Anne Landman

Shooters Grill logo up for auction by group trying to oust Boebert

UP FOR AUCTION – Shooters Grill trademark, now owned by Rural Colorado United and up for auction on Open Sea until May 14.

A Colorado-based organization working to oust CD-3 House Rep. Lauren Boebert from Congress, Rural Colorado United (RCU), has managed to purchase the trademark for Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, the restaurant owned by Boebert and her husband, and are auctioning it off to the highest bidder on an online marketplace for digital works.

The situation came about after Toby Morton, a comedy writer for the animated series South Park, created a parody website about Rep. Boebert, TheLaurenBoebert.com, using the same photo Boebert has on the home page of her actual government website.

Threatening a gripe site is never a good idea

After Boebert discovered the parody, she had her press secretary email Morton and say the site “needs to be taken down since all the photos on here are copyrighted Property of the U.S. Federal Government.” The message further claimed that “use of the photos is unauthorized and illegal,” and ordered Morton to take [the parody site] down “immediately or face further action.”

The problem is, most government creative works, like images and photos, are copyright-free and in the public domain, and members of the public are free to use them without permission.

Expired trademarks

Meanwhile, last February, while researching Boebert’s seven LLCs, the group Rural Colorado United, which is trying to prevent Boebert from winning a second term in Congress, discovered that Boebert had failed to file the necessary documents to renew trademarks she owned for both “Shooters Grill” and “Shooters Gear,” the mark under which she sells Grill-themed items including hats, T-shirts, mugs and other swag. RCU then purchased the rights to both trademarks and held onto them while trying to figure out what to do with them. As owner of the trademarks, RCU could potentially use them to sell their own products. (People on Twitter suggested toilet paper or enemas.) RCU could also sue Boebert for continuing to use it for her restaurant and merchandise. Shooters Grill could also go online and buy back the trademarks, with the money going to support Rural Colorado United.

Boebert’s photo, from her Congressional web page

Logos up for sale

But when RCU saw that Boebert had threatened Morton over his parody website, they decided to put the trademarks up for sale on Open Sea, a website that auctions “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs), or unique digital items, like art, music, video game characters. NFTs are usually sold for cryptocurrency.

RCU says there are a lot of people out there more creative than they are, and “we sure don’t want to let this opportunity go to waste.”

The auction ends on May 14 at 12:00 noon.

Colorado Mesa University Trustees anoint John Marshall as next President

New CMU President John Marshall. Many in the community considered his appointment  a foregone conclusion.

Colorado Mesa University’s Board of Trustees today appointed John Marshall as the next president of CMU.

Marshall, who formerly worked as a Republican political operative, was hired at CMU in 2007 by Tim Foster as “Development Director,”  a job that at the time paid $100,000/year with no experience in academia. He was widely considered one of Tim Foster’s many Republican crony hires at CMU.

One student called the appointment “Cronyism at its finest” saying “I’m sure this was decided before Foster even stepped down…and the ‘search’ was, well, just a farce.”

In the August 21, 2006 Denver Post, Marshall publicly disparaged progressive Coloradans, calling them “pampered, bed-wetting liberals” and adding “No one cares what they say about anything.” CMU people have related several anecdotes where they observed Marshall being dismissive of incidents of homophobia involving students on and off campus.

Concerns arise over CMU Presidential candidate Mirta Martin

Dr. Mirta Martin (2016)

Some faculty members at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) are raising red flags about CMU presidential candidate Dr. Mirta Martin.

The concerns stem in part from controversies arising during Dr. Martin’s tenure as President of Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Kansas.

The Kansas Board of Regents hired Dr. Martin as FHSU University President on May 2, 2014. She resigned abruptly on November, 23, 2016.

Concerns about Dr. Martin’s management of the University were described in a November 11, 2016 article posted by Tiger Media Network (TMN), Fort Hays University’s “convergent media hub.” The article,  “Tempers Flare at Faculty Senate Meeting,” gives a detailed account of a contentious FHSU Faculty Senate meeting held on November 1, 2016 about then-FHSU President Martin, who is now one of three finalists being considered by the CMU Board of Trustees for president of CMU.

Shoe-throwing and other ‘unprofessional behavior’

A history of Republican cronyism at Colorado Mesa University

CMU President Tim Foster

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster has long used CMU to create high-paying jobs for Republican friends who either lost elections, were term-limited out of office or simply had no other place to go. His use of CMU for patronage appointments for exclusively Republican pals is so notorious that in 2007 Leslie Robinson, a writer for the Colorado Independent, dubbed the school “Mesa Republican College.”

The financial misuse of a taxpayer-funded institution by a person in position of power to benefit friends and acquaintances is called “cronyism” Its formal definition is “the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.” People often confuse cronyism with nepotism, which is when a powerful person appoints family members to positions of authority without regard to their qualifications.

What’s wrong with cronyism?

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.

Did Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland water down the County Attorney job description to allow her to hire her pal Rose?

Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese was licensed to practice law in 2007.

That’s 13 years ago, and she spent 8 of of those years as Mesa County Commissioner. During her five years as a private practice attorney, Rose Pugliese messed up enough to have a malpractice lawsuit filed against her for giving bad advice. That case went to court and Mesa County District Judge David Bottger ruled that Pugliese did indeed give her clients wrong advice, and proceeded to invalidate a settlement agreement Pugliese had written for her clients based on the bad advice.

We don’t know what else Pugliese did while she was in private practice, but we do know that she has never worked for any local government as an attorney before.

Yet with NO experience as a local government attorney, and short and questionable experience as a private attorney, somehow Rose Pugliese is on a magical trajectory to become the new Mesa County Attorney, overseeing a department of 18 people, and replacing someone with 33 years experience as a local government attorney, six of those as the Mesa County Attorney, six years of outstanding job reviews, and under whom no scandals or improprieties whatsoever occurred in his department all that time.

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.”