Printed letters, July 25, 2013

So, the City Council, intent upon the honorable goal of “stacking” the council to suit the majority’s political bent, wants to “temporarily” reinterpret the City Charter?

Would this be OK with the citizens of Grand Junction if the temporary change concerned other areas such as public safety or control of the police department? What if some government functionary decided to “temporarily” reinterpret the U.S. Constitution to suit its goal of procuring an election?

Fellow citizens of Grand Junction — Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Constitutional Party — this is an outrage.

The charter was written to protect the citizens from autocratic rulers, leaders who would project their will and their wishes onto the citizens in contravention of the rules of civil society. The charter was established with specific processes to stop exactly this sort of abuse by this sort of council.

I call upon every citizen of the city to do two things: Inform the council that this “temporary” change is not OK with us, and further inform the council members that if they persist with this extremely unwise course of action, they will be facing a mass recall. (Remember the Patterson Road recall a few decades ago?)

We live in a representative republic, not Sam Susuras’ private banana republic.


Grand Junction

Soap opera continues for 
City Council and chamber

Rick Brainard resigned from the City Council. Now there’s no need to pick up a recall petition to circulate. Too bad he had to express his “poor me, I was picked on” sentiments in his resignation email to City Manager Rich Engelhart.

A convicted abuser is no longer “representing” the city. But, contrary to The Daily Sentinel’s editorial, the soap opera is not over.

I want to thank the businesses that have canceled their memberships or never joined the rogue Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, backer of Brainard. Some of these businesses were mentioned in the article by Charles Ashby in the Sunday paper. I hope more will join them.

As a former business owner in another community, I know it can be hard to go against the grain and take a stand on principle by not belonging.

The local chamber of commerce seems little concerned with the small-business owners, nor the environmentally oriented ones. It does not seem to care about protecting our air quality or promoting a healthy, livable city. In my mind, it has long been “The Chamber of Oil and Gas.”

I will make a point of taking as much of my business as possible to those who do not belong. The Western Colorado Latino Chamber sounds like a worthy organization, and I will support its members.

The soap opera will continue when it comes to filling the posts left by Brainard’s resignation and the loss of Harry Butler.  We do not need any more “chambermades.”

While it is impossible to fill a City Council seat with someone who will make everyone happy, we  deserve council members who fill their posts by listening to and answering to all the citizens, not to one organization.


Grand Junction


Spehar’s chamber critique
was ‘ugly’ and vicious

I do not know Jim Spehar, but I have often read and enjoyed his columns in this newspaper.

When he served on the City Council and as mayor, even when not agreeing with him on a given issue, I respected his perspective and commitment to his ideals.

My feelings were altered by the nature and tone of his critique of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce that appeared in The Daily Sentinel Tuesday. His column was “ugly” and unnecessarily so.

He has every right to criticize the work of the chamber and its peripheral role in local politics. There are honorable and effective ways to opine as to fault, and then there is Spehar’s way.

He touts his support of Grand Junction on many levels, and he is probably a smart man. But, really, did Spehar think he was serving his community well with what he wrote? Did he think his taunts were clever and engaging and effective?

The whole underpinning of his unseemly column was anger and a desire to draw blood — from the chamber and its executive director

Some writers do not understand that their personal motivations become evident no matter how much they try to hide them in a literary/creative disguise. In this respect, Spehar failed miserably.

It is justifiable to disagree with matters of public interest. Constructive criticism is almost always worthy. Using a bully pulpit to slam (in a vicious way) anyone and anything is not.

I might suggest that he confine his temper and outrage to the golf course or gym or to punching holes in the walls of his home, if he must. In that way Spehar will not do added harm to our community, for which he professes great love and only embarrass himself appropriately.


Grand Junction


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Come on Joseph, Jim Spehar’s comments were right on and maybe void of the typical “PC” approach, in some corners, but intently direct.  These are “ugly” times in GJ, with a dysfunctional council, a county commission who will not live up to a contractual agreement, and a chamber of commerce who is embarrassing to many GJ citizens!

Sometimes the “ugly” needs to be dealt with directly and if that is hurtful to some then so be it!
It should be a wake up call from someone who is respected in many circles that the approach they have taken is the road downhill.

If Amy Hamilton’s reporting was accurate – “Tense GJ council mulls vacancies” (July 24, 2013) – our City Council acted illegally Monday night when it voted – in effect—to “temporarily amend the city’s charter”.

Article VI, Section 50 of that Charter provides:
(a)  In legislative sessions, the council shall act by ordinance, resolution or motion.
(b)  The ayes and nays shall be taken upon the passage of all ordinances and resolutions, and entered upon the journal of its proceedings.  Upon the request of any member, the ayes and nays shall be taken and recorded upon any motion.  Every member when present must vote, and every ordinance passed by the city council shall require on final passage the affirmative vote of a majority of all members of the council.
(c)  No ordinance shall be passed finally on the date it is introduced, except in cases of special emergency, for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and then only by the unanimous vote of all members of the council.  No ordinance making a grant of any franchise or special privilege shall ever be passed as an emergency measure.
Presumably, a mere electoral impasse is not a “special emergency”.
Article IV, Section 36 states that “the council shall consist of seven members . . .” – such that a majority is four – as three council members knew when they reportedly voted to “temporarily amend the city’s charter so that three votes, not four” were sufficient to decide to fill at least one of the two vacancies by appointment rather than by election.
However, Article XVII, Section 151, makes no provision for “temporary amendments” and requires all amendments to comply with Article XX of the Colorado Constitution (which council members are sworn to uphold).
Article XX of the Colorado Constitution provides the charter of a home rule municipality can only be amended “by petition and electoral vote”.  Therefore, if the action of the three “Chamber Mades” was illegal, it was also unconstitutional.

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