Printed letters, June 3, 2012

As a frequent hiker in Colorado National Monument and adjacent federally protected conservation areas, I have some thoughts on proposed national park status for the monument.

The monument is rather weak on the third criterion for park status. It does not provide “superlative opportunities for recreation and public use.”

There are only three or four real trails. A park visitor would soon run out of hiking options. There is only one campground that would seldom have an open site for a local visitor. There are no options for biking or hiking with a dog, except along a paved road that will become much more congested — and unfriendly to bikes and dogs.

If we locals seriously desire a national park in our backyard, we need to think bigger. There are many more trails in the McInnis Canyons. There is more wilderness area in the Dominguez Canyons with trails and campsites. Bangs Canyon provides access to miles of trails and mountain biking.

I say go back to the drawing board. From Mee Canyon near the Utah line around to Dominguez Canyon, there are “superlative opportunities” with numerous trails, a variety of camping options and recreational opportunities for all.

If we’re going to the trouble, let’s do it right. The larger area provides the “high degree of integrity” as required by national park criteria. The northern end of the Uncompahgre Plateau would form a true Redrock Canyons National Park and truly be a “relatively unspoiled example of the resource.”


Grand Junction

Romney shouldn’t pander to dirty coal industry

The article, “Romney mines Craig crowd,” and the story on Jim Spehar’s response, “Rhetoric couldn’t be further from reality,” are very disturbing.

My feelings to date are that Mitt Romney is the best candidate for president because he has the credentials to steer the country through the financial morass we find ourselves in. What a disappointment to see him pandering to the coal industry locally so that he can establish himself nationally as supporting the coal industry as it currently exists.

Coal is the dirtiest source of energy in the country and the world. It is also the main contributor to greenhouse gases and other toxic byproducts, such as mercury, that not only lead to global warming but also to very negative effects on our health and environment.

Instead of pandering to the coal industry, he should be proposing a plan through legislation designed to clean up the use of coal in generating electricity as well as promoting the use of renewables and nuclear to solve the problems of global warming, environmental health and energy independence.

The necessity of a plan by him or his opponent is essential and critical for our survival as individuals and a species.


Grand Jucntion


Obama is not to blame for our economic problems

Some pundits seem to blame current national unemployment and budget deficit figures on the Obama administration. I would contend that they are the result and continuation of globalized labor, failed trickle-down economics, tax dodging and “free market” taxpayer-insured financial gambling.

American workers have been replaced with semi-slave foreign labor for two decades. Fortune 500 companies are reporting their highest profits in 82 years of record-keeping. However, via breaks their lobbyists secured, banking or domiciling in the Cayman Islands or laundering their profits through foreign subsidiaries, they contribute only 19 percent of federal tax revenue now, compared to 36 percent 30 years ago.

Many multi-national corporations, bailed-out financial institutions and derivative traders pay no income taxes or at actual rates averaging 15 percent or less — despite astronomical income increases in recent years.

Public corporation CEOs now average almost $10 million in compensation; union and middle class workers have seen frozen or reduced wages and purchasing power for years. Maximizing profits and incomes is an accepted premise of individualism and capitalism.

But when a working-class private citizen can’t afford a lobbyist, scheming broker or accountant, a private dinner with a legislator and now maybe even a higher education, simple injustice is promulgated.

Obama has tried to counter economic malfeasance by suggesting regulatory oversights, promoting fairer taxes and loophole eliminations, pushing futuristic green industries and providing survival help to the most downtrodden. Big money powers have beaten him down at every chance.

Americans are not witnessing “Obama failure.” We are experiencing massive self-absorption and greed. Quite stunningly, facilitating more of these behaviors is Mitt Romney’s prescription for a solution. I see them as the cause of financial tragedy for millions of Americans.


Grand Junction


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