Printed letters, June 16, 2013
As I watched the June 5 City Council meeting, I couldn’t help but be amused — and appalled — at the childish behavior of some of the advocates for the Avalon project when it seemed they weren’t getting their way.
The decision made by the council should have come as no surprise to anyone. After all, three of the newly elected council members campaigned on fiscal responsibility — taking care of taxpayers’ money responsibly.
Mayor Sam Susuras has been quite consistent in his votes to protect taxpayers. It would only seem prudent for the council to take a step back and look into the feasibility of spending $3 million of taxpayers’ money on this project. The many demands on the city budget must be prioritized as to necessary expenditures.
The argument that once the city puts the money forward the donations will come flooding in rings a bit hollow. It would seem that if there really were that much desire in the private sector for this to go forward the donations would already be in place.
The backers of the Avalon Project deserve appreciation for their dedication, but perhaps options other than taxpayer funding could be explored — such as the city selling or giving the building to the DDA or to the Avalon backers and giving them the opportunity to move forward on their own.
It is important to keep in mind that this council was elected by a majority of the voters in Grand Junction who were obviously voting for fiscal responsibility. These councilors should be applauded for standing by their campaign promises and their principles while respecting taxpayers.
To move city forward, council must take risks
The following comments about the current Grand Junction City Council may sound like sour grapes, and if taken that way, so be it.
The previous City Council was one of the most aggressive councils in recent memory. It followed the example set by the previous City Council in continuing to pay off the Riverside Parkway, the 29 Road Bridge, etc., even ahead of schedule. It built public safety projects and helped construct Lincoln Park Tower and made some great trades for publicly used parcels, with no increase in taxes.
To be progressive, people sometimes have to take risks with the knowledge there will be a payoff or public benefit.
I put at risk everything I owned when I introduced and put into the marketplace such things as an office machine company, the evaporative cooler diffuser cover, a weld-on hook, an RV park, a precision guide and a security alarm company, etc.
They were all successful ventures, but risk was taken. Most all of the original ideas still exist, under different names, and I’m proud when I see them. I enjoyed reaping the benefits when new ownership came into play.
My philosophy is simply that you have to spend money to make money, and the city is no different. The city must take the lead. The Avalon, White Hall, 29 Road, etc. are all necessary for creating the city of the future, a place to which others want to come and of which citizens are proud.
If I’m not mistaken, all of the current city councilors have worked for others all of their careers. They have taken instruction from someone else, they have not put their “buck” at risk, and they have not been like Harry Truman, who said: “The buck stops here.”
Don’t get me wrong, I respect their careers. Tthey were successful in their fields. But when Martin Chazen has to see a timetable to see financial gain, this city will be at a standstill. The companies Chazen worked for took risks for him to have a job showing the companies how much money they had to progress to the next risk.
If we do not go forward, we automatically go backward. There is no status quo.
Avalon costs for operation and construction are critical
Letter writer Paula Struckman states the Avalon project “is not just a business investment, but also an investment in a quality of life that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.”
Perhaps so. Construction costs, however, are measured in dollars and cents, which is the exact nature of the controversy, followed by ongoing operating costs facing the same cold-cash test.
Struckman’s comparison of city parks to the Avalon as “not generating revenue but rather pleasure” is completely specious. Park use is intended to be without charge. Avalon attendance will require paid admission.
Her closing entreaty is “build it and they will come.” The unanswered question is who “they” will be. Without proper front money and strong operating arrangements, the ultimate visitor may be the bankruptcy trustee.
Butler’s council replacement should emulate his fine traits
I hope that the city can find a person as honest and trustworthy as Harry Butler to replace him on the city council. It might take some searching.
Perhaps his daughter would be a good place to start.