Category: Mesa County Republican Party

A history of Republican cronyism at Colorado Mesa University

CMU President Tim Foster

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster has long used CMU to create high-paying jobs for Republican friends who either lost elections, were term-limited out of office or simply had no other place to go. His use of CMU for patronage appointments for exclusively Republican pals is so notorious that in 2007 Leslie Robinson, a writer for the Colorado Independent, dubbed the school “Mesa Republican College.”

The financial misuse of a taxpayer-funded institution by a person in position of power to benefit friends and acquaintances is called “cronyism” Its formal definition is “the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.” People often confuse cronyism with nepotism, which is when a powerful person appoints family members to positions of authority without regard to their qualifications.

What’s wrong with cronyism?

Did Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland water down the County Attorney job description to allow her to hire her pal Rose?

Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese was licensed to practice law in 2007.

That’s 13 years ago, and she spent 8 of of those years as Mesa County Commissioner. During her five years as a private practice attorney, Rose Pugliese messed up enough to have a malpractice lawsuit filed against her for giving bad advice. That case went to court and Mesa County District Judge David Bottger ruled that Pugliese did indeed give her clients wrong advice, and proceeded to invalidate a settlement agreement Pugliese had written for her clients based on the bad advice.

We don’t know what else Pugliese did while she was in private practice, but we do know that she has never worked for any local government as an attorney before.

Yet with NO experience as a local government attorney, and short and questionable experience as a private attorney, somehow Rose Pugliese is on a magical trajectory to become the new Mesa County Attorney, overseeing a department of 18 people, and replacing someone with 33 years experience as a local government attorney, six of those as the Mesa County Attorney, six years of outstanding job reviews, and under whom no scandals or improprieties whatsoever occurred in his department all that time.

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?

Grand Junction’s political landscape continues to trend more blue

A New York Times’ map of 2020 election results across the country shows more of our area trending blue than ever before.

A November, 2018 analysis of Mesa County’s political landscape found that based on the race for Governor, Mesa County was no longer a “hard-core red” county, and that our area was starting to trend bluer, towards Democrats. At that time, Grand Junction’s older downtown area had turned solidly blue, but was still surrounded by a sea of red, with few to no area races being competitive.

Getting bluer

An analysis of the 2020 election results shows the trend towards area voters leaning Democratic continuing, and accelerating.

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.

Mesa County Commissioners use taxpayer money to recruit evangelical Christian foster families

Janet Rowland’s religious nonprofit got $57,360 in taxpayer funds in 2017  to recruit Christian foster families and place adopted kids in religious homes. (Photo: KKCO 11 News)

Newly-discovered Mesa County documents (pdf) reveal that in 2017, the Board of County Commissioners handed over $57,000 in taxpayer funds to a Christian organization represented by Janet Rowland for the purpose of recruiting solely evangelical Christian foster families in Mesa County.

Rose Pugliese, John Justman and Scott McInnis — all Republicans — unanimously agreed to enter into a contract (pdf) to pay $57,360 in taxpayer funds to Project 1.27, a Christian ministry that works through churches to recruit religious foster and adoptive families to assure children are “cared for within Christian communities.”

Janet Rowland was Project 1.27’s national director.

The group engages in  “[foster] training with a solid Christian perspective,” and provides training to “Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.” The group’s website makes no mention of recruiting families belonging to any other religions or of no religion.

The county’s contract required 20 hours a month be spent on “faith based recruitment.”

Project 1.27’s website only addresses recruitment of Christian families, saying they provide “state-required, biblically-based training for Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.”

This is misleading since legally, no state can require “biblically-based training” in anything. Project 1.27’s website does not say it is open to recruitment of families from any other religion, or non-religious families.

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.

Scott McInnis tells write-in candidate Bob Prescott to get out of the commissioner race because he’s “not on the team”

Mesa County Commissioner and OGRE leader, Scott McInnis

Click to hear the radio ad write-in candidate Bob Prescott made in response to Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis’ repeated bullying (now playing on Moose Country radio stations):

The leader of Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs), Scott McInnis, has told write-in commissioner candidate Bob Prescott to his face, twice now, that he needs to get out of the race, because “You’re not on the team,” and “You need to just go away” because “you’ve already lost.”

