Category: Activism

Tractor Supply throws LGBTQ+ customers and investors under the bus

Tractor Supply Company, a farm, ranch and feed company which previously had touted its efforts at diversity and inclusion, did an about-face June 27 after it issued a press release saying it will stop sponsoring events like gay pride festivals and voter registration drives, stop submitting data to the Human Rights Campaign, eliminate its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) roles, “retire” its DEI goals and will “withdraw our carbon emission goals and focus on our land and water conservation efforts.”

The company says they “work hard every day” to “represent the values of the communities and customers we serve. We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them. We have taken this feedback to heart.”

Commissioners planning to close Mesa County Animal Services

The Mesa County Commissioners are quietly planning to close Mesa County Animal Services, according to an item on their public hearing agenda for Tuesday, July 2 at 9:00 a.m. (pdf). The meeting will be held at the old courthouse, 544 Rood Ave., second floor.

Word from volunteers at local animal shelters who are alarmed by the agenda item is that the Commissioners plan to close the Animal Services building in Whitewater and terminate all Animal Services employees except for four, who will move to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. They will no longer have a care facility for animals.

Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis (R), running for re-election this year, is among the commissioners planning to close Mesa County Animal Services

After closing Animal Services, the Commissioners then want to rebuild the agency from scratch.

The full agenda item reads:

“Consider approving the County Administrator’s ending current municipal contracts and exploring a Request For Proposal for animal shelter services, and authorize the County Administrator to sign letters to municipalities. (Matt Lewis, Justice Services Director)”

The item is under “Item(s) Needing Individual Consideration,” on page 2 of the agenda.(pdf)

Local animal shelter volunteers are asking people to attend this meeting or weigh in with the Commissioners to protest the closure, since it will put tremendous pressure on other animal shelters in the area that are already cash strapped to house and care for the area’s lost and homeless animals.

The public can attend the meeting in person or by Zoom, and can send an email to all of the commissioners at once at mcbocc@mesacounty.us.

Zoom Meeting Info:

Note that participants cannot comment on agenda items during the “Public Comment” portion of the agenda. That time is reserved only for items that are not on the agenda. You can comment on the agenda item at the time the it is heard and discussed by the commissioners, but public comments are limited to a maximum of three (3) minutes per speaker, unless otherwise further restricted by the Chair of the commission.

To attend and comment virtually, you’ll need to fist complete the “Public Hearing Participation Sign Up” form on the County’s website no later than 8:00 a.m. on the day of the meeting.

Zoom meeting link for the Tuesday, 7/2 meeting:

Meeting ID: 896 1946 4916

No passcode is given, so a passcode may not be necessary.

If you are attending the meeting by Zoom and want to submit a comment on the County Commissioners’ planned closure of Animal Services, you can send an email to all of the commissioners at once at mcbocc@mesacounty.us

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland (R), who lost her June 25th primary election bid to get a fourth term as commissioner

 

Mesa County Commissioner Bobbie Daniel (R), shown with indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

 

 

U.S. Surgeon General calls gun violence “an urgent public health crisis in America”

For the first time the U.S. Surgeon General of the United States has issued an urgent warning about gun violence in America, calling it a public health crisis.

Dr. Vivek Murthy says that in 2020, firearm‑related injuries became the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S., surpassing motor vehicle crashes, cancer, and drug overdose and poisoning.  He further says that almost 6 in 10 U.S. adults say that they worry “sometimes,” “almost every day,” or “every day,” about a loved one being a victim of firearm violence, and that such high levels of exposure to firearm violence for both children and adults in the U.S. “give rise to a cycle of trauma and fear within our communities, contributing to the nation’s mental health crisis.”

The Mesa County Public Health Department says “is it worth noting that Mesa County has one of the highest rates of gun deaths in Colorado and, per capita, even the United States.” There were 95 recorded deaths by firearms in Mesa County from 2020 to 2022.

People are living in fear in the U.S.

Nationwide, sales of bullet proof backpacks for children soar at the beginning of the school year. In 2019, the American Psychological Association reported that one third of U.S. adults say fear of mass shootings is keeping them from going to certain places and events, and it’s clear that the increase in public gun massacres is taking a toll on our collective mental health in America and affecting the way many people are living their daily lives. To understand why people fear the now massive prevalence of guns in the U.S., you need only look at this groundbreaking November, 2023 report by Washington Post on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in 2022.

Elected officials who feel the weight of this moral crisis of inaction on the issue of firearm violence in the U.S. and want to know what policies actually work to reduce firearm injuries and deaths, and which don’t, can access this report by the Rand Corporation, updated in 2023, that analyzes the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of a wide range of gun policies, and makes recommendations for the most effective policies to implement.

If you know of someone who possesses firearms and is posing a risk to themselves or others, you can access instructions on how to access Colorado’s Red Flag law in Mesa County here.

Trump “Jail Time” billboard goes live June 1, visible on Broadway bridge heading west towards Redlands

Graphic by MadDogPac.com and used with permission.

The above billboard goes live June 1 on the north side of the Broadway Bridge. You’ll see it as you’re heading west out of downtown towards the Redlands, and it couldn’t be more timely in light of Trump’s conviction yesterday on 34 criminal counts of business document fraud.

Since it’s a vinyl billboard and not a digital one, it will be visible 100% of the time and will even be lit up at night.

Yesterday Trump became the first former U.S. president in history to become a convicted felon.

Abortion access initiative makes it onto Colorado’s 2024 ballot

It’s official.

The initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the Colorado state Constitution will be on the ballot this November.

Since it seeks to amend the state constitution, it will need a vote of at least a 55% in favor to pass.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Election Office announced today that supporters of Initiative #89, the “Right to Abortion,” had submitted the required number of signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for Colorado’s statewide General Election ballot on November 5, 2024.

D-51 employee raises a red flag about the way D-51 conducts lockdown drills compared to other school districts

A highly experienced School District 51 employee who came here from the front range with over 20 years experience in conducting lockdown drills in other school districts is raising red flags about the way D-51 conducts its lockdown drills, and the trauma it is causing students. The employee describes a heartbreaking experience during a lockdown drill with a room full of kindergarteners during the 2023-2024 school year and the lasting  effects it had on students. The employee has brought the problem up with school counselors, the D-51 School Board and Tim Leon, Director of Safety and Security for District 51, and even proposed different ways to conduct these drills that are used in other school districts that don’t traumatize students the way D-51’s drills do, and offered research by the National Association of School Psychologists on how to mitigate the negative psychological effects that lockdown drills have on young kids, but the employee’s urgings have been ignored at every turn.

Colorado’s abortion rights ballot measure surpasses its signature goal, putting it one step closer to being on the 2024 November Ballot

Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom announced that it has surpassed their campaign’s goal of collecting 185,000 signatures to put Ballot Initiative 89 on the November, 2024 ballot, putting Colorado voters are one step closer to seeing a constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot that will protect abortion from government interference. The announcement comes just a few days after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld an 1864 law banning abortion, a law that was enacted when Arizona was still a territory and long before American women had the right to vote.

The campaign needs 124,238 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, including 2% of the total registered electors in each of Colorado’s 35 state senate districts. As of now, the coalition has collected over 225,000 signatures of which 48,175 were collected by over a thousand volunteers, and has qualified in all 35 state senate districts.

The text of proposed Initiative 89 says:

“A change to the Colorado constitution recognizing the right to abortion, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the state and local governments from denying, impeding, or discriminating against the exercise of that right, allowing abortion to be a covered service under health insurance plans for Colorado state and local government employees and enrollees in state and local governmental insurance programs.”

Jess Grennan, Campaign Director of Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom, said “The news of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban ultimately

Jess Grennan

exposed just how vulnerable every state is, and will remain, without passing legislation that constitutionally secures the right to abortion. Ballot measures like Proposition 89 are our first line of defense against government overreach and our best tool to protect the freedom to make personal, private healthcare decisions — a right that should never depend on the source of one’s health insurance or who is in office, because a right without access is a right in name only.”

Current law is discriminatory

Because of a 1984 constitutional measure that barely passed, public employees and people on public insurance in Colorado are barred from having their health insurance cover abortion care. By establishing abortion as a constitutional right, Ballot Initiative #89 would remove that discrimination, providing access to teachers, firefighters, and other state employees who cannot currently get coverage for abortion care through their insurance. Private employers in Colorado are required to cover abortion in their insurance plans.

“Recent events have made it even more critical that we in Colorado restore what the Dobbs decision took away from us and secure abortion rights in the Colorado Constitution,” said Cobalt President Karen Middleton, Co-Chair of Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom. “As a fundamental, shared value, Coloradans trust people and their doctors, not politicians, to make decisions about abortion. That value has been reinforced in 2024 with the overwhelming enthusiasm for our ballot measure, as demonstrated by thousands of volunteers in every corner of the state collecting signatures. And we firmly believe that this energy and enthusiasm will carry us through to winning in November.”

Karen Middleton

“Abortion is legal in Colorado, but still not accessible for all pregnant people who need these services. Abortion may be legal in Colorado, and that’s due to our leadership passing the Reproductive Health Equity Act in 2022 to codify a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive health-care decisions, but statutory protections do not mean we are any safer from government interference than Arizona is,” said Dusti Gurule, President and CEO of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) and Campaign Co-Chair. “This is why our community is fighting to enshrine abortion rights in the Colorado state constitution, along with the more than 225,000 Coloradans who have signed on to support this measure. Crossing the signature threshold is a critical step forward in securing a future where abortion rights are protected, respected, and accessible for all Coloradans, regardless of which elected or appointed official is in power.”

Dusti Gurule

 

Help keep Colorado a free state

Get up, get out and sign the petition to preserve reproductive freedom in Colorado! If you can’t get out, petition circulators will come to you. Get trained as a circulator at the office of Mesa County Democrats and get your friends, family and neighbors to sign! Do it soon. The deadline for signature gathering is the middle of next month.

Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom (CPRF) made an appearance last weekend in Grand Junction to boost the signature-gathering effort to get Initiative 89 on the ballot, the measure that would amend the state constitution to protect abortion from government interference.

Restore the Balance is bringing Cassidy Hutchinson to Grand Junction

The promotional poster for Cassidy Hutchinson’s appearance in Grand Junction. RTB will have more details on this event as the time draws closer.

Cassidy Hutchinson is a former White House aide who served as assistant to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the Trump administration.

Hutchinson testified at the June 28, 2022 public hearings of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, providing testimony on President Donald Trump’s conduct and that of his senior aides and political allies before and during the January 6 United States Capitol attack. As a Trump administration member and direct eye witness to the events that unfolded that day, Hutchinson’s testimony received significant national attention, with several media outlets calling it “compelling” and “explosive.”

Turn out to help save the much-loved Orchard Mesa Pool at two important meetings this month

Citizens attend a meeting on 3/13 to discuss how to save the much loved and needed Orchard Mesa Pool.

The Save the Orchard Mesa Pool Committee asks everyone who wants to save the OM pool from destruction to mark their calendars and attend the next city council meetings about the pool, and wear blue to help show solidarity for saving the pool:

The next meeting is March Monday, 18th at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown fire station at 625 Ute Ave., right by the Grand Junction Police station. This is a listen-only meeting, but the Orchard Mesa community needs to show a big presence. All you need to do is show up and wear blue!

Then after that, on Wednesday, March 20 at Grand Junction City Hall, 250 N. 5th Street, at 5:30 p.m. The Committee needs a HUGE CROWD to attend this meeting because City Council may be voting on the fate of the pool at this meeting. The public can weigh in at this meeting.

United Way to host Poverty Immersion Experience to increase understanding of what life is like for people living in poverty in Mesa County


The Poverty Immersion Experience allows participants to spend a simulated month in the life of an individual who is experiencing poverty in Mesa County. It is an interactive event that promotes awareness of poverty in Mesa County, increases understanding of people facing poverty situations and that will inspire local change. The intent is to shift the belief and paradigm about poverty from being seen as a personal failure or character flaw to the understanding that poverty is a systemic and societal issue.

The experience offers a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of a low-income family, navigating life with limited resources, while providing for their children and accessing essential community services.

The Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool is barely afloat

Orchard Mesa Pool

Guest blog post by Mariann Taigman, co-founder of the Save the Pool Committee, and Nick Allan of Orchard Mesa United

Three different agencies—the school district, the city, and the county—are involved in managing the Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool (OMCCP).

Prior to 2020, a Pool Board was created that was comprised of one official from each of these entities to discuss the pool at joint meetings. In 2020, the pool board convened to discuss the pool’s future, including the possibility of demolition, marking the last “official” meeting of the Pool Board before it dissolved. In response, the Save The Pool Committee emerged as a grassroots effort, championed by concerned community

Kids and adults enjoying the OM Pool

members passionate about keeping the OMCCP operational.  During that final Pool Board meeting, the Save The Pool Committee presented proof to the three entities that the community wanted the pool to remain open.  Our efforts included: obtaining 7,000 online petition signatures and 1,000 paper signatures; collecting over 70 letters from school children; encouraged community engagement by distributing flyers as to the fate of the OMCCP, and having groups of community members speak at city council meetings.

Rally for the Grand Junction Post Office Monday, Feb. 19, & find out more about changes proposed to mail service

The drive-up mail boxes at the postal sorting annex at 602 Burkey Street, off Patterson and 25 1/2 Road

Local postal employees are inviting members of the community to join them at a rally tomorrow, Monday, February 19, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Grand Junction Mail Processing Facility at 602 Burkey Street to hear about changes being proposed to local postal services in Grand Junction and show support for keeping mail operations in town.

In January, Grand Junction postal employees warned of changes being proposed that could further slow mail delivery and eliminate postal jobs in Grand Junction.

The national Post Office is considering moving the sorting of local mail to Denver. This means local mail would be collected, put on trucks, driven to Denver, sorted at a processing facility in Denver, then put back on trucks and driven back to Grand Junction for delivery. With I-70 being closed more often due to inclement weather, accidents, rockslides, mudslides and other calamities, this could cause further unexpected and unpredictable delays in mail delivery in Grand Junction.

The change could also eliminate anywhere from 12-20 jobs at postal facilities in Grand Junction.

Local Postal workers warn of changes coming that will further slow mail delivery

A brand new sorting machine lies in a dumpster at the Postal Sorting Annex on Patterson Rd. and Burkey St. on August 24, 2020. Employees said it was ordered dismantled and disposed of by Postmaster Louis DeJoy, who has been carrying out changes that are leaving the U.S. Postal Service in disarray

Local Postal Service workers shared a memo distributed to employees at the Burkey Street Sorting Facility on January 10 that warns changes are likely coming to the Burkey Street facility that will threaten jobs and further slow mail delivery by moving mail processing and distributing (PD&C) out of these facilities to Denver.

The 6 page memo, called a “Stand Up Talk” (pdf), warns of an impending facility review that will likely lead to consolidation of plant operations here in Grand Junction and the relocation of parcel operations from here to Denver. It indicates Trump-appointed Postmaster Louis DeJoy will likely take steps that will further erode mail service in Grand Junction and mountain towns. A veteran postal worker said the plan “will definitely slow down mail processing and probably cost some jobs in our areas,” adding that “They seem to cut service then lower their standards so it looks like they are ‘fixing things’.”