Printed Letters: November 13, 2016
Voters should decide on TABOR refund
The Sentinel has taken the editorial position that promises made to voters are meaningless. Several years ago voters gave permission to the City of Grand Junction to use funds, that otherwise would have been refunded to them under TABOR, to retire the Redlands Parkway debt earlier than scheduled to save on interest costs.
Now things have changed and city officials say that it makes more sense to spend these saved-up funds to maintain city streets than to pay the debt early. The Sentinel sees no reason to go back to the voters because the voters might not agree with the sensible thing to do.
Suppose in April, the city submits a ballot question and asks for approval to use these funds for street maintenance, and, the voters in their wisdom agree to the city’s request. Now suppose that several months later things change (as they always do) again. Now city officials determine that the morale of city employees is much more important than spreading messy tar and small pebbles on city streets, and decide to use these saved-up funds to give huge one-time bonuses to all city employees. This would be OK, right?
Democracy and economic opportunity being undermined
I learned in school we live in a democracy. They lied to me. They mentioned the Electoral College in passing, but I didn’t learn until later how often it has thwarted democracy. It happened twice in the 1800s, but until 2000 that was something from the dusty past.
As I write, Democrats won the popular vote in six out of the last seven presidential elections. Those wins have been cancelled twice. Hillary Clinton led by approximately a quarter million votes on Thursday. Estimates are she will win the popular vote by more than 1.5 million when absentee and provisional ballots are counted.
Four of 45 presidents (9 percent) were not the people’s choice. Two of the last three. Those presidents do not feel legitimate. Chosen, but not democratically elected. Actually, these presidents were “losers.”
The House of Representatives has been gerrymandered, usually, but not exclusively, by Republicans. People vote for a Democratically controlled House, but get a Republican one. Through Republican efforts, massive amounts of money from oligarchs have been funneled into elections. In return, Republicans promise to repeal taxes that affect oligarchs and cement their place as a unique American nobility. One hundred thousand dollars was spent on tiny New Hampshire’s Senate race. In a truly democratic election, Congress may have been Democratic.
Long ago, the United States led the world in democracy, but no more. Our tax and wage policies were admired for allowing the poor to ascend the economic order. Equality of economic opportunity is another form of democracy.
Many voted for change Tuesday. They may not get the economic change they wanted. Democracy and economic opportunity is being undermined. Like it or not, Hillary Clinton was the voters’ choice, but an archaic constitutional provision is subverting popular perceptions we live in a democracy. The election was rigged.
Election results spark pride in American citizen
To paraphrase Michelle Obama, for the first time in eight years I am proud to be an American!
Roundabouts reduce crashes, move traffic more efficiently
The folks in the Redlands should feel fortunate that they have so many traffic engineers as neighbors. Roundabouts reduce crashes and move traffic more efficiently.
How are the people fighting this project going to feel if they win and then there’s a fatal crash at this intersection?
How will Republicans improve and create a less costly ACA?
It’s nice to hear that Obamacare will get attention in the new administration. There are many things that could be done to deal with the problems that have arisen. Or will the technique be trashing the program?
Do Republicans agree with the objectives of the program; nobody refused coverage because of pre-existing conditions, nobody’s coverage dropped because of developing a costly illness, nobody’s expense bankrupting them and, above all, affordable coverage?
The rhetoric we’ve heard seems to navigate around whether there is agreement with those objectives. The fact is that some 20 million people have coverage now that they couldn’t get before.
I get a kick out of all the talk about medical expenses being too costly, particularly having to do with the ACA. Trump and the Republicans can do something about that fact? Do they realize that a major political concession was made in developing the ACA, which involved using existing insurance companies? Other than the Medicaid portion of the program — which is relatively small — all expenses are covered by for-profit insurance companies. They made optimistic estimates of what their costs might be before the program was launched and they turned out to be wrong.
Here’s where the interesting part comes in. In deference to conservative principles, for-profit companies were used. Those companies price their products based on covering lost revenue because of incorrect estimates and then a nice addition for profits. That’s what companies do in a capitalistic system and government is not supposed to interfere with pricing.
So, just how is something going to be done about excessive medical expenses and ACA premiums if companies are left alone to price their products without government interference? Trump and Republicans say they can replace the ACA with a program that achieves the objectives of the ACA and is better. With a magic wand? Does government interfere with pricing or doesn’t it? Sort of a conundrum isn’t it?
Roundabout will improve safety and traffic flow
A roundabout at the Highway 340 and 24 Road intersection is an awesome idea. The intersection will be much safer and traffic flow will be improved. This modification will address the increase in traffic for years to come.
Yes, it will be super annoying to those of us who must travel these roads during the construction period. I remember the nine long years of construction in Glenwood Canyon with the inevitable 30-minute wait every trip to and from the Eastern Slope during those years. Still, I wouldn’t go back to the way it was.
I am pleased that the Colorado Department of Transportation researched the situation thoroughly and has created a plan that addresses the increasing traffic with a modern roundabout that will take us all more safely “down the road” for years to come.
Parker’s recent column struck the wrong note
Columnist Kathleen Parker, consistently failing in her attempts to out-cute Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins of The New York Times, informs us back-handedly that we are not U.S. citizens. Rather, we are amorphous “indigenous peoples” by virtue of living outside the Washington Beltway. From her self-appointed perch within that swamp now targeted for draining, she clues us in even further that Trump didn’t win the election from Clinton. Clinton lost it to Trump. And Obama, even though not a candidate, also lost it to Trump.
Thank you, Ms. Parker. Now just remain calm and get to a place where you can’t harm yourself. A padded room would be fine. I’m sure ObamaCare has a filing code for Beltway-itis.
Turn arrows might be more effective than roundabout
I am a resident in the Redlands and I think the roundabout is too big of a leap for an intersection that has had about four wrecks a year for the past four years. These wrecks are caused by people taking risks when making left-hand turns because there is only one left-hand turn arrow.
I think that CDOT should try to add the turn arrows to all the directions at the intersection and see if the number of accidents goes down. There are times when I have to wait through five green lights to go from Redlands Parkway to South Broadway heading east. When I finally go through the intersection it is unsafe because there is no left-hand turn arrow.
Electronic bikes are coming and they demand a place
E-bikes are coming and they demand a place. For those who are known to ride 10,000 miles a year on “real” bikes, bike paths are mundane. E-bikes are quiet clean and fast, and get those people out who would otherwise be disinclined.
Shouldn’t there be speed limits on bike paths to minimize the chance of collisions with other bikes and pedestrians in lieu of an outright ban?