Printed Letters: March 10, 2014

Neal seeks second stint on state education board

I feel the need to correct misstatements made about me by Barbara Smith in her letter Tuesday.

I did not intend to run again. However, when numerous people approached me with their concerns about the loss of the seat and the damage it would cause, I made the decision to run again.

Smith is apparently unaware that Colorado State Board of Education members do not get to vote on legislation. Therefore, none of us voted for or against “Mom’s Bill.”

Further, people can find the meeting record for Oct. 10, 2010, on the Colorado Department of Education website of the recorded vote to become a member of Common Core. I voted “no,” along with Bob Shaeffer and Peggy Littleton, while fellow board member Randy DeHoff joined the Dems to approve — another statistic Smith is fond of misreporting.

One board member who didn’t ask Smith to run, Board Chair Paul Lundeen, traveled to Grand Junction to campaign for me, and he has formally endorsed my campaign. I have nothing to apologize for, and I look forward to another term.

Grand Junction

Wagner’s ‘religious dogma’ column shows he’s no scientist

Some lawyers, in their various capacities, have a working knowledge of hard science. Rick Wagner is not one of them.

Wagner fears science and, like all things people fear out of ignorance, he hates science. That is what brought him to dismiss global warming as “religious dogma” in his column on April 3.

He also subjected what he termed “foreign gods” to the fury of his pen. Presumably they compare unfavorably with the more comfortable and familiar local gods we’ve domesticated right here in the USA.

In 2006 the California State Assembly passed a law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, in part because coal burned outside California for California power was emitting, each year, the same amount of carbon as 11 million cars, increasing global warming.

To implement the act, in 2008 the California Air Resources Board recommended that by 2020 renewable energy provide 33 percent of California’s power, a goal one assemblyman described as “our Manhattan Project.” The proposal was endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The California State Assembly did not listen to religious bigots but to botanists, zoologists, climatologists and oceanographers — hard scientists doing hard science. As a result, California is dumping its coal-fired power contracts with out-of-state power companies, and will soon be coal-free. The state assembly has become part of the solution, and fearful followers of Wagner’s dogma will remain part of the problem.

Grand Junction

Wagner should use bully pulpit to respectfully spark discourse

Rick Wagner pretends to pose the question, “Where is society’s moral authority in the absence of religious belief?” For him, the answer is clear. There is no moral authority without religion. America’s religion is Christianity. Therefore, Christianity is the “guiding star for our republic’s ethical and moral behavior.” Without “our” religion, we can’t possibly discern right from wrong.

Between the question that isn’t a question and the answer that isn’t an answer, Wagner scornfully belittles atheists, free thinkers, scientists, zealots, twisters of Thomas Jefferson, First Amendment freaks, other cultures, “foreign gods,” the Zhou dynasty, communism and totalitarianism. (And you wonder why Grand Junction isn’t attracting artists, educated people, young families and innovative businesses?)

I have faith that a handful of broadly shared principles would serve the body politic just fine. Don’t lie, slander, gossip or deceive. Give everyone a chance to talk. Show a kindly regard for the welfare of others. The rules apply to everyone. Look first for common ground. Do not take another person’s property wrongfully. “Don’t Fence Me In” is a song — not a security measure. Avoid hypocrisy, which corrodes the public trust. Use your inside voice.

With Wagner’s appointment to the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority Board, he can demonstrate his deeply held religious and political principles in action. He can show us how a virtuous man mucks out a stable. He could also use his bully pulpit at the Sentinel not to wage a war on wrong, which is tiresome and unfruitful, but to respectfully broaden the public discourse.

Privately, I’ll work out my own salvation amidst the crooked and the perverse, and I’ll leave Wagner to do the same.

Grand Junction

Founding Fathers knew that God is our moral foundation

Thank you, Rick Wagner, for pointing out such an obvious truth that is quickly being forgotten: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The writers of the Declaration of Independence knew that God had lovingly given us the right to choose the course of our lives. They also knew that the moral foundation for all of our liberties was in God himself and the Bible.

Today we are being challenged at many points. Whether it is a question of rights and definitions in marriage, sexual identity, drugs, abortion, immigration or debt, our heavenly father has something to say about it, and his grace enables us to choose to apply that truth that keeps us spiritually free and morally healthy. To forget that causes us to stray from the path of understanding and invite destruction into our own lives and the society around us.



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It’s time for Marcia Neal to retire from the state school board. She is unfit for the job.

Neal supported a short-lived pressure group called “Balanced Education for Everyone”(BEE) which in 2010 rolled out a nationwide effort to stop the teaching of global warming in schools, calling it “unnecessary.” BEE called global warming “junk science” and said teaching it scares schoolchildren unnecessarily. BEE initiated its countrywide effort to eradicate climate change instruction from classrooms right here in Mesa County, where Rose Pugliese, then a failed candidate for school boar, presented the District 51 Board with a petition containing about 600 signatures asking that science teachers be made to stop giving lessons on global warming. At the meeting, an ecologist with a Ph.D. tried to explain to the school board that the subject of climate change “is not just some liberal theory,” and a Mesa State College (now CMU) professor drew snickers from the audience when she told the Board that global warming is as certain a scientific theory as gravity and evolution.

Balanced Education for Everyone was a project of the conservative group Independent Women’s Forum, which promotes a documentary called “Not Evil Just Wrong” as the basis for classroom lesson plans, and for what they consider “scientifically accurate” information about global warming. BEE disbanded shortly after it was formed.

It’s time to stop recycling staid, embarrassing western slope GOP candidates and allow some broader-minded new people to run who can deal with reality.

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