Tag: Grand Junction Chamber

Lessons from past G.J. City Council elections

Rick Brainard, one of the best-funded candidates who ever ran for Grand Junction City Council, was backed to the bitter end by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Old Guard Republican Establishment

Were you around for the 2013 City of Grand Junction election?

If not, then you really missed a doozy.

That was a year in which Grand Junction residents learned some big, important lessons about city council elections.

Here is one of them:

The best-funded candidates for city council are often the  WORST people to sit on city council.

Flex your muscle by getting out and voting in the May 8 Drainage District election!

Why drainage matters: Sherwood Park flooding after a sudden heavy summer rainstorm

Mark your calendars: there’s a local election coming up that Grand Valley progressives and intelligent voters can actually win if they just get out to vote: It’s an election in which typically only about 200 people turn out vote, so one or two dozen extra voters coming out could really tip the entire election in a good way for our valley. It’s for the District 3 seat seat on the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) board, and it’s coming up May 8. (pdf)

The difference between the two candidates is stark. It should make for a very easy decision by voters.

Local business owners want “a Chamber for the rest of us”

Shawn Carr, owner of G.J. Computer Center

Two small business owners in Grand Junction are fed up and ready to start a new organization that will do what they thought the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce was supposed to do: boost small local businesses and improve life in town for those struggling at the lower end of the income scale.

Shawn Carr, a technology specialist who owns GJ Computer Center, and Billy Jacobs, owner of XZRT Gaming on Orchard Mesa, say the Grand Junction Area Chamber falls far short of providing local small businesses what they really need.

To illustrate this, Shawn tells how he recently attended a Chamber event  billed as a way for businesses to promote themselves to other businesses. He brought a pocket full of business cards to the event, but when he got there found every booth but one represented a national or international conglomerate based outside of town. He ended up handing out only one business card, and walked away thinking it’s time someone did better than this.

The dark money groups, shady astroturfers and wealthy locals backing Measure 1A, the public safety sales tax

Tim Pollard of “Back the Badge’s” board is the brother-in-law of Josh Penry, who, with Penry operates the astroturfing group EIS Solutions, which is pocketing much of the money raised to promote 1A

Ballot Measure 1A will increase the sales tax in Mesa County by 0.37% to fund the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office.

It sounds like a good idea, but much of the money behind 1A is coming from unaccountable sources, and the astroturfing groups promoting it may give some people pause. In particular, one big-money donor backing 1A is an aggressively pro-gun group that refuses to reveal its funders and works to push lawmakers out of office who support policies to reduce gun massacres in the U.S., like the one that occurred in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017.

Grand Junction Chamber backs scary candidates for the contested seats in School Board election

The chamber is endorsing pretty scary candidates for school board

It’s no surprise that in the contested District 51 School Board races, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is endorsing candidates who are demonstrably the worst of the pack. That’s par for the course.

What IS surprising is that you can figure this out from reading the Chamber’s very own “Mesa County Valley School District 51 Voter Guide,” (pdf) in which the chamber endorses Thomas Keenan for District E and Dusti Reimer for District D.

For the voter guide, the chamber asked each candidate to answer four questions. Apparently the chamber printed the candidates’ responses verbatim, without editing.

The results are pretty damn scary for the two candidates they endorsed.

Thomas Keenan, the District E candidate, had a hard time putting together a coherent sentence. Below is a screenshot of Mr. Keenan’s answer to the chamber’s Question #4: “Why should members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber vote for you?” Immediately beneath his barely-comprehensible answer, the chamber endorses Mr. Keenan:

The Chamber’s North Ave. Name Change is One of a Long String of Losing Proposals

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is driving the effort to rename North Avenue to “University Boulevard.”

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

This proposal is just another one in the chamber’s long track record of pushing ill-fitting projects onto Grand Junction citizens, whether they like them or not. The chamber’s proposals typically range from unpopular to disastrous and almost invariably go down in flames. The promises they make about their proposals’ costs and outcomes often contain misinformation, too. So who can blame people for not supporting yet another one?

How About Letting the Rabble Decide What to Spend Their Own Tax Money On?

The way ballot proposals typically come about in Grand Junction, the Grand Junction Chamber, big local business owners and members of the Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs) conceive of some idea that benefits one or more established, successful businesses. They then try to convince people “our community is dying,”** promote this single idea as the only way to save the local economy, and portray it as the key to creating jobs. They may include language to the effect that their idea will also contribute down the line somehow to a project city residents really do want, like a community recreation center or more walking and biking trails.

Then proponents pool their money, hire a professional marketer to develop an ad campaign to make their idea look fantastic and then get their project on the next local ballot, where it gets trounced, because voters know it won’t really make their lives better as the bigwigs promised. Or voters go ahead and approve it only to see it never happen.

In a word, this method is a failure.

G.J. Area Chamber of Commerce Continues to be Anti-Worker, Anti-Family and Anti-Local Government

Family Unfriendly Chamber – The G.J. Chamber’s ad in the Daily Sentinel 2/20/17 says the chamber opposes a bill to require large employers to offer parents limited unpaid time off to attend kids’ academic activities, like parent-teacher conferences, meetings about dropout prevention, truancy, etc.

 

In its ad in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce announced it opposes HB-1001, “The Parental Involvement in K-12th Grade Education Act,” a family-friendly bill that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer workers 18 hours of unpaid leave per school year to attend their kids’ academic events, like parent-teacher conferences, meetings related to dropout prevention, attendance, special education services, truancy, discipline issues and the like. HB-1001 allows for exemptions in case a business is having an emergency and needs all of its employees, or if an employee’s absence would leave a business unable to operate. The unpaid leave time could not exceed six hours in any one month, and employees would have to request the leave a minimum of a week before it is needed. The bill passed out of the House Education committee on February 6 on a 7-5 vote, and went to the full House, where is passed on the third reading with a 37-28 vote. Western slope House Representatives Dan Thurlow and Yeulin Willett both sided with the Chamber and voted against the measure, making these two legislators family-unfriendly as well. Every single House member who voted against this act was Republican. Every legislator voting for it was a Democrat.

Mike Anton is Back, This Time Plugging an Events Center

Michael P. “I’m Your Worst Nightmare” Anton, author of the Grand Junction’s only negative campaign ad, and cheerleader for the chamber’s lies and political interference

Mike Anton is back, appearing on TV and speaking to groups around town, telling Grand Junction residents they should vote for an extra sales tax to build an events center downtown.

Do you remember Mike Anton?

No?

Well then let’s recap exactly who Mike Anton is, and what he has done over the last few years, so you will remember him:

Anton owns a business in town called EmTech. He sat on the board of directors of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce in 2013, the year the chamber backed Rick Brainard for city council.

Remember how THAT turned out?

Focus on the Bright Spots in the Election

sunrise-sunset-sun-calculatorHalf the country woke up this morning despondent, demoralized and in utter dread of what a Trump presidency will mean to this country. We’ve never had a president before who confessed on video to sexually assaulting women and who is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. We’re about to find out what that’s like, but everyone — including conservatives — might end up being surprised by what Trump will actually do while he’s in office, since he earned a 76 to a 91% lie rate for everything he said while on the campaign trail. The New York Times even dubbed him “Lord of the Lies.” If it was the right wing’s goal to throw a molotov cocktail into the government of the country they supposedly love so much, then they succeeded.

G. J. Chamber “Hasn’t Even Considered” Marijuana as a Way to Boost the Local Economy

CLUELESS - Diane Schwenke attending a meeting at Main Street Bagels this morning

Diane Schwenke attending a meeting at Main Street Bagels this morning

Diane Schwenke, the CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, said at a meeting at Main Street Bagels this morning that the chamber’s board hasn’t even discussed or considered the possibility of bringing retail marijuana commerce to Grand Junction as a way to boost the local economy.

Schwenke made the statement after being asked about the chamber’s position on retail marijuana, which over the last two years has proven to be one of the biggest economic drivers in elsewhere in the state.

Western Slope Workers’ Public Enemy #1: The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Labor says that in 2014, the Wall Street bonus pool was roughly twice as much as all minimum wage workers' pay

The U.S. Department of Labor says that in 2014, the Wall Street bonus pool was roughly twice as much as all U.S. minimum wage workers’ pay combined

On August 1, 2016 the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce announced its opposition to a ballot initiative to raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12/hour. The main reason the chamber gives for opposing the higher wage is a claim by Economics International Corporation — a company located in Portland, Oregon — that raising the minimum wage in Colorado will put 90,000 Coloradans out of work, mostly younger people.

Consider the Source

So who is “Economics International Corporation”?

It is a one person consultancy run by a man named Eric Fruits, who hires himself out as an expert witness in economics and statistics. The official registered business location of Economics International Corporation is “4318 NE Royal Court, Portland, Oregon 97213,” a four bedroom, three bathroom home. Fruits is the sole registered officer, agent, president and secretary of the corporation.

Economics International Corp headquarters

The official registered headquarters of the Chamber’s expert on Colorado economic issues, is this 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house in Portland, Oregon

Fruits specializes in “litigation support” for businesses, meaning he hires himself out to say whatever his paymasters need him to say, much like independent scientists did for the tobacco industry in the 1970s-1990s.

Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce Violates Own “Buy Local” Advice — Again!

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke (Photo Credit: YouTube)

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke (Photo Credit: YouTube)

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce once again dealt a hard slap to local businesses by hiring an out-of-state web developer to create its new “Save Local Now” web page and mobil app.

As quickly as the chamber debuted its new “save local” program, the Daily Sentinel revealed it had hired an Ohio-based firm to create it.

Such web development expertise is available in Grand Junction. Thin Air Web at the corner of First Street and North Avenue is one local company that offers such services, but the chamber chose not to patronize this or any other local web development business for this need.

Local-Washing

The Grand Junction Chamber regularly rolls out programs nominally aimed at supporting local businesses, like it’s “Blue Band Buy Local” program, while actually taking much of its own business out of town. This practice is known as “local-washing,” or trying to look concerned about local businesses without actually supporting local business.

Local-washing is akin to “greenwashing,” in which the chamber claims to be environmentally conscious while backing environmentally devastating pursuits unpopular with many businesses, like fracking and oil shale mining. The chamber also “job-washes,” or claims to support efforts to create jobs locally, while working to undermine innovative new economic pursuits that are already generating significant economic activity and good-paying jobs in other parts of the state.

Grand Junction Chamber’s Support for Dirty Energy Quietly Fails

Duck that landed in a toxic mining runoff lake at a Canadian tar sands mining site. (Photo: Natural Resources Defense Council)

Duck that landed in a toxic mining runoff lake at a Canadian tar sands mining site. (Photo: Natural Resources Defense Council)

On its website, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce touts green business practices. It sports photos of green leaves and solar panels on its Facebook page and offers up articles like the “Top 10 Green Practices for Landscapers” and “Top 10 Green Practices for Auto Repair.” The chamber urges businesses to take steps to reduce air pollution, protect people’s health and conserve water. Sounds pretty good, right? Like they really care about the environment, huh? So does this mean the Chamber is pro-environment?

Not by a long shot.

The Grand Junction chamber tries to put on a green face but it is one of the biggest political boosters in the state when it comes to promoting development of oil shale and tar sands — two of the most environmentally destructive and economically impractical mining practices in the world today.