Our good friends the Johnsons, who own VJ's Outlaw Ribbs in Parachute, need the support of the community right now. I'd like to call on newly elected and re-elected Republicans in Garfield County to get involved and help remedy the harmful boycott of VJ's that has been going on since Oct. 16.
VJ's has hosted and catered numerous Republican/tea party events. On Oct. 13, the Johnsons were gracious enough to accommodate our six Democratic candidates for a breakfast meet-and-greet. Their son, former Denver Bronco and Republican Vance Johnson, agreed to meet attendees, and it made for a very fun event and a delicious breakfast.
By the following Wednesday, the Johnsons were contacted by customers who are employees of Williams Energy (now WPX), telling them of an email that was sent out Tuesday telling people to boycott VJ's because of the candidate yard signs still present along the fence of VJ's. They also were told that there was a photo of the signs and message to boycott "on the Internet."
Local WPX representatives knew nothing of the memo when state Sen. Gail Schwartz spoke with them on Thursday. The following day, the Johnsons experienced one of their best days of business since opening, with the parking lot "filled over capacity with Williams trucks." Ever since, though, the roughnecks are packing the parking lots of other restaurants.
Last week, Jean heard from an Encana employee, when she queried why he had come in to eat, "They can't tell me where to eat." So both WPX and Encana roughnecks are involved. Overnight, waitresses have gone from making $50 a day to $20 a day. This is impacting families in Parachute and Battlement Mesa, where unemployment is already a significant issue!
Since you Republicans advocate for oil and gas and all the jobs it creates while also pounding your chests in defense of small business, you should make things right for the Johnson family. Get over the politics and bullying, and help a small business stay in business. Don't create more unemployment because of your political ideology.
The Johnsons and the employees of VJ's have worked hard, served us all great food and put a lot of love into Garfield County. Please repay their efforts by supporting them through this senseless boycott by people who travel home every weekend, taking Garfield County dollars for their employment back to their own counties and states. It is not the local employees doing this, but they should stand up and do what's right for the community they live and work in.
It's time to move on and figure out how to live, work and eat together.
Kim Doyle Wille