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Your Letters

After reading The Aug. 13 letters by Steven Elmore and Jack Blankenship questioning President Obama’s citizenship, I feel compelled to respond.

Birthers, and the tea-baggers from whom they spawn, are grasping at whatever silly factoid they can find to attempt to prove that the black man with a funny name is not one of us and does not belong.

The fact that two independent newspapers reported on his birth, that his mother’s name was in the hospital registry and that he has a birth certificate that has been certified by the Hawaii Secretary of State as authentic mean nothing to them.

They would have you believe that our president is in office because some Kenyan villager, a Kansas farm girl and some Indonesians got together in 1961 and hatched a sinister plot to take the presidency in 2008 by not allowing him to see his father but once or twice in his life, getting madrasa training as a youth, and then moving to Chicago, where he would get good grades and get into ivy league schools, where he would use being the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review as a stepping stone to get into politics.

The plotters in 1961 had it planned that a member of the Bush family would run the economy into the ground in the early 2000s and lie to start an unpopular war, giving their sleeper agent the opportunity to take everyone’s guns, convert America to Islam and institute a new world order.

I say if you want to hate (or love) our president, do so for the things he actually does or does not do, not crazy, made-up fantasies. If it seems that I might be insinuating that hating the president for these crazy reasons is racist, it is because I am.

Dan Bokenko

Glenwood Springs

The campaign to Protect our Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy has officially begun. The Garfield County commissioners voted unanimously on Aug. 13 to place a sales tax measure on the November ballot that would fund a much-needed open land program for Garfield County.

We want to thank the three commissioners for their thoughtful and detailed work on this important issue.

After three years of meetings and more meetings, the local citizens group, the Garfield Legacy Project, and the commissioners forged a proposed program that is unique to Garfield County.

The resulting ballot measure (1A), if passed in the Nov. 6 election, creates a 0.25 percent sales tax, resulting in approximately $2 million annually for the protection of local open lands. The program would provide support to our agricultural economy, safeguard our rivers and streams, and enhance the recreation and trails we enjoy.

Now is the time to take a forward approach to preserving our ranching heritage and open lands. Our growing tourism economy depends upon it.

We are very excited to talk about the program and to provide factual resources and pertinent information on the ballot measure. Anyone who is interested in joining the Garfield Legacy Project can visit our website, and find out more.

Mary Noone

Garfield Legacy Project

Glenwood Springs

Regardless of their political stripes, readers have got to admit, the major corporate extraction industries pulling the strings under the disguise of the Republican Party have really given us an amazing party trick.

Every time Mitt Romney opens his mouth, all of the Republican candidates down ticket, follow up with “extraction industries.” It’s really a fabulous ventriloquist act, even though the soundbites that come out look like old Japanese Godzilla movies.

Here’s the choreography, and folks, it is spectacular. Mr. Romney’s strings get pulled by the corporate fossil fuel plutocrats, and immediately the Republican candidates jump into a chorus line like the New York Rockettes.

Mr. Romney says something about job creation, and his back-up squad says, “extraction industries.” When Mr. Romney says, “economic recovery,” the line does a little kick, and says, “extraction industries.” If Mr. Romney says, “Cut government spending and invest our money in …” the boys in red do a twirl with arms waving high in the air and say, “extraction industries.”

My favorite part is the grand finale, where Mr. Romney starts preaching about corporations being people, too. He yells, “The poor need to work, women need to be home with children, immigrants need to go back to the country they came from, and we can’t afford to be a welfare state for deviants like the LGBT community, because we need to invest in the – .” And the music blasts “God Bless America,” American flags waving everywhere, with each Republican candidate raising their right hand in solidarity, and booming out, “extraction industries.”

The crowd goes wild, chanting “Extraction, extraction, extraction.”

I certainly appreciate a good show. But really, the facts don’t add up with the rhetoric. Quality outdoor recreation industry jobs have outpaced extraction industry jobs three to one at a rate of 6.1 million created to 2.0 million since 2005. Extraction is contracting.

One can’t help but enjoy the Republicans’ spectacle. Until we see the strings being pulled. Then we’re all reminded of the harsh reality of who, and what, has hijacked the government of the people.

Anita Sherman

Glenwood Springs

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s latest anti-job, anti-energy initiative places roughly 200,000 acres worth of American natural resources permanently off limits from development. Strangely, he is bringing this up during a recession, in the midst of a national discussion over how to become more energy independent, and amid rising fuel prices.

The senator’s proposed legislation concerning the Thompson Divide is yet one more example of the backward thinking that has kept the recession going, unemployment high, and growth at a virtual standstill for years.

Removing forever the possibility for energy companies to acquire leases in the Thompson Divide area, and bullying the rightful owners of existing leases into voluntarily donating or otherwise abandoning them, is a cop-out to an environmentalist movement that cares little for the social and economic costs of its ideological crusades.

Contrary to his statement that this bill is to be a “starting point for discussions on how to address concerns about possible oil and gas development in the Thompson Divide area,” the reality is that this legislation shows that Sen. Bennet has no interest in discussing development. He has but a single goal in this issue, one he shares with his former state energy liaison and grants director, and current executive director of the environmentalist lobby group Thompson Divide Coalition, Zane Kessler. That goal is to prevent economic development from ever occurring on more than 200,000 acres in the heart of western Colorado’s energy country.

As the senator representing a state with an unemployment rate of more than 8 percent, perhaps Sen. Bennet’s time would be better served trying to find ways to actually grow the economy rather than cozying up with his buddies and inner circle in the environmentalist movement to find new and creative ways to constrain it.

Dennis White

Grand Junction

I’m writing to voice my concern about Bedrock Resources LLC’s proposed rock crushing operation off of County Road 315, which will directly impact the quality of crops and organic certification of the nearby Eagle Springs Organic farm.

Eagle Springs Organic has invested much time and money to obtain USDA organic certification, making it the largest certified operation in our area. Certification takes a minimum of three years, a plethora of special equipment, cultivation practices and product handling standards, numerous inspections and consistent recordkeeping and reporting.

Certified organic farms must have distinct, defined boundaries and buffer zones to prevent the unintended contact with a prohibited substance applied to adjoining land that is not under organic management (National Organic Program, 7 CFR 205.202(c)).

Even on a nonwindy day (is there such a thing on the Western Slope?), dust from rock, asphalt and concrete crushing would not have to drift far to impair Eagle Springs’s ability to meet the above standard. Their certification could be wiped out in literally one day.

I would like to emphasize that I do not oppose Bedrock Resources as a company or rock crushing operations in general in our county; but in this particular situation, the proposed location is just not in the right place.

I believe in proper siting and zoning of industrial activities to avoid unnecessary impacts. And I know the county believes in this, too: “The nature, scale, and intensity of a proposed use must be compatible with adjacent land uses and will not result in an adverse impact to adjacent land” (Unified Land Use Resolution Standard 7-103).

Garfield County is blessed to have the land, climate and soils that support growing a rich diversity of crops and livestock. In turn, our local farms and ranches provide nutrient-rich foods that sustain our residents and diversify the county’s economic portfolio. This is an important and profitable niche for the county.

I urge the commissioners to take this information into careful consideration as they make their decision about whether or not to approve the land use change permit from Bedrock Resources in this particular location.

Skye Sieber


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