Category: Grand Junction Chamber

Mesa County GOP, G.J. Area Chamber of Commerce and “Stand for the Constitution” all endorse candidate for School Board who works at a strip club

Note: Some graphics in this article may not be suitable for children.

The Daily Sentinel called Fantasy a “gentlemen’s club.” It’s actually a strip club.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirmed what was first revealed in this blog September 22, that District C School Board candidate and youth football coach Will Jones is employed by Fantasy strip club, which the Sentinel euphemistically referred to as a “gentleman’s club.”

“Stand for the Constitution,” an extreme right wing group, supports Angela Lema, Andrea Haitz and Will Jones for School Board.  The three are running as a politically far right wing extremist slate.

That’s like calling the 24 Road Adult Emporium a “library.”

An actual gentleman’s club is a private social club set up for aristocratic males, featuring amenities like a dining room, parlors for reading, gaming and socializing, a bar, billiards, etc.

Fantasy is not that.

It’s a strip club, and one that’s had some questionable incidents.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber’s long track record of harmful candidate endorsements

Longtime Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

Local candidates usually tout their endorsements by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, but the Chamber’s long track record of endorsing deeply flawed candidates shows that candidates should run from a Chamber endorsement as fast as they can, or at least politely decline it.

Observation of the Chamber’s endorsements going back a decade reveals that the Chamber does not evaluate candidates based on criteria like experience, background, education, knowledge or qualifications to hold office. Rather, the Chamber only considers a candidate’s political and religious ideology before endorsing them.

This extraordinarily narrow criteria has resulted in a flawed process that has proven detrimental to our community many, many times over.

D-51 School Board candidate Voter Guide for the 11/2/2021 election

NOTE: This article is longer than usual owing to the number of people running, the amount of information available on them and the need to put the practical meaning of Chamber endorsements in context so people can accurately grasp their significance. One photo in this article may be unsuitable for kids. Below is a brief summary of my vote recommendations for school board, if you don’t have time to read the whole article immediately:

Recommended Votes:

District C – Trish Mahre

District D – Nick Allan

District E – David Combs

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Following are summaries of the candidates running for District 51 School Board in the upcoming November 2 election. Sources of information included the candidates’ publicly available campaign and work websites, their campaign and personal social media, and other primary and authoritative online resources, including minutes of District 51 Board meetings and the website of Mesa County Libraries.

AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide for the City of Grand Junction’s Municipal Election of Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Are you wondering how to vote in the Grand Junction Regular Municipal Election on Tuesday, April 6, 2021? Are you sweating over where you’ll find the time to research the eight City Council candidates and the ballot measures?

Relax.

We’ve done the work for you.

AnneLandmanBlog has done substantial research into all of the candidates for City Council, and read the ballot measures. To see what we found out, scroll down anneLandmanBlog’s front page and have a look at the recent blogs about the election prior to this one.

Based on what we found, here are our recommended votes:

Just how BAD of a candidate is Lauren Boebert for 3rd Congressional District House Representative?

Lauren Boebert, Republican candidate for CD-3, is such a far right extremist that she said she hopes “QAnon is real” (Youtube)

Lauren Boebert such a terrible Republican candidate for CD-3 that the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has refused to endorse her.

You have to understand how the Grand Junction Area Chamber works in order to fully grasp how momentous this non-endorsement is.

Even the Tea Party Chamber doesn’t like Boebert.

Under Diane Schwenke, its president of the last 30 years, the G.J. Area Chamber in 2012 became a politically far right wing tea-party group that portrays itself as a champion of small business, while they actually put their political effort into lobbying for the big businesses that pony up their highest membership fees of $7,000/year.

This makes for some weird actions by the Chamber.

The Chamber has endorsed criminals for city council, they’ve endorsed people who can’t write a coherent sentence for school board, and they even endorsed a dental hygienist for Drainage Board who’d lived here 2 years, moved here from San Diego and couldn’t tell a drainage ditch from an irrigation ditch over a candidate who’d served on Palisade Town Council for 8 years, been mayor pro-tem, sat on the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority Board, sat on the Colorado Municipal League’s Executive Board for 6 years, had attended seminars on wastewater management and subscribed to periodicals about drainage just for fun. Why? Because the lady from San Diego opposed a fee the drainage district sought to fund much-needed updating of the valley’s troubled, outdated drainage system.

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce linked to racist comments at City Council meeting

 

Michael P. Anton, Chamber member and owner of Emtech, Inc.

Grand Junction citizens who attended the August 5, 2020 City Council meeting to promote racial justice and propose solutions were met with openly racist comments from Michael Anton, a local business owner and representative of the Western Colorado Business Alliance (WCBA), a subgroup the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber formed WCBA in 2012 to serve as the Chamber’s lobbying and political arm. WCBA is a 501-c-4 “dark money” group, so-called because it does not disclose its donors, but according to 2012 article in the Business Times, WCBA is funded by local business owners. In 2013, an anonymous former Grand Junction mayor told AnneLandmanBlog that WCBA was initially financed with a $50,000 donation from Doug Simons, owner of Enstrom Candies.

The social justice groups Right and Wrong (RAW) Grand Junction and Black Lives Matter (BLM) Grand Junction invited citizens who have felt discrimination locally to join them in an “Oppressed People’s March” to the Grand Junction City Council meeting at City Hall Wednesday evening to propose policies for Council to consider that would benefit minorities, like incentives for minority business owners and funding for the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

But in response to the groups’ presence at the meeting, WCBA member and local business owner Michael Anton made it clear that in his view, racial minorities were unwelcome in Grand Junction, stating in his public comments to Council:

“This RAW. This BLM. They need to go away. They’re not Grand Junction and you need to send them down the road because, believe me, there’s a lot more of me here in this valley than there is of you. I guarantee it and it will not be a pretty day if that comes forth.”

Shadowy Chamber “social welfare” group funds billboard thanking racially tone-deaf members of G.J. City Council “for their service”

The Chamber and WCBA’s billboard thanking the most tone-deaf city council members when it comes to racism in Grand Junction

The little-known, seedy political arm of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, the Western Colorado Business Alliance (WCBA), has appeared again in Grand Junction, this time funding a billboard praising four sitting Grand Junction City Council members who recently earned the reputation for being the most tone-deaf when it comes to racism: Philip Pe’a, Duke Wortmann, Phyllis Norris and Kraig Andrews.

Pe’a was the councilman who was so threatened by what he claimed was the presence of G.J. Police Department’s “swat team” at the June 3 Council meeting that he proclaimed he thought he might need to bring his Glock handgun into the meeting. That was the meeting that was attended by a crowd of City residents who showed up to protest pervasive racism they had seen or experienced in Grand Junction, or to support friends who had experienced it.

Grand Junction’s Police Chief later confirmed there were no SWAT team members at the meeting that day.

Modern-day Republicans oppose progress

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.

Lessons from past G.J. City Council elections

Rick Brainard, one of the best-funded candidates who ever ran for Grand Junction City Council, was backed to the bitter end by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Old Guard Republican Establishment

Were you around for the 2013 City of Grand Junction election?

If not, then you really missed a doozy.

That was a year in which Grand Junction residents learned some big, important lessons about city council elections.

Here is one of them:

The best-funded candidates for city council are often the  WORST people to sit on city council.

Republicans urge people to abandon their First Amendment right to petition

Firestone, CO home explosion resulting from abandoned gas lines buried near home, April, 2017 (Photo: CBS)

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government from “abridging the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” but this isn’t stopping the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and area oil and gas apologist Keira Bresnahan from trying to talk Mesa County residents into voluntarily giving up their right to even sign petitions to get issues on the ballot, where everyone can have a chance to consider them.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce takes off it’s fig leaf

Grand Valley Drainage District pipe choked with weeds. (Photo credit: GVDD)

If there is a shred of doubt left that the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce exists only to promote it’s own political ideology, it dispelled that notion today with an ad in the Daily Sentinel endorsing the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) Board candidate notable for being the remarkably far less qualified person for the seat.

The Chamber endorsed the less-qualified candidate for one reason only: she opposes the fee imposed by the GVDD in 2016 to raise funds for crucial improvements needed to the Grand Valley’s stormwater drainage system. Residents pay an extra $3/month. The fees assessed to businesses are higher because their larger “big box” buildings and paved parking lots create far more polluted stormwater runoff than homes, burdening the valley’s drainage system more than residences do. The drainage system, designed in 1915 primarily to collect agricultural seep from fields, is already in bad shape and needs improvement and expansion to cope with the valley’s change from primarily a rural/agricultural area into an urban area. If runoff exceeds the amount of drainage capacity we have, the result will be flooding, property damage and damage to other important infrastructure, like roads.

