Category: Elections

CO Ballot Initiative #89 seeks to enshrine abortion rights in Colorado’s Constitution

Western Colorado is organizing to protect abortion rights, for real.

In 2022, Colorado enacted a statute to protect access to contraception and abortion, but because it’s just a statute, Republicans can still try to undermine the law by introducing bills and ballot measures to try to limit abortion access. So groups that support reproductive freedom are working to put Initiative #89 on the 2024 state ballot.

Tina Peters sues to overturn her $15,400 campaign finance violation fine

Tina Peters in a November 2, 2023 video posted on YouTube

Tina Peters filed a lawsuit (pdf) November 8 against Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to overturn the $15,400 campaign finance violation fine an administrative law judge levied against her on October 4, 2023, claiming the fine is “unfair” and that it has “irreparably injured” her.

The Court fined her for soliciting donations to run for re-election as Mesa County Clerk in 2021-2022 without having first filed the necessary paperwork with the state that requires she report the money she raised and spent on her campaign. The fine pertained to Tina’s campaign for County Clerk that she dropped out of in 2022 to run for Colorado Secretary of State instead. Tina lost the primary election for that seat to her Republican competitor by 14 percentage points, but she is telling people in interviews that she won that election.

People reporting difficulty accessing ballot drop-off box at the Clifton DMV on election day (today)

People are reporting that construction, roped off areas and the construction workers’ vehicles are inhibiting access and causing traffic jams at the ballot drop-off box at the Clifton DMV at 3225 I-70 Business Loop, Unit A2, in Clifton. Concerns are for the ability of disabled or other-enabled people to be able to reach the box, trip and fall hazards for those stepping over the areas under construction to reach the box, traffic congestion and some people are concerned about possible voter suppression.

New Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross was notified of the situation, said she just noticed it on her cameras as well and was headed to Clifton immediately to address the situation.

D-51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson wants to teach creationism alongside science in public schools

“I feel like we need to be teaching both ends of the spectrum when we’re teaching things in school as well….What I mean by that is if we’re teaching the Big Bang Theory then we need to teach creationism as well.” — Barbara Evanson

On October 31, the Colorado Times Recorder highlighted a locally-made video interview with District 51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson in which Evanson says that if schools teach what is scientifically known about the origins of the universe, then they should also have to teach creationism alongside that information so kids can decide on their own what’s true.

Creationism is the religious belief that God created the universe. It is a wholly religious construct with no scientific proof behind it,

The idea of mandating creationism be taught in public schools alongside scientific information has been declared by U.S. courts to be illegal.

D-51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson says she wants to ban “a ton” of material from school libraries

In this excerpt from an interview with “Ruth” and “Lisa” (who do not provide their last names) posted on a YouTube account named “MesaCountyCompass” on October 8, 2023, “District 51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson says she would ban “a ton of material” from school libraries that she feels is inappropriate.

Woodland Park-based Christian nationalist group working to influence Mesa County District 51 School Board election

Truth & Liberty Coalition fliers seek to influence the local school board election by focusing on right wing culture war issues. The fliers were placed at La Milpa Tortilleria on 30 Road.

High-quality, multi-colored, bilingual fliers created by the front range Christian dominionist group Truth & Liberty Coalition are showing up at businesses around town. The fliers use right wing culture war rhetoric targeting gay and transgender students in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November 7 District 51 School Board election. The fliers appear to endorse CynDee Skalla, Jessica Hearns and Barbara Evanson.

The fliers were found at La Milpa Tortilla Factory in Grand Junction and are bilingual in English and Spanish.

“Stand for the Constitution,” which still supports Tina Peters, is working to get Evanson & Skalla elected to D-51 School Board

A slide shown at a mid-October, 2023 Stand for the Constitution meeting that indicates the group still supports criminally-indicted, election denier Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters. The same group is supporting Evanson and Skalla for D-51 School District Board.

It seems like Mesa County never seems to learn from its past mistakes.

