Posts Tagged ‘ Economics ’

Pot Culture Comes to Grand Junction Despite City and County Bans

March 20, 2014
Discontent's giant jobbing Bong Guy greets tourists driving into Grand Junction off of I-70B. Art was a creation of their employee Kyle O'Connor.

Discontent’s giant skateboarding, stoned Bong Guy greets tourists driving into Grand Junction off of I-70B. Art was created by their employee Kyle O’Connor.

Try as they may, the Grand Junction City Council, Mesa County Commissioners and even Diane Cox haven’t been able to stop the pot culture from seeping into Grand Junction. It’s starting to show up everywhere these days, despite city and county-wide bans on retail marijuana commerce.

Roasted Espresso and Subs on 5th Street and Colorado Avenue, the coolest coffee bar in town, now offers to add cannabis seeds to any item for $1.50. Shelled cannabis seeds contain a high amount of protein and nutrients like iron, vitamin B and calcium. Reader’s Digest calls them “super seeds” and says they are a “great source of complete protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Cannabis seeds also contain phytosterols, plant-based compounds that help lower cholesterol levels.” The THC content of seeds is almost nonexistent.

Discontent at First Street and North Avenue — a high-visibility location at the west entrance to town — bills itself as a “lifestyle store for the counter-culture” and sells a wide selection of pipes, rolling papers, vaporizers, water pipes and other accessories. The quality of their selection of glass art bongs is so magnificent it’s hard to imagine actually using them to smoke. Discontent also carries skateboarding accessories, Van’s sneakers and clothing for the younger set, but they report their clientele has a wide age range. They had one customer who was 85 years old. (Discontent checks date of birth on customers’ IDs.) Discontent is now sporting a huge picture of a stoned, skateboarding bong-guy with bloodshot eyes on its front window.

Tourists coming in off I-70 stop in at Discontent to ask directions to the Colorado National Monument, but the store manager reports the most frequent question from tourists is “Where are the recreational pot shops?” Unfortunately, Discontent must direct them out of town to Rifle, Ridgway or Carbondale, where retail recreational marijuana stores are permitted, to spend their cash. Discontent has been so successful in its current location that they are planning to open a second store in Glenwood Springs, one of the places that has also allowed retail MJ sales. Locals can only watch helplessly as cash-laden pot tourists drive straight through town and out the other end to points beyond to spend their money. Read more »

Shoot Out with High Noon Solar

January 4, 2014

HighNoonThinking of getting solar panels installed on your house or office? Great! Just don’t let your solar company rush you into a deal, and make sure they calculate the size of your system based on the correct power consumption data from your building. Any error will cost you for decades.

That’s our advice after having had a bad experience dealing with Grand Junction’s High Noon Solar. In their zeal to rush us into a soon-to-expire lease deal, High Noon miscalculated the size of power system we’d need. Now we’re stuck with a system that’s too small to offset our power bills to the extent that High Noon promised. Read more »

Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce Blows It Again

November 29, 2013
Photo of Chamber Board meeting at a lodge in Utah, printed in the Daily Sentinel.

Photo of Chamber Board meeting at a lodge in Utah, printed in the Daily Sentinel.

The Grand Junction (Colorado) Area Chamber of Commerce urges citizens to shop local and “put their hard-earned dollars to work right here in your community.” Its “Blue Bandwagon Shop Local” campaign points out that patronizing local businesses helps create jobs in our area. In its full page ad in the November 25 Daily Sentinel, the chamber posted results from a “Shop Local Survey” and said that “85% [of business respondents] thought it was significantly or very important for the Chamber to promote shopping locally.”

Okay, great.

But directly beneath the “Shop Local” survey is a photo of Grand Junction Chamber Board members attending their “annual advance” meeting at “the beautiful Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab,” UTAH — an establishment not just out of the area, but clean out of the state. Read more »

List of Non-Chamber Member Businesses Grows

November 2, 2013

shop_local.inddMesa County citizens: Have you had enough of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s overbearing political antics, fake programs and bullying and intimidating of citizens? Do you need a pet groomer, mechanic or CPA? Plumber electrician or dentist? Do you want to vote with your wallet and avoid patronizing businesses that belong to the chamber when you do your holiday shopping this year?  Check out the large and growing list of businesses that do not belong to the Chamber now posted at GJChamber.info. It now contains over 500 businesses, the majority of which are truly locally-owned small businesses, so the money you spend at these places will stay in our area, rebound many times over and really help boost our local economy: List of Non-Chamber-Member Businesses

