OPINION: Airport authority stars in its own movie – ‘Clueless in Grand Junction’
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist
In the wake of an FBI investigation of fraud at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, the Airport Authority Board has taken decisive action.
They have decided that they are clueless. Despite their mandate to oversee airport management and operations, they have no idea what fraud could have been committed. Knowing that we taxpayers expect them to have a clue, they have hired an out-of-town lawyer to try to help them figure out what they probably should have known all along.
With a wink and a nod toward those demanding fiscal integrity, they have capped resulting legal fees at $35,000, according to the Daily Sentinel. To this writer, that seems a large amount to pay for knowledge that could have been earlier ascertained had the board chosen not to ignore numerous critics of the Airport Authority with a cavalier “they’re-just-out-to-destroy-the-airport” mentality. Given their head-in-the-sand actions, it seems the ones out to destroy the airport are the very ones who were charged with the responsibility of protecting it. Some reputations shall soon be in tatters and we await the spectacle.
Who will manage to spin reasonable deniability the best while throwing others under the proverbial bus?
I apologize; it was the wrong thing to do.
In last week’s column, I criticized Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese for what was perceived to be an insensitive comment linking our local suicide rate to satisfaction with our park system. Rather than merely noting the apparent insensitivity of that act, I expanded upon it and became guilty of exactly the same misdeed.
Pugliese did post an explanation of her remarks and her personal concern with the issue of suicide on Facebook. We agree that raising awareness and doing all that’s possible to stem the growing problem here within our community is a priority. And we commend Rose for any and all work in which she is engaged toward that end. That said, it remains that her comments, and my own, were inappropriate and likely insensitive.
MASS TRANSIT A NEED
Total misbelief was my response to a quote in a Daily Sentinel article attributed to appointed Grand Junction City Councilor Duncan McArthur.
While commenting on funding for Grand Valley Transit (GVT), McArthur was quoted as saying they needed to be “weaned” from tax dollars. Sorry, councilor, but mass transit is infrastructure that is and will continue to be subsidized by our tax dollars. A city without mass transit is a mere backwater without much in the way of future prospects.
We seem to be seeing a trend among our local elected “representatives.” They seem indifferent to the needs for parks, recreation and mass transit. In their vision, funding for parks and other infrastructure beyond roads and sewers would become less than a significant priority. The riverfront trail system is part of the forward-looking plan to create a more pleasant town that will attract new businesses and new residents.
While both our city council and county commission continue to define what is not a government function, we are likely to see a lessening of commitment to community recreation, a lessening of desirability. We will be told that private enterprise should step in. We will be told that volunteers can do more. We will be told that churches and charities can do more. We will be told that they will tax us less and spend less and they shall lead us into a future in which our Grand Valley will become bleak and unappealing.
Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at email@example.com.
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