Op-Ed by Jerry Mallett

edited August 2016 in Opinion

Submitted to Salida Citizen August 3, 2016 There are two choices for Chaffee County Commissioners There is little question either Bill Dvorak or Dave Williams are more than qualified as upcoming Chaffee County Commissioners. The third candidate, Greg Felt, is aligned with the current Commission which has done nothing for 8 years to address any significant issues. If you care about the economy, housing, growth management, or public lands, you should know that the Commission:

  • Did not support Browns Canyon National Monument
  • Took no action on the 2006 Affordable Housing Strategy
  • Do not support using county funds to support the creation of affordable housing
  • Are currently gutting the land use code to support an anti-regulation of development
  • Have not supported the regional planning authority which has not met since 2010
  • Support the minimum legal requirement for public involvement in policy dialogues
  • Have done little to advance open and transparent government at the County

During this period of gross inactivity, the three Commissioners have drawn a salary of approximately $60,000 each per year. Over eight years that equals $1,400,000 of tax payers’ dollars. Do you feel you got your money’s worth?

At a staged press event this spring, these three County Commissioners simultaneously changed their political affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated and publically endorsed Greg Felt as the best candidate for District 2. Why should we expect his approach to governing and policy making to be any different from the three commissioners who endorsed him?

Felt states he is a listener and independent thinker. However, when the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy opposed Browns Canyon National Monument, the Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD), which keeps certain flows in the river and the Salida River Park which support the whitewater recreation season and economy, Felt did indeed listen. He chose to oppose these efforts but all three actions were decisions that have proven beneficial to our county. Why oppose economic, social and recreational program?

Can Chaffee County live for another four to eight years with a completely ineffective Commission who believes the right thing to do is to do nothing? Be extremely thoughtful in who you vote for. Don’t be fooled by an independent in name only.

-Jerry Mallett


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  • In rebuttal to the above,

    You ask "Why should we expect his approach to governing and policy making to be any different from the three commissioners who endorsed him?"

    Well, we should expect Greg to govern and make policy in the way that he has in his many other roles. That is a greater predictor of the future than an unsought (though I'll bet appreciated) endorsement.

    I would have thought that as a commissioner yourself, your memory would be a LOT clearer on the actual facts, but let me set the record straight.

    UAWCD opposed creating a national monument by executive order. Period. They never came out opposed to the monument itself, just the way it was being created, which as I recall had substantial opposition from many different directions.

    The Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD), UAWCD did file a statement of opposition to this - that is the only way to be part of the conversation/negotiations. The RICD does not produce any new water, led to massive carve-outs for future exchanges by the big municipalities, and almost cost us the Voluntary Flow program – all for only $250,000.

    You mention the Salida River Park. UAWCD contributed significant financial resources to the construction of the whitewater park by donating to the Arkansas River Trust (Isn't that your organization Mallet ? ) Felt did indeed listen.. I understand you're trying to get your friend and partner in crime Dvorak elected...

    Oh, did I say "Partner in Crime" ? Well, yes I did, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife report, it was you, along with your buddy Dvorak, that trespassed onto private property and shot randomly into a heard of elk without a license for that game unit, and then when you got caught by DOW Officer Ron Dobson, you BOTH lied, repeatedly, and at length.

    I'll attach the DOW report again, just in case your memory needs refreshing.

    Vote for Greg Felt, he's honest and an outstanding steward of our public resources with a long and distinguished track record of listening, and then doing what's right.

    As for your last statement, . Don’t be fooled by an independent in name only.

    Greg has 5 years as an unaffiliated voter. Seems that would indicate a little more than in "Name Only"

    Just sayin....

  • edited August 2016

    The Magic Words: "affordable housing." Utter them, and the people's hearts will melt.

    Now Jerry, I recall that in the early 2000s you and Tim Glenn were County Commissioners, both Dems. Can't recall the persuasion of Mr. DeLuca, but even at 2 to 1 would it matter? What did you guys do back then when you had the power?

