Former G.J. Chamber of Commerce CEO Diane Schwenke to run for G.J. City Council

Longtime Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

The former longtime CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Diane Schwenke, has announced she will be running for the at-large seat on Grand Junction City Council in 2023.

Yes, THAT Diane Schwenke.

The one who endorsed convicted felony embezzler Steve King for state Senate in 2012.

The one who endorsed Ray Scott as a replacement for convicted felon Steve King. In 2018, Scott double-billed both his legislative and campaign expense accounts for over $1,000 in Uber rides, effectively doubling his personal reimbursements. He was also sued by the ACLU for blocking constituents from his official social media accounts, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

The same Diane Schwenke who endorsed Laura Bradford for Colorado House of Representatives in 2012. Bradford was pulled over by Denver police for driving under the influence of alcohol during her first and only term in the House. She quit after that term.

The same Diane Schwenke who endorsed Rose Pugliese for County Commissioner. Pugliese worked to kill the Riverfront Trail System by gutting all funding for it, circulated a petition to force D-51 teachers to stop teaching kids about climate change, and also stumped for the disastrous Tina Peters to be elected County Clerk.

The same Diane Schwenke who drove the failed 2017 effort to rename North Avenue to “University Boulevard.”

The same Diane Schwenke who promised City residents that if they would just vote to approve a re-zone of some riverfront property back to industrial zoning, Brady Trucking would bring in a slew of new jobs that would pay over $75,000 a year, and they’d even pay to landscape a whole new section of the Riverfront Trail next to it’s new headquarters.

Voters approved the measure, and the promised “jobs and trails” never materialized.

The same Diane Schwenke who as Chamber president in 2014 supported Amendment 68, which would have paved the way for horse racing and large-scale video lottery terminals in Mesa County. The law would have required a minimum of 2,500 slot machines be placed at the race track.

The same Diane Schwenke who in 2015 backed Referred Measure 2B to extend the Riverside Parkway up 25 Road. The measure would have seized the land in front of all the businesses on 25 Road and subjected them to an extended construction period. According to 25 Road business owners, Schwenke never even contacted them to tell them about the measure, see how they felt about it or even discuss it with them. The measure went down by a margin of 62% opposed to 35% in favor.

The same Diane Schwenke who recruited and supported Rick Brainard for G.J. City Council in 2013. Four days after he was elected to Council, Brainard was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend badly enough to turn half her face black and blue. The ordeal plunged citizens into an all-out effort to recall him. Schwenke continued backing Brainard even after his arrest and “no contest” plea. He was fired from local boards and fired from his job, but Diane Schwenke’s Chamber of Commerce was the only entity in town that continued to back him.

The same Diane Schwenke who was a driving force behind the 2016 effort to build a $134 million events center downtown, even though such amenities built in other cities have turned out to be mega-expensive boondoggles, because cities that build them get left holding the bag for all of the costs to heat, clean and maintain such facilities even though they sit empty most of the time.

The same Diane Schwenke who backs candidates for school board who can’t put together a coherent sentence.

The same Diane Schwenke, who in 2013 in her capacity as Chamber president posted an anti-atheist Facebook post that essentially said atheists “don’t know shit.”

Diane Schwenke’s 2013 anti-atheist joke

The one thing Diane Scwenke did right in the last 30 years was to support the wearing of masks in businesses during the pandemic, to help local businesses stay afloat.

On the whole, Diane Schwenke has spent much of the last 30 years being a scourge to Grand Junction. She has an extensive track record of failures, fake programs and overbearing political involvement as head of the Chamber, and we hope she will change her mind, decide not to run for Council and instead go quietly into the sunset and leave our City to find a brighter, more thoughtful, rational, respectful and prosperous path into the future.

  24 comments for “Former G.J. Chamber of Commerce CEO Diane Schwenke to run for G.J. City Council

  1. Ann, you and I have sparred before about Laura Bradford. She was a competent State Rep. You continue to blemish her for driving under the influence while ignoring her accomplishments. Many quality Republicans appreciated Laura’s leadership. Do not lump Laura in with the other incompetent Republicans.

