Printed letters, March 4, 2011

Tea partiers are great at publicity

I have to hand it to the tea party Republicans: They know how to run a campaign.

While we should be worried about figuring out how to keep the billionaires from coming up with scams that will ruin our economy again while they get richer, the Republicans have managed to get the public to think the major problem is that teachers, nurses and other government workers are lazy, tax-avoiding scum who are breaking the economy.  I’m not quite sure how they did it, but it is brilliant.

Despite the fact that unions have been losing power and influence for decades, they’re the biggest problem we face. No, the big problem is not the millions out of work (that’s obvious, because the Republicans are cutting jobs, so jobs must not be that important). It’s not the lackluster economy (also obvious because the Republicans are doing anything they can to keep the spotlight away from it since they gained power), and it’s not global warming (since they don’t even believe in it).  It’s those unions!

And it’s not enough that the unions have already given in on every financial point. It’s not enough that they have conceded to higher pension contributions, lower pay, or whatever it has taken to allow the richest to keep their tax breaks.  The unions must be destroyed. While I don’t believe in what they stand for, I’d want a tea partier to handle my publicity any day.



Labor costs must be cut to balance budgets

We are currently witnessing news from several cash-strapped states whose newly elected officials are attempting to balance their budgets.

In most businesses and, particularly, in the public domain, labor costs are a major element of the budget. Therefore, labor costs must be addressed in attempt to materially affect the bottom line. Consequently, elected officials of the states in the news are proposing to include a reduction in state labor costs and obligations as part of their plan to bring their states’ finances under control.

What we see and hear on the news are noisy groups of labor bosses and public sector union members trying to obstruct the business of government, while vilifying the elected officials, taxpayers (whence their paycheck), and the voters.

Our own new governor has declared his intention to bring fiscal sanity to our state. We will know he’s serious when he addresses the labor issue by initiating layoffs and re-evaluating pay, pensions and benefits of our public service workers.

We, the voters and taxpayers are waiting and hoping for meaningful action.



Park status could change monument experience

The tone at the Feb. 23 forum, regarding the possible designation change of Colorado National Monument to national park status, was resoundingly in favor of the proposed change. But it’s a two-edged sword.

The national monument is currently being managed and operated as a national park, according to Sen. Mark Udall and Superintendent Joan Anzelmo. So the only reason for Congress to change the designation would be for political gain and/or increased user fees.

Locally, the only reason for the desired change, as expressed by the majority of the commentators at the meeting, is for increased prestige and visitor numbers. That equates to a benefit for business, and with that point I agree. But those increased numbers come at a very high price.

If you now enjoy the monument for hiking, biking, touring or simply a place to find a little serenity, you understand that those can be challenging endeavors with only 738,000 visitors a year. Give it park status and those hikes will be like a trip to Arches or Grand Canyon or any other park that’s now on the map with three or four times the numbers to contend with.

Riding your bike in front of a tour bus without enough power to pass, which itself is holding up dozens of sightseers behind it, will assuredly change the experience — probably negatively, and probably for all involved. Colorado National Monument simply cannot sustain the increased usage that would inevitably result from a change to Colorado National Park, or whatever the name might end up to be. The infrastructure is limited to what exists there now. There is no way to expand the volume of facilities to match the volume of visits that will occur.

Let us be conscious of the effects that will surely come with the proposed change. Let us carefully consider this proposal and recognize that “Power of Place,” as the headline on Anzelmo’s recent column called it, could be radically transformed if we allow the bottom line to guide the discussion that is now beginning to take place.


Grand Junction


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