Greeley Mayor Tom Norton gave his "State of the Union Colony" address at the local Republican breakfast this week, with slides and glib words. He touted the fact that Greeley is solvent, looking for growth, and has recruited a cash cow or two such as Leprino Foods, to help bring jobs to the area. He also mentioned the thousands of potholes filled by the city crews. Norton also mentioned the fact that Greeley has wide streets that need several million dollars more in maintenance, and the city needs to bring in more revenue. Every municipality faces this burden these days, so that was no surprise.
Norton did take a few questions, and there were a couple surprising issues. First, no mention was made of the tow truck measure, where Norton and the Greeley City Council refused to allow tow truck drivers to park their vehicles at home. Norton lauded the response times of police and fire crews in Greeley, but he failed to mention any time that was wasted on-site, for example, at an accident scene. The tow truck measure would reduce tow response times significantly, but Norton and the city didn't want it. Those big, job-generating, fast-responding trucks must be an eyesore in neighborhoods. The threat of neighborhood blight beat out common sense.
One question that seemed to surprise Norton was the question about the University of Northern Colorado serving halal (Islamic) food. He said that he would basically stay out of it, but that it was in response to their "needs." It was obvious that the rank-and-file were not happy with either Norton or his spouse, UNC President Kay Norton. They seemed to think the University has opened a dangerous door by catering the religious demands of Muslims.
So what were the overall observations? First, Greeley is better off than some cities, worse than others. They love to over-regulate, cater to Muslims, push for big business, and pretend to be conservative when they are socially liberal (and always want more tax money). People aren't very happy with the arrangement, but there doesn't seem to be a groundswell of support for any alternative candidate. Greeley is stuck with Norton, at least for another term. What's that smell?