A few thoughts on the recall petition being circulated in town. For those who may wonder, yes, it is very distressful for me. I knew the job of trying to serve this county would require thick skin; it hadn’t occurred to me that my family would also require such. It’s unfortunate that the awfulness and harshness of some in our community overshadows their ability to simply voice rational disagreement. Disagreements and debate can focus on questions, ideas and policy, without the need for demeaning language and accusations.
As background information, we are the only county in the state with a recall provision. It only takes about 10 percent of registered county voters signing a petition to initiate a recall for an at-large council position. In other areas of the state, if one doesn’t like or agree with an elected official’s performance or political ideas, they have the opportunity to not return them to office at regularly scheduled four-year intervals. While I recognize there are those in Grand County who support this provision, I believe many would also argue that when someone is elected, the voters are consciously making a four-year commitment, and recalls resulting from disagreement by 10 percent of the voters seems a bit excessive.
Over the long term, this type of minority-controlled recall provision creates an atmosphere and situation so insufferable and intimidating that it is difficult to find anyone willing to run for and fill these offices. I don’t see how this serves our community’s interests. This is one of the reasons we routinely have candidates running unopposed for election. I did not request to run unopposed; apparently, I was just the only one brave or stupid enough to put myself and ideas out there at that time.
I would ask that as any citizen contemplates signing this petition, ask yourself two questions. The first is if you would be willing to serve in this job, knowing the level of spitefulness and vilification you could be subjected to? Knowing that advocating for balance would be seen as a bad thing? The second question is, are you comfortable and confident that you have the all the factual information necessary to make such a decision? Is there a possibility you are being misinformed?
I don’t believe I’m the spiteful and deceitful council member those pushing this recall would have you believe. Even though I have disagreed at times with certain members of our citizenry regarding their requests for input at council meetings, there has not been an instance where their requests or demands for speaking have not been allowed. I appreciate input and public dialogue that leads to better decision-making. Our public has made it clear they want information and input into the Bishop Lands Initiative, the Book Cliffs economic study, and the County’s consideration in joining the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition. This is occurring. I do struggle with questions of appropriate input into decision-making meetings of a democratically elected council, and trying to consider what role a relatively small group of vocal citizens should have when inferring they speak for all of Grand County.
I apparently have a different idea of what economic balance involves and what the future of our county should look like, than those seeking or signing this recall petition. I won’t apologize for that. Even though I ran unopposed, I identified a platform for balanced and practical direction for our county. Balance in how our surrounding public lands are used and managed. Balance in providing areas for conservation, protection, and recreation, while also providing access to development of mineral resources. Balance in seeking additional opportunities for economic growth, diversity and job creation to help enhance our base recreation industry economy and keep our taxes low. I also believe we can maintain our recreation economy and enjoy benefits from careful development of our mineral resources. I am not perfect, but contrary to some inappropriate accusations, I maintain a high ethical and moral standard. I have a tendency to look for the best opportunities in a situation, rather than always assuming the worst. And I don’t respond well to intimidation.
I don’t intend to shy away from this job or this challenge. I believe I speak for many in this county. The group seeking this recall petition may try to convince all they are the voice of the majority of Grand County residents. I have no doubt they speak for a sizable minority, but in our democracy, the majority rules. I am looking forward to our elections in November, whether I’m on the ballot or not, so we can all get a firm read on which direction the majority of citizens in Grand County wish to proceed.