    She was a member of the Colorado Women’s Economic Development Council from 1995 to 2000, and, in 1999, was appointed its chair by Gov. Bill Owens, and also sat on the Mesa County Revolving Loan Fund Administration Loan Review Committee.[6] Wikipedia

    I chuckled at Diane’s announcement knowing it will lead to lots of commotion.

    • But, but…she only has a GED.

      I like her, too and applauded her demand to see an accounting of the billions of
      our dollars that have been given to Ukraine.

      That’s her job…not to clap on command.

      And that doesn’t mean she’s a shill for Putin.

  2. This is a question for Dave Edwards..
    I was not aware that black people didn’t feel safe in Grand Junction. I’m kinda new here. Do you have any evidence to back this claim?

    • I have heard from one person after another who has decided to leave this valley because of how they have been treated by locals. Most of the members of Right and Wrong decided to leave after their encounters with the GJ Chamber, local politicians and local residents. This area appears to have nearly the most toxic atmosphere for people of color in the West — probably comparable to the Deep South.

      • So that’s your anecdotal evidence based on some people you’ve talked to. Then you use words like “toxic”, which, as we all know is hyperbolic.

        I haven’t kept up with all your posts, but I have seen the general trend on this blog is a distinct dislike for people on the right, so it would follow that you describe this area as toxic.

        What I see when I visit internet comment sections is a tendency for all people to paint people they don’t like with a broad brush…emphasizing the bad and ignoring the good.

        I doubt this is anything new in human nature…it’s just now out in the open for all to see.


        • “Anecdotal evidence is usually based on individual experiences or observations, as distinct from probabilistic evidence that gives estimates of how likely something is to occur based on experience with large numbers of people.” Exactly what evidence would you accept? Yes — my evidence is anecdotal — it is my own experience. My evidence is not scientific. I have not performed statistically significant sampling of the available data. Another fact — there are simply so few black people in the valley, along with no record of how many black people have come and gone, nor any way that I know of to capture their reasons for leaving the valley, that would make such a statistically significant survey possible. I have talked with many black people over the years about their experiences here. Few have found it to be a safe and welcoming place.

          • I would then ask why they are here.

            Originally, you said “black people don’t feel safe in grand junction”. That’s an unqualified (as in no perameters) statement. That’s why I called it anecdotal.

            I believe you when you say that the black people you talk to don’t feel safe but unless you get every black person to state that, I just cant accept your original statement.

            I could just as easily say “blacks are very happy in Grand Junction” because the people I see around town seem quite happy to be here and raise their families here.

        • A toxic person is anyone whose behavior adds negativity and upset to your life. Many times, people who are toxic are dealing with their own stresses and traumas. To do this, they act in ways that don’t present them in the best light and usually upset others along the way.
          Microaggressions are everyday insults, demeaning messages and indignities perpetrated by an often well-intentioned person in a dominant group against a person in a minority group.
          “Toxic” is not hyperbolic in this context — microaggressions poison the life of the recipient. They effect the receiver’s entire life. As their effects build up, the receiver experiences negative feelings that are very difficult to deal with. The microaggressions poison the recipient, hence they are toxic.

          • As I think about it, neither Councilperson Pe’a’s comments and Diane Schwenke’s billboard are not microaggressions — they are threatening and aggressive, intended to intimidate their expected recipients.

            Also, as to local racists being from the “right,” that’s your assumption.

          • Sounds like you’ve been reading DeAngelo.
            As far as believing someone is toxic…there may be an alternate explanation. Maybe you (the universal you) are just sensitive.

            It seems way too convenient to feel justified in calling someone who gives you stress…toxic.

