OPINION: Is the riverfront unimportant to the commissioners? | PostIndependent.com

OPINION: Is the riverfront unimportant to the commissioners?

Jim Hoffman
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

In the ongoing campaign to prove their conservative bona fides, two county commissioners have created a political issue of the Riverfront Trail in general and the Riverfront Commission in specific. Rose Pugliese and John Justman both feel as there is little if any value in the trail project and have lined up support in the local conservative community to justify their position.

Neither commissioner is apparently a friend of a community where parks, paths and trails lend a relaxing ambience to our town. Pugliese is quoted as saying the Riverfront Commission, not the county, should take on the tasks of seeking grants and applying for easements but desires to cut the county’s $17,000 contribution. Both she and Justman seem to envision a starker, less recreation-friendly county. Maybe private industry will fill the void — at least that is a utopian vision some would like us to believe.

Say it ain’t so Rose. An article in the Daily Sentinel quoted the county commissioner justifying failure to fund the Riverfront Commission on the local high suicide rate. Apparently, if we are so satisfied with our local way of life we would kill ourselves at a lower rate. If Rose is correct it could be postulated that if we were so happy with our local one-party rule, that satisfaction would be reflected in a lower suicide rate. One way or another if the quote is correct, Pugliese should be embarrassed by the inference.

As he battles for the viability of the Riverfront Commission, Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca has set his sights on another office. Given that he is term-limited in his current position, it is time for him either to retire or seek another office. He has chosen to continue in the public arena and has announced plans to run for the Colorado House seat being vacated by Ray Scott.


State Sen. Steve King has accepted payments from his PAC for expense reimbursement. Hmm? You may recall he was earlier admonished by the House Ethics Committee for “double dipping” by requesting expense reimbursement multiple times. It is possible that King does not understand that many times perception is reality.

“Leadership to Prosperity” is King’s personal PAC. The PAC was established for the purpose of assisting Republican candidates in Colorado House and Senate races. Notable expenses from PAC coffers according to reports filed with the Secretary of State were $2,518 to King for expense reimbursement (32.4%), $2,300 to candidates (29.4%), $2,020 to Strategic Compliance LLC (12.5%), and $979 to KV Political Consulting LLC (12.5%). Strategic Compliance is run by Katie Kennedy, who is also the registered agent of the PAC and shares office space with the PAC. A search of the Secretary of State website found no listing for KV Political Consulting.

Were this a charity being graded on how well it was attaining its stated goal and what percentage of funds were expended fulfilling its mission, it would receive a failing grade. Less than one-third of funds expended went directly toward the stated objective. The largest portion of funds was paid to King to defray expenses ranging from travel,computer repair, cell phone, office supplies, etc. King, who has announced his candidacy for Mesa County Sheriff, should be careful that the perception may be that he is using his PAC for personal benefit. Perhaps, King will again be visited by another ethics watchdog.

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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