Printed letters, August 15, 2013
In the Sunday Daily Sentinel, a letter writer lamented that radical environmentalists are “winning a clear victory in their ongoing war to prevent the American people from producing one drop of petroleum from our own lands.” Well, it’s been said many times that one is entitled to his or her own opinion but not his or her own facts.
The fact is that “U.S. production reached 7.4 million barrels per day early this month, 48 percent higher than the average production in 2008 and the highest it’s been since February of 1992. The IEA expects U.S. production to reach 9.1 million barrels per day by 2018. The U.S. last produced that much oil in 1972.”
Hard to see what war the environmentalists are winning at this pace of oil-production growth.
The above quote came from an Associated Press article on May 14 this year. I happened to find it at that home of “fair and balanced” news reporting, foxnews.com.
City Council must follow letter and spirit of TABOR
Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is under attack on several fronts, with the current case of Kerr v. Hickenlooper being just one attempt to obliterate it.
Kerr v. Hickenlooper, currently before the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asserts that TABOR prevents Colorado’s government (legislators) from doing its job because it limits how much money the Legislature can spend.
TABOR was designed to protect taxpayers from exactly this form of arrogance.
Opponents of TABOR dislike the law because it limits their ability to play Santa Claus to the special interests that lobby government to fund every feel-good project that comes down the pike.
It’s troubling to think that in Grand Junction — a bastion of independent folk who believe in limited government — our own City Council refuses to respect TABOR to the full letter of the law.
Although Mesa County changed the process for calculating sales tax revenue according to TABOR rules in 2007, our current commissioners reversed that error this May.
Our commissioners are responsible for keeping an eagle eye on how the county collects and spends the money earned by the hard-working people of Mesa County, and it’s critical that all of our elected officials remember they are stewards of that which citizens give them permission to use to accomplish their goals.
Grand Junction’s City Council needs to follow the lead of the commissioners and respect the letter and spirit of TABOR by correcting errors in the way it calculates and collects local taxes.
It would be a shameful hypocrisy on the parts of our new council members, most of whom claim to be conservative, to forget that tax revenues collected from the people of Grand Junction are not owned by the City Council to be used for pet projects or to please local special interests.
Taxes collected in Grand Junction belong to the people and must be managed according to TABOR.
Grand Junction’s City Council members are guilty of “leading from behind” and risk losing credibility among the taxpayers who put them into office.
Council could have rebuilt public trust with election
City Council members Sam Susuras, Phyllis Norris and Martin Chazen have said they decided to appoint two new people to the council instead of holding an election because it would save the city the cost of an election. Few people believe that.
In the two months between when Rick Brainard pled guilty to assault and when he resigned, not one of these three councilors publicly suggested he step down and save the city $50,000 on a recall election. A statement to that effect would not only have assisted efforts to remove him, but would have indicated these three really did care about the cost of a special election.
A convicted criminal was sitting on the council, but not one of these three “chambermades” lifted a finger to suggest he step down and save citizens the cost of a recall election.
By robbing citizens of our right to choose new council members, and then appointing still another chamber-endorsed council member, Susuras, Norris and Chazen showed how tone-deaf they really are. Could they not see that, after suffering through the Brainard debacle, the last thing people want is to have another chamber-backed member on council?
Neither could any of these three councilors see that, under the circumstances, the cost of withholding an election will be far greater — in terms of people’s attitudes toward the council and their personal integrity as councilors — than the cost to hold it. Holding an election would have dispelled the now-widespread conclusion that these three are operating purely in the interests of the chamber. Instead, they cemented that notion.
Holding an election would have rebuilt people’s faith in local government and restored public faith in the council. Instead, by blocking an election, these three reinforced the notion that they are untrustworthy.