Printed Letters: March 31, 2017

Tax dollars should be spent on citizens’ needs

Doug Lucks makes good points in favor of an events center, but the dissension is not about the economics of an events center, but about how the citizen’s money is spent. Government should not be in business, but in governing. The citizen’s money should be spent on improving schools, roads, parks, police, fire, etc.

He says “success in not guaranteed” — then sell non-recourse municipal bonds and let those who support an events center fund it and maybe make a profit. “Maybe making a profit” is for businesses, not for government.

I love living in Grand Junction. I enjoy the outdoors, the lack of crowds, going downtown, mixing with the locals — the small town feel. Yes, raise the sales tax, but spend the money directly on the citizen’s needs and leave business to the private sector and those who want to invest in it.

WES SUTTERLIN
Grand Junction

Gorsuch’s view on medical aid in dying is inflexible

The Sentinel editorial expressing hope for Judge Gorsuch’s flexibility didn’t address his inflexible view on medical aid in dying. Colorado voters approved this compassionate concept by a large margin last fall. They should be aware of Neil Gorsuch’s opposition to their end-of-life wishes, clearly stated in his 2006 book and recently reiterated now that he is a Supreme Court nominee.

As a physician who has cared for terminally ill people, I have absolute respect for a clear-headed dying person’s wishes. I don’t believe someone should have to starve herself, or refuse fluids, in order to be released from an existence that has become intolerable. Gorsuch thinks differently and, if confirmed, could be in a position to predetermine this most personal situation for all of us.

I want the option to make that decision for myself with the support of my family and a compassionate physician.

SUSAN CUSHMAN
Grand Junction

Monument establishes a point of unification for local tribes

Robin Brown’s column Sunday addressing the controversy around Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument inaccurately claims that there is no local tribal support for the monument, and that the local Navajo chapter was in opposition. In fact, seven of the eight tribes in Utah have endorsed the monument, and most of the Navajo chapter councils in Utah have as well (there are more than one in Utah). None have voted to oppose the monument. While outside environmental groups have helped drum up support for the designation, furthering the lively local movement, it began, and is being hailed as, a victory for local tribes.

Another argument Brown makes is that it will block oil and gas development. However, as evidenced by a graveyard of plugged and abandoned well sites, drilling potential is naturally quite limited by local geology. Existing leases are to be honored to their completion.

By suggesting that the support for the Bears Ears was all from outsiders, out of state tribes and environmental philanthropists, the column deprives local Native Americans of agency in achieving their own voice and their own desires.

Bears Ears National Monument helps protect historical sites, but moreover helps to begin a long overdue process of healing. Tribes have endured over a century of largely unchecked looting, vandalism and grave robbing on their ancestral lands. Tribes play a meaningful role in managing the monument with a newly established commission.

The discussion surrounding this designation does not have to devolve to the inane level of politics as the innumerable hot button issue of today. This monument establishes a point of unification for local tribes, the outdoor recreation economy and at the least impact to regional resource extraction. With a seat at their own table, the Navajo and Ute tribal councils can finally direct their cultural futures.

DAVID LAGRECA
Grand Junction

President was right to cancel BLM’s new planning rules

The president did us all a favor canceling the BLM new planning rules. The concept of the proposed plan was to move the decision making away from the local people to bureaucrats in Washington DC. How can that be better?

The plan called for input and comments from the local people but took away any influence or authority from the local communities on the outcome of a plan. Their idea was, you can tell us all you want but you are too stupid to make the final decision. It must be made in Washington by desk jockeys.

If our leaders in Washington want to do something that will resolve all the Western states’ public land issues, including Utah’s, pass a bill that establishes statewide commissions that will make the decisions on public land use for their local communities that the BLM, Forest Service, and Fish and Wildlife will enforce. This would shift the decision making directly to the local people of the affected state.

Until that happens, I fear lawsuits and legal challenges from states and local communities will continue. Return the power to the people of the states.

JAMES O’MALLEY
Grand Junction


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