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OPINION: Jumping back into the fray after a nice vacation

Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

Well, after a three-week absence from the valley, I found that little happened.

Of course, there was significant breaking news immediately upon my return. Much maligned Rick Brainard resigned, and most think that is good news. However, with his resignation and the death of Harry Butler, this directly places control of our city in the hands of three councilors each with a pre-determined agenda. While the council failed in a 3-3 tie to replace Harry Butler with Duncan McArthur, that vote today would be 3-2. It looks as though Duncan may finally get his seat even if the voters overwhelmingly rejected him.

The newly re-constituted council with Duncan or another hand-picked candidate will have a 4-2 vote for the candidate to replace Brainard. Control of the city slips further from the hands of the voters and moves steadily toward control by a secret special interest group controlled by the chamber of commerce. The power-brokers have seemingly broken the will and spirit of the electorate.



State Rep. Jared Wright brags on his Facebook page that he has won the “Defender of Liberty” award from the American Conservative Union for his voting record of the last session. He vows to repeat that performance in the next session. Great! Jared gets an award and his constituents get another year of no accomplishment.

It should be noted that the trash complaint of which I complained has netted results. The literal pile of rotting garbage has been removed; thanks to the county for that. A complaint filed much earlier regarding junk has yielded less glowing results. While the county has claimed “substantial progress,” much is left to be accomplished. As posed earlier, one would wonder if such an eyesore would be tolerated in a commissioner’s neighborhood. More on that thought in the near future.



While speaking of the county, it is noted that some have claimed the county illegally kept over $34 million in tax collections that should have been refunded to the taxpayers. We will now see how the commissioners will reconcile their TABOR views with this matter. Morally and ethically we are due a refund; will they allow it? Personally, I would forgo my portion of any refund due and hope the county applies the entire amount toward a community rec center in one of their several undeveloped parks.

We support business, but only business we want! So seems to declare our county commissioners as they move forth to prevent any legal marijuana outlets from opening in unincorporated areas of the county. Perhaps we should have a binding vote to determine what other businesses should not be allowed. Just for fun, let’s put politics on the list along with legal commercial endeavors we find morally repugnant and not suitable in politically and morally pure Mesa County.

FINAL INT’L REPORT

In a final report as the Free Press’s international reporter (now recalled home), here are a few thoughts for what they are worth:

Our last week was spent in Ireland. We rented a car rather than being tied to a fixed schedule of an organized tour, a decision we thoroughly enjoyed. We had a very loose agenda and missed some things on the list and saw other things we did not even know existed. We saw so many fine castles and churches we became somewhat “castled out.” A truly enjoyable side-trip occurred in the town of Adare where we were allowed access to a local golf course to explore the ruins of an ancient church and friary. We were the only tourists out there, and escape from the many others was a welcome respite.

The narrow lanes of Ireland proved to be a bit of a driving challenge, and we found that a scrape against a rock wall in our rental car proved to be a bit of a downer. That incident was virtually the only real downside and did not detract from the overall immense pleasure we felt. Our final full two days in Ireland were spent on the Ring of Kerry and at the Bunratty Castle and Village. To have had this opportunity was a blessing for which we are grateful. The Irish people are every bit as friendly, folksy and welcoming as you have heard.

Thanks to all those here in Grand Junction that helped with business and personal obligations and made this escape possible.

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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