Prescott reports McInnis dissed him this way most recently at a Mesa County Republican Party luncheon held at Warehouse 2565 where around 30 people were in attendance.

Why is McInnis so rude to Prescott?

Four people show for Mesa County GOP’s “Meet the Candidate” event Sept. 11

GOP County Commissioner Candidate Cody Davis takes a selfie of the candidates at a GOP “Meet the Candidate” event on Friday amid a lack of attendees. (Photo Credit: Cody Davis/Janet Rowland)

A Republican “Meet the Candidate” event held at Jerry’s Outdoor Sports on 30 Road near I-70-B featured Janet Rowland and Cody Davis, both running for Mesa County Commissioner, Matt Soper, who is running for the Colorado District 54 House seat, and Janice Rich, running for the Colorado District 55 House seat.

Rowland posted information about the event on her Facebook page saying “We had a great time at our first Meet the Candidate event. Thankful to have young and old show up.”

She meant one young person and one old person showed up.

Photos of the event show fewer than a handful of attendees, revealing a potential lack of enthusiasm for the slate of GOP candidates in Mesa County in November.

(Left to right) Matt Soper, Cody Davis and Janice Rich talk to all four people who attended a Mesa County GOP Meet the Candidate event held Friday at Jerry’s Outdoor Sports. (Photo by Janet Rowland via Facebook)

Anti-Trump sentiment emerging in Grand Junction

Truck seen on I-70B in Grand Junction September 6, 2020

Note: Comments are back! Thanks for your patience during the fix.– Anne

The body politic in Mesa County used to be in lockstep with the Republican Party, but no more. An increasing number of area residents are proudly displaying signage opposing Trump, and for good reason.

It’s becoming extremely difficult for anyone, even Republicans, to continue supporting the President, especially after the past week.

Anti-Trump garden flag seen in northwest Grand Junction

On September 3, Trump urged North Carolina voters to commit felonies en masse by trying to vote twice.

On September 4, the Trump Administration ordered an end to programs aimed at promoting racial sensitivity among government workers (pdf), calling them “un-American propaganda.”

Tim Foster endorses anti-science candidate with a track record of plagiarism for Mesa County Commissioner

“Principled”? Tim Foster’s endorsement of anti-science, documented plagiarist Janet Rowland for Mesa County Commissioner. (Screen shot taken from Janet Rowland’s Facebook page on 8/19/20.)

Tim Foster wants to make one thing clear: he is endorsing Janet Rowland for Mesa County Commissioner not in his capacity as longtime President of Colorado Mesa University (CMU), but strictly as an individual.

Well, Okay.

While he certainly has the right as a private citizen to endorse Rowland, doing so nevertheless makes Mesa County residents scratch their heads and wonder why Foster, who everyone knows heads a local university with a Nursing Program, Graduate Nursing Programs and a Physician Assistant program, would endorse an anti-science candidate who actively promotes Q-Anon-based anti-mask disinformation on her social media.

It seems incongruous. Rowland’s posts directly conflict with guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for controlling the pandemic. All this is going on while CMU is making a monumental effort at a tremendous expense to get students and staff to comply with strict on-campus masking and physical distancing rules to minimize the potential public health threat posed by CMU’s opening the school year with in-person learning amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Steve Bannon arrested for diverting donations from “Build the Wall” nonprofit to personal expenses, lavish lifestyle

Time magazine cover photo of Bannon, February, 2017

Western Colorado’s many Trump supporters won’t like today’s news that even more Trump associates are joining the universe of criminality surrounding President Donald Trump:

Former Trump campaign chair and White House adviser Steve Bannon has been arrested along with three others on charges they duped Trump’s supporters into believing they were contributing to building Trump’s border wall, when in reality Bannon and his colleagues diverted donations to fund their personal expenses and lavish lifestyles.

Bannon was arrested with veteran Brian Kolfage and political strategists Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea. The four operated a crowdfunding site called “We the People Build the Wall” that later became the nonprofit “Build the Wall.”

