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.
Janet Rowland and the County Commissioners have been working hard and spending tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to try to push Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr out of his position, even though District Attorney Dan Rubinstein found insufficient evidence Kuhr had engaged in any financial impropriety and Kuhr had committed no prosecutable offense.
But where were Janet and the County Commissioners during the Tina Peters debacle?
Why didn’t the Commissioners demand Peters resign at any time during her term as Clerk, in light of all her horrific incompetence, the crimes to which she admitted, her blatant ethics violations and her extreme cost to County taxpayers?
In the Daily Sentinel on Sunday, January 8, Jacob Richards authored a column titled “The Grand Valley has a problem with hate,” in which he discussed leaked videos of local activity by the violent white supremacist group Patriot Front that were posted by Unicorn Riot, a noncommercial, decentralized nonprofit media organization of journalists.
One of those videos is above. It shows members of Patriot Front holding military-style training drills in Canyon View Park in Grand Junction on October 10, 2021. Members of the group came from Utah and Idaho to participate in this training. Some of the known Patriot Front members in the video have been identified as 26 year old Nathan David Brenner from Louisville, CO, 23 year old Cameron Pruitt of Utah, Richard Jacob Jessop and Nathaniel Taylor Whitfield.
My 92 year old neighbor, who worked for School District 51 over forty years ago, received this hate mail yesterday, with the following computer-printed in screaming all-caps, racist, anti-transgender hate letter glued to the back of the picture with the child at the chalkboard:
My neighbor is pretty tough, but the line that said “OL’ BITCH” really saddened her.
In addition to showing that racism and homophobia in Grand Junction are alive and thriving, this rude correspondence raises several questions:
— How did the sender get the address of this person?
Right wing extremist Sherronna Bishop, a good friend of Mesa County Commissioner candidate Bobbie Daniel, joined the hate group the Proud Boys, the white supremacist group The Patriot Front and the Nazi sympathizer group Aryan Freedom Network, in Katy, Texas, on September 26 in protesting an all-ages-welcome drag bingo fundraiser put on by the First Christian Church of Katy, Texas, to raise money for “The Transparent Closet,” a church-sponsored boutique that provides free clothing to teens and trans youth in the community.
Steve Bannon amplified the call to protest the event on his internet TV show “War Room” in the days preceding the event.
In her own defense, Haitz told the Sentinel she didn’t mean the memes to be hurtful, and that she “has gay and lesbian friends.” Haitz said the “memes had been misunderstood” because “people don’t always understand satire,” and said that people “made up what they thought I meant by it.”
But people didn’t make up anything, and they most definitely did not misinterpret the intent of Haitz’s posts.
How do we know?
News outlets are reporting on an incident that occurred at the U.S. Capitol in which Colorado House Rep. Lauren Boebert, while exiting an elevator, saw a group of Jews who were visiting the Capitol. The person leading the group was an orthodox Jew with a traditional beard, the others were wearing yarmulkes and some were rabbis. The group was there to meet with Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY).
Reports say that upon seeing the group, Boebert looked them up and down and asked aloud if they were there to “do reconnaissance.”
The question left the group confused.
When news outlets questioned Rep. Boebert about the incident, she responded by text that she was making a joke:
“I saw a large group and made a joke. Sadly when Democrats see the same they demonize my family for a year straight.”
She added that she was too short to see yarmulkes on people’s heads.
McCarney spoke at Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters‘ first appearance since she returned to Mesa County after fleeing the state August 10 to speak at an election conspiracy conference in South Dakota organized by My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell. After the conference, Peters went into hiding in unknown locations out of state for about 5 weeks.
Video of the political rally at the church is posted on the website of far right wing activist, conspiracy theorist and “mobile day spa instructor” Sharronna Bishop, who has dubbed herself “America’s Mom.” The rally was organized by the local extremist right wing group “Stand for the Constitution.” That’s the same group that has been pressuring the County Commissioners to declare Mesa County a “Constitutional sanctuary,” where federal and state laws don’t apply.
School District 51 Board Candidate Andrea Haitz sent out a red-meat fundraising email in July that offended teachers, parents and D-51 employees who have been working hard to give kids the best education possible while struggling with all the difficulties imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Politics is in the way of our children’s future. Political agendas are being jammed down our kids’ throats. Necessary tools that were once taught, like critical thinking, have now been replaced with divisive ideologies and revisionist history.
I will not watch our kids be brainwashed. I am taking a stand!
The email was a dog-whistle designed to extract donations from far-right conservatives who fear “Critical Race Theory,” (CRT) a body of legal and academic scholarship that proposes that race is a social and not a biological construct, and that discusses how race and a history of institutionalized racism have created and perpetuate a system that broadly disadvantages people of color in American society.
Grand Junction’s undercurrent of hatred showed itself again this week after several City residents reported they’ve gotten anonymous racist hate mail that they think was prompted, at least in part, by signs in their front yards indicating support of social equity, inclusion and justice.
A bi-racial downtown resident reports having gotten a total of nine racist hate letters so far, saying they have been coming steadily, approximately monthly, for about a year now, starting in 2020.
A Redlands Village resident got the following racist poem in the mail, authored by a “A. Wyatt Mann,” a pen name used by an American filmmaker named Nick Bougas, who produced racist, homophobic and anti-semitic material under the pseudonym. She also got a “Fuck Biden and fuck you if you voted for him” note, also posted below:
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.
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.”
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).
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.
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 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.
Grand Junction’s “Inclusivity Proclamation” notwithstanding, there is plenty of hate and racism in Grand Junction. The above represents a small fraction of the 35 to 40 hate-filled memes and cartoons someone took the time to copy, cut out and mail us in an anonymous snail mail letter, received on Tuesday, 9/22/20. The rest were similar, many were worse, and many focused on Trump worship, denigrating Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, liberals, non-white people, etc.
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.”