Printed letters, September 8, 2013

Our country is perched on the precipice of making a disastrous decision to pursue a military intervention into a country that is in the middle of a religious and sectarian civil war.

Our president made an ill-advised decision a year ago to draw a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, and now that it has been crossed, he feels his honor or reputation is at stake, so he wants us to once again become involved in a military conflict that has absolutely no vital strategic interest to the citizens of our country.

His administration is stretching all credibility to make a case for this action, on some sort of high moral standing. What about all its humanitarian compassion over the last two years when more than 100,000 lives were lost, with nothing but some dithering on the part of Obama?

Each and every one of us needs to contact our senators, Udall and Bennett, and our representative, Tipton, and let them know that we are not in favor of any military action in Syria. It may be one of the most important phone calls you can ever make.



Grand Valley cyclists don’t
need access to ditch banks

This letter is in regard to the front-page article of The Daily Sentinel Monday, Aug, 26, ” No bridging the differences.”

I congratulate the commissioners, City Council and irrigation and drainage districts for not allowing the ditch banks to become thoroughfares. The ditch banks were never designed for this purpose, anyway.

As for Dave Grossman’s wishes that this community could just be like so many others that allow such access, we are not those other places, and that’s just fine, too.

I, too, enjoy riding just as much as anyone, but I’ve never found it necessary to trespass down ditch banks to enjoy the sport, especially when one considers all that we have now.

Examples are the River Front Trail, Tabeguache Trail, Kokopelli Trail, 16 Road, 18 Road, 21 Road, Lunch Loop, Little Park, Glade Park and Bangs Canyon. Soon, our fragile monument will be a bike path, as well, when it becomes a park.

Once we open this door to public access, we’ll have four-wheelers, dirt bikes, dune buggies, Go Karts and anything else with a lawnmower engine on it sharing your canal bank.

Well, one might say, just limit the access to bikes only. There is no way to successfully enforce such a limit. We haven’t the resources to police the miles and miles of canal roads and the intersecting crossroads. Also, this isn’t the Grand Junction of 25 or 30 years ago, when people actually had respect for private property or anything else.

No, the council, commissioners, irrigation companies and drainage district that provide a very necessary commodity of water to our farmers, fields, crops, lawns and gardens do not need Grossman or me on the ditch banks.


Grand Junction


Justman’s column perpetuates attitude of victimhood

This letter is regarding the Sentinel column, “Free-market policies aid county, not green energy subsidies” by John Justman in last Sunday’s edition.          While the column is full of mistakes and inaccurate data, it also perpetuates a very lingering attitude of many residents living here that the rural West Slope towns (e.g. Grand Junction) and its people are “victims” of mandates from Denver and D.C. Woe are we!

I have found throughout my career that most mandates or regulations are pretty much earned.As long as we (those that do) continue to exude this attitude and another very prevalent local attitude, anger, I am thinking about something I was taught a long, long time ago; “Don’t be thinking and wishing for things you do not want; they just may come true for you.”

Justman’s comments may “ring the bell” to many here; however, they will do nothing to help foster a relationship with “the other side,” as I have heard the Denver Metro referred to by many. And that, too, may be just fine with some people; however, Mesa County is not the “United States of Mesa” and leadership (both county and city) should just knock it off.

This county, or any other Colorado county, as pointed out in a letter to the editor on Aug. 28 by B. Smith, is not financially (as well as some other services) capable of fully supporting itself without state and/or federal assistance.

To sum this up, I wonder what kind of hypocritical or guilt feeling(s) Justman has as he deposits and spends his (our/taxpayer) $200,000+ in federal farm subsidies he has received, or possibly he intends to repay us all?  Once again, “Don’t be wishing…” Oh, and and remember that old value, “Don’t throw stones at a glass house.”


Grand Junction

As price of gas shoots up, city
should reinstall trolley system

We all know that gas at the gas station isn’t getting any cheaper, and I dread the thought of the time when it reaches $10 per gallon. Anyway, I think that the time is right for the reinstallation of a Grand Junction trolley system. I say reinstall because Grand Junction used to have a streetcar system.

