Category: Economics

Mesa County Board of Public Health Chair Stephen D. Daniels owes the state over $10,000 in unpaid taxes

A court issued a distraint warrant against the property of Stephen D. Daniels in Eagle County on 12/28/10 for unpaid property taxes in the amount of $10,200.19. As of January 3, 2024, the judgment is still listed as “UNSATISFIED”

Update: As of February 1, 2024, the debt is still listed as “Unsatisfied,” and appears to date back to the filing period of 12/21/2003.

Stephen D. Daniels, Chair of Mesa County’s new and supposedly more financially responsible Board of Public Health, has owed the State of Colorado $10,200 in unpaid income taxes since at least 2010. Court records accessed on 1/3/2024 currently list the debt as “UNSATISFIED.”

In 2010, the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) filed a lawsuit against Daniels for $10,200.19 in unpaid taxes (Case No. 2010CV800822). On December 28, 2010, an Eagle County Court entered a judgment against Daniels for the amount and then issued a distraint warrant against Daniels’ property. After the judgment and warrant were filed with the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder, the warrant became a lien on all of the real estate Daniels owns in Eagle County.

Daniels apparently has ignored the judgment, debt and warrant for over 13 years.

District 51 quietly working on plan that involves firing over 50 teachers in Fruita

Fruita 8/9 School, August 2022 (Photo: Facebook)

AnneLandmanBlog received the following communication this morning titled “A Huge Concern,” from a D-51 teacher who wants to get word out about the School District quietly moving forward with a plan to fire over 50 Fruita-area teachers, many of whom have over 20 years of experience:

Why are the Mesa County Commissioners sending taxpayer money out of town?

The Commissioners used a roofing company in Keenesburg, Colorado to replace the roof on the Old County Courthouse on Rood Ave., instead of a company located in Mesa County

The Mesa County Commissioners recently had the roof replaced on the Old Courthouse at 544 Rood Ave.

They gave the job to Better Line Roofing, LLC in Keenesburg, Colorado, 279 miles from here, instead of a local roofing company.

Instructor salaries at CMU remarkably low compared to state and nation

Classified ad placed by Colorado Mesa University in the 11/12/23 issue of the Daily Sentinel for a tenure-track assistant professor of nursing

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) has been advertising for a tenure-track assistant nursing professor for its Montrose campus.

The position requires teaching 12 course credit hours each semester, or 24 credits over an academic year, which is considered a standard, full-time teaching load. Applicants must also have a current RN license, plus a minimum of two years of full time professional clinical experience and a graduate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school of nursing, with a Ph.D. preferred, as well as other requirements.

But the pay is only $55,000 – 60,000 a year.

Mesa County Commissioners avoid getting bids for $49k forensic Health Dept. audit & Dufford, Waldek law firm contract

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland failed to get 3 bids for multi-thousand dollar contracts

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland has cited the awarding of contracts without first getting competitive bids as reason enough to fire Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Jeff Kuhr:
According to an article in the 6/14/23 issue of the Daily Sentinel, titled “More turmoil on the Public Health Board,”
“At the June 5 public health meeting, [Mesa County Attorney Todd] Starr presented a largely one-sided view of a partial audit done earlier this year on the department, some of which said Kuhr hired contractors without going through a competitive bid process…” [Italicized emphasis added.] Rowland complained that awarding sole source contracts without first getting bids or going through review by County finance departments “puts the County at high risk because [the contracts don’t] go through a legal, risk or finance review.”
But she and the other Commissioners award high-dollar contracts without first getting competitive bids where such bids and oversight are merited, according to County policy.

Mesa County Commissioners working to seize control of Mesa County Board of Public Health

MCPHD Director Jeff Kuhr, Ph.D. won plaudits for helping Mesa County get through the Covid-19 pandemic

Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr has been under attack by the Mesa County Commissioners, who for some reason have been working for months to generate credible reasons to fire him. Commissioner Janet Rowland in particular has targeted Kuhr, accusing him of financial impropriety and grievous errors in MCPHD’s procurement processes. The Commissioners have ordered the Mesa County Board of Public Health to fire Kuhr, but they refused, saying there is no actual evidence that he’s intentionally done anything wrong. Not only that, but the State of Colorado rates MCPHD as having the lowest possible financial risk (pdf) in its compliance with federal and state contracts, making it clear that the state trusts MCPHD, but our right wing commissioners don’t. (This financial risk rating is done every three years, but the state skipped it during the pandemic. The MCPHD is currently undergoing this analysis again.)

