Drinking Liberally is a non-partisan social group that holds get-togethers in town at food and drink establishments while hosting guest speakers. The event focuses on protection of our civil liberties, like freedom from government and corporate overreach (for example denying workers the right to organize, denying women the right to access abortions and preventing transgender people access to medical care). On Tuesday, May 23, the event was held at Edgewater Brewery at 905 Struthers, by the Colorado River.
The packed crowd included notable conservatives like Tom Keenan and Cindy Ficklin, members of the far right wing group, Stand for the Constitution. The event featured two Speakers: newly-elected Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross and Darren Cook, former longtime D-51 teacher who is running for D-51 School Board.
The petition is available for signing every day from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Lincoln Park. The table with circulators and petitions will either be at 12th and Teller by the Barn, or at 12th and Gunnison.
Are you aware of someone who owns firearms and is presenting a danger to themselves or others?
Colorado’s new Red Flag law was passed in 2019 and went into effect in January of 2020.
A Red Flag law is an “if-you-see-something-say-something” law put in place by the Colorado Legislature to give Coloradans a way to alert law enforcement to people who have guns and are posing a threat to themselves or others.
Red Flag laws, also called Extreme Risk Protection Orders or ERPOs, give judges the ability to seize the firearms of people who are posing a danger to themselves or others, to protect public safety.
The law was created to give people a way to try to head off incidents of lethal domestic violence, suicides and mass shootings like those currently proliferating across the U.S. in schools, shopping malls, theaters, grocery stores, universities, in parking lots, at parades, in offices and other places Americans go in the course of their everyday lives. As of May 8, 2023, there have been more mass shootings than there have been days in America, so the threat of mass killings being committed by people who own or possess firearms is very real and happening more frequently now than ever before in our history.
Click the image to go to the new website for the Andrea Haitz recall effort
The public can now keep track of the effort to recall School District 51’s Board President Andrea Haitz by going to SignForKids.com, where people can find out where to sign petitions, get trained in how to gather signatures, donate to the effort or volunteer to help. The organizers need to gather 15,000 valid signatures of registered voters within the next two months.
The website states the public’s grievances against Haitz:
Andrea Haitz was elected to the District 51 Board in 2021, promising transparency.
Instead, Haitz has turned local control of school dollars over to extremist organizations, turned fundamental parts of her job over to expensive lawyers, denied student pleas for mental health services, and used her office for family political gain.
The biggest decisions at District 51 are now being turned over to outside interests and fringe extremists who don’t represent Mesa County families.
The League of Women Voters and Grand Valley Interfaith network will be co-sponsoring a free talk, “Understanding Colorado’s Red Flag Law,” on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 536 Ouray Ave. The featured speaker will be Tom Mauser of Colorado Ceasefire, whose son, Daniel Mauser, was murdered in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999.
The committee leading the Recall Andrea Haitz effort is looking for volunteers to help in circulating petitions and collecting voter signatures in support of the recall. A launch event is planned for Saturday, May 13th at 9:00 A.M in Lincoln Park.
A short (~15 minute) training session will be provided for all circulators, as well as information regarding prime locations and upcoming events for circulating. Water, snacks, and shade will also be provided. The launch event will conclude at 2:00 P.M, although any volunteer who has been trained may circulate their petition(s) at any time they desire until July 11th.
“We need the passion and the investment of our local community to help achieve a brighter future for our children, and ensure transparency in our schooling system. Join the Recall Andrea Haitz effort and meet your neighbors and fellow community members in Lincoln Park to learn how to fight for a great cause!” says Charley Allen.
Darren Cook (Photo: CO Education Association via Twitter, 2015)
Note: This is a guest post by Darren Cook, a former longtime District 51 middle School teacher and former President of the Mesa Valley Education Association, which represents public school teachers. Darren started a website and blog to give the public his take on decisions being made by the current District 51 School Board majority. Darren is running to replace controversial current school board member Andrea Haitz in the upcoming recall election.
On Friday, the Mesa Valley Education Association shocked the teachers of District 51 by announcing that for the first time in forty years, the Board of Education will not directly negotiate with teachers. Instead, they will be represented by two lawyers, David Price and Tammy Eret.
