Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr has been under attack by the Mesa County Commissioners, who for some reason have been working for months to generate credible reasons to fire him. Commissioner Janet Rowland in particular has targeted Kuhr, accusing him of financial impropriety and grievous errors in MCPHD’s procurement processes. The Commissioners have ordered the Mesa County Board of Public Health to fire Kuhr, but they refused, saying there is no actual evidence that he’s intentionally done anything wrong. Not only that, but the State of Colorado rates MCPHD as having the lowest possible financial risk (pdf) in its compliance with federal and state contracts, making it clear that the state trusts MCPHD, but our right wing commissioners don’t. (This financial risk rating is done every three years, but the state skipped it during the pandemic. The MCPHD is currently undergoing this analysis again.)
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On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, in its opinion section the Daily Sentinel endorsed Republican election denier Bobbie Daniel for County Commissioner, saying she was “prepared to step in ready to work on day one.” But the Sentinel failed to ask the big question of how it happened that Daniel had become so prepped for the position.
It happened because Daniel has been groomed for months, maybe years, for the job by sitting Republican Mesa County commissioners, who have been using taxpayer-funded resources and taxpayer-funded County time to make sure Daniel gets a huge leg-up over her opponent in the race.
Republican Mesa County Commissioner candidate Bobbie Daniel says on Instagram that she’ll be fiscally responsible, that she cares about “overburdening taxpayers” and keeping local government stable.
Well if all that’s true, Daniel owes it to county taxpayers to say what she thinks of the $1.5 million and counting that County taxpayers have been forced to pay for the antics of her pal Tina Peters, whom Daniel endorsed for Clerk back in 2018. Why hasn’t Daniel condemned Peters’ antics and the massive expenditure Peters has cost county taxpayers so far? And why hasn’t Daniel apologized for her grievous mistake of endorsing Tina?
Daniel has been mum on the subject so far.
Maybe that’s because Daniel assured voters in 2018 Tina had lots of experience and “we’d be in really good hands” if she was elected Clerk and Recorder. Well we trusted Daniel and now we’ve see how THAT turned out. And we won’t even mention the 574 legitimately-cast ballots that Tina lost in 2019 and never counted, that kicked off her nightmarish term as clerk.
Maybe it’s because Daniel herself is an election denier who is trying hard to keep it under wraps before the election this November. Word is also out ***Rumor-ALERT***Rumor-ALERT*** that sitting County Commissioner Janet Rowland ordered Daniel to keep her crazy election denialist beliefs out of her campaign for commissioner, since election deniers have been harassing the sitting commissioners for over a year now.
Maybe it’s because Tina alleged that “a county commissioner candidate” — whom we all know could ONLY have been Bobbie Daniel — was among those who attended a post-Mesa County election-equipment breach dinner with Conan Hayes, the professional election denier Tina smuggled into the Clerk’s office to make copies of the voting machines’ hard drives. Other attendees Tina alleged were at that dinner were Sherronna Bishop, who may have helped engineer the whole Mesa County election breach, and House Rep. Lauren Boebert, a strong supporter of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Whatever the reason Daniel has been quiet about the amount of money taxpayers have been forced to spend on her pal Tina’s behavior, Daniel needs to come out and acknowledge she was wrong in endorsing Tina and apologize for helping put County voters through hell as a result of her terrible judgment.
A big factor in this mass-delusion of the local electorate is the Mesa County Republican Party, which has developed a reputation for spreading hoaxes and misinformation and omitting key information.
Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie Robison today issued an injunction officially preventing embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and her hand-picked Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from having any involvement with the November elections. The ruling officially removed Peters as Designated Election Official and installed former Secretary of State Wayne Williams in that position. It also confirmed Sheila Riener as the Election Supervisor.
The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought against Peters and Knisley by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. The suit was joined by Mesa County Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Scott McInnis, who were listed in the suit as intervenors.
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:
District C – Trish Mahre
District D – Nick Allan
District E – David Combs
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.
Commissioner Janet Rowland gives angry audience a dose of reality, and votes to do the right thing
The Mesa County Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon to extend the County’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems so they could get new voting equipment for no up-front cost from Dominion. The Commissioners voted to maintain the County’s contract with the company until 2029, and agreed to make progressively higher payments to the company throughout that time. The County needed new voting equipment to replace the equipment decertified by the Colorado Secretary of State because Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was unable to prove the equipment had been kept secure and had not been compromised.
The Board of Mesa County Commissioners (BOCC) held a rushed hearing this evening at which they appointed former Secretary of State Wayne Williams to oversee the 2021 election in Mesa County, taking swift action after Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) Jena Griswold stripped Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ of her ability to carry out elections.
The SOS can’t remove Peters from office because she was elected, but she can stop Peters from carrying out elections.
Griswold appointed current Mesa County Treasurer and former two-term County Clerk Sheila Reiner to oversee elections.
Reiner, a Republican, was term-limited out of the County Clerk’s office in 2018. Peters was elected in 2018 as her replacement. Peters is currently under criminal investigation in which, the SOS’s office says, all evidence shows she allegedly engineered a security breach of the county’s election equipment.
BOCC arm wrestles the Secretary of State for local control
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold gave a press conference today (video) in which she revealed that last May 25th, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters permitted an unauthorized non-employee of the Elections Department to participate in a highly sensitive annual security inspection of Mesa County’s voting equipment called a Trusted Build. The name of the non-employee entered into the log that day was “Gerald Wood,” and Griswold revealed that Woods’ name was entered into the log by the Mesa County Clerk herself. Griswold noted that the non-employee “swiped in, but did not swipe out.”
“This was a breach,” Griswold said. “He was not an employee and he was not background checked. The Clerk misled the Secretary of State’s office about this information.”
“To be very clear, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder allowed a security breach and by all evidence at this point, assisted it.”
The Saturday, July 17, 2021 Los Angeles Times features a prominent story about “obstinate” communities in which large numbers of people who are refusing to get Covid-19 vaccines are now spreading a more virulent strain of Coronavirus and stalling the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.
Mesa County and Grand Junction are mentioned several times in the article as among the places where large numbers of stubbornly unvaccinated people are posing a danger to the rest of the country.
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.
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?
Colorado Mesa University (CMU) announced today that CMU Vice President John Marshall is one of three candidates under final consideration to be the university’s new president.
A lot of local people are unhappy with that.
Ordinarily the second-in-command at a higher educational institution would seem a logical choice to step into the top spot, but this is the exception.
In an outrageous display of unabashed Mesa County Republican cronyism, Commissioner Janet Rowland is working hard to install her pal, former County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, into the position of Mesa County Attorney, the highest-paid position in the county. The position would double the salary Rose use to earn when she was commissioner just before Janet.
The situation portends great danger for the County, since the Commissioners have tremendous power, no oversight and Janet already has a long and worrisome track record of impropriety and unethical behavior.
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?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a National Terrorism Advisory (pdf) 1/27, warning of a heightened risk of violence by domestic extremist groups across the country who have been emboldened by the insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th.
The Advisory says,
- “…some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”
The Advisory says domestic violence extremists (DVEs) are
- “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and … opposition to immigration…”
The bulletin further states,
• Threats of violence against critical infrastructure…increased in 2020 with violent extremists citing misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 for their actions.”
Local elected officials promote this extremist ideology
Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster announced his retirement in a mass email sent to the “CMU Community” on January 27. Foster wrote that he is leaving “to spend more time with my family and open a new chapter in my life.”
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.