Our view: A matter of respect

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— Does Moffat County or the Western Slope have a voice with Gov. Bill Ritter?

This is the question the editorial board wrestled with this week, and the answer is seemingly no.

And this is a disappointment.

For all of the governor's lip service about reaching across the party line of Republicans and Democrats, we're not seeing it.

For all of the governor's talk about how he has to take into account the entire state of Colorado, we can't help but notice when he says "state," he seems to mean the Front Range. Or more appropriately, where he's going to get the majority of votes.

However, we do see Ritter reaching across the state line to take our resources for the "greater" state good, meaning getting more resources to the Front Range.

Should it come as a surprise that a Democratic governor would not have an agenda different than a decisively Republican county or that the Western Slope is poorly represented on his cabinet? No.

But what is shocking is the governor's apparent lack of even trying to talk to local elected officials to determine what is best for our area. It's been said before, and we're going to say it again, it was wrong for Ritter to come to the Vermillion Basin without contacting local officials and it is disrespectful for him not to take into account the hard work of the Northwest Colorado Stewardship, a group of people with wide-ranging interests who made many compromises in discussing the future of Resource Management Plan and land owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

This group worked together for years to come up with alternatives, and it should have been the model of how diverse opinions can come together and find a solution. Instead, it runs the risk of becoming a footnote.

This has nothing to do with whether oil and gas should be developed in Vermillion Basin or anywhere else, for that matter. It has everything to do with Ritter showing he respects his people in Northwest Colorado.

His recent response in a letter to the Moffat County Commissioners that Harris Sherman, Department of Natural Resources director, has been to our area many times to discuss Vermillion Basin is laughable. Is the governor too good to deal with our representatives face to face and make hard decisions? Or should we expect his lackeys to be his presence in the area from now on?

The end result of this has been keyboards being pounded out of shape due to the frenzy of letter writing filled with accusations and differing facts, because apparently it's too hard to meet face to face with anyone anymore.

So, Gov. Ritter, the editorial board asks you to show us that, yes, the Western Slope still has a voice.

Show us you're as good as your word about reaching across party lines.

Come to Moffat County, sit down with the county commissioners and figure this issue out.

Even if both sides still disagree, you will have shown us one thing.

That you have respect for Northwest Colorado.

Comments

Oliver 7 years, 4 months ago

Uhh..hate to break it, but Moffat County 'taint exactly the bell weather of Western CO.

It may be that Ritter don't represent y'all up yonder, where ya got more sheep than peeps, and eat road kill stew... but it does not thereby follow that he does not speak for much of the rest of Western CO.

Look--for instance--at the 3rd CD election results, and see where Moffat stands relative to other West Slope counties. To put it bluntly--your County Commissioners are kind of whacked up there, and even if they do actually represent the folks of Moffat County, rhetoric and election results coming out of Moffat clearly show that it is itself 'out of the mainstream' relative to much of the rest of Western CO. Put another way--MoffCo BOCC and the Craig Daily does not really reflect the 'voice of Western Colorado' either. There's a lot of folks in Western Colorado who support Gov. Ritter's efforts to bring CO land use from the 19th into the 21rst century.

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rhammel 7 years, 4 months ago

Consider the letter that the BOCC wrote to the Governor. It was far from respectful. If ,we, the citizens of Moffat County, want respect from the Governor, our leaders must also show respect. If we do not wish our leaders to be disrespectful, then perhaps we need new leaders.

Elections are coming up for two of the BOCC. Perhaps it is time to look elsewhere for potential leaders. Like the Democrats. The Republicans have ruled this county for 12 years and look at the shape that the county is in today.

Rick Hammel

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King_Lears_Clown 7 years, 4 months ago

Oh nuncle. You prove exactly the point Oliver. "more sheep than peeps, and eat road kill stew." Your acidic response shows contempt for the way of rural living in America, and contempt for Moffat County. The point isn't that Moffat County represents the whole western slope, but that when politicians make decisions, they should not make it without engaging the people involved in the consequences of that decision. Also, people like yourself who wish to make fun of us instead of listening to both sides are part of the problem, not the solution.

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