Printed letters, July 28, 2013
It is with great distress that I write this letter. It is hard for me to find the words to express my outrage for the Grand Junction city councilors.
While we continue to struggle for credibility statewide, we struggle against corruption locally. We can never have respect on any level if we continue down the Chamber of Commerce path. Let’s be clear. Corporations are not people. If they were, they would need to show an ID to vote, like people.
This struggle within the council is about power. Is the Chamber of Commerce going to run this city or are the voters? If it is up to the current council, it will be the chamber. I guess it is a win-lose — tyranny wins, democracy loses.
My question is: Why does the chamber fear voters? Because corporations cannot vote.
The chamber cannot vote. Its members have all the power, yet they cannot vote. That is why they don’t want to vote for council members.
They can control the council. They cannot control the vote. Take control of your city. If we don’t, they will.
JOHN A. IJAMS
Reserve judgment, give new councilors chance to serve
The July 25 Daily Sentinel editorial and the Steve Henderson letter to the editor both accused City Council members Sam Susursas, Marty Chazen and Phyllis Norris of thumbing their noses at the City Charter. Yet neither apparently took the time to actually read the charter before making wild accusations.
Article 37 of the charter states, “A vacancy in the council, from whatever cause arising, shall be filled by the council.” Article 45 states, “A majority of all the members shall constitute a quorum to do business.”
Obviously, there was a quorum at the July 23 meeting, and obviously there are no special rules in the charter relating to how vacancies should be filled. Many times in the past, five council members have made decisions.
The real problem in this affair is the advice of City Attorney John Shaver. When asked, Shaver came up with the answer that the council needed to “temporarily” reinterpret the charter. He did not refer to any section of the charter but talked with an authoritative voice and gave every impression that he knew what he was talking about.
Unfortunately for the council, Shaver was making it up as he went.
I agree with letter writer Henderson in his opinion that the concept of “temporarily” reinterpreting the charter could lead to all kinds of mischief by our elected officials.
The mistake made by all of the council members was to blindly follow Shaver’s advice. They now have a major public relations problem that could have been avoided if they had challenged the statements of their attorney. But this mistake is certainly forgivable. Trying to think fast enough to do the right thing in a very short time frame is difficult for all of us.
The Sentinel clearly believes that the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has an undue influence on the decisions of councilors Norris, Chazen and Susuras. The record does not support this opinion. There have been several important votes since this council was seated, and these three split their votes on almost all of them.
I share the opinion that an election is the best way to fill the open seats, but I strongly object to the unfounded accusations that have been leveled. The new City Council should be given a chance to serve before judgments are made.
Two vacancies on council warrant a public election
It appears blatantly suspicious that our City Council members Marty Chazen, Sam Susuras and Phyllis Norris have arrogantly decided they will “temporarily reinterpret” the city’s charter so that their three votes will decide who will be appointed to the vacancies left by Harry Butler and Rick Brainard, rather than hold a public election to fill the vacancies.
From what I read in The Daily Sentinel, there seem to be some control freaks among our (or rather the chamber’s) council representatives. According to what Bill Grant wrote, these partisan council members selected by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce (“chambermades”) are “meant to serve the chamber members, rather than the community.”
Hmmm, “temporarily reinterpret” the City Charter so the remaining “chambermades” can select those whom they can control more easily than Brainard? Kind of scary, isn’t it?
This is an unusual situation to have two vacancies at once. In my opinion, it warrants a vote of the public.
Brainard right to resign, wrong in his recall remarks
I thank Rick Brainard for resigning. Contrary to his feelings, it was the right thing to do.
However, while reading his remarks concerning the people who supported his recall, this comment leapt off the page: “Regarding citizens who wanted to recall him: “You are welcome. But be perfectly clear ...”
It brought to mind another politician who also left in disgrace: “Let me make this perfectly clear, I am not a crook.”
Good riddance to the both of them.