Printed letters, June 4, 2013

Amendment 65 to the Colorado Constitution passed by a majority in every county of Colorado (74 percent of the state voters and 72 percent in Mesa County). It charged Colorado’s legislators to promote, support and eventually ratify an amendment to the U.S Constitution to allow states and the federal government to restrict campaign election monies.

Voters should be contacting their legislators to find out exactly what specific actions their offices have taken to accommodate our voters’ wishes.

The number of sham and secretive organizations and individuals pouring hideous amounts of cash into our elections is a disgrace. The favorable legislation and policies these organizations and individuals expect after the elections, along with ludicrous volumes of lobbying, have made our government nothing more than a purchasable commodity.

If we are to restore the integrity our forefathers desired with our Constitution, we have to return to a democracy of, by and for people, only publicly funded election campaigns and drastically reduced lobbying by big-money interests.

Unfortunately, this requires a vociferous citizenry accosting our elected officials at every opportunity. If you want to salvage our democracy, you need to be part of that citizenry.


Grand Junction

Let drivers choose whether 
to wear seat belts, helmets

I am writing regarding Ray Whitney’s letter about helmets and seat belts.

I have questioned this for years, as well. If you are in a car, you have the car to protect you. If you are on a motorcycle or bike, obviously you have nothing to protect you.

My oldest daughter was driving a car and in a wreck years ago. She did not have her seat belt on and was thrown from the car. Thank God. The driver’s side of the car was so smashed in that she probably would not have survived.

I am not saying that it is safer not to have a seat belt on. I am saying that I think it should be everyone’s choice to wear a seat belt or to wear a helmet. While I am on the subject, I would also like to see people who are riding bikes obey the same laws we have to obey, such as stopping at stop signs, whether they have a helmet on or not.

I was stopped years ago without a seat belt and was fined $15. I do wear a seat belt and that is my choice. I believe we should have the freedom to choose..


Grand Junction


House leader dismayed 
over decision on Dunlap

I am incredibly disappointed with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s executive order to stay the execution of Nathan Dunlap.

With a looming execution date set for this August, the governor was left with few options regarding Dunlap’s fate. He could have signed the warrant allowing the execution to proceed, or he could have commuted Dunlap’s sentence to life without parole. He chose neither.

Instead, he granted a temporary reprieve, meaning Dunlap will likely remain on death row for the duration of Hickenlooper’s administration.

It’s a non-decision that leaves Dunlap’s fate and the pursuit of justice by his victims’ families up to the next administration.

The governor’s lack of leadership results in the worst possible option for the victims’ families, the integrity of our legal system and the citizens of Colorado, who have decided more than once that the death penalty is an appropriate sentencing option in our state.

Though it has been almost 20 years since this horrible crime was committed, we cannot allow our memory of the victims and the grieving families that Dunlap’s brutal crimes left behind to fade. Justice delayed is justice denied.

I understand the choice on Dunlap’s death warrant was one of the most difficult decisions Hickenlooper will make during his time in office. A decision that provides closure to the victims’ families would have been the right thing to do. To shirk his responsibility demonstrates a lack of courage, a lack of respect for the victims and a disregard for our judicial system.

If the governor had decided to commute Dunlap’s sentence to life without parole, I would have disagreed, but I could have respected his decision. At least then the families would have had some resolution to their nightmare.

We expect our leaders to make tough decisions when circumstances call for it, even if we disagree with those decisions. Hickenlooper’s refusal to make a decision regarding Dunlap is a failure in leadership that ignores citizens’ views on capital punishment, marginalizes the judicial system and — most importantly — delays justice for the victims and families of this horrible crime.


House Minority Leader

Colorado Springs


Butler was a kind, caring 
and deeply religious man

I am so sad to hear of my friend and schoolmate Harry Butler’s death.  Harry was a kind, considerate, caring, deeply religious man who, through his lifetime, would be a reflection of famed commentator and humorist Will Rogers who said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

I can guarantee that if Harry could communicate with us now he would say, “Don’t fret or cry for me. I am the lucky one; I am with God.” And he is.


Grand Junction


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