Printed letters, Sept. 26, 2010

Bennet and Democrats misconstrue the Constitution

It is disturbing that Democrats and Sen. Michael Bennett are running misleading ads against Republican Ken Buck, claiming he wants to “rewrite” the Constitution.

If they knew and understood the Constitution, they would know that it wasn’t until April 8, 1913, when the 17th Amendment was ratified, that senators were elected directly by the people of each state.

It was 1913 when the Constitution was rewritten. All Ken Buck said is that we should go back to what our founding fathers wanted when they wrote the Constitution, which was that each state’s elected representatives would select their U.S. senators.

Whether you agree with Ken Buck on this issue or not, we don’t need a senator like Michael Bennet, who does not have a basic understanding of our Constitution.

RICHARD BLOSSER

Grand Junction

Tipton should not resort to personal attacks

Recently I attended the debate between Scott Tipton and John Salazar. I was upset with Tipton’s personal attacks upon John Salazar.

In all my years attending debates, I have never seen a more egotistical person than Tipton. Tipton wrote a letter to the editor in response to a letter written by Roger Fulks, telling Fulks to get his facts straight. The fact is, Fulks is not president of PERA, and has no direct connection with PERA. He is president of the Colorado School and Public Employee Retirement Association.

Then, at the debate,  Tipton said John Salazar’s name hadn’t appeared on any bill since Salazar has been in the House. Fact is, Salazar was the sponsor of the Stolen Valor Act to protect our veterans from cheats who claim they were in the service.

I think it is time that Scott Tipton gets his facts straight.

RON STONEBURNER SR.

Grand Junction

Why is Salazar using ads to attack Scott Tipton?

What is John Salazar thinking?

I see these attack ads against Scott Tipton by John Salazar.

Scott Tipton is a multi-millionaire? Who knows? He still drives himself around in his truck. John Salazar flies around in his own airplane.

Scott Tipton wants to “phase out” Social Security? He has said he wants Social Security funds to be separate and secure, not spent in the general fund, so that recipients may continue receiving checks.

Medicare? He has never said cut Medicare. John Salazar’s vote for Obamacare will cut Medicare payments by $500 million.

Such negative ads with no basis in fact are usually run by PACs, not by credible candidates.

LOIS DUNN

Grand Junction

Salazar is not pro-gun,  despite his NRA rating

Although the NRA gives both John Salazar and Scott Tipton an “A” rating, there is a vast difference between the two candidates. Salazar is in full support of President Obama and his anti-gun agenda.

Also how ironic that some gun owners choose to vote for an anti-gun president.

CARL ZOHNER

Clifton

Stories about ballot measures fail to report the other side

The Sept. 10 story, “City budget sobering,” contained many factual errors. Amendment 60 does not “reduce school property taxes $1.5 billion each year.” It reduces school property taxes $130 million each year — or two-thirds of 1 percent of this year’s budgeted state $19.6 billion spending spree.

Amendment 23 and the school finance act (already state law) require the state to make up any shortfalls in school funding. Why? To make school funding more uniform and equitable. Western Slope schools stand to gain from passage of Amendment 60, not lose, as the article claims.

The article states that Amendment 61 requires local governments to repay bonded debt in 10 years, which increases the amount of annual payments.

What it forgot to say is that it significantly decreases the millions of dollars of interest payments on longer debts —interest which buys nothing and saddles our children and grandchildren with useless, wasted debt.

And Amendment 61 has nothing to do with state income tax. That’s Proposition 101, which also lowers our outrageously skyrocketed car registrations to $10 (more than double what it costs to process your registration).

Reeves Brown, of the advocacy group Club 20, claims this will bring us closer to anarchy than anything our state has ever seen. And The Daily Sentinel prints this with a straight face. Moderate, phased-in tax relief over several years equals anarchy? Only if you are a lobbyist or elected official who wants more and more OPM (other people’s money).

I have been the Western Slope campaign coordinator for Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 now for quite a while. The Sentinel has never once bothered to interview me to balance its doomsday stories about these initiatives, but it always interviews opponents.

If you want to read the truth instead of the “anarchy” rhetoric, go to: COtaxreforms.com, read the information and ballot texts, and volunteer to help in this citizen-driven campaign.

Revenue isn’t the problem. Spending is.

DEBBIE SCHUM Cedaredge

Bear Ranch exchange is responsible land protection

We are writing to support Rep. John Salazar for backing the Central Rockies Land Exchange. Over the past several weeks, there have been a lot of news stories, letters and editorials in area newspapers. Some are accurate. Some are erroneous.

