Printed letters, October 5, 2012

I have to admit I was a little surprised at the tone of some of the emails taking me to task for what the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been doing with our tax dollars. I think a little clarification is in order.

First, this is not about smoking. Like most Americans, especially those of us blessed to live in the healthiest state in the union, I know smoking is a terrible, unhealthy habit. This is about the constitutionality of non-elected bureaucrats using taxpayers’ money to try to change law and policy by attempting to influence the outcomes of local policy initiatives.

When I, as a member of the legislative audit committee, find out that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is spending millions of our dollars lobbying local governments to pass laws banning smoking in areas not covered by the Clean Air Act, I have a constitutional obligation to take action.

The responsibility for making public policy rests with the people, through their elected representatives in the legislative branch. The state’s executive agencies, such as the CDPHE, are tasked with carrying out those laws and policies. This state agency has no authority to lobby or to fund local changes in law, and either our governor or the Legislature must put a stop to it.

The CDPHE’s actions also violate the constitutional principle of equal treatment under the law. If a government agency can exert its tax-funded power and influence to affect the outcome of local elections regarding tobacco use, what, realistically, is there to stop it from doing the same thing with any industry, whose only sin may be nothing more than falling short of the ideals of some government regulator? This is not materially different from the state using tax dollars to lobby for laws that favor, for instance, cable over satellite TV.

CDPHE has taken it upon itself to directly influence local laws and policies with our money; that is an abuse of power, putting freedom and the processes of our constitutional republic at risk. With roughly 7 million taxpayer dollars having been misused for this already, this must stop, and right-this-minute is not too soon. 

SEN. STEVE KING

Grand Junction

 

 

 

No need to mention veteran 
in headline about murder

Why do 60 percent of Americans distrust the media? Why do readers constantly accuse the press of bias, both conscious and unconscious? Why do readership numbers decline nationally, subscriptions fail to renew and revenues drop?

Here is a clue: the recent Daily Sentinel headline blaring, “Vet accused of killing male escort.”

There is not one item in the story that makes being a veteran relevant to the crime. The headline writer might just as well have written, “Apartment dweller accused of killing male escort.” Maybe even “Sentinel reader accused of killing male escort.”

Out of all the things people do, why headline the fact that the accused had served in the armed forces?

Is there any reason other than it serves the narrative of damaged dangerous vets?

GENE KINSEY

Grand Junction

 

Ambassador left embassy 
to travel to outlying consulate

United States embassies are located in the capital cities of foreign countries such as Tripoli, Libya. Ambassador Chris Stevens usually stayed there, and our U.S. Marine security guards were posted to protect the ambassador and embassy personnel inside the compound.

However, it is up the host country to protect the exterior. Unfortunately, this was not done at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, causing the chaos and the breaching of the walls.

Consulates are unlike embassies, as they normally deal with people who require visas and passports and can be located in any large city such as Benghazi and they are not protected by Marine security guards.

There may be any number of consulates in a country.

At embassies, the ambassador’s mission is to deal with diplomats. It is unclear why Ambassador Stevens decided to travel 500 miles to visit a consulate that is not normally protected because of the nature of its mission.  Apparently, he personally wanted to warn his people of possible attack. He had two (active or retired) Navy Seals as his security team.

Unfortunately, the insurgents arrived —  whether knowing ahead of time or not that Ambassador Stevens would be present — and struck the first blow. They used rocket-propelled grenades, killing the security team and foreign service officer Sean Smith.

They wounded Ambassador Stevens, who was later dragged through the streets of Benghazi and died sometime thereafter.

There is no doubt that this attack was well-organized and planned.

ROBERT G. SMITH

Grand Junction

 

Barr-Sheehan candidacy 
shows disdain for country

I see by the “Notice of Election” in the Sept. 23 edition of The Daily Sentinel that I can vote for Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan as president and vice president this year.

I think this is about as dry as a well can get.

I sense more than mockery here. There’s almost an odor of seething disdain toward an honorable country struggling to survive.

Of mankind, King Solomon said, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!”

How quickly history can make a mockery of us all.

HAROLD BLACKMAN

Montrose



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