In other action...
During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:
• Approved, 5-0, Aug. 28 meeting minutes.
• Approved, 5-0, August bills totaling $572,646.36.
• Approved, 5-0, a special events permit for Yampa Valley Friends of NRA.
• Approved, 5-0, Ducks Unlimited Chapter CO038 Oct. 27 annual banquet at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.
• Heard 2011 audit presentation from James Rae, of Poysti & Adams, LLC.
• Approved, 5-0, proclamation declaring Sept. 17 to Sept. 23 Constitution Week in Craig.
• Heard Craig Police Department monthly report.
— Mayor Terry Carwile and council member Joe Bird were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Perception is one of the most interesting words in the English vocabulary, Craig resident and Craig Daily Press contributor Al Cashion told members of the Craig City Council Tuesday night.
It can be woefully errant or almost magically accurate, he said.
In regards to the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board’s fire tower and the way city council approved Aug. 28 a site plan for the project, Cashion argued perception often trumps reality.
“Perception is reality to the perceiver,” Cashion said. “Perception is everything.”
Cashion waxed eloquent for more than 18 minutes about his and the public’s perception of the fire tower project.
He attended the Aug. 28 meeting with the intention of protesting the tower’s construction and the impending city council approval of the site plan, but was barred from doing so.
He stormed out of the meeting that night in disgust and on Tuesday set out to make amends.
“Two weeks ago I behaved poorly,” Cashion said. “I abruptly walked out on a meeting after calling attention to myself, embarrassing the council, some high school kids and others by displaying significant anger.
“I believe that was an offense to you and I ask your forgiveness.”
But Cashion quickly shifted back to the offensive by questioning whether the city council’s actions two weeks ago contradicted the definition of representative government.
“The perception of the public, and that of my own, is that there is an odd juxtaposition in our representative government,” Cashion said. “A Craig business owner whose income is large and largely dependent on sales of fire equipment is, of all things, the president of the Craig fire board and a member of the city council.
“My perception is that the term conflict of interest was coined for precisely this type of scenario.”
Cashion continued by condemning the fire board for bullying the public during its purchase of a five-story, $1.5 million training tower with taxpayer funds.
It’s a purchase, Cashion said, that is not only unwanted by local taxpayers, but also extravagant and unnecessary.
He said the company the fire board has purchased the tower from, WHP Trainingtowers, offers a variety of less expensive models that would be more appropriate in Craig — that is if the public didn’t oppose the idea in the first place.
“The citizens see a training structure that comes on the heels of a fire truck with greater capabilities than Craig could require, but it does provide excellent elevation to watch for snipers when presidential candidates drop by,” Cashion said. “An occurrence that will, I’m sure, happen frequently.
“The citizens see a training structure that is not only unwanted, it is an unwanted Cadillac.”
Cashion had hoped the city council would have heard the public and stopped the fire training tower project from moving forward in its final hour.
But those hopes were dashed when city council voted to approve the site plan without hearing one public comment.
“Perception is everything. Perception is often true,” Cashion said. “The perception is not good.”
Members of the city council who were present Tuesday night declined to comment after Cashion’s presentation.
Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.