    What concrete proposal do you bring forth now? What concrete proposals does Mr. Dvorak bring forth? Are there plans or are there just plans to talk?

    I am and have for decades been a registered Democrat.* I support, amongst other things, spending government money on public projects and programs that offer good return on investment. I don’t support blindly throwing the same money at something with a "feel good" name like "affordable housing" that, upon closer examination, brings very little return or offers very little bang for the buck.

    If any government official wants to spend tax money on a cause, that official needs to carefully think it through and show:

    • what is going to be done;
    • how it’s going to be done; and,
    • how it creates good return on investment.

    Honestly inviting and weighing criticism will increase the likelihood of making a good and successful plan..

    Ask Town of Vail how long it took to break ground on the 113-unit Lion's Ridge affordable housing development. Only 14 years. Imagine the cumulative transaction cost of 14 years of talking, thinking, promoting, arguing and and meeting about that development. Monumental. It won't be built into the cost of the units, but the taxpayers paid it nonetheless.

    Better, cheaper and quicker solutions can be found by tweaking (lower tap fees, more flexible use of allocated square footage space, easing of parking restrictions, easing of requirements for separate meters) the municipal and county development codes to make it less costly for developers to build small units for individuals. Perhaps offer a ballot initiative to make a program that would fund down-payment assistance programs for families. Perhaps make incentives for businesses to construct housing for their employees. Ideas anybody?

    There seem to be a number of folks in this county and in the City of Salida with good intentions: "Hey, we need affordable housing." Some of these people talk a lot to the newspaper or toot their horn from the dais or KSBV. But really all they do is spend a lot of time in intergovernmental or other meetings discussing big vague ideas, whereupon they arrive at this astute conclusion: "We need more affordable housing."

    Beware also those that utter the Magic Words to garner support for unrelated projects. For instance, the Belmont deal on Vandaveer had almost no chance of succeeding. The prerequisites for a successful grant request were nonexistent. There was no infrastructure, even if the Lowry deal was approved. Also, folks had to cross a major US Highway. Both were bad marks. Former NRCDC board members never told us that, but boy they sure said the words “affordable housing” at every opportunity. They riled the uninformed in an effort to get council to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of city money to build infrastructure to Vandaveer.

    False representations about "affordable housing" made to desperate people are at best not helpful.

    Let's determine the possible instead of the far-fetched, and focus on it for now. Let's also not inflate one person or run another down, if no real plans or options have been proposed

    PS - What is the 2006 Affordable Housing Strategy? Is it this: http://cityofsalida.com/_site/wp-content/uploads/HousingNeedsAssessmentFinal.pdf

    *The love fades fast, however, cause D or R, it seems like the same old, same old.

  • ....thanks.

  • Commissioner candidate Greg Felt could not get a better endorsement than to have Jerry Mallett endorse Bill Dvorak. Keep up the good work, Jerry.

  • Thanks Marshall, hope everyone reads that PDF.

    AND Cynda, right on!!

  • Mr. Mallet I do not hide behind fictitious names, letters to the editor, or posts on social media or web sites. It is time for you to be publicly accountable for you false, misleading twisted truth statements about us as county commissioners. I challenge you to an open one on one public debate on a suitable date, time and place. I would appreciate a response to this challenge by Tuesday, August 9 by 8:30 am in order to make an announcement of your decision at the County Commissioners meeting on that date starting at 9:00am. Dennis Giese Chaffee County Commissioner [email protected] 719-395-7731

  • Good for you Dennis, Right On again Cynda, and thanks Susie, I hope so too. Greg's the man for the job, known him a long time, I actually ran against him for his seat on the UAWCD.

    Judge Barton told me in the letter he sent telling me I lost to Greg, that I must be nuts for wanting to do that thankless job, let alone pretty much volunteer for it !

