Governor, county commissioners offer 
plenty of ammunition for pundits

“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” — Will Rogers

Sometimes it’s hell having to come up with 750 words every week. Then there are rare times you wish you had twice the space. This is one of those times.

Consider recent events involving our quirky governor and our shameless county commissioners.

Those wondering what Steve Acquafresca might accomplish freed of domination of Craig Meis and Janet Rowland got an answer when he, Rose Pugliese and John Justman decided to sidestep the Constitution, Congress and the Supreme Court to advocate localizing decisions about which state or federal gun laws might be applicable in Mesa County. Acquafresca’s as reactionary as the rest of ‘em.

“Grandstanding,” the Daily Sentinel harrumphed appropriately in the upper left hand corner of this very page after the theatrics of a public hearing last week resulted in passage of Pugliese’s resolution. Selective enforcement, even Jeff Leany might agree, is slightly at odds with a century or two of history, as well as state and federal constitutional law.

What’s next? Perhaps looking toward the southwest provides an inkling.

In Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a training session for the posse members he’ll have providing security in Maricopa County’s schools. A guest instructor, action movie star Steven Segal, claimed “millions of hours” of weapons instruction.

He’d have to have trained 24-7-365 for 114 years to amass one million hours. And a Phoenix television station discovered some members of Arpaio’s posse might need to maintain some distance from children, given criminal records for assault, drug use, sex offenses and the like. Any wonder some parents and schools aren’t thrilled?

Perhaps our (un)constitutionalist commissioners, while ignoring more helpful actions like funding additional school resource officers or giving Sheriff Stan Hilkey the enforcement budget he wants, can throw more government-issue anti-government baloney to our local “patriots” and next order military surplus tents, razor wire and pink underwear for Mesa County inmates.

It also occurs to me that if you have to broadcast far and wide that you’re a patriot, you may not be exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Let’s move to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who told Congress that, like former Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association executive Kathy Hall and other industry officials, he’s also swigged fracking fluid.

That murky liquid quickly hit the oscillating blade. Into my inbox and countless others statewide came a CYA missive sporting the Hickenlooper campaign logo explaining that oil and gas folks brought a jug of frack fluid to his office to show how safe their brew was. One thing led to another and ... some of us know how that goes.

He neglected to inform Congress, but admitted later, that the solution he tasted is not used in Colorado because it’s not economical.

Here’s a real test, governor, if you truly believe the stuff is that benign — that fracking is all CleanStim, rainbows and bluebirds. How about we let Western Colorado Congress — or better yet a few of those families who’ve been paid to remain silent or are being provided hauled water out of the goodness of industry hearts — pick two or three tankers at random between Clifton and the Piceance on a day of their choosing? We could have a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission inspector pull some samples.

Will you and the industry executives that joined in your office tasting party choke down a tumbler of that stuff?  Ask Hall and David Ludlam, her successor at the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, if they’ll join you. Maybe even fellow columnists Rick Wagner and Josh Penry will partake. Both of them last week immediately seized the opportunity to regurgitate claims that anyone questioning industry practices (or, surprisingly, the Democratic governor) is just another green-tinged “aginner.”

I think we know the answer. And it isn’t, as the governor’s explanatory message began, that he prefers beer.  Bottoms up!

Jim Spehar is cueing up John Prine’s “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Any More” while awaiting patriotic responses at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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