Category: Extremism

Red flags abound over Commissioner Rowland’s struggle to appoint her friend Pugliese as County Attorney

My first attempt at a political cartoon

In an outrageous display of unabashed Mesa County Republican cronyism, Commissioner Janet Rowland is working hard to install her pal, former County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, into the position of Mesa County Attorney, the highest-paid position in the county. The position would double the salary Rose use to earn when she was commissioner just before Janet.

The situation portends great danger for the County, since the Commissioners have tremendous power, no oversight and Janet already has a long and worrisome track record of impropriety and unethical behavior.

Why installing Rose Pugliese as County Attorney is a crazy mistake

Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist being considered for County Attorney.

A top headline in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel announced that former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which, as of 2019 was the highest-paid job in the County.

Based on Pugliese’s qualifications, or lack thereof, this is nothing short of crazy, and it smacks loudly of cronyism by Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs).

Pugliese won consideration as sole contender for the job despite having a track record that would probably get the rest of us fired.

Oh, where to begin?

G.J. City Council candidate Mark McAllister known for posting false, xenophobic and racist memes

Meme that appeared on Mark McAllister’s Facebook page in early January, 2020

In 2013, former G.J. Mayor Bill Pitts said that the most money anyone had ever spent on a City Council race up until that time was around $3,000. 

In 2013, that amount had jumped to $10,000 to $12,000 per candidate for city council campaigns.

Now, in 2021, candidates for local office are routinely spending up to $20-30k on their campaigns.

That marked increase in the amount of spending should be accompanied by an equally higher level of scrutiny of candidates by the local press and media, but it hasn’t. The local paper seems to be giving candidates a pass by doing nice things like sending candidates a softball questionnaire and publishing their answers in full, without even verifying whether the candidates filled in the answers themselves.

Voters deserve more information — a deeper dive, like verifying candidates’ educational levels, their social, political and business affiliations, and verifying the claims they make on their campaign pages about what groups they belong to. We should also know if any information has been published about them elsewhere, and check their social media streams to see what they had been posting before they decided to running for office.  
 
One thing we’ve managed to find here at AnneLandmanBlog about the current candidates for Grand Junction City Council is that one candidate really stands out when given this kind of scrutiny, and not in a good way: Mark McAllister.

What’s up with the four City Council candidates who are ditching forums and questionnaires?

An attendee at the “Stand for the Constitution Freedom Rally” last July 4 (Photo: Facebook). Stand for the Constitution endorses Haitz, Andrews, Green and McAllister, calling them “our candidates.”

Kristin Wynn of Citizens for Clean Air Grand Junction reported that her group has not received responses to questionnaires they sent to City Council candidates Mark McCallister, Kraig Andrews, Jody Green, and Greg Haitz. Nor did any of these candidates bother to respond to a short questionnaire from the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley and none of them participated in the City Council Candidate Forums organized by the Western Colorado Alliance, which were held virtually on Zoom.

So why are these four candidates dodging public forums and refusing to answer City residents’ questions? And what do they all have in common that the other four candidates don’t?

For one thing, they are all endorsed by the local right-wing extremist group  “Stand for the Constitution,” who calls the slate of them “our candidates.”

A quick summary of the eight candidates running for Grand Junction City Council in the April 6, 2021 election

Eight candidates want to get inside these doors and help run the city we all love. Learn about the candidates running for Council and vote wisely.

In case you don’t have time to research the eight candidates running for City Council in the April 6th election, I’ve done the research and condensed it down to a couple of paragraphs about each candidate to help you make an educated choice. I drew on the sources of information that are most accessible to most voters, including the candidates’ campaign and personal websites, their campaign and personal social media accounts (the links to which the City conveniently provides on their Elections Information page). I also researched news reports, published articles and past blogs I’ve done about them, if any, and investigated some of the claims the candidates made on their websites about what groups and organizations they belonged to. I also attended the Western Colorado Alliance (WCA) online candidate forum held on February 24th, and noted which candidates attended and which didn’t.

Here is what I found on each candidate:

Application by Cindy Ficklin to be D-51 Superintendent raises alarm

Cindy Ficklin (L), an applicant for the job of D-51 School Superintendent, flashes the hand signal of the “Three Percenters” militia while scuba diving in Hawaii. (Photo credit: Facebook). Right photo & caption are from Wikipedia. The Anti-Defamation League lists this gesture as a racist hand sign. [UPDATE 2/20/21]: We have since been informed that in the context of scuba diving, this symbol is used to say a diver is “OK.” That was likely the case in this scenario, although since Mesa County is largely a desert, very right wing politically, has numerous elected officials who have in fact advanced QAnon theories and Trump’s lies about the election, and since few people here scuba dive, many people interpreted this symbol in its political context rather than its scuba diving context.]

