Printed letters, Sept. 28, 2010
Amendments will serve Mesa County poorly
The League of Women Voters of Colorado and League of Women Voters of Mesa County recommend voting “No” on Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that does not support or oppose any candidate running for office. We are directly involved in shaping the issues that keep our community fair, vibrant and strong. We take policy positions after a broad study and consensus at a grass roots level.
Amendments 60 and 61 are amendments to the Colorado Constitution, and Proposition 101 is a change to Colorado law. These three measures either eliminate revenue or severely restrict borrowing, especially at the local level. Eliminating revenue for basic services will damage the very structure that upholds property values. Commerce is dependent on a well-maintained and flexible infrastructure.
These proposals will impair the community’s ability to provide fundamental services on which we depend: fire and police protection, libraries, education, road construction and repair, law and order through our justice system, safe water delivery and sewage disposal, human services such as child protection and more.
By eliminating any borrowing at the state level, and strangling it at the local level, infrastructure such as state roads and bridges will be impossible to build, and there will be almost no capacity to build schools or libraries that we know attract healthy growth and maintain a civilized society.
From the League’s perspective, these measures are an extreme example of bad public policy, and are irresponsible in difficult economic times.
Coloradans take pride in taking care of our cities and our state, thus ensuring a vibrant, strong future. Our quality of life here in Grand Junction and Mesa County reflects our past and present willingness to pay our fair share. Vote “No” on 60, 61, and 101.
TANYA TRAVIS, President League of Women Voters of Mesa County
Low-taxing communities prove to be very costly
Regarding proposed Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101:
Some years ago, I accepted a transfer to a large community that touted its low taxes. True, taxes were about 50 percent of those in Colorado. In the first month of my new job, I noticed frequent one-day vacation requests in the middle of the week among my employees and co-workers. When I asked why, I learned that the state “couldn’t afford” to send out motor vehicle license renewals. Office hours were likewise limited and offices were few. The long lines meant expending a vacation day and required queuing up for hours to renew your license.
Another obvious problem was all the potholes in the roads that never seemed to get repaired. In the subdivision in which my family resided, I soon learned a separate district had been formed for fire protection, and trash pickup, and snow removal. Each required a separate payment. The end result was higher fees overall, far less convenience and less-predictable services.
I do not want Grand Junction to end up like this so I’m opposing these amendments.
Media should just report and analyze the news
In his Sept. 14 “Platitudes and personality…” column, Denny Herzog sure got it right when he said, “Collectively they create the news on any given day, then spend a great deal of time reporting on themselves ...” referring to talk-show hosts who sensationalize the most banal utterances of politicians instead of giving the public factual information and ideas.
A number of years ago, I actually heard Wolf Blitzer comment that he doesn’t just report the news, he creates it. When TV news reporters began interviewing other reporters, I knew it was time to turn off the TV.
News is what I seek, not entertainment. I cling to the one weekday news show that actually does something quaint — reports and analyzes the news. And, of course, The Daily Sentinel.
Stimulus money aided Mesa County residents
Gov. Bill Ritter’s office has released county-by-county tabulations showing the federal stimulus money (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding) received so far.
The funding in Mesa County has been awarded to a wide spectrum of services and public-works projects. It has helped our citizens recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Thanks to Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Congressman John Salazar, the citizens of Mesa County have received a safety net, without which they would have suffered even more. For example, in Mesa County the stimulus provided approximately $1.8 million in food-stamp assistance, $1.3 million to the Grand Junction Police Department for five police officers for three years and over $7.4 million for highway projects including the I-70 Palisade interchange and I-70 B improvements.
The Grand Valley Regional Transportation District received over $1.5 million for a bus maintenance facility and the Grand Junction Regional Airport received over $9.3 million for airport improvements.
Under the category of “Energy and Environment” projects, over $4 million was awarded, including: low-income weatherization, trail improvements to the Colorado National Monument and funds for energy improvements at Dos Rios and Pear Park elementary schools.
Schools received over $18 million under the state fiscal stabilization program, enabling teachers to be retained. Health care assistance for information technology to Mesa County totaled over $11 million.
To date, a grand total of approximately $105 million has been allocated to Mesa County, not including income- tax cuts and Medicaid funds. Each of these projects has generated and/or retained local jobs.
Clearly, the actions of President Barack Obama, Sens. Bennet and Udall and Congressman Salazar have saved us from a disaster and reinvigorated our economy.
Changing of the guard needed across the board
Time to change our guards in Washington, state capitals and hometowns as well.
One refreshing program would be to require all public servants except for our military to first provide a financial performance bond.
This is in order to prevent what happened with Social Security, Medicare, prescription drug plan and last, but not least, Obamacare.
All four programs were voted into law with false figures as to cost, in order to get them enacted into law. The legislators who voted for these schemes knew all the shortcomings and, as a result, exempted themselves from having to participate.
Our public servants, for the most part, have turned into permanent dependents whom we cannot deduct at income tax time.
Rule No. 1: Be as prudent with taxpayers’ money as you must be with your own or forfeit all government benefits for the next number of years until you reach 90.
JOHN O. SPENDRUP
Lower taxes mean less protection
Republican mantra: Lower taxes, smaller government. We are about to get it with fewer police officers and a smaller district attorney’s staff. A year from now, we will see how the Republicans like our new smaller government.