally result in a clear decision without taking an official vote. When the issue is raised at an official meeting, there is no substantive debate and the public is shut out of its right to observe how the decision was reached.

The meetings to which I object are officially open to the public. But most are scheduled at times that are inconvenient to citizens and are held in rooms that have limited space for spectators. The Daily Sentinel usually has a reporter in attendance, and brief stories sometimes ensue. But four paragraphs, reporting on a two-hour discussion, are unlikely to provide enough information for citizens to understand the thoughts of each council member.

In addition to the meetings discussed above, “pre-meetings” are held in a backroom before each “official” City Council meeting. These meetings are the epitome of arrogance and can best be described as “dress rehearsals.” I have attended many of these. The clear intent is to allow discussions that are not included in the public record.

We are entering the campaign season for the April election. I hope each candidate will clearly discuss the degree to which citizens should be allowed to observe elected officials in action.

DENNIS SIMPSON

Grand Junction

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time to scrutinize 
Tipton’s representation

Rep. Scott Tipton isn’t being very representative these days. He doesn’t seem to understand that people are tired of a government that doesn’t function. By voting against the bill to avert the fiscal cliff, he indicated that he was willing to let the economy spiral into a recession again and send more workers to the unemployment lines.

It’s fine for him to say we need to get spending under control — the American public agrees with that. It’s not fine to hold the government hostage to his point of view. The Republican House should pass a bill showing how its members would cut the federal budget. That would be a productive way to start the dialogue. They should not threaten to shut down the government when the debt limit comes up, since it is Congress that actually created that debt.

As the voting public, we need to pay closer attention to the way Tipton represents us. We want a government that works, not just his displays of brinksmanship to please an extreme minority.

PETER WESTCOTT

Carbondale

 

Nation needs politicians 
willing to work together

I’ve been around for 77 years, and I’ve seen a lot and heard a lot.

First of all, everyone in the United States needs to pay the same percent of taxes. It would make everyone happier, and it would improve our economy. The more money you make, the more taxes you pay. No loopholes.

Also, we do not need Democrats and Republicans fighting against each other. We need good American men and women in all government offices. They are splitting our country wide open.

We had a war in the United States back in the early days that split this country. We don’t want that to happen again. Why can’t the people of the United States see this? We need people who can work together in harmony and get this country back on its feet. We need a strong president to get this started.

BOB L. ARNETT

Parachute

 

Web of human trafficking 
occurs even in the U.S.

Thank you for covering stories in the past year regarding an unfortunate situation called human trafficking. Although we often think this happens only in foreign countries, it is also found in the United States.

Thanks to Colorado lawmakers and law enforcement agents who are working to eliminate human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery.

Under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000), human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to induce, compel or subject an individual to provide labor, services or commercial sex against his or her will. Any minor involved in commercial sex acts is a victim, not a prostitute.

Friday is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Perhaps each person reading this can let this be his or her first step toward being informed.

Expose the secret web of trafficking.

FAYE HUELSMANN

Grand Junction



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