Grand Junction wants to increase its sales tax, but it should stop wasting existing funds and tap obvious sources of new revenue first

As a liberal progressive voter, I believe it is our patriotic duty to pay taxes for public amenities that make our quality of life great, like public safety.

This coming April, though, Grand Junction City Council will ask voters to increase the City’s combined sales tax rate from the current 8.02% to a whopping 9.16%, a rate even higher than the City of Boulder.

City Council has very good arguments for needing more money: we need more fire stations, emergency response times are too long, and we have roads and bridges in need maintenance and repair.

Of course City residents want the safety and security of these amenities, but the City hasn’t done anywhere near all it could to make the best use of revenues it already has, and to create new revenue streams to fund City necessities before it goes to City residents with a request that they pay such a big increase in city sales tax.

Grand Junction may soon lose its only secular hospital

A previous blog discussed why Mesa County residents should be glad to have an alternative to a Catholic hospital in the valley and why it is so important to people’s health to have a secular hospital option available for medical care. But our valley’s one non-religious hospital option may disappear, and soon.

In October 2018, Community Hospital and Centura Health Network signed a letter of intent to merge. It provided each party with a 120 day-long window to evaluate the deal and decide whether or not to go ahead and finalize it.

Those 120 days are almost up, and a final decision on the merger must be made by February 10th.

Lessons from the Shutdown

Donald Trump just put America through the longest federal government shutdown in history, single-handedly keeping over 800,000 federal workers from being paid for over a month, hobbling law enforcement agencies and airport security, blocking immigration proceedings, causing delays in airline flights across the country, forcing hundreds of thousands of people into having to make hard decisions between paying their mortgages, buying their medicine or feeding their kids.

In the end, neither Mr. Trump nor the country gained anything at all from this exercise, but we did learn some important lessons from it.

Do you recognize this guy? Your anonymous tip could be worth money.

Surveillance camera photo of suspect who placed harassing classified ad in the Nickel

Another view of the suspect wanted on charges of harassment for placing a bogus classified ad in The Nickel.

Reposting from Mesa County CrimeStoppers Crime of the Week, 1/24/19

The Grand Junction Police Department needs your help to identify a male suspect that is wanted for harassment.

On Wednesday, January 2nd , an unknown male placed a malicious classified ad in “The Nickel” stating the victim’s house was “For Sale by Owner.” Security cameras capture a white male in his 50’s with a gray beard and last seen wearing a dark colored coat, blue jeans and a baseball cap. The surveillance photo of the suspect can be viewed at http://www.241stop.com.

If you know the identity or location of the suspect involved in this crime, please contact Crime Stoppers at (970) 241-7867. Information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest can earn you up to $1,000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous. For more information, see us at http://www.241stop.com.

Annual Grand Junction Women’s March draws huge crowds again

The third annual Women’s March in Grand Junction on Saturday, January 19th, drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 2,000 liberal and progressive western slope residents who came out to support women’s rights, equality for women and gay, lesbian and transgender people, people of color and immigrant communities.

Rep. Scott Tipton votes to continue government shutdown, keep federal workers unpaid

House Rep. Scott Tipton voted to keep inflicting financial pain on government employees to help President Trump extort American taxpayers for $5.6 billion to pay for a 2,000 mile wall between the U.S. and Mexico. (Chart courtesy of the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction.)

The western slope’s House representative in Washington, D.C., Scott Tipton, voted AGAINST a bill on Jan. 6 to end President Trump’s shutdown for most federal agencies.

The bill, HR 265, passed the House by a wide margin — 243 to 183 — and would have funded most of the parts of government that are shut down, including food safety inspections, child nutrition programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program), rural utilities programs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Farm Credit programs and other crucial agencies and functions on which Americans depend.

Currently over 800,000 federal employees are furloughed or working without pay due to the shutdown, negatively impacting commerce across the country.

Ridgway passes single-use plastic bag ban

Autumn Sagal, Indigo Krois, Elani Wallin and Maizy Gordon (Photo: Telluride Daily Planet)

On December 12 the Ridgway Town Council passed an ordinance (pdf) banning single-use plastic bags and urging residents to curtail their use of other single-use plastics like straws, single-use food take-out containers, coffee stirrers, soda bottles, disposable water bottles, eating utensils and food packaging.

The ordinance states single-use plastics have “severe negative impacts on the environment” on both a local and global scale, that they “contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, litter, atmospheric acidification,” and cause problems with water sources and harm wildlife. Ridgway’s Town Council also passed the ordinance to help reduce the amount of waste going into the town’s landfill.

New form of harassment: weaponization of classified ads

Online version of the malicious Nickel ad

Utilizing a novel form of harassment, someone put a malicious classified ad in the January 3 edition of The Nickel Classified Ads saying our house was for sale “by owner” at a lowball price, and that there will be an open house Jan 11-13. Whoever placed the ad used our numeric street address and included a verbal description of our home. They did not include a phone number in the ad.

We found out about it after a realtor came to our house with the hard copy of the ad in The Nickel in hand and showed it to us.

Ray Scott deceives constituents by strategically omitting key info from social media post

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott tried to deceive his constituents in a recent Facebook post.

In the post, Scott pointed to a recent Denver Post article about how Colorado’s marijuana tax revenues are being used, and used the benefit of a sharply truncated headline and added an ominously intro to create the perception that the legislature is misusing marijuana funds. About marijuana tax money, Scott wrote, “If you thought it went to schools this will enlighten you”.

Below is Scott’s actual post (forwarded to me by a friend, because Ray Scott blocks me from his Facebook page):

Atheist billboard graces entrance to Grand Junction for Christmas

WCAF’s 2018 winter billboard in Grand Junction, up now in front of Hobby Lobby on I-70 business loop (on the board facing west).

The non-profit group Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a digital billboard up on I-70 Business Loop in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A for Christmas that says “Make Christmas great again. Skip church!”

The sign is a reminder that the holiday focus should be more on kindness, humanity and ethical treatment of others than on organized religion, which has been proving problematic lately, and to a horrific degree.