Candy and coal for political acts of past year

“He’s making his list, checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…”

It’s Christmas Eve, the last day of the holiday shopping season. The day my late father-in-law used to do all of his gift shopping. 

It’s probably not out of line to say that the absence of Jess Chambers standing at the cash register in L. Cook’s down on Main Street waiting for jewelry, punch bowl or other sterling silver household beads and trinkets to be wrapped, may have been a contributing factor when Dan Rosenthal decided to close the doors several years ago.

Since I’m at least as familiar as he was with the virtues of procrastination and the premise that adrenalin is a great motivator, how about we proceed, in the spirit of Faux News, to politicize Christmas and see who’s been naughty and/or nice this past year?

✔ It’ll be candy, not coal, in the stockings of voters in School District 51 who resoundingly rejected attempts to make the recent school board election a referendum on right-wing political correctness with the aid of agenda-driven outside money. And a healthy helping of bituminous bits for members of the Mesa County Republican Women, who prompted the overreaching that resulted in the lesson, likely still unlearned by them, that you can screw around with a lot of other things in our lives but you’d better not make our kids pawns in a political battle.

✔ Order up some anthracite for the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, which was more successful than the GOP women and dominated the Grand Junction City Council elections last spring. Chamber-backed candidates cruised to victory in three of four City Council races, albeit with ultimate embarrassment of the whole Rick Brainard thing. 

Perhaps, in the spirit of the season, folks down at the chamber will share their coal with their alter ego, the Rein in the Chamber group. Initially formed to protest Brainard when allegations of domestic violence surfaced immediately following his election, the group now seems to think every ill save the flu bug can be blamed on the chamber.

✔ Higher up on the political food chain, how about some peppermints to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his enlistment of several major energy-industry players in efforts to control emissions from gas and oil operations in the interest of improving air quality? But Hick also gets a full cup of frack nog for his tone-deaf response to constituents concerned with impacts of drilling operations, a misstep that will likely prompt a high-stakes ballot issue fight next November.

✔ We could probably revive the entire coal industry with holiday deliveries to our nation’s capital. Back a train load up to the White House, where President Barack Obama and staff are already getting plenty of justifiable heat for the botched rollout of the Obamacare signup. But save a few shovelfuls for Congress, especially House Republicans, who were able to vote about 50 times on predictably useless but politically correct attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, fiddling Nero-like while watching things like government shutdowns, budget crises and the like burn most of their own political capital.

✔ There’s some candy to be delivered to D.C., despite the fact that we ought to all wish for another bright star in the east to coax at least three wise men to Washington. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado should get his sweet tooth fed just because of his efforts to publicize and rein in what most would see as out-of-control National Security Agency monitoring of citizen cell phone and Internet use.

Thankfully, other Christmas candy deliveries can be made locally.

✔ Former Mayor Bruce Hill deserves a bunch for his efforts toward revitalizing the burial site of Grand Junction founder George Crawford, a long-overdue effort to restore and recognize that historical site overlooking our town.

✔ Ditto the Grand Junction City Council for its support of the Avalon Theatre project, which played no small part in the recent announcement of more than $1 million in outside grants to help fund that effort.

Unlike our county commissioners, council members seem to recognize that, in the context of $100 million-plus budgets, such things as support for the Colorado Riverfront project or the Grand Junction Economic Partnership are more a matter of priorities than available dollars.

Merry Christmas! 


Jim Spehar’s expecting both candy and coal this Christmas. Your ‘presents’ are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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