Printed Letters: September 10, 2017

Support a tax increase for public safety

We retired in the Grand Valley for the same reasons many of us have — the mild climate, the spectacular views, the friendly neighbors and the relative peace and quiet. Unfortunately, that peace and quiet has been gradually replaced with a growing sense of unease, as big-city crime becomes more prevalent in our community.

As we read and hear about the increase in crime in Mesa County, we find ourselves concerned that our brave men and women in the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office are struggling to keep the peace with resources that are stretched thinner and thinner.

Our county commissioners have done a remarkable job of keeping the county afloat under difficult financial conditions, but we seem to have reached the point where the demands of public safety require a bit more.

I am generally not one to support tax increases; but the provision of public safety — and the safety of our local law enforcement officers as they go out to do a difficult, dangerous job on our behalf — is the primary responsibility of the local government, and if a little more revenue is necessary to accomplish that, then at least it should be done right.

The proposed sales tax increase is a small one, and a fair one. It will not be levied on gas, groceries, or prescription drugs, and so will not harm the least fortunate or seniors on a fixed income. It amounts to only 37 cents on a $100 purchase. And the revenue will not go to some ridiculous government pet project, but to our local law enforcement officers.

In fact, it will go to more than a dozen local public safety agencies like the Fruita Police Department, the Palisade Fire Department and the marshals in DeBeque and Collbran.

These brave men and women are tasked with keeping all of us safe. Isn’t it our duty to make sure they have what they need to do so?

ED AND RUTH EHLERS
Grand Junction

How bad must it get before we address climate change?

Like most, I am saddened by the devastation in southeast Texas from Hurricane Harvey and uplifted to hear how so many are helping with relief efforts.

I am also saddened by the lack of leadership and action from our government to address the factors that worsened the flooding from Harvey — climate change. Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, explains the cause-effect of climate change and severe weather patterns. When there is an increase in sea temperatures, the warmer water increases moisture content in the atmosphere. That increased moisture feeds a weather system, like a hurricane, increasing potential for greater rainfalls and flooding. He states “Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage and a larger storm surge.” He concludes “While we cannot say climate change “caused” Hurricane Harvey, we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life. Climate change worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey.”

How bad does it have to get before we address climate change? The cost of doing nothing is totaling billions in severe storm damage. I ask our congressional leaders Sen. Cory Gardner, and Sen. Michael Bennet to support legislation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I ask Rep. Scott Tipton to join the 52 member bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the house.

SUSAN ATKINSON
Durango

Trump lacks awareness of 
his presidential duties

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, all Republicans, have stated directly or indirectly that Mr. Trump has compromised his “moral authority.” I’ve also heard the term “moral leadership” used referring to Mr. Trump’s incompetence and lack of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of being president of the United States. His comments regarding the riots in Charlottesville only made that clearer. In my opinion he has no business being our president.

I have to smirk when I think of Mr. Trump and the term “moral authority.” In my opinion he has no morals and never has. My guess is he could not define the word “ethics” if he tried his hardest. He has never had to put ethics to use in any of his business transactions and certainly was not ethical during his campaign. To my way of thinking, making exorbitant, dishonest and impossible promises to get votes is about as unethical as one can get.

It has been stated by some that the country has spoken by electing him president. They think that he has a mandate to keep his outrageous promises. A reminder: three million more people voted for his opponent than for him. To me that is not a mandate.

He has been president for seven months and has yet to act presidential. While the world snickers behind our backs he continues to look in the mirror and see only one really great guy! Not!

HOLLY VON HELMS
Montrose

Removing statues shows 
disregard for our history

A disregard for the history of this county is abounding, from removing Confederate leaders’ statues and statues of Columbus, and now Confederate stained glass windows are being removed from the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Some who are demanding statue removals are Native Americans because they claim genocide, slavery, etc. What are we to do with the history of the Buffalo soldiers and how they fought beside the white soldiers in several battles killing the Native Americans? These black soldiers are honored and given respect for their part in those Indian wars and many statues are erected in their honor. No comments on this from the Native Americans or black leaders on this part of our history. Wonder why? Will their statues continue to grace our landscape?

I am against any statues being removed but since there seems to be a “scorched” earth policy now on good and bad statues, where does the Buffalo Soldier fit in history as it is now being rewritten?

BEVERLY DUZENACK
Mesa

Columnist’s recent ramblings should not go unnoted

Last week’s column by Rick Wagner was the same old blather as usual but there is a section in his ramblings that should not go unnoted.

Wagner, in his typical pompous way, constantly thinking of himself as being cute and clever, states that the Grand Junction City Council had adopted a “four-point strategic plan.” He then bewilders the reader by asking, “which is funnier — the strategic part or the plan part?” Wagner then goes on to state, “it’s a wonderfully redundant phrase” and bases that on the fact that by definition, “strategy is a plan” and therefore the phrase is redundant.

