Local Observations

It’s been a busy week of catching up, and after a few days of it I still feel adrift and overwhelmed. Hopefully the first day of the new school year will allow me to reset and regroup a little.

Several recent occurrences in our area caught my attention while I was gone, and since my return I’ve had some time to think about them.

The pending sale of the Daily Sentinel is certainly an interesting if not unexpected development. I must commend Alex Taylor, the paper’s relatively new Publisher, for the frank and open manner in which the paper reported on its’ own sale, as well as his own individual efforts at rumor control. I admire his courage and straightforwardness, even if the actions he is trying to defend on behalf of his company risk putting the Sentinel in the hands of someone like Rupert Murdoch.

The mood of the publication since the announcement seems strangely subdued, with some exceptions, i.e. the unsinkable Gary Harmon. Denny Herzog hasn’t blogged since the announcement, perhaps in deference to his boss, but I’d still like to hear his assessment of the situation.

From what I’ve read it all sounds like a bloodless corporate business decision. There seems to be more than a little bit of irony for me in the revelation that indebtedness related to a Cable TV operation, combined with the tough economy (especially for newspapers) led Cox to this course of action.

In my limited assessment, Cox has a bigger intangible debt to its’ employees than any sum it may owe to investment bankers. Bad form.

Put me in the column of those who thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the Riverside Parkway.
It will be a boon to commuters, truckers, and a long overdue reprieve for residents of Orchard Mesa trying to get around, as Ralph D’Andrea so accurately stated a few days back.

Ralph also recently published his 1,000th Junction Daily Blog. Congratulations to him on the achievement, and many thanks for the insight and education he has helped provide to many of us trying to navigate the sometimes stinky bog that is politics.

The Parkway is an example of getting what you pay for. We The People stand to be asked to pay for several other additions to our municipal infrastructure this November. As I’ve stated previously, this election has significant implications for our country in so many ways, with so many of them local in scope. Get registered, get informed, and get involved.

I enjoyed Josh Nichols’ editorial in Friday’s Free Press, where he takes the City of Grand Junction’s development staff and Planning Commission to task for appearing to make a development decision using only morality as a guidepost, after claiming that such an action was beyond their capabilities when considering a controversial development in the recent past.

I can’t speak to the motivations of the commission in these actions, but I can say what I know, which is that 3 members of the Planning Commission, along with two alternates, will have their terms expire in October.

The city is currently soliciting interested city residents to apply, although it is kind of a travesty that eligible residents of the 201 Sewer District outside the city limits cannot participate. They’re the ones whose communities are being affected the most by many decisions regarding annexation under the 10-year-old Persigo Agreement.

Current city residents are also being affected, as the city grows in lockstep to development activity as opposed to any organized fashion, and the current service delivery models for public safety and other services are impacted, in many cases without apparent regard to delivery benchmarks such as resource coordination and response time. The Public Safety Initiative will supposedly help resolve some of these issues, if approved by the voters. ‘Maybe’ on both counts.

On a related note, it was reported last week that the Planning Commission’s hearing that included the controversial “Gentlemen’s Club” (what an oxymoron) would not be televised on Cable Channel 12 as per the usual practice, due to the scheduled broadcast of primary election returns.

This is to be expected, as Channel 12 belongs to Mesa County and it would follow that activities of county government would trump anything the City would have to offer in the same time slot.
The city can have it’s own cable channel for similar purposes just by asking Bresnan for it; it’s in the city’s cable franchise agreement. Hopefully something will get started in that area soon.

Off to bed. Hope you have a good week ahead.

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