Letters to the editor
Don’t recall McClung
We are writing to praise the current mayor of Parachute, Roy McClung, and urge people to vote no on the recall attempt on him, among others. We feel that he has done more for the town of Parachute than many realize. We feel that the approval of marijuana stores in the town of Parachute was a stroke of genius.
After having been through many years of oil and natural gas booms and busts, we finally may have a source of income free of oil and natural gas. Regardless of his personal feelings of marijuana, he was able to see the validity of inserting a money-making option into the town free from boom and bust. Travelers now have a reason to get off the highway in a sleepy little old dusty town for more than gas and cigarettes. For the first time, we are more than just a speck on the map.
As far as the town entering into the business of marijuana, we have been in the alcohol business for a great many years. The issue was raised of children being exposed to the drug by having it in town. They are being exposed to a much worse legal drug every single day, as we currently have three liquor stores in town and numerous restaurants that serve alcohol, not to mention at least five convenience stores that sell alcohol, also.
No, Mr. McClung has not injured our town, his town. He has, in fact only tried to help it out of a bad place. He was born and raised here, his mother was born and raised here, his grandfather was born and raised here and his great-grandfather homesteaded here in the 1800s. He is certainly not trying to bring this town down. He is, in fact, trying to give it a reason to survive.
Marjorie Knight, Leta McDaniel
As many restaurant owners across the country claim, mobile vendors play dirty. Do mobile vendors hold an unfair advantage over restaurants? If the actual answer was yes, perhaps it’s time for the National Restaurant Association to file an unfair competition lawsuit on behalf of its members.
In the United States, unfair competition is typically applicable when one business (mobile vendor in this case) gains an unnatural advantage over another entity.
So what are these unfair competition practices that mobile vendors in Rifle are using to affect commerce? These are different types of unfair competition practices; let’s see if any of them apply:
Intellectual property infringement (this includes infringing on copyright, trademark and patent laws).
Antitrust (if a mobile hot dog vendor got too big and was detrimental to a healthy economy).
Misappropriation of trade secrets (a competitor or former employee steals trade secrets, then profits from them).
Trade libel (inventing falsehoods about the competition to gain a market advantage).
Tortious interference (messing around with another businesses’ contracts).
Now, if mobile vendors in Rifle were actually involved in any of these practices, even we would declare, that specific vendor was unfair competition. But, you really never hear restaurants making these claims; instead they state that the unfair competition stems from food trucks having lower overhead.
Unfortunately the argument holds no water. Yes, restaurants have higher overhead, but that’s by their choice for the honor of having climate controls, tables, chairs and bathrooms.
Then if lower overhead and location is the problem, let’s look at Redbox compared to Blockbuster Video stores. I have yet to see a city ban the placement of Redbox kiosks to protect video stores that pay property taxes. How about Amazon compared to Borders Books? I’ve yet to find a single state or local government seeking to ban the sale of online books or merchandise. We know why that isn’t happening … those types of laws or ordinances would undermine the free market. It would stifle competition and public choice.
So what’s different when it comes to mobile vendors? Nothing!
Parachute needs change
With the oil and gas industry moving on, Parachute, which tends to link up with one industry and has not diversified, is now facing economic reality. Unfortunately again our town leaders are only looking to one business for economic survival — marijuana.
I am offering Parachute voters the choice of an active mayor. I will bring new ideas and have a proven track record of getting things accomplished that others did not think could be done. Partnering is the way I get things done.
My priorities will be:
1) To maximize the services and beautify the Parachute Information Center-Rest Stop. And add the Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Tourism project to the center/rest stop.
2) To begin to make our historic Main Street attractive and inviting, and continue to work through the Grand Valley Economic Development Committee with the local businesses.
3) To begin to actively promote and work on the Grand Valley Park Association Event Center. This center, on 25 acres of donated land, would increase business at our four hotels and restaurants as well other shops.
I believe these ideas will maintain jobs and begin to create new ones.