G.J. Chamber Ignores the Single Biggest Business Issue Around: the Government Shutdown

October 12, 2013

MIAlogoThe Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce took the time to endorse school board candidates in a what is supposed to be a nonpartisan race, but hasn’t publicly advocated against the single biggest issue hurting businesses large and small in western Colorado right now: the government shutdown. The Colorado National Monument is closed, negatively impacting tourism and hospitality businesses. Major events scheduled to be held on BLM land have been canceled. The shutdown is hurting the local real estate industry, federal employees are furloughed, disabled veterans are preparing to lose their benefits, women on the WIC program are facing a loss of funding to feed their infants and news story after local news story has been covering the pain the shutdown is causing local businesses. But where is the Chamber on this issue? Have they contacted their House Representative to demand an end to the shutdown? They haven’t said. Have they issued a position statement on it? Not that anyone has heard. Their October newsletter doesn’t even mention the shutdown. No press releases, no news alerts, no advocacy to stop it. Why is the Chamber MIA on the government shutdown? Could it be another indicator that the Chamber is, in fact, a partisan political group rather than a pro-business group?

Grand Junction’s Bad Rap and What to Do About it

July 19, 2013

Op-ed

The dilemma of Rick Brainard, the Grand Junction, Colorado city councilman who pled guilty to criminally assaulting a woman just days after he was elected, has deeply embarrassed our City, but it’s not unique. It’s just the latest in a long string of political embarrassments and economic miscalculations that collectively have tarnished the City’s reputation and made us a laughing stock of the state.

Brainard isn’t the first or only episode that’s dragged down our City’s reputation. His election is just the latest in a long line of bad decisions that have contributed to our town’s inability to be taken seriously.  Grand Junction is known for chasing prosperity in grandiose, short-sighted ways, and getting into big trouble because of it. We earned a place on the list of the biggest nuclear mining disasters in the U.S. after embracing uranium mining in the 1950s and 60s. Grand Junction required a decade-long, $746 million Superfund cleanup (pdf) to remediate the radioactive mess left behind. Then we pursued oil shale development and got slapped for that with the massive, 1982 Black Sunday Exxon Oil Shale bust that devastated town. Now there’s a big push do oil shale all over again, making it look as though people in this area either have a short collective memory, or aren’t smart enough to learn from our previous mistakes.

We have plenty of things to be proud of in Grand Junction: our beautiful Main Street, great walking and biking paths along the river, sunshine and our wide variety of outdoor recreation, a wonderful canal system (that would be a fantastic built- in walking and biking trail system if we could just get out of the last century and bring ourselves to utilize it that way), the Colorado National Monument, the historic Avalon Theater, the Botanical Gardens, lots of wonderful people and thousands of acres of nearby BLM land where you can get away with doing almost anything. But what’s to draw people off the Interstate and get them enjoy it all?

Not our name.  Read more »

Look for This: Rounding on Restaurant Checks

December 30, 2012

penny2Next time you dine out, take a close look at your check. Restaurants are starting to round the pennies on customers’ bills up or down, usually to the nearest nickel, to avoid having to deal with pennies. Chipoltle restaurants were caught doing this without notifying customers, and when customers noticed the practice and expressed irritation, the chain added a line on the bill titled “rounding” to openly account for the missing change. They also started rounding down in diners’ favor.

Apparently it’s worth it.

Restaurateurs say rounding speeds up finalizing bills and eliminates the hassle and expense of dealing with pennies, which are quickly becoming passe’. After all, pennies are now so worthless that people drop them all the time and don’t even bother to pick them up.  Some businesses cope with the penny problem with “take a penny, leave a penny” jars, but many are just throwing up their hands and declaring they are done dealing with pennies altogether. Read more »

Hostess Fleeced its Workers, Showered Execs with Extra Cash

December 13, 2012
TwinnkieDeath

The Hostess Corporation, not labor unions, killed Twinkies through corporate greed.