Flex your muscle by getting out and voting in the May 8 Drainage District election!

Why drainage matters: Sherwood Park flooding after a sudden heavy summer rainstorm

Mark your calendars: there’s a local election coming up that Grand Valley progressives and intelligent voters can actually win if they just get out to vote: It’s an election in which typically only about 200 people turn out vote, so one or two dozen extra voters coming out could really tip the entire election in a good way for our valley. It’s for the District 3 seat seat on the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) board, and it’s coming up May 8. (pdf)

The difference between the two candidates is stark. It should make for a very easy decision by voters.

Local business owners want “a Chamber for the rest of us”

Shawn Carr, owner of G.J. Computer Center

Two small business owners in Grand Junction are fed up and ready to start a new organization that will do what they thought the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce was supposed to do: boost small local businesses and improve life in town for those struggling at the lower end of the income scale.

Shawn Carr, a technology specialist who owns GJ Computer Center, and Billy Jacobs, owner of XZRT Gaming on Orchard Mesa, say the Grand Junction Area Chamber falls far short of providing local small businesses what they really need.

To illustrate this, Shawn tells how he recently attended a Chamber event  billed as a way for businesses to promote themselves to other businesses. He brought a pocket full of business cards to the event, but when he got there found every booth but one represented a national or international conglomerate based outside of town. He ended up handing out only one business card, and walked away thinking it’s time someone did better than this.

Sentinel wrongly blames citizens for North Avenue name change “imbroglio”

Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart says the City’s system for enacting ordinances is flawed

In an op-ed in today’s Daily Sentinel, the paper blames KeepNorth4Ever — the citizen group lobbying to keep “North Avenue” from becoming “University Boulevard” — for turning the issue into an “imbrolgio,” saying they failed to pay adequate attention to local government. The op-ed also blames KeepNorth4Ever for “sowing division” in the community by their activities.

The paper’s narrow, sour-grapes style viewpoint misses the bigger picture and places blame when instead plaudits are due.

Grand Junction Chamber backs scary candidates for the contested seats in School Board election

The chamber is endorsing pretty scary candidates for school board

It’s no surprise that in the contested District 51 School Board races, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is endorsing candidates who are demonstrably the worst of the pack. That’s par for the course.

What IS surprising is that you can figure this out from reading the Chamber’s very own “Mesa County Valley School District 51 Voter Guide,” (pdf) in which the chamber endorses Thomas Keenan for District E and Dusti Reimer for District D.

For the voter guide, the chamber asked each candidate to answer four questions. Apparently the chamber printed the candidates’ responses verbatim, without editing.

The results are pretty damn scary for the two candidates they endorsed.

Thomas Keenan, the District E candidate, had a hard time putting together a coherent sentence. Below is a screenshot of Mr. Keenan’s answer to the chamber’s Question #4: “Why should members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber vote for you?” Immediately beneath his barely-comprehensible answer, the chamber endorses Mr. Keenan:

The Chamber’s North Ave. Name Change is One of a Long String of Losing Proposals

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is driving the effort to rename North Avenue to “University Boulevard.”

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

This proposal is just another one in the chamber’s long track record of pushing ill-fitting projects onto Grand Junction citizens, whether they like them or not. The chamber’s proposals typically range from unpopular to disastrous and almost invariably go down in flames. The promises they make about their proposals’ costs and outcomes often contain misinformation, too. So who can blame people for not supporting yet another one?

Now’s Our Chance to Help School District 51 — Finally!

Crumbling ceiling tiles and exposed pipes at Orchard Mesa Elementary School

First the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and downtown business owners like Doug Simons of Enstrom Candies told city residents they needed to pay an extra sales tax to fund an event center downtown. People panned the idea and voted it down by a huge margin. A common criticism was, “A tax to build an event center? But what about our crumbling schools?” Then the chamber, Simons and CMU proposed waving a magic wand and changing the names of North Avenue to “University Boulevard,” and 12th Street to “Maverick Way,” saying this will be really great. People again panned the idea for the cost and inconvenience. A widely-expressed sentiment about the proposed name change has been ”Change the name of North Avenue? But what about our crumbling schools?”