Printed letters, March 26, 2010

Real immigration reform
will help area agriculture

My partner and I own and operate Grand Valley Hybrids and Grand Valley Farms in Grand Junction. Our families have farmed here since 1958. We sell hybrid seed corn, alfalfa seed and related products to farmers, feeders, and dairymen in 12 Western states.

We first began to speak out for comprehensive immigration reform when we saw unfair treatment and ill-advised policy being applied to American immigrant workers, including hundreds of thousands of farm workers. But what began as a moral issue quickly became one of economics. Passage of sane and humane immigration reform is fundamental to the continued success of small business, the engine for job creation and economic growth.

The failure of the present immigration policy is largely due to the fact that it ignores the labor needs of the U.S. economy. Nearly 80 percent of American farm labor is foreign-born. It is estimated that well over half of those workers are unauthorized. Other industries also hire large amounts of immigrant labor for custodial work (36 percent), construction (27 percent) and food preparation (24 percent). Those numbers will grow.

The American Farm Bureau estimates that without comprehensive immigration reform, one-third or more of our fruit and vegetable market will move out of the United States. It is impossible to believe that we have made energy independence a national priority and won’t do the same thing for our food.

Willing workers in all categories of the work force are fundamental to robust and sustained economic growth. Newcomers have filled half of all new jobs created in the last 20 years. American agriculture, business and the consumers they serve need comprehensive immigration reform. We need a realistic and dependable supply of legal labor from the dairy barn to the physics lab. American business wants to finish comprehensive immigration reform and move on to more productive work building America and feeding its people.
MARK HARRIS
Grand Valley Hybrids
Grand Junction

Some Congress members
recognize threat to Israel
While Clinton, Biden and Obama condemned Israel on its plans to build housing for its citizens, there was no condemnation from them of the Palestinian government dedicating a public square to the memory of a brutal murderer who, in 1979, led the worst terrorist attack in Israel’s history, slaughtering 37 innocent civilians, including children. Nor did they condemn the decision to follow up with a public study day in her memory.

On March 17, ten members of Congress told the president, “While your administration clamors over the announcement of a proposed residential development years away from completion, Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapons capability and Hamas and Hezbollah rearm and reenergize. Remarks made by your Cabinet and advisors embolden Israel’s enemies — who are wholly committed to destroying the Jewish State — and undermine the critical relationship we have with our strongest ally for democracy and peace in the Middle East.”

We should be reporting on these outspoken, intelligent congressmen.
CYNTHIA LEBOWITZ
Grand Junction

Emergency crews showed
great professionalism
I would like to thank all the law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics who responded to the injury accident at 30 and D1/2 roads in the evening of March 15. Their professionalism is unmatched. 

My daughter and her boyfriend were both injured as a result of a mindless driver under the influence of alcohol. She also suffered a total loss of her vehicle and property damage.

I would also like to thank the neighbors who chased down the drunken driver who fled the scene, as well as the comfort they provided my daughter until my wife and I arrived.

Special thanks go to Officer Tyler Simonson of the GJPD for the tenacity he displayed doing his job at the accident scene as well as his unwavering compassion he provided to both victims and their families during our stay at St. Mary’s emergency facility.
MARK SONDGEROTH
Grand Junction

Oil shale is needed
for the U.S. economy

After almost 100 years of semi-continuous efforts to develop the massive oil shale resources, nearly everyone in western Colorado and nearby states knows it’s time to get on with it. There are at least three technologies currently under development that likely could be used to exploit the oil shale resource.
If the government, federal and state, would quit blocking the way to full-scale development, the United States in the not-too-distant future probably would become a member of OPEC.

It would be well to listen to what various foreign countries are saying that are also dependent on the OPEC cartel. These countries wonder what’s the matter with the United States that it doesn’t get shale oil production up and running.

It appears, perhaps, that local folks have been lax in offering encouragement and distraction to the powers that be. This failing seems almost like shooting oneself in the foot when the economic benefits of a full-blown oil shale industry to our area are considered.
JOHN F. AUSTIN
Hotchkiss

Salazar is math challenged
regarding health care bill

In The Daily Sentinel’s March 19 article, “Congressman says he’ll cast ‘aye’ vote on bill,” U.S. Rep. John Salazar said he would vote for the health bill before Congress because he feels this measure is “probably the single largest deficit-reduction measure I will probably ever vote on.”

Salazar must have missed the course in basic math where they taught the difference between plus versus minus signs. How can a conservatively estimated $1.4 trillion program create a deficit reduction, especially when every program in the history of the U.S. government has always exceeded its budget because projected cuts in programs or tax increases never materialize? 

I have to confess. It is partly my fault that we face irrational exuberance in Congress because I voted for this mathematically challenged individual and some others like him.

This bill is so complex, and so compromised, that it is beyond the understanding of those who voted on it, and even by those whose careers are intertwined in it. How can this bureaucratic morass create efficient dispensing of health services at reduced costs, let alone reduce the deficit?
ROBERT A. TALLARICO
Grand Junction

Salazar deserves credit
for backing health reform

Thanks to Rep. John Salazar for his vote in favor of health care reform. Now our country will finally be able to begin the process of making health insurance available to the millions of hard-working Americans who have been left out of the health care system.

The bill that was passed by the House of Representatives was not perfect, but it finally allows us to move forward in the attempt to insure more citizens and to eventually control the cost of health care.
DAVID S. HERR, MD
Grand Junction



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