Printed letters, July 29, 2010

Rick Wagner left out parts of Obama quote

Regarding Rick Wagner’s July 22 column, here is the meat of the president’s comment about constitutional interpretation that Wagner derides in paragraph 11:

“To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and (the) Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

How about printing this on the editorial page and let the president’s actual words speak for him? Note that even the Warren Court was following an already set interpretation.

Please, either have Wagner fact-checked before he’s published, or find someone who gives us opinions based on some real thought. Shame on The Daily Sentinel and him.


Grand Junction

Sound work-visa system key to immigration reform

The focus of the immigration debate is misplaced on securing the border and what to do about undocumented people here already. The root of the problem and the most effective step to be taken is to fix the broken work-visa system. This will satisfy both people looking to help immigrants and xenophobes wanting to control immigration.

The current system allows for around 65,000 work visas, while roughly 400,000 workers are needed to fill jobs that Americans don’t want. Creating an effective system that is affordable for workers to be a part of will accomplish many objectives.

First, it will greatly reduce the number of illegal border crossings, which will help Border Patrol to police the border. Also, if a worker has a reasonable expectation that he or she will be able to come here to work, go home, and then return again to work, that person will be much less likely to risk his or her life crossing illegally, thus reducing deaths and exposure to abuse.

Second, an effective work-visa system will help the government to know who is here and where they are, satisfying complaints that illegal immigrants pose a security threat to our country, warranted or not.

Third, it will reduce the pressure to instantly grant citizenship to people who are here undocumented by allowing them be a part of the system while allowing them to return home.

This is fair to the people who wait years or decades to become residents or citizens, which is the primary argument against granting amnesty to undocumented people.

An effective work-visa system will have to include background checks, validation of eligibility by employers and enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Above all, it must be affordable and feasible, with reasonable processing times for workers to be a part of it. Otherwise it will fall apart.


Grand Junction

City officials overstated impacts of measures

Was anyone else bothered by city employees admitting during a work-day “retreat” they spent tax-paid time creating arguments against tax relief initiatives? Even worse, they exaggerated the fiscal impact to the city (which is always equal to the tax savings to the citizens). They didn’t itemize their alleged $10 million effect next year. Why? Because it’s a bogus number.

Amendment 61 requires voter approval for future local borrowing. That does not cut city revenue.

Amendment 60 covers property taxes starting in 2011, when they could ask us for increases, as they’re supposed to anyway.

Proposition 101 lowers vehicle, income and phone-cable charges. Income taxes are state revenue, not affecting the city. Those nuisance phone-bill charges are mostly state-imposed. City sales taxes and fees on phone and cable are under 1 percent of city revenue, which is why they don’t list this revenue.

City vehicle taxes (sales, lease, rental) and the city kickback on state ownership taxes collected through the county clerk are likewise a tiny part of their total budget. Both forms of tax relief are also phased down over four years. Why didn’t the city officials mention that?

Finally, Proposition 101 lowers vehicle registration taxes to $10 per car per year for everyone. It reverses the massive state tax increase in 2009, when everyone’s registration cost doubled or tripled. Politicians called it a “fee” to deprive us of our constitutional right to vote on this huge tax increase. Some of that loot dribbles down to the city (for now). The Legislature diverts the money elsewhere, as it has done so often with other “dedicated” revenue.

Who are the advocates for the taxpayers in these initiatives? You and me. Go to to get educated and volunteer.



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