Tag: elections

Mel Mulder for Mesa County Commissioner, District 1

"It's Okay Little Buddy" - Mel Mulder was a featured subject in this famous local painting by his artist wife, Vera

“It’s Okay Little Buddy” – Mel Mulder and his super-cute little friend are featured in this famous local painting by his wife, artist and art teacher Vera Mulder

Longtime Grand Valley resident and Fruita City  Council member Mel Mulder is running for Mesa County Commissioner in District 1. He is easily of the most qualified candidates for this office that Mesa County has seen in the last 35 years, and certainly the best artistically-rendered candidate. (See picture above.)

Intelligent People Enter 2016 Race for Mesa County Commissioner!

Dave Edwards, Mayor Pro Tempore of Palisade, will enter the race for Mesa County Commissioner on Feb. 29, to replace Rose Pugliese

Dave Edwards, Mayor Pro Tempore of Palisade, will announce on Feb. 29 that he is entering the race for District 3 Mesa County Commissioner, to replace  incumbent Rose Pugliese

Mesa County voters will finally have intelligent candidates to choose from for Mesa County Commissioner!

Dave Edwards, Mayor Pro Tem of Palisade, Colorado will officially announce his entry into to the race for Mesa County Commissioner at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, February 29, 2016 at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 512 29 1/2 Road, Grand Junction. (See map to the Workforce Center at the bottom of this article.)

Edwards is challenging incumbent Rose Pugliese for the District 3 seat, which represents the east valley, between the Gunnison River and I-70, and includes Orchard Mesa eastward to the county line.

Mesa County Missing Out On State’s Pot Bonanza

Mesa County's economy languishes while the rest of the state thrives (Photo credit: KKCO 11 News)

Mesa County’s economy languishes while the rest of the state booms (Photo credit: KKCO 11 News)

Recent news reports tell of the Mesa County Commissioners’ current struggle to deal with a $3 million budget deficit due to decreasing tax revenue. At the same time, Grand Junction City Councilors, citing a lack of tax revenue, turn down a chance to host the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a potentially huge economic boon and an event that could draw favorable domestic and international media coverage for the city.

The economy remains bad and getting worse on other fronts in Mesa County, too. Last June, Mesa County saw its biggest jump in unemployment in 12 months, rising 6.6 percent in June alone. The lost jobs are attributed to low gas prices and continuing cutbacks in the oil and gas field, which has a long history locally of being an unreliable, employer locally.

At the same time that Mesa County’s economy is circling the drain, unemployment rates in the rest of the state are tumbling and, according to the Denver Post, have reached new lows not seen since the dot-com boom in the 1990s. Front range rents are high, vacancies are low and by all accounts other parts of the state are buzzing with new and growing economic activity.

So why is Mesa County languishing amid the state’s overall economic bonanza?

Things are bad here in large part because the Mesa County Commissioners and Grand Junction City Council are barring citizens in our area the ability to participate in the booming new marijuana economy.

AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide, November, 2015

ALVoterGuideThis guide offers AnneLandmanBlog’s opinion on upcoming ballot measures and candidates for District 51 School Board, in case you’re wondering who and what to vote for.

Recommendations

Mesa County Valley School District 51 Director for District A (four year term) – Recommended vote: Doug Levinson. 

Mesa Valley School District 51 Director for District B (four year term) – Recommended vote: Paul Pitton

Proposition BB (State-wide measure)- Lets the state keep $52 million of excess marijuana taxes over and above what is allowed by TABOR, and would put it towards public school construction, law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and prevention, youth programs and marijuana education, instead of refunding it to taxpayers (at the rate of approximately $8 per taxpayer).  Recommended vote: YES/FOR

You can see a sample ballot here.

Discussion:

The biggest factor determining AnneLandmanBlog’s choice of school board candidates is that both are endorsed by the Mesa Valley Education Association (MVEA) and the League of Women Voters. The MVEA’s input is particularly important because the organization is made up of teachers, principals, administrators and other employees of District 51. These are the people who are in the schools every day, interacting with students, working with schedules, policies, budgets, building integrity (or lack thereof), testing, curricula and other school-related issues day in and day out. If you want to know what works and what doesn’t in the school district, what schools need and what they don’t, the members of MVEA are the folks to ask.

A Telling Flap over Pitton’s Eligibility

Outgoing board member Ann Tisue (pronounced “Ty-shoo”) recently accused Mr. Pitton of being ineligible to run for the District B seat based on his residency. Her accusation and its aftermath have been quite informative.

It is important to note that Ms. Tisue supports Mr. Pitton’s challenger for the District B seat, Mr. George Rau, incumbent Mr. Jeff Leany, for the District A seat.

Paul Pitton

Paul Pitton

On October 20, Ms. Tisue made a statement to the media about her discovery that Mr. Pitton lives outside District B, as the area is currently drawn on D-51’s area map.

D-51 changed it’s maps not too long ago, and had an outdated map posted on its website during the time candidates were being recruited to run.

As an existing board member, Ms. Tisue should have known that the District is responsible for certifying and approving candidates to run for open board seats, so any judgement about whether a candidate’s residency renders them eligible or ineligible to run would be theirs. But instead of approaching D-51 about the error first, Ms. Tisue ran to the media and used the information to try to malign Mr. Pitton. In a statement to KKCO-TV News, she sniffed,

“I just have a really hard time understanding how he [Mr. Pitton] couldn’t be more careful. If he’s going to be in control of a $100 million budget with 44 schools, I would expect someone that would be a lot more careful.”

The facts were that Mr. Pitton had fulfilled all of the requirements to become a candidate, and the District had qualified him for the ballot. D-51 employee Terri Wells, who serves as secretary to the Board and is the person who certifies candidates’ eligibility to run for open School Board seats, was responsible for the error, not Mr. Pitton.  Mr. Pitton had played by all the rules.

To his credit, Mr. Pitton has said if he wins, he will sell his house and move his family into District B, as it is currently drawn on the map.

That’s dedication.

Ms. Tisue’s hurry to use District 51’s error to try to tarnish Mr. Pitton and malign his ability to serve as a school board member is instructive more about her character than anything else. By association, it is also likely instructive about the character of the people she backs for school board, namely Mr. Rau and Mr. Leany.

P.S. – If you want to avoid the drama of the residency flap completely, Cindy Enos-Martinez is also a good choice for the District B Seat. She has served on the D-51 School Board before and has been on City Council and served as mayor of Grand Junction.

 

Community Rights Ballot Initiative Coming Back in 2016

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 12.12.12 PMColoradans for Community Rights (CCR) is gearing up to once again put a Community Rights initiative on the 2016 state-wide ballot.

A Community Rights amendment doesn’t ban anything. Instead, the measure establishes that communities in Colorado have a definitive right to local self-government. That is, the new law would give people, not corporations, the dominant authority to decide how to best protect health, safety and welfare in their own communities and surrounding natural environments. Basically, the measure would allow communities to decide, free from corporate or state interference, whether to allow corporate projects that could negatively impact their safe and healthy environments.

What does this measure mean to citizens on the western slope?

The Community Rights Amendment would, for example, give Mesa County residents living around Alanco’s stinky Deer Creek frackwater ponds the right to disallow this land use in their area. It would also give Paonia residents the right to keep drilling and fracking activities away from their schools, residential areas and organic farming districts. Corporations and their trade groups could no longer sue communities over decisions to keep dangerous or noxious industrial activities out of their area. The amendment would also prevent corporations from suing communities that vote to enact living wages, or ban GMOs (genetically modified organisms), for example.

On August 17, CCR submitted the official ballot language for the 2016 Colorado Community Rights Amendment to the Colorado Legislative Council. The ballot measure is very short, only about 200 words. After the ballot language is approved, CCR will organize a state-wide campaign to gather the number of signatures necessary to qualify the measure for the November 2016 statewide ballot.

CCR tried to get a Community Rights measure on the 2014 statewide ballot, but legal challenges by corporations opposed to the measure succeeded in delaying the signature-gathering phase of the effort until it was too late. This time, CCR has started work early enough that they will have a better shot at getting the measure on the ballot and passing it.

Efforts to pass Community Rights Initiatives are also ongoing in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Same Crime, but Vastly Different Treatment of Two Jurors in the Mesa County Courts

Chief Deputy D.A. Dan Rubenstein, lead county DA pursuing Blagg juror (Photo Credit: CO Bar Assoc.)

Chief Deputy D.A. Dan Rubenstein, lead county DA pursuing Blagg juror (Photo Credit: CO Bar Assoc.)

If you need verification of the extent to which former juror Marilyn Charlesworth is being hung out to dry as a result of her service eleven years ago on the Blagg jury, look no further than how the District Attorney’s office handled another recent case of juror misconduct that also led to a new trial for the defendant.

To recap, Charlesworth currently has the distinction of being the most abused juror in modern U.S. history. Over the past eleven years, convicted murderer Michael Blagg’s defense team has forced her to defend herself against a number of allegations, including that while serving as a juror she withheld information from the Court about the extent of a vision problem, about a specific medication she was allegedly prescribed and, most recently, about whether she experienced an incident of domestic violence over two decades ago. The Mesa County DA has now filed contempt charges against her, is currently threatening her with 30 days in jail and fees in excess of $45,000, nominally to pay for Blagg’s first trial. That figure includes witness travel fees, hotel expenses, expert witness fees, subpoena service, the cost of transcripts for further hearings and additional costs not yet specified. Over the eleven years since Blagg’s first trial, the Court has made public Charlesworth’s medical, employment, DMV and IRS tax records and information from them has been published in the local paper, all without her consent. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel now routinely features her name in articles about the Blagg case. Charlesworth and her husband now face thousands of dollars in legal bills for her defense from the two-pronged legal onslaught by Blagg’s defense team the Mesa County District Attorney’s office.

Contrast this with how the same D.A.’s office handled a second case of a juror accused of the exact same charge — misconduct — in another recent case, and whose actions resulted in a convicted defendant, a child molester, getting a new trial.

Different Cases, Same Charge

In 2010, Rodney Eddy, a former resident of Mesa and deacon at Mesa View Bible Church, was convicted of multiple felony counts of sexual assault on a teenage girl. A jury found him guilty on four counts each of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

Rodney Eddy, who is going for a third trial -- the juror accused of misconduct in Eddy's case suffered no consequences

Rodney Eddy, who is going for a third trial — the juror accused of misconduct in Eddy’s case suffered no consequences for intentionally lying on a juror questionnaire

Eddy, now 73 years old, had two trials. The first ended in February, 2010, after jurors deadlocked on the charges against him. His next trial came six months later, in August of 2010. In that trial, jurors convicted Eddy of four counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and four more counts for a pattern of abuse. He was acquitted of eight additional charges and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.

Fast-forward to February, 2015, when the Court awarded Eddy a third trial, this time due to juror misconduct.

In a screening questionnaire given to jurors before Eddy’s second trial, one unidentified juror answered “no” to the question of whether he or any of his family members had ever been a victim of sexual abuse. He later confessed that he had, in fact, been sexually abused by a priest in Grand Junction in 1965, at age 12. He told investigators that he had lied on his questionnaire to get on the jury after he learned sexual abuse allegations were central to Eddy’s case. He told investigators he was seeking “payback” for the wrongs allegedly committed against him by the priest when he was a child.

G.J. Chamber Opposes Local Businesses Again, Appears to Be Losing Influence

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke, who turned the G.J. Chamber into a branch of the Tea Party (Photo Credit: YouTube)

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke, who turned the G.J. Chamber into a branch of the Tea Party (Photo Credit: YouTube)

In its 2015 Voter Guide, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce urged voters to approve Referred Measure 2B, which would have authorized the City to take on millions in debt to extend the Riverside Parkway along 25 Road. Almost all businesses on 25 Road strongly opposed the measure, saying the City blindsided them by failing to let them know measure even existed until it was safely scheduled to go on the ballot. The business owners opposed 2B because it would have let the city seize land fronting their businesses, and harmed their businesses by subjecting the road to an extended construction period. Curiously, the measure also would have zig-zagged the Parkway through existing business and residential areas instead of building it according to the original plan, which simply extends the existing Parkway route further west down River Road to 24 Road.

Once again, the chamber’s position on an issue was diametrically opposed to the one held by the very local businesses it claims to represent.

Council Candidates Sound Like Broken Records, Ignore Constituents

It's the same-ole, same-old from Council candidates again this year. Who supports all the other folks?

It’s the same-ole, same-old from Council candidates again this year. Who supports all the other folks in town besides business and property owners?

Candidates for the contested seats on the Grand Junction City Council are all starting to sound the same. Kim Kerk supports “property owners rights” and a “business friendly community.” Duncan McArthur is for “private property rights” and the “small business owner.” They sound just the same, don’t they? Dennis Simpson says he’s a “fiscal conservative,” and McArthur is for “fiscal responsibility,” but aren’t these the same thing? Basically, it’s code for even more belt-tightening for our community.

It’s like listening to a broken record. And it’s folly for voters to listen to them.

Business owners and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce wield outsized influence in Grand Junction, and they’ve shown citizens time and again that believing anything they say or do at election time is completely absurd.

Kim Kerk also supports the same old constituencies. Don't others matter?

Kim Kerk also supports the same old constituencies: private property owners and business owners. Why don’t the rest of us matter?

The chamber portrays itself as the single most important political voice in town because it represents businesses, but only a fraction of area businesses actually belong to the chamber and according to the chamber’s membership list, many of their members are from outside of the area. The “Grand Junction Chamber” has members in Denver, Arvada, Lakewood, Greenwood Village, Centennial, Glenwood Springs, Moab, Utah, Reno, Nevada, Houston, Texas, and even Washington, D.C…. Why should any company based on the front range or another state have any say or lobbying power over Grand Junction’s issues or candidates?

What’s more, valuing businesses more highly than ordinary, hard-working city residents has cost this city dearly and set us far behind smaller western slope towns. For years, maybe even decades, Grand Junction citizens have been craving a public recreation center, like the ones the cities of Fruita, Delta, Montrose and Durango have already built for their citizens. Over and over, our City Council has denied residents this same wonderful amenity based on an unproven premise that building such a facility might possibly be detrimental to less than a handful of private businesses in town, like gyms and athletic clubs. A couple of businesses vs. tens of thousands of citizens who could benefit from such a facility. Why are city residents always the losers in this kind of issue?

Haven’t Grand Junction residents sacrificed their quality of life on the altar of almighty private business long enough?

Businesses and the Chamber: Unreliable Voices at Election time

The chamber promised G.J. voters if they voted to zone this parcel by the river to light industrial, Brady Trucking would bring in a bunch of $70,000/year jobs, and build trails and landscaping by the river. Voters passed the measure, but this is how the site looks today.

The chamber promised G.J. voters in 2013 if they voted to zone this parcel by the river to light industrial, Brady Trucking would bring in a slew of $70,000/year jobs, and build trails and landscaping by the river. Voters passed the measure, but today, two years later, the site remains dilapidated, no jobs were ever created and no trails were ever built.

Moreover, neither the chamber nor private businesses have proven reliable proponents on issues. The chamber has gone to bat for private businesses at election time before, only to be outed as lying.

Remember Referred Measure A in the April, 2013 election? It asked voters to uphold light industrial zoning by the Colorado River so Brady Trucking, a private business, could expand its operations there. The chamber promised voters that if they passed the measure, Brady Trucking would bring a slew of new jobs to town averaging $70,000 a year and build a walking and biking trail on a 50-foot wide easement along the river, as well as fencing and landscaping. Chamber President Diane Schwenke said, “This is an issue where the voters can support good jobs and development of trails.”

Oh, really?

Voters listened to the chamber and duly passed the measure, and now, two years later, the site is still untouched. No trails were ever built, and no additional jobs ever brought to the area.

The vaunted chamber, the “voice of business,” spoke and told voters the best thing to do, and it was a lie.

The arrest of Chamber-backed city council candidate Rick Brainard in April, 2013 shocked Grand Junction citizens and embarrassed the entire City.

