Email letters, July 26, 2013
County commissioners’ willingness to revisit pool issue is refreshing
Mesa County, like most other counties in Colorado, has a role to play in parks and recreation. It’s refreshing to read in The Daily Sentinel that county officials are keeping an open mind toward funding the Orchard Mesa pool.
Historically Mesa County has operated the fairgrounds, which is a park in that it contains playgrounds, picnic areas, Little League fields, open lawn area and the rodeo ground and grandstands, as well as the out buildings which provide space for the county fair and other equestrian facilities.
Mesa County purchased the Long property, and it is operated jointly by the city and the county next to Central High School. Mesa County has required developers to set aside parks and trails in new subdivisions.
Mesa County has been a strong supporter of the riverfront trail system and expanded the system out to Fruita and has plans to expand it to Palisade. The river trail system is a linear park with “greenways” along the banks of the Colorado River.
Counties in Colorado have long played a role in park and open space operation and development. Jefferson, Larimer, Douglas, Boulder and El Paso Counties, to name a few, have extensive county park and open space systems.
Rather than shy away from their role in county parks, the Mesa County commissioners should proudly accept their role as a partner along with School District 51 and the City of Grand Junction, in providing parks and recreation for their citizens and resume their support for the Orchard Mesa pool.
The Orchard Mesa pool was funded by the county sales tax in 1982 and operates under a joint agreement among the county, the city and School District 51. It provides the only public Olympic-sized swimming pool in the county that is open year-round.
The Orchard Mesa pool is the location for all of School District 51’s “learn to swim” programs, the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation recreational and instruction swimming programs, water polo, diving and other water sports.
When I lived on the Redlands, I would often take my young children to the Orchard Mesa pool in the winter for the Sunday “swim and gym program.” It provided the only affordable recreation center-type of amenity for my family.
It is important for our children to learn how to swim. There are too many incidents of drowning in the Colorado River and elsewhere, many of which are due to people’s inability to swim. The Orchard Mesa pool should be kept open under the original funding agreement.
City Council District C
Reserve judgment, give new councilors chance to serve
The July 25 Daily Sentinel editorial and the Steve Henderson letter to the editor both accused City Council members Sam Susarus, Marty Chazen and Phyllis Norris of thumbing their noses at the City Charter. Yet neither party took the time to actually read the charter before they made wild accusations.
Article 37 of the charter states, “A vacancy in the council, from whatever cause arising, shall be filled by the council …” Article 45 states, “A majority of all the members shall constitute a quorum to do business …”
Obviously there was a quorum at the July 23 meeting, and obviously there are no special rules in the charter relating to how vacancies should be filled. Many times in the past, five City Council members have made decisions.
The real problem in this affair is the advice of city Attorney John Shaver. When asked, Shaver came up with the answer that the council needed to “temporarily” reinterpret the charter. He did not refer to any section of the charter but talked with an authoritative voice and gave every impression that he knew what he was talking about.
Unfortunately for the council, Shaver was making it up as he went. This is at least the third time this year that Shaver has used his authoritative voice to give bogus advice that was not based on fact.
I agree with letter writer Henderson in his opinion that the concept of “temporarily” reinterpreting the charter could lead to all kinds of mischief by our elected officials.
The mistake made by all of the council members was to blindly follow Shaver’s advice. They now have a major public relations problem that could have been avoided if they had challenged the statements of their attorney. But this mistake is certainly forgivable. Trying to think fast enough to do the right thing in a very short timeframe is difficult for all of us.
The Daily Sentinel clearly believes that the Chamber of Commerce has an undue influence on the decisions of councilors Norris, Chazen and Susarus. The record does not support this opinion. There have been several important votes since this council was seated, and these three split their votes on almost all of them.
I share the opinion that an election is the best way to fill the open seats, but I strongly object to the unfounded accusations that have been leveled. The new city council should be given a chance to serve before judgments are made.
Study energy extraction methods carefully before making decision
If people want to condemn hydraulic fracturing and drilling, I would suggest they do in-depth studies of both, and I don’t mean what is out there by environmental groups. I mean by people who study what happens and the results from what was done.
Hydraulic fracturing and drilling are two totally separate operations with differing results to the same end. One frees the gas or oil, and the other gets you to the gas and oil. So, if you want to be for or against these, at least do an in-depth study before making a decision on what the effects are.
Power struggle shows need for voters to control council
It is with great distress that I write this letter. It is hard for me to find the words to express my outrage for the Grand Junction city councilors.
While we continue to struggle for credibility statewide, we struggle against corruption locally. We can never have respect on any level if we continue down the Chamber of Commerce path. Let’s be clear. Corporations are not people. If they were, they would need to show an ID to vote. Like
This struggle within the council is about power. Is the Chamber of Commerce going to run this city or are the voters? If it is up to the current council, it will be the Chamber of Commerce. I guess it is a win-lose.
Tyranny wins. Democracy loses. My question is: Why does the Chamber of Commerce fear voters? Because corporations cannot vote.
The Chamber of Commerce cannot vote. Its members have all the power, yet they cannot vote. That is why they don’t want to vote for council members.
They can control the council. They cannot control the vote. Take control of your city. If we don’t, they will.
JOHN A. IJAMS