            And that microaggression stuff gives me a chill. Our society will never be without people saying stupid things to other people whether they are “dominant” or not. It’s really part of what makes life I interesting

            DeAngelo has monetized victim-hood but she’s a hero to many. Not a fan…

        • Right and Wrong is the name a group of citizens adopted to confront racism in this valley. It was their representatives who attended the GJ Council meeting.

          • Thanks, I just read about the group on the website, “spoke and blossom”. Sounds like they are pleased with the progress they are making. And there was no mention of billy clubs and police dogs, so I guess Grand Junction is accepting their presence.

            However, accepting their presence is not the same as accepting their premise…which is where the problem lies.

          • Still another thought — re: billy clubs and police clubs — neither the Mesa County Sheriff’s office nor the Grand Junction Police are involved nor implicated in any of this — both forces have solid, respectful leadership and force members. This local racism is in the populace, not in law enforcement, so far as I am aware of.

  3. Trite but ever so true, Schwenke just needs to go away but her Ego and quest for misdirected power forever guide her.

  4. Wasn’t it Diane Schwenke who got Doug Simons, owner of Enstrom Candies to contribute $50,000 to her so the GJ Chamber of Commerce could create a 501(c)(4) companion organization (WCBA) in 2012 to endorse political causes, one of whose biggest acts was to put up a billboard congratulating GJ Council person Phillip Pe’a for publicly asking why he wasn’t warned that Right and Wrong activists were attending the June 16. 2020 meeting.×495.png

    Pe’a wondered if he needed to bring his “Glock” into the June 16, 2020 meeting. (To harm protesters? To “help” police?) Wortmann seemed genuinely bristled that citizens might come to a government meeting to demand action And Pe’a stated: “Here’s my promise to you, Anna: Next time it happens, I won’t be as pleasant.”First, “tone policing.” Wortmann called Stout’s invitation of protesters “a complete lack of respect for the 100 years of decorum that’s been created in this room.” Mr. Wortmann seemed offended by supposed breaches in “decorum” or by language protesters used, but not so much that Black people feel unsafe in Grand Junction. “Tone policing” is a common diversion tactic: focus on how a call to action is made rather than the underlying reasons for that call. (I’ll also quote Charlie Quimby’s June 23 letter to the editor: “I’d ask [Council] members to consider what ‘100 years of decorum’ sounds like to people for whom decorum has been a polite way of denying their grievances for a century.”)

    Second, Wortmann accused Stout of helping create “a mass hysteria,” and accused protesters of “ranting and raving” and being out of control. A more insidious version of tone policing, this tactic paints people asking for equality as “dangerous” or “angry,” or “unreasonable,” instead of focusing on why people might be angry or afraid. Anna Stout’s response: “Why do I need council’s support to give a space that is a public hearing to members of our community who don’t feel that they’re traditionally heard, or listened to, or invited to the table? I invited them to the table.”

    See Anne Landman’s blogpost: about the August 5, 2020 meeting attended by Michael Anton, owner of Emtech, Inc. In this blogpost, Anne Landman sets out Michael Anton’s (owner of Emtech, Inc.) But in response to the groups’ presence at the meeting, WCBA member and local business owner Michael Anton made it clear that in his view, racial minorities were unwelcome in Grand Junction, stating in his public comments to Council:

    “This RAW. This BLM. They need to go away. They’re not Grand Junction and you need to send them down the road because, believe me, there’s a lot more of me here in this valley than there is of you. I guarantee it and it will not be a pretty day if that comes forth.”

    The Sentinel wonders what happened to the KKK in GJ. It’s children live and work here and threaten peace and order, the rule of law and threaten the promises in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution that all who come here are equal, welcome and cherished.

  5. She has been very successful at keeping wages for many workers here at poverty level while her salary was at least $130,000, and promoting no rights for workers or customers. She lead an effort to gut the drainage district of funds so if there is a gully washer in the area, large areas of the city may be flooded. Maybe she should return to Beatrice, Nebraska, and ruin another city.

  6. She and her organization have led the city around like an obedient little dog for years – might as well make it formal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *