Category: Violence

G.J. Gun Club Protests Continued U.S. Gun Violence

Grand Junction Gun Club Protest

Photo Credit: Lee Gelatt Photography http://www.leegelattphotography.com/

Grand Junction Gun Club members held signs and waved at noon today at 7th Street and Patterson Road to protest the escalating epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. and demand sensible gun regulations, like closing loopholes in the law requiring background checks for gun purchases.

The group turned out in response to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which organized similar rallies across the country including in Washington, D.C. today. Stay-at-home mom Shannon Watts founded Moms Demand Action on December 15, 2012, in response to the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 elementary school children and 6 school staff members were massacred. Moms Demand Action wants state and federal legislators enact common-sense gun reforms.

Photo Credit: Lee Gelatt

Photo Credit: Lee Gelatt

Gun Violence Protest in Grand Junction

In Grand Junction, protesters stood on the busy corner in front of St. Mary’s Hospital in clear, sunny 80-degree weather holding signs saying “No More Massacres,” “End Gun Violence,” “Background Checks for Guns” and “Whatever it Takes.” The group got plenty of thumbs-ups and honks of approval from drivers passing by, as well as curious looks and even some middle fingers and angry shouts from drivers who didn’t support their efforts.

Photo Credit: Lee Gelatt Photography

Photo Credit: Lee Gelatt Photography

In the U.S., nearly 8 children are shot and killed every day, and Colorado has the dubious distinction of now being home to a growing list of notorious gun massacres: The Chuck-Cheese killings in 1993, the Columbine High School mass killing in 1999 and the Aurora Theater Massacre in 2012. And the legacy continues: at the same time protesters were holding their signs in Grand Junction today, yet another juvenile male was shot in Aurora, Colorado, resulting in three schools being locked down.

Have you had enough of gun violence in our country? Want to see the U.S. start doing something to reduce these now-common tragedies? To join the anti gun violence cause locally and get word of upcoming gun sense activities in Grand Junction, go to the Grand Junction Gun Club’s Facebook page.

 

Grand Junction’s Growing Hate Community

This vehicle provides a sample of the hate-filled mentality of many citizens of Mesa County, Colorado

As the feds mull hate crime charges against Dylann Roof, the shooter in the June 17 massacre at a historic black South Carolina church, the presence of hatred, bigotry and intolerance is growing more evident in and around Grand Junction every day, and it’s not a comforting sight.

Remember this hate-filled, wing-nut truck spotted in Whitewater a few weeks ago?

 

The truck belongs to a local guy named “Marc” who operates a business that manufactures fake fiberglass rocks sized and shaped specifically to hide an arsenal of firearms. Marc designed the rocks to hide rifles, in particular an M4 carbine semi-automatic rifle, and according to his e-commerce website, “a butt load of ammunition.” Marc’s fake rocks come with a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution, and they sell for $925 each. Marc also makes fake, hollowed-out tree stumps designed to hide small arms, like pistols.

The front page of Marc’s e-commerce website bears a threatening “WARNING” to all potential customers. He writes,

If you…

  • Are a liberal or in anyway support the willful destruction of America by this [Obama] regime or…
  • Refuse to recognize that this “shining city on the hill” was founded on Christian principles or…
  • Regard English as your “second language” and are content to let it remain as such…

DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER PURCHASING MY PRODUCT! [MY PRODUCTS] ARE HANDCRAFTED BY PATRIOTS FOR PATRIOTS!

So right up front as part of his business plan, Marc parades his paranoia and intolerance of people with differing political opinions, religions and nationalities.  Below is a photo taken from Marc’s fake rock website, showing Marc and a friend, armed to the teeth with powerful weapons, posing along side the truck he has splattered with paranoid messages.

"Marc" proudly poses alongside his paranoid, hater truck

“Marc” proudly poses alongside his truck

What’s really troubling is that Marc is not an anomaly in the Grand Junction area. He is one of a growing number of Mesa County business owners who are “out” about the hatred and disgust they harbor towards area residents who are different from them. They revile, condemn and insult ethnic minorities, political progressives, women, people of other nationalities and religions, and people of no religion — in short, anyone who differs from them in their beliefs, physical appearance or cultural background.

