Mike Anton is Back, This Time Plugging an Events Center

Michael P. “I’m Your Worst Nightmare” Anton, author of the Grand Junction’s only negative campaign ad, and cheerleader for the chamber’s lies and political interference

Mike Anton is back, appearing on TV and speaking to groups around town telling Grand Junction residents they should vote for an extra sales tax to build an events center downtown.

Do you remember Mike Anton?

No?

Well then let’s recap exactly who Mike Anton is, and what he has done over the last few years, so you will remember him:

Anton owns a business in town called EmTech. He sat on the board of directors of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce in 2013. That was the year the chamber backed Rick Brainard for city council.

Remember how THAT turned out?

The Brainard Incident

Four days after winning the April 4, 2013 City Council election, the chamber-backed Brainard was arrested for beating up his girlfriend and smacking her hard enough to turn her face black and blue. A mug shot of the newly-elected councilman smiling in his yellow jumpsuit became a staple of the local news night after night. In his arrest affidavit (pdf), Brainard told police he “had to hit” his girlfriend because she “needed to shut her mouth.”

Remember Rick Brainard and his post-election assault charge?

Outraged citizens marched around downtown with bullhorns, rallied, and called and wrote letters to Council demanding Brainard not be allowed to take his Council seat on May 6. Despite all the public pressure and humiliation, Brainard steadfastly refused to step down. Instead, he attended his first court hearing for his assault charge on the very same day he was sworn into his City Council seat. In a historic moment, a room full of indignant citizens at the ceremony stood and turned their backs on him all at once. When the media asked him afterwards to comment on the protest, Brainard smugly claimed he “didn’t see them.”

Even after Brainard pled guilty to the assault in open court, the Chamber and its board, including Mike Anton, continued to support Brainard staying on City Council.

As soon as Brainard was sworn in, citizens initiated an effort to recall Brainard from Council. By July, just as citizens were getting ready to collect signatures to recall him, Brainard had had enough and finally agreed to step down.

During the entire sordid episode, Anton never broke with the chamber, and instead continued to support Brainard along with the rest of the board.

Grand Junction’s First-Ever Negative Campaign Ad

Anton made history in the 2013 election, too.

He has the distinction of having run the first-ever negative campaign ad in Grand Junction history.

In March of 2013, one month before the City election scheduled for April 2, a quarter-page ad appeared in the Daily Sentinel (pdf) berating all of the four incumbent City Council members running for re-election. The ad accused incumbents of being “big spenders” and demanded that City government be run like a business instead of a government.

Anton’s 2013 negative campaign ad aimed at council member Laura Luke: “I am your worst nightmare…”

The strange, text-heavy ad, the likes of which citizens here had not seen before in a city council race, had a malicious edge to it, too. In particular the ad targeted incumbent City Councilor Laura Luke, a single mother, with threatening language:

“Hey, Laura, …” the ad said. “I’m your worst nightmare,” it said, using the first person.

The ad repeatedly named and berated Luke and demanded, “I want change! I want to see a person like Rick Brainard… who has a relentless passion and drive for the community he lives in….” get elected to council. The ad was so personally threatening to Luke that the Daily Sentinel pulled it before it’s three-print run was over.

The author of this historic nasty ad was none other than Michael P. Anton, owner of Emtech, Inc., who, in addition to sitting on the Chamber’s board, also happened to be President of the Chamber’s new 501-c-4 “social welfare” (lobbying) group, the “Western Colorado Business Alliance” (WCBA), that the chamber created in 2012 specifically for the purpose of influencing local elections.

Anton’s Brady Trucking Lie

The Brady Trucking parcel by the Colorado river. Anton and the Chamber promised an influx of $70k/year jobs if voters upheld light industrial zoning for this parcel. Voters approved the measure, but the promise never came to fruition.

Also in 2013, and also on behalf of the chamber, Mike Anton plugged a ballot measure to re-zone land by the Las Colonias Bridge over the Colorado River to light industrial zoning, so Brady Trucking could put their headquarters there. At meetings around town and to the media (just as he is doing now), Anton and the chamber promised citizens that if they approved the re-zone, Brady Trucking would bring in a bunch of new jobs that would pay $70,000/year and, as a bonus, the company would even build more biking and walking trails along the Colorado riverfront by the bridge.

Citizens duly voted to re-zone the land and then…nothing ever happened. To this day the Brady Trucking parcel by the river sits vacant with only an old, crumbling building on it and a bunch of junk along the river’s edge. No trails were ever built. No jobs ever came to town, nothing.

Another lie from Michael Anton and his pals at the chamber.

And now Mike Anton is back, telling Grand Junction citizens they should vote for an additional sales tax to pay for an event center that no one in town has asked for?

How do you think that is likely to turn out?

Putting Grand Junction’s Costco Rumors to Rest

Costco Warehouse Store – Sam’s Club is the major obstacle to Grand Junction getting a Costco

For years western slope residents have been hoping and wishing that a Costco warehouse store would open in Grand Junction.

