June 2015

Leaders need to have vision

By Galen Larson

Montezuma County needs our help. We cannot stand by and let persons in Utah scam our commissioners, because when they are scammed, we are also.

They were elected by the people of Montezuma County and should not govern on advice from Utah or any other state. If they cannot see the problems in Montezuma County and do not have the desire or intelligence to fix them, then maybe they shouldn’t have run for office.

When candidates win a public office they are no longer their own person but serve at the will of the people. That was not shown at a meeting last year when the commissioners ignored the voices of the many to appease the will of a few and voted to eliminate a ten-year-old system of TDRs in the Dolores River Valley. The system had been put in place by citizens who worked for the better part of two years, yet it took only 30 seconds for the commissioners to vote it out. It had been supported by a succession of county commissioners over the years and some even signed a letter asking the new board to not destroy their work.

One term-limited commissioner stated that after eight years in office he had never understood the TDR system. He voted to get rid of it. Destroying the past is no way to build a future.

At a county commission meeting several weeks past I asked them what were their plans to alleviate the 37 percent poverty rate in this county. I finally tracked down the menu that Commissioner Larry Don Suckla read off, but it was a sparse entree with no nourishment, just a lot of appetizers. Where’s the beef ? as they say.

Most of the efforts he cited were things that were started by others – such as the Phil’s World bicycle trail expansion and the lawsuit against Kinder Morgan. I got no new ideas from the commissioners, only a statement from one that government doesn’t create jobs – as he sat in his government-created job garnering a generous paycheck from the taxpayers.

One item on the list stated that Social Services and the Workforce Center will work together to provide jobs. I was under the impression that that was the mission of the Montezuma County Economic Development Association. I was once a member but saw more talk than walk, so I saved my dues for better things – which may have been wine, women, and song, but that is no one’s business.

I have lived in this area for 35 years and it lies heavy on my heart to see what has happened to this city and county from that slow-moving disease, PPLS. To the leaders of this county I say, lead or get the hell out of the way. You were elected by Montezuma County – it is your job to represent the citizens of this county, not some scammers from a club in Utah. And, yes, I do have some economic-development ideas that could help this county, but I’ll take that up with the new chairman of the MCEDA.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.