Anne Landman

Locals alarmed that CMU VP John Marshall is on the short list for new University president

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) announced today that CMU Vice President John Marshall is one of three candidates under final consideration to be the university’s new president.

A lot of local people are unhappy with that.

Ordinarily the second-in-command at a higher educational institution would seem a logical choice to step into the top spot, but this is the exception.

Marshall has no background in academics. He was a Republican political operative originally hired at CMU in 2007 as one of Tim Foster’s many political patronage appointments. Foster handed Marshall a plum $100,000/year job as a Development Director. Marshall’s only qualification for the job was that he was the former manager of Bob Beauprez’s losing 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Beauprez ran on a ticket with Janet Rowland as Lieutenant Governor. That’s the same Janet Rowland of Mesa County, who singlehandedly sank Beauprez’s campaign and who is now a third-term Mesa County Commissioner engaged in her own blatant act of political cronyism: a ham-handed attempt to install her pal Rose Pugliese — who is similarly poorly qualified — into the position of County Attorney.

But back to John Marshall.

To be hired as a university president one must normally have earned a doctorate or “terminal degree,” the highest possible degree a person can attain in their field.

Marshall lacks this key qualification. On the last page of his 19-page résumé, buried in the tiny “Education” section at the end, he writes that he has a “PhD in Public Policy – (Not completed, ABD).”

“ABD” means “All But Dissertation.” In other words, Marshall does not have a Ph.D. degree. It means he is a dropout from a Ph.D. program.

A university president who dropped out before attaining his Ph.D. would provide a poor example as the head of an  advanced education institution.

Marshall also lists no academic publications to his name. Zero. None.

Publishing academic research in peer-reviewed journals is generally viewed as a requirement to succeed in an academic career, and a long, distinguished and successful career in academia is normally a requirement to be a University president.

But Marshall’s background is in politics, not academics.

Marshall has a lot of offensive baggage that people can’t forget or forgive.

Marshall-watchers note that he has consistently dismissed or downplayed incidents of homophobia through the years. In 2006 he also publicly insulted the state’s progressive voters.

In 2006, Marshall dismissed concerns about the over-the-top, deeply homophobic comments Janet Rowland made on the state-wide TV show “Colorado State of Mind” during Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign. Rowland’s highly offensive comments equating homosexuality to bestiality drew national condemnation. They were a huge embarrassment for the entire state and ended up tanking Beauprez’s campaign.

CMU VP John Marshall (Photo: Twitter, @MesaVeep)

Marshall’s coarse public response to the incident shocked people and revealed his own biases:

From the August 21, 2006 issue of the Denver Post :

“The response [to Rowland’s TV comments] from John Marshall, the Beauprez-Rowland campaign manager, was ‘They’re bed-wetting, pampered liberals,’ and ‘No one cares what they say about anything.'”

Marshall’s comments offended even more people.

Such talk is definitely not a good look, especially when you’re asking to become president of a university. And it’s still on the record and just as offensive now as it was then.

And that’s not all. There’s more.

When CMU football player Shane Williams was accused of slamming a lesbian woman to the street outside a bar in 2012, cracking her skull, Marshall told concerned staff members at CMU there was nothing he could do about Williams continuing at CMU because “we needed ‘due process.'” (Williams also was in possession of a fake ID and was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.) Even crazier than dismissing out of hand even the possibility of ejecting a violently homophobic student from the school, in the aftermath of this incident Marshall actually pressured CMU staff NOT to hold an anti-violence workshop.

And when it was reported to Marshall that a student at a CMU basketball game had yelled, “Nice sideburns, faggot!” at an opposing player, Marshall dismissed it, saying it was “just sports.”

These anecdotes — related by the anonymous people who witnessed them — along with even more appearance of cronyism among Republicans in Mesa County — are just a few reasons why so many people in the local community feel John Marshall is a bad pick, and a bad look, as the next CMU president.

The two other candidates are far more qualified, and without the baggage

The two other candidates appear far more qualified, and legitimately:

Dr. Abel Chavez, (pdf) Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Western Colorado University, has a (real) Doctorate in Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has held many advanced positions within institutions of higher education. He lists 17 publications to his name on his résumé.

Dr. Mirta Martin, currently the President of Fairmont State University, also has an actual Ph.D. degree in Philosophy. She has been president of two other universities, has had a long career in academia, excelled at diversifying her schools, has won awards like “Educator of the Year,” “Most Influential Woman,” “Most inspiring woman,” etc. Dr. Martin lists ten publications to her name and she was also an educational advisor to Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Just read their résumés for yourself. They’re impressive.

