Printed Letters: June 30, 2017
Do not reopen grouse management plan
The Sunday guest commentary by Chris Saeger concerning management plans for greater sage-grouse was very appropriate and timely. The announcement by Secretary of the Interior Zinke to reopen those plans for review is ill-advised,
There are many who will likely applaud that decision, including our own Mesa County commissioners who have voiced their intention to sue the Bureau of Land Management concerning public land use restrictions.
The 2015 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act was a reprieve for communities, sportsmen, outdoor recreationists, the livestock industry and the oil and gas industry. If the sage-grouse would have been listed, many activities that we take for granted here in western Colorado could have been severely curtailed, negatively impacting local economies, jobs and communities. The major reason for not listing the bird was the locally developed sage-grouse conservation plans, which were excellent examples of collaborative, volunteer efforts by private land owners, livestock operators, industry, sportsmen, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, BLM and others. These plans were a compromise by all involved to provide additional protection for sage-grouse and its habitat without the severe restrictions on the use of grouse habitat that would have been imposed had the bird been listed.
To reopen those plans with the intent of allowing additional development on important habitats for sage-grouse, as is advocated by some, is absurd and foolish. To do so, again invites the specter of a listing under the ESA if sage-grouse populations further decline with a relaxation of land use restrictions. Listing the greater sage-grouse would result in land use regulations that are much more restrictive than any that occur now under the greater sage-grouse conservation plans. As a result, everyone loses, and the conservation plans along with the cooperation, time and effort to produce them is wasted, not to mention the fact that they may have worked in protecting an iconic bird.
Railroad’s actions threaten Glenwood museum
As a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley (Glenwood Springs to Aspen) for the past half century, as an active participant in governance activities on the local, state, and national levels, and as a community member with a deep interest in historical preservation and community character, I find it both surprising and upsetting that the Union Pacific Railroad Company would even consider an action that threatens to destroy and eliminate the existence of the Glenwood Springs Union Pacific Railroad Museum that exists in the historic rail station in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Even a brief review of the history of this area reflects the national significance of the railroads in the development of our nation. The Union Pacific Railroad Company is significant both in the stories of its past, and in the role it plays in the lives of those who live in and visit our area today.
The museum not only educates about and reflects that history, it educates all to the significance of the development and use of railroads in the nation’s westward movement. School children, railroad buffs, visitors, the casual tourist, those who wish to know about the significance of the place in which they choose to live, and others — all visit the museum and learn from the docents and volunteers who manage the museum for us all. Many of us use the train for travel adventures. We look forward to the train’s daily arrival and departure. Its location near the museum is significant.
The nearby Colorado Hotel, the Denver Hotel, and the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool, Redstone’s Cleveholm Manor, and numerous other local, historically designated structures have significant connections to the rail station. The station, local home for the California Zephyr, is an appropriate site for the attached museum. The museum site, although convenient for its current use, is not suitable for many other uses, for numerous and varied reasons.
I hope Union Pacific officials will reconsider the company’s request for increased monetary gain, a move that will put Glenwood Springs Union Pacific Railroad Museum out of business. Instead, allow those of us who support historic preservation and research to move forward, with both social and monetary support from Union Pacific Railroad Company. Thank you for our reconsideration in this matter.
DOROTHEA AND DOUG FARRIS
Connection exists between constitution and middle class
“The Crisis of our Middle-Class Constitution” by Ganesh Sitaraman is a rich history of our unique constitution describing the connection between the middle class and our constitution.
The book exposes the biggest threat to our liberty as the transfer of wealth and property out of the hands of the middle class into the top 1 percent. Our republic is not designed under a class warfare constitution that attempted a balance between the very rich and the poor, such as in Great Britain or in ancient Rome. We do not have a House of Plebeians that will check the power of the Patricians Class, or a House of Commons with the House of Lords. Class warfare constitutions understood inequality would exist in society, but as inequality is a threat to stable government, checks to the balance of power were put in place.
We no longer have a representative government thanks in part to Citizen’s United. Now our voice is dependent on our monetary donations and as “mediocre” individuals we cannot match the substantially larger monetary influence of the industry complex. If redistribution of wealth is a dirty word to you, then looking at the latest graph of wealth in America should induce a long hot shower, because there has been a huge redistribution of wealth out of the middle class, not to the poor, but to the very richest Americans.
You may have worked hard and feel confident that you are safely protected by your investments and your middle-class status, but all of us are a prior medical condition, a medical procedure, a flood, an economic downturn or another deregulated bank scandal away from loss of home and savings. We should know that our constitution was designed to function under a healthy middle class, and the middle class is crumbling. Now every policy decision should be judged about this transfer of wealth and the question should be about who benefits, and how does it protect our uniquely constructed constitution and our middle class.
BCRA will render a verdict of reduced health care
Matthew 25:43: “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” The sad manifestation of this verse is, those most in support of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” are those who profess most to lead their lives by the book from which the above verse originates.
Our esteemed Sen. Gardner, along with those who support this bill, are rendering a verdict of reduced health care by cutting Medicaid to those he and many of his supporters claim closest heritage to — the rural people of Colorado and the nation. How did we get in this mess?
Franklin D. Roosevelt may have said it best: “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” When 2018 rolls around let us remember that.
We must work together to address the issues we face
Apparently letter writer Joan Kelsey was living in some other country than this one when she states there was “no vitriol” during Obama’s terms in office. She must have had the sun in her eyes so she could not read any of the hateful or out-and-out racist bumper stickers that were and are on vehicles around town. And the threats of lynching of President Obama and verbal assaults against Michelle and their children were way beyond ridiculous. So let’s be honest that there has been a fair amount of vitriol from both sides.
Also she neglects to list as President Obama’s achievements: a rescued economy (from one that was in tatters when he took office), an improvement of our foreign relations, a banking system that, for now, has regulations to prevent a repeat of the economic meltdown of 2007, a health care system (however imperfect) and many others. So let’s all stop name-calling and find a way to move forward with the issues we face. Until we return to working together (and yes, you may not get all you want, but neither will those on the other side of the aisle) we can never address the issues we face.
But most of all, I can only hope that Trump does not get a second term. I’m not sure the country can stand it.
No on health insurance lifetime limits or caps
One of the ways insurance companies protected themselves and attempted to keep their premiums competitive before the Affordable Care Act was to place a lifetime spending limit (a.k.a. lifetime cap) on every insured person.
The Senate is now considering reinstating lifetime caps to benefit insurance companies, which I think is a very bad idea. What happens if I get sick and hit a lifetime cap, as determined by my insurance company? Do I then lose my hard-earned life savings, file bankruptcy, and die? I hope our Senate has more consideration than that for the American people. America’s health care should not make its citizens vulnerable to bankruptcy.