Rick Brainard Resurfaces to Gloat Over Former Juror’s Plight

Former Grand Junction City Councilman Rick Brainard. Photo credit: KREX-TV, Grand Junction

Former Grand Junction City Councilman Rick Brainard. Photo credit: KREX-TV, Grand Junction

Convicted domestic abuser and former short term Grand Junction City Councilman Rick Brainard is publicly gloating over the former Blagg juror’s contempt conviction, and is being assisted by Paul Shockley, the Daily Sentinel’s court-beat reporter.

In response to an April 29 article by Shockley about Ms. Charlesworth’s conviction, Brainard tweeted, “XOXO. That darn Karma is a son of a gun.” Shockley retweeted the comment, helping Brainard further magnify it.

Mesa County District Attorney Set to Further Abuse Beleaguered Blagg Juror

The Mesa County D.A. has whipped up hysteria about the former Blagg juror, and is now responding to the desires of a pitchfork-wielding mob to punish her

The Mesa County D.A. has whipped up local anger about the former Blagg juror, and is responding to the desires of an angry mob to punish her further

The abused Blagg juror in Grand Junction and her further prosecution by the Mesa County District Attorney are raising questions among local women about exactly what constitutes domestic abuse, and whether and when someone experiences it or not.

The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

Under this definition,  whether an act constitutes domestic violence or not depends entirely on the point of view of the targeted partner. In the case of the Blagg juror, her former husbands’ actions drove her to divorce them, but someone can certainly file for a divorce without feeling intimidated, threatened or abused by the other partner’s actions. If her husband’s actions just angered her and pushed her to divorce them, does that really make her a “victim” of domestic violence?

Maybe it just makes her a strong woman.

Whereas society used to entirely accept a man beating up his wife, now domestic violence is defined by things as subtle as using dirty looks, playing mind games, using children to relay messages or taking away someone’s cell phone.

Subjective Gray Area

Moreover, whether or not a partner’s actions rise to the level domestic violence depends on a number of differentiating variables, like frequency and intensity of violent acts, and the presence or lack of other forms of maltreatment, like chronic attempts at financial control or isolation. Other factors like substance abuse, the aggressive partner’s history of abusive actions, or a history of mental illness or possessiveness, can also figure into a definition of what constitutes domestic abuse. It’s also important whether a pattern of abuse exists or not. If a one-off threat or act by one partner drives the other partner end the relationship permanently, does this rise to the level domestic violence?

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, caving to an angry public, is poised to publicly heap more abuse on a beleaguered former juror in the Blagg case who has been targeted repeatedly by the Defense.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, caving to an angry public, is poised to heap further abuse on a beleaguered former juror in the Blagg case who has been targeted repeatedly by the Defense for more than a decade

Again, it depends on the point of view of the person targeted by the act. Despite this huge gray area in what constitutes domestic abuse, a Mesa County Court judge has told the former Blagg juror exactly what her marital experiences amounted to, and how she must define them.

This is a tremendously presumptive position by the Court. It’s also a tremendously unfair position in which to put the juror. Further, in return for having the temerity to disagree with the Court about her own experiences, the D.A. is now is poised to punish her further with jail time and thousands of dollars in fees and fines, in addition to the thousands she and her current husband have already been forced to shell out to an attorney to help defend her.

By now one thing in this case is truly clear: the former Blagg juror has suffered far more abuse from the Court system and the D.A. than she ever did from her former husbands.

The D.A.’s actions to further punish this already aggrieved former juror will no doubt put a healthy dose of fear and trepidation into everyone who gets a jury summons in the future. The Mesa County District Attorney is now also poised to severely deplete the already small pool of people who are willing to serve on a jury, and probably not just locally, but will create the same difficulty for courts across the country.

Online Videos Reveal John L. Casey to be a Fearmonger and Racist

Online videos of talks by John L. Casey, the 2015 Energy Forum and Expo’s keynote speaker, reveal him stimulating fear and racism by telling audiences that in the coming cold era that will occur on Earth, minority groups in urban areas will rise up to become thieves and murderers who will try to steal your food.

In videos of his talks, mostly given to Florida tea party groups, Casey tells his audiences that anthropogenic global warming is a “widespread fraud of climate science.” He says carbon dioxide (CO2) has nothing to do with climate change, that changing climate is purely related to the sun. Casey says the sun is now in a period of “hibernation” that will lead to extreme cold that will devastate crops and result of massive food shortages globally.

One of Casey’s talks in reveals his fearmongering and cultivation of racism.