Well personally, I have far fewer good things to say about the incompetent leadership of this city (and county) than Wagner, but I, and most readers know the difference between the words “strategic” and “strategy.” The fact that Wagner, whether by design or sheer ignorance, changes the word strategic to strategy in order to support his non-sensible observation that the phrase “strategic plan” is redundant is the actual and only “funny” part of his column. Evidently, our celebrity attorney, who you would expect to be skilled at paying close attention to detail, doesn’t have the basic knowledge to differentiate between a noun and an adjective. Thanks for the good laugh Rick. Keep up the stellar work.

JIM HUTTON
Grand Junction

We need to adequately fund local law enforcement

Few things are as important to the functioning of a society as the maintenance of public safety. Without the resources and infrastructure in place to enforce the law and keep the peace, little else ultimately matters. The things we fight about on a regular basis — tax rates, spending priorities, how to improve the economy, education, transportation infrastructure, environmental concerns — none of that really makes a lot of difference if citizens do not feel safe in their homes or our streets.

We can bicker all we want about whether our local government should do this, that, or the other thing; but one thing most everyone agrees on is that is the proper and primary role of local government to provide for law enforcement and public safety.

We have gotten to the point in our community where a number of factors have led to a significant increase in the local crime rate. All types of crime have seen an increase, but most troubling is the rise in violent and property crimes.

Mesa County has fewer law enforcement officers per 1,000 citizens than any other comparable jurisdiction in the state. This means that response times will be slower, department resources stretched, officers forced into dangerous situations by themselves, and local law enforcement constantly fighting a rearguard action.

To properly fight this crime epidemic, we need to make sure our local law enforcement professionals have the funding and resources needed to be proactive. The small sales tax increase being proposed will ensure they have these resources, and that the law-abiding citizens of Mesa County can begin to take our streets back. I’m voting yes on 1A.

VERN GRAY
Fruita


COMMENTS

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Thanks to Mesa’s Beverly Duzenack for affording a timely opportunity to revisit and clarify several issues implicated by the accelerating removal of arguably divisive statues and images from places of public prominence (“Removing statues shows disregard for our history” of our country”).

First, contrary to her letter’s title, “removing statues shows [no] disregard for our [true] history”, but rather constitutes a much-too-belated rejection of the false history with which some sought to deliberately obfuscate our true – even if blemished – record.

Thus, the Confederates honored in government buildings and public spaces were not “heroes” or “patriots”, but rather traitors to this country whose statues were erected to intimidate Negro citizens.  Christopher Columbus did not “discover America”, but rather initiated the decimation of indigenous peoples by Europeans.  The Washington National Cathedral is no place to honor Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson – who led those who insisted that the Bible justified Slavery—with idolatrous stained glass images.

Second, Duzenack’s reference to the Buffalo Soldiers proves more than she intended and exposes the false equivalency upon which she relies.  These intrepid Black men (and one woman) – some of whom were former slaves – fought for the United States of America, not against it, and were not responsible for the decisions that thrust them into battle in the Indian Wars and in Cuba, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Third, the number of statues honoring loyal Black soldiers is far fewer than the number honoring disloyal rebels, and – while the former earned such remembrance – the latter were deliberately memorialized to announce the reemergence of White Supremacy.

That explains why Native Americans are silent as to “this part of our history” (but not as to Christopher Columbus), and why “black leaders” seek to expose the most ignoble parts of that history (the legacies of Slavery—Jim Crow, apartheid, lynchings, church burnings and bombings, and voter suppression).

“Where does the Buffalo soldier fit in?”  While Confederate statuary will continue to abound at Civil War battlefield sites (where what happened there and why is afforded proper historical context), the history of the Buffalo Soldiers reminds us that Confederate statuary elsewhere was an intentional affront to our Constitution’s 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and to the re-united nation that declared those soldiers equal to whites.

If Ms. Duzenak were actually concerned about history, she would undertake a serious study the subject, instead of equating it to statuary or any other such token.  Not having done so to this point, it is doubtful that she will do so at any time in the future.  In fact, such individuals are much more likely to erect more statues (or other memorials) not only to others but, in all too many cases, to themselves.

If the lady had been paying attention during many decades, she would recognize that there has been, and still is a concerted effort to suppress the study of history or to totally ignore the subject.  That is for one reason.  It is that as this country has become more and more materialistic (money and things all that is important), that knowledge and understanding of the subject cannot be converted into “ready cash”.

How she managed to get to the “buffalo soldiers” in her opinion simply confuses some of us, as those who know and understand history know what they were, what they did, and what they (as individuals) contributed to this country.  And, they did not do so to have monuments or other public displays erected in their memory. To those who know and understand history, those are not needed in order to have their contributions to humanity recognized and appreciated.

Ms Atkinson
  Did you ever consider that the main reason there was so much destruction and damage from the two hurricanes was not climate change but rampant building in Florida and Texas.  There are alot more people and buildings now to be hurt.  Reducing our green house gases will do little to help those areas.

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