Sentinel’s columns and editorials 
offer a wide variety of ‘truths’

“Truth has rough flavours if we bite it through.” — George Eliot

 

There are some things I treasure about the opportunity to think out loud on the editorial pages of The Daily Sentinel every week.

One is the fact that Jay Seaton and Bob Silbernagel consciously strive to seek out and present a range of thought on these pages. Any doubt about that should be erased with a brief consideration of the four local columnists — the Grant/Wagner/Penry/Spehar quartet — who have been asked to present our opinions regularly.

Even though I don’t always agree, I also appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into the opinions developed by Silbernagel and Seaton in the editorials that appear five days every week.

Three things I’ve read just in this new year have reinforced that appreciation.

Like Josh Penry, I’ve sometimes felt the disconnect between the tenets of the religion I grew up in and some of the practices of its churches and hierarchy. Along the way, I’ve had sufficient reason to be grateful for the loving and forgiving God I grew up learning about at the old St. Joe’s, one I’ve often hoped also has a sense of humor.

I thought Penry’s Jan. 5 piece — a “wish I’d written that” column — articulated well the questions that might lead us to wonder whether organized religion and morality are necessarily synonymous.

The Sentinel’s editorial Sunday about the latest “turbulence” regarding our airport, the dismissal of Airport Authority board member Denny Granum by our Mesa County commissioners, also hit the nail on the proverbial head. 

There are few, if any, in this community who can match Granum’s active public service that spans at least four decades, the combined public lives of the Pugliese/Justman/Acquafresa triumvirate included. If anything, the airport board might benefit from more Denny Granums, not one less.

It would seem any consideration of the troubles at the airport, and any effort to correct what is still any unconfirmed wrongdoing, might benefit from the thoughtful approach taken by Granum. It’s better than the “ready, fire, aim” mentality of the commissioners and others anxious to assume the worst about a still-incomplete investigation, especially when that dovetails nicely with axes already being ground and/or the urgings of a limited circle of perpetually grumpy supporters.

Then, there’s this.

“We hope to see leaders step forward this year to guide a community adrift.”

That was the conclusion of the Sentinel’s New Year’s Day editorial urging that local governments “dare greatly.”

After 12 years of local elected experience, I know dealing with day-to-day issues is a necessary part of that job. I also learned that preparing for and leading your community into its tomorrow is what’s most important.

I think of that every time I pull my old Land Cruiser onto the Riverside Parkway or make my way through the intersection at First and Grand Avenue after only one light change.

The parkway isn’t the result of a City Council’s desire for a high-dollar public works project. It’s the fulfillment of a vision articulated much differently 14 years ago, when Grand Junction City Council members, assisted by other local governments, took the relatively bold step of turning over more than $100,000 to a group of community leaders to fund Vision 2020, a snapshot of what we wanted Mesa County to look like two decades down the road.

What emerged, after more than 1,000 face-to-face interviews, was an overwhelming desire to preserve “the small-town feel” of our community. The biggest obstacle was seen as traffic, particularly on downtown streets.

After helping to create that vision, a tax-and-debt adverse community “dared greatly” by approving what, at the time, was the biggest general-obligation -bond debt ever undertaken in western Colorado to build the bypass, later OKing a TABOR override to pay off the debt more quickly.

Perhaps it’s time for another Vision 2020-like community process to inspire some of the “cold and timid souls” we now look to for leadership.

These are just three examples of the sort of inspiration and criticism, the vision and reflection, seen on these pages. And good reasons to appreciate the range of opinions presented every week.

Jim Spehar’s in good company taking up some of the Sentinel’s editorial page space. Your opinions are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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