In a video published to YouTube on December 4, 2014, around minute 56, Casey tells his audience:

“After the first panic, when the shelves are cleared out…your neighbor is going to come across the street — maybe your neighbor’s wife — and say ‘sorry to come to your house’ and say there’s no bread and no milk, would you give me something because we know you have a one year food supply. What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? You’re gonna try and help of course. That’s the human thing. But at some point you’re gonna have enough neighbors lining up and at some point you’re going to have to say ‘I’m sorry we need to preserve our food for ourselves.’

Guess what happens after that point? They’ll beat you up and they’ll kill you. …Nothing is more driven than a starving person. They will do anything, especially if they have children who are starving….

Worst case, have a sanctuary away from urban areas…this may not apply too much here…but it absolutely applies if you live in Miami, New York City, or Atlanta, Georgia,…I mean, pick a major metropolitan area, especially those that are heavily minority and dependent on government food. That’s another reason we need to get rid of the food stamp program, ladies and gentlemen. We need people to be self reliant, not dependent. By making them independent and self-reliant, we give them a chance…”

“The death and destruction will be biblical in scale,” Casey tells the crowd.

See the clip here.

 

 

 

G.J.’s North Desert Trashed by Off-Road Vehicles, Shooting, Dumping

Off-roaders revel in tearing up the North Desert area after rain and snow, creating rutted mud pits for fun.

Off-roaders revel in tearing up the North Desert area after rain and snow, creating rutted mud pits for fun.

If you want tourists, friends and family to see the best our area has to offer, whatever you do, don’t take them up 27 1/4 Road into the desert north of H Road. While the panoramas from the north desert area are spectacular, this formerly stark and beautiful range of mancos shale hills running along the base of Grand Junction’s iconic Bookcliffs is now defaced from virtually end to end with trash dumps, mud ruts, shotgun shells and makeshift religious memorials to people who have died out there in accidents.

What used to be a marvelous place for a long, peaceful walk with your dog, is now so disappointing it tries the soul.

An airplane flies over areas on BLM land where shooting is permitted, right underneath the takeoff/landing patterns for G.J. Regional Airport

An airplane flies over BLM land where shooting is permitted underneath the takeoff/landing patterns for G.J. Regional Airport

Since the shooting range opened several miles out on 27 1/4 Road, and since the North Desert started being included on OHV (off-highway vehicle) maps, the area has turned ugly. It’s also a more dangerous place for peaceful users, like walkers, bikers and horseback riders.

Why a Fetus is Not a Person

NotADifficultConcept

Updated November 5, 2014

Colorado’s Amendment 67 did not pass, to the relief of most of the state. The measure would have declared unborn human beings as a “person” or a “child” in the Colorado Criminal Code.

It was yet another a personhood measure, but this year Personhood USA, the group pushing these kinds of measures, tried to disguise that fact by calling it the “Brady Amendment,” after a fetus a woman lost in a 2012 drunk driving accident. Naming the measure after a woman’s lost fetus was an attempt to give the measure emotional appeal, because when you can get people to react through emotion, they’ll often bypass their rational thinking.

A fundamentally flawed argument

Coloradans have rejected personhood measures three times now, for good reason. The thinking behind these ballot initiatives is illogical and thus fundamentally flawed.

A fetus is not a person in any legal sense.

Both fertilized eggs and clones represent potential, not actual human beings.

Zygotes, or fertilized eggs, and fetuses lack many of the physical characteristics of human beings. They don’t have brains, skeletons, or internal organs. A fetus cannot engage in human perception or thought. The analogy that fits is that an acorn is not an oak tree and the egg you eat for breakfast is not a chicken.

Fetuses have no social identity, and there is no precedent for giving them such. Names are not legally conferred upon fetuses, only upon babies after birth.  The first legal recognition of a person’s existence is their birth certificate. No government on Earth issues “pre-birth certificates.” The government does not issue death certificates for miscarried or aborted fetuses. The government does not issue social security numbers to fetuses, nor does the government confer any rights of citizenship on upon conception.

