Anne Landman

The Grand Junction Area Chamber’s long track record of harmful candidate endorsements

Longtime Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

Local candidates usually tout their endorsements by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, but the Chamber’s long track record of endorsing deeply flawed candidates shows that candidates should run from a Chamber endorsement as fast as they can, or at least politely decline it.

Observation of the Chamber’s endorsements going back a decade reveals that the Chamber does not evaluate candidates based on criteria like experience, background, education, knowledge or qualifications to hold office. Rather, the Chamber only considers a candidate’s political and religious ideology before endorsing them, and nothing more.

This extraordinarily narrow criteria has resulted in a flawed process that has proven detrimental to our community many, many times over.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is on a mission from God, says “It just didn’t make sense” that the people who won the last G.J. City Council election actually won

In a new video posted on the website of the “Truth and Liberty Coalition,” Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters alleges that the people who won seats on the Grand Junction City Council in the last election were “falsely elected” and that “people have been put into elected positions that really did not win the election.”

It is unclear exactly when the video was recorded, but estimates are it was within the last three days.

Peters was interviewed by televangelist Andrew Wommack, and appears with Sheronna Bishop, former campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. Several times in the video Peters indicates that God is on her side and is and directing her efforts to prove Mesa County elections are corrupt. She also says that she was “shocked” that certain people won the last Grand Junction City Council election because “It just didn’t make sense … that these people won.” She added that she was also motivated by an unnamed number of citizens who came to her saying “this is impossible” that the candidates who won in the City Council election had actually won.

D-51 School Board candidate Voter Guide for the 11/2/2021 election

NOTE: This article is longer than usual owing to the number of people running, the amount of information available on them and the need to put the practical meaning of Chamber endorsements in context so people can accurately grasp their significance. One photo in this article may be unsuitable for kids. Below is a brief summary of my vote recommendations for school board, if you don’t have time to read the whole article immediately:

Recommended Votes:

District C – Trish Mahre

District D – Nick Allan

District E – David Combs

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Following are summaries of the candidates running for District 51 School Board in the upcoming November 2 election. Sources of information included the candidates’ publicly available campaign and work websites, their campaign and personal social media, and other primary and authoritative online resources, including minutes of District 51 Board meetings and the website of Mesa County Libraries.

Cindy Ficklin’s application for Paul Pitton’s seat on D-51 School Board raises alarm

Cindy Ficklin, who is seeking a seat on the District 51 School Board, poses with a hand gun.

Cindy Paschal Ficklin, one of Mesa County’s most far right wing extremist political figures, is applying for Paul Pitton’s District B on the District 51 School Board.

Pitton announced he is resigning from the School Board because of the recent politicization of board meetings by extreme right wing activists, particularly members of “Stand for the Constitution,” the group that has been repeatedly pressuring the Mesa County Commissioners to declare the county a “Constitutional sanctuary,” where federal laws don’t apply.

Daily Sentinel & Mesa County Public Health Department appear to take steps to shield CMU from criticism

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and Mesa County Public Health Department appear to be shielding Colorado Mesa University from public criticism over its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic by minimizing and obscuring information about Covid outbreaks and how the school is handling cases.

Buried towards the end of an article in today’s Sentinel about Covid cases in area schools was a reference to a situation in which a CMU student who was sick with Covid-19 and quarantined in Piñon Hall failed to get any food delivered for two days. The paper referred to the situation as “one minor communications issue” and made it sound like the student was to blame, along with a single poster in the dorm.

Rep. Lauren Boebert wants government to take orders from the church

U.S. House Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, speaking at a conference held September 13 by the Truth and Liberty Coalition, cast Democrats as the  enemy and called on God to remove ungodly leaders in Washington, D.C. and instead “install righteous men and women of God” who understand that government should be taking orders from the church, and not the other way around. 

“It’s time the church speaks up. The church has relinquished too much authority to government. We should not be taking orders from the government; the government needs to be looking at the church and saying, ‘How do we do this effectively?”

Quarantined CMU student reports not getting food, help or medical attention

New CMU President John Marshall (Photo: Twitter, @MesaVeep)

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) students currently being quarantined in Piñon Hall after being exposed to Covid-19, or who are currently sick with Covid, are telling their parents there is no one stationed in the dorm to help them, and that the school is not providing them with medical attention or even food.