OGRE Alert

OGRE Alert

In addition to being more than legitimately qualified to be President at CMU, both of these other two candidates would supply some very badly-needed diversity into the upper echelons at CMU, something that has been lacking at CMU for a very long time, and something the local Good Ole Boy/Old Guard Republican Establishment (GOB-OGRE) Crony network is incapable of supplying.

 

 

Red flags abound over Commissioner Rowland’s struggle to appoint her friend Pugliese as County Attorney

My first attempt at a political cartoon

In an outrageous display of unabashed Mesa County Republican cronyism, Commissioner Janet Rowland is working hard to install her pal, former County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, into the position of Mesa County Attorney, the highest-paid position in the county. The position would double the salary Rose use to earn when she was commissioner just before Janet.

The situation portends great danger for the County, since the Commissioners have tremendous power, no oversight and Janet already has a long and worrisome track record of impropriety and unethical behavior.

Why installing Rose Pugliese as County Attorney is a crazy mistake

Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist being considered for County Attorney.

A top headline in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel announced that former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which, as of 2019 was the highest-paid job in the County.

Based on Pugliese’s qualifications, or lack thereof, this is nothing short of crazy, and it smacks loudly of cronyism by Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs).

Pugliese won consideration as sole contender for the job despite having a track record that would probably get the rest of us fired.

Oh, where to begin?

City Council candidate Jody Green appears to be barely literate

Jody Green

Jody Green is running for the Grand Junction City Council District E seat in the April 6, 2021 municipal election. His campaign website says he is construction worker and that he helped build the Oxbow subdivision, the Postal Annex on Patterson, Ratekin Tower Apartments, Lakeside Apartments and other buildings in Grand Junction. Green writes on social media that he “Works at School of Hard Knocks, University of Life,” but provides no other information about his educational background.

In a February 4, 2021 article in the Daily Sentinel, Green told the paper that he is running for City Council because God asked him to.

Car singled out for vandalism in Clifton Dollar Tree parking lot

A friend drove a car belonging to her now legally-blind housemate to Dollar Tree in Clifton, bringing her 90+ year old mother, who uses a walker, for a short shopping trip. It was late morning on Wednesday, March 31, and they parked in a handicapped spot in front of the store. They were in the store less than an hour, and when they came out, they found someone had vandalized their car with black spray paint.

No other cars in the parking lot were targeted.

AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide for the City of Grand Junction’s Municipal Election of Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Are you wondering how to vote in the Grand Junction Regular Municipal Election on Tuesday, April 6, 2021? Are you sweating over where you’ll find the time to research the eight City Council candidates and the ballot measures?

Relax.

We’ve done the work for you.

AnneLandmanBlog has done substantial research into all of the candidates for City Council, and read the ballot measures. To see what we found out, scroll down anneLandmanBlog’s front page and have a look at the recent blogs about the election prior to this one.

Based on what we found, here are our recommended votes:

G.J. City Council candidate Mark McAllister known for posting false, xenophobic and racist memes

Meme that appeared on Mark McAllister’s Facebook page in early January, 2020

In 2013, former G.J. Mayor Bill Pitts said that the most money anyone had ever spent on a City Council race up until that time was around $3,000. 

In 2013, that amount had jumped to $10,000 to $12,000 per candidate for city council campaigns.

Now, in 2021, candidates for local office are routinely spending up to $20-30k on their campaigns.

That marked increase in the amount of spending should be accompanied by an equally higher level of scrutiny of candidates by the local press and media, but it hasn’t. The local paper seems to be giving candidates a pass by doing nice things like sending candidates a softball questionnaire and publishing their answers in full, without even verifying whether the candidates filled in the answers themselves.

Voters deserve more information — a deeper dive, like verifying candidates’ educational levels, their social, political and business affiliations, and verifying the claims they make on their campaign pages about what groups they belong to. We should also know if any information has been published about them elsewhere, and check their social media streams to see what they had been posting before they decided to running for office.  
 
One thing we’ve managed to find here at AnneLandmanBlog about the current candidates for Grand Junction City Council is that one candidate really stands out when given this kind of scrutiny, and not in a good way: Mark McAllister.

What’s up with the four City Council candidates who are ditching forums and questionnaires?