Red Rock Kia charging customers more for paying cash

You used to get a better deal if you could pay cash. At Red Rock dealerships, it’s now the opposite.

Red Rock Kia is advertising a 2018 Nissan Murano on Facebook Marketplace with two different prices: one if a customer finances the car, and another almost $900 higher for customers who  pay cash.

The ad points to the financed price, and crows “Saves money!”

Come on, Red Rock. We’re not idiots.

Any form of financing will cost a buyer far more than they can ever save on this deal.

Even under the best circumstances, for example a customer who finances $27,000, has an excellent credit score and a 48 month loan at a 5% interest rate, after adding taxes and fees to the deal, the interest on that loan will cost at least $3,350.

Small potatoes compared to the what Red Rock wants to charge people who pay cash.

It’s legal for them to do this. After all, they’re telling you about it right up front, as they should

But that also gives people the ability to vote with their feet by patronizing businesses that don’t discriminate against customers based on form of payment.

Red Rock Auto Group’s greedwashing campaign

Red Rock got this free media from the Daily Sentinel on January 19, 2023, with this photo of their donation to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Red Rock also got Joy Thompson of CASA to say “We love Red Rock” on a January 19, 2023 local KREX-TV news segment about the donation.

After a company has been outed as over-the-top greedy, there’s nothing left for it to do but make conspicuous donations to local charities to score public relations points and blow smoke to make people forget about how their business has harmed the community in the long term.

That’s likely why, near the end of 2022, after all the unseemly tactics Red Rock Auto dealerships had been using on customers to fleece them out of thousands of dollars over the last 7 years were exposed, Red Rock suddenly started ramping up its donations to local charities and promoting their donations in ads on TV and through free media given to them by local TV stations and newspapers.

A company that ingratiates itself to reputable charitable causes as a way to distract from its immoral acts is engaging in a form of “greedwashing,” a term developed during the taxpayer-funded federal bailouts of the big banks during the economic crash of 2008-2009:

Local Business owner weighs in on rec center, affordable housing, the workforce, development

Octopus Coffee on Horizon Drive

Alexis Bauer owns Octopus Coffee on Horizon Drive. Last week she emailed me to talk about the proposed community recreation center on the upcoming April ballot. (We differed on what we think about it. I am for it). As we got into a longer conversation, Alexis sent a follow-up email in which she offered a variety of  insights from her standpoint as a western slope resident and local business owner. She talked not only about the Rec Center, but also other issues facing Grand Junction, like the housing shortage, the cost of doing business, her experience with the local workforce, City Council’s recent approval of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and what it portends for the City, the buzz she hears from customers, and more.

I found Alexis’s insights interesting and felt they deserved a wider forum, so with her permission I am sharing her email to me below, edited slightly for clarity, in hopes others find it enlightening as well.

Why does Red Rock go to such lengths to push “Portfolio” extended warranties?

A common theme running through customer complaints about Red Rock dealerships is that they discovered thousands of dollars in extended warranties added to their contracts without the dealership telling them about it, and they spotted these extra charges only after their signatures had been affixed to their contracts electronically. Customers repeatedly say they did not want these warranties and never agreed to them, only to find they had been added to their contracts anyway when they finally saw their paperwork. Once saddled with them, the customers had to go through the ordeal of trying to cancel them quickly, because the warranties are only fully refundable within 60 days after purchase.

Red Rock starts getting the message, unwinds deal for strapped couple & gives out personal cell phone numbers of local partners for people to call if they’ve been wronged

Red Rock Nissan at 2582 Highway 6 & 50 in Grand Junction

The Red Rock Auto Group seems to be starting to get the message about the financial hardship they’ve been causing people by defrauding customers and carrying out business in bad faith.

This week Red Rock Nissan went out of their way to help “the Andersons” (not their real name), a struggling young couple with three kids, two of whom are special needs kids, who were recently featured in this blog as an example of the kind of bad deals people were unknowingly getting into at these dealerships.

Local family unknowingly gets into deep financial trouble after patronizing Red Rock Nissan

Lyn M. says this screen shot “is all we know about the loan” she and her husband got from Red Rock Nissan in Grand Junction. They went to Red Rock to buy a car advertised on the dealership’s website at $17,000. Without knowing it, they came out with a loan for $30,000 at an interest rate of 12.49%, far above what they could afford.