Around 2010, rumors started circulating that Costco was considering locating a new store in Grand Junction. People even started proposing possible locations for the new store in the Daily Sentinel’s letters-to-the-editor column.

But Costco never came to Grand Junction, and to this day rumors continue to abound about why the area was passed up.

People blamed the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce for chasing Costco away, saying the Chamber wanted to keep the wage scale low here, and Costco would upend our area’s low-wage apple cart. Costco is known for it’s generous wage and benefits packages, paying a starting salary of around $17/hour, or $45,000/year, and offering employees medical insurance, retirement and more.

Others claim Costco rejected Grand Junction because of our notoriously underfunded District 51 schools. 

None of these are true.

Right from the Horse’s Mouth

I spoke directly with Mike Dobrota, Vice President at Northwest Atlantic, the commercial real estate firm that represents Costco.

Costco opens a few new stores in the U.S. every year, and Mr. Dobrota is in charge of determining the locations in the southwestern U.S. where Costco should open.

I asked Mr. Dobrota about Grand Junction as a potential location for a Costco, and cited all the rumors that have been circulating for so long about why they never opened a store here.

He said the decision about whether to locate a store here has nothing to do with the quality of the schools, the prevailing local wages, the educational level of the workforce or the Chamber of Commerce. He said Grand Junction is presently still on their “small markets list,” and they have been considering the area for some time. (Our area stretches to include Moab, by the way.) He considers demographics when weighing a new location, but the main factors he takes into account, he says, are the size of the market and any competitors in the area. Costco needs about 300,000 people in a trade area to open a new store, but needs even more if a competitor is present. So according to Dobrota, the biggest obstacle to Grand Junction getting a Costco is the presence of Sam’s Club, a direct competitor.

In the mean time, the closest Costco is currently in Gypsum, 110 miles or 1.75 hours’ drive east of here. Dobrota does not consider the Gypsum store to be “in our area,” though, so it’s presence isn’t a factor in whether a Costco will eventually open in Grand Junction.

The Gypsum store opened eleven years ago this year, by the way, and has been a tremendous boon to the town of Gypsum. The store generated enough revenue to help the town pay off a 20-year bond for its new recreation center in just 8 years.

And yes, folks, you read that right. Even the little western slope town of Gypsum, population around 6,800, has a publicly-funded recreation center, an amenity the City of Grand Junction has denied its residents for decades.

Gypsum’s rec center

In case you are interested (and want to be jealous), Gypsum’s rec center has an indoor running track, gymnastics facilities, two full basketball/volleyball courts, lap pool, play pool with water slide and lazy river, sauna, hot tub, climbing wall, fitness classes, strength training equipment, cardio equipment, childcare center, arcade, meeting facilities and more.

All this is paid for by a town of 6,800 people who agreed overwhelmingly to add one cent to their sales tax for the rec center, and a Costco.

But for now, Grand Junction has neither a rec center nor a Costco. But we do have a Sam’s Club that pays a starting wage of $9.97/hour, and a city council that won’t even entertain the idea of a recreation center.

Hurray.

She’s Back! Self-Styled Grand Junction Missionary June Fellhauer Returns to Pitch her $99 Religious Video Series to D-51 Girls

Self-styled G.J. missionary June Fellhauer, giving a talk on “Women’s Purpose” July 12, 2015 (Photo credit: YouTube)

June Fellhauer is back, once again taking advantage of School District 51’s “PeachJar” literature distribution system to plug her $99 video evangelism series to girls 11 years and up.

Fellhauer is kind of like Grand Junction’s own Shelly Donahue, but without the plastic bags of full of spaghetti and waffles, and titillating talk about masturbation. And unlike Donahue, Fellhauer apparently preaches only to girls, not boys, at least when she preaching for money.

Several days ago Fellhauer sent out a flier to D-51 families promoting another free sales-pitch event, this one called “Becoming Love,” aimed at girls 11 and up. The purpose of the event is to recruit kids’ families to pony up $99 for their daughters to view Fellhauer’s online, four-week video series in which she teaches biblical myths to girls with the primary message that women are subservient to men rather than qualified, able individuals in their own right. Fellhauer warns girls not strike out on their own, and tells girls if they remain helpers underneath the “cover” of their men, the men will “lift them up,” and they will get their power that way.

U.S. Congressman Issues Statement on Decision Not to Attend Trump’s Inauguration

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu of Los Angeles County

In the wake of the insults President-Elect Donald Trump hurled at civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis today on Twitter, just days before Martin Luther King Day and his own inauguration, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D – Los Angeles County) issued the following statement explaining his decision to not attend Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.

The flap started when Rep. Lewis said in an interview today with Meet The Press host Chuck Todd that he will not be attending Trump’s inauguration in part because he doesn’t think Trump is a legitimate president due to Russia’s reported interference the U.S. election.

It’s Time for Grand Junction to Invest in its Residents

“What about us?” A GJ grassroots citizens group called PLACE has been lobbying for a community recreation center since 2015

The Grand Junction City Council announced plans to put a measure on the April, 2017 ballot to increase city sales tax by a quarter of a cent to fund construction of a 5,000-seat event center by Two Rivers Convention Center. The tax would cost every G.J. household about an extra $30 per year.