An attendee at the “Stand for the Constitution Freedom Rally” last July 4 (Photo: Facebook). Stand for the Constitution endorses Haitz, Andrews, Green and McAllister, calling them “our candidates.”

Kristin Wynn of Citizens for Clean Air Grand Junction reported that her group has not received responses to questionnaires they sent to City Council candidates Mark McCallister, Kraig Andrews, Jody Green, and Greg Haitz. Nor did any of these candidates bother to respond to a short questionnaire from the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley and none of them participated in the City Council Candidate Forums organized by the Western Colorado Alliance, which were held virtually on Zoom.

So why are these four candidates dodging public forums and refusing to answer City residents’ questions? And what do they all have in common that the other four candidates don’t?

For one thing, they are all endorsed by the local right-wing extremist group  “Stand for the Constitution,” who calls the slate of them “our candidates.”

A quick summary of the eight candidates running for Grand Junction City Council in the April 6, 2021 election

Eight candidates want to get inside these doors and help run the city we all love. Learn about the candidates running for Council and vote wisely.

In case you don’t have time to research the eight candidates running for City Council in the April 6th election, I’ve done the research and condensed it down to a couple of paragraphs about each candidate to help you make an educated choice. I drew on the sources of information that are most accessible to most voters, including the candidates’ campaign and personal websites, their campaign and personal social media accounts (the links to which the City conveniently provides on their Elections Information page). I also researched news reports, published articles and past blogs I’ve done about them, if any, and investigated some of the claims the candidates made on their websites about what groups and organizations they belonged to. I also attended the Western Colorado Alliance (WCA) online candidate forum held on February 24th, and noted which candidates attended and which didn’t.

Here is what I found on each candidate:

City plans a major redesign of 7 miles of Patterson Road that greatly reduces left turns

The section of the proposed redesign of Patterson Road

Do you live near Patterson Road or use Patterson a lot to get around town?

The City of Grand Junction is currently planning a major redesign of Patterson Road aimed at reducing accidents, improving safety and traffic flow and providing better access for alternative transportation means like bicycles, buses, pedestrians, etc. The redesign area starts where Patterson originates on the west end at I-70B west of Mesa Mall, and continues about 7 miles to the east, to Lodgepole Street.
 
A traffic study found that 64% of accidents on Patterson occur at intersections, so to reduce the number of accidents, the plan seeks to greatly reduce the ability to make left turns onto and off of Patterson. The plan also proposes to drastically reduce the number of access points onto and off of Patterson Road, e.g., places where you can turn into side streets, into and out of businesses, etc.

CO homeowners helpless against rogue homeowner associations

The Moonridge Falls subdivision HOA in Grand Junction suddenly locked homeowners out of their own common space this winter, nominally for safety, even though no accidents had occurred in the park and no one has ever been hurt there. The HOA effectively treated all homeowners as though they were trespassers in their own common space. Across the state, subdivisions that lock off commonly-owned amenities, like swimming pools or tennis courts — whether for safety or to eliminate vandalism — provide all homeowners keys to the locks on the amenities because the homeowners own the amenities and pay the substantial costs of maintaining them.

Homeowners in the Moonridge Falls subdivision in Grand Junction woke up last December 21 to find their homeowners association (HOA) had suddenly locked them out of their own common space park.

Residents couldn’t remember a time when the gates to the park had ever been locked. No one had been hurt in the park. No accidents had occurred in the park recently, not even a close call, but for some reason the HOA suddenly decided to lock the park and keep everyone out, even homeowners, as though it was a crime scene or a grave emergency had just occurred. The HOA put up a sign saying the park would stay locked as long as there was ice on the pond. Yet long after the ice had melted, the locks remained, leading residents o wonder what was really up, and what they could do about it.

Learn more about the candidates running for Grand Junction City Council at this online event tomorrow @ 6:00 p.m.

Are you wondering who wants to call the shots on City Council? Are there candidates for City Council that draw red flags?

If you have an internet connection, you can attend this free online event to find out more about the candidates for Grand Junction City Counci. It’s tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Western Colorado Alliance of Mesa County, the Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce, Cleantech Business Coalition, and other community organizations.

The link to sign up and get the Zoom link for the forum is here. 

The election is April 6, 2021. There are also measures on the ballot to approve the sale of retail marijuana, and if it is approved, to tax those sales. The city’s portal for more information on the election is here.

Get involved, tune in, determine who the over-the-top extremist candidates are (because this is Grand Junction, and you know some of them are), and who the reasonable candidates are who deserve to serve on the next City Council.

