Printed Letters: March 30, 2017

Chazen corrects record questioned in letter

City voters need to hear the rest of the story regarding Mr. Traylor’s letter to the editor and my voting record. I erred in stating that I voted for the Las Colonias master plan. As soon as I became aware of the mistake I publicly corrected the record and apologized for any confusion it caused.

I did, in fact, vote against the plan. I had concerns about launching an expensive parks project at a time of soft tax revenues and competing capital needs. I feel my concerns are still valid today.

Leading up to the Las Colonias contract votes, research revealed that Conservation Trust Funds could be used for repair and maintenance of public parks. These funds could have been used to offset park costs, freeing general fund dollars for other uses. I also questioned why the city pursued a DOLA grant for a new park project instead of a grant to repair our municipal water system. Again, I opted to focus on public safety and essential services.

Although The Avalon is a nice-to-have venue, it is a multimillion-dollar project that failed to meet its financial goals. The city spent millions of dollars on The Avalon when streets were woefully underfunded. Voters are now asked to consider 2B, a measure to help catch up on street maintenance with funds earmarked for Parkway debt retirement. I voted YES on 2B and urge others to do so, but it is a bitter choice for taxpayers who expected adequate road maintenance.

I voted to put measure 2A on the ballot. After 20 years of discussion it was time to get the arena issue before voters. I encourage voters to read the Hunden report and listen to both sides of the issue. Either voters believe the project will be a viable economic driver for the community, or not. The project was too risky for my taste and I voted no.

These votes demonstrate I have been very consistent when it comes to essential services. Resources are scarce and hard choices must be made between wants and needs. Instead of batting 0-for-3 as Mr. Traylor asserts, I believe I batted 3-for-3 for taxpayers and look forward to the second inning.

Grand Junction

Event center will be a huge step in the right direction

In my honest opinion, the Grand Junction event center is a must. I grew up in Grand Junction and feel privileged to be able to move back here after graduating from University of Denver, but the hardest part was knowing I was moving from a busy city to the quiet nightlife of Grand Junction.

I avidly enjoy many types of music and love to travel to see shows all over Colorado and across the nation. I try to go to as many shows as Grand Junction has to offer, but there aren’t too many big names since there aren’t any big venues to attract them.

If we approve this event center, we will be able to have concerts with a capacity of up to 7,000 people. That is a larger capacity than a lot of popular places in Denver, such as Ogden Theater, Fillmore Auditorium and Grizzly Rose, where I have seen many great shows from well-known bands. If we can get these big names into Grand Junction, I have no doubt we can attract enough people from a 100-mile radius to come to Grand Junction for these shows instead of them having to travel all the way to Denver or Salt Lake City for the same show.

Not only will they have to spend money in our city to see the show, but also they will likely need to eat in town and possibly stay the night. This is all brand-new revenue that I think Grand Junction needs and deserves.

As the fourth generation of Enstrom Candies, my brother, Doug Simons Jr. and I love our hometown more than anything and try to do as much as we can to help give back to the place that gave us everything. It’s sad that it seems like Grand Junction has been at a standstill since we left for college. We want nothing more than prosperity and growth for this town, and we believe that this event center will be a huge step in the right direction. We will be voting YES on 2A!

Grand Junction

Was column taken straight from Bears Ears opponents?

I read Robin Brown’s weekly columns and generally find she writes well-balanced columns with maybe a slight lean one way or another.

Last Sunday her “Bears Ears flap” seemed to have been taken right out of the mouths of Bears Ears opponents. In reference to the Public Lands Initiative (PLI), it had run its course and had alienated many of the stakeholders as it leaned further and further toward the “give us federal lands,” says Utah.

Monuments are created by presidential action. There are no limits on numbers or size a president can declare. In the case of Bears Ears, the size is a reflection of looking at it from a landscape or ecosystem view rather than a prescribed number of acres.

As for public input, when Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell conducted a public meeting/testimony in Bluff, Utah, in the heart of Bears Ears country, there were hundreds of attendees speaking to both pro and con interests.

A unique aspect of this monument is the Native American involvement. Five different tribes put aside other differences to work together to advocate for federal protection for these lands important to all of them. Ms. Brown pointed out that some “local” Anglos and some local Navajos were opposed. What we need to consider is the bigger five tribes from the vast region and Americans from anywhere in the country were represented in the process.

