A time for common sense

Today we see unrest across our country, the latest brought on by police brutality during the worst pandemic in over a hundred years. This comes as we are challenged by accelerating climate change, degrading health care and increasing income inequality.

We need the US Congress to work for the people. That is why I have been working for the Diane Mitch Bush campaign for the US House of Representatives. Diane served as a Routt County Commissioner before becoming a Colorado state representative. In these positions she brought “common sense” solutions to pressing issues. Having lived in Routt County for 43 years, Diane understands our concerns and needs: health care reform, protection of our public lands, water rights, good jobs, and women’s rights.

There is a lot of hand-wringing over the inability of Congress to get things done. Diane is a proven leader who has worked effectively in all of her positions. Let’s elect Diane to serve us in the capital.


Steamboat Springs

Boebert's untruths need correcting

I was glad to receive Scott Tipton’s political mailer the other day. Yeah, glad to receive a political mailer that would have normally gone straight in the trash. Tipton corrected the untruths Lauren Boebert has been saturating the local TV market with lately.

Boebert claims that Tipton supported AOC’s “Squad” by voting for a Boulder Bailout. The truth is the bill, HR 6467 allowed all communities of fewer than 500,000 to apply for federal coronavirus relief. Yes this includes Boulder but also every community on the Western Slope.

Boebert goes on to claim Tipton supported amnesty for illegal aliens. Again, untrue, the bill HR 5038 aided immigrant farm workers to enter the country legally on a temporary basis. Guest workers are vital, especially to the agriculture industry. Perhaps Ms. Boebert should consider what could remain on the menu of her Rifle restaurant without these workers. (Hint: How about nothing?)

The only part of the mailer that was disconcerting was on the other side where Mr. Tipton brags about President Trump’s endorsement. Mr. Tipton being a Trump sycophant is really the only problem I have with him, but Ms. Boebert would be this times two. I will be voting for Scott Tipton.


Grand Junction

Council should be better listeners to community's concerns

I find myself bothered and saddened by the unsavory exchange between Grand Junction City Council members in regards to protestors attending a recent city council meeting.

When you make the decision to run for an elected position, you are volunteering your time and energy to lead our community. Our community's hardships, pains, success, and future rest upon your shoulders. You must be able to listen with open ears, hearts, and minds to the plights of our community. Just because our community is small, and rather pocketed, does not mean the pain of our nation doesn’t rest within some of us as well.

I do understand that no one likes to be caught off guard; being able to prepare and ensure you’re bringing the best of yourself forward is important. Being in the positions you are, I believe it is imperative you remain adaptable. Being able to absorb what our community is saying regardless of how passionately, distastefully, or angrily they do it is key. Some of the comments made by Mayor Duke Wortmann and Council member Phillip P'ea were deeply unsettling and reflective of rather poor leadership.

Addressing first P'ea’s comments of resorting to “aggression” or “bringing in his Glock” the next time he’s surprised by protestors in a council meeting is absolutely abhorrent. Violence should not be met with violence, as we have seen and are learning through current events. It sends a message of unwillingness to listen to members of our community unless done so in a way that makes him feel safe and comfortable, which misses the point of the speakers at the protest entirely. If at any moment you are concerned for your safety, excuse yourself. Threatening violence further closes the line of communication from our community to you, our council leaders.

Mayor Wortmann’s comments were equally unsavory. His apparent anger and frustration communicates to members of our community his unwillingness to listen in the face of adversity. Being upset and taking being cursed at personally is incredibly petty and unprofessional. Again, adaptability as a leader is important. Being able to really hear what is being spoken to you is what is key, regardless of the harsh language used. Taking it personally is petty and misses the point entirely.

While I understand more could have done to prepare you for that evening, I don’t think you would have ever been prepared to listen to those comments, and the way they were expressed, otherwise. Being surprised only lasts for so long; if you sat through that entire meeting ruminating on how pissed off you were that you didn’t have proper notice, you should be ashamed. That meeting was not about you in the slightest, that meeting was about listening to our community.

All I ask is that you reflect on how you can be a better and stronger council moving forward. How you can be better listeners to our community. How you can be more empathetic or sympathetic to our community. How you can be better leaders in our community.



Grand Junction

Romanoff will energize Coloradans of all stripes

On June 30, Coloradan Democrats and independents will have the opportunity to vote in the Democratic Primary for a candidate to oppose Republican Cory Gardner in the race for the U.S. Senate. Cory Gardner has earned the nickname “Cardboard Cory” for his refusal to attend town halls in Colorado. He has also supported Trump at every step. Thus, for any Coloradan seeking a senator willing to listen to voters and to make independent, considered decisions, this primary election is critical.

John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff are the two Primary candidates. The two most critical issues that divide them are climate change and health care.

Hickenlooper believes in an incremental approach to solving both problems. He has accepted money from the fossil fuel industry and would not ban fracking now. Romanoff states that we have “run out the clock” on climate change; we have to ban fracking as part of acting comprehensively and immediately. Eliminating fracking would essentially shut down the fossil fuel industry, our single largest polluter. Hickenlooper talks about his ability to “negotiate” with opposing parties. But it is unlikely that the fossil fuel industry will negotiate itself out of business.

As for healthcare, the story is much the same. Once again, Hickenlooper wants to go slow and build on the Affordable Care Act. But we don’t know how he would get from there to comprehensive coverage. Romanoff wants to pursue Medicare for all. He wants the coverage to start at age “0” and include, ear, eye, dental, and mental health care. His vision has been called “socialist,” but it is no more so than Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public schools, etc. And it takes only the current pandemic to underscore how critical it is. Other industrialized nations do it and exceed U.S. health outcomes.

Aside from their respective positions on the issues, the two men have very different personas - a critical factor in determining who will win the election and subsequently have the most impact in the Senate. Hickenlooper comes across as a decent man. Romanoff emanates energy, compassion, idealism, work ethic, and intellect. He is a strikingly articulate orator, who will energize Coloradans of all stripes to go to the polls and vote for him over Gardner in November. And he will elevate debate in the U.S. Senate to persuade his colleagues to do what is right and necessary to protect our people and our planet.


Grand Junction

For a sense of security about voting, tour the clerk's office

For those paranoid, and politically biased, Mesa County residents who are backing the effort to recall Ms. Tina Peters as Mesa County Clerk, I have one comment: Methinks that they protest way too much! And then we have recent letter-writer Ms. Buckley, who posits that she will "not use the 'ballot drop off box' just steps away from her {Ms. Peters} office," ...but instead will use one of the other five locations, hoping it will increase the odds of my ballot being counted." What are the odds that her ballot will be more or less likely being counted if she drops it at the Clerk's Office or in Fruit or Clifton?

I dropped my ballot in that same "unreliable" drop off box on Monday, and happened to meet Ms. Peters. She offered to give me a tour of the entire ballot processing and counting facility, an offer which I accepted. The process has multiple safeguards, "chain of document" security tags, a state-of-the art camera which compares the signature on the yellow envelope to past signatures, three ballot scanning devices (not connected to the Internet) and numerous other safeguards. All processing rooms are being continuously filmed, and all ballots and security tags, etc. are boxed or bagged and kept for a lengthy period of time. Collection, processing and handling of ballot materials are always overseen by one Democrat and one Republican volunteer.

I strongly recommend that any Mesa County resident/voter who wishes to be educated about the ballot procedures before casting her/his ballot in the current primary or the upcoming November election, call the Mesa County Clerk's Office to request the "tour." Ms. Peters told me that she will be happy to guide you on the 10-15 minute tour.


Grand Junction

Voter impressed with Iacino

I’m writing this letter in support of James Iacino, who is running in the Democratic primary race in order to take on Scott Tipton.

I believe we have two strong candidates vying for this seat and I’ve waited a fairly long time to speak because I couldn’t decide. Diane Mitsch Bush and James both both called me, personally, which shocked me. Both listened and had good ideas. But two things stood out about Iacino. He asked first if I was OK or if I needed anything. I’ve never been called by a candidate before, so that struck me. He called me again, him, not a rep, and seemed interested in my worries about women, climate, COVID-19, and how we are going to help our displaced workers as we move away from fossil fuels. We spoke about that at length. And then, I got a third call from a rep, who asked after my health, and wondered how I might help. I said I could write. As I said, I spoke to Diane once. She also asked how I was, and I feel we could use a strong woman candidate. But there was something refreshing about Iacino and I liked his contact people. This was a tough choice for me. I like both the candidates' agendas and approaches to our problems, but James were more in line with my own, especially regarding fossil-fuel-worker displacement. That he comes from the area of Colorado where I spent a lot of growing-up years doesn’t hurt either. I want a deep-dyed Western-Slope leader. All of it — his positive stance on climate, women’s rights, and education dovetail with mine. He has my vote. I hope he’ll get yours.


Grand Junction

Walker did a lot of good for Grand Junction

I am against the name of the soccer and lacrosse field at CMU being changed from Walker Field. The fact that he joined the KKK doesn’t speak as loudly as the fact that he fought to stop them once he knew what they were about. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? Changing things for the betterment of our brothers?

I don’t feel that we know enough about his “inviting” the people who started the KKK to move to Grand Junction. He may not have known they were members. It wasn’t something that people announced in public. It was a SECRET organization. All of us make mistakes, we dont want our one mistake to negate all the good we did, and Walter Walker did a lot of good for Grand Junction!


