Flex your muscle by getting out and voting in the May 8 Drainage District election!

Why drainage matters: Sherwood Park flooding after a sudden heavy summer rainstorm

Mark your calendars: there’s a local election coming up that Grand Valley progressives and intelligent voters can actually win if they just get out to vote: It’s an election in which typically only about 200 people turn out vote, so one or two dozen extra voters coming out could really tip the entire election in a good way for our valley. It’s for the District 3 seat seat on the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) board, and it’s coming up May 8. (pdf)

The difference between the two candidates is stark. It should make for a very easy decision by voters.

Here’s a briefing on the candidates:

Candidate #1: Mary Brophy

One of the two candidates running for the Drainage Board District A seat is Mary Brophy. She is originally from San Diego, has resided in Palisade for about two years, is a dental hygienist, owns a peach stand and has no background in stormwater drainage. She has never attended any meetings of the Grand Valley Drainage District or any meetings of the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority, a drainage partnership between the City of Grand Junction, the City of Fruita, the Town of Palisade, Mesa County and the Grand Valley Drainage District. She answered questions from the G.J. Chamber about the GVDD’s goals and funding and her candidacy with one or two-line answers.

Candidate #2: Dave Edwards

The other candidate for the District 3 Drainage Board seat is Dave Edwards. He has served as Mayor Pro Tem of the Town of Palisade for eight years, and served that entire time on the board of 5-2-1 Drainage District. For six of those years served as Chair of the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority. Dave has served on the Executive Board of the Colorado Municipal League for 6 years, and this past year was its Vice Chair. Dave has attended meetings, trainings and workshops of the Colorado Stormwater Council, and attended sessions at the Colorado Municipal League and the Special District Association on stormwater and public works. He subscribes to and reads several periodicals on public works and on stormwater. Dave is also a Certified Public Accountant and an attorney with an LLM Master of Laws (cum laude) in Administrative Law and Taxation. He has an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. He answered  the Chamber’s questionnaire about the GVDD’s goals and funding, and his candidacy by breaking his answers down into subject areas the GVDD covers of stormwater drainage, separation of stormwater from sewage water, and stormwater quality.

Why drainage matters: Flooding at First and Grand in Grand Junction, after 1/2 inch of rain fell in an hour in a summer rainstorm a few years ago.

O.K., now guess which candidate the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed for the District 3 Drainage Board seat?

You guessed it: The G.J. Chamber is endorsing Mary Brophy.

It fits perfectly with the Chamber’s longstanding track record of endorsements, though. After all, the Chamber endorsed Rick Brainard for Grand Junction City Council in 2013 (Brainard got arrested for assaulting his girlfriend four days after he was elected, and plead guilty); they supported the Brady Trucking Rezone in 2014 (promising a “yes” vote would bring “Jobs and Trails” to town that never materialized); they supported large-scale gambling in Mesa County in 2014 against the wishes of about 2/3 of the electorate; they supported the Riverside Parkway ZigZag Project in 2015, the downtown Event Center proposal in 2016 and they supported changing the name of North Avenue to “University Boulevard” in 2017. Also in 2017, the Chamber backed Thomas Keenan, a candidate who couldn’t put together a coherent sentence, for the District E School Board seat, and also backed Dusti Reimer for school board. Dusti numbered her answers on her Chamber questionnaire “1, 2, 3 and 5.”

So now you know everything you need to know about what endorsements by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce  in local elections actually mean. The Chamber pays no attention to a candidate’s mental or emotional suitability for a position, or their qualifications or track record of public service, or their areas of previous experience or background.

Okay, okay. Drainage doesn’t sound very exciting, but drainage is actually an extremely important part of our infrastructure, and one we almost never see or pay any attention to until it’s too late, usually after people lose property or someone loses a life in a flood. We need intelligent people who really care about drainage on this board, and preferably someone with experience.

Now mark your calendars and GO VOTE if you live in GVDD’s District 3.

How to vote in the Drainage District election:

Only people who live in Grand Valley Drainage District 3 — the area east of 28 Road, south to the Colorado River and north to the Grand Valley Highline Canal — are eligible to vote. To vote you have to show up in person at the Grand Valley Drainage District Office at 722 23 Road between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 8th. There is no mailer notifying voters of this opportunity, and it’s not a mail-in ballot. Turnout is typically light for Drainage District elections, so every single vote has the potential to make a big difference.

