All fluff and no muscle


There are times when the game must be called.

Such is the case with our county commissioners. The trio has become increasingly chippy in their personal relations, the dysfunction more obvious. Diversions, conflicts and craven public self-promotion are front and center.

At a meeting with high school students Tuesday, nonsense poured forth when a comment was made noting that if two members of the commission are together that fact constitutes a meeting and, without public notice, the two commissioners do not discuss county business.

While this is an accurate reflection of the letter of Colorado law, in terms of BoCC reality, there is only one response: Who are you kidding? High school kids?

Does anyone with even a slight awareness of Pagosa Country government believe this?

This is another example of how the commission has turned increasingly to ego-driven activities, to self-serving shows, to cynical moves designed to placate perceived threats and nuisances. As is the commission’s utterly cynical resolution supporting the Second Amendment. Prompted by the presence of gun rights advocates at BoCC meetings and demands for support, the commissioners failed to do what they should: Remind advocates that commissioners take an oath to uphold the constitution when they are sworn to office. That is good enough for most of us, understanding the oath covers the entire constitution, and understanding that nothing the commission does should undermine the document. Instead, the commissioners produced a vacuous resolution and it is obvious to anyone, aside from those gripped by intense conviction, that there is nothing in the resolution indicating our county commission can or will do anything of substance. We support the right of a law-abiding citizen to own firearms for protection and hunting, but we find no credibility in the resolution. It is fluff, without muscle.

Apparently, the time is ripe to request other resolutions. With regard to our strong connection to the First Amendment, we request a resolution indicating the commissioners support freedoms of religion and speech as well as rights to petition and assemble.

We are concerned about weakening the Fifth Amendment, with its denial of double jeopardy, establishing that no one can be deprived of life, liberty or property by government without due process of law, and that one cannot be compelled to be a witness against oneself. We need a resolution from the BoCC, stat!

While we’re at it, we worry about the Eighth Amendment and the Fourth Amendment, with erosion of our right to be guarded against unreasonable search and seizure, warrantless arrest. Pass resolutions.

While you’re it, we need a resolution supporting Article 6, the supremacy clause, which establishes primacy of federal law over state law, determining the federal government, in the exercise of the powers enumerated in the constitution, prevails over conflicting or inconsistent state exercises of power.

Would these additional resolutions be any less empty or cynical than the BoCC’s Second Amendment resolution — one passed, in our opinion, to reduce attendance and comment at meetings?

We believe the performance of small government is linked to the quality of administration and administrative guidance. As a result, we hope the arrival of Jesse a new county administrator signals a change in course for the commission. Perhaps counsel will be given to commissioners — concerning activities private and public, self-centered and public-minded— that will draw them to things they can and should affect.

Karl Isberg