Printed letters, Sept. 24, 2010

Senate should reject the latest union plan

Union bosses are desperate to shore up their flagging membership and have proved that they are willing to do just about anything that will bring more workers under their control. Their latest plan is so over the top that Congress has had to step in to hold them back with Senate Joint Resolution 30, which may be up for a vote this week.

First it was the misleadingly named Employee Free Choice Act, a proposal to take away employees’ right to a secret-ballot vote on unionization. Now, it’s a scheme to repeal majority rule, a long-standing policy that prevents a small minority of workers from forcing everyone at a company into union membership. And this time, unions have gotten a normally impartial federal agency — the National Mediation Board, which oversees railroads and airlines — to go along with them.

Under the new NMB rule, only a majority of those people actually voting need to support the union. For example, if a company has 6,000 employees and 1,000 of them participate in a union election, only 501 of them would need to vote “Yes” to bring the union in. All 6,000 workers would have to abide by a decision made by just 501 people. Obviously, this would give union organizers a tremendous advantage.

This has significant meaning for Colorado. We are a transportation hub for the Rocky Mountain region, with both a strong rail and airline presence. Thousands of our fellow citizens will be directly affected by this issue.

We urge Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall to stand up for the rights of individual workers and for the bedrock principle of majority rule in union elections.

DIANE SCHWENKE President and CEO Grand Junction Area

Chamber of Commerce

Grand Junction

City ignored concerns with gravel-pit approval

On June 8, I attended a city Planning Commission meeting to voice my concerns about a proposed gravel pit to be located near my residence. Prior to the meeting, I had done research and submitted a five-page letter citing legal, safety and environmental issues that had to be addressed prior to the issuance of a permit.

In my letter, I advised that I was not completely opposed to the project, provided that each concern was addressed. Additionally, my letter contained solutions for each problem.

During the meeting, additional concerns were brought up and the planning commission voted to deny the project. I left the meeting feeling reassured that our city officials really do listen to the people and want to do the right thing for our community.

Sadly, on Aug. 2, the City Council rejected the planning group’s decision and returned it for reconsideration.

On Sept. 14, I attended the planning commission meeting to review the prior decision. This time, I specifically asked the commission about my letter. I was informed it had been received and was part of the file they would use to render their decision. I reiterated the inherent problems with the project and the commission acknowledged my concerns. Upon completion of my presentation, others spoke for and against the project.

Prior to the final vote, the commission discussed several minor issues, none of which were the concerns we had raised. Additionally, the moderator advised he believed the petitioner had addressed all our concerns. Subsequently, the permit was approved.

Leaving the meeting, I felt I had just witnessed a travesty of justice. I believed the commission was acting on “orders” to approve this permit regardless of the legal, safety and/or environmental problems. But more seriously, this time, I felt the city did not listen to the people and did not care about doing the right thing for our community.

GARY PARROTT

Grand Junction

Medical pot debate is about patient care

Seems that the issue of allowing shops to sell medical marijuana has its hurdles. I agree, I don’t care for a drug shop to be on every corner, but could we look at the whole issue at hand?

I knew a man who had lymphatic cancer. He was able to keep working with treatments of chemo and radiation. He was able to live an additional year beyond the predicted end date.

The only reason he kept going was the daily use of medical marijuana. He did not share with anyone, and he worked through some tremendous heat and cold. He just wanted to be able to be “normal.”

So, what if we legislate that a medical shop cannot be within 10 city blocks of a school? What if we tax the medical marijuana a little higher and allocate it to the fight of meth?

The marijuana is for the pain that people are suffering, and it is much better than the opiate drugs that are being prescribed.

I think that we have missed the big picture on this item. It is about the care of patients.

MIKE PARKER

Fruita



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