Printed letters, March 20, 2013
Recently misinformation has been disseminated regarding the Grand Junction City Council candidates and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s endorsements.
As the governmental affairs manager for the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, I want to share our endorsement process to ensure transparency and dispel misinformation.
The chamber’s candidate endorsement committee is composed of business owners and representatives who are not sitting board members. One chamber board member acts as chair.
All candidates in each race are invited to meet with our committee and answer questions that relate to business and our community.
After these interviews, the committee offers recommendations to the chamber board as a whole. These recommendations are based on the candidate’s agenda as to how it can help business create jobs and how that might compare to the agenda(s) of his or her opponents along with past voting records on key business issues when available. The board then uses strict guidelines and a two-thirds majority decision to endorse any candidate for office.
As the staffer on these committees, I set up the interviews and invite the candidates to participate. In this City Council election it is important to note that candidates Harry Butler and Laura Luke, while invited to participate in the endorsement process, declined to do so.
Governmental Affairs Manager
Grand Junction Area
Chamber of Commerce
Replace city council members with fiscally prudent thinkers
City Council will determine our direction during the upcoming lean years. It’s imperative that these decisions be made prudently. The issues are simple and straightforward, and they need nothing more than an overview.
The old City Council says to rebuild the Avalon Theatre, which could eat $10 million of future spending, not just the $3 million now budgeted. How about a new building to replace? What were they thinking?
Regarding the Greyhound-Grand Valley Transit Terminal, the old City Council wants taxpayers to pay, not just for remodeling the building, but for staffing a for-profit business at our expense. It’s hard enough watching empty GVT buses running on natural gas, wasting the tax dollar. Do we need to get into the national transportation business?
Mesa County Commissioner Steve Aquafresca is right on when he says, “We are not a business.” City Councilor Laura Luke is wrong when she says, “We can become more profitable.” What are they thinking?
White Hall, bought by the City Council, is full of asbestos. Cleaning up the site will cost taxpayers millions, money the original owner or insurance company should have paid.
New, very expensive trucks, running on natural gas, and the repair facility cost us hundreds of thousands. Why? We’re paying rent for our new police building instead of owning it. Why? A TABOR override question is on the ballot. Why? What in the world are they thinking?
It’s time we changed our old problems with some new problem solvers. We need new members on our council, some people that will be a bit more financially prudent, some people that are actually capable. Did you read about candidate Bonnie Beckstein in the Sentinel?
Vote ‘No’ on Measure A to support riverfront vision
Brady Trucking Company is a fine, upstanding business, but it failed to ask several questions when it purchased the three riverfront parcels it now owns:
Were the properties properly zoned? No, the property was not zoned properly when Brady purchased it. The property was outside the city limits and had to be annexed into the city. The property had to be rezoned when it was annexed into the city.
The former City Council was deadlocked on the zoning decision after the Planning Commission voted to place the property in an industrial office zone. The former council zoned the property into industrial and industrial/office zoning. This zoning decision was appealed by citizen petition and, after a five-year court battle, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the petition was valid and therefore the zoning has gone to the voters for a decision.
A “No” vote would deny the industrial zoning and send the issue back to the Planning Commission and City Council for another round of public hearings and a decision. A “No” vote on the current ballot would reaffirm the community’s long-standing support for a new riverfront, free from industry and waste dumps, and open to parks, trails, natural areas and businesses that are supportive of a vital, people-centered riverfront.
Is the property in the floodplain? Yes, the property is in the floodplain and partially in the floodway of the Colorado River. This means that the property will be under water periodically. The flood plain and floodway have specific restrictions regarding the construction of buildings and outdoor storage, and in some cases this land is unbuildable.
Land is available for the expansion of Brady Trucking immediately to the east and north, not in the floodplain of the river and already zoned industrial.
A “No” vote on Referred Measure A would be a vote supporting the vision of the riverfront project and a vote to support the expansion of Brady Trucking at a proper location.