Printed letters, June 11, 2013

The most visible issue confronting residents and visitors to the Grand Valley alike is the constant begging, panhandling and harassment by one group of people or another. Panhandlers have become emboldened due to the permissive stance and lack of action taken by both the city and county.

It is imperative that something be done. Homelessness has always been with us, but we have a very serious problem created by a persistent and growing segment of our population.

The fact that an individual can literally set up a place of business on taxpayer- and business-funded property is embarrassing. It is even more so for the hundreds of small-business people who have invested money and sweat equity to start and grow their businesses.

What message are the city and the county delivering to those of us who play by the rules, pay our own way and invest in the community?

Now we have an initiative to extend and improve the riverfront trail system. In addition to our beautiful scenery, people likely will be treated to encampments and litter.

I travel around the country every couple of weeks, and I estimate that Grand Junction rivals or exceeds any major metro area on the numbers of beggars and panhandlers per 1,000 residents.

Recently, I was on an outing in Moab with participants from Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. More than once when I mentioned where I was from, they would comment on the area’s beauty and then follow up with something along the lines of “But there sure are a lot of people on the corners with signs. Why doesn’t the city do something about it?”

So, I in turn am asking the city and the county: Why don’t you do something about it?

STEPHEN FULLERTON

Grand Junction

Do something monumental 
regarding a national park

Well, here we are, citizens of Mesa County at the crossroads faced with another decision. Do we make Colorado National Monument a national park or not? More than 100 years ago John Otto made his decision. One of his famous quotes says it all: “I came here and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”

I believe it should be a national park, and plenty of others feel the same way. According to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a third of the public thinks it should be a national park, a third thinks it should be left as is and a third doesn’t know.

If you don’t know, but do care, please get involved. Start reading and researching. Ask questions, study the facts and talk with others about the pros and cons. It would be a real shame if this legislation failed because a third of the people just didn’t care.

Are we proud of our riverfront corridor and the network of mountain bike trails around the Grand Valley? You bet we are! Was the effort to create these things worth it? Without a doubt!

Who is against the cultural and economic benefits that we receive from these two particular projects? Opponents to the national park effort cite traffic problems. So, are we opposed to JUCO and Country Jam? Should we never build another subdivision because more people will move in and traffic will increase?

If the monument is made a national park, it will join an elite family of other world-class parks in the vicinity. We will be at the crossroads of Black Canyon and Mesa Verde to the south and Arches and Canyonlands to the west. It will be a source of pride and goodwill in the community, and it will contribute to a strong and diverse economy.

It is up to us. We can do something monumental, or we can do nothing.

MICHAEL O’BOYLE

Grand Junction

 

Government employees don’t 
need motivational conferences

American citizens should feel free to bill the IRS for the $49 million in taxpayers’ money it wasted on needless agency conferences. This IRS waste of taxpayer money came to the surface in last week’s congressional hearings.

Now, the IRS joins the government waste club with the General Services Administration. According to Wednesday’s Associated Press article, the White House budget office had set a cap on agency conference spending at $500,000.

I don’t understand the need for government agencies to hold motivational or award conference at taxpayer expense. There should not be any conferences on this. Employees’ motivation should be from having government jobs.

The IRS should be shut down for a lengthy period for an agency-wide audit. I think there is more waste there than they are telling us. Do you ever notice that American citizens never get compensated for any of the billions of wasted taxpayer dollars due to the federal government’s negligence?

I will hold a conference free of charge for IRS agency leaders and employees on how to collect trillions of dollars from American corporations and overseas accounts of the wealthy 1 percent.

It won’t cost one taxpayer dollar. Personnel in the IRS need a conference on how to do their jobs.

RANDY FRICKE

New Castle


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