Report about Mesa County Clerk Elections Office praises employees, pans the Clerk

Eagle County Treasurer and Public Trustee Teak Simonton (pdf) produced a report to the Colorado Secretary of State (pdf) on August 7 reviewing and making recommendations to improve the operations of the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections Office. The Colorado Department of State hired Simonton as a consultant to observe the Elections Division during the June 30th primary and make recommendations for improvement. Simonton, who has 14 years of experience in administering elections, concluded that while there is a lack of experience among the staff, numerous problems that need fixing and best practices that are not being employed, the Mesa County Clerk’s Elections staff as a whole is a dedicated and capable group of employees.

Her review of the Mesa County Clerk herself, though, was not good.

A look inside Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ $3,600+ remodeled office

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ $3,600+ newly painted and redecorated office, including a $700 executive desk, two reclining chairs, 50″ flat-panel TV and decorative items. A former employee said the office had a flat panel TV in a meeting room, but has not had one in the Clerk’s own office before.

After she was elected, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters spent a substantial amount of money remodeling her personal office.

Ms. Peters used over $3,600 in taxpayer funds to purchase paint and furnishings, including a $700 executive desk, two reclining chairs, a 50″ flat panel TV with wall mount, surge protectors and cables (pdf), framed wall posters, fancy pull knobs (pdf), an ice bucket (pdf) and other items from Home Depot, (pdf) American Furniture Warehouse (pdf), City Market and Ross Dress for Less. (pdf)

The above photo is of Clerk Tina’s remodeled office.

You can page through a complete, documented accounting of her office remodeling expenditures here.

Taxpayers should get to see it. After all, they paid for it.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters takes exception to atheists on social media

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ biased comment on the “Transparency in Mesa County” Facebook page.

 

Embattled Republican Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters expressed contempt for atheists yesterday in a comment on social media, sowing further doubt about whether she can truly conduct her office in an impartial manner.

Here is how the comment came about:

Participants on the public group Facebook page “Transparency in Mesa County” had been discussing the County Clerk’s office after it was found that they forgot to collect and count 574+ ballots from the November, 2019 combined general election.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters stonewalling list of voters whose ballots were lost

Mesa County citizens are trying to recall Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters for inept operation of her office, including forgetting 574 ballots in a collection box from the November, 2019 general election.

Embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R) has not complied with several Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests seeking a copy of a spreadsheet her office created containing the names of the 574+ disenfranchised voters whose ballots her office failed count in the November, 2019 general election.

The ballots were left in a collection box after the election and were not retrieved or counted. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold called the oversight a “serious dereliction of duty.”

Clerk Peters ordered the creation of the list.

Several former Clerk’s office employees report that Ms. Peters asked Sandra Brown, another Clerk’s Office employee, to create a spreadsheet of the names of all the voters whose ballots weren’t counted so Ms. Peters could send them each a written apology.

Internal emails from the County Clerk’s office support claims that the list in fact exists. In the emails, Peters asks other employees not to distract Ms. Brown from the task of creating the list, so she could finish it quickly.

Why not Ray Scott? Consider his past as an elected official.

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott

What do you know about State Senator Ray Scott, who is currently a candidate for Mesa County Commissioner?

One question people have about Scott is, if he is already a state senator and his term doesn’t expire until 2022, why is he running for county commissioner? Why doesn’t he want to finish his term in the State Senate?

The answer?

Money.

Scott makes $30,000/year and a $45/day per diem as a state senator.

As a county commissioner, he would more than triple his salary. The salary for a county commissioner is now $92,681, not including benefits and perks, like insurance, use of vehicles, etc. — more than three times the average salary in Mesa County.

“No drama” Tina Peters is looking for love, but if you want to dater her, it’ll cost you

Embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters has plenty of reasons to look for love.

Her inept operation of the county clerks’ office combined with her aggressive manner and staunch refusal to resign her office has enraged local voters to the extent that they are circulating a petition to recall her from office.

She likely doesn’t feel very well-loved Mesa County right now.

So Tina turned to Match.com to find someone — anyone — who might appreciate her.

On her profile, Peters describes herself and “not petty” and “no drama.”

And if you want to date her, it’s going to cost you.

Peters warns interested suitors that…

Sorry guys, I do not “go dutch” on dates even though I can afford to do so. I’m old fashioned that way I guess. If you can’t afford to be with me, then I’m not for you.