Jim Hoffman

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July 12, 2012
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HOFFMAN: With commissioner slots determined, let Mesa County campaigning begin

Primary election news got preempted for thoughts regarding our fires and fire bans. This week we are back on track as we discuss some local goings-on.

The election results were somewhat predictable and, yet, held some surprises.

Rose Pugliese fairly well swept away her write-in competitor by garnering 52% of the vote. If Woody had not stubbornly stood on principle and gained a ballot spot by petition, the results may have been somewhat different. He pulled an impressive number of votes as a write-in; being on the ballot may have given him a victory.

If you are unaware, Woody chose not to seek a ballot position by petition to protest the higher threshold required to gain a spot as a "party" candidate vs. an unaffiliated candidate. One would think he may have received some poor advice by campaign staff or thought making a point was more important than winning an election.

OK, enough about the loser, now on to the winner. Pugliese has been honing her skills over the last few years and appears the odds-on favorite to win in the fall. Her Tea Party leanings play well with the local crowd, and a win by a Democrat would be an incredible upset. We wish her and all candidates well. A previous outing for the school board came up short of victory, but as Pugliese noted, it seems the school board is the only liberal-leaning body in local government.

The surprise, at least to me, was the lop-sided vote in the Henry vs. Justman contest.

Ken Henry seemed rational and thoughtful in his campaign positions. In a post-election interview he seemed otherwise. He angrily fumed his defeat was fueled by last-minute derogatory and less-than-truthful robo-calls and such. By extension this seems to infer that the voters were easily duped by those tactics and failed to see the righteousness of his campaign. This would blame the voter's lack of intelligence and insight and his opponent's lack of integrity equally for his defeat. To Mr. Henry I would point out there is a graceful way to accept defeat, and then there is the other way. I am personally disappointed he chose the low road.

John Justman has been described by more than a few as an extremist. His election to the Commission shall determine the correctness of that position. Of one thing we can be sure, should Justman and Pugliese be the victors, our County Commission will certainly remain conservative, likely more conservative than we witnessed during the regime of Rowland and Meis.

There are challengers on the margins hoping to make these races competitive. In single-party rule Mesa County the likelihood of an unaffiliated or Democratic candidate defeating a Republican-anointed candidate seems slim. I at least hope we see some lively debate and have an opportunity to select among candidates who differentiate themselves from one another.

Rep. Scott Tipton has been accused more than once of failing to represent his district. In a recent vote he clearly seemed to be voting against the best interests of his own hometown by voting to defund the Essential Air Services Program. Lose of funding would result in fewer flights from Cortez, Alamosa and Pueblo. The controversial program may need some rehabbing, but, voting to end air services from your own hometown?

County commissioner Craig Meis, his disdain for law enforcement, and his continued expectation of preferential treatment has surfaced again. It seems that while recreating with friends near Buena Vista, Craig received a ticket for violation of the fire ban. They wanted to grill some food using a store-purchased grill. Craig, in his letter asking for a reconsideration of the charges, noted the grill was small and accordingly only produced small flames. He does not seem to realize big fires from small flames can arise. Again, he believes that proper consideration and discretion would somehow place him again above the law. After January, he can no longer remind those seeking to cite him of the lofty position he holds in Mesa County.

Jim Hoffman is a local real estate broker and investor who is trying to move from semi-retired to retired. He needs to retire to devote more time to unpaid interests such as skiing, camping and fishing.

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 12, 2012 03:49PM Published Jul 12, 2012 03:48PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.