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July 5th BOCC Meeting

More Bulls Bullying, Landfill Made More $’s,
Public Health/Clinic Relationship Ended?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-July 5, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis,
Reporter

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.  Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

The public comment time was extensive with citizens living in the vicinity of CR 390 and 391 coming to discuss their feelings about the cattle guards requested by Dr. Hamilton on CR 390.   The discussion was passionate, especially with Dr. Hamilton being unresponsive to calls that two of his mean bulls are running the neighborhood.  Apparently even before the BOCC meeting in Wetmore was finished, fences were being taken down on Hamilton’s property.  Calls to the Sheriff, to Chairman Kattnig and to the brand inspector only resulted in frustration as these bulls ran amok.

There were neighbors of Hamilton’s that stressed repeatedly that Hamilton is not a good neighbor, does not properly keep up his fences and has bought up properties when owners became exasperated with his bullying behavior.

There was discussion with Sheriff Byerly who adamantly stood with the folks being troubled by these bulls and the fact that Hamilton is simply blowing them off.  It was also revealed that these bulls are not tagged and are possibly spreading bovine trichomoniasis to neighboring cattle.  These citizen’s frustration at getting no support was evident.

The Board approved the minutes from the June 21st and June 30th meetings.

Commissioner Items

Commissioner Printz reported that he attended an Upper Arkansas Council of Governments meeting and that it went well.

Attorney Items

Attorney Clint Smith went to a meeting last Friday regarding a security issue for the county that he will report on in Executive Session.

The Board passed Resolution 17-12 honoring Under Sheriff Chris Barr, Sgt Mike Halpin, and Deputy Brandon Schoch for heroic service during the early hours of the Junkins fire.

The Board went into Executive Session for legal advice regarding the cattle guards requested by Dr. Hamilton and for Mr. Smith to update them on the security issues.  (The Executive Session lasted just over an hour.)

After returning to Public Session, Mr. Printz began by stating his opinion was that this was a long-standing issue of neighbors not getting along and wondered what place the county had in the matter.  He reiterated his disgust for the $150K the county spent on litigation, stated that his job was to protect the county, and rebuked, “If you guys can’t get along, I’m sorry.  Make a change.”

Commissioner Hood asked for clarification from the Wetmore citizens if Hamilton had even been called about the bulls.  Mike Halpin answered that he had and that two of Hamilton’s men had shown up, tried to round up the bulls on foot, were unsuccessful, and left.  She also stated that the Board had contacted the state veterinarian while in Executive Session and were told that Hamilton needed to catch and corral the bulls, and have them tested right away.  Gary Zeigler said he would send a crew to Wetmore to capture the bulls.

The two options that Mr. Smith iterated for the Board were: 1) To do nothing, simply reject the request from Hamilton or 2) To allow the cattle guards to be put in with the condition that the fencing be put back up that was taken down recently.

Halpin stated that either of those two options would be acceptable to him.  It was left up in the air, with Hamilton’s manager instructed to see if Hamilton will agree to either of those options.  The item may be addressed at the mid-month BOCC meeting.

Old Business

Mrs. Hood reported on the SIPA grant coming in for $3K for video streaming equipment.

Staff Reports

Rusty Christensen gave the Landfill/Recycling Report.  For the first half of the year, the income at the landfill is up $12K from this time last year.  Expenses are about the same.  The Board discussed the information that our county landfill fees are slightly lower than most counties our size.  Rusty recommended that we wait until January if we plan on raising fees.  Commissioner Kattnig agreed saying he felt that increased fees will result in an increase in illegal dumping.  While Commissioner Hood was okay with “wait and see” she stressed that money needs to be put away for long term planning.

Cindy Howard gave the OEM Report and handed out fliers for the Public Safety Days, scheduled for August 5th, and Community Slash Collection Event, scheduled for August 6th.  Mr. Kattnig mentioned that he thought the county would need to hire at least a part-time assistant for Howard at some point.  She added that the IT Department would soon require help as well.   Mr. Kattnig also suggested that the county might have to put fire mitigation requirements into the zoning resolution.