Lyn Anderson and her husband Jim (not their real names) thought they should trade in their older Ford pickup and get a slightly newer, more family-friendly vehicle, so they went online to see what was available locally.

Little did they know what they were getting themselves into.

On internet TV show, Steve Bannon pledges less than a cent and a half to Tina Peters’ legal defense fund

Tina on Steve Bannon’s internet TV show “War Room” on Dec. 31, 2021

On December 31, 2021, Steve Bannon lionized Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on his internet TV show “Bannon’s War Room,” in an interview titled “The Deplorables-Gold Star Mom Tina Peters Who Sounded The Alarm On Election Fraud.”

Bannon let Peters spew the usual string of rants we’re all familiar with by now: how terribly she’s been harassed, how “they’re attacking regular Americans,” how they “fired her elections manager with no due process, nothing” and how they so horribly removed her chief deputy in August on “trumped-up charges.”

A minute and a half into the 7-minute interview, Bannon starts trying to play Tina off with increasingly loud bagpipe music, he lets her mechanically drone one for another minute or so. Tina continues… “They booked my chief deputy on a class 4 felony just for coming to work” and “they had a battering ram in the driveway” that she now admits “they didn’t use.”

Bannon cuts her off roughly 30 seconds later to go for a break.

7th Street Deli threatened with eviction

You’ve seen it…you drive by it all the time. After 15 years in this location, the much-loved 7th Street Deli, a woman-owned and operated family business that makes home-made food, has been threatened with eviction.

The 7th Street Deli just south of St. Mary’s Hospital may soon be forced to close its doors.

The restaurant has been there for 15 years, and has been owned and operated by Debbie Allen and her daughter for the last 8 years. It is woman-owned business and the only restaurant close to the hospital. Their food is damn good and now they might have to close.

On January 5th, the landlord who owns the Medical Arts complex where the deli is located threatened Debbie and her family with eviction by the end of the month for non-payment of rent. The eviction notice comes after the restaurant was faced with a long series of unfortunate events starting in 2018. It has been struggling to come back, and just as business is finally starting to improve again, now this.

How did they get into this position after having so much success for so long?

Commissioner Scott McInnis: Upcoming election will cost County $1 million

Election conspiracy theorists are an expensive bunch to lend any credence to, and humoring them is about to cost Mesa County taxpayers dearly.

At the County Commissioners’ meeting yesterday, Monday, October 25, 2021, Commissioner Scott McInnis let it spill how much County Clerk Tina Peters’ election conspiracy antics are going to cost County taxpayers in the upcoming election.

Hold onto your hats.

McInnis says the tab is going to be about $1 million.

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.

Commissioners ask governor to end supplemental federal benefits for unemployed County residents

At their public hearing on Monday, July 12, 2021, the Republican Mesa County Commissioners voted to officially request Governor Jared Polis end the supplemental unemployment benefits that have been helping keep unemployed and low income County residents and their families afloat during the pandemic.

Why? Because they want to force people to go back to work to fill mostly low paying, often difficult and dangerous front line jobs, often where people are likely to be exposed to the virus and would risk exposing their families to it as well.

15.8% of Mesa County’s population lives below the federal poverty line, more than the poverty rate for the state as a whole, at 11.5%. The 2018 Federal Poverty Level for annual income is $16,147 for an individual and $33,383 for a family of four.

To be sure, the Mesa County Commissioners aren’t living on wages like that. They make around $90,000/year when perks like health insurance are included.

Mesa County’s pervasive right wing culture is damaging our public health and economy

No one wants to say it, but Mesa County’s far right wing culture is now hurting us all, physically and economically

Everybody is dancing around it, but no one wants to come right out and say it. It’s the single biggest threat to Mesa County’s population in the last hundred years, but everyone is scared to say it:

Mesa County’s dominant far right wing culture is now causing a resurgent spread of Covid-19, sending people to the hospital and endangering the children in our community who are too young to get vaccinated. Our area’s right wing culture, with its erroneous, misinformed beliefs, is causing the majority of Mesa County residents to refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time our elected officials have abandoned all other means of controlling the pandemic, like masking and physical distancing requirements.

We’ve heard over and over again that the Covid vaccine is now our only way out of the pandemic, but because most people in Mesa County are refusing to get vaccinated, we may never escape the pandemic.