Hostess Brands publicly blamed its workers’ union for forcing it out of business, but now Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn has admitted to the Wall Street Journal that the company had been quietly ripping off its own workers. Hostess took money out of workers’ paychecks that was supposed to go towards their pensions and put it towards company operations instead, Rayburn admitted. Rayburn said the company was not under his management when those diversions occurred. During its dispute with the union, Hostess pressured employees to take another pay cut ostensibly due to financial difficulties, but in November, 2012 — while the company was undergoing bankruptcy filing — Hostess  asked a judge to allow it pay out $1.8 million in bonuses to 19 of its top executives. The judge approved the bonuses, but did not, however, include any bonus pay for Rayburn, who was already being paid $125,000 a month, nor did the company seek any bonuses for its factory or other non-executive-level workers. The story that the union was responsible for tanking the Twinkie maker, then, is a myth designed to cast labor unions in a bad light.

Main source: Huffington Post, December 10, 2012

The City of Grand Junction, Colorado’s Shameful End-Run Around the Constitution

December 12, 2012

Grand Junction’s Ten Commandments tablet, donated in 1959 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, which only admits people who believe in God.

Anyone who thinks that electing narrow-minded people to city councils in small American towns doesn’t get expensive, think again. The parochial minds of just five elected city council members in the town of Grand Junction, Colorado cost city taxpayers $64,000 and led to the creation of a big, permanent public reminder on City Hall grounds of how they spent that huge sum to evade the law and collectively thumb their nose at the U.S. Constitution.

It all started in 1959, when the City of Grand Junction accepted a gift from the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE), a do-good civic group that restricts its membership only to people who believe in God. The gift was a stone tablet engraved with the Ten Commandments, which City officials installed on City Hall grounds. There it sat, little-noticed, for the next fifty years, its presence often obscured by mature landscaping. All that changed in 2000, when the City put the finishing touches on construction of a new City Hall building and relocated the Ten Commandments to a much more visible location on the grounds.

The tablet’s more prominent location made it more noticeable, and some local citizens also finally happened to notice the Constitutional violation it represented. As a result, in April, 2001 five local citizens and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the City over the monument, asking them to remove it because it made members of minority religious groups, nonbelievers and community political outsiders feel unwelcome. The plaintiffs also contended it represented a government establishment of religion. Read more »

Time for GOP to Dump Norquist, Handmaiden of Cigarette Companies

November 27, 2012

Grover Norquist and his group, Americans for Tax Reform, have long lobbied for tobacco industry interests — earning huge payouts from RJR and Philip Morris

Op-Ed

Grover Norquist, who for decades has been the patron saint of anti-tax sentiment for Republicans, is fast losing relevance as Republicans finally start to grasp that the only way America can get out of its fiscal mess is to raise taxes. Legislators are starting to see that their allegiance must be to the United States of America and its people, and not to Grover Norquist. But for GOP legislators,  leaving Norquist behind will be one of the best things they can do to help get some credibility back with the American public. By pledging their allegiance to Norquist for so many years, Republicans have put stock in one of the most reliable allies of one of the world’s most reviled industries: the tobacco industry. Previously-secret tobacco industry documents show Norquist and his group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) have for decades been highly dependable allies to Big Tobacco. Norquist was always at the cigarette makers’ beck and call whenever they needed him. As ATR president, Norquist annually sought and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds to support the companies’ agenda of low cigarette and corporate taxes. In return for the big bucks, Norquist offered his organization up as a conduit for tobacco industry lobbying. Norquist figured prominently in Philip Morris’ quiet, internal 1995 “Get Government Off Our Back” project, in which the cigarette maker secretly created a phony “grassroots” group, to push to “shift government’s priorities” off regulating business. In 1999, Norquist helped cigarette makers fight President Clinton’s proposal to add a one dollar tax on cigarettes to fund health care. Norquist was cast as a “core ally” in Philip Morris’ efforts to enact “tort reform” to block people’s access to the courts.  Norquist helped defend cigarette makers against the Department of Justice’s 1999 Lawsuit in which the industry was found guilty of perpetrating five decades of fraud against the American people. Philip Morris’ law firm of Covington and Burling even secretly took the privilege of drafting letters to government agencies, like FDA, that Norquist could sign so they would appear to be from ATR and not a tobacco company. Read more »

Got Free Speech?

ThoughtOnBoard™! The dry-erase board that sticks to glass. Endless uses. Just $20. Visa, MC, PayPal. Fast shipping.

`