I have been a supporter and involved in the oil and gas industry and am saddened for its decline and many of my friends losing their jobs. This industry has been a partner in many community projects.
Economic development organization and fundraising is what brought me to this area in 1983. The history and knowing how to make my community better, by working together, is what has kept me here.
Vote to recall Roy McClung and please vote for me, Judith Hayward. We need changes in Parachute and there are new qualified persons willing to serve. Everyone I know wants to make our town better. And it’s time for a change in our town government.
Parachute can do better
The municipal elections are upon us. In Parachute, due to the fact that the complexion of the board could be changed with the regular election plus the recall election for the mayor and two board members, I would like to state my position.
One way the arguments are being made by candidates is through Facebook posts. I am aware of posts about myself and my husband that I would like to address. It seems the person posting has been told things and passed them on as fact without proper vetting. I will state that without exception, the claims about Ron and me on a certain Facebook page post of February 26, 2016, are not true. As often happens in the political arena, it is easier to argue against someone personally rather than to argue the issues at hand.
The morning of June 19, 2015, I was at Town Hall asking how it happened that the board could have voted to allow in marijuana businesses in town so quickly. Other towns in the area had put it to a vote of the people. The surrounding towns of De Beque, Rifle, New Castle and Glenwood Springs as well as Palisade, Fruita and Grand Junction have all asked the people whether or not marijuana businesses should be allowed. I began going house to house and asking self-identified voters if they would have liked the opportunity to vote on the matter. One board member resigned from the board to help me canvas. The results were that 88 percent of the folks we talked with said they would have liked to vote for or against the option of marijuana.
This has been my position from the beginning. The voice of the people is what is most important. The current mayor and board members have stated that if the people elected them, the people trusted them and they did not need to ask, or put to vote, any decisions we are faced with for the town of Parachute. I disagree. When we have a big issue like marijuana being considered, I feel the right thing to do is ask the people.
The people are the heartbeat of the town and they have a right to be involved. They have a right to voice their opinions and in a democracy that right is by voting. My focus on this issue is to have the people decide and decide the future of marijuana in Parachute.
Being concerned that the voice of the people should be heard, we started an official citizen-initiated petition to get the matter to a vote of the people. This process is clearly provided for in the town charter. State law says people can only vote to disallow marijuana businesses in November on even numbered years. But the same law says people can vote to allow marijuana businesses at any time, even at special elections. The board could have repealed Ordinance 683. Such repeal would have meant marijuana business was once again prohibited in the town and the question before the people would have been, “shall marijuana business be allowed?”
The board majority voted that this process not be allowed to happen so the vote is now Nov. 8 of this year.
My concern is that the decision to allow the marijuana business in town was made solely on financial considerations and in haste. In my view, the climate in the town would have been more amenable if there had been informational meetings presenting the views from both sides and then allowing the people to vote as was done in many of the 271 municipalities of Colorado.
As of this writing, the board has approved applications for five retail stores, a cultivation facility and a manufacturing facility — more businesses than are in some of the major cities of western Colorado. There are even more applications coming.
In other areas of the state, towns have placed limits on marijuana establishments based on population, usually one shop per 4,000 people. However, the board and town manager state that by limiting the number of shops they are limiting free market.
I disagree. Not limiting the number of shops for such a small town is a recipe for failure. It does not appear that the board is interested in helping these shops succeed by limiting the number of marijuana establishments, but is only interested in the amount of money generated by licensing fees. I have heard, “we do not want to pick winners and losers.”
In the meantime the application fees are being collected without regard to the success of those who plan to set up shop in Parachute and without regard to the inevitable “bust” of many of these shops. In my opinion that creates an atmosphere of high risk to open a business in town.
If I am elected, I wish to bring a more civil discourse to our town meetings, to increase communication with our community and to let the citizens know the board is approachable. We can do better, Parachute. I just know we can.
The voters will indicate whether they think my position and goals are worthy or not. I am satisfied that my grandchildren will know I was willing to stand up for what I thought was the right thing to do no matter the personal cost.
Candidate for Parachute trustee