Public Health Nurse, Elisa Magnuson, gave her report.  AED’s have been ordered for the Wetmore Community Center.  The Public Health Department/Nurse is investigating options for their medical advisor.  The relationship between the Clinic and Public Health with regard to medical control has been ended.  Magnuson expressed frustration with clinic leadership on this issue.  (Note: this is not the first time that the clinic has refused to work with other entities in the community.)

The HR/Finance director Dawna Hobby got signatures she needed and had no updated report for this meeting.

The Veteran Service Office report was given by Tim Schwartz.  He reported 68 visits in June despite being gone for a week for the national conference.  He reported on several programs he learned about at conference.  The Board approved his report.

The meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.

The New Custer County: Change an Outdoor Light Fixture, Go To Jail

Commissioners Proposed “Dark Skies” Ordinance
Criminalizes Light

June 30, 2017 issue- Sangre de Cristo Sentinel

by George Gramlich,
News and Commentary

At a public meeting last week, the three Custer County Commissioners, Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood, finally revealed their proposed “Dark Skies” or “light pollution” ordinance they have been talking about since the two new Commissioners (Printz and Hood) were sworn in this January. Note that there was barely a mention of it during the campaign last year.

The Commissioners’ proposal wants to amend the Custer County Zoning Regulation of 2016 to regulate outdoor lighting throughout the county (The Towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have their own zoning laws.) They want to change the current non-enforceable, zoning law definition of “Light Pollution” to “Light Pollution defined as any adverse effect of the use of artificial outdoor lighting at night. See Section 8.2.G and Appendix D.3(p) for further information.”

The new Section 8.2.G reads like this:

“8.2.G: In order to minimize light pollution, all outdoor lighting shall be rated correlated color temperature of 3000 Kelvins or less, and any light source exceeding 500 initial lumens must be fully shielded. A “lumen” is measurement of the brightness of a particular light bulb or lamp. The following is a “lumens to watts” table:”

No need to print the whole table. The first line is all you need to know. It says a light source of 600 lumens is equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent light (old school light bulb), a 10-watt florescent light and a 5 – 9 LED light. If my math is correct, any incandescent light bulb over 33.3 watts is subject to this ordinance.

8.2.G continues with “grandfathering” language:

“All outdoor lighting that now exists shall be “grandfathered in”: that is, such lighting shall not be subject to the restrictions set forth in this Zoning Resolution. All artificial outdoor lighting for new construction (residential, commercial and agricultural), shall be subject to said restrictions. Any condition or circumstance resulting in the replacement of a non-conforming light source that was “grandfathered in” shall require the installation of a conforming light source in its place. Any new or additional outdoor lighting installed on property that was otherwise “grandfathered in” shall also require the installation of a conforming light source.” The paragraph then goes on to say that you can’t close your open zoning permit unless your outdoor lighting meets these standards.

There were rumblings from the Commissioners over the last few months that this regulation would be voluntary with no penalties, but true to form for liberals, all behavior deemed to be against the “safety” of the state, shall be penalized, the Commissioners are proposing CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE.

The criminal penalties for the new LIGHT BULB violations are found in Section 30-28-124 of Colorado Revised Statutes (which is incorporated into our Zoning Law). The most important section of it is this:

“Any person, firm, or corporation violating any such regulation, provision, or amendment thereof, or any provision of this part 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof,  shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by IMPRISONMENT IN THE COUNTY JAIL FOR NOT MORE THAN TEN DAYS, or by both such fine and imprisonment. EACH DAY DURING WHICH SUCH ILLEGAL ERECTION, CONSTRUCTION, RECONSTRUCTION, OR ALTERATION CONTINUES SHALL BE DEEMED A SEPARATE OFFENSE.”  (The caps are mine.)

So, if the Commissioners insist on this insanity, and your old back porch light fixture goes bad, and run down to Home Depot and pick up a $20 fixture to replace it, and, you put a 40-WATT BULB IN IT, you have just become a criminal in the eyes of our wonderful, compassionate, Commissioners. Folks, 40 Watts is a Lightening Bug level light. If it’s there ten days before the Special Commissioner Light Police SWAT Team show up (‘cause your wonderful new neighbors from Berkeley, CA, just moved next to you and ratted you out), you could go to jail for 100 days and also pay a $1,000. This is liberalism run amok. Total totalitarian insanity. What planet do these three come from?

Driving around Custer County at night and viewing satellite night images of Custer County doesn’t seem to show anything a rational human being would call “light pollution”. Some lights on people’s front and back doors, an occasional pole light between a house and a garage, and some barn and pole lights for ranchers. Here and there. You know, it’s actually kind of nice. The bottom line is, is that there is no “Light Pollution” in Custer County. Plus, with the awareness by people building new houses here concerning the County’s desire to be “Dark Skies” friendly, you will see volunteer compliance to any sensible suggestions.

Education is the answer, not criminalizing normal behavior. Make the public aware that this is a nice thing to do, and the vast majority of people who VOLUNTARILY do it. Commissioners, get over the liberal mindset that us peasants need to be punished if we don’t do what you want us to do. You are here to GOVERN, not RULE.

We need to finish this article with a bit of true, liberal comedy. In the handout, the three RULERS of Custer County gave out at the at the Soviet style show-and-tell meeting last week, they had a propaganda section on “Why Restricting Light Pollution Is Important”. Their prime source for the reasoning behind this fiasco is, believe or not, the extreme left-wing American Medical Association, Al Gore nutcase level “scientific” propaganda that (incandescent) lights above 33 watts (which is a flicker, folks) “affect the normal circadian physiology of humans and mammals…. disrupt sleep patterns, and have serious physical consequences such as increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, and other health problems.”  Beam me up, Scotty, my circadian thingy has been illuminated by a light bulb.

Education is the key folks, not criminalize everyday behavior. Time for a change.

July 6th BOCC Meeting

Wetmore:”Running of the Bulls”,
Shipping Container Complaint

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-July 6, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis,
Reporter

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.  Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

During public comments, one citizen asked about the statutes cited by the recall committee.  Attorney Smith stated that he was attorney for the Board and would not answer the question.  He also asked if the Board would consider putting the county in the air ambulance program formerly Eagle Med (Now React.)  The Board said they will consider it as a public item.

Commissioner Items

Commissioner Hood reported that Jeffrey Wood and the architecture students would be there later in the afternoon to finish their courthouse assessment.  She also requested that the Board have another evening meeting.  The meeting was set for Tuesday, July 25th at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom. [Now canceled]

Commissioner Kattnig reported a conversation with the brand inspector regarding Mr. Hamilton’s bulls (see article for July 5th meeting). The inspector said that his office will only check a brand if the stray is corralled and if the owner is unknown.

Attorney Items

Attorney Clint Smith spoke in code to the Board regarding a man who got a letter.  Mr. Smith met with the man and told him that he didn’t need to respond and that the man was pleased.

Old/New Business

Storage containers in the county – A citizen, calling himself a reclusive resident of the county and stating that he’d been a developer for many years in another state asked the Board to outlaw the large tractor-trailer type shipping containers in the county.  He called them atrocious eyesores. The Board responded by sending it to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Regarding the “Light Pollution”/Dark Skies changes to the Zoning Resolution:  Commissioner Printz stated that the Sentinel’s headline “Change a lightbulb, go to jail” was not a true statement. (Editor/GG: Another falsehood from Mr. Printz. I read the proposed ordinance and there are MULTIPLE ways to violate the ordinance by merely changing a lightbulb/LED in an outdoor fixture, which, if convicted, you will go to jail. See the information in the orginal story we wrote HERE.) Mr. Kattnig stated that the board members had no “stand” at this time.  The item was sent to the Planning Commission for their consideration.

Dallas Anderson gave the Airport Advisory Board report.  There was discussion about the newly installed fuel dispenser still not working.  Mr. Printz suggested that while he “hates to threaten people” he would call the owner of the company that did the work.  The Fly-in is still on the calendar for September 23rd.  The Board discussed the damage done to the hangar (several years ago).  Mr. Printz urged Anderson to nudge the person who did the damage to get the owner paid for the damage.  Mr. Kattnig mentioned that the former Board had decided to pay for the repairs last year.  Mr. Printz will contact the owner about getting the work done.

Gary Hyde and Roger Squire gave the Road & Bridge Report.  They discussed a complaint that Mrs. Hood got about Copper Gulch and Mr. Printz told the men that he’d gotten a message from a gentleman saying he’s never seen the road so good.   Mr. Kattnig told Hyde that the county will not be paying for weed control on private land this year.

Laura Lockhart gave the Human Services Report.

The meeting adjourned at 10:38 a.m.

LTE: You Got Elected Because YOU SAID You Were REPUBLICANS!

June 27, 2017

To the Editor;

The recent actions, attitude and behavior from our REPUBLICAN Commissioners raised serious questions regarding their real motivation, intent, integrity and honesty. You know, integrity is defined as doing the right thing when there is no one there to challenge your actions.

All three of the current Commissioners ran as Republicans. They attended Republican events, proclaimed Republican platform values, and indicated if elected they would emulate those values into their governing.

Dr. Kattnig was so bold as to admit he came from a Democratic family and he was the only one who became a staunch Republican. After all, he told us again and again during the campaign, “People, I am a professional and son of Custer County. I know what this county wants!

The people want low taxes, less government, more liberty and less intrusion from government. So do I.”

Donna Hood ran as the champion of the people. Someone who would in her benevolent heart said she would (she even said she would give her salary back to the County) reach those in need and make the county better. After all, as a business woman of great achievement here in the valley she had a plan. Her plan, if you recall, did involve the word “progressive”. You have to watch those words! They slip them in there just like another guy who said, “if you like your Doctor you can keep your Doctor.” There was another gal who talked a lot about, “our values”. Nice sounding, soft, comforting but those values involved abortion, more government control, less liberty and a socialist America.

Jay Printz was a little more slippery in his campaign. He was one of those politicians and good lawyers who could talk all day and when he finished you had no idea where he really stood on anything. He claimed to be a Republican.

Somewhere between the election and the day these three were sworn into office, a polarizing shift in attitude, intent and behavior took place. Suddenly, the people who voted for them are the people they intend to control. The dynamic shift in attitude became immediately evident. Dr. Kattnig starts talking down to people in meetings. The incident where Robin Young was not being fired by the Commissioners but replaced at their insistence became public. (A really gutless way to go about a problem). A tape recorder placed on the Commissioners desk for years becomes an object of frustration and concern for these learned elected people. His Honorarium Printz declares, “we don’t want that here. Remove, it please.” At least he said “please.”

Since being elected, not one Commissioner has attended any Republican Central Committee meeting including the recent Lincoln Day Dinner. When asked about his absence, Mr. Printz replied, “I don’t think I would be welcome there.” Why would he make such a statement as a staunch, died in the wool, red county, conservative Republican?

Dr. Kattnig missed the Lincoln Day Dinner but found time to give a speech at the Democratic Party dinner. Are you curious why he would do that being a conservative Republican? This is a man who gave up the Democrat tradition against the wishes of his family. Maybe he has a reason as pure as the driven snow for his actions, maybe not.

Dark Skies is proposed for Custer County and Printz declares, “there’s been no decision on Dark Skies but it is inevitable. We are going to have it.” He didn’t say we may have it, or might have it but we are going to have it. If you think this is some silly little measure to keep the light from shining up instead of down, please get informed. This code has some real teeth. All those teeth are snarling right at you the property owner.

The International Building Code is being considered and once again Printz makes the case for a “compelling interest” to deprive us of our liberty. The Government has used the “compelling interest” argument many times to intrude on personal liberty. Most often liberty is deprived in the name of security or safety, exactly the argument Prince would use in forcing the IBC Code. (It sounds more like Karl Marx than Ronald Reagan.)

These three Republicans are proposing landfill fee increases, hikes in other fees and a tax levy for road improvement. Sounds like Democrats at the Golden Dome, not conservative Republicans in Custer County.

There’s an old colloquial expression I heard a lot as a boy from my mother, “your actions always speak louder than your words.”

The expression is truly appropriate regarding these three Commissioners. They are not acting as Republicans! They are acting as though once elected they were given a mandate to do whatever they pleased in regard to County Government.  It is obvious they do not know the limits of their Office. What is even more disturbing is their “we don’t care attitude” coupled with “were going to do it like it or not insensitivity” regarding the people who put them in office. Sooner, rather than later, the Commissioners are going to get themselves and ultimately Custer County into a Criminal Investigation or Civil Law suit. “We the people” are not required to bend to these Commissioners whims and belligerence. They were elected they can be removed! This is not the old Soviet Union. They are not the commissariat and the voter is not the peasant masses.

I’ve only lived in Custer County for ten years. Yet, I know the vast majority of people who vote here did not intend for this kind of Commissioner hegemony. It is no consolation to say, “well I didn’t vote for them.” The gratification from that statement lasts about as long as it took to say it. Instead, we should all be asking, “how do we fix this problem, other than waiting till the next election?” Asking for the Commissioner’s resignations would be a start although getting them to agree would be like asking a zebra to give up its stripes. However, doing nothing is no longer one of them. The old conservative “get along and go along” to keep peace died in Custer County about three minutes after these three decided to ruin the liberty we enjoy. If they won’t go quietly into the night of their liberalism then we should remove them through a County recall vote.

Larry Luikart
Rural Custer County.

 

Take Back Custer County Recall Committee Kick-off Meeting

Take Back Custer County
Recall Committee Kick-off Meeting

–July 6, 2017

by George Gramlich

The Take Back Custer County Recall Committee, chaired by Ann Barthrop, Ann Willson and Mike Haga, held their first general meeting last Thursday, July 6th, at Tony’s Pizza in the events room. Ms. Barthrop and Mrs. Willson hosted the meeting. Over 40 concerned citizens attended. The purpose of the meeting was to review the status of the campaign, outline the timeline for the recall and to train the attendees in the rules and etiquette of gathering recall petition signatures for each member of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

In addition, three potential replacement candidates to replace the current BOCC, running as a slate, were introduced at the end of the meeting.

The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer led by county resident, Bill Canda. Ms. Barthrop then proceeded to review how the recall petition process works and how once a successful recall is accomplished, the election process works. (If a recall petition is successful, an election occurs where, for each recalled Commissioner, a question is placed on the ballot asking essentially “Do you want to recall this Commissioner? If you check yes, then you may vote for a replacement candidate that is on the ballot. If the majority of people at the election, select “recall” then the current Commissioner is fired. The new Commissioners elected would take office immediately after the election results are certified (sometime in November.)

Ms. Barthrop pointed out that the Recall Committee has set up the recall timeline so the recall election would be on the normal November election ballot thereby eliminating any extra cost for the county.

The meeting then proceeded on how to gather signatures, what is a proper signature (what your voter registration signature is), legal address required (no PO Boxes), areas to be canvassed and etiquette.

An extensive question and answer period then ensued. Many thoughtful technicalities were addressed by Ms. Barthrop who had clearly done her homework with the help of Mr. Haga.

Finally, a slate of potential replacement candidates was introduced: Bill Canda, Kit Shy and Sandra Attebery. One for each Commissioner. The candidates each gave a brief speech with a common theme of restoring traditional American values to our county government including: rebuilding the trust between the BOCC and the county’s citizens; respecting all citizens; that there will be no hidden agendas; that they will govern (not rule) with honesty and integrity always; that they will be transparent and approachable; that they will at all times use due process; and will govern with compassion.

Just before the meeting was closed with a rousing prayer by Bill Canda, the attendees gave Ms. Barthrop and Ms. Wilson a tremendous standing ovation for their work in attempting to restore traditional American values, integrity, honesty and compassion to our county government.

 

BOCC on Proposed Building Code May 17, 2017

If There’s a Compelling Reason…You Can
Restrict or Take Away Someone’s Personal Rights”

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-May 17, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colo.

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting was held in the Wetmore Community Center despite the ongoing work.  The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

Public comments: One citizen brought a report to the Commissioners of the perceptions out in the public.  While he personally had nothing against them, he did say that the community was in turmoil about the Board insisting that CSU fire Robin Young.  He also stated that there was a firestorm in the blue collar and construction arena about the decision to require insurance for the perc-test techs and suggested that the Board, especially Commissioner Kattnig, would suffer the repercussions at the ballot box.   Commissioner Printz told him that the insurance requirement would be addressed later in the meeting.  All three Commissioners continued their “we didn’t fire her” story and again stated that they didn’t insist on her removal.  Mr. Kattnig also, again stated that they had already talked to Young’s supervisors (a “fact” still in question) before driving to Ft. Collins.

Another citizen commented on the incredible nature of the Board’s claims that they could drive to the CCI conference together and not talk county business.  She told them there was another option aside from driving together or charging the county for mileage for all three of them:  she suggested that they could all drive up separately and pay for their own gas.  Mr. Kattnig jumped to the Board’s defense saying that the attorney had told them it was entirely legal for them to drive up together and that other county commissioners do it all the time.

Commissioner items:Commissioner Hood thanked the American Legion Post 170 for the Memorial Day program.On the topic of the Extension Office, she announced that both Beverly Goertz and Sara Shields had attended 4-H training and had accepted the interim positions.  The 4-H suspension has been lifted.  She will be posting the job opening for the permanent position of CSU 4-H Youth Development Coordinator next week.  The hiring committee will be made up of Commissioner Hood, Sara Shields, Beverly Goertz and HR Officer Dawna Hobby.  The Board stated that Shields is interested in the Extension Agent position.  Mr. Kattnig stated for the record that Shields would have to compete for the job just like anyone else, that she would not be given special consideration because she lives here.  Kattnig talked at great length about the Extension Agent hiring process that CSU will do.

Mrs. Hood went on to say that Darin Redmond would be doing the outside landscaping and working the weigh station and doing miscellaneous maintenance in the county buildings.  (This “hiring” was not advertised and it is unclear how it was done.)  Hood has interviewed three cleaning services for the inside of the building.  None has been selected yet.  She stressed that there has not been a thorough cleaning in the courthouse for six years.Regarding the high-speed internet for the County Building and Sheriff’s Office, Chuck Ippolito is still contacting the three entities (Hillside, CenturyLink, and SECOM).  A list of ten questions has been put together and whether the companies can attend a meeting in person or not, they will be required to answer the questions.

The Tourism board met yesterday to review RFP’s for the website.  Hood asked Attorney Smith if the tourism board could sell advertising on their website to raise revenue.  (Revenue for the Tourism board is limited at this time to the bed tax monies.)  Smith advised that the Tourism board could do that.Sheriff Byerly suggested that someone from the fair board or extension advisory board be included on the hiring committee for the 4-H coordinator.  He also expressed hopes that the evaluation process for the county be similar to the one he is using.

Mr. Printz has been on vacation.  He reported a slight issue with the installation of the fuel pump at the airport that has since been fixed.  He reported meetings with Jackie Hobby of the Planning and Zoning office and reported that there were some personnel issues that would require an executive session.

Silver Cliff Mayor Steve Lasswell has found possible funding for a community center in Westcliffe/Silver Cliff and Printz suggested that the he meet with both towns to further investigate the possibility.Mr. Kattnig apologized for missing the last meeting due to his wife’s surgery.  He reported on the Mountain Connect seminar.  He also met with CDOT and discussed several local traffic issues with them.  CDOT expressed a general unwillingness to take action on these issues so Kattnig will speak with Wilson and Crowder, our state representatives.Under Attorney items, the cattle guard request by Dr. Hamilton is ongoing.  He also met with Jackie Hobby, Vic Barnes and Jim Bradburn to put together a tentative Dark Skies plan to present to the public at a meeting tentatively set for June 22nd at the bowling alley.The board went into executive session so that Smith could give them information regarding security issues.The board resumed the public meeting and approved the vouchers for the month.After meetings he held privately, Mr. Printz brought a proposal to the Board to have Planning Commission explore putting in place a county building code like the towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have.  He stated that every builder he talked to was in favor of a building code and that ever realtor he talked to said a building code would lead to higher resale values.  He presented a list of pros and cons that came from these private meetings.  He admitted that it meant more government interference and talked about the constitution insuring that people could “own land free and clear and do what they want.”  (It is unclear what provision in the constitution he referred to.)   He went on to say that you have to balance public safety over personal freedom.  “If there’s a compelling reason, not just a good reason, why we should do one versus the other, you can restrict or take away someone’s personal rights.”  Mrs. Hood expressed that she was in favor of a building code.  Mr. Kattnig was not completely on board but the Board approved the proposal going forward to the Planning Commission.The Board renewed the school nurse agreement.Mr. Printz addressed the issue of requiring insurance for the perk techs decided on in a previous meeting.  After Attorney Smith spoke with County Surveyor Kit Shy, the suggestion was made to rescind that requirement (which the Board did) and to have Smith write a resolution requiring all future septic systems be engineer designed.  That resolution will be on the agenda for the meeting on June 8th.  That requirement will add $800 to $1000 to the cost of a septic system in the county.Sheriff Byerly reported that one of the inmates at the jail had to be flown out on Flight for Life when the ambulance was on a call and no second crew could be raised.  Since the inmate is housed for Alamosa County, the costs will likely be paid by them.  But he raised the concern, both as Sheriff and as a citizen that the county passed a mill levy for the ambulance and where was the money going.  There is a continuing and frequent problem with getting an ambulance when the first ambulance is out on a call.Sheriff Byerly also discussed that there is no health service or mental health service at the jail and there is a need to explore options in the upcoming budget.

The board went into executive session again to deal with a personnel issue at the Sheriff’s Office.The executive session was followed by the quarterly staff meeting.The meeting was adjourned.

(Editor/GG: Regulation, by the libs and the RINO’s is one of main reasons the economy has tanked. We seem to have gotten by fine here for centuries without a draconian building code that will dramatically drive up cost not only for houses, but for additions, garages, barns, etc. Commissioner Printz, you can cherry pick people to find those that want it (like asking building contractors and real estate agents, I mean really, duh) but THE PEOPLE want less regulation, not more. This will dramatically hurt the poorer people in the county and especially the middle class. It will make it much harder for middle income people to move here (which might be one the reasons why this is being proposed). Plus, the current IBC code is a NIGHTMARE. It will virtually eliminate any regular person from building his own dream cabin or even a garage. And based on nightmares we have heard in Huerfano and Fremont Counties, the building inspector can be difficult to “work” with. In the extreme. I thought we elected “Republicans”? What we apparently have here is very well-off Commissioners who would not feel the impact of the cost of a building code, and that want to DICTATE how we run our lives. RINO’s come to mind but it might be a lot worse. Most of us don’t have the wealth that these Commissioners have. A couple of thousand bucks added to a simple garage project because of an onerous building code will KILL the project. $20k or $30k more added on to a new home would kill the dream for many middle-class people. But maybe not for our Commissioners.It seems all three Commissioners are out-of-touch with THE PEOPLE. Very similar to the RINO establishment and coastal lib elites at the national level. Commissioners Printz and Hood both are wealthy newcomers to the valley and seem hell bent on bringing coastal lib control, regulