For this article, information was taken from Colorado Tracer (the state’s campaign finance disclosure website), Little Sis (a free database that tracks key relationships between politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions), the subscription background check site Truthfinder.com, Zillow.com, the archives of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the subscription newspaper archive Newspapers.com, the candidates’ own social media accounts and campaign websites if they have them, and the social media pages of other people and groups in Mesa County where the candidates might have posted, or where they might have been mentioned.
I would urge readers to particularly look at which candidates have hired professional agents and campaign consultants, who they’ve hired to do these jobs, and which candidates are serving as their own registered agents and managing their own campaigns.
The candidates running for the two open seats on District 51 School Board in 2023 are:
District A: José Luis Chavéz, CynDee Skalla and Jessica Hearn
District B: Barbara Evanson and Cindy Enos Martinez
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Timothy Couch, President of the Mesa Valley Education Association (MVEA), resigned via email March 8, on the same day the three-member conservative District 51 School Board majority ignored the pleas of students and voted to reject an offer by Marillac Health to operate a grant-funded, school-based health clinic at Grand Junction High School. The three Board members rejected the clinic at a time when homelessness among D-51 students is rapidly increasing and a Youth Risk Behavior survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (pdf) found poor mental health and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among students are increasing nationwide. According to the CDC, in 2021, almost 60% of female students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year and nearly 25% made a suicide plan. Suicide is also a growing problem among Mesa County youth and suicide prevention is a “health priority” for Mesa County Public Health.
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“Citizens District 51 Defund Vote” sent hate mail postmarked Oct. 11, 2022 to a 92 year old School District 51 retiree in Grand Junction
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?
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“Stand for the Constitution,” the right wing extremist Mesa County group that endorsed and defended Tina Peters, also endorsed and promoted Angela Lema, Andrea Haitz and Will Jones for School Board. All three candidates ran as a far right wing extremist slate. Now two of them are getting training in how to battle policies that aim to help all children feel welcome and accepted at D-51 schools.
The Colorado Times Recorder is reporting that D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz and D-51 Board Member Angela Lema attended a seminar at a Grand Junction hotel on August 26 called “Save Our Schools,” put on by Heritage Action for America, an affiliate of the right wing Heritage Foundation. The seminar taught people how to fight equity and inclusion policies in schools and provided resources to help them.
What are equity and inclusion policies, anyway?
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Meeting agenda quietly put up on the School Board’s website on short notice announcing a special meeting the next day to discuss employment contracts of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Equity and Inclusion
The District 51 School Board’s new conservative majority — Andrea Haitz, Angela Lema and Willie Jones — appear to be getting ready to fire School District Superintendent, Diana Sirko, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hill and Tracy Gallegos, the District’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, who was hired into that position in July, 2021.
The three Board members gave short notice about a special meeting to be held on Monday, February 5 at 5:00 p.m. discuss these three employees’ contracts with attorneys they just hired in January to serve as their own representatives: David Price and Tammy Eret of Hoskin, Farina and Kampf.
The Board members produced the agenda on Saturday evening, 2/5/22, and then quietly slipped it onto the School Board’s meeting website (pdf) on Sunday evening, 2/6/21.
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