Grand Junction real estate agent Cindy Ficklin submitted an application February 10 to become District 51 Superintendent, raising alarm bells among people familiar with her extremist views.

Who is Cindy Ficklin?

Ficklin is a 40-something GOP firebrand known for her extremist right wing views and her outspoken manner.

In a red-meat speech she gave on July 4, 2020 to a mostly un-masked crowd at the “Stand for the Constitution Freedom Rally” in a local park, Ficklin railed against masking and contact tracing — the only tools available to control the Coronavirus. She said that “CDC guidelines for opening schools … are literally formed of human torture and child abuse,” and spread the false narrative that government was forcing vaccines on people. She railed against public health recommendations to “stay home to stay safe” and whipped up anger at community efforts to control the virus, saying “the new normal” we’re all living with is “an attempt to infringe on our civil rights.”

G.J. furniture repair business disses Biden supporters on its web page because “they are okay with stealing elections” and “killing babies”

Bruce Bertram, who owns The Chair Doctor, a Grand Junction furniture repair service, says on his website that he offers a lifetime warranty, he’s “open Sunday through Friday, about 9a to 6p. Closed Saturday. Phone 970-243-2929 for appointment,” and adds “Biden supporters not welcome.”

Bertram

When you click the link to find out more, you get the following rant:

Answer 19: Are Biden supporters really not welcome at your business?

Yes. Since Biden supporters are not supporters of the Constitution, we don’t support them. They want to censor anyone that disagrees with them so we censor them. They are okay with stealing elections, like killing babies, defend Burn Loot and Murder riots while lying about legitimate protests at the Capitol, promote communism/socialism/globalism, are trying to destroy our country, and are generally hateful, ignorant people (obviously, if you are a Biden supporter).

Obscene Republican flags across the street from Orchard Mesa Middle School and a day care center draw outrage

Obscene flags in front of a home on Unaweep Ave. on Orchard Mesa, directly across the street from Orchard Mesa Middle School and a day care center.

Orchard Mesa residents are recoiling at the obscene Republican flags on display at 2737 Unaweep Ave., a house directly across the street from Orchard Mesa Middle School and the Eagle View Learning Center, an early childhood educational center.

The homeowner has three flags: the top one says “TRUMP 2020 – NO MORE BULLSH*T,” a middle flag shows a fantasized Rambo-styled version of Trump holding a machine gun, and the third flag says in big letters “F*CK BIDEN AND F*CK YOU IF YOU VOTED FOR HIM.”

The obscene language and violent imagery — imagery now inextricably linked to the Republican Party after the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters January 6th that left 5 people dead — are drawing outrage from area residents, who are trying to get the flags removed. At least one person has contacted KKCO, KREX and the Mesa County Republican Party’s headquarters at 1227 N. 23rd Street, Unit #103, Grand Junction, 970-261-0778.

W. slope Republicans promote domestic extremist lies

Post from Janet Rowland’s campaign Facebook page, August 14, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a National Terrorism Advisory (pdf) 1/27, warning of a heightened risk of violence by domestic extremist groups across the country who have been emboldened by the insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th.

The Advisory says,

  • “…some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”

The Advisory says domestic violence extremists (DVEs) are

  • “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and … opposition to immigration…” 

The bulletin further states,

• Threats of violence against critical infrastructure…increased in 2020 with violent extremists citing misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 for their actions.”

Local elected officials promote this extremist ideology

Video shows Rep. Boebert accepting gift of a Glock pistol from member of the Three Percenters

Screenshot of video in which Boebert accepts a gift of a a customized pistol

Rural Colorado United emailed out a video January 25th showing CD-3 House Rep. Lauren Boebert accepting a gift of a custom-engraved Glock pistol from the Colorado group Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump.

The gift breaks several state and federal rules and laws:

1) It violates House ethics rules (pdf) which prohibit members of Congress from accepting gifts valued over $50. Glock 22s cost between $500 – $600 without custom engraving.

2)  As of 2013 it is illegal in Colorado to gift a gun to someone who is not an immediate relative (pdf) without first performing a background check, and,

3) Unauthorized use of the Congressional seal is a federal crime.

Western Slope Republicans need to apologize and tell the truth

Republican House Rep. Lauren Boebert, CD-3, (Photo:Youtube) — advanced the Big Lie about massive election fraud that led to the insurrection.

Donald Trump repeatedly claimed in the months following the election that he had won the election by a landslide, but it was stolen from him due to massive voter fraud.

It was the most outlandish lie of Trump’s term, maybe the craziest of his life, and it led thousands of his supporters to violently attack the Capitol in an insane attempt to overturn the results of the election on his behalf. We all watched, horrified, as hordes of angry Trump supporters bashed their way through barriers and stormed the Capitol holding their Confederate and “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow Gadsden flags, intent on capturing and killing legislators, journalists and anyone with a political opinion different from their own. The insurrection, based on lies, caused the death of five people, including a police officer.