Colorado Public Radio (CPR) published an article September 9 titled, “To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate. At Colorado Mesa University, that was the conversation,” about CMU President John Marshall’s hands-off approach to controlling the Coronavirus pandemic. Currently CMU does not require students to be vaccinated against Covid-19, or to use face coverings, and does not allow instructors to enforce mask-wearing in classrooms — a recipe to spread the Coronavirus, especially with the more communicable Delta variant widespread in Mesa County, and where, according to the Mesa County Public Health Department, only 25-29% of people between the ages of 19 and 29 are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

CMU President John Marshall’s spin on the Israeli study matches TheGatewayPundit’s spin on the same study

The information CMU President John Marshall promoted in an email about an un-peer-reviewed Israeli study, and the key information that he left out, match that of the right wing conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com (Photo: Twitter @maverickprez)

On August 27, 2021, the conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com posted an article strongly promoting a “new study out of Israel” that touted natural immunity against Covid-19 over the immunity provided by vaccines. The Gateway Pundit article headline said people who have recovered from COVID-19 have more protection against the virus than people who’ve only been vaccinated. The study the website pointed to as the source of this information was the very same un-peer reviewed Israeli preprint on MedRxIv.org with a warning label that CMU President John Marshall pointed to as the basis for his August 30 “Campus Safety” email to staff promoting the protective value of natural immunity to Covid-19.

CMU President John Marshall cites unreliable preprint as a basis for the school’s weak Covid-19 response

New CMU President John Marshall has never published a single article in a peer-reviewed journal, and appears oblivious to the importance of the peer-review process in citing medical research as the basis for campus health policy. (Photo: Twitter, @MesaVeep)

New Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President John Marshall on August 30 cited a non-peer-reviewed study that bears a boldfaced warning label saying it might contain errors and be incorrect, as a basis for the school’s disturbingly weak mitigation plan against Covid-19 that is terrorizing staff.

The Agency of the Irresponsible

The following commentary on how Colorado Mesa University (CMU) is handling the coronavirus pandemic was written by CMU History Professor Sarah Swedberg, who is now experiencing CMU’s policies in person. This article was originally published on Nursing Clio, an open-access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog that ties historical scholarship to present-day issues related to gender and medicine. The article is reprinted here with full permission from Dr. Swedberg.

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Like many faculty at state universities, the beginning of this school year brings me more terror than excitement. Colorado Mesa University (CMU), the institution at which I have taught since 1999, will require neither masks nor vaccines for students, and faculty cannot enforce mask mandates in the classrooms. This flies in the face of best practices for public health. When I asked the reason for this policy, I was told that there were strong feelings on both sides.

“Strong feelings” is clearly code for the fact that CMU is in a politically conservative region where there is strong resistance to both vaccination and masks. These words remind us that public health measures have always been politicized. Because I teach about HIV and AIDS and because I was a young adult in the 1980s, it is that pandemic that is foremost in my mind as I try to negotiate my own and my students’ safety.

Secretary of State lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk also names Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley

Belinda Knisley is described in the SOS lawsuit as “absent and/or unable to perform her duties,” like Tina Peters

The text of the Secretary of State’s lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (pdf) essentially says Deputy Clerk and Recorder Belinda Knisley lied to State employees with Tina Peters’ knowledge when she told them a non-employee County Elections staff allowed to access voting equipment last May was a County employee, when in fact he was not, and had never been a County employee. Knisley, described in the suit as a “possible successor” to Tina Peters in the Elections Department, is specifically named as a Respondent in the suit in addition to Peters.

Secretary of State pursuing ethics complaint against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Trump supporter, election conspiracy theorist and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is under criminal investigation by three agencies for allegedly compromising voting equipment.

At least one ethics complaint submitted to the State of Colorado about Mesa County’s crazy Clerk Tina Peters is starting to bear fruit.

Luis Lipchak, the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Enforcement Manager, determined that a complaint by Mesa County resident Scott Bielfuss (pdf) alleging that Peters violated campaign finance laws has merit and their office has decided to pursue it.

Bielfuss alleged that Peters “flew up to Mr Pillows cybers-symposium on a private plane provided to her and is staying as a guest of the Pillow foundation in clear violation of accepting gift laws. Complainant [Bielfuss] alleges that by engaging in the aforementioned activities, Respondent [Peters] failed to report contributions or expenditures associated with said activities and accepted gifts over allowed amounts.”

CO SOS files suit to remove Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters as Designated Election Official

The Colorado Secretary of State filed a suit asking a judge to legally remove Tina Peters as Mesa County’s Designated Elections Official, saying she is unfit for the position.

Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) Jena Griswold filed a lawsuit today asking a judge to remove Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters as Designated Election Official (DEO) for the county. The suit asks for Wayne Williams to be appointed as the DEO and Sheila Reiner be appointed Director of Elections for Mesa County. Sheila will apparently replace Brandi Bantz, who was Director of Elections for Mesa County according to her LinkedIn page. Bantz was the fourth Director of Elections Peters hired during her tenure.

A press release said the SOS was acting quickly because time is short before the November elections. It also said that the  legal action “is necessary because although the Secretary of State’s Office can require supervision of a county clerk’s conduct, it cannot remove a sitting county clerk from acting as the Designated Election Official.” The suit asks a judge to remove Peters.

County Commissioners do about-face on pot with referred ballot measures

Mesa County may finally be recognizing that Colorado’s new cannabis economy has brought big benefits to towns and counties that have embraced it.

Item #8 on the Mesa County Commissioners’ agenda today is a proposal to refer a measure to the countywide ballot a measure that will give voters a choice to “override” a 2013 ordinance (pdf) that prohibited the cultivation, manufacture, testing and retail sales of cannabis in the unincorporated county, and instead ALLOW such activity.

Agenda Item #9 will refer a related measure to the ballot that would let the County charge an excise tax on the sale or transfer of “unprocessed retail marijuana.”

The measures represent a 180 degree turn from where the county was 8 years ago, and appears to be an effort to start grabbing some of the cash the cannabis industry has been generating throughout the state, that Mesa County has lost out on for so long.

Taxpayers pay increasing bills for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ loony behavior

Wayne Williams, via Wikipedia, photo By Jeffrey Beall – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72780852

Item #7 on the agenda at the Mesa County Commissioners’ meeting tomorrow (Monday, August 30) at 9:00a.m., is signing a contract, (pdf) drafted by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams himself, that will officially make Williams Mesa County’s Designated Election Official (“DEO”) for the November 2021 coordinated election for the County. The contract says Williams will get a salary of $180/hour, discounted from his normal rate of $400/hour, and Mesa County will pay any non-lawyer assistants Williams taps from his law firm for help at the rate of $50/hour. The County will also pay Williams’ travel expenses to and from his home in Colorado Springs.

There is no stated maximum expense Mesa County will incur from retaining Williams for this position. Rather, the contract states the expense can be unlimited:

“Any estimate of fees and costs that we may have discussed is only an estimate, and is not an agreement to a fixed or maximum fee. Accordingly, we have made no commitment concerning the maximum fees and costs that will be necessary to resolve or complete this matter.”

Mesa County Commissioners approve extended contract with Dominion Voting Systems

Commissioner Janet Rowland gives angry audience a dose of reality, and votes to do the right thing

Screen shot of Zoom of today’s meeting, with chat box, while County Commissioner Scott McInnis was speaking. He was wearing a pink shirt.

The Mesa County Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon to extend the County’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems so they could get new voting equipment for no up-front cost from Dominion. The Commissioners voted to maintain the County’s contract with the company until 2029, and agreed to make progressively higher payments to the company throughout that time. The County needed new voting equipment to replace the equipment decertified by the Colorado Secretary of State because Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was unable to prove the equipment had been kept secure and had not been compromised.

CMU to host another superspreader event on 8/27

As if holding one massive superspreader event to kick off Colorado Mesa University’s fall ’21 semester wasn’t enough of a public health threat to students and the community, in today’s Daily Sentinel, CMU is advertising another big event on August 27th to be held inside the Meyer Ballroom in the University Center that involves eating, dancing and drinking alcohol.

The ad does not mention any coronavirus precautions being used at the event, like proof of a negative Covid-19 test, proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or masks or physical distancing.

Have you seen this woman?

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters fled the state with My Pillow Guy and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, and is currently on the run from multiple criminal investigations into her alleged actions to compromise election security in Mesa County.