    I lost to the better man for the job, which is how it should be.

    Vote for Greg Felt.

  • Jerry, I know you and Bill are good buddies, given the adventures (see Marshall's initial note and attachment) so you would naturally support him.

    My difficulty with Dave is that when he was on the Republican Central Committee, he was endorsing the idea of not sharing the county sales tax with the three municipalities as was previously voted. Since you don't live in one of the municipalities I can understand your desire to support this idea. At the time it was being discussed by the local republicans, and then was subsequently denied by the commissioners, it was the most flexible money available to each municipal budget. Taking it away could create interesting and different budgetary problems for all three, including the possibility of Poncha Springs dissolving (based on their earlier cash flows several years ago). Perhaps the reason all three commissioners changed party to unaffiliated was that they thought the three towns had permanent value. Have you changed your affiliation to Republican? It sounds like that could be a possibility.

    Regarding your next to last paragraph, when a board or council votes, the net result is what is recorded. Most people don't know how each individual member voted on each topic. I learned this during my eight years on Salida City Council, it is the body, not the individual that decides. Minutes do not necessarily record the discussions precisely.

    Greg is bright, educatable and will learn how to do a new job. So Jerry, you think you, can predict the future of his approaches to your list? I do support him. Thanks all, for your responses to Jerry's diatribe. Jay

  • August 7, 2016

    Subject: Dvorak and Mallett Covering for Each other Dvorak is not the person we want protecting the resources of our county or making rulings that will apply to all of us who live, work, vacation, or own property in Chaffee County. He is a proven poacher. For any questions on this point you can read Paul Goetz article in the Mountain Mail Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2007 12:00 am. There are numerous quotes from the warden, the land owner, and a passerby which contradict the stories presented by Bill Dvorak and Jerry Mallett as they changed their stories several times trying to cover for each other. You will be convinced by reading this article that Dvorak and Mallett knowingly poached on Ms. Bertschy’s ranch illegally taking two elk. You will also be convinced that Ms. Bertschy never gave Dvorak permission to hunt on her property, and that he had not even attempted to call her during the days leading up to the illegal hunting. During the investigation of the illegal event both Dvorak and Mallett gave statements to the DOW personnel which the DOW investigators later determined to be untrue. Most of us depend on the natural resources in Chaffee County in one way or the other. Many in Chaffee County depend on our natural resources directly for our lively hoods as guides on the river or as ranchers utilizing BLM lands. Indirectly many of us as individuals or our businesses depend on the tourist business, and of course the tourists come to enjoy the natural environments all around us. Note that many of us came to Chaffee County to enjoy its natural beauty. Poachers abuse and exploit our beautiful lands and the wild animals living all around us. Poachers are users, exploiters, and game or fish thieves. We, most of us, depend on our County Commissioners to protect and conserve the natural resources in our area. Of course, there are multiple agencies and a lot of citizens who work on trails, wildlife conservation, and in other organizations that protect the habitats around us. Land use, water conservation, and scenic view preservation are all things our County Commissioners deal with on our behalf. County Commissioners should be citizens of unquestionable character who have a known history working for the best interest of all Citizens in Chaffee County. I do not believe that Bill Dvorak or Jerry Mallett meet this character requirement. Commissioners swear to uphold the laws of the county, state and country. If as a private citizen Mr. Dvorak did not follow our laws, how could we depend on him do that as a Commissioner? Property rights are important as is our access to public lands and resources. Mr. Dvorak's disrespect for his neighbor’s property rights when he was poaching makes me seriously question his fitness to preside over things like zoning and land use codes which could affect all of our property rights. I am not willing to trust a known poacher with a position, County Commissioner, which interacts with local, state, and sometimes federal agencies in deciding issues about our waters, public lands, parks, and private property rights. I do not believe he respects these resources or others’ rights.
    Best regards, Billy Carlisle

  • SO, Dennis, did Mallet ever respond to your challenge to a debate ?

  • _**Normally the Mountain Mail does not allow candidates for office to personally respond to opinion letters. However, the recent Billy Carlisle letter about me was so far from the truth that the editors have made an exception to their rule. **_

    In January of 2007 I was hunting with a friend I had hunted with for over 20 years. He and I had hunted that area (56) together in several previous years. _I was unaware that for 2007 he had drawn a different hunting area (481) farther to the north. _

    The facts of the hunt are:
    1. I had an elk license for unit 56, the area I was hunting in.
    2. I saw elk on the private property of my neighbor in unit 56 where I had previously hunted.
    3. I went after the elk without getting specific permission from my neighbor as I had in prior years.
    4. I dropped my elk with one shot.
    5. My hunting partner, Jerry Mallett, had a license for unit 481.
    6. Jerry wounded his elk and took off after it into the national forest. This is when I learned he had a tag for the area north of us.
    7. The landowner hearing the shots and not knowing who it was called the game warden.
    8. When the game warden arrived, he saw me dressing my elk and asked me who the other hunter was. My mistake was not telling him.
    9. I was not charged with trespass nor with any hunting violation. I was charged with “complicity” for not telling the warden Jerry’s name.
    10. I was allowed to keep my elk. I accepted that I was complicit in Jerry’s misdeed, apologized to the court, and paid my fine.
    11. I have the utmost respect for the Division of Parks and Wildlife, their mission, and the rules that guide outdoor sportsmen. I know I made a mistake covering up for my friend and I took responsibility for being at fault for not being completely honest with the game warden. I learned much from this incident 10 years ago and I apologize again to any my mistake offends.

    As an avid outdoors-man and sportsman, I am committed to protecting habitat and wildlife. It is why I worked for two decades to protect Browns Canyon. It is why I’ve owned my rafting business introducing new people to the outdoors every year for the past 32 years. It is why I have spent the last 10 years working for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

    I’ve dedicated my entire career working to protect our natural resources and public lands for future generations and I will continue to do so with the same commitment as a County Commissioner. I humbly ask that you assess my qualifications based on my entire history and not one much regretted incident.

    Sincerely, Bill Dvorak County Commissioner Candidate for District 2

  • Hey Bill,

    Your letter to the editor is as full of lies and mis-truths as your statements to Ron Dobson in the DOW report. Apparently your memory isn't any better than Mr. Mallet's.

    In all the years I have known you, I can tell you that in MY opinion you've never done anything that didn't directly benefit you or your business.

    I'm sure you regret the incident, I regret that it didn't go to trial, as you would have been charged with a few more things than the illegal taking of elk, and conspiracy, NOT complicity. Yes Bill, you CONSPIRED with Mr. Mallet to cover your illegal actions.

    Mrs Bertschy told you the year before when you asked that you didn't have permission, her statement to Officer Dobson said that "It had better NOT be you" as you asked her and she denied you permission .

    Per Officer Dobson's report, that he tape recorded, you lied, repeatedly and at length from the moment Dobson contacted you until you parted ways, and you were NOT dressing your elk when he found you. More lies.

    Keep em coming Bill, I'll debunk every one of them.

    For your edification, I have attached the DOW report, the official record of what happened, and as Gomer Pyle would say, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise, it doesn't come close to matching YOUR account you posted both in the Mountain Mail, and now here.

    I wonder who we should believe? The word of you, convicted of a crime, or respected DOW officer Ron Dobson. I also understand that while Ron was off feeding animals trapped without food in a snowstorm, that You and Mallet went all the way to the Governors office trying to get him fired.

    That's the fine upstanding individual you are Bill, that's how you show your "Utmost respect for the Division of Wildlife and the rules", by breaking as many as you could in as short a time as possible, and then lying to cover up your illegal actions.

    Committed to protecting wildlife and habitat? By shooting into a heard repeatedly ?

    Vote for Greg Felt.

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