Printed letters, October 30, 2013
There seems to be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on lately regarding the school board elections. I looked it up to make sure I understand what it is: “One who criticizes or passes judgment from a position of hindsight.”
Let’s see. Do critics know teachers use their own funds to purchase teaching aids they feel are necessary? Would they like to attend endless meetings after a long day of teaching? Would they offer a safe place for children in not-so-safe home lives?
How about the teacher who had a chunk of ice thrown at her head on the playground? She confronted the child, and he swore at her. In the principal’s office, the parents wanted to know what she did to make their child talk that way. Fortunately the principal showed the parents to the door and told them they could come back when they could treat his teacher with respect.
I worked in School District 51 as an aide. I felt very privileged to work with such professional people. I started an art program at a local elementary school with funds from the Pastel Society of Colorado. It gave kids an opportunity to create. Hopefully, all the schools will be able to provide art education in many forms. I have voted to increase my taxes because I think the teachers, children and schools are worth it.
New county clerks’ website provides key election info
The county clerks of Colorado have launched a new website to disseminate elections information. The website, MyColoradoVote.com, is a one-stop resource for Coloradans.
It is very important to the clerks that accurate, nonpartisan and timely information is provided. Now that the state of Colorado has a uniform voting process as a result of recent legislation, any voter in our state can refer to one source for information.
The legislation that allowed this to be possible requires mail ballots to be sent out for every election; no more applications are needed — unless you have a special circumstance. Everyone who’s registered gets a ballot in the mail, but voters still have the option on how to cast that ballot. You can mail it, drop it off at a drop box or vote in person.
Colorado uses the Internet in all elections conducted by the county clerks so that all counties can access the statewide voter database and get information in real time. That means we can monitor a ballot’s status as it progresses through the system after it is returned and provide better tools to prevent multiple or ineligible votes. You can even use MyColoradoVote.com to find out if your ballot has been safely received by the Elections Division.
Regular updates to the statewide voter database using postal, driver’s license, Department of Health and Department of Corrections data also mean more accurate information, saving counties money by not mailing to people who have moved, passed away or are no longer eligible for various reasons.
Whatever changes lie ahead, whichever voting method our citizens and representative government choose, Colorado county clerks will continue to work with integrity and respect. The clerks’ association mission statement is: “Create an organizational structure that supports best practices, use of technology and appropriate legislation through teamwork, communication and mutual respect.” I am proud to be a part of it.
Visit MyColoradoVote.com now.
Mesa County Clerk & Recorder
Fracking in state actually has solid record of health, safety
Activists would have you believe that the oil and natural gas industry has been fighting to cover up numerous spills, accidents and violations of state regulations, but the industry’s actual track record indicates otherwise. This stellar record, combined with Colorado’s stringent reporting rules, has made Colorado a shining example for the safe, environmentally friendly development other states are striving toward.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission requires all oil and natural gas operators to publish the hydraulic fracturing ingredients used in each individual well on fracfocus.org. All Coloradans are allowed and encouraged by the industry to access this database. State regulators and medical professionals also have access to additional detailed information on chemicals used, should an accident occur.
Fracking has an excellent safety record, and just like every other industry in America, the companies that use fracking are closely regulated under a complex set of federal, state and local laws. And they should be. State and federal agencies such as COGCC and the Environmental Protection Agency are responsible for protecting our air and water quality. Despite investigating numerous accusations, neither agency has ever found a connection between water contamination and fracking.
When it comes to the facts about fracking, Coloradans should go the extra mile and learn firsthand about the industry that’s producing in their own backyard. They might be pleasantly surprised when they get the facts.
Director of Communications
Coloradans for Responsible
County commissioners should not cut GJEP from budget
Mesa County’s proposed across-the-board, 5 percent budget cut is the same strategy as the sequester at the national level. Every economist I have read says the sequester is putting a pinch on local economies that heavily depend on federal dollars, like Mesa County.
Now our county commissioners propose a similar no-thought-involved, ax-wielding budget cut for our local government. More pinching on local economic vitality is what I see there.
The sheriff and district attorney have been high-profile protesters of their budgets being trimmed in this indiscriminate way. I am going to advocate for a less vocal but very important organization’s budget: the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
GJEP is a private nonprofit organization that works as the official economic development agency of Grand Junction. GJEP’s small staff works day in and day out to try to bring businesses to the Grand Valley. Their mission is to grow our local economy by recruiting and aiding businesses to locate, relocate or expand here.
Anyone in small business, as I am, knows that tough economic times are when you most need to advertise. Advertising and advocating are what GJEP does for our economy. To cut its funding now is like wielding that budget ax in the direction of the economy’s golden goose, if we have one.
The bottom line is, I suggest the commissioners trim the budget with a scalpel rather than an ax and GJEP be one of the budget items they do not cut.
DOUG VAN ETTEN
Mikolai puts student needs first in decision-making
Having worked very closely with Greg Mikolai over the past four years, I believe he is clearly the best candidate for the seat of School Board in District E.
There has been much written about the Mesa Valley Education Association supporting candidates in order to influence decisions about spending of the District 51 budget. With Mikolai, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Mikolai is not influenced in District 51 decisions except by the students. He is very thorough in gathering information from all sources before making decisions, and he believes that all students can learn with the appropriate teachers, support staff, administrators and parental support. He listens to them all and makes educated decisions based on facts, not party affiliations.
Party affiliation and “reform” are a top priority for some, but Mikolai believes members of his staff are working their tails off with fewer resources than before and student growth reflects his belief. Over the past four years, Mikolai has overseen a 20 percent reduction in the district budget and worked tirelessly to see that the cuts stayed as far away from student learning as possible.
When confronted by the MVEA on salaries, Mikolai worked with the teachers to a consensus resolution of cutting days off the teachers’ contracts and freezing salaries. That’s not being “bought” by the MVEA, as some imply; it’s simply working with the teachers on what is best for their students.
I urge you to think logically about your vote for District E and not what your political affiliation directs you to do. Mikolai stands for students and deserves your vote.