January 4th signalled the beginning of a new year for the Town of Golden’s bi-weekly Council Meetings. The meeting itself was oddly short, but coming off of a Christmas holiday, it was to be expected. But, there was one topic that peaked the interest of the lone person in the gallery. The topic was the issue concerning a concoction of road salt, slush, and Golden’s tap water that was rudely delivered in a Mason jar to Town Hall on December 29th.
A note that was scrawled on a single sheet of paper accompanied the jar filled with the seemingly vile solution. The note, authored by John White of Golden read (verbatim):
“To Christina Benty & Town Council. Have A Drink This Jar Contains 1 Tablespoon of Road Salt & Slush And The Rest Is Tap Water From Golden’s Well’s. This Crap Will Be Absorbed By The Earth And Then Into The Wells – Golden’s Drinking Water. That You and Council Don’t Seem To Care About. Perhaps You All Our Buying Bottled Water. This Will Be Another First For Golden – Mayor And Council Are Most Certainly Not Smarter Than A Golden Fifth Grader.”
The note, written entirely in capital letters, held an eerie resemblance to letters written by Dennis Rader, but perhaps in merely an aesthetic way.
“I hand wrote the letter because I don’t have a typewriter and I haven’t touched a computer in years. All I want is for the people of Golden to be healthy; I don’t care if it’s a 90-year-old woman or a young child. I just don’t know what they are using on the roads this year, but every other year they used gravel…this stuff isn’t salt. I never saw salt turn snow into a salty mush before,” John White said in a calm demeanor.
As for the solution in the jar, Councilor Mike Pecora challenged Mr. White at the January 4th Council Meeting, one that Mr. White did not make it out to, and drank a mouthful of the potion.
“The water from the jar actually tasted like lake water. It wasn’t bad at all. I wish Mr. White had been there. And today, (the day after) I feel fine. There’s more sodium in a can of mushroom soup,” Councilor Pecora said about drinking from the Mason jar.
As for the reference of “Perhaps You All Our Buying Bottled Water”, the remarks simply do not add up. In fact, the Town of Golden passed a resolution in March of 2009 that banned the sale of bottled water in all public buildings where safe drinking water is available from publicly purveyed water systems.
“We’ve banned bottled water here (Town Hall). I personally drink tap water all the time. The water is good; the town tests our water weekly,” Mayor of Golden, Christina Benty said with her aluminum water bottle in hand.
Regarding the actual salt that the town does use to de-ice our streets, it is the same rock salt that has been used for decades.
“We have been using this type of salt for de-icing here in Golden for at least 36 years. Saying that, we are extremely mindful of how we use it…not only due to environmental concerns, but also due to the fact that it is quite expensive. People have to realize that the salt we use does not work once the temperature is below minus five, so that also affects how much we use,” Manager of Operations for the Town of Golden, Chris Cochran said about the utilization of the salt in town.
Last winter the town used 21-yards of rock salt on our streets; this year the town has used 17-yards already. In comparison to the amount of gravel and sand used, it really isn’t much at all. The gravel and sand totals for last winter was 450-yards.
No matter what is used on our streets, the Town of Golden has only one concern, to keep everyone safe on the ice-covered streets.