AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide, 2017

Following are AnneLandmanBlog’s recommendations on how to vote on this November’s Mesa County ballot (pdf). I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching the issues, listening to all the candidates, reading their websites, following the money spent on the ballot issues and researching both pro and con arguments on the tax measures. As a result, I have come to the following conclusions. A discussion of my thoughts on each vote follows the recommendations:

The Grand Junction Area Chamber, a master of contradiction

Tom Keenan, District E School Board Candidate: “[W]e don’t need to send kids to four-year colleges anymore.”

Either the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce values higher education or it doesn’t, but it needs to make up it’s mind.

Tipton and Gardner vote to end consumers’ right to sue when big banks steal from them

CO Senator Cory Gardner voted for a measure that will let big banks fleece consumers and get away with it

Why is the stock market zooming up so high?

Because the Trump administration is gutting consumer protections, most notably against the big banks, so the banks can more freely commit fraud and fleece customers like you and me without being held accountable.

Republicans just voted to end consumer protection rules that ban banks from forcing people into arbitration after banks defraud them. The rule strips Americans of their right to go to court to get justice against fraudulent activity, theft and other wrongdoing by big banks.

AZ Senator Jeff Flake’s bombshell speech about Republicans’ “complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs” with Trump as U.S. President

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake: “Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.”(Photo: Washington Times)

Arizona’s Republican Senator Jeff Flake made a hair-raising speech on the Senate floor today, announcing he will not run for re-election and declaring he “will no longer be complicit or silent” in the face of President Trump’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior.

Now, ten months into his presidency, Trump has shown stalwarts of his own political party as well as the rest of the nation that he is unfit to lead the country.

The question now is, what can we do about it?

Following is the full text of Senator Flake’s bombshell speech:

Sentinel wrongly blames citizens for North Avenue name change “imbroglio”

Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart says the City’s system for enacting ordinances is flawed

In an op-ed in today’s Daily Sentinel, the paper blames KeepNorth4Ever — the citizen group lobbying to keep “North Avenue” from becoming “University Boulevard” — for turning the issue into an “imbrolgio,” saying they failed to pay adequate attention to local government. The op-ed also blames KeepNorth4Ever for “sowing division” in the community by their activities.

The paper’s narrow, sour-grapes style viewpoint misses the bigger picture and places blame when instead plaudits are due.

The dark money groups, shady astroturfers and wealthy locals backing Measure 1A, the public safety sales tax

Tim Pollard of “Back the Badge’s” board is the brother-in-law of Josh Penry, who, with Penry operates the astroturfing group EIS Solutions, which is pocketing much of the money raised to promote 1A

Ballot Measure 1A will increase the sales tax in Mesa County by 0.37% to fund the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office.

It sounds like a good idea, but much of the money behind 1A is coming from unaccountable sources, and the astroturfing groups promoting it may give some people pause. In particular, one big-money donor backing 1A is an aggressively pro-gun group that refuses to reveal its funders and works to push lawmakers out of office who support policies to reduce gun massacres in the U.S., like the one that occurred in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017.

CBS/Washington Post: U.S. Congress complicit in advancing the U.S. opioid epidemic

Colorado House Rep. Scott Tipton. The bill that hobbled DEA’s pursuit of out-of-control opioid pharmaceutical distribution passed the House on a voice vote, so no record of individual votes was made.

A blockbuster CBS News/60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation reveals that after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cracked down on big pharmaceutical distributors who were knowingly pumping millions of addictive opioid drugs into the black market in cities and towns across the country, the U.S. Congress passed a law to block DEA from freezing such highly suspicious drug shipments to keep them from getting to the streets.

CMU 20000 Steering Committee asks City Council to reconsider changing name of North Ave. to “University Blvd.”

The CMU 20000 Steering Committee has formally asked the Grand Junction City Council to reconsider it’s decision to change the name of North Avenue to “University Boulevard,” saying the matter has “become an inadvertent distraction” from the overall goals of the CMU 20000 effort. The steering committee sent a letter to City Council on October 13 asking them to reverse their decision, and City Council has added the item to the agenda for it’s next meeting.

Grand Junction Chamber backs scary candidates for the contested seats in School Board election

The chamber is endorsing pretty scary candidates for school board

It’s no surprise that in the contested District 51 School Board races, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is endorsing candidates who are demonstrably the worst of the pack. That’s par for the course.

What IS surprising is that you can figure this out from reading the Chamber’s very own “Mesa County Valley School District 51 Voter Guide,” (pdf) in which the chamber endorses Thomas Keenan for District E and Dusti Reimer for District D.

For the voter guide, the chamber asked each candidate to answer four questions. Apparently the chamber printed the candidates’ responses verbatim, without editing.

The results are pretty damn scary for the two candidates they endorsed.

Thomas Keenan, the District E candidate, had a hard time putting together a coherent sentence. Below is a screenshot of Mr. Keenan’s answer to the chamber’s Question #4: “Why should members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber vote for you?” Immediately beneath his barely-comprehensible answer, the chamber endorses Mr. Keenan:

Republican Colorado State Senator Ray Scott can’t even fix a typo

Ray Scott

Denver Post: State Senator Ray Scott (R- Mesa County) cast a “spiteful, obstructionist vote” against fixing an error in a bill passed in Spring, 2017 that is costing western slope transportation districts crucial funds needed to operate

Governor Hickenlooper called a special session in early October so legislators could fix a mistake in Senate Bill 17-267, passed last spring, that is costing public entities across the state millions of dollars in lost pot tax revenues.

Legislators passed the bill with an error in it that keeps voter-approved special districts across the state from collecting marijuana sales taxes to fund their services. Many of the affected districts, like the Denver Regional Transportation District, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Gardens and Museum of Nature and Science are on the front range, but western slope entities are losing critical funding as well. Western slope districts losing funds because of the error include the Gunnison Valley Regional Transportation Authority, the Summit Combined Housing Authority, the Roaring Fork Regional Transportation Authority, the San Miguel Regional Transportation Authority and the Edwards Metropolitan District.

At a special session convened to address the problem during the first week of October, a bill to fix the error that originated in the Democratic-controlled House passed by a 37-25 vote, mostly along party lines. Our very own Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Mesa County), was the only Republican House Representative who voted for the fix. In arguing to pass it, Thurlow said, “We’re here. We spent the money [for the special session]…I think we should just go ahead and fix it.”