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Friday, July 12, 2019

Cheyenne mayor's priorities are all messed up

“I don't believe illusions 'cause too much is real
So stop your cheap comment
Cause we know what we feel
Oh we're so pretty
Oh so pretty
We're vacant”
--Sex Pistols

How is it that Cheyenne's city government is convinced it can turn bleached, wind-blown grass and abandoned buildings into Faberge?
I find it amazing the mayor can state there is no budget for Superday while then dropping $18,000 to hire a family friend to plant flowers in pots downtown. Now she asks the City
Council to approve over $300,000 for an easement and some dilapidated structures on the Hitching Post property on the west side that miraculously managed to survive a fire. 
Somebody call an arborist because the money tree is getting pruned to a stump again!
Let’s hear it for fiscal responsibility. The mayor publicly cut the city's contributions to the Downtown Development Authority. Then it sends a shoddy, carbon copy letter to the volunteers who plant the flowers downtown, telling them their free services were no longer needed. 
Does hypocrisy have no bounds? 
I guess city positions aren’t the only thing being frozen. Apparently, so is hell.
Here's what was in the letter to the now-stiffed volunteers: 
“Historically in the past, the DDA has spent over $20,000 in materials and planting, and with their reduced budget, allocated $4,000 for this year.
“I believe this summer is a particularly special one with the opening of our renovated
The sign for the Hitching Post stands in front of the rundown property.
Capitol building, multiple events celebrating the 150-year anniversary of Wyoming women’s right to vote, and of course, our famed Cheyenne Frontier Days. 
“For this reason, I believed it was important to make the DDA whole in their funding and presentation of the planters. I never meant to offend or overlook your work, and if I did so, please accept my sincerest apology.  My intention was to add to, not take away from, downtown beautification efforts.”
Let's sit and think about this for a second. 
How many years have passed since the Hitching Post was put to the arsonist’s torch? That’s like wondering about the last time you saw Michael DeGreve cover The Beatles. 
Here's the answer: It was a long damn time ago. (To be precise, nine years.) The mayor can call it "Fight the Blight," but really it's just another expense that we, the taxpayers, are footing the bill to cover. 
Oh, and by the way, that $300,000 is gonna pay for something that isn’t even out of a legitimate court battle yet. What happened to the Blight Committee and who at City Hall is responsible for these decisions?
Following the mayor’s cabinet is like playing musical chairs. And it sure feels like the newest city department directors carefully were selected over a sloppy game of beer pong. 
After all, what happened to the last city attorney? Treasurer? Another treasurer? Development director? Building director? Greenway coordinator? Fire chief? Rumor has it that, at this juncture, even the janitor is looking for greener pastures.
Speaking of greener pastures, does anyone care about what’s going on with the trailer park on the South Side?
I mean, it's evident that Cheyenne has hundreds of thousands of dollars to dedicate to crumbling hotels and “the hole” in the ground downtown. I guess easement violations and unsanitary conditions in south Cheyenne can only be addressed with eviction notices. 
Those residents living in the trailers didn't even get 18 cents in help from the city, much less a planter of perennials. Kicking people out of their homes in summer or winter has the same magical effect: Abracadabra, you make people freaking homeless. It appears the “Operation Change your Lifestyle" program is a huge success.
For all the money that the City Council has pissed away on feel-good initiatives, they could’ve paid the utilities at the homeless shelter for a year. 
Oh, that’s right, the animal shelter needed a new crematorium for all the dogs it “rescues" from Colorado. Funny that we can qualify animals as helpless and not useless, but when it comes to people, we can easily label them "drunken bums."
Face it, Cheyenne, the West Lincolnway entrance, where you’ll find the Hitching Post property, could be the backdrop for the movie “Fargo.”  I could’ve built an indoor skatepark with that plywood they used to board up all those broken windows.  
When the development community and private sector fail to find solutions, we expect government to be the genie in the lamp. 
Sorry to tell you, the only thing magical about city government is how often it totally fails to help citizens while it finds the time to do three readings for a city song. 
How about turning The Hitch into a drive-in movie theater so we can watch City Council meetings on the big screen? I’ll go get popcorn during the Internet buffering. It’s a good thing the line is long.

Richard Johnson is a former member of the Cheyenne City Council from Ward 3, on the city’s east side. 


  1. Nice post. I had hoped you mentioned her new business development chief or whatever he is and where he or mayor can't articulate what he does for our money we pay. The political Self interest knot here is getting worse

  2. People were fooled into thinking that a female mayor would not be part of the "good ole boys club"... what a joke. Someone needs to expose the back door deals and the fact that "Fight the Blight" was a way to grab peoples property, and flip it to the benefit of the city- sounds like a sneaky way to launder money under the guise of cleaning up the city.