If there is a shred of doubt left that the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce exists only to promote it’s own political ideology, it dispelled that notion today with an ad in the Daily Sentinel endorsing the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) Board candidate notable for being the remarkably far less qualified person for the seat.
The Chamber endorsed the less-qualified candidate for one reason only: she opposes the fee imposed by the GVDD in 2016 to raise funds for crucial improvements needed to the Grand Valley’s stormwater drainage system. Residents pay an extra $3/month. The fees assessed to businesses are higher because their larger “big box” buildings and paved parking lots create far more polluted stormwater runoff than homes, burdening the valley’s drainage system more than residences do. The drainage system, designed in 1915 primarily to collect agricultural seep from fields, is already in bad shape and needs improvement and expansion to cope with the valley’s change from primarily a rural/agricultural area into an urban area. If runoff exceeds the amount of drainage capacity we have, the result will be flooding, property damage and damage to other important infrastructure, like roads.
There are only two candidates running for the open seat on the Drainage District board: one, Dave Edwards, has been Mayor Pro-Tem of Palisade for eight years, served all that time on the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority Board, been Vice President of the Colorado Municipal League (CML) where he attended special sessions on stormwater and public works, has attended meetings, trainings and seminars of the Colorado Stormwater Council and subscribes to and reads periodicals on public works and stormwater management. The other candidate, Mary Brophy, is a dental hygienist from San Diego who moved to Palisade two years ago, never attended any meetings of the Grand Valley Drainage District or 5-2-1 Drainage Authority and has zero experience or background with stormwater management.
The Chamber’s stock in trade: blind endorsement of patently unqualified but highly ideological candidates
It should be a slam-dunk who the more qualified candidate is in this race for anyone paying even the least bit of attention.
But the Chamber’s endorsement of yet another stunningly unqualified candidate for this seat re-affirms that the organization elevates a candidate’s political ideology over everything else. To the Chamber, the only thing that matters is that a candidate have a strong “anti-tax” mentality. The chamber doesn’t care about other factors, like a candidate’s prior experience, educational level, dedication to public service, knowledge about the subject area he or she will be responsible for. The Chamber doesn’t care about a candidate’s level of familiarity with the Grand Valley, understanding of public works or concern with public safety or even a candidate’s ability to read or write. If you’re anti-tax, you’re IN with the Chamber, period, because that’s ALL that matters to the chamber, ever.
This kind of thinking doesn’t serve our area well. It’s exactly the kind of thinking that has gotten the Chamber in trouble over and over for decades. The Chamber’s short-sighted views, persistent Tea Party political ideology, outright lies to the public, repeated efforts to elect unvetted and unqualified candidates and stump for absurdly expensive and out-of-touch projects reflects poorly on Mesa County overall. It makes us all look like idiots. Chamber members should be ashamed of their organization’s track record of poorly thought-out endorsements, including this one. Hell, Chamber members should be embarrassed to be chamber members, period.
Those in the electorate who actually care about a candidate’s qualifications, and care about the long-term well-being of our community’s infrastructure, should get out to the Grand Valley Drainage District office tomorrow (at 722 23 Road between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) in person and vote for the only suitable candidate for the Drainage District Board position: Dave Edwards.