Category: Diversity

Shadowy Chamber “social welfare” group funds billboard thanking racially tone-deaf members of G.J. City Council “for their service”

The Chamber and WCBA’s billboard thanking the most tone-deaf city council members when it comes to racism in Grand Junction

The little-known, seedy political arm of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, the Western Colorado Business Alliance (WCBA), has appeared again in Grand Junction, this time funding a billboard praising four sitting Grand Junction City Council members who recently earned the reputation for being the most tone-deaf when it comes to racism: Philip Pe’a, Duke Wortmann, Phyllis Norris and Kraig Andrews.

Pe’a was the councilman who was so threatened by what he claimed was the presence of G.J. Police Department’s “swat team” at the June 3 Council meeting that he proclaimed he thought he might need to bring his Glock handgun into the meeting. That was the meeting that was attended by a crowd of City residents who showed up to protest pervasive racism they had seen or experienced in Grand Junction, or to support friends who had experienced it.

Grand Junction’s Police Chief later confirmed there were no SWAT team members at the meeting that day.

Winter solstice billboard graces entry to town, thanks to Grand Junction’s growing secular community

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) is running it’s annual wintertime billboard celebrating the solstice on the digital billboard facing west on I-70 Business Loop in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A at Rimrock Marketplace. At a recent meeting, WCAF members estimated that approximately 15-20% of western Colorado residents are non-religious and identify as atheists, agnostics, humanists or freethinkers.

New scholarship established for western Colorado LGBTQ+ students

Jeff Basinger, July 8, 1953 – May 6, 2018

Western Colorado’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender + (LGBTQ+) students have a new scholarship fund to boost their higher education aspirations, thanks to the thoughtful people who formed the Basinger Leadership Scholarship Committee. The Jeffrey Alan Basinger Leadership Scholarship was established to recognize beloved local resident Jeff Basinger, who died in May of 2018. Jeff was a strong advocate for western Colorado residents living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ+ community through decades of working with various community organizations, and as a volunteer. Jeff worked on the “Vote No on Amendment 2” campaign in 1992 and was a founding member of the Common Decency Coalition, which later became Western Equality. He belonged to the Grand Junction Downtown Association and other community organizations, had a deep working historical knowledge of the Grand Junction area, and a long and successful career working with the Western Colorado AIDS Project (WestCAP).

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers’ 2019 Student Essay Contest is ON, and the prizes are terrific.

Kids: want to make some easy money?

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), is announcing its 2019 Student Essay Contest. The winning high school student gets $500 and the winning middle school student gets $250, and all this just for writing a short but insightful essay.

This year WCAF invites students from Delta County middle and high schools to participate, as well as all middle and high school students from Mesa County. Students in DeBeque, Plateau Valley and Gateway are all eligible to enter, as long as they are in middle or high school range.

Grand Junction mosque’s new sign vandalized

Two Rivers Mosque’s new sign after vandalism

On August 31, the Islamic Center of Grand Junction unveiled a colorful new sign installed in front of its new Two Rivers Mosque at 8th and Gunnison Ave. and held a community barbecue to celebrate. About 50 people attended the barbecue, and it was an afternoon of peace, friendship and great food.

Not three weeks later, the sign was vandalized beyond all recognition.

Thousands attend Pride Parade 2019 in downtown Grand Junction

 

It was all about love and acceptance for the crowds lining Main Street for downtown Grand Junction’s annual Pride Parade on Saturday, June 23, the biggest and best yet, with thousands of people attending. The weather was clear, sunny and a perfect 75 degrees. The parade route went from First and Main and Streets east along main to 6th Street.

Attendees cheered 23 floats, including entries from the First Congregational Church, the American Lutheran Church and the Grand Valley Interfaith Network. Residents of Delta had a float in this year’s parade, as did a Cosplay group, and a group called Coffee and Civic Action (CACA) that meets Thursday mornings at Main Street Bagels to write to elected representatives and advance progressive causes. The costumes were exotic and spectacular and rainbows were everywhere.

Lessons from past G.J. City Council elections

Rick Brainard, one of the best-funded candidates who ever ran for Grand Junction City Council, was backed to the bitter end by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Old Guard Republican Establishment

Were you around for the 2013 City of Grand Junction election?

If not, then you really missed a doozy.

That was a year in which Grand Junction residents learned some big, important lessons about city council elections.

Here is one of them:

The best-funded candidates for city council are often the  WORST people to sit on city council.

Grand Junction may soon lose its only secular hospital

A previous blog discussed why Mesa County residents should be glad to have an alternative to a Catholic hospital in the valley and why it is so important to people’s health to have a secular hospital option available for medical care. But our valley’s one non-religious hospital option may disappear, and soon.

In October 2018, Community Hospital and Centura Health Network signed a letter of intent to merge. It provided each party with a 120 day-long window to evaluate the deal and decide whether or not to go ahead and finalize it.

Those 120 days are almost up, and a final decision on the merger must be made by February 10th.

Annual Grand Junction Women’s March draws huge crowds again

The third annual Women’s March in Grand Junction on Saturday, January 19th, drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 2,000 liberal and progressive western slope residents who came out to support women’s rights, equality for women and gay, lesbian and transgender people, people of color and immigrant communities.

Atheist billboard graces entrance to Grand Junction for Christmas

WCAF’s 2018 winter billboard in Grand Junction, up now in front of Hobby Lobby on I-70 business loop (on the board facing west).

The non-profit group Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a digital billboard up on I-70 Business Loop in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A for Christmas that says “Make Christmas great again. Skip church!”

The sign is a reminder that the holiday focus should be more on kindness, humanity and ethical treatment of others than on organized religion, which has been proving problematic lately, and to a horrific degree.

FREE Progressive Family Picnic Sept. 1 features gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis

Be a proud if you support forward-looking, consumer-friendly and environment-friendly polices!

Attend a FREE political event to celebrate the increasing power of liberals and progressives on the western slope! Come to the Progressive Family Picnic on Saturday, September 1 at the Watson Island Amphitheater from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The event is 100% free, no admission, open to all. It celebrates workers and families, so pack a picnic, and bring your family! Come enjoy the grassy amphitheater behind the Botanical Gardens beside the Colorado River at the end of 7th Street in downtown Grand Junction. There will be free live music and even parking is free. The event is sponsored by Claudette Konola and Kennedy for Colorado.  Chris Kennedy, who is running for State Senate District 7 against Ray Scott, will be there and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Jared Polis will be there to share his bold ideas for the future and meet western slopers in person.

Tell your friends you’ll meet them there! There’s room for 1,000 people!

Grand Valley Business Times repels Democratic business owners

Placard proposed to be displayed by businesses that advertise in the Business Times.

The Grand Valley Business Times (GVBT) has long been a source of business news in Mesa County, usually focusing on helpful items like what new businesses are moving in, the newest  soups at Zoup, and which authors will be appearing at the downtown bookstores. In his latest issue, though, the paper’s owner, Craig Hall, used his editorial column to denigrate and insult Democratic and progressive business owners in the valley, and criticize women who seek to control their own reproductive destiny.

Celebrate the National Day of Reason Thursday, May 3, 2018

The first Thursday in May of every year is the National Day of Reason, a celebration that coincides with the National Day of Prayer, which encourages Americans to pray to God for peace and prosperity for the nation. A big problem with the National Day of Prayer, though, is that it excludes almost a quarter of the U.S. population that doesn’t belong to any religion or doesn’t believe in God. That’s a whole lot of people to leave out of a national celebration.

Atheist billboard graces entrance to Grand Junction at Easter, 2018

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a new digital billboard up in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A at Rimrock Marketplace on I-70 B just in time for Easter. It shows a child with a shocked look on his face holding a book that looks very much like a Bible. It says “Belief without proof is gullibility.” You can see the board as you are heading west on I-70 B.

WCAF wanted their spring billboard to have an educational component this year. The group wanted to emphasize that people deserve proof before believing what they’re told. They also want to urge people to come to logical conclusions based on verifiable facts rather than on lore, mythology or pure faith.

WCAF’s mission is to educate the public about atheism, promote acceptance of atheism as a rational belief system and preserve and promote the wall of separation between church and state.

The board is up through Tuesday, April 4. WCAF says anyone who takes their photo with the billboard and posts it on WCAF’s Facebook page will get a free package of M&Ms.  To donate to more billboards like this, go to WCAF’s Donation page.

Grand Junction City Council has an opportunity to end divisive religious invocations at public meetings. Let’s hope they do.

The Devil is among the many diverse religious players who are likely to get more chances to say invocations at City Council meetings, unless the invocation is eliminated entirely or the invocation policy is changed changed to a moment of silence instead of prayers.

Grand Junction City Council plans to re-assess the issue of hosting religious invocations at public meetings at their Monday, March 5 workshop.

Grand Junction made history in 2017 as the first city in Colorado host a Satanic invocation at a City Council meeting. News of the event spread across the country, and the story even made it onto Russia Today’s news website, RT.
How could something like this happen?
Under pressure from the City’s secular community to abide by the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, in 2008 the City of Grand Junction adopted an invocation policy that opened up the invocation to anyone, instead of reserving the opportunity to say it only to representatives of a few selected religious groups. Over the last ten years, the new policy has resulted in the City making history  with invocations given by atheists, Satanists and anarchists.
But the most prominent non-Christian invocation — a Satanic invocation last August, and all the hoopla that surrounded it — TV news cameras, prayer circles at City Hall and Bible-toting people in the audience — seems to have made Council interested in revising their invocation policy.

City Council endorses protections and path to citizenship for DACA recipients. G.J. citizens react.

On January 17, 2018, the Grand Junction City Council sent an official letter (above) to Senators Cory Gardner, Michael Bennet and House Representative Scott Tipton urging the House and Senate to pass “a clean bill as soon as possible to prevent the end of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] in March.”

Republican and “Deplorable” G.J. City Council member Duncan McArthur voted against the letter supporting young DACA recipients in our community

The letter was signed by Mayor J. Merrick (“Rick”) Taggart. City Council approved it on a 5-2 vote. Councilmembers Duncan McArthur and Barbara Traylor-Smith voted against it.

It doesn’t take, “like, a genius” to understand there is nothing adorable about being a “Deplorable”

 

Many ardent Trump supporters happily call themselves “deplorable,” making fun of a point Hillary Clinton tried to make during her 2016 campaign that many Trump supporters are racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic.

Members of Trump’s “Deplorable” contingents across the country, including those locally, typically deny they are any of these things, yet the Facebook pages of “Deplorables” groups (Trump supporters across the country who have personally labeled themselves “Deplorables”) do in fact reveal a strong component of sexist, racist, xenophobic and homophobic thought runs within these groups.

CMU 20000 Steering Committee asks City Council to reconsider changing name of North Ave. to “University Blvd.”

The CMU 20000 Steering Committee has formally asked the Grand Junction City Council to reconsider it’s decision to change the name of North Avenue to “University Boulevard,” saying the matter has “become an inadvertent distraction” from the overall goals of the CMU 20000 effort. The steering committee sent a letter to City Council on October 13 asking them to reverse their decision, and City Council has added the item to the agenda for it’s next meeting.