We do it so often in the West, claiming this land is ours because we live here. When the title says U.S. or federal, that belongs to all Americans.


Wortmann committed to 
making city a better place

I am writing in support of Duke Wortmann for City Council, District D. I have known Duke both personally and professionally for many years. I know him to be a man of integrity and dedication. He will make an excellent member of the City Council. Duke Wortmann is a “doer” and is committed to making Grand Junction a better place to live and work. His vision for the future of Grand Junction is sound and worthy.

He has demonstrated his commitment to the betterment of this community on many occasions, serving, for example, on the Hilltop Community Resources Board (past chair), the 21st Judicial District Review Commission (past chair), and the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation. Duke is committed to improving the educational opportunities in the Grand Valley having served for years on various School District 51 long-range planning committees. Duke is a graduate and longtime supporter of CMU. The Chamber of Commerce recognized Duke’s commitment to the business community in 2006 when it selected and honored him as the Chambers’ “Citizen of the Year.”

Duke wants to help the city and its residents move forward. He is a fiscally conservative person and has years of experience dealing with business budgets and making positive and impactful financial decisions. As a City Council member, Duke will not squander the taxpayers’ money. Duke will, however, always be looking for opportunities to spend and invest that money wisely while looking to bring good-paying jobs and a significantly expanded tax base to Grand Junction. The city needs this kind of vision. We all will benefit from it. I urge you to vote for Duke Wortmann for City Council, District D on April 4.

Grand Junction

We should work to provide health care security for all

We are in the midst of a most interesting national conversation. Who should have access to health care? Many Americans believe that paying for health care is an individual burden, not to be shared by the nation as a whole.

I write this letter because that view leaves out an essential human quality — that of compassion. Not everyone has the talents or abilities to earn a wage high enough to purchase their own health care insurance. Our for-profit insurance system simply prices them out of the market. And yet, they are still our fellow Americans, and fellow human beings. As such, they are worthy of respect and compassion. How can we sleep at night, knowing that people are being penalized in such a vital way, simply because they lack the personal qualities that would allow them to earn more? And most especially, why should their children be punished for being born of such parents?

When we as a nation deny health care because of individual financial circumstances, we are denying our own better natures. We now have an opportunity to come together to provide health-care security for all of us — young and old, weak and strong, fortunate and unfortunate. Having a healthy citizenry, including children who can grow to their full potential, benefits us all. Let us act in our own best interest; let us act with compassion.

Grand Junction

The Western Slope always loses on tax measures

Hold onto your pants! Now, not only does our local tax look to be increasing, but also now the state is going to add on some more tax, just because! They say it’s for our roads.

So here again, we the people in Grand Junction (Mesa County), because we all pay sales tax, are going to be hit with a one-two-punch. First, if 2A passes, Grand Junction needs that increase to go toward infrastructure, not things that a few people want and which few will benefit from.

Second, if you think the Western Slope will benefit from the proposed sales tax increase for CDOT you have a big surprise coming. The Western Slope always loses on these tax measures. Get your pocket books out; here it comes.

Grand Junction


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Bring Our Community Together With Duke.

I met Duke Wortmann on a Mesa State road trip in 1977. I was impressed with his genuine enthusiasm and positive outlook on life. We became close friends throughout our lives. Duke is a loyal, trustworthy, inspirational man of integrity. Duke has the rare quality of bringing out the best in people around him and raising the bar of excellence for the task at hand. He does this by listening to all the stakeholders in a given situation and facilitating a solution with creativity, patience and respect for all participants.
  Duke has proven his commitment to our community with a life of service. He passionately believes in the greatness of our community. He has the skills, experience and desire to work with cultural and ideological diversity.
  Our community needs a leader that can bring us together at this challenging time for our city. A Grand Junction city councilman must also be able to bring together and work with Mesa County, the State of Colorado, Federal Agencies, many non-profit entities and District 51 schools.
C.E. Duke Wortmann is uniquely qualified with wisdom, experience, passion and belief in our community.  Please allow Duke the opportunity to serve our community with a positive vision for our future.
Sincerely, Michael J. Pewters.

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