Let system play out in Brainard case, consider electing a bona fide mayor

Let’s throttle back that liberal filter to the Miami Herald. I’d like the Orange County Register, but that’s probably pushing my luck.

When I say local politics, I’m sure most of you think as I do – a classy operation. Now that we have the sarcasm aside, it can probably be safely said that expectations of local politicians are often disappointingly low. That’s why it’s worth commenting when even those expectations are underwhelmed.

I don’t have to tell the readers of this newspaper that a Grand Junction city councilman-elect, Rick Brainard, was recently arrested in connection with a domestic violence allegation. That’s bad enough, and the information we’ve seen so far makes the situation appear particularly damning.

While it is important to let the system play itself out and we do well to remember that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, the incident has caught the attention of area groups that have decided to exercise their lawful right to protest Brainard serving on the council.

What was unfortunate was that two current council members decided to take the opportunity to attend the protest and speak out against Brainard’s council service. Public officials speaking out on a criminal justice matter prior to its resolution is troubling, but doing so if one is attempting to make political hay out of the situation is especially unappealing.

It’s no secret a four-person bloc of voting members on council had been instrumental in leading the city down the path of fiscal jeopardy. It’s also not classified information that these folks suffered shock, if not awe, at the result of the recent election, which could be seen as more a massive repudiation of their policies than a desire to elevate another candidate.

Nevertheless, these two elected officials decided to show up as part of a citizens’ protest, which seems at best a bit self-serving. The biggest problem seems to me to be when officeholders, sworn to uphold the Constitution, decide to weigh in on a process involving the resolution of several constitutional rights, prior to that system resolving those rights.

Citizens are free to have feelings about such matters, and public officials are citizens; however, they have taken an oath to preserve and protect certain rights. Letting the wheels of justice turn, albeit slowly, is one of those rights.

I decided not to name individuals here, because I suspect after 2014 we will not remember them. Nevertheless, someone commented that one of them had been the mayor at some point, which reminded me that I don’t think the city of Grand Junction has a mayor.

I base this supposition on Article V of the city charter that creates a president of the council who shall be elected from the council and serve for a one-year term and remain a member of the council with the same right to speak and vote as any other member.

According to the charter, he (sexist founders) “shall be recognized as the official head of the city for all ceremonial purposes, by the courts for the purpose of serving civil process and by the governor for military purposes.”

I don’t see anywhere in the charter that it creates a mayor, and, if at some point at some meeting there was some resolution to refer to the council president as a “mayor,” I don’t think that counts.

Neither do I think it would count to have some motion to refer to the council head as the Sultan of Swat, the Splendid Splinter (my personal favorite) or Lord Popinjay.

To put it simply, we have a city manager system. This involves executive power being invested in an appointed position, not an elected one, which the term “mayor” would imply.

But maybe they are onto something. We could, as city residents, amend the city charter at the next election and replace the duties of an appointed city manager with those of an elected and publicly accountable mayor.

Actually, as I look at the document, I don’t think it’s even that difficult to make the necessary changes.

I also anticipate that by offering the position at the present city manager salary level of around $120,000 to $150,000,  we could get pretty qualified people to run for the position and it would engender a great deal of competition and scrutiny.

That might solve a lot of these problems – not all, mind you, but maybe an important few.

