Thank you, Herb Bacon, for supporting community
During these divisive and economically worrisome times, David Brooks’ column on Jan. 10 reminded us that “Leadership matters. Character matters.” No truer statement describes the impactful life of Herb Bacon. This humble, kind and thoughtful man and his family have enriched us all in Mesa County, the state of Colorado and the world.
Ten years ago, I went to the Republic of Georgia to implement a mentoring program for youth involved in the Georgian Ministry of Justice. Herb contacted and gave me a donation to help the Georgian Mentoring Program get started halfway around the world. He and Laura May had visited this former Soviet Union State in 1991 when for the first time in 74 years the Orthodox Churches could ring their bells.
Herb was a builder. His footprints walk positively and gently through so many of our nonprofit and public agencies. While not an all-inclusive list of the beneficiaries of the Bacon Family Foundation, the following shows the width and depth of its impact locally: St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand Junction Rotary, United Way, Community Food Bank, Hope West, Partners and Western Colorado Conservation Corps, Suicide Prevention, Hilltop Community Resources, Colorado Mesa University, Mesa County Libraries, Museum of the West, and the Las Colonias Amphitheater. Also known for supporting programs outside of Mesa County, the Bacon Family has assisted the National Jewish Hospital and Colorado Children’s Hospital. Thank you, Herb and the Bacon Family, for boosting all of us upward.
Russell George’s opinion wrongfully presented as news
It was extremely disappointing to open Friday’s Daily Sentinel to see the long article about Russell George’s OPINION reported as front page news. The elite political class and media are again dividing the people. Lauren Boebert was duly elected by a six-point margin despite RINO George’s endorsement of her opponent. His opinion is false and his agreement with those who want power over the people above all is divisive. Ms. Boebert DID NOT play a role in the attack on the Capitol and it is wrong to make such a statement. She stood for those needing a voice who elected her, and followed the law and Constitution. She is keeping her campaign promises. What is “unforgivable” is Mr. George’s false narrative to which The Daily Sentinel gave so much space. The people spoke and she deserves our support.
Is this the ‘Great America’ Trump backers envisioned?
The last terrorist attack on U.S. soil was on Sept. 11, 2001. The last time our nation’s Capitol building was stormed was Aug. 24, 1814, during the War of 1812. On Wednesday, Jan. 6, President Donald Trump spurred thousands of his loyalists to “walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol [...] Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong,” and what followed was the first insurrection attempt since the Confederacy declared war against the United States on April 12, 1861.
Our nation’s 45th president will certainly go down in history, but to my friends and neighbors who have waved his flag and donned his MAGA hat, I ask you: Is this what you envisioned when you embraced the slogan, Make America Great Again? Is this the Great America you want?
Do I believe that all of the proud Trump supporters in our community would have participated in this act of domestic terrorism? No, I do not. That is why I am writing this letter — to appeal to the goodness in your human hearts and your genuine patriotism, which is not fealty to this thoroughly broken man. Will you choose to finally see that events at the Capitol are the logical conclusion of years of hateful rhetoric? Will you finally chose to reject this man and his politics of division?
I know some won’t. They will double down on the delusional conspiracies peddled by this conman. They will decry the summer’s civil rights demonstrations, parroting his whataboutism. Those folks are beyond reason. But are you? I encourage my friends and neighbors who feel unheard and unhelped to now realize that your faith in Trump has been misplaced, and that true change in America is only achieved through powerful words, not cowardly actions. Through unity, not division. Through love, not hate.
Why try to ‘understand’ those willing to believe lies?
After the assault on the U.S. Capitol, I actually heard people in the right-wing media trying to defend the pro-Trump terrorists say things like, “These people are frustrated and angry. Their voices are not being heard. No one is listening to their concerns.” Yes, and for good reason! Their concerns and frustrations are based on erroneous facts and lies spread for at least four years by Trump and the right-wing media. They are concerned and frustrated about conspiracy theories! Why would we be listening to these unhinged people believing all of these ridiculous lies? If you believe all of these lies, that’s your problem, not my problem. I’m not listening to people who believe in widespread election fraud when there is no such EVIDENCE. I also am not listening to people who believe the Earth is flat and is only 6,000 years old. My only response to these people is to tell them the truth. It is not my responsibility to listen to their ridiculous beliefs in some kind of understanding way and give them any kind of forum to make them sound valid.
We must do better than balance budget on backs of seniors
Twenty years ago our state lawmakers enacted a residential property tax exemption for seniors and disabled veterans. At the time, the law provided a tax credit of 50% on the first $200,000 in value for your primary residence. Currently, this credit ranges from a low of $6 on a 1950s mobile home, on up to about $500 annually for a typical house. Yet, in Mesa County, our residential assessed value has more than doubled in the past two decades, from $430 million at the turn of the century to more than $1 billion in 2020. It’s time to adjust the math on the exemption.
Since the residential assessment rate is now frozen statewide, this exemption will become increasingly vital to more than 9,000 senior/veteran households. We should urge our lawmakers to take action and increase the exemption to 50% on the first $400,000 in value, then adjust it each year for inflation by tying it to statewide assessed value. Also, make the exemption portable so that folks don’t lose it if they decide to downsize.
We might get pushback on this proposal from the state budget office. But really, it’s not their money in the first place. Furthermore, do we really need to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors and disabled vets? If so, we can do better.
Deputy Mesa County Assessor
We need elected leaders who appreciate value of public land
As a local artist, I am inspired by the unspoiled scenery that our public lands provide in the North Fork Valley watershed. The peaks and valleys that surround my home often provide the location for my “en plein air” (French for working outside on location) artwork, as well as bolster our local economy as people from across the country travel to the North Fork to experience the viewshed and eat and drink our local produce. We owe our public lands so much, and as we look towards 2021, we must thank and respect them by protecting them.
We need leaders at the state and federal level who understand the value of our local public lands and work with us to protect them from threats such as drought, wildfire, and oil and gas developments, all stemming from a changing climate. In agreeing with Shawn Larson and Micheal DeJager’s piece “New Year’s toast to Colorado’s newest Senator” published on Jan 3 in the Sentinel, I wish to welcome our new U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper to office and wish to work with him on protecting the North Fork Valley’s public lands for our local economy for future generations.