The arrest of Chamber-backed city council candidate Rick Brainard in April, 2013, for beating up his girlfriend, shocked Grand Junction citizens and embarrassed the entire City.

Remember the infamous 2013 chamber-backed city council candidate, Rick Brainard, and what a debacle he was to the City? Brainard got arrested four days after being elected and appeared on TV news broadcasts in a yellow jumpsuit. He later pled guilty to assault.

After these kinds of terrible candidate endorsements and lies, should voters really listen to the chamber any more about which candidates and issues to back in local elections?

Of course not.

The better idea is to listen to the chamber so you can do the opposite of what they recommend.

There are plenty of good and important people in Grand Junction besides business and private property owners, yet in every election cycle, council candidates ignore them. What about retirees, students, disabled citizens, people who work for salaries like nonprofit workers, retail workers, landscape workers, day care workers, restaurant workers, teachers, government employees and volunteers, to name a few?

Don’t these people matter to candidates and elected officials, once they get into office? Why are none of these groups considered viable constituencies worth pursuing at election time and serving once in office?

Arguably, these citizens are the real lifeblood of our area. Not only do they provide important local services, but they earn the money that gets spent at local businesses. Without these people as customers, local businesses would die. But who fights for THEIR best interests?

No one, so far.

ManBalloonIt’s way beyond time for council candidates to acknowledge that there are many voters in town with needs besides private property owners, business owners and people who want more belt-tightening by City Council. There are plenty of business-friendly tightwads on Council already. What we need at long last are candidates who care about average, hard-working Grand Junction residents, many of whom live on the edge, have difficulty feeding their kids, making ends meet and affording medical and dental care. We need council candidates who will vow to support these people’s interests and needs if elected to Council.

Now THAT would be one giant breath of fresh air.

AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide 2015

ALVoterGuideThis guide presents voters with a citizen’s perspective on a number of upcoming ballot measures, and provides recommendations on which candidates to vote for in the City of Grand Junction’s Municipal election on April 7, 2015. Recommendations are evaluated based on what residents feel is important to their quality of life, safety and welfare, and the best economic interests of our area.

 

City of Grand Junction Referred Measure 2A: Restoring authority to the City to provide high speed internet and cable television service, either directly or indirectly, with public or private sector partnerships.

Explanation: This ballot measure allows the City to ignore SB 05-152 (pdf), a stupid law passed by the Colorado legislature in 2005 that prohibits municipalities from providing cable TV or telecommunications services, like broadband internet service, in any form to anyone. Fortunately, the law has a loophole that allows municipalities to opt-out of the law as long as they hold an election asking people if they want their city to opt out.

We should opt out.

The City of Grand Junction has its own broadband network in municipal buildings, but under the above-mentioned stupid state law, they can’t offer free wifi to citizens in their buildings even though the network is there. The city’s broadband network even runs into its streetlights, but the because of the stupid state law, the City can’t share the network with citizens. That’s just ridiculous, especially since we already pay for it through our taxes.

Approving this measure would let the City share its network, so people can get free wifi downtown. It will also let cable companies install and repair fiber optic lines during city construction to improve streets.

Since we’re all stuck with Charter Communications for high speed cable broadband internet and Charter has no competitors in this area, we need to opt out of the state law.

Recommended vote on 2A: YES

City of Grand Junction Referred Measure 2B

Explanation: This measure authorizes the city to take on $14.5 million of additional debt to finance more construction on the Westside Beltway project, also known as the Riverside Parkway.

The City wants to continue the Riverside Parkway, starting where it currently ends at 25 Road and the I-70 Business Loop, extending it north up 25 Road to F 1/2 Road, then west to 24 Road, and up 24 Road to I-70. The City wants to finance the project by keeping taxpayer funds that would normally have to be paid back to citizens under the TABOR Act (the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights).

The measure sounds fine at first read, but we recommend a “No” vote on Measure 2B.

Here’s why:

Above the Law: Mesa County Republican Candidates Broke G.J. City Ordinance

Note: The following commentary was written by, and reprinted with permission from a local tea party activist who goes by the handle “American Patriot.” A few spelling errors have been corrected and links are provided to further information, including the City Ordinance cited in the piece, which was fully in effect in 2014.

