County Commissioner Joelle Riddle left the Democratic Party after being criticized for her stand on a couple of votes.
To say she was censured because of her votes is overly simplistic. The ire of disgruntled constituents was inflamed by
her unprofessional, uneducated performance at the commission meeting.
If you listen to the commissioners' business meeting stream of May 12, 2009, on the fracing resolution, you will hear
quotes such as, I feel extremely ignorant, so ill-suited and, like, this discussion is just so not appropriate for a
county to be having on these technical things that I don't even know the questions to ask, and this just seems so out
of my realm."
Many feel she did not make an effort to educate herself about the fracing issue. There were at least five public
meetings regarding the gas and oil drilling and fracing before her vote. She attended none of them, yet at that
particular commissioners meeting, she claimed to not understand.
Like many of our representatives, we feel she has kowtowed to industry and development pressure rather than
representing the people who elected her. State rules don't allow her to run as an unaffiliated candidate because she
changed her affiliation too late.
As former chairwoman of the Democratic Party, she might have known what the rules were or at least known there were
rules to be followed. Her rash decision showed no forethought or contemplation of the consequences of her actions. One
would hope our elected representatives would be educated about the issues, be prepared to place their votes and would
understand the consequences of their votes. Now Joelle is letting the citizenry pay for her decision.
So far, her lawsuit has resulted in $18,000 in legal fees, paid for by La Plata County taxpayers - this during a
time of hard-choice budget cuts and economic uncertainty. Joelle is the local version of Sarah Palin. Uninformed,unprepared, ready to blame someone else for her mistakes - and now basking in her new-found celebrity.
Denise Bohemier, Hesperus