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OPINION: Turns out Mesa County voters have minds of their own

Jim Hoffman
CONSIDER THIS
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

In a stunning repudiation of the Mesa County Republican Party, local voters cast their ballots Tuesday in favor of John Williams, Greg Mikolai and Tom Parrish for school board and against Pat Kanda, John Sluder and Michael Lowenstein.

Voters decided that educators and those interested in education should remain at the helm of our school board. In this writer’s opinion, the balance in this race tipped toward the winners by the obvious lack of focus on educational issues by the defeated “reform” candidates.

Their campaign was announced as one to overcome a “liberal bastion” not one to improve education. Their campaign was anti-labor and anti-union (read as anti-teacher), instead of one of solutions. Their campaign was one of opposition to the status quo while failing to advance an alternative. They were simply “against” something and sidestepped any concrete comment or commitment as to what they favored.

Running against the liberals as a sole election issue proved to be an inadequate strategy. The electorate recognized an unspoken agenda that would prove to be of detriment to our local schools. That agenda included a voucher system that would strip money away from an already cash-strapped system. That reality coupled with a campaign obviously devoid of concern for local schools and local teachers doomed this latest foray, the sole goal of which was the self-professed desire for “dominance.”

GETTING SILLY AROUND HERE

A new calendar has been adopted for what electioneering has come to be known as — “silly season.”

Silly season is now every day, every week, every month of every year. Elections have become perpetual. Here in Mesa County, we are one year away from the election for county commissioner and the announcements have been made, war chests amassed, and the rhetoric has begun.

Former Congressman Scott McInnis has made the obvious official with his recent announcement of a return to “public service” as he will take a run at the seat of term-limited Steve Acquafresca. He has already collected tens of thousands of dollars which, while it seems overkill in tiny Mesa County, has become the sad norm. In any election for any office, vast amounts of cash seem to hold sway. In the case of McInnis, the majority of the funds are from outside our local area and lots of it from out-of-state. Why is it that our local elections have become so important that outsiders now want to determine the outcome?

McInnis’ only announced opponent is former City of Grand Junction Mayor Gregg Palmer, also a political retread but with a bit fewer miles. Palmer has raised mere thousands in mostly local dollars. Palmer has made previous contributions as a political office holder and wants us to return him to office again. Apparently, outsiders do not care much for Palmer, his chances or his ideas as they have failed to pony up bucks for his campaign.

At all levels of government, we are certain that the Republican Party is not in favor of gun-control (gun safety for the liberal crowd) laws or Obamacare. (As an aside, people always quote Einstein as saying the description of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. The House has voted 45 times to end Obamacare and attempted to stop it again via government shutdown, and that is INSANE). Excuse that regression — back on topic — while the Republicans are against those things they are becoming the best argument for both. It seems they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot and then put their foot in their mouth. Placing your foot in your mouth is not an appropriate medical intervention for having shot yourself in the foot.

Speaking of shooting yourself in the foot, Scott Gessler has done it well. Elected as Secretary of State, Gessler and his like-minded counterparts across the nation began a campaign to “purge” the voter rolls of ineligible voters. This was to eradicate the huge incidence of voter fraud of which no one has yet found evidence. On his first attempt he wanted county elections officials to eliminate specific voters he deemed to be suspect. Local officials balked, well, refused would be a more accurate word, and Gessler went back to the drawing board.

After expending unknown sums of taxpayer money and additional resources, Gessler generated a list of voters he deemed likely “illegal aliens” and demanded those be purged from the voter rolls and prosecuted. In Mesa County that amounted to one voter. After review by election officials and the D.A. it was determined the voter was legally entitled to vote. Similar results were experienced statewide.

In his run for the governorship, Gessler will not likely have the support of many who view his anti-voter efforts as ill-advised and wasteful. Now we wait for him to put his foot, or perhaps both feet, into his mouth.

PARTING SHOT

While we are speaking about health care and Congress, it would be appropriate to discuss work schedules. For 2014, your hard-working elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives will have to work an astounding 113 days in D.C.

Were that you and me it would amount to a less than half-time position and not qualify for retirement or health care benefits. Maybe the fiscally conservative “representatives” will do the right thing and refuse to accept fringe benefits that should not come with a part-time job. They would then need to provide for their own health care and retirement needs.

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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