Printed letters, Oct. 13, 2010

Key details missing on domestic violence

Daily Sentinel reporter Amy Hamilton is an engaging writer. Her recent three articles telling of domestic abuse rightfully gained prominent front-page placement in a Sunday edition.

This horrific crime may be a sad manifestation of society descending into incivility and worse. We need to know more about it. Hamilton’s investigation appeared to be in-depth and reported with clarity. The piece that told us about Sgt. Lonnie Chavez of the Grand Junction Police Department and his efforts to increase awareness was particularly good.

In all of the data amassed by the police department, dutifully collected and reported to us by Hamilton, there is a glaring omission: Of the investigated cases of domestic abuse, how many of them involved couples committed in marriage and how many by couples in some other arrangement? How can we evaluate the incidents as a whole and their impact on society without considering such a vital and simple bit of information? And further, why is this information missing from Hamilton’s otherwise good reporting?

One can’t help but think that answers to these questions might give readers an even more complete picture of a serious problem.



Variety of problems beset public education

I must reply to New York Times writer Gail Collins’ column on education. As a retired elementary and middle-school teacher, I have sensible answers to the dilemma of failing schools. It’s not about money and it’s not about the majority of dedicated teachers.

The problems come in this order:

✓ There is neither enthusiasm nor standards for learning in a large percentage of homes.

✓ There is a lack of classroom discipline. Political correctness has tied teachers’ hands with little support from administration.

✓ The curriculum has been “dumbed down.” Multicultural and environmental issues have come to the forefront over solid factual information in history, geography and science. There is a need for more emphasis on writing skills, solid American history that has not been politically altered, geography and basic economics. Most young adults cannot locate Iran on a world map without struggle. Younger children have no real knowledge of U.S. geography.

✓ There has been heavy-handed liberalism from the National Education Association to the state teachers’ unions, which put political campaigning over real education concerns. Political correctness has undermined learning standards. Catering to non-English speaking students has brought all classroom performance down in many school districts.

The socialist movement may speak of better education, but an uneducated citizenry better suits its agenda for government supremacy.



City Council displays nanny-state mentality

The City Council’s recent, ill-advised vote barring medical marijuana centers continues a disturbing trend with current members — a nanny state mentality whereby these wise nestors sit in chamber, taking public comment apparently only because it is required by the city charter before rendering their predetermined judgment on what is, in their view, best for us.

And the rationale is patently absurd. Councilman Gregg Palmer, interviewed afterward, claimed to be informed only by the law and said that nowhere in the law were medical marijuana centers mentioned. He apparently forgot that the Colorado Legislature passed the very law the council used to ban these centers, establishing licensing requirements, fees, hours of operation, etc., and providing our civic leaders a starting point for further responsible regulation, taxation and other issues.

Both the chief of police and the county sheriff are vehemently opposed to these centers, but local police report that calls to at least some locations where a dispensary has opened have dramatically decreased. There are apocryphal reports that since the spate of new centers, some illegal drug dealers no longer sell marijuana.

Still, council members have determined that 80-100 direct jobs, with perhaps hundreds of others in associated industries (security, indoor gardening supplies, etc.), tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, a drop in crime and safe, caring access to a constitutionally guaranteed product is just not something they could morally accept.

I urge council members to reconsider their decision. Ask yourself: If your grandmother could benefit from medical marijuana, would you rather she be able to purchase her medication in a clean, licensed, medical-marijuana dispensary or in some back alley?


Grand Junction


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