OPINION: A bloodless coup here in River City?
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist
While there has been much said and much speculated about voter suppression in some conservative leaning states, here in Grand Junction we have seen two of our city councilors disenfranchised. By a vote of three councilors, our city charter has been “re-interpreted” to require a vote of only three councilors to make majority decisions. That means the votes of Jim Doody and Bennett Boeschenstein now do not count, do not matter, and need not be cast.
There was some negative and snarky comment about Jim Doody walking out of a heated council meeting. He also chose not to attend the meeting held to ratify the selection of Harry Butler’s replacement; his absence was moot. The alteration of our City Charter rendered him and his vote inconsequential. It is likely that this situation will render him impotent and unable to meaningfully represent his constituency for the balance of the current council’s term. It is unknown as to if the “re- interpretation” is a sustainable position. One thing of which you can be sure is that this current council is likely to become more contentious, less representative and less responsive.
City council seems determined to fill the two vacant positions with their hand-picked candidates, and has already elevated Duncan McArthur to the council by a 3-1 vote. This was McArthur’s third attempt to gain the seat; he was earlier rejected by the voters and lost appointment on a 3-3 tie. With McArthur now on board, there is a four-vote bloc that guarantees the remaining vacant seat on the council will be filled without meaningful and open dialogue. With a new five-vote majority, at that point Doody and Boeschenstein will find themselves even more isolated from the business of governing our city.
In a really weird game of “Musical Chairs” most of our state representatives seem set to change positions in the upcoming election. What is really weird about this game is that no chair is ever removed from the circle and there are seats for all the players all the time.
State Sen. Steve King wants to be Mesa County Sheriff, and Ray “I will serve one term only” Scott now wishes to take King’s seat in the Senate after his second term in the House. Scott McInnis is making noises about returning to local politics and seeking the seat of term-limited Steve Acquafresca on the county commission. While there remains an expressed anti-incumbent mood, we certainly appear willing to create more career politicians and invite one or two re-treads back. It is not about “helping” or “serving” us as much as it is them serving themselves.
While State Rep. Jared Wright boasts about another award for his lackluster performance, a challenger has stepped forward in an attempt to unseat him. Baffling Jared is that a fellow Republican would try to oust him after only one term given his glowing reviews. Apparently, Jared was not invited to the game of musical chairs. In his case, personal financial responsibility seems to matter while that does not seem to be the case at the city level.
A DOWNTOWN AMPHITHEATER?
White Elephant Hall has been razed and now the remaining structure awaits re-development and return to the tax rolls. Someone pointed out that the resulting hole in the ground could be easily developed into a small amphitheater for small performances. Maybe our Downtown Development Authority would wish to consider that option.
The remaining wall that was shared by the original structure and the attached classroom annex is an obvious eyesore. Maybe with the temporary development of a downtown performance space this wall could be used as a canvas for some talented local artists to create a mural. The sooner the DDA moves forward with some useful purpose for this property the sooner we may forget what a foolish waste of tax dollars it was to assume ownership of this parcel.
Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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