The only problem is, City residents don’t want an event center. Residents have said over and over that they want a community recreation center where people can gather to meet, recreate, learn and have fun indoors and outdoors year ‘round. They want a place where kids can go to have fun and stay out of trouble.

Lack of Amenities

Grand Junction has long suffered with a lack of community places where kids, teens, seniors and families can congregate, have fun and learn.

Former Mexican President Questions Trump’s Legitimacy, Says Mexico Won’t Pay for his “F****en Wall”

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox (2000-2006) has been trolling Donald Trump on Twitter and responding to  Trump’s incessant Tweets in English, writing devastating responses questioning his legitimacy as president, telling him Mexico won’t pay for the (expletive) wall he’s been promising to build between the U.S. and Mexico, and much more:

 

 

 

U.S. Intelligence Community: “Putin Ordered Influence Campaign Aimed at Electing Trump”

U.S. Intelligence Community reports President-elect Donald Trump got assistance in winning the election from Russian President Vladimir Putin himself

The U.S. Intelligence community (CIA, FBI and NSA) jointly issued a formal report today stating that Russian President Putin ordered a campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election and help elect Donald Trump. The report states that Russians worked to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and promote Trump. The entire unclassified version of the report is available to the public on Scribd:

Following is an excerpt from the report, with bold emphasis added:

“We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.

We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency.

 

Nationwide Team of Lawyers Submits Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Trump from Taking Office

Trump: Electorally illegitimate President-Elect?

The New York Times and other news outlets including AlterNetRawStory, and DailyKos are reporting that a bipartisan nationwide team of attorneys has performed detailed research into each of the 538 members of the electoral college and found that more than 50 members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to vote because they violated their state’s laws governing who is eligible to serve as an elector. For example, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi served as an elector and voted for Trump, but the Florida state Constitution specifies electors cannot hold any other paid government office while serving as an elector. In other cases, electors did not reside in the congressional district they were charged with representing, or were not registered to vote in the districts they were supposed to represent as electors. Each of these situations constitute legal violations of eligibility to serve as electors.

The report states:

“We have reason to believe that there are at least 50 electoral votes that were not regularly given or not lawfully certified (16 Congressional District violations and 34 dual office-holder violations). The number could be over a hundred.”

The group issued an “Electoral Vote Objection Packet” containing this information, as well as the specific language they need to use to object to certification of the vote, to members of Congress and are asking them to stop the certification of the 2016 Electoral College results scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 6.

You can read the entire report here:

The Electoral Vote Objection Packet and spreadsheet detailing the problems the attorneys found with the 50+ electors can be seen here.

Creepy Republicans are Fortifying their Swamp; Tipton Won’t Say How He Voted

English writer Lord Acton once said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The House of Representatives proved Lord Acton correct yesterday when, as their first act as the majority in the 115th House of Representatives, Republicans met in secret, at night behind closed doors, and voted to amend House rules to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

The OCE is responsible for investigating corruption and misconduct by House members. It was created in 2008 after Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a former Republican representative from California, was sentenced to prison on bribery and other criminal charges he incurred while in office. The OCE perhaps best known for its investigations into the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and investigating former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who in 2010 was convicted on criminal charges of conspiracy to launder corporate money into political donations. In his defense, DeLay argued he was improperly convicted for just “doing what everybody was doing.”

If overall Republicans felt they were serving their constituents honestly and ethically in the best way they knew how, they probably wouldn’t give much thought to the OCE. But instead, they focused on it quickly and early with an eye towards destroying it. So why carry out an attack aimed at constraining the OCE, if not to pave the way for unfettered unethical activities like those we’ve already seen so much of in Congress?

Mesa County Commissioner John Justman’s Smug Attitude Toward Constituents

Mesa County Commissioner John Justman’s attitude toward his “subjects,” as demonstrated by Bugs Bunny

Check out this online exchange between Mesa County Commissioner John Justman and one of his constituents:

On December 14, a Mesa County resident posted a link to an online petition titled “Defend the Arctic Refuge from Oil Drilling” on Facebook along with the comment “Tillerman will drill this.”

The person was referring to Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, who has made drilling for oil his life’s work.

Surprisingly, the first person to chime in in the comment section below the post was none other than Mesa County Commissioner John Justman, who wrote “Good Job Tillerman,” signaling his approval for drilling the Earth to death while repeating the misspelling of Tillerson’s name.

In response, the constituent wrote:

 

“John sometimes I think you say these things to be funny. The truth is this time it is NOT funny. You will be dead before your grandchildren will have to deal with a entire change in the environment you and I have taken for granted. Today the North Pole had a high of over the freezing level and the “heatwave” is suppose to continue. These fragile areas have iconic creatures you and I are familiar, but your grandchildren will watch the last of those animals perish. If you believe that is good, then I question your fitness to serve as a Commissioner. That position takes great analytical and practical thinking about today and the future.”

To this take-down, Justman thundered back: