Printed letters, Oct. 16, 2011

The Daily Sentinel’s Oct. 9 editorial regarding Rep. Scott Tipton’s column on a balanced-budget amendment certainly raised a major problem in a simple balanced-budget attempt. But by including a balanced budget tied to a specific percentage of the GNP, all of the concerns in the editorial go away.

I know of no other way to stop party politics from overwhelming federal fiduciary idiocy.

A balanced budget tied to a fixed percentage of GNP and the Fair Tax would put the federal government back under the control of the people. The foundation for most of the political power plays provided by the current tax code and budget favoritism would be eliminated. The politicians would lose effective political control over both the generation of federal revenue and the spending of federal funds.

When the child continues to abuse and damage the toy, take the toy away.

TOM HOWE

Hotchkiss

Palisade should vote to ban pot dispensaries

There is much confusion about how Colorado ended up holding the bag for marijuana dispensaries. In 2000, voters approved Amendment 20 to the Constitution, which allowed patients with serious illnesses access to medical marijuana by either growing up to six plants for themselves, having a caregiver grow it for them or buying Marinol. There was no mention of a commercial industry or of retail shops.

From 2000 to 2009, Colorado had a total of 4,000 medical marijuana card holders. In 2009, there was a dramatic change when the federal government announced it would not prosecute medical marijuana users in states where it had been legalized. Hundreds of dispensaries popped up in Colorado and the number of cardholders skyrocketed from 4,000 to 120,000. The Colorado Department of Health says that only 2 percent of these cardholders have cancer, aids or glaucoma.

The marijuana dispensary in Palisade was allowed to open through a special meeting in which only three out of seven town board trustees voted for it, with no public input.

The impact of these businesses has been alarming. According to the Colorado Department of Education, marijuana expulsions have increased 40 percent statewide in the last two years.

There has been a rash of crimes and accidents locally in which marijuana was allegedly involved: armed robberies and beatings, a father giving marijuana to his 14-year-old daughter and her friends, a woman killed while walking her dog.

None of this was anticipated in the amendment voters approved in 2000. Since the state Legislature passed HB 1284, allowing counties and municipalities to ban dispensaries, 75 towns have shut them down. Fort Collins citizens gathered 7,000 signatures to put the question on their November ballot. Now Palisade residents have the opportunity to protect our town from the influx of drug-related problems.

Please vote “Yes” on 2B and keep Palisade a good place to live.

DIANE COX

Palisade

Autogas is inexpensive alternative fuel source

I must commend the city of Grand Junction and Grand Valley Transit for their recent efforts to reduce emissions and costs by implementing alternative fuels in their fleets. However, it is disheartening to see tax dollars wasted by not exploring all alternative fuels.

Many municipalities have been quick to jump on the natural gas bandwagon. Autogas, a mixture of propane and butane, is a better alternative because a vehicle conversion is half the cost of CNG. An autogas fueling station costs one tenth of a CNG station, and a vehicle can be refueled in 20 minutes, instead of overnight.

The range of an autogas vehicle is also twice that of a CNG vehicle. The bottom line is an autogas vehicle will reduce emissions by 1.5 times for every dollar spent, when compared to CNG.

Autogas is plentiful, and it works. Ask the largest cab company in Las Vegas or Blue Bird school bus company.

RON FANTE

Westland Propane Inc.

Grand Junction

‘Supercommittee’ may raise health care costs

The congressional “supercommittee” is considering proposals that would shift health care costs on to seniors and cut their Social Security checks. Instead, Congress should focus on cutting waste and tax loopholes.

The 12-member congressional committee has been charged with cutting more than $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over 10 years. Colorado does not have a member on the committee, but that does not mean we should sit back. We must insist our Congress members talk to the supercommittee members.

Behind closed doors, the supercommittee is considering proposals that would make health care more costly to seniors, threaten their access to the doctors they trust, and reduce the Social Security benefits they rely on. Cutting Social Security by $112 billion could cost seniors thousands of dollars over their lifetime. Raising the Medicare eligibility age would increase out-of-pocket spending for 65- and 66-year-olds by an average of $2,000 per year.

More than 600,000 Coloradans rely on Social Security and Medicare, which also pumps billions into the local economy. It is not as if the benefits of these programs are lavish. Fifty percent of seniors 65 and older have an average annual income of $18,500 or less. Medicare beneficiaries pay an average of $3,000 out-of-pocket costs each year, and health care costs are rising.

I urge people to call members of Congress and let them know how they feel about these proposed cuts.

TERRI POTENTE

Executive Council

AARP Colorado

Fruita

Jobs put positive face on the ‘evil 1 percent’

Believe it or not, there are liberal Democrats who are flaming capitalists. Steve Jobs was one of the best examples. He was politically liberal, but hired accountants to keep his corporate tax bill as low as possible so he could employ his capital to create even better products and even more good jobs.

That’s how he became one of the wealthiest of the 1 percent that the Wall Street protesters are attacking. Jobs puts a face on that supposedly evil 1 percent.

President Barack Obama believes in government leadership creating jobs. Obviously, the government’s invention of the Internet paved the way for Jobs, but Jobs’ creative genius and persistence in seeking excellence is not something you can stimulate by throwing taxpayers’ money at it.

You need to keep capital in the hands of capitalists in order to see it grow. The reality is, spreading the wealth doesn’t create more wealth to spread or new jobs.

The president’s former Green Jobs czar, Van Jones, and the president’s close advisor, former SEIU President Andy Stern, are just two of the president’s supporters who are behind these nationwide protests against capitalism.

One of their primary targets has been Apple. The Apple logo was on the flag they have been burning at their protests. Steve Jobs’ death serves to bring attention to how effective U.S. capitalism has been. I bet most of those demonstrating don’t make the connection between jobs and Jobs. Perhaps they should.

DAVE KEARSLEY

Mesa

Columnist gets it wrong on Wall Street protesters

Columnist Star Parker is wrong on all counts. Many young, educated Americans are more adult than Parker. It is the very rich, not the recipients of Pell grants, Medicare and Medicaid, who have benefited most from the redistribution of wealth.

Parker should at least display a modicum of understanding of facts. Her opinions are not synonymous with facts.

Between 1979 and 2005, the inflation-adjusted income of middle-class families rose 21 percent while that of the top 100th of one percent rose more than 400 percent.

She apparently opposes funding for public education while favoring exempting a small number of the very rich from the social contract that applies to everyone else.

That is real class warfare. Concern about Wall Street corruption and greed is not narcissism.

DALE C. STAPLETON

Grand Junction


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