Online Database Details Religious Crimes Against Humanity

fishAn eye-opening database publicly available on Google Docs lists known major organized crimes implemented globally by the Catholic church and other religions. The list includes systematic child abductions by the Church (the seizure of millions of babies from unmarried women and girls from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s who were then adopted out for profit), child and female enslavement, sexual abuse, child pornography, abuse of deaf victims, beatings, severe punishments and use of orphans as “guinea pigs” in human experimental and clinical trials. All entries are documented to authoritative sources or reporting. One example of crimes committed by the Catholic church is the so-called “Baby Scoop Era,” in which unwed pregnant girls were “disappeared” into Catholic “Mother-Baby Homes.” There the girls and young women were fed and housed with minimal attention until they gave birth in rooms alone, without support, assistance, counseling or coaching. The new young mothers were then coerced or forced to surrender their babies for adoption. This human rights crime against women is backed up with a link to a one hour investigative news program by Dan Rather titled “What the Catholic Church failed to tell you: Abominations of the Catholic Church in USA and Canada” that details how from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, Catholic nuns coerced over one million American women and girls to give up their babies. The Church then sold them into illegitimate adoptions for “astronomical profits.”

Woman and Girls Used as Slave Labor in Irish Laundries Operated by the Catholic Church

Women who were held as slaves in Catholic laundries in Ireland are seeking justice for their imprisonment and abuse

Women who were held as slaves in Catholic laundries in Ireland are seeking justice for their imprisonment and abuse

A BBC investigation has revealed that Irish nuns from the Catholic church took female children out of church-operated state orphanages and used them as unpaid slave labor in church-owned commercial laundry facilities called the Magdalene Laundries. Women and girls made to work in the laundries were held as prisoners and endured significant abuse. The slave laundries existed into the 1980s and did the laundry for restaurants, railway stations, convents and the airport. Some women were held in the laundries for over 50 years.

The Irish Examiner newspaper investigated the finances of religious orders that operated the laundries in 2012 and found they owned assets of $1.9 billion. (Yes, that’s “billion” with a “B.”).

One woman, the main subject in BBC’s report, escaped the laundry, ran to a nearby church for help, got raped by a priest and returned to the laundry. She became pregnant from the rape. The nuns took her baby away from her at birth and gave it up for adoption. The woman was forced to work in the laundry for 14 years. She was finally reunited with her daughter 40 years after her birth. The woman is demanding an apology — just an apology — from the Church.

Source: Demanding justice for women and children abused by Irish nunsBBC News, September 23, 2014

CO Rep. Ray Scott Throws Women and Kids Under the Bus

Colorado Rep. Ray Scott poses with a fancy car while Mesa County's poorest women and children go without health insurance

Colorado Rep. Ray Scott proudly poses with a hot sports car while Mesa County’s poorest women and children go without health insurance

Colorado House Rep. Ray Scott may love fetuses, but he doesn’t care much about women and apparently doesn’t think much of kids, either.

Besides being a chronic no-show at election-time debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters, in January of 2012 Ray Scott co-sponsored HB1130, a bill titled “Penalties for Violent Offenses Against Fetuses.” The bill’s very title ignores the fact that typically the woman surrounding the fetus would be the primary recipient of any violent acts perpetrated against the fetus. But in Ray Scott’s mind, women matter less than their fetuses.

Ray Scott even supported a fetal personhood amendment in the past. Such proposals are among the ultimate affronts to women, since they are religiously-based efforts that would make it a crime for women to use some forms of contraception, in accordance with Mr. Scott’s own personal religious beliefs.

Sheriff Candidate Mike Harlow: The Ugliest Face of Mesa County

Mesa County Sheriff write-in candidate Mike Harlow

Mesa County Sheriff write-in candidate Mike Harlow

It’s no surprise that Mesa County’s tea party faction endorsed custom holster-maker and write-in candidate Mike Harlow for sheriff.

What is a surprise, though, and a huge embarrassment for Mesa County citizens, is that Harlow got the endorsement of anyone at all.

Harlow’s smugness and extreme hate-filled views reveal one thing: he is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

If his writings are any indication, contempt and hostility ooze from Harlow’s every pore.

Grand Junction Gun Club Urges Action End to Mass Shootings

A portion of the postcards delivered to Congressman Scott Tipton by members of the Grand Junction Gun Club on Friday, July 11.

A portion of the postcards delivered to Congressman Scott Tipton on Friday, July 11, by members of the Grand Junction Gun Club .

A new citizens’ group in Grand Junction is saying “no more” to gun violence. The group came together to advocate action be taken to reduce the growing number of mass gun slaughters occurring in the U.S.

