Houpt enthusiastic and idealistic | PostIndependent.com

Houpt enthusiastic and idealistic

Lisa Bracken

Dear Editor,

I submit this letter as a means of offering public support for Tresi Houpt – Democratic candidate for County Commissioner of Garfield County running in this November’s election against incumbent Walt Stowe.

Last winter, after the senseless death of a resident on County Road 331, I phoned Walt Stowe to discuss whether the county had plans to improve the road – specifically the blind corner at which the resident had died. I had learned, from Captain Friend – the supervising officer who worked the accident – that reduced visibility of the corner had contributed to her death, simply because she was unable to see the truck bearing toward her in the wrong lane.

However, had she seen the truck coming toward her, it is unlikely that she would have been able to change her course of action as there is no shoulder available to either the inside (where there is a steep embankment) or the outside lane (where there is a cliff). At an average width of 22 feet, there is little room for error along any given stretch of county road 331. Having driven many of our local county roads, I am aware that this is not an unusual situation. What is unusual – or at least unacceptable – is that I was informed by Mr. Stowe that only squeaky wheels receive any grease, and further, should – after suitable notice from the public (presumably more than myself) – the county find it within their budget, and further vote to approve such a measure, it would be a minimum of two years before the issue could be mandated for improvement.

Squeaky wheels aside; I would think that blood-stained asphalt would have some bearing on civic duty and administrative obligation. I always thought that the job of any elected administrator was to foresee impending conflict to the best of their ability, and take steps to mitigate crisis. It is beyond my comprehension that once brought to their attention, through the publicized death of this citizen and my repeatedly voiced concerns, one in a position to effect change would choose instead to look the other way. Given the increased traffic (often large, heavy vehicles) due to a burgeoning population and oil and gas development, I find it unconscionable that our county leaders would assume a passive role in providing for the safety of our citizenry. These county roads were built to aid the movement of horses and buggies. Negotiating farm equipment, from either lane, is no piece of cake.

Twenty-ton trucks and eighteen wheelers pose a clear and increasing threat to life and limb. The fact that EnCana has scored yet another extension in meeting a mandated requirement illustrates, yet again, our elected officials’ unwillingness to put the needs of our tax-paying citizenry first.

For those who may not know – in office or in the running – being elected as a public servant involves actually representing those who trust you to office. It requires leadership and, at times, taking a decided stand for a just cause against established practice. Collecting a paycheck is an incidental occurrence – not the primary objective. As the oil and gas industry attempt to further negatively impact our environment and land values, public safety is of paramount concern – and mustn’t take a back seat to revenue, invited by unencumbered accommodation and political apathy.

I first met Tresi in 1994, and believe that she brings a fresh perspective to “politics” and will work with a strong voice in the citizens’ interest. I admire her enthusiasm and idealism. As a passionately unaffiliated voter – she has my faith, my support and my vote. Thank you, Tresi, for, selflessly offering us a genuine choice.

A better tomorrow – through unified involvement. VOTE your choice!

Lisa Bracken

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