Rick Wagner writes more about politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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Rick Wagner is right on point: let the system play itself out. There are excellent constitutional reasons for doing exactly that.
Of course the 1st Amendment protects all the political grandstanding by gender feminists. But it also supports the public expression of my disgust for same. Here’s what lawyer Rick didn’t have enough column space to explain.
Only by strict adherence to the constitutional requirements of both substantive and procedural due process and equal protection of law, in combination with the relevant rules of evidence, is it possible for society to accurately determine what the facts of any given situation are, and who, if anyone, is guilty or innocent.
My own take on the situation is that Brainard is probably too ignorant to hold public office. First, he chose to hang out with a woman who would go running to the Nanny State just because she got slapped for her alleged verbal abuse. Clearly she was trying to hurt him politically. Second, by his own admission, he slapped a woman. Third, he apparently lied to the police about it.
Digressing for a brief moment, isn’t it interesting how the information and affidavit got leaked to the press, but the affidavits in situations where the police kill somebody are somehow magically sealed so the facts can’t get out?
The public-interest matter in this situation which bothers me most is that, having just won election and swearing an oath to uphold the constitution, a couple of the new female councilpersons turn right round and willfully violate their oaths of office by undermining the constitutional requisites for due process and a fair trial by manipulatively trying to convict the brainless Brainard in the media before the matter even comes to trial. It is a no-brainer that they had zero business doing that. It was pure unadulterated political manipulation and grandstanding, nothing more. And that’s inexcusable for a holder of public office. If Brainard had not been criminally charged, it would be different. But he was, so what we have is a couple of self-disqualifying new councilpersons manipulatively trying to interfere with the constitutional due process requirements of a criminal prosecution. That makes them either 1) too illiterate in Constitution 101 to hold public office, or 2) unprincipled manipulators. Either way they have proven themselves unfit for public office and should resign.
I don’t know what Rick Wagner really thinks, because he writes for the Sentinel. I don’t have that handicap, so can say what I please and really believe. This kind of manipulative political-hack crap is exactly what has America in such trouble. It’s long past time to expose it, deconstruct it, bring it to a screeching halt, and start re-establishing the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution among our public servants.
It would be sad if there is no hope of Mesa County voters ever being able to find better candidates for their public offices.

ADDENDUM: For the record, I do not now, nor will I EVER, aspire to public office of any sort. Like Tokien’s Gandalf, I would not dare touch Tokien’s ingenious metaphor of the inherently evil and inevitably corrupting One Ring of (political) Power (over the Other) with a ten-foot pole. That leaves me spiritually, morally and intellectually free to expose, deconstruct, ridicule and otherwise oppose wannabe-clever duopoly political hackery, scumbaggery and manipulation of whatever Baskin-Robbins-like “flavor”, ideology,or political party.
So all you militant, misandristic, gender-pimping, victim-pimping gender feminists out there need to remember: but for accident of birth, you could have been born a male and I could have been born a female. Accordingly, gender should be irrelevant in any intellectual-curiosity-based honest discussion of ideas.
Likewise with militant, white-hating, race-pimping, poverty-pimping, victim-pimping “minority” racists out there: you need to remember that, but for accident of birth, you could have been born White and I could have been born Black, Hispanic or Asian. Accordingly, race should be irrelevant in any intellectual-curiousity-based honest discussion of ideas.
All potential polemicists and wannabe-cutesy political manipulators who refuse to abide by the Golden Rule of intellectually honest, intellectual-curiosity-based discussion of ideas can expect to be thoroughly demonized, deconstructed and exposed for the vile, manipulative reprobates they are. (And they DO know who they are.)
I have no “white guilt” because I have accepted Dr. Walter E. Williams’ generous “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Persons of European Descent” (see http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/gift.html).
Gender-pimping, race-pimping, poverty-pimping and victimhood-pimping are all unarguably evil, and, therefore, anathema. Amos 5:15 admonishes all of us to hate evil. I believe an important part of how we restore civility and intellectual honesty in America’s public discourse is to openly express hostility and intolerance for the wannabe-cutesy-and-clever culture-destroying evils of gender-pimping, race-pimping, poverty-pimping and victimhood-pimping. Accordingly, the grassroots of all political parties must develop a zero tolerance for double-tongued, meally-mouthed anti-U.S.-Constitution manipulativeness in their public servants and candidates.

There seems to be a great deal of confusion out there about what the anti-Brainard folks are all about. They aren’t trying to convict the man as a criminal. They are saying that they voted for him and wish that they could take their vote back. Two completely different legal issues.

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