Category: Republican incompetence

Mesa County’s pervasive right wing culture is damaging our public health and economy

No one wants to say it, but Mesa County’s far right wing culture is now hurting us all, physically and economically

Everybody is dancing around it, but no one wants to come right out and say it. It’s the single biggest threat to Mesa County’s population in the last hundred years, but everyone is scared to say it:

Mesa County’s dominant far right wing culture is now causing a resurgent spread of Covid-19, sending people to the hospital and endangering the children in our community who are too young to get vaccinated. Our area’s right wing culture, with its erroneous, misinformed beliefs, is causing the majority of Mesa County residents to refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time our elected officials have abandoned all other means of controlling the pandemic, like masking and physical distancing requirements.

We’ve heard over and over again that the Covid vaccine is now our only way out of the pandemic, but because most people in Mesa County are refusing to get vaccinated, we may never escape the pandemic.

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?

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.”

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.

RN literally begs Mesa County Commissioners to urge public to wear masks, distance, avoid gatherings

Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N. begged Mesa County Commissioners on 11/9 to make a definitive public statement urging the public to wear masks, avoid gatherings and strictly follow other public health protocol to help rein in the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus in our community

A registered nurse openly begged the Mesa County Commissioners to make a statement telling people they need to wear masks when patronizing local businesses, maintain physical distancing and strictly avoid gatherings, to help rein in the area’s skyrocketing Covid-19 infection rate.

Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N., a retired Veterans Administration nurse, spoke to the commissioners in the public comment period of their Monday, 11/9 meeting (video, @ 1:02). Phillips spoke after Mesa County Public Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr told commissioners about the dire situation the county faces from the ongoing uncontrolled spread of the novel Coronavirus. Dr. Kuhr told commissioners that last Saturday the county reached its highest new Covid case count in a single day: 180.

Beware electing a developer as County Commissioner. Here’s why:

Republican Mesa County Commissioner candidate is shown trespassing on the Grand Valley Canal banks in his latest ad.

Cody Davis is running for Mesa County Commissioner in District 1. His website doesn’t say it, but Cody is a partner with his brother in Chronos Builders, a company that develops land and builds houses and subdivisions, and as such there couldn’t be a worse choice to hold this particular office.

The fact that he is a land developer and home builder is precisely what makes him not just an inappropriate person, but potentially a dangerous person to sit on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners.

Why?

Better Know a District: The CO House District 54 race, Soper vs. Slaven-Emond

Where is Colorado House District 54?

Colorado House District 54 is all the dark pink area in this map. It includes Clifton, Fruitvale, DeBeque, the towns of Mesa, Collbran, Fruita, Loma, Mack, Glade Park, Palisade, Whitewater, Gateway, the western side of Delta County and the central part of the town of Delta proper. It’s the “doughnut” around state House District 55.

Republican Matt Soper at the GOP rally in Delta on Saturday, May 16, 2020, where he told numerous lies to the crowd.

The race for Colorado House District 54 is between the incumbent, Matt Soper (R) and AliceMarie Slaven-Emond (D), both of Delta. You can read articles in this blog about Matt Soper at this link.

Matt Soper (R-incumbent)

Soper won the House Representative D-54 office in 2018 under contentious conditions. Published articles reveal that Soper lied to the Secretary of State about where he lived in 2018, listing the address of a rental house his mother owns as his own residence in order to meet the residency requirement to qualify to hold the House District 54 seat. In truth, an unrelated family had lived in the house for years, and after one of the occupants swore in a legal affidavit that Matt Soper did not live in the house with him and his family, Soper had his mother evict the family from the home as retribution for telling the truth publicly about how Soper did not live there.

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.

How Trump’s sabotage of the Post Office is playing out locally

Trump mega-donor and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

In May of 2020, President Trump appointed Louis DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor with no postal experience as Postmaster General of the United States.

After taking office in June, Mr. DeJoy immediately started making changes to the Postal Service that resulted in delayed delivery of mail across the country. His actions included removal of 23 top postal executives, removing high-speed mail sorting machines from post offices around the country and prohibiting employees from logging overtime to deliver mail.

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.

Republican Commissioner candidate Cody Davis shown violating the law in latest ad

Republican Mesa County Commissioner candidate is shown trespassing on the Grand Valley Canal banks in his latest ad.

Republican Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis shows himself walking on the banks of the Grand Valley Canal in his latest TV ad. The Grand Valley Canal is also known as the Government Highline Canal, and technically, public use of the Grand Valley Canal maintenance roads is trespassing. Signs are posted all along the canal banks with the warning “NO trespassing. Violators will be PROSECUTED.” No one has ever been arrested or charged with trespassing for walking, biking, jogging or skiing on the canal banks, though, according to former three-term Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, who said that trespassing on the canal banks is “basically the lowest priority misdemeanor there is” for the Sheriff’s Department. Trespassing on the canal banks is akin to a time-honored pastime, which is probably what led Cody Davis to trespass on the canal banks — obviously without even thinking about it — in his latest ad.

The only thing that would make it legal would be if he or his family owns the land on which he is seen walking and has given the Bureau of Reclamation or Grand Valley Water Users an easement.

Petition wording approved in recall of Mesa County Clerk; campaign moves to signature-gathering phase

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R) is facing a recall election due to gross incompetence and failure to carry out her duties. (Photo: YouTube)

Eagle County Treasurer Teak Simonton has approved the wording of the petition submitted by the RecallClerkTina campaign to recall Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R), allowing the recall effort to move to the signature-gathering phase.

The Mesa County Commissioners approved Simonton to serve as the designated election official to oversee the recall effort, since by law Peters can’t oversee her own recall effort.

Rep. Matt Soper lies to Delta citizens, and Delta applauds

Colorado House Rep. Matt Soper (R) spoke Saturday afternoon, May 16, at a Republican rally in downtown Delta held to protest the state’s public health stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, the deadly disease caused by the novel Coronavirus for which there is no prevention, no treatment and no cure. The sky was sunny and people stood around 5th and Palmer by the Wells Fargo bank holding “Don’t tread on me” flags and cheering.

As of this writing, Covid-19 has killed 96,082 Americans — equal to thirty two September 11 attacks. But the rally wasn’t held to mourn the tragedy of these deaths.

It was an occasion for Republicans candidates to fling red meat to constituents.

Republicans’ lies are turning deadly

House Rep. Scott Tipton, State Senator Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese all were recently outed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for spreading false information on social media that was put out by Colorado Counties, Inc.

The false story went like this: Governor Jared Polis was intentionally withholding federal funds intended for local governments under the Coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress last month, and he was going to use those badly-needed funds to balance the state’s budget instead, forsaking people in rural Colorado who desperately needed the funds.

They didn’t read the bill

In truth, the bill Congress approved designated relief funds only to state and local governments that serve populations of over 500,000 people.

The CARES Act states:

“A unit of local government eligible for receipt of direct payment includes a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level with a population that exceeds 500,000.”

“Exceeds 500,000” means eligible units of government must serve a population OVER 500,000.