When it comes to our city streets, maybe we put a fork in our council

Craig Hall, Publisher
Craig Hall, Publisher

Then again. I’m betting we’ll get another roundabout.

By the time you read this, we’ll know whether or not Grand Junction will get a new events center and also just how much money our local leaders will have to fix streets. If I had my guess, there’ll be no events center and more money for the terrible upkeep of our streets.

My gut just tells me this because most of the folks in town just say no to whatever is proposed (me being one of them most of the time) like the events center because the city council will screw it up for some reason or throw money away because of it — all with good history to back up those feelings. The Avalon Theater and public safety center come to mind in terms of how the city handles its money or the will of the people. With the Avalon, it’s a money pit. With the safety center, it’s ignoring what the people wanted. And that’s how we get a no vote.

Plus, EVERY politician campaigning at every level now runs on “better roads.” This road load of BS reminds me of a series in the Detroit News on Cuba I read way back in the 80’s. Someone interviewed a big Castro supporter about how things were, and all the guy could do was brag about the road in front of his hut. He had no car or money or use for the road, but the government built it. Yes, it’s the opposite extreme, but the overall take on how government spends road money is always the same. There’s never enough. But unlike Cuba, people actually own cars and drive here, so my gut says this will have passed.

Who knows, maybe I’m completely wrong. However, my interaction recently with a member of the Grand Junction City Council tell me I’m not, especially on the roads.

You see, the esteemed councilman objected to my post about how poor our road conditions are. And let’s face it, they are. They must be, after all, as he was of the same opinion as me. He wasn’t, however, of the same opinion as to anything else. So we did the dance citizens and politicians (please note, your city council members are politicians, not public servants, you’ll see why soon) do every time someone from the proletariat has the gumption to question their elected betters. It’s all entirely predictable.

Phase one: Ask the little guy just how he’d fix the roads. This is done to show the politician knows more on the topic, as they should, because most of us little guys are too busy trying to make it in life and keep electing people who promise they’ll fix the roads. All I can say is that this batch we have now has proven one thing, they can’t. My answer was simple: Use the money for roads on roads, nothing else. I mean, if we only have 90 percent of the money we need for roads, you’d think our roads would be in 90 percent great condition. They aren’t.

Phase two: Which naturally falls after phase one in any politician’s playbook, complain there isn’t enough money for roads. I don’t know the exact amount, but according to this guy we’ll need 20 years to catch up we’re so far behind on budgeting for roads. Sounds a little like Mesa County School District 51, which apparently has eliminated building maintenance from its budget. I wonder how much faster the city would have “caught up” had the council not given the Avalon millions of dollars or built the public safety building for $30 million less as the people voted on?

Phase three: Also a natural occurrence of someone having the temerity to question someone who has been elected is this question from the elected: “Why don’t you run for office and change things?” This elitist take comes from the elected one’s mind that thinks because he ran for office and won, he has the higher ground in trying to change things from “the inside” all while dismissing those of us on “the outside” as whiners and complainers — and missing the obvious as to why we whine and complain. We don’t like the job you’re doing. But trust me councilman, getting elected and holding the job of  “public servant” doesn’t give you immunity from criticism. It invites the polar opposite — tons of criticism, especially when you go against things you allegedly stood for during campaign time. As to your superior intellect, all I can say is you ran for the office, not me. And you’re running again, which you can’t complain about ….

Phase four: Your comment of “I do this for the money.” I’m so sorry, did they change the pay scale you knew about before you ran the first time, or is this just a sad way for you to beg for some “public servant” sympathy? I think the latter. I’ve heard the same complaints (or sympathy attempts) from folks in the Colorado Legislature and you know what? You’re a big boy, so pull up your pants and accept your decision of taking an office about which you knew the facts.

And my hopeful phase five: Fix the damned roads. Budget properly with the money you have. Cut trash service. Close golf courses. Get out of the council-subsidized theater business.

And stop paving roads with good intentions.