Grand Junction does have a good bus system, but all the buses still run on fossil fuels. Eventually this is going to get expensive, either for the city or for the people riding the buses.


Grand Junction


Obamacare will be great,
as long as you don’t get sick

  I believe the ultimate goal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is to screw up our present health care plans and eventually force us into a single-pay system that will be managed entirely by the government. At that time we will have the world’s best health care system, if you don’t get sick. 




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George Seely’s letter in Wednesday’s Sentinel (“John Justman’s column presented rational view”) epitomizes how blatant hypocrisy and outright falsehoods pass for “rational economic opinion” among local “conservatives”.

Justman’s insipid column (“Free-market policies aid county, not green energy subsidies”, Sep. 1) propounded the purported benefits of the “free market” (but heavily subsidized) oil & gas industry—citing the Grand Valley Transportation Authority’s conversion to natural-gas-fueled buses as an example.  Of course, that widely-acclaimed transition to greener energy was accomplished only with federal “green energy subsidies”.

Justman’s ideological tunnel-vision was also revealed in Wednesday’s Sentinel (“School Board moving forward with solar subscription”), which describes a cooperative public-private initiative to save School District 51 perhaps $1 million over 20 years by building a solar “garden” on publicly-owned land leased to a private enterprise.  Of course, that “green energy” project is also made possible by green “energy credits” (i.e., “subsidies”).

Also, as Tim Pipe opines in Wedneday’s letters (“U.S. should have adopted alternative fuels in the 80’s”), Justman dubiously compared the sunny Grand Valley and the windy West to northern Europe.  And—as Bob Weiffenbach observes in Sunday’s response (“John Justman column perpetuates sense of victimhood on West Slope”. Sep. 8 – his column was replete with “mistakes and inaccurate data”, falsely portraying our lagging local economy as the “victim” – rather than the beneficiary – of governmental support.

Meanwhile, both Weiffenbach and (previously) Doug Hovde exposed Justman’s self-serving hypocrisy—observing that he’s applied for and received some $190,000 to $200,000 in federal farm subsidies since 1995.

Thus, not only is Justman religiously devoted to a mythical “free-market”, he personally benefits from a corrupt give-away program that – according to recent GAO reports—pays (and fails to recoup) subsidies to deceased farmers and inadequately audits income-eligibility.  Likewise, our pseudo-“conservative” Congressman Scott Tipton voted to pay farm subsidies to his cronies on the House Agriculture Committee!

Contrary to Larry Kontz’s letter, the U.S. is not “perched on the precipice of making a disastrous decision to pursue military intervention into a country that is in the middle of a religious and sectarian civil war”.  That is what irresponsible “hawks” have been urging since the Syrian uprising began.

President Obama made a principled decision to timely warn the Assad regime against using chemical weapons on Syrian civilians – impliedly promising to enforce the 1925 protocol to the Geneva Conventions (which does not expressly prohibit Syria’s use of “asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gasses” in civil conflict within its borders) and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (which does).

While Syria is not a signatory to that Convention, it is nevertheless legally bound by it – because Syria signed the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (prohibiting indiscriminate killing of non-combatants) and because both Conventions are now deemed “customary international law”—binding on non-signatories.

While the internationally-drawn “red line” was allegedly crossed repeatedly before the August 21 artillery dispersal, the world knows that the credibility of its widely-accepted norms is at stake.  Therefore, Kontz “stretches all credibility” by decrying actions not yet taken, disparaging the “moral high ground” President Obama’s warning occupies, and cavalierly dismissing the history-proven consequences of allowing “evil to triumph”.

Moreover, there is nothing inconsistent about demonstrating “humanitarian compassion” by funding refugee relief and/or by diplomatically promoting settlement negotiations in Geneva – while concurrently holding Assad accountable for violating international law. 

Thus, President Obama is being properly prudent, not “dithering” – because it remains premature to “attack Syria” before U.N. inspectors finalize their report, before Congress authorizes the use of force, and/or before the U.N. or the Arab League conveys legal legitimacy.

Meanwhile, the credible threat of retaliation allows world public opinion to reverse itself overnight should Assad employ sarin gas again.

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