EDITORíS DESK: Why offend just half the room?
When I sit down to write this column every week, it's not with the intent of pleasing half of the room and displeasing the other. I usually find some subject matter, try to make sense of it and then share the result with those of you brave enough to tackle this block of text.
Unfortunately, there are certain subjects that are almost certain to "divide the room," so to speak, and one of them is sustainability. As a subject matter, it kind of reminds me of the person who shows up at the party, seemingly full of importance but nobody knows why, nor can anyone recall who invited him. Oh and one more thing, this is also the guest who just won't leave.
In the latest local installment of this phenomenon, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) is applying for a $1.5 million planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In a time when obscene numbers of people are out of work and many small businesses are cutting back and/or hanging on by their fingernails, we have HUD, somehow finding $1.5 million of money that obviously we taxpayers had no use for, designating it to help meet its own "go-green" top-down mandates and dangling it in front of regional agencies like PPACG as a plum to be fought over.
The quote from Keith McCafferty, the PPACG board member from Ramah, pretty much says it all: "If they [HUD] are going to give it away, we may as well go and get it."
There was another quote, from Wayne Williams, former county commissioner and now county clerk (you think that qualifies him as a government lifer?), that we didn't have room for in this issue's news story. That's because he was mostly being sarcastic, inversely implying that HUD is a waste of time because after 40-some years of spending billions of other taxpayer-unneeded dollars to fight poverty, there are more poor people than when the agency started. But Williams joined the Ramah man in the unanimous vote to seek the grant. Other votes in favor came from Sallie Clark, who honestly admitted she's not sure what sustainability means; and Lisa Czelatdko, who called it a "buzzword" but still a "good thing."
Here's my humble opinion, and now I don't care if I offend the whole room. I want public representatives who make a stand, not offer a shoulder shrug, a joke and a white flag of surrender at big-government audacity.