Sleepy council wakes up Washington |

Sleepy council wakes up Washington

A 35-year friendship between Glenwood Springs Mayor Don Vanderhoof and U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis was put to the test recently when an admittedly exhausted mayor signed a letter recommending revisions to McInnis’ Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

Vanderhoof’s letter, dated May 16, was printed on city of Glenwood Springs letterhead and sent to the representative’s office in Washington. McInnis, a native of Glenwood Springs, wasn’t too happy about the lack of support from his constituents in Glenwood and he let Vanderhoof know it.

But, according to Vanderhoof, it was really a case of heavy eyelids, not a heavy hand, in questioning Rep. McInnis, at least from the mayor’s perspective.

Vanderhoof explained that the letter regarding the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, known as H.R. 1904, was presented to him and the council toward the end of a seven-and-a-half-hour meeting. The bill has since passed in the House of Representatives.

Certainly, the City Council is under no obligation to endorse every bill that McInnis introduces.

The letter was not drafted by a council member but was a template provided by the Sierra Club. Councilman Dan Richardson presented the document, which called for McInnis to focus additional resources on protecting communities from future wildfires. More than 30 public officials signed the same letter, including the mayors of Durango and Jamestown.

The late-night signatures and subsequent public relations nightmare for the city bring light to the enormity of the council’s responsibilities.

An understandably worn-out council is nevertheless obligated to carefully study, ponder and, if necessary, postpone action on any item. Setting this aside may have been a wise move, regardless of when the House was scheduled to vote on the bill or if the clock at City Hall had struck midnight.

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