Sen. Ray Scott tanks bill to boost electric vehicle charging stations across the state

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott

Mesa County’s State Senator Ray Scott was the key “no” vote that killed a bill to encourage utility companies to build more infrastructure across the state for electric vehicles (EVs). The bill, SB18-216, would have permitted electric companies to build more EV charging stations and recoup the costs of the construction by charging fees to users. The bill would have expanded the use of clean-running electric vehicles in Colorado by making it easier for people to charge them when traveling across the state.

Tanking the bill was a goal of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an astroturf front group funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, owners of Koch Industries, a private conglomerate with holdings in oil and gas. 

Canal roads voted “Best Health Club” in Sentinel’s “Best of the West” contest

Area residents voted trespassing on the Grand Valley’s irrigation canal roads as the “Best Health Club” in the Daily Sentinel’s “Best of the West” contest in a “favorite write-in votes” section. Almost 4,000 people voted in the “Best of the West” contest.

Don’t be fooled. Gun massacres are about GUNS, not mental illness.

Yes, President Trump, it IS a ‘guns situation.’

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Republicans are claiming that the easy availability of guns in the U.S. isn’t even a factor in our national epidemic of mass shootings. Instead they point to mental illness as the only factor that should be considered.

Hogwash.

Milo Yiannopoulos’s Grand Junction show cancelled

Milo Yiannopoulos

Grand Junction has been spared a potentially embarrassing and costly problem. A show by white supremacist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos scheduled for April 14th at an undisclosed location in Grand Junction has been cancelled. The website for the event, “A Night with Milo, Grand Junction” says tickets to the Grand Junction event are no longer on sale. No more details are provided. The tickets had been priced at $40-$109 — expensive for any event in Grand Junction. Yiannopoulos was also supposed to appear in Las Vegas the night before the Grand Junction event, but that appearance has also apparently been cancelled.

Great news, and another win for Grand Junction’s growing liberal/progressive community.

 

Atheist billboard graces entrance to Grand Junction at Easter, 2018

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a new digital billboard up in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A at Rimrock Marketplace on I-70 B just in time for Easter. It shows a child with a shocked look on his face holding a book that looks very much like a Bible. It says “Belief without proof is gullibility.” You can see the board as you are heading west on I-70 B.

WCAF wanted their spring billboard to have an educational component this year. The group wanted to emphasize that people deserve proof before believing what they’re told. They also want to urge people to come to logical conclusions based on verifiable facts rather than on lore, mythology or pure faith.

WCAF’s mission is to educate the public about atheism, promote acceptance of atheism as a rational belief system and preserve and promote the wall of separation between church and state.

The board is up through Tuesday, April 4. WCAF says anyone who takes their photo with the billboard and posts it on WCAF’s Facebook page will get a free package of M&Ms.  To donate to more billboards like this, go to WCAF’s Donation page.

Trump’s war on worker safety

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, but the Trump administration is not on the side of workers.

Falling from scaffolding, getting hurt by chemical hazards, getting cut by, caught in or crushed by equipment… many Mesa County workers face hazards like this every day on the job.

A significant number of people in Mesa County work in some the country’s most dangerous occupations. Nationwide 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. On average, that’s more than 99 people a week, or over 14 worker deaths every day. The construction industry has by far the highest fatality rate of any industry in the U.S., accounting for fully 21% of workplace fatalities.  823 oil and gas industry workers were killed on the job in the U.S. from 2003 to 2010 — a fatality rate seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries. There were over a dozen fires and explosions at Colorado oil and gas facilities in the eight months following the fatal blast in Firestone, Colorado, in April, 2017 that killed two people in their home. In one 12 year span, one oil and gas worker was killed every three months in Colorado, all while workers face a system more focused on protecting drilling companies than the people who work for them.

Grand Junction’s huge anti gun-violence march and rally

Around 3,000 people attended Grand Junction, Colorado’s March for Our Lives, on Mach 24, 2018. It was one of 800 “sibling” marches  happening around the country and the world at the same time as the main March for our Lives in Washington, D.C., organized by students who survived the February 14 gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The attendance at Grand Junction’s march was impressive given that this area of Colorado has long been considered a gun-friendly, conservative stronghold. That may not be the case any more, as many gun owners are joining with the students in saying there are now too many guns in too many people’s hands, and a higher priority should be put on people’s safety rather than on guns.

Such significant participation in an event like this was unthinkable as recently as just a couple of years ago.

Rep. Scott Tipton votes to let Trump’s family and senior officials benefit financially from changes to federal banking rules

Chart from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 3/19/2-18

Western slope Congressional Representative Scott Tipton on March 14 voted against a motion to prohibit President Trump and his family from benefitting personally from a bill currently under consideration by the federal legislature to change federal banking rules.

City Council chooses to keep mostly Christian prayers at public meetings

“We say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” — City council members bow their heads during Christian prayers at a public meeting at City Hall, September 2, 2015

At their workshop Monday evening, Grand Junction City Council decided mixing religion with government was a good thing to do, and they would continue to do it.

City Manager Greg Caton told council members the City’s invocation policy dates back to 2008, saying they all inherited the practice. Council had an opportunity Monday at their workshop to discontinue prayers at City Council meetings and avoid further controversy over the City’s persistent endorsement of religion, modify the current policy or substitute a moment of silence instead.

But history shows the City of Grand Junction always has a hard time coming into the 21st Century.