In my twenty-three-year career with D51, I was part of the teachers’ negotiation team for seventeen of those. We brought eight to ten teachers, paying attention to having representation from each instructional level, content, and area of expertise. D51 administration brought a similarly representative team, with administrators from each level, the Chief Financial Officer, Executive Director of Human Resources, and Superintendent as key parts of their team. And, of course, all five Board members were there. Always.
The Anthropology Department of University of Colorado-Denver is looking for Black, Indigenous people, people of color and/or low-income people in Colorado between the ages of 21-75 to participate in a cutting-edge study aimed at learning more about patterns of psilocybin use, indigenous knowledge about psilocybin, and reduction in the stigma surrounding its use.
Participants in the study will complete an hour-long videotaped interview about about their use of psilocybin to improve wellness, address trauma or increase spiritual development. In exchange for their participation they will receive through regular U.S.P.S. mail a $50.00 King Soopers (City Market) gift card.
On November 8, 2022, Colorado passed Proposition FF, a ballot measure to provide free meals to all public school students. The measure, called the Healthy School Meals for All Program, was referred to the ballot by the state Legislature and passed by a healthy margin of 57-43%. The measure generates funds by limiting state tax deductions for people earning over $300,000/year, and is set to raise more than $100 million/year. The program will reimburse participating school districts to provide free meals to all students and will provide grants for Districts to purchase local food. According to the Healthy School Meals for All FAQ guide, there is also an option for participating districts to provide wage increases or stipends to front-line staff who assist with the program.
The above mailer was recently sent to homes of prospective Grand Junction voters by the Best Slope Leadership Project, a 501 (c) (4) social welfare group based in Grand Junction.
Andrea Haitz and Greg Haitz are a married couple who over the last few years have been seeking more power in Grand Junction. Andrea is currently District 51 School Board President and Greg is trying to get onto Grand Junction City Council in the upcoming election.
The former Rocky Mountain Gun Club building at 545 31 Road, where Ascent Classical Academy plans to open a new charter school this August. The sale of the building closed recently. It was listed for $7 million.
Ascent Classical Academy uses a curriculum advanced by Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative, “an outreach program of Hillsdale College devoted to the revitalization of public education through the launch and support of classical K-12 charter schools.”
Ascent Classical Academy plans to open in Grand Junction in August, 2023, at 545 31 Road, the building that formerly housed the Rocky Mountain Gun Club, just as the District puts the finishing touches on shutting down East Middle School, a high-performing traditional public school in the heart of downtown Grand Junction.
Some District 51 teachers are saying they feel blindsided, abandoned and upset by the School Board’s odd headlong rush towards closing three traditional schools this fall. The District cites falling birth rates, the pandemic, online schools, families moving out of the area and other reasons for the decline in students as reasons to close the schools.
But that doesn’t fit the demographic narrative we’ve been told as recently as the end of last year.
Just last November the Daily Sentinelreported that the western slope has seen substantial population growth over the last decade and Mesa County is expected to keep growing over the next few decades due to in-migration, saying this brought “a sense of hope that District 51 will see an increase in students.”
Sen. Rich, shown here in 2022 when she was a House Representative, has a track record of introducing beneficial, bipartisan legislation and getting it passed. Here she is seen at the signing on April 12, 2022 of HB22-1040, “Homeowners’ Reasonable Access to Common Areas,” which limited homeowner associations’ (HOAs) ability to restrict homeowners’ access to their own common open space and amenities. (Left to right: House Rep. Edie Hooton, Rep. Janice Rich, Gov. Polis, Sen. Tammy Story)
State Senator Janice Rich (R) is doing something we haven’t seen in years from our elected state Senator: Introducing thoughtful, beneficial, bipartisan legislation that can benefit everyone.
Sen. Rich recently introduced SB23-023, a bill that requires high schools that teach the state’s comprehensive health education program to instruct students in how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
In mid-November, 2022, the City of Grand Junction announced the possible closure of the Orchard Mesa Pool in early 2023.
The group, Save the Pool, is encouraging people with families to come to the December 21st Grand Junction City Council meeting this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall Auditorium, 250 N. 5th Street, Grand Junction to stand in solidarity to keep the pool open.