A Commentary by American Patriot — November 16, 2014

Former Congressman Scott McInnis won arace for Mesa County Commissioner in November, 2014, even though his campaign broke several rules, including illegally posting campaign signs on power poles without permission and standing on city medians in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250, "Prohibition against standing on or occupying medians."

Former Congressman Scott McInnis won a seat on the Mesa County Commission in November, 2014, even though his campaign broke several rules, including illegally posting campaign signs on power poles without permission and waving signs while standing on city medians in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250, titled “Prohibition against standing on or occupying medians.”

Just before the last election, it was reported that Scott McInnis was parading up and down the Highway 6 and 50 traffic medians parading a political sign. And the Matt Lewis for sheriff campaign was engaged in the same illegal activity at First and Grand in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250 which specifically forbids the use of medians for “political campaign activity.”

It would be bad enough if it were only a commissioner-elect and a sheriff-elect that flagrantly, if unintentionally, violated the law of the land, but wait for it; here’s the kicker. It was none other than our incumbent District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, who was sign-waving on behalf of sheriff elect Matt Lewis’ campaign while occupying a designated median at 1st and Grand. Now, if you or I were to do the same thing, it could cost us up to a thousand dollars and/or one year in jail.

Have you ever heard the saying, usually used by prosecutors, DA’s and law enforcement officers that “ignorance of the law is no excuse?” Well, between McInnis, Lewis and Pete Hautzinger, which one of those three do you think could get away with using ignorance of the law as a defense? Well, maybe if they just plead ignorant, a jury of Mesa County voters could buy that?

Palisade Pot and Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner

The Mesa County Clerk's two goofs on the Palisade ballot appear to have been effective at keeping recreational pot out of the Grand Valley for the immediate future.

The Mesa County Clerk’s two goofs on the Palisade ballot right before the Nov. 4 election — both affecting only Palisade and the town’s two pot measures — appear to have helped keep recreational pot out of the Grand Valley for the time being.

It’s no secret that Mesa County’s Old Guard Establishment Republicans (OGREs) oppose legalized marijuana. Even though Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, the Commissioners — all OGREs — exercised their option under the law to prohibit retail sale of pot throughout the unincorporated county, shutting off a new source of badly-needed new jobs and tourism, and blocking a desperately-needed economic boost to Mesa County’s long-suffering economy.

The OGREs’ only problem is that despite their best efforts, retail pot keeps creeping closer to Grand Junction, and there’s little they can do about it. Under state law, home-rule cities and towns can make their own rules regarding the sale and cultivation of pot, and last spring the town of DeBeque, 32 miles east of Grand Junction, approved retail pot shops by four votes.  Now DeBeque is poised to reap the benefits of being the first town on Interstate 70 inside Colorado’s western border to have retail recreational marijuana shops.

But retail recreational pot was about to creep even closer than that.

It’s Time to End GOP Rule in Mesa County

GOPIndistressDo you plan to vote for Republican incumbents and the same Mesa County politicians we’ve had in office before?

Think again.

Mesa County’s long reliance on the local GOP has led it to disaster.

Just look at the Mesa County GOP’s record:

1) Our unemployment rate has long remained among the highest in the state;

2) Our local wages are among the very lowest in the state;

3) 13.4 percent of our area’s residents live below federal poverty level ($23,550 for a family of four),

4) Mesa County’s suicide rate is among the highest in the U.S.;

5) Mesa County is the drunkest county in the state in 2013 (based on the average blood alcohol concentration for arrested drunk drivers);

6) Forty one percent of School District 51 students qualify for free and reduced-cost lunches at school, and Kids Aid, the area nonprofit that provides backpacks of food to hungry students so they can get through the weekends without starving, sends 1,800 District 51 students home with backpacks full of non-perishable food home every WEEK.

Yes, you read that right. Eighteen hundred Mesa County school children are food insecure every WEEK. Have you heard a single local GOP elected official mention this state of affairs? No.

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.

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner, Up for Re-Election, Makes 2nd Major Screw-up in Palisade Ballots

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner just racked up her second screw up in Palisade ballot measures regarding marijuana retail sales. Coincidence?