Grand Junction

Target of KKK forgave Walker

In the 1920s the Grand Junction KKK wrought their hatred and announced their presence in Grand Junction and to my family, personally! I could leave the story at this but I must continue as it shows the character of the Walter Walker and the Walker family.

My great-grandfather, Louis Brodak, owned Grand Junction Clay Products.The brick plant was at the end of North 17th Street and Wellington Avenue. The firm made bricks from 1922 until well into the 1950s. The old Mesa County courthouse, Mesa College, the regional center, Whitman School, Tope Elementary and countless other places are made with GJCP brick. That’s all fine and good but this story is about the KKK and Walker and the Brodaks.

In about 1924 the local KKK was in its prime. They were so virulent and pervasive they convinced their members to burn a large cross denouncing race, foreigners, immigration and anything not “American." The property they chose to burn the cross on. It was the hill above Louis Brodak’s home. He, for some unknown reason, represented the foreign evil the local KKK wanted to send away. Why? It’s still a mystery. Who else in this community had a KKK cross burned on their property? Please come forward and share your family history of it too.

That cross burning is burned into my family’s very clear memory thanks to our grandfather. He was the son of Louis’s local Catholic immigrant family. All they wanted to do was be American and succeed. They did and, for a very brief time in the 1920s, were targeted for their ethnicity and religion. Ugly, YES!!!!!….but that is not the end of Walter Walker’s story with my family and the KKK.

So, as we all know, Walker renounced the KKK. What is not known is Walter even apologized to Louis Brodak for the cross burning. So much so that when Walter built his home on Patterson he bought Louis’ Grand Junction Clay Products brick for the fireplaces and chimneys. It was such a reversal my grandfather, L.A. “Art” Brodak, remembered it till his death. Art even laid the water line to Walker's house in 1938.

You may ask this; “ What is the point of this drivel?” Well, it’s about forgiveness and honor and not being blinded by modern views of false truths of the past.

Louis Brodak forgave Walter Walker for the cross burning episode. So much so Louis's descendants were taught to trust the Sentinel and contemplate its views. Not to necessarily agree with but trust and respect.

What does that mean now. Well.…it speaks to the cowardly idea of removing any honor of Walter Walker in our community. Yes, COWARDLY! Had Walker been a lifelong racist, YES, expunge any public honor in any way…but he and his family were not! The 1920s were a different time than the 2020s. The whole concept of race and sex and gender and whatever were monumentally different! Regardless, there were those caught up in the time, played the game and then realized it was a false narrative and ideal that went against their true beliefs. Walter Walker was one of these people. Hands down, I know he renounced the racist ideals and tried to reverse what those groups he had previously been associated with did.

Now do we, in 2020, have the courage to understand the past, respect it and also still honor the legacy of Walter Walker? I sincerely hope so. No, he was not perfect. He made mistakes, was actually physically assaulted for standing up for the injustices and tried to make amends. Would any of us have the courage to do the same, today?

Walter Walker was no saint. He did wrong and knew it. He asked for forgiveness and backed it up with word and action. Who are we, in 2020, with the 20/20 ability of revisionist hindsight vision, really honest in our analysis? If any of us are truly forgiving men of our respective faiths, how can we cast heavy stones now?

Yes, we should consider who we honor. It should be right….for the “right “ reasons, at the “right” time and for the “right” individual. Walter Walker was a fallible human being, no doubt. Regardless, we should still consider him a “right” person to honor in our collective community history. Forgiveness underscores my belief on this, hands down.


Grand Junction

Democrats build bridges, not walls

Enough!! Enough of the radical conservatives in this town echoing the falsehoods and blather heard on FOX News, OAN and Rush Limbaugh. Let's get this straight.

Democrats are NOT against businesses making money; they do NOT want to make decisions for everyone in the country; they are NOT expecting obeisance from all Americans. Democrats simply want to keep the country safe for future generations, both financially and healthwise.

This is what Democrats believe:

We believe in truth in science.

We believe all people are created equal and deserve equal justice in all situations.

We encourage renewable energy sources that go hand in hand with preserving the environment.

We believe every citizen has a right to access affordable health care.

We believe in background checks for gun ownership to prevent the senseless killing of innocent victims.

We believe all children deserve the best education available regardless of where they live or their financial circumstances.

We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

We believe voting is the most sacred right we have and should not be repressed under any circumstances.

We want to build bridges, not walls. Walls are not inclusive and we believe in inclusivity.

We believe that immigrants are what made this country the country it is and should not be disallowed entry.

We believe that the government should have no role in a woman's choice when it comes to her body.

We believe that money should be removed from the political process and Citizens United should be repealed. Money is the cause of the abuse of power we see daily in the news from Washington.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!



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