Stand for The Constitution (SFTC), the local extremist group that pushed to get Tina Peters elected County Clerk in 2018, that continued to support Peters even after her loss of 574 of ballots in 2019 and even after her indictments on multiple felony criminal charges related to election tampering, is now working to get Barbara Evanson and CynDee Skalla elected to the District 51 School Board in the November 7, 2023 election.

Stand for the Constitution also backed the three conservative school board members Haitz, Lema and Jones who have brought rancor, questionable ethics, uncertainty, disruption and hatred to the school board.

Tina Peters takes the 5th Amendment repeatedly in deposition about soliciting illegal campaign contributions

Tina Peters’ mugshot for her arrest on 3/9/2022

On September 29, Colorado Administrative Law Judge Timothy Nemecheck fined former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters $15,400 for illegally soliciting and accepting contributions to a 2022 re-election campaign for county clerk without first registering as a candidate with the State.

The fine was the end result of two campaign finance complaints filed in 2021 by Scott Beilfuss, who is now a Grand Junction City Councilman. The first complaint was dated August 16, 2021. Beilfuss wrote a single sentence:

“Tina Peters flew up to Mr. Pillows cybersymposium on a private plane provided to her and is staying as a guest of the Pillow foundation in a clear violation of accepting gift laws.”

School Board candidate forum cancelled after threat of violence posted on Facebook


A school board candidate forum that was planned for last evening, Monday, October 16, was cancelled abruptly the day of the event after the venue hosting the event, Good Judy’s Bar & Club downtown, received a violent threat on Facebook.

9News reports Tina Peters fined $15,400 for campaign finance violation while running for Mesa County Clerk

Marshall Zelinger of 9News’ Next with Kyle Clark reported on Friday, October 6, 2023 that an administrative law judge has fined Republican former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters $15,400 for soliciting donations to run for re-election as Mesa County Clerk without having first filed the necessary paperwork with the state that requires she report all the money she raised and spent on her campaign. The $15.4k fine pertains to Tina’s campaign for Clerk that she dropped out of in 2022 to run for Colorado Secretary of State instead.

Colorado Public Radio has published additonal information on Tina Peters’ campaign finance fine here: Former Mesa Clerk Tina Peters fined for failing to register reelection campaign, by Bente Berkeland, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2023

District 51 School Board candidate rundown for the November 7, 2023 election

For this article, information was taken from Colorado Tracer (the state’s campaign finance disclosure website), Little Sis (a free database that tracks key relationships between politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions), the subscription background check site Truthfinder.com, Zillow.com, the archives of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the subscription newspaper archive Newspapers.com, the candidates’ own social media accounts and campaign websites if they have them, and the social media pages of other people and groups in Mesa County where the candidates might have posted, or where they might have been mentioned.

I would urge readers to particularly look at which candidates have hired professional agents and campaign consultants, who they’ve hired to do these jobs, and which candidates are serving as their own registered agents and managing their own campaigns.

The candidates running for the two open seats on District 51 School Board in 2023 are:

District A: José Luis Chavéz, CynDee Skalla and Jessica Hearn

District B: Barbara Evanson and Cindy Enos Martinez

Drinking Liberally hosts Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross & D-51 School Board candidate Darren Cook


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.

Text of the Petition to Recall District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz

Andrea Haitz, District 51 School Board President

Some people have asked where they can read the text of the petition to recall District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz.

You can read the entire petition here. 

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. 

New website up for the effort to recall D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz

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.

Darren Cook gives his take on the D-51 Board majority’s recent decision to send only lawyers to represent the District in negotiations with D-51 teachers

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.

City of Grand Junction election results, 2023

Below are the results of the April 4, 2023 City of Grand Junction election. These are marked on the City’s website as the final election results. There will be a ballot curing period of 8 days following which the official final results will be viewable by going to this link on the City’s website.

Referred Measure 1A is the Community Recreation Center and 1B was to lengthen the lease on a parcel of City-owned land.

Winners of seats on City Council are Cody Kennedy, Jason Nguyen and Scott Beilfuss, and incumbent Anna Stout skated to re-election running unopposed.

The Community Recreation Center measure passed by almost 4,000 votes. Voters also passed the measure to lengthen the lease on City-owned property.

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.