Printed Letters: March 23, 2014

De Beque should reconsider casino-related social ills

While I can appreciate the desire of De Beque citizens to find a way to rescue their city from its economic difficulties, I hope they will investigate the experience of other cities that tried to solve their problems by inviting in casino gambling.

Innumerable Internet sites describe the plight of cities that have opened their doors to casinos. Among these sites is 11-19-13 – Gambling Statistics, found on YouTube. This site is especially pertinent from a Colorado perspective. David Morgan, a county sheriff in Florida,  appeals to his state not to fall into the trap of other states in opening the door to casinos.

He states that the number of police calls in Blackhawk, Colo., increased from 25 per year before casinos to 15,000 to 20,000 per year after their introduction in neighboring Central City. The number of arrests increased by 275 percent in the year after casinos arrived.

He adds that in Cripple Creek serious crimes increased by 287 percent in the first three years after casinos came to town. He quotes the result of a survey of 400 members of Gamblers Anonymous in which 57 percent admitted to stealing to maintain their gambling addiction;  the average amount stolen was $130,000.

He says that the social costs to communities — increased police and jail, physician and hospitals, courts, etc. — end up costing most cities far more than they gain. The American Psychiatric Association describes “disordered gambling” as associated with job loss, debt, bankruptcy, divorce, poor health, incarceration and the highest rate of suicide attempts (20 percent) among all addictions.

A retired pastor, I have counseled many people with addiction problems. I can tell you from personal experience that gambling addiction destroys lives and families.

It is my sincere plea that the good folks in De Beque explore this matter deeply before pursuing a casino as the solution to their problem.

Grand Junction

Change to park status is a want and not a need

For some time now I’ve followed the monument-to-a-park status argument. The pros say it’s the panacea for our problems; the cons say it’ll create more problems than it solves.

The pros say they want to fulfill John Otto’s dream. The cons argue that while Otto may have envisioned a park, it’s doubtful he’d embrace its exploitation for a buck.

The pros cite the increased attendance and record-setting revenue over the last two years from the monument. The cons reply that if it’s doing so well as a monument, why make it a park?

Truthfully, it’s not a necessity; it’s a want or desire, by probably well-intentioned folks such as Terri Chappell. But I am reminded that the road to perdition is paved with the same intentions.

We’re just barely out of a winter with heavy inversion problems and people complaining about the air quality. We’ll soon burn ditches and fields for agricultural necessities like vineyards, orchards, etc. Again, we’ll hear the complaints.

Now, Mother Nature’s inversion is beyond our control, and spring burning is vital for our livelihoods. Changing our monument to a park is not a necessity.

Yet park proponents give little thought to what impact this “Big Boon” will have. Perhaps in the final analysis it will come down to these park backers growing weary of picking up trash, removing gang graffiti from sandstone walls, filling in potholes from increased traffic and breathing even more polluted air.

Only then will they stop viewing the monument through the prism of a dollar bill and realize their end didn’t justify their means. Granted, they’ve expressed their desires, but they have failed to present a case as to the necessity to change our monument.

Grand Junction

Delta County commissioners, governor acted appropriately

Several “facts” in Charles Overstreet’s letter should be addressed. Overstreet must be a newcomer, or maybe he just doesn’t know the facts about Delta County.  

The egg farm issue is not resolved; it is in the appellate court and could go much further, depending on several factors.

Unincorporated Delta County does not have zoning; thus, Overstreet’s assertion that the Hostetlers’ operation should be “in a commercial- or industrial-zoned” area is not germane to the discussion. 

Delta County commissioners were doing their job. They are to review Planning Commission recommendations and then proceed. I also believe that our rural-breed commissioners know the difference between a farm and factory.

A right-of-way is just that, a right-of-way; if the Hostetlers have such, then they have the right to use it, as long as safety concerns are met.

The people who were “dragged” into this issue dragged themselves in, wanting their cake and being able to eat it, too. They have deliberately ignored the fact that some of their own operations produce the same result they complained that the Hostetler proposal might produce.

Finally, does Overstreet not understand the function of a state governor?  I didn’t know that Delta County was separate from the state of Colorado and that Gov. Hickenlooper had no business in the affairs of it.  

Hickenlooper is entirely correct in becoming interested in this matter.  He is simply performing his duties as governor by seeing that the laws of the state of Colorado (of which Delta County is part) are fairly upheld. He would be remiss if he did not become involved.



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