68 Elected officials in Colorado House District 3 sign letter to House leadership condemning Boebert’s actions

CD3 House Rep. Lauren Boebert is under scrutiny for her association with right wing groups that supported the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021

68 elected officials from cities and counties across Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District have sent a letter (pdf) January 12 to House leaders condemning CD-3 Rep. Lauren Boebert and asking them to open an investigation into Boebert’s actions leading up to, and on the day of the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6.

The letter was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and was signed by elected officials from the counties of Routt, Pueblo, Eagle, Lake, Gunnison, Pitkin, Saguache, Ouray, La Plata, Hinsdale, San Miguel, and San Juan and from the cities of Durango, Bayfield, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Eagle, Lake City, Ophir, Mountain Village, Leadville, Ridgway, Telluride, Glenwood Springs, Avon and Aspen.

Rep. Boebert violated police orders to stay off social media during insurrection at Capitol

Republican House Rep. Lauren Boebert, CD-3, (Photo:Youtube)

Colorado House Rep. Lauren Boebert kept tweeting during the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol even after Capitol police repeatedly told her and other legislators not to make any social media posts while sheltering from the armed and dangerous pro-Trump mob.

Boebert posted two messages on Twitter during the attack. The first one said “we were locked in the House Chambers.” In the second, Boebert said “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”

Boebert has been accused of posting these tweets to help insurrectionists locate House Speaker Pelosi in order to do her harm.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii tweeted that legislators “were specifically instructed by those protecting us not to tell anyone, including our family, where exactly we were, for reasons that remain obvious.”

Mesa County (CO) Clerk Tina Peters boasts on Twitter about how possible it is to hack an election

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports today that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters tweeted from her personal Twitter account on January 3, 2021 about just how unsafe and insecure local elections are. Peters wrote the Tweet “as the one that administers elections in my county.” 

Peters boasted about how one can count ballots that favor a certain candidate more than once, or how it is possible to “change algorithm in a voting machine.”

Holy Superspreader! G.J. churches hold in-person services, draw crowds on first Sunday of 2021

Fellowship Church on 24 road near I-70 on Sunday morning, 1/3/21

On December 7, Colorado changed its list of “critical services” as defined by the pandemic to include “houses of worship,” eliminating the cap on the number of people who can attend religious services in person. As a result, local churches are wasting no time packing people back in to in-person services at the start of the new year. The move to lift the cap on church attendance came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s new conservative majority ruled against the State of New York in a lawsuit in which the governor sought to limit in-person attendance at religious services to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. It also comes just as a new, more communicable strain of Corona virus was discovered in the state, at a time when the state is lifting some restrictions on businesses and as School District 51 announced a return to in-person learning this week — a potent combination that could greatly increase the spread of the deadly virus.

Mesa County Facebook group aims to undermine public health, sicken more people

The Facebook group “Free Mesa County” aims to sicken and kill as many people as they can in Mesa County by defying public health orders aimed at protecting the community from the novel Coronavirus, which can be deadly and has no cure.

A Facebook group called “Free Mesa County” has been created to encourage people to undermine public health and advance the spread of the novel Coronavirus in Mesa County by openly disobeying Colorado’s mask mandate and demanding full occupancy for indoor venues like churches.

The group’s latest event is an “en masse” maskless shopping event to be held this Friday, January 1, New Year’s Day. The group is urging its followers to go out and swarm local businesses without wearing face masks. Wearing of face masks is currently a requirement in all indoor public places designed to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, which causes Covid-19.

Mesa County’s newly-elected Republicans deny reality, promote conspiracies

Lauren Boebert is still promoting the lie that the election “isn’t over.”

With a few rare exceptions, it has become part and parcel of being a Mesa County Republican these days to flat-out lie to constituents, promote conspiracy theories, disdain science, cite full-on wacko nutbag sources of “information” to the public as though they were legitimate, authoritative sources and completely depart from reality to appeal to the base. We also are seeing an epidemic of Republican elected officials who, without having any background in medicine, epidemiology, virology, public health or any other scientific field, claim to know better than doctors and public health experts how to get us out of the pandemic.

That’s the case with many of our newly elected officials who are about to take office.

If you don’t think these folks are totally wack, just go check their social media accounts.

Republicans who cling to Trump go down with the ship

Many western slope Republicans are denying reality and continuing to cling to Trump. He is exploiting his disappointed supporters by convincing them he still has some vanishingly small chance of getting re-elected while at the same time urging them to donate to an “election defense fund” — a slush fund that will ultimately line the pockets of Trump and his family.

Trump has zero chance of getting re-elected. It’s over.

Contrary to popular belief in Mesa County, the outcome of the election is NOT in dispute at any level.