On Friday, July 11, 2014 the Grand Junction Gun Club presented Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) with 1,500 postcards from constituents in his district saying “Not One More” person should be killed by gun violence. 150 of the postcards were from residents of Grand Junction. The postcards were collected by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, two national groups working to overcome the inaction by Congress on the issue of  growing gun violence.

The words were inspired by Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Martinez, was one of the six people killed in the May 23 gun massacre in Santa Barbara, California. In a statement to the media after his son’s death, Mr. Martinez said,

“When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say ‘Stop this madness!’ Too many people have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘NOT ONE MORE!'”

His words inspired a national movement to urge legislators to enact measures to reduce the number of guns getting into the hands of unstable and violent people. The Grand Junction Gun Club is standing in support of the survivors, families and communities throughout the U.S. that have been affected by mass shootings.

The perpetrator of the Santa Barbara shootings, Elliot Rodger, sought retribution against women for rejecting him and to punish young men whom he believed lived a better life than he did. Rodger visited a shooting range to train himself in shooting handguns and owned a Glock 34 pistol. When he finished his gun rampage, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Rick Brainard Resurfaces

Rick Brainard's arrest in APril, 2013 shocked Grand Junction citizens and embarrassed the City

Rick Brainard’s arrest in APril, 2013 shocked Grand Junction citizens and embarrassed the City

Rick Brainard, the infamous, short-lived Grand Junction, Colorado City Councilman who was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend four days after he was elected to City Council last April, has gotten a job with KaiserAir in Santa Rosa, California as Director of Maintenance Marketing and Business Development.

His arrest in April, 2013 stunned the community and galvanized hundreds of citizens who protested in front of City Council and worked tirelessly over the next four months to oust him from Council. Brainard insisted on taking his seat on Council despite his arrest and guilty plea. After citizens formed a recall committee and it appeared his recall was imminent, he finally stepped down from Council on July 18, 2013, but claimed his leaving had nothing to do with the months of protests against him. Brainard was fired by West Star Aviation and pushed off several prestigious local boards after his guilty plea.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce selected Brainard to run for office and backed his campaign financially through their “social welfare” (lobbying) group, the Western Colorado Business Alliance, leading locals to dub him a “chambermade.”

In a March 4 press release, KaiserAir announced, “We are excited about the addition of Rick to our team.”

Source: AviationPros.com, March 4, 2014 press release

Thousands Protest at ALEC’s 40th Annual Meeting in Chicago

Police tangle with protesters at ALEC's 40th Annual Meeting at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago in August.

Police tangle with protesters at ALEC’s 40th Annual Meeting at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago in August.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held its 40th annual meeting earlier this month at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, drawing a crowd of about 3,000 protesters.  ALEC is a conservative bill mill that masquerades as an educational nonprofit. ALEC holds meetings in tony resorts and at fancy hotels, where it provides corporate lobbyists with face time with thousands of state legislators over dinners, happy hours, tennis, golf and other activities. Corporate representatives draft the “model bills’ they prefer, and at ALEC meetings, hand them off to legislators, who then take them home and introduce the bills in their own state legislatures as if they were their own ideas.  The public is not allowed to weigh in during any phase of the drafting of any of ALEC’s so-called “model bills.” The prime sponsor of ALEC’s 40th annual meeting was tobacco giant Reynolds American, who ponied up $100,000 for the honor. $50,000-level sponsors include ExxonMobil, the Cigar Association of America, Inc., Peabody Energy, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a front group for coal companies. Other sponsors include CenturyLink, UPS, Pharma, Cloud Peak Energy, TransCanada and BNSF Railways. ALEC is responsible for the proliferation of “Stand Your Ground” laws, the type of law that permitted George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American Florida teen, and get away without any punishment. About two dozen states how have such “shoot first” laws. Many  protesters at ALEC’s Chicago meeting wore hoodies and with targets on their chests and backs that said “Stand Your Ground.” Activists unfurled huge banners inside the Palmer hotel that said “ALEC makes For-Profit Prisons,” “Moral Monday – NO to ALEC” and “ALEC Attacks All Workers.” The peaceful protest turned violent after Chicago police rushed into the crowd and started arresting people and beating them to the ground.  Photos of the protests can be seen here.

