Printed letters, February 6, 2014
I recently came across a Daily Sentinel editorial a few weeks back complaining about all the ballot initiatives that are soon to go onto the ballot. The editorial said that it’s such a hassle that we should set tougher restrictions for allowing measures on the ballot.
In response I say this: Ballot initiatives are the only reason I even bother to vote at all anymore. They are the last shreds of freedom in this nation because, with them, I see that my voice actually carries some weight.
With elections, all I see is another politician who doesn’t listen to me. But with ballots I see results. With them I can change things. Freedom is a hassle, but I think it is well worth it.
Adding government workers won’t spur economic growth
This is in response to the local economic outlook by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce in the 2014 business update that was included in The Daily Sentinel. I quote: “In terms of the key industries such as health and education, hospitality and leisure and financial services, the Grand Junction MSA has not recovered as much as the state as a whole has. The one key industry that has mirrored the state’s recovery is government.”
May I remind folks that the government is not an industry, and it makes no money? The only way any government entity has money is to first confiscate the money from its citizens through taxes.
Even though public employees also pay taxes on their salaries, the salary for the public employee originates from collected taxes. Increasing the number of government workers results in more money in salaries being taken out of the taxes collected. It leaves fewer private employees producing to grow the economy, and it encumbers the private sector to pay for increasing numbers of government employees.
The government does not produce anything to grow the economy; therefore, limiting the numbers of government employees is critical to a vibrant, healthy economy. As Martin Fridson stated in an article in Forbes magazine last year, “Who are the Real Job Creators,” there are only two ways for economic growth: population growth, which raises aggregate demand, and increased productivity. Re-circulating tax dollars will not produce economic growth in our community.
Council, Airport Authority both trust staffs too much
The recent shenanigans at the Grand Junction Regional Airport highlight a shocking lack of supervision by the folks who were supposed to be doing the supervising. There is much to be learned from this affair, and not just by the current members of the Airport Authority.
The Grand Junction City Council lives in much the same environment that existed at the airport. The council for years has placed blind trust in its senior staff (the city attorney in particular) and has ignored pleas to open the decision-making process to make staff accountable to both elected officials and to the general public.
A perfect example of this behavior is the recent council decision on the community solar garden. On Jan. 13, the council met with the staff in a “workshop” and discussed the ongoing negotiations with the California vendor that wants to line its pockets at our expense. This contract discusses the intent of the city to make monthly payments to the vendor for the next 20 years.
At the end of the discussion, the staff asked the council to remove itself from the decision-making process and to delegate remaining negotiations and the execution of the contract to staff.
The vote was 7-0 to allow the city manager to sign the contract with whatever provisions the senior staff feels are appropriate. The final version of the contract will not be presented to the council for approval and will not be discussed in an open setting with cameras running for subsequent display on the city’s website. Public comment on this contract has not been (nor will it ever be) sought.
This same tactic was attempted at the school district and at Mesa County (both are considering participation in the solar garden). To their credit, both of these entities told the vendor that the important task of approving the final version of the contract would be reserved for the elected people.
Members of the City Council need written policies that define the rules by which their game is played. Some decisions are appropriately delegated to staff. This was not one of them.
DENNIS J. SIMPSON
Running photo of dead dog was disappointing decision
The shooting of a dog in a shopping center parking lot was a traumatic event for the father, his children and the dog’s owner. Printing a picture of the dead animal in Monday’s paper was unnecessary. I’m disappointed that someone on your staff thought otherwise.
LINDA CALACI GREGORY