Jim Hoffman
Free Press Opinion Columnist

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March 14, 2013
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HOFFMAN: Are the slate of city council candidates qualified?

Two weeks ago I commented on an upcoming slate of candidates and their perceived ties to a small cadre of influence peddlers who are angling to control local government.

Two of those candidates took personal offense to which I say "Great." However, the point of the story was concern that candidates available to us are hand-selected and force-fed to us by two to three organizations which are controlled by a very small number of people. No one seemed offended by that thought, and none challenged the premise.

Well, anyway, those four, which were predicted to be the chosen ones, were indeed chosen. There is a sentiment to "throw the bums out." While I have certain reservations as to the manner which the current office holders have managed our city, it is prudent to carefully examine those with which we are being presented to replace them.

Some have raised questions about two of the candidates who recently received Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and Daily Sentinel endorsements. Those two candidates are Richard Brainard and Duncan McArthur.

While the Sentinel's endorsement of McArthur seemed largely based on his grasp of zoning issues and concerns, it ignored entirely questions as to his ability to manage finances including his own. This election was supposed to be about moving our City's finances forward; to create a well-rounded financial plan and to expend resources wisely. The most important issue facing our City is not the Brady Trucking matter but finances. Our elected representatives need to be well-versed in money matters, be capable of grasping complex spreadsheets and develop fiscal policies to move our City forward.

McArthur's lawn signs tout Fiscal Responsibility, Private Property Rights and Small Business Owner. In so far as fiscal responsibility is concerned McArthur had a home foreclosed in 2010 and another slated for foreclosure. The foreclosure on the second home was recently withdrawn. He has shown an inability to manage his own finances in a prudent manner which certainly should give voters some cause for concern as to how he can manage our finances. As for property rights, that means he is in support of Brady Trucking. So am I. As for being a small business owner, I am unaware of how prosperous his business is. I doubt this was a matter of concern for those who have recruited him and promoted him to carry forth their banner. We have previously seen local pols proclaim their small business acumen which, under minimal scrutiny proves a bit over stated. We voters deserve a bit more information on Mr. McArthur's business interests.

In a March 8 email to Daily Sentinel Publisher Jay Seaton, Mayor Bill Pitts questioned the Sentinel's endorsement of Brainard and Brainard's ability to serve on City Council. Pitts observed that Brainard resigned from the Grand Junction Economic Partnership due to his lack of availability to attend a one-hour meeting once a month. Also alleged was Brainard's failure to attend any meetings of an advisory committee of the Airport Authority again due to not having time. The email also claimed that Brainard had not had time to attend two candidate forums and that the position of City Council member had a large time commitment which he may not be able to satisfy. Others have claimed that Brainard serves on the Community Hospital Foundation Board and frequently fails to attend meetings of that group also due to lack of time.

If we are in a frenzy to replace our current City Council members, it is only right we do so with great consideration as to the ability of those we propose to replace them with.

None of the current "reform" candidates have expressed an opinion on the city's acquisition of White Hall. One referred to the topic as "ancient history." Is it interesting that this new batch of candidates seems to have an opinion on every city expense but this?

Two weeks ago I (tongue in cheek) queried as to if we were to keep the devils we know or hire a new bunch of "scalawags." The term scalawag was my intent to reflect the cynicism of the electorate that expects only more of the same from a new crop of politicians swept into office with vague promises of jobs, prosperity and financial health without a single, specific program or course of action enunciated.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 14, 2013 01:31PM Published Mar 14, 2013 01:29PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.