The truth is very simple. Bear Ranch, east of Paonia Reservoir, approached the BLM about acquiring a strip of land that cuts the ranch in two. The BLM directed Bear Ranch to the Park Service, which has several acquisition priorities around the nation. Two of these are in Curecanti National Recreation Area and Dinosaur National Monument.

Right now, there is no money available for land purchases by the Park Service. Land trades are about the only way for the agency to acquire lands for protection. In addition, the Forest Service wants a trailhead to Lily Lake near Marble.

This exchange involves lands in two states — Colorado and Utah — and two Cabinet departments — Interior and Agriculture. By law, this type of exchange must happen through federal legislation.

There were no attempts to bypass public processes. To the contrary, Bear Ranch was the topic of several public meetings in Gunnison County. In addition, we understand Bear Ranch approached several local governments and organizations in Delta County in 2009 to inform them about the exchange. Those that did learn about the exchange ended up supporting it.

This exchange will benefit Delta County. Bear Ranch has offered up to $250,000 to improve access points to the Gunnison National Forest, Raggeds Wilderness, Williams Creek Reservoir and Tomahawk Reservoir. The BLM strip does not offer viable access as the Forest Service has closed motorized access off of County Road 2, and no trails from the BLM strip onto the Forest Service land are shown on any recent maps.

This exchange is the fiscally responsible way to protect land and add to the National Park Service. We should support Rep. Salazar in his efforts.

ROBERT AND TRACY TOOKER

Paonia

Bennet has little record, so he must attack opponent

Sen. Michael Bennet hasn’t done anything in Congress that the majority of us approve of, so the only thing he can campaign on is attacking his opponent. I wish candidates would just state what they support and leave their opponent alone.

I always thought the primary elections were for the people to decide who the candidate would be, but thanks to the Republican Party, who thought they were smarter than all the rest of us, they’re left with egg on their faces, and we will probably end up with another Democrat for a governor. I hope they learned something.

LAUREL GALLEGOS

Grand Junction

Sen. Bennet voted against measure to aid seniors

Why does Sen. Bennet have such vile hatred for seniors, the disabled and veterans? Why on March 3 did he vote against the measure by Sen. Bernie Sanders to provide an emergency benefit of $250 to seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities in 2010 to compensate for the lack of cost-of-living adjustment for such year?

This measure was in compliance with a similar measure passed in the House and adhered to what the president stated about not turning our backs on our elderly or those with disabilities and not neglecting our veterans.

TIM VRONAY Clifton

Bennet brings qualities Colorado needs in Senate

The recent Club 20 debate confirmed Michael Bennet to be the best choice for U.S. senator from Colorado. He brings valuable experience as a successful businessman, pragmatic innovator and insightful problem solver to the Senate.

As a managing director at the Anschutz Investment Company here in Colorado, he helped restructure four distressed companies and lead them to profitability. His work allowed these companies to grow, add employees and become successful businesses.

As superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, Bennet met daily with principals and faculty. By listening, and using his business background, he implemented constructive ideas and suggestions, balanced the budget and improved both student achievement and graduation rates. In the Senate, Bennet has continued his search for rational, common-sense solutions to the morass of problems and gridlock that have characterized Washington, D.C. in recent years. His business experience and analysis skills have allowed him to quickly understand and evaluate the long-term problems posed by the previous administration’s lack of fiscal responsibility.

Bennet’s experience and success addressing difficult choices, both as a businessman, and in the public sector, are qualities Coloradans need in the U.S. Senate. It is obvious we need to make tough decisions to reduce deficit spending, create a business climate that grows small business and creates jobs in the 21st century. But we need careful, positive, consideration of all solutions to these problems.

Michael Bennet brings common sense, a businessman’s fiscal reality, and a demonstrated ability to find and implement successful solutions to the Senate. We need these qualities in Washington.

R. JEFF SMITH Grand Junction

Hickenlooper land swap sounds similar to Koch’s

A recent AP article in The Daily Sentinel reported that gubernatorial candidate and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper exchanged approximately 600 acres of land with the U.S. Forest Service. It was valued at $1,400 an acre in 2000, when the swap was made.

Two years later, the same land that Hickenlooper received in the exchange was valued at $6,000 an acre and a portion of it was sold at $7,500 an acre — an appreciation of about 400 percent in two years. Pretty good business decision — if you weren’t a taxpayer on the losing side of this deal.

But wait, this kind of exchange seems to ring a bell. It seems that our congressman, John Salazar, is trying to broker a similar deal between the BLM and the owner of the Bear Ranch, Bill Koch.

Could it just be a coincidence that Koch is a significant campaign contributor to Salazar? And why now? Could it be that the land swap must be completed just before an election that could remove Salazar from office? One has to wonder.

RICHARD UDD

Cedaredge



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