Printed letters, May 16, 2010

City should be stricter on transient camps

Regarding the May 8 story, “Cops probed in damage complaint,” there are two questions that we need to answer: Did the officers in fact damage transient’s property? Does anybody care?

Recall Public Information Officer Kate Porras’ quote about Chief Camper’s policy that “all citizens … regardless of … socioeconomic status will be treated with courtesy and respect.” No reasonable person would argue with that philosophy.

I suggest that the transients and their camps are illegal. If I built a tarp hut at any public place around town, how long would it be allowed to remain? Why then, do we tolerate trespassing hobo camps? Yes, let’s call them what they are. Why do we enable these hobos with handouts that are used for liquor, cigarettes and drugs? Why do we put up with the theft, dirty camps, the feces and urine along the river bottom? Why do we tolerate our residents being afraid to use the Riverfront Trail, fearing for their safety from these “citizens”? Why do we continue to pump tax dollars and direct services into supporting a lifestyle choice that is deleterious to both the transients and the community at large?

I am tired, tired of the hobos and their problems. I propose that the city pass and enforce strict anti-panhandling ordinances, making it illegal to panhandle and to give to panhandlers. Those charged with any violations should be jailed, their possessions confiscated and investigated as possibly stolen property and any money they have should be held to pay fines.

I strongly urge all property owners to check their lands for hobo camps and demand that the police arrest these people for trespassing, that the landowner burn the camps and haul off the remaining trash. If the citizens demand it, we can control this problem.

RANDY ENGLE

Grand Junction

Illegal immigration is issue in T-shirt dispute

Ruben Navarrette’s column on the California teens who were sent home from school for wearing American flag T- shirts on Cinco de Mayo was little more than another tired rant against the so-called “cultural right” and conservative talk radio.

The story here is not that high school students wore prohibited clothing to school because their parents had lost control of them. The story is that the illegal immigration problem in the United States has gotten so bad that students merely wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Old Glory to school can now be deemed controversial, or insensitive to others who are ostensibly Americans.

It is interesting, too, that when protest suits the cultural left, it is free speech. But should it come from the right, it is typically portrayed in the media in demeaning fashion. Does anyone really believe that if the tables were turned and the students sent home were wearing Mexican flag apparel, that Mr. Navarrette would describe them as “brats”? Almost certainly not. More than likely they would have been described as noble civil-rights activists of whom Rosa Parks would have been proud.

The thing proved by the mess in Morgan Hill, Calif. is that we have so steeped ourselves with multiculturalism and political correctness that we no longer have any sense. Let’s all be clear here. When the flag of the United States is considered a dangerous and offensive symbol that has to be banned, even temporarily, from any of our public institutions, our nation has a serious problem.

VAUGHN PARK

Grand Junction

Sheepherders’ bill collapsed due to bad data

Last week, the Senate Ag Committee voted against House Bill 1407 (creation of the range-worker advisory council).

In January, Colorado Legal Services attempted to publicly eviscerate the Colorado sheep industry with the release of its report “Overworked and Underpaid: H2A Herders in Colorado.” The cover photo sets the tone for the deliberately disingenuous nature of the entire report: The photo was taken in Utah, and is not involved in the H2A program.

The “Overworked and Underpaid” report unjustly and inaccurately portrays Colorado H2A herders as being treated unfairly and poorly. State Rep. Daniel Kagan was quoted in The Daily Sentinel Jan. 14 as saying he “shares the concerns raised in the report and is proposing legislation to address them.”

Among Colorado Legal Services’ many transgressions, the researchers interviewed herders in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah for their report, yet they packaged up the information and labeled it as “Colorado” with no apparent concern for accuracy.

Colorado Legal Services provided “legal counsel” for Rep. Kagan. From our perspective, it actively lobbied for the passage of the bill, as well as calling the shots on this issue for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.

Rep. Kagan’s knowledge about the H2A program was spoon fed to him by Colorado Legal Services. Based on that information, which was incomplete and often inaccurate, he took the lead to draft state legislation regarding a federally regulated program that he was unfamiliar with. When directly questioned by members of the House Agriculture Committee, Kagan attempted to distance himself from Colorado Legal Services’ erroneous report by stating that the report didn’t have anything to do with his bill.

During the hearings on HB 1407, the Colorado sheep industry provided reasonable, fact-based information to legislators, which resonated at the halls of the Capitol. HB 1407 collapsed under the weight of Colorado Legal Services’ erroneous information and over-zealous attack on the sheep industry.

BONNIE BROWN

Executive Director

Colorado Wool Growers Association

Delta



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