Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tired Old Excuses Return to the Elbert County BOCC

Sometimes, no matter how much you want things to change, they don't change.  You hope and hope and hope that things will change in Kiowa, but they don't. No matter what kind of lucky talismans you carry, no matter how many lucky rabbits' feet adorn your key chain or how many four leaf clovers you carry in your wallet carefully preserved in wax paper, you just can't catch a break.  You were hoping you were going to get lucky and discover that things in Kiowa were going to change but then you learned that things remain jammed, blocked and frozen.  You can uncross your fingers, Nelly. If this week's BOCC meeting was indicative of what we can expect in the future, you are going to be underwhelmed. Sigh.

Now, in fairness to the BOCC, I can only give you this information in a secondhand manner.  You see, I had other personal business conflicting with my ability to come into Kiowa and sit in on the scheduled BOCC meeting.  I was hoping that there would be a recording of the meeting, but since that accounting is left to the public to perform, we cannot always be sure that it will happen.  People have jobs,  they have appointments, they have children, et cetera, that conflict.  I can't blame anyone but myself.  It's my fault I was not able to fulfill my civic duty and attend this important meeting today.

I tried.  I called the usual suspects who are  generally found in attendance at these meetings.  That is when I learned that we are in for another four years of more-of-the-same-old thing. I have been active in Elbert County politics for nearly twenty years.  Every election cycle the Republican candidates make the same old promises during their campaigns. The speeches goes something like this:

Folks, I know you want to become more involved!  I know you have day jobs and can't participate in regular day meetings of the BOCC.  I know you want your opinion to be heard.  Well good news!  I am the one who is finally going to bring you the thing you have been clamoring now for years!  That's right, if elected I am going to make sure at least some of our BOCC meetings are scheduled in the evening.  That way, you can have someone watch the kids.  You won't have to miss work.  You are finally going to be able to express your thoughts at the podium to your elected officials!  Huzzah! Elect me!

Recently, Chris Richardson dropped the same old excuse that we hear every time a new board puts their collective elbows on the table and looks over the tops of their glasses and down their noses at you.  Chris told the people in attendance today that there are not going to be any evening BOCC meetings because the commissioners are only able to do the county business when the county is open.  He reminded us all that Elbert County rolls its sidewalks up at 6:00 PM.  Oh sure, those fluff committees full of citizens can meet at night, but not the commissioners.  Not when the county is closed.

I called a half a dozen counties today to ask if they ever hold evening meetings.  Adams County does, but heck, they have so many more people than we do.  Ouray County does.  Larimer County does.  Mesa County does.  Arapahoe County does not... but they actually hold county town hall meetings on a teleconference line during evening hours.  Funny thing, they do not restrict the callers on choosing topics.  

Elbert County does not hold evening meetings with the BOCC.  They even restrict what you can or cannot discuss during the period set aside for community comments.  Taxpayers just do not matter unless it is during campaign season.

In addition to to this same old set of tired excuses, I just learned that all of the the appointments to the planning commission had been made.  Every new position was filled by a Republican. I learned that every placement on the Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) had been made.  Every new position was filled with a Republican.   The message was ham handed yet clear as crystal:  In Elbert County our government is not interested in representing  the ideas or opinions of Independents  or Democrats.  If you cannot pass the purity test, do not bother applying to fulfill your civic ain't gonna happen.  As has been the case out here for ages, new ideas are too scary for consideration.  

Let's just be honest with ourselves.  If you are not in 100% agreement with the folks in control over at the Elbert County Republicans, even if you are a card carrying member of the GOP, your ideas are unwanted, bothersome and annoying.  We just got  more-of-the-same-old thing on steroids.  This is all playing out at a time when developers who have an eye on our water resources and are ramping up for a push the likes of which we have never seen.  Everybody was hoping that there would be some moderation by Commissioners Wilcox and Thayer, but alas, recent moves indicate that they are just a politer version of so many of their predecessors who made promises to change and then picked up at the exact same spot where the last team left off. 

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