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.
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.
Lauren Boebert shown n December, 2019, carrying the same flag carried by many of the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021
The government watchdog group Accountable.us has filed a complaint (pdf) with the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an investigation into House Rep. Lauren Boebert’s exorbitant mileage reimbursements in 2020. Boebert claimed to have driven 36,868 miles in 2020, enough to circumnavigate the globe almost one and a half times, even though there were several months in which there were no posted public campaign events.
By contrast, her predecessor, former District 3 Congress member Scott Tipton, reimbursed himself a total of $12,255 from his campaign coffers for travel over the entire decade he held the office.
According to the Times Recorder, the waiter approached Scott and told him that he would have to leave if he didn’t wear a mask inside the restaurant, Scott lectured the waiter by saying “Governors make rules, but WE make the law,” and explained the difference between a rule and a law. Scott then told the waiter he was being too “heavy handed” in enforcing the statewide masking rule.
Mesa County’s 5-Star program creates expectations that often aren’t met, and leaves it to patrons to police establishments for compliance, which can then lead to harassment, threats and intimidation against patrons who complain.
Mesa County has been touting it’s “Variance Protection” (“Five Star”) program as the key to keeping businesses open amid the pandemic, and while the goals of the program are laudable, the widespread lack of enforcement, particularly of masking requirements, can unfortunately create a climate of additional threats to patrons, and not just to their health.
The unchecked community spread of Coronavirus, high number of hospitalizations and rising deaths from Covid-19 in the county has led the Mesa County Commissioners to finally issue a press release Nov. 13 urging all Mesa County residents to wear masks whenever they patronize local businesses, avoid close contact with others and avoid indoor gatherings. The release is headlined “Commissioners encourage community members to wear a mask.”
The Commissioners are now putting their support behind an all-out effort to raise awareness of the public health emergency the virus is causing in our community, get people to take the situation seriously, keep local businesses afloat and help our area avoid more mandatory closures.
Mesa County Commissioners John Justman, Rose Pugliese and Scott McInnis all urge Mesa County residents to wear masks at all times when patronizing local businesses.
Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N. begged Mesa County Commissioners on 11/9 to make a definitive public statement urging the public to wear masks, avoid gatherings and strictly follow other public health protocol to help rein in the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus in our community
A registered nurse openly begged the Mesa County Commissioners to make a statement telling people they need to wear masks when patronizing local businesses, maintain physical distancing and strictly avoid gatherings, to help rein in the area’s skyrocketing Covid-19 infection rate.
Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N., a retired Veterans Administration nurse, spoke to the commissioners in the public comment period of their Monday, 11/9 meeting (video, @ 1:02). Phillips spoke after Mesa County Public Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr told commissioners about the dire situation the county faces from the ongoing uncontrolled spread of the novel Coronavirus. Dr. Kuhr told commissioners that last Saturday the county reached its highest new Covid case count in a single day: 180.
Trump mega-donor and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
In May of 2020, President Trump appointed Louis DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor with no postal experience as Postmaster General of the United States.
After taking office in June, Mr. DeJoy immediately started making changes to the Postal Service that resulted in delayed delivery of mail across the country. His actions included removal of 23 top postal executives, removing high-speed mail sorting machines from post offices around the country and prohibiting employees from logging overtime to deliver mail.
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a video showing how face masks reduce the spread of airborne droplets emitted when people speak and shout, giving a graphic representation of how mask-wearing works to reduce the spread of Corona virus, the novel deadly virus that currently no prevention, no treatment and no cure.
In the video, “Visualizing Speech Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering,” a person in a darkened room says the phrase “Stay healthy” repeatedly in varying volumes while neon lasers light up the droplets coming from his mouth.
After watching this video, imagine standing without a face mask and speaking while you look over the produce in the grocery store, or order food from a menu, for example. This video shows how droplets fly from people’s mouths when they speak, and shows how people spread the virus to others.
The Mesa County Commissioners have been totally silent on the impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on the County’s ability to deliver basic services to residents during the many months before our economy returns to normal. Rather than buckling down and addressing the tough financial questions, they meet weekly to hear updates from County staff and to whine about just how terrible the Governor is. There is nothing wrong with these two activities. Staff needs to know the bosses support them. Complaining about what happens in Denver is a waste of time but it apparently makes them feel important.
The problem is not with what they are doing, it is about what they are not doing. There has been no discussion of the impact on the County’s reserve balances. They should be trying to get ahead of pending financial hit by reviewing numerous projections based on different assumptions of just how bad things are going to get. The development of the various assumptions and the results of each needs to be done by someone with demonstrated skills and the ability to simplify what they do so the Commissioners can understand their options. In my opinion, none of the current staff have these abilities. They need to seek help from outside the organization.
Certified Public Accountant Dennis Simpson, a long-time advocate for transparency in Grand Junction City and Mesa County government, discovered that in 2019 Mesa County purchased two new late model SUVs at a cost of $45,000 each, for the exclusive use of Commissioners Scott McInnis and John Justman. Before that time, Simpson noted, the County had provided a single passenger car for all three commissioners to share. He also noted that the decision to greatly increase this transportation expense for taxpayers was not made in public, and that while Commissioner Rose Pugliese tried to distance herself from the purchase, she failed to protest it publicly.
When Simpson raised these issues to Scott McInnis, McInnis deflected attention from the matter by asking Simpson to instead focus on coming up with financial suggestions for ways the County can cope with the COVID-19 pandemic rather than concerning himself with the purchase of the vehicles, which McInnis dismissed as unimportant.
Simpson obliged and produced the following suggestions, which he submitted to all three county commissioners on March 19, 2020.
House Rep. Scott Tipton has voted against financial transparency in government, against protecting citizens’ access to health insurance, against working families and to protect wealthy Americans and keep their taxes low. He’s up for re-election this year.
On February 6, 2020 House Rep. Scott Tipton voted in favor of cutting funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), federal programs that cover poor children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled people with health insurance who could not otherwise afford it.
Results of a news quiz printed in today’s Daily Sentinel demonstrates the backwards thinking that is the hallmark of conservative, right-wing Republicans.
A short blurb in the Sunday, Feb. 8, 2020 Daily Sentinel offers a lesson on why Republicans are such harmful elected officials.
The Sentinel has a regular weekly news quiz on Fridays, and gives the results in the following Sunday paper. An item today stood out for what it demonstrates about the ramifications of conservative Republican views not just for the western slope, but for society.
History shows that if Republicans had their way in the last century, most of America wouldn’t have electricity.
Lisa Cowles of Wisconsin filed the lawsuit (pdf) on July 22, 2019, challenging the “unreasonably dangerous and defective design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance of the ‘Game Creek’ zip-line course in Vail, Colorado.” Bonsai manufactured and installed the zipline course in 2015, and Vail Resorts operates it.