Rick Brainard Resigns, Disses Almost Everyone on the Way Out the Door

Grand Junctin City Councilman Rick Brainard

Grand Junctin City Councilman Rick Brainard

Grand Junction citizens breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday morning after hearing the news that convicted criminal Rick Brainard had formally resigned from the City Council, effective immediately. In his official one-page resignation letter, Brainard said he felt unappreciated, that he is not a violent person, that he became disillusioned with City Council in part because an unnamed Council member had passed an angry note to him filled with underlining and exclamation points, that expressed irritation at how he had voted. Brainard said he has “reconnected” with his former live-in girlfriend, Cindy Franzen, the woman to whom he had given a black eye, that he has “reorganized his priorities around her,” and he speculated that “maybe its time for some new scenery.” TV news cameras showed a large RV parked in the driveway of his home, apparently being loaded up. But Brainard wasn’t done after sending that letter. He also sent a much longer version of his resignation letter to the Grand Junction City Manager, who in turn passed it on to Council. Brainard really spilled his guts in that letter. He named yet another Chamber of Commerce-backed Councilman Marty Chazen as the angry note-writer, and told Mayor Sam Susuras that “Your behavior upset me  so much that I am writing this letter today.” Brainard also castigated the press and media over their coverage of his assault and his subsequent events, which he said “lacked integrity,” and then he wrote the following to the citizens organizing to recall him, a group that, incredibly, he referred to as the “Re-Elect Rick Brainard Crowd”:

(To) The Re-Elect Rick Brainard Crowd: You are welcome. But be perfectly clear on this, my
stepping away has NOTHING to do with you. My comments here should be taken to
heart and you should seriously reflect on them as you move forward. You may want to
consider getting some counseling of your own. I have learned a lot about a topic from my
councilors that I knew nothing about previously, I think my counselors Dr. Saul
Tompkins and Patrick Mills for their advice and direction. You guys are wonderful. But
for this group that couches their behavior in the support of Domestic Violence victims.
Yet, when they produce a web site two thing ring very true. First, there is not a single
reference or link to a domestic violence resource. Does that seem odd? It does to me. It
suggests that you have gotten so caught up in being the bully that you forgot your
mission. Second, clearly you have become the bully, just flip through the pages and you
will see that. Again, I suggest you take a little of your own medicine and learn about your
own behaviors and how to best deal with them. Patrick Mills can certainly help if you
need a resource, he is amazing. The bottom line is this, I have reached out to you using
every means I know to do so engaging you to talk to me, actually get to know me and
learn that I agree with your Domestic Violence mission and wanted to use my position on
City Council to be your advocate. But you were not interested, because it diminished the
fun of being the bully. I’m sorry, but the best way for me to take the wind out of your
now poorly directed sails is to take myself away from you and point out to everybody
else how you have lost your way.

It is unclear what Brainard will do next.

Sentinel Exposes G.J. Chamber of Commerce’s Hubris

Chart from the Daily Sentinel showing GJ Chamber President Diane Schwenke's compensation far outstrips the compensation earned by other comparable chamber presidents around the region

Chart from the Daily Sentinel showing GJ Chamber President Diane Schwenke’s compensation far outstrips the compensation earned by comparable chamber presidents around the region. The same goes for the G.J. Chamber’s lobbying expense.

