OPINION: Our GJ City Council has decided they know what’s good for us
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist
Heck, I missed it.
“It” was the deadline to place my name in the hat for the Grand Junction City Council seat vacated by Rick Brainard. That deadline was 5 p.m. a week ago today. At about that time I was pulling my raft out of the Green River, an activity that had much higher priority in my life.
Our council now has a legitimate (?) majority of four councilors to select a new member without the support of Bennett Boeschenstein or Jim Doody. Those two gentlemen will be further marginalized and disenfranchised with this new selection, which will give the original gang a 5-2 edge in most votes. We can be sure that the majority of councilors can be trusted to make this selection without our input as they know best. What is good for the GJ Chamber is good for you, a situation you should get accustomed to over the next two years or so.
While I do not believe there is any direct collusion between any elected official and the Chamber of Commerce or political organizations controlled by the Chamber, I feel that the recent election has fostered an atmosphere in which we are being told we do not necessarily know what is good for us. Maybe we need to entrust the direction of our city to a small group who does understand, a group that can fill two councilor seats without the bothersome need of an election.
In my argument for consistency one councilor recently pointed out to me what he felt was inconsistent in my arguments. I am opposed to “secret” organizations that can raise untold dollars from untold sources and spend in any manner they like for the purpose of influencing elections. He likened it to reporting to the government how you spend your dollars. So, if I maintain that political contributions should be reported, it was likened to reporting to the government what I purchased with my dollars at the grocery store.
Well, no, I do not advocate that we should report how we spend our personal dollars. However, when someone is spending dollars in an attempt to influence the outcome of elections which will, in turn, determine how our tax dollars are spent, we have a right to know who they are and what their motivations are. We are not talking about them spending their dollars, but rather determining how our dollars are allocated. I think there is a definable difference between the two.
In a move likely to not sit well with owners of commercial properties along North Avenue, Marty Chazen and Phyllis Norris have argued against the creation of a Tax Increment Financing model to support infrastructure improvements along that aging corridor. Creation of this urban renewal-type district would divert some taxes toward improvements designed to improve the potential marketability and appearance of this commercial strip. Those tax dollars are dollars which may otherwise become refundable to city taxpayers under TABOR provisions. It is in this reasoning that Chazen has developed his opposition as it may be a project that would subvert the intent of TABOR.
Other property owners (Horizon Drive and Downtown come to mind) have been sufficiently concerned to create special taxing districts that increased their taxes to improve their commercial areas. The North Avenue group apparently is not that personally invested in their properties and businesses and asks instead that we all come to their aid with some type of hand out. Chazen and Norris elected as “business friendly” candidates may now be vilified if they refuse to approve corporate welfare benefits to property owners not sufficiently confident to further invest in their own self-interest.
POT WILL FIND A WAY
In continuing moves sure to empower and encourage bootleggers and black marketers, our political entities continue to move forward to make sure pot cannot be bought here. Given that smoking the weed has become a legal activity for those 21 and older, it is nonsensical to claim that not allowing its sale within our borders will contain it. Folks wishing to purchase it will merely drive to the next city or county or create a small buying group reminiscent of a community trip to Sam’s or Costco or continue to buy from their friendly local dealer. Rather than regulating and taxing a legal industry, we will be content to maintain and foster its criminal nature.
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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