Thursday letters: Fasting, pandemic mismanagement, county serving O&G industry, RFTA service, and social distancing
Join the ‘world-wide fasting’
Many of you have seen social posts about an invitation for a “world-wide fasting.” I would like to continue to invite all people to join in with faith and prayers on behalf of this COVID-19 pandemic virus. What for? “That the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers be protected, economy strengthened and life normalized.” What is fasting? Typically abstaining from food and water for two consecutive meals or 24 hours as health permits. But you decide what constitutes a sacrifice for you. May we fast, pray, and unite our faith on the Master healer— even Jesus Christ.
Mary Ellen Porter
Pandemic office long gone from White House
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Regarding the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase said it best in his annual shareholder letter when he wrote, ”The current pandemic is only one example of the bad planning and management that have hurt our country.”
We can thank Faux News for giving us John Bolton, the man that shuttered the National Security Council Pandemic office — the office that was the playbook for a national pandemic.
Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, the top White house official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic, left the administration in May of 2018 when John Bolton disbanded his NSC team. Adm. Ziemer left the White House on the same day that a new Ebola outbreak was announced in Congo.
Donald Trump in a March press conference claimed not to know who was responsible for disbanding the NSC pandemic team, and yet this was in the national news on May 11 of 2018.
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, a man that called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy for pandemics, left the day after Bolton took over.
Donald Trump repeatedly states that nobody saw this coming, to which I would respond with dripping sarcasm, “Oh really?!”
The people whose job it was to see this coming and to manage the response are long gone from the White House.
Mr. President, please take an afternoon off from touting the benefits of untested drugs and go up in the White House attic and look for the sign that Harry Truman kept on his desk. You know the one that says, “The buck stops here.”
Commissioners aren’t serving anybody but the oil & gas industry
Excellent column by Writers on the Range’s Dustin Bleizeffer in the April 7 Post Independent. A Wyoming native, Bleizeffer laments the Cowboy State government’s futile efforts to sustain its moribund coal industry.
Bleizeffer’s piece should be required reading for the Garfield County’s Board of County Commissioners. The Houston trio is refusing to regulate the natural gas industry, denying no drilling permits, and subsidizing with taxpayers’ money.
When extraction techniques like fracking are taken into consideration, the greenhouse gas emissions of natural gas are just as bad as coal. The only way natural gas can stay competitive price-wise with renewables is by fracking, which may soon be banned, and with government subsides.
It all adds up to the natural gas industry being doomed to the same fate as coal. The commissioners aren’t serving anybody but the industry by propping up its existence.
Fred Malo Jr.
Consider every alternative before suspending RFTA bus service
Some of us are fortunate enough to work at home during this time of viral quarantine, or to have enough savings, food and other supplies to be comfortably self-reliant. Like medieval royalty we can retreat inside our castles, pull up the drawbridge and wait until the plague has passed.
But that’s not the case for most users of the RFTA bus system. Many of them live from paycheck to paycheck, don’t own a vehicle, and rely on buses to get to their jobs, groceries and medical care. For them, RFTA is truly an essential service — although regrettably, it may not be available much longer.
This Thursday, Glenwood Springs’ City Council will consider whether to discontinue RFTA bus service within the city indefinitely, until the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Rifle has already stopped its bus service.
These closures are intended to prevent RFTA buses and passengers from bringing deadly germs into our communities. Yet the COVID-19 virus is already here, with nearly 50 confirmed cases in Garfield County so far and at least one death. RFTA drivers and passengers may be among those infected, since several of them have reportedly been in quarantine.
Coronavirus disease is obviously a serious threat to public health. But it’s not so clear whether eliminating the city’s bus service will significantly reduce the spread of this invisible enemy. It unfairly punishes bus riders while ignoring airlines and automobiles, which have also helped to spread the disease, but are still operating with precautions in place.
RFTA is now spraying buses daily with virus-killing products. It’s requiring drivers to wear protective masks and significantly reducing passenger numbers to provide more space between passengers and drivers.
Those are admirable steps, but RFTA needs to do even more to reduce the viral threat. It could, for instance, provide bus passes only to those who need the ride to buy groceries, obtain medical treatment or do a job considered “essential.”
Meantime, the city should consider every alternative before suspending a bus service that provides a vital lifeline for so many community members.
This is not social distancing
Social distancing? In my travels (note I have no contact with other humans) I have seen construction going on at all levels. I worked construction for 34 years. There is no way they can keep social distancing on the job. I’ve seen construction trucks with three, four, five people in a crew cab — trucks going to whereever. I’m sure they have families to go home to. And then they go to the shopping market, get gas, take out food and whatever.
I’ve seen a paint shop with the door up and five to six people in close quarters painting wood trim. I’ve seen a tree trimming crew of six cutting down trees, I’m also sure they go home to families, and go to the stores that are open, spreading it all over. I’ve seen six to eight kids hanging together at the skateboard park vaping. Don’t their parents have any control? I’ve seen a yard maintenance truck with six men in the truck driving around.
But the best I’ve seen was Rifle city workers laying concrete on airport road — two men trawling the concrete and four men standing shoulder to shoulder watching. They didn’t have 6 inches between them let alone 6 feet.
I believe these are all non-essential jobs. This is not social distancing. Construction can be put off for a month. They shut it down in Aspen. People don’t need their yards done, and the city should be smarter than that. This kind of contact will continue to spread this virus to everybody.
Either we all practice social distancing or let everybody go back to work and lets crash and burn. It’s better than some people ignoring the mandate and we slow burn for three to six months. The same amount of people will die, it’ll just take longer. And if people are out of work and stuck in their homes for months, you’re going to see anarchy.
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