Printed letters, August 29, 2010

Tipton failed to do his homework

I attended a retired state and school employee meeting in Cortez in May and found Scott Tipton was going to speak. Senate Bill 1 had been passed recently and was a topic that most state employees were very interested in.

Mr. Tipton told us that he had voted against the bill because the process of adding Denver Public Schools to PERA would cost PERA recipients too much. He did not know that Senate Bill 1 really had nothing to do with the merger since the merger legislation was enacted in 2009. He was questioned on his error and was told that PERA had set up a fifth member division with a separate trust for DPS and their liabilities were not going to affect the existing Divisions (and vice versa).  He then said, “I must have been misinformed.” My thoughts were; why would you allow yourself to be misinformed on the most important legislation of the session? I also wondered if he had read the bill before voting on it.

Mr. Tipton was then asked if he would support PERA’s defined benefit plan vs. a defined contribution plan. He commented that he did not want to discuss it, but the audience forced him to reconsider the question. He then asked for a further definition of the question. It was obvious he did not know the difference. It was then explained to him the difference between a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan. After further explanation, he told us he favored moving public employees to a defined contribution plan.

It appears that legislators seldom read the bills they vote on. That is bad enough. But, to vote “No” on the most important legislation of the session without knowing what it said or how it might affect over 400,000 state and school employees is inexcusable.

Mr. Tipton did not do his homework or he would have known this. It is plain to see that Mr. Tipton voted as some in his leadership told him. Kudos to Sen. Penry and Rep. King for doing their homework.

ROGER FULKS, President

Colorado School and Public Employee Retirement Association

Eckert

Article on John Suthers lacked solid basis in facts

In Charles Ashby’s article about contributions to the John Suthers re-election campaign left me thinking about the “Where’s the beef?” ads that Wendy’s ran years ago.

After boiling it down, the elements of the article include a state representative with an acute sense of smell, an anonymous legislative staffer, a poorly drafted piece of legislation and a set of incomplete regulations. Put all this together with a few campaign contributions from a disgruntled industry and what do you get? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Unless there is underlying hard evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement, the article was gossip and innuendo — hardly something worthy of breathless, front-page headlines. In other words, if you have something solid, let’s hear it.

But all was not lost, the second to the last paragraph briefly mentions that Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett received almost 60 percent of his campaign contributions from other attorneys. Now that is a story worth pursuing.

MARTIN CHAZEN

Grand Junction

Amend. 20 said nothing about dispensaries

Some critical information has been overlooked on the medical marijuana dispensary dispute.

In a recent county commissioners’ meeting, Janet Rowland said that “The medical marijuana dispensaries are a constitutional right granted by Amendment 20 in the 2000 election, whether we like it or not.”

Steve Acquafresca corrected that misconception by explaining that “medical marijuana dispensaries are not even mentioned in Amendment 20, only caregivers with five patients who have serious debilitating illnesses” were mentioned.

This sudden proliferation of dispensaries in Colorado, there are 38 in Mesa County alone, resulted from President Obama’s decision not to enforce federal laws against them. He forgets he took the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our land.

The results of that decision enabled unscrupulous doctors to advertise, “Send us $300 and get your medical marijuana prescription.” People are seen running in and out of one dispensary in minutes as an Aspen physician doles out prescriptions. Friday afternoons are a popular time to stock up on medicine for a pain-free weekend. The average age of prescription holders is 25.

In response to this epidemic, the state Legislature passed H.B. 10-1284 to give voters in counties and municipalities the option of eliminating dispensaries and restoring the original intent of Amendment 20.

The small percentage of seriously ill patients who actually do benefit from medical marijuana can continue treatment just as they did prior to the dispensaries coming to Colorado.

This important decision belongs to all the voters, not just a vocal minority that shows up at meetings.

Let town councils and county commissioners know you want to vote in November to rest our future in a healthy course — not as a pot mecca. If it’s medicine, it belongs in pharmacies.

DIANE COX

Palisade


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