Fruita complies with ‘ridiculous requirement’ for grant funds

A resolution passed last week by the Fruita City Council prohibits the use of excessive force by law enforcement in non-violent civil rights demonstrations.

In reality, the council complied with what City Manager Clint Kinney called “a ridiculous federal requirement” so that a Fruita nursing home can receive a sizable block grant.

“Nothing will change, other than we will be able to check a box on the $200,000 grant,” Kinney told council members.

In the process of Family Health West landing the Community Development Block Grant, which is administered by the state Department of Local Affairs, DOLA requested that the city submit to the state Fruita’s use-of-force policy. After reviewing that policy, DOLA responded that it didn’t meet federal requirements associated with the block grant, without the specific language.

No matter the semantics, Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo said the city was already covered.

“Our policy covers all persons we come into contact with that are non-violent, in all circumstances, to include non-violent civil rights demonstrations,” a statement from Angelo reads.

In the end, the City Council met the federal requirement by passing the resolution during its regular public meeting as part of its consent agenda, which is reserved for housekeeping-type items usually passed via a single vote of the council with little or no discussion.

Kinney could not recall a single civil rights demonstration in his more than 10 years with the city.

The Community Development Block Grant program is intended to provide decent housing, suitable-living environments and economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income people, in some cases through public facilities improvements, according to the city.

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