 

Application by Cindy Ficklin to be D-51 Superintendent raises alarm

Cindy Ficklin (L), an applicant for the job of D-51 School Superintendent, flashes the hand signal of the “Three Percenters” militia while scuba diving in Hawaii. (Photo credit: Facebook). Right photo & caption are from Wikipedia. The Anti-Defamation League lists this gesture as a racist hand sign. [UPDATE 2/20/21]: We have since been informed that in the context of scuba diving, this symbol is used to say a diver is “OK.” That was likely the case in this scenario, although since Mesa County is largely a desert, very right wing politically, has numerous elected officials who have in fact advanced QAnon theories and Trump’s lies about the election, and since few people here scuba dive, many people interpreted this symbol in its political context rather than its scuba diving context.]

Grand Junction real estate agent Cindy Ficklin submitted an application February 10 to become District 51 Superintendent, raising alarm bells among people familiar with her extremist views.

Who is Cindy Ficklin?

Ficklin is a 40-something GOP firebrand known for her extremist right wing views and her outspoken manner.

In a red-meat speech she gave on July 4, 2020 to a mostly un-masked crowd at the “Stand for the Constitution Freedom Rally” in a local park, Ficklin railed against masking and contact tracing — the only tools available to control the Coronavirus. She said that “CDC guidelines for opening schools … are literally formed of human torture and child abuse,” and spread the false narrative that government was forcing vaccines on people. She railed against public health recommendations to “stay home to stay safe” and whipped up anger at community efforts to control the virus, saying “the new normal” we’re all living with is “an attempt to infringe on our civil rights.”

G.J. furniture repair business disses Biden supporters on its web page because “they are okay with stealing elections” and “killing babies”

Bruce Bertram, who owns The Chair Doctor, a Grand Junction furniture repair service, says on his website that he offers a lifetime warranty, he’s “open Sunday through Friday, about 9a to 6p. Closed Saturday. Phone 970-243-2929 for appointment,” and adds “Biden supporters not welcome.”

Bertram

When you click the link to find out more, you get the following rant:

Answer 19: Are Biden supporters really not welcome at your business?

Yes. Since Biden supporters are not supporters of the Constitution, we don’t support them. They want to censor anyone that disagrees with them so we censor them. They are okay with stealing elections, like killing babies, defend Burn Loot and Murder riots while lying about legitimate protests at the Capitol, promote communism/socialism/globalism, are trying to destroy our country, and are generally hateful, ignorant people (obviously, if you are a Biden supporter).

Grand Junction’s political landscape continues to trend more blue

A New York Times’ map of 2020 election results across the country shows more of our area trending blue than ever before.

A November, 2018 analysis of Mesa County’s political landscape found that based on the race for Governor, Mesa County was no longer a “hard-core red” county, and that our area was starting to trend bluer, towards Democrats. At that time, Grand Junction’s older downtown area had turned solidly blue, but was still surrounded by a sea of red, with few to no area races being competitive.

Getting bluer

An analysis of the 2020 election results shows the trend towards area voters leaning Democratic continuing, and accelerating.

Top 12 Coronavirus outbreaks in Grand Junction all traced to churches

Mesa County Public Health Department’s Feb. 5 list of Coronavirus outbreak sites

As predicted in this blog in early January, Grand Junction churches became super spreaders after they started holding in-person services again January 3rd.

Churches resumed holding indoor, in-person services and other activities after the state declared on December 7th, 2020 that churches are “critical services” and eliminated the cap on the number of people who could attend.

People started packing churches again in early January.

Backsliding

As of today, all twelve of the top outbreak sites on Mesa County Public Health Department’s Covid-19 outbreak list are churches. The daily case count reached into the triple digits again yesterday after weeks of two-digit number daily case counts.

Group files ethics complaint against Rep. Boebert’s exorbitant campaign mileage reimbursements

Lauren Boebert shown n December, 2019, carrying the same flag carried by many of the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021

The government watchdog group Accountable.us has filed a complaint (pdf) with the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an investigation into House Rep. Lauren Boebert’s exorbitant mileage reimbursements in 2020. Boebert claimed to have driven 36,868 miles in 2020, enough to circumnavigate the globe almost one and a half times, even though there were several months in which there were no posted public campaign events.

By contrast, her predecessor, former District 3 Congress member Scott Tipton,  reimbursed himself a total of $12,255 from his campaign coffers for travel over the entire decade he held the office.