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner just racked up her second screw up in Palisade ballot measures regarding marijuana retail sales. Coincidence?

First Palisade residents reported getting mail-in ballots without Referred Measures 2A and 2B on them. Now other people who live near Palisade but outside the town limits report getting ballots that do have Referred Measures 2A and 2B on them. The measures are only to be voted on by town residents.

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner blamed the printer for the first screw-up of neglecting to include the two measures on some ballots, even though before commencing a print job a printer offers the customer, who in this case would have been Reiner, a proof to approve to assure accuracy of the final print job. If Reiner did not get a proof of the ballots prior to printing, she definitely should have requested one. When she got the ballots, she should have examined them for accuracy before mailing them. Ms. Reiner apparently did none of these things, but instead passed the blame onto the printer, without saying who it was.

Ballot received by a county resident who lives near, but not in Palisade, that contains Referred Measures 2A and 2B. The two measures are only supposed to be voted on by residents within town limits

Ballot received by a county resident who lives near, but not in Palisade, that contains Referred Measures 2A and 2B. The two measures are only supposed to be voted on by residents within town limits

Measure 2A asks Palisade residents if they want to allow retail recreational marijuana sales and cannabis growing facilities within the town limits. Measure 2B asks town residents if retail sales of recreational marijuana within town limits should be taxed.

If voters approve the measures, Palisade would become the first town inside Colorado on I-70 where tourists could legally buy recreational marijuana. The measures have great potential to boost the town’s coffers and local economy in general, as well as increase Palisade’s already considerable agricultural-tourism appeal.

Reiner hasn’t yet said who she blames for residents who don’t live within town limits getting ballots with the two measures on them, but we’ll guess she’ll likely say it wasn’t her.

 

Update: Sheila Reiner called at 6:15 this evening to say she believes the error occurred with her print vendor in Arizona who appears to have grabbed ballots out of the wrong stock during the stuffing procedure for ballots destined for a particular area of the Palisade outskirts. There is a number printed vertically along the right side of every ballot’s outer envelope, to the right of the address window. Sheila is trying to figure out who got them, and how many are wrong. If you got the wrong ballot, please call the Mesa County Clerk’s office at (970) 244-1662 to tell them your ballot number and let them know. 

McInnis Campaign Fails to Get Permission to Post Signs

Illicitly-placed "McInnis" campaign sign on a power pole along G Road, placed without permission from XCel. The McInnis campaign has been asked to remove the signs.

Illicitly-placed “McInnis” campaign sign on a power pole along G Road. XCel has asked McInnis’ campaign to remove the signs.

The “Scott McInnis for Commissioner” signs that have appeared on power poles throughout the county have been placed illicitly, without first obtaining permission from the power company. The power poles are private property and the signs will have to be removed.

When someone from a different campaign contacted XCel to ask permission to place signage on the company’s power poles for a different candidate, and pointing out that Scott McInnis already had signs on the poles, XCel responded:

“The area contact has notified the [McInnis] campaign office to remove all signage from our private property. At this time, we are not allowing any political signage on our poles or other property. Again, we appreciate that you asked for consent prior to posting signs for your candidate. We hope you have a wonderful weekend.”

Former congressman Scott McInnis withdrew from a 2010 run for Colorado Governor amid a plagiarism scandal, for which he later apologized. In 2004, Congress also violated its own House Rule XXI, Clause 6 to rename a natural conservation area in Colorado after McInnis, who was then a sitting congressman. The rule prohibits sitting members of Congress from naming public works or lands after themselves.  McInnis did not notify anyone in Colorado about the bill to change the area’s name to honor him, and only two representatives spoke in favor of it — one from California and one from Guam. The bill was passed with a non-recorded voice-vote on a day when the House chambers were practically empty.

AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide 2014

ALVoterGuideThe November, 2014 elections will determine whether western Colorado can finally pull out of its negative economic and political spiral. But many people are so busy making a living and caring for their families that they don’t have time to study up on the candidates and issues. To make things easier for everyone, AnneLandmanBlog is providing this handy voter guide. Here is a list of how to vote if you are unhappy with our area’s status quo, want to protect the gains we’ve already made at the state level, keep extremists and unethical candidates out of public office, get rid of legislators who have failed to help western slope citizens and to make some badly-needed positive changes here western Colorado:

United States Senator: Mark Udall

House Representative for District 3: Abel Tapia

Colorado Governor/Lieutenant Governor: John Hickenlooper/Joe Garcia

Secretary of State: Joe Neguse

State Treasurer: Betsy Markey

State Board of Education: Henry C. Roman

State Senate, District 7: Claudette Konola

State Representative, District 55: Chris Kennedy

County Commissioner, District 2: Mark N. Williams

County Clerk and Recorder: Jennifer Manzanares

Mesa County Sheriff: Write-in candidate Benita Phillips

Amendment 67 (Fetal personhood): NO

your_vote_counts_button_3Amendment 68 (Large-scale gambling to fund schools): NO

Proposition 104 (Forces school district boards to have open meetings): NO

Proposition 105 (Shall genetically-modified foods be labeled as such?): YES

Referred Measure 2A (Shall the town of Palisade allow retail recreational marijuana shops within the town?): YES

Referred Measure 2B (Should the town of Palisade tax the sale of retail recreational marijuana to economically benefit the town?): YES

Referred Measure 2C (Should the town of DeBeque tax the sale of retail recreational marijuana to economically benefit the town?): YES

Related posts:

It’s Time to End GOP Rule in Mesa County, Nov. 2, 2014

Why a Fetus is Not A Person, Oct. 31, 2014

Mesa County Clerk, Sheila Reiner, Makes 2nd Major Screw Up in Palisade Ballots, Oct. 18, 2014

Phillips: WaPo Cites Mesa County Sheriff’s Office as Misspending Public Funds, Oct. 15, 2014

All You Need to Know About Mesa County Politics, All in One Place, Sept. 17, 2014

Sheriff Candidate Mike Harlow: The Ugliest Face of Mesa County, July 13, 2014

CO House Rep. Ray Scott’s Weird 2014 Bill, Oct. 9, 2014

Ray Scott Tanks Club 20 Debate, Sept. 12, 2014

Colorado Senate District 7: Claudette Konola w. Ray Scott, The Club 20 Debate in Full, Sept. 10, 2014 (video)

CO Rep. Ray Scott Throws Women and Kids Under the Bus, July 29, 2014

Clueless CO House Rep. Ray Scott Denies Climate Change, June 24, 2014

McInnis Campaign Fails to Get Permission to Post Signs, Oct. 6, 2014

Congress Suspended Rule to Rename “McInnis Canyons,” Aug. 27, 2014

Petition: Change the name of “McInnis Canyons” Back to Previous Name, Aug. 24, 2014

 

Ray Scott Tanks Club 20 Debate

Ray Scott may be running out of gas in the legislature, after not really getting anywhere anyway

Ray Scott may be running out of gas after several terms in the state legislature, after not really getting anywhere anyway in trying to  pass bills since January, 2011

Things aren’t going very well for poor Ray Scott, the incumbent Republican candidate for Colorado Senate District 7. The senate seat he is after will soon be vacated by longtime Mesa County GOP favorite son, Steve King, who currently is facing multiple misdemeanor and felony charges for theft and failing to report income as required by legislators. King’s fate may not be directly tied to Ray Scott in any way, but it certainly doesn’t help the beleaguered local GOP, which has put forth a truly embarrassing long string of inept and/or discredited candidates for office.

Ray Scott faced off with Democrat Claudette Konola in the recent Club 20 candidate debates, where he took a real hit.

Claudette opened the debate by linking Scott and his party with some of those truly bad candidates, including Steve King and former congressman Scott McInnis, who got his buddies in Congress to name a federal wilderness area named after himself in violation of congress’ House Rules, and who stepped down in disgrace from the 2010 race for governor amid allegations of massive plagiarism.

Scott opened at the debate by saying he probably wouldn’t even have gotten up that morning if it hadn’t have been for the debate. Not exactly the level of enthusiasm an incumbent legislator should project with an election just weeks away.