Printed letters, August 3, 2010

Medical marijuana is an oxymoron

This is regarding The Daily Sentinel’s July 26 article, “Foes:  Lawsuits likely if medical pot ban approved by voters”:

Medical marijuana is an oxymoron.  Smoking pot has less to do with medicine and more to do with getting high. The medicinal ingredient in marijuana is available in tablet form and should be dispensed by legitimate pharmaceutical outlets, not pot shops.

If, as implied by Mr. Vicente, the income and taxes from pot shops are more important during the present economic downturn than the societal collapse currently in progress from the free and abusive consumption of drugs and alcohol, especially by our young, then perhaps we should legalize the weed and be done with it.

This, after all, is where we are going, especially when those we have chosen to make wise decisions in this regard are more concerned about garnering taxes and avoiding being sued than doing what is right for the health and well-being of their constituents.

Please review. What have we elected you to do? What words did you mouth when you took the oath of office?


Eliminate federal agencies to save taxpayers’ money

Although entitlements are by far the biggest funding problem facing our country, we should not overlook other opportunities for reducing the cost of operating the federal government.

Reducing the size of agencies or offices won’t do it. Over the years, they simply creep up to be bigger and more expensive than ever. The best approach is elimination of organizations having limited value. Here are two we could all live without:

The Federal Highway Administration had an important function in early development of a national highway system. It coordinated the efforts of various state highway departments, many of which did not exist until the late 1920s. It developed standards, many of which are still in use today, and it monitored the development of the interstate highway system. I am personally proud of the role it played, since I started my civil engineering career with the Bureau of Public Roads, the forerunner of Highway Administration.

This agency should be eliminated, along with its $42 billion budget, the federal gas tax canceled and its 2,900 employees put to work at something more useful. The states would have the prerogative of raising their state gas tax to replace funds being passed through by the feds. Minor offices, considered to be vital, should be added to the Department of Transportation.

When I was going to school, the federal government was not involved in education at the local level. Education was and should be the responsibility of local school boards, with some oversight at the state level. Therefore, elimination of the U.S. Department of Education makes good sense, along with its $161 billion budget, which includes authority over $97 billion of stimulus funding. This change could be transitioned over a five-year period to allow adjustments to local budgets.

Some readers have experience working with or in other federal agencies, and should be able to come up with other ideas of reducing waste in government. Lay it on us.



Las Colonias could become a gem like Palisade’s park

Riverbend Park in Palisade is a gem of a municipal park. It is one of the nicest city parks that I have seen anywhere. The riverside cottonwoods provide natural riparian habitat and blue herons can be observed on both sides of the Colorado River. The gracious cottonwoods along the river walk provide wonderful shade for walkers. Other beautiful trees grace the park. It is a popular venue for many Grand Valley events.

Las Colonias Park, located in the heart of downtown Grand Junction on the north shore of the Colorado River, could be the gem of Grand Junction.

The National Guard is making great progress on clearing tamarisk and those responsible for the idea of utilizing the Guard — Grand Junction Parks and the Tamarisk Coalition — should be complimented. Las Colonias Park could also have wonderful cottonwood and other native trees planted adjacent to the river to help protect our flood plain and once again provide habitat for native wildlife.

Trees planted near the Riverfront Trail would provide welcome shade for the many trail users. The Daily Sentinel reported that grass would be planted and that is a welcome exchange for cheatgrass and puncture vine. In addition, a boat launch near 27-1/2 Road on the north side could provide access to the river in this area.

I can imagine having an actual farmers market with plenty of space for more produce located at Las Colonias Park. It would be a great venue for concerts and it would complement riverside restaurants and rental shops for boats, bikes or skates.

Let’s get going on this and set those official Las Colonias Park plans into action to provide a riverside park gem for the benefit of our people, visitors and our economy.


Grand Junction


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