So make a difference in our community, and get out and vote in the Drainage District election May 8 and make sure the truly better candidate wins.

4 comments for “Flex your muscle by getting out and voting in the May 8 Drainage District election!

  1. Karen Maheux
    May 8, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Again I am amazed how Any Chamber of Commerce can endorse a candidate for any political position. Are they speaking for each and every member. In short this needs to stop. What your political views as Director has nothing to do with your mission – to support and encourage commerce.

  2. Dave Edwards
    May 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Dave Edwards replies:
    Diane Schwenke’s response contains the assertion that a public official should be able to rely upon the technical expertise and research needed by board members to make informed decisions. I believe that it is the responsibility of elected officials to become informed on subject matter that they make decisions on. It is very important to have staff expert in the areas that they work on. But elected officials have to exercise independent and informed judgment. They cannot be independent of their staff if they are not themselves educated on the subject matter and issues.

    One of Ms Schwenke’s other concerns is that the candidate represent the interests of residents and business owners within the District and be willing to meet with them. I attended the Chamber’s endorsement committee meeting and have regularly attended other meetings as requested by the Chamber of Commerce. I have tried to address their concerns.

    As a concerned individual and on my own initiative a few years ago during the Great Recession, I went to the GVDD Board meeting and asked them to temporarily lower their stormwater impact fee. I asserted that lowering this fee would have a positive effect on bringing back the homebuilding and other construction industry. After discussing the probable result of lowering this impact fee, the GVDD board agreed to lower this fee for several years. The construction industry has, indeed, been the leader of the Grand Valley economy as we come out of the Great Recession.

    Ms Schwenke asserts that transparency in budgeting and operations was the primary consideration in their endorsement consideration.

    GVDD’s budget is open to the public. GVDD’s budgeting process is open to the public. This budgeting process is discussed in the board’s open monthly meetings. I am a CPA, as is one other of the current GVDD board members. Both of us have found both the GVDD budget and GVDD’s financial reporting to be clear and to the point of the purposes of GVDD.

    GVDD’s operations are likewise open to the public. I have attended meetings over the years, most recently nearly all their monthly meetings in 2017 and 2018.

    No GVDD decisions are made in secret. All GVDD decisions are made in public. Nothing is decided behind closed doors. GVDD meetings are held in conformity with open meetings laws. There is full and open debate about current and long range issues. The prioritization of projects is also done following rules and procedures that are clear and open. The public can attend and observe these discussions. Votes of the board members are included in publicly available board minutes. No reports are kept secret. Documents are made available to the public and are not destroyed.

    If anything, GVDD operates openly and keeps the public apprised of how and why elected officials make decisions. The rules and methods by which GVDD operates are open and public.

    I have been told that Ms. Brophy has posted on her Facebook page that she believes that the GVDD stormwater fee is an illegal tax. I have no idea why Ms. Brophy believes it is wise or necessary to opine on the court case that is about to be decided regarding the legality of GVDD’s stormwater fee. Neither she nor I are the judge in that case. We cannot influence the judge’s decision one way or the other at this time, nor, according to the rules of law, should we be able to.

    Dave Edwards

  3. David Combs
    May 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    My company is a member of the Chamber and there was an announcement of their endorsement for Mrs. Brophy in their “E” newsletter. It also ran responses to questions both candidates were asked. After reading the article I asked how could the Chamber not endorse Mr. Edwards when not only his answer but his qualifications stood head and shoulders over Mrs. Brophy’s? The following is the response from the Chamber. Ann you are so right on!

    Dear Mr. Combs,

    Thank you for your comment and your question submitted via the website about why the Chamber endorsed Mary Brophy over Dave Edwards. Being versed in water issues was only one consideration in an endorsement process. One would assume that GVDD staff could be relied upon to provide the technical expertise and research needed by the board members to make informed decisions. Our questions and ultimate endorsement had more to do with how the candidate would represent the interests of residents and business owners within the District, commitments to meet with them, be transparent and bring oversight and transparency to the budget and operations. The board also looked at how a candidate’s public policy views align with Chamber policy guidelines and positions.

    Sincerely,

    Diane

    Diane Schwenke

    President/CEO

    Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce

    970.263.2915 direct line

    970.250.6461 cell

    diane@gjchamber.org

  4. Dave Edwards
    April 26, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Thanks, Anne!! Being endorsed by the smartest, most articulate person in Mesa County is quite an honor!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *