Promote biking for max tourism spending

The December/January issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine features a two-page color spread by the Tucson visitors’ bureau, advertising why people might want to visit. Is it the warm climate, the fancy hotels, the historic sites, the many golf courses, the food, the shopping malls? No. It’s the cycling opportunities available in and around Tucson, and the text highlights both mountain biking and their 130-mile paved bike loop, and local bike shops and tours.

The Grand Junction convention and visitors’ bureau is missing a bet by not helping to improve, nor featuring, biking opportunities in the Grand Valley. Our Riverfront Trail, the Colorado National Monument, and the many mountain biking trails are certainly be a lure for travelers to make Grand Junction their destination for a short vacation from Denver or Salt Lake City. One organized bike rally over the monument this year attracted nearly 2,000 entrants alone. We live near I-70, and during most of the year, a large percentage of cars and RVs driving by are carrying bicycles. How many do you see with golf clubs or stopped at the local wineries? Many fewer. And how many come here to admire the natural gas rigs?

It’s time for those whose job it is to attract tourists and visitors to our area to look at why people travel and what they really want to do when they get to their destination, and perhaps spend some of the money they’ll get from the new lodging tax improving the biking infrastructure and promoting it.


Grand Junction

We have a right to a future free of methane pollution

As a member of the student-led, environmental advocacy group, Defend Our Future, I had the privilege to attend the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) public methane hearing held in Denver on Nov. 14. I spoke out against the Trump administration’s proposed rollbacks of the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) — an important policy put in place to protect our climate and health from the hazardous effects of methane.

This proposal by acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is dangerous and horrendously nonsensical. A comprehensive, five-year-long study done by the Environmental Defense Fund revealed that at least 13 million metric tons of methane are emitted by the oil and gas industry every year — a number almost 60 percent higher than the EPA’s estimation. As they stand, the NSPS reduce nearly 21,635 tons of methane, 6,000 tons of smog-forming volatile organic compounds, and 450,000 pounds of toxic air pollutants each year. Doing away with these standards makes absolutely no sense.

While this president would love to have the American people believe that climate change is an elaborate hoax, people are dying every day from its disastrous effects. The American people have a right to a future free of methane pollution and I encourage every Coloradoan to voice their strong opposition to these proposed rollbacks.



GOP better reinvent itself or see its power whither away

“Is it us or is it Trump?” is the question asked in the Colorado Sun’s Nov. 19 analysis of the true-blue wave in Colorado’s recent election leaving the state with a Democratic trifecta in state government and costing one Republican U.S. representative his job.

As it often is with either/or questions, the answer is both. Let’s take CD3 Congressman Scott Tipton (please). He won re-election in a blood red district with lotsa hats — cowboy, hard, and John Deere — but by a much smaller margin than in the past to Diane Mitsch Bush.

Tipton’s had his nose right up Trump’s butt for two years and that hurt him with women, millennials and minorities. Trump’s misogyny, reactionary policies, and a serious tactical error campaigning on his immigration program rather than the economy hurt Tipton among those groups.

Thirty-nine percent of those polled disapprove of Trump’s immigration policies. That’s lower than his overall job approval rating. The economy isn’t improving at the spectacular rate it did in the first two years of the Obama administration, but it’s getting better. The immigration situation isn’t.

Focusing on the cruel, racist, and xenophobic immigration crackdown doomed CD6 Congressman Mike Coffman. His district has a large Latino population.

Now let’s look at Tipton separate from Trump, if we can. It is well known Tipton is receptive to any corporate or special interest PAC that will finance his campaigns. He stands for nothing but money and there are many in CD3 who’d like to see him represent them.

In the Colorado Sun analysis, several GOP strategists said the party should stay the course and wait for the Dems to screw up with their tax-and-spend policies. This is very shortsighted.

The old white guys who make up the Republican base are dying off and being replaced by above mentioned women, millennials, and minorities who have a political outlook completely at odds with the party of Trump. The status quo will mean the end of the Grand OLD Party.



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