(Previous version mistakenly excluded content on the angle of the latest Sentinel article, which regards the email exchange between the Mesa County Sheriff and Commissioner Meis. The Sentinel article includes a link to those emails. – promoted by ClubTwitty)
“it’s not often I receive a request to have a ticket fixed and yours is the first from a county commissioner.”
Chafeee County Sheriff Peter Palmer in email to Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis
The story in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel yesterday did not shine a positive light on Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis–which, of course, is no surprise.
Hilkey warned Meis on ticket fix
The GJ Sentinel story is behind a paywall, but reporter Paul Schockley does a good job of laying out the story on Meis’ latest attempt to weasel out of accountability, and the email exchange between Meis and Sheriff Palmer’s counterpart in Mesa County, Stan Hilkey who called ‘fixing’ a ticket an “ethical noose.”
Undoubtedly some knee-jerk partisans will soon call ‘Foul!’ and accuse the paper of a ‘liberal’ bias. Of course, its the Grand Junction Sentinel we are talking about, so that charge probably only gets one so far with the reasonable crowd. And Meis’ time in office has been marked by controversy and petty offenses–that is petty, since nothing has yet burned to the ground.
In the Chaffee County incident, Meis was busted violating a fire ban as massive wildfires raged across the state, including in Mesa County near DeBeque. Craig wanted to grill, and who knew there was a deputy around?
And this is no first for Craig Meis, who quickly earned a reputation for his imperial air and general attitude that he could do as he wished once elected boss. His antics and embarrassments continue to this day.
Not long before his disregard for public safety and public and private property (not to mention wildlife, watersheds, and air quality) Meis–whose ‘paying’ gig is in the oil and gas industry–was in attendance at the illegal meeting in Vernal, Utah, with elected officials and oil shale lobbyists (no media or public allowed) that led to a ‘dig it all up’ oil shale resolution earlier this year.
Uintah County (Utah) has since been forced to rescind that resolution after an uproar in the Beehive State. Both the Ogden Standard-Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune published scathing editorials blasting the State of Utah and Uintah County.
In Colorado, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent also came on record critical of this secret, illegal meeting–as all three Garfield County commissioners attended, thus breaking Colorado law as well. But so far the Sentinel, Denver Post and other editorial boards in the state have been strangely silent on this breech of Sunshine and Open Meeting laws.
However, in its reporting covering the ongoing soap opera and regular appearance of malfeasance that is Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis, the Sentinel overall has done an admirable job, as it notes itself:
Meis criticized what he characterized as a lack of discretion by a Colorado State Parks officer, who cited the commissioner in June 2010 for allowing Meis’ underage son to operate a personal watercraft at Highline Lake State Park. Meis repeatedly raised his position with the parks officer and said he knew District Attorney Pete Hautzinger “very well.”
The Daily Sentinel also reported on separate incidents in 2007 and 2008 when the commissioner yet again raised his elected position, or proximity to powerful officials, when contacted by Grand Junction police officers.
It has been often said that people get the government they deserve, but its a little hard to imagine what they could have done to get Craig Meis.
And kudos to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for covering this–and other–stories about the oddities and odiousness of politics in a town run by a Politburo of Party elites (and nipped at the heels on the right by various factions of Teapartiers and self-described patriots).
But elected accountability comes from the people, who need to demand it and who should refuse to accept such violation of ethical and open government. In Mesa, in Garfield, in whichever county or government they occur.
As long as the faithful accept whatever the Party decides, and the ‘opposition’ withers–purposefully–on the vine, the people get what they get, deserved or not. Because a Rose by any other name smells just the same–and it is not always sweet.