The Grand Junction, Colorado Daily Sentinel on July 21 published a scathing expose’ of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s recent activities that have citizens in an uproar.  The Chamber, once seen locally as a respected and helpful institution, in recent years has started engaging in hard-core political activity, and spending plenty on it. In 2011, the G.J. Chamber spent a whopping $74,000 of members’ money on lobbying expense. The next closest comparable Colorado Chamber of Commerce that spent anything at all on lobbying was the Montrose Chamber, which spent just $2,000. The Sentinel also revealed that G.J. Chamber president Diane Schwenke’s compensation far exceeds that of her counterparts at comparable Colorado chambers. In 2011, Schwenke made $133,930 in salary and benefits. Her next closest counterpart made just $112,477. Most of the other presidents of comparable chambers made well under $100,000/year in combined salary and benefits. The G.J. Chamber’s headlong dive into hyper-political activity has led to a backlash among citizens, who have started boycotting Chamber-member businesses. In many citizens’ eyes, the G.J. Chamber stepped out of bounds after it formed a secretive political group, the Western Colorado Business Alliance, that takes in unlimited money and spends unlimited funds to get Chamber-backed candidates elected to local office. The Chamber did exactly that in the last City-wide election, only to have one of their winning candidates, Rick Brainard, get thrown in jail four days after the election for beating up a woman. Brainard pled guilty to assault on May 17.  Throughout his legal travails, Brainard has refused pressure from citizens to resign from Council, and will soon cost City taxpayers $50,000 for a recall effort. Making matters worse, the Chamber continues to back Brainard, making Grand Junction the first city in Colorado to allow a freshly-convicted criminal sit on its Council. Former G.J. Chamber member Harry Griff of the law firm Griff, Larson Laiche & Wright, told the Sentinel he quit the Chamber after being a member for 25 years, calling it “a very, very exclusionary group.” Another business owner, Marilyn Charlesworth, also quit the Chamber over it’s unwelcome political activity, calling it a “little boy’s club.” Other businesses to quit include the CandyTime Shoppe, Pablo’s Pizza and the Hot Tomato in Fruita. New businesses in town are also opting not to join the Chamber due to the firestorm of controversy surrounding the organization. Citizens who are outraged at Chamber activities are boycotting Chamber-member businesses and using Facebook to organize, share strategies and share names of businesses that belong to the Chamber and those that do not, or to name who recently dropped their membership. For its part, the Chamber’s leadership remains completely unapologetic. In response to a question Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby posed about whether the local backlash is having any impact on the Chamber’s decision to get more political in the future, Chamber president Diane Schwenke responded that yes, it’s had an impact, but only to the extent that it will make the Chamber try to become even more effective at its political involvement in the future.

Source: Grand Junction, CO Daily Sentinel, Politics and Business, by Charles Ashby, July 21, 2013 (NOT behind a paywall!)

Rick Brainard Recall Campaign Moves Closer

Eager NoBrainard petitioners-in-waiting gather for signature gathering training #1

Eager NoBrainard volunteers gather for signature gathering training #1 at the Historic Melrose Hotel

The campaign to recall Rick Brainard from Grand Junction City Council is on the move. Area citizens volunteered their time Saturday evening July 19 to attend the first of many signature gathering trainings to be offered in preparation for the Brainard recall effort. Brainard, who sits on the Grand Junction City Council, pled guilty to assaulting a woman just four days after being elected to Council, but cannot be pushed off Council because the court considers his crime a misdemeanor. Under the City’s charter, a council member must be guilty of a felony to be administratively removed from office. The one hour training was held in downtown Grand Junction at the Historic Melrose Hotel on Colorado Ave., which offered a cozy space, iced tea and lemonade for the first wave of eager, soon-to-be petitioners. Many participants brought previous signature-gathering experience to the table, and shared strategies and innovative ideas to boost the effectiveness of signature-gathering efforts. The NoBrainard recall campaign says time is on it’s side, and organizers are taking time to lay the necessary groundwork to guarantee a successful signature gathering effort. Citizens who want to join the effort can be empowered to gather signatures by attending one of the many upcoming such trainings. For information on the dates and locations of upcoming trainings, visit the recall website, NoBrainard.com, and click on either the “News and Events” or “Volunteer” tabs.

Grand Junction Citizens Unveil Recall Website, “NoBrainard.com”

Screen shot of new NoBrainard.com website

Screen shot of new NoBrainard.com website

Grand Junction citizens organizing to recall newly-elected City Councilman Rick Brainard have created a new website, NoBrainard.com, where the public can go to donate money to the recall effort, volunteer to circulate petitions, help gather signatures, find out where to go to sign a petition, download free recall promotional posters and volunteer to help in other ways. The site tells the story of Rick Brainard, an aviation company executive who was elected to City Council April 6, 2013, and just four days later was arrested for assault after beating up his live-in girlfriend badly enough to give her a black eye. At first he denied the assault to police, then Brainard confessed, telling police (pdf) he had to do it to get her “to shut her mouth.” Brainard’s bad behavior and subsequent guilty plea has horrified citizens, and his dogged refusal to step down from his Council seat despite months of pressure will force the City to spend $45,000 – $50,000 of taxpayer money on a recall election and force citizens to collect enough valid signatures to recall him. Brainard is pushing the campaign to this point even though he ran as a fiscal conservative. The recall site compiles a list of news articles detailing the continuing saga of Mr. Brainard and the progress of the recall, and lists the dates, times and locations of training sessions for petition circulators. Recall organizers say if Mr. Brainard voluntarily steps down from his council seat prior to the signature collection drive, they will donate all funds raised for the recall effort to victims of domestic violence.