Mesa County voters like things as they are
“Change”may have been the dominant theme in the national election, but Mesa County voters demonstrated convincingly Tuesday they didn’t want significant alterations in the way their county government operates.
By solid margins, voters here rejected the proposal to expand the Board of County Commissioners from three to five members. And, by even larger margins, they opted to keep two incumbent Republican commissioners,
Craig Meis and Janet Rowland, over their Democratic opponents.
And, despite the comments of Dan Robinson, the Democrat who challenged Meis, this was not a case where a large portion of county voters “obviously didn’t get it.”
In fact, the voters “got it” just fine. The majority simply decided that they preferred the governing philosophy of
Rowland and Meis over the ideas of Robinson and Dickie Lewis, who challenged Rowland. That philosophy includes working with the energy industry rather than trying to burden it with new regulations, keeping taxes low and seeking ways to make county government more efficient rather than expanding it.
Similarly, voters opted against expanding the Board of County Commissioners because they saw no compelling reason to do so. They weren’t convinced that supposed benefits from expanding the board would offset the additional cost and bureaucracy.
It may be that the uncertain economy played a part in the rejection of the expansion. But this is the second time this decade Mesa County voters have rejected a measure that included board expansion. And, though it wasn’t put to a vote in the 1990s, there was no huge groundswell of public support for expansion when it was explored at that time.
We don’t believe Mesa County voters are conservative Neanderthals, who resist change at all opportunities.
There is too much recent evidence to the contrary. But, unless you can convince them the change you’re seeking will truly benefit them or the community — that it’s not just change for the sake of change — they will likely reject it. Both the backers of expanding the Board of County Commissioners and the challengers to the incumbent commissioners failed to do so.