Printed letters, Dec. 8, 2010

Grant missed key points regarding DREAM Act

In his rambling column to find something of substance, Bill Grant missed several points related to the DREAM Act.

Many illegal immigrants coming into this country are also teenagers. Many do not have a high school education. Yet they are finding a way to earn a living, albeit illegally. So, why should those who came here with their parents several years ago and were educated at U.S. taxpayers’ expense, demand a path to citizenship without any sacrifice?

Mr. Grant wrote about, “... the waste of thousands of dollars spent on an education that will not be allowed to make a return on that investment.” When investors are facing a losing investment, they cut their losses — in this case, deport the illegals. Send them to their country of origin where they already have legal citizenship. They could then use the valuable education — that was given to them — to improve their country of origin much like JFK’s Peace Corps.

The United States will gain a return for all the benefits provided, a stoppage of the hemorrhage of additional U.S. taxpayer subsidized benefits,  and the countries of origin will gain a U.S. educated person who would increase the overall per capita education of that nation.

The DREAM Act is ill conceived and should be defeated. This seems like a win-win situation to the casual observer.


Grand Junction

Planning group erred on gravel-pit appeal

The city of Grand Junction has, by law, a rehearing and appeal process for Planning Commission issues. I had anticipated seeing this process in action on Nov. 9. However, what I witnessed was inaction and the city violating its own rehearing and appeal process.

I attended the November Planning Commission meeting to show my support for an appeal on the decision to approve a gravel pit at the end of 29 3/4 Road.

Prior to the meeting, I and other residents of the neighborhood affected by the proposed gravel pit banded together and hired an attorney to file an appeal. Subsequently, the appropriate form was completed and a multi-page letter was submitted justifying the appeal. All the criteria listed in the city code permitting an appeal were met.

During the November meeting, the Planning Commission acknowledged receipt and review of our letter.  However, members offered no rebuttal, explanation or comment in regard to any of the issues presented in the appeal. And, after much confusion and procedural uncertainty, the commission denied the request and adjourned the meeting.

This action was in violation of the city code, which says the commission, during an appeal, shall only “affirm, reverse or remand the decision,” with a written explanation of its decision. Refusing to hear the appeal was not an option. This may be why the city has yet to publish the minutes of that meeting.

Ironically, the start of this meeting was delayed for several minutes while the commission received a prestigious award from the American Planning Association, Colorado Chapter. This award was earned, in part, due to the commission’s “excellence in resolution of contentious issues” during the past year.

Fortunately, the matter is not dead, as indicated by recent newspaper articles, radio and TV reports. And, recently, I received a letter from the city advising that City Council will consider the appeal during its meeting Dec. 13. Hopefully, during the upcoming meeting the council will acknowledge that the Nov. 9 hearing was null and void and a new hearing is needed in regard to this issue.


Red Tail Ridge HOA

Grand Junction

Oil and gas companies should lose tax credits

I recently received a letter from the Garfield County assessor informing me that the Colorado Legislature in 2010 did not fund the senior tax exemption for property taxes for tax years 2010 and 2011, which means seniors will have to pay the full amount of their property taxes for these years. Apparently this was done in order to help balance the state budget.

I went to the Colorado state website and found that the severance tax for oil and gas production is from 2 percent to 5 percent, but the law allows the industry to deduct a large credit for property tax payments that in many cases amounts to about the same as the severance tax, resulting in a zero tax liability.

As a registered independent voter, I believe that when there is a budgetary crisis, all taxpayers should equally share the responsibility to solve it, including the ruling corporatocracy. Why didn’t the Legislature also suspend this credit for property tax payments so that the gas and oil industry would have to pay the full amount of their property taxes the same as the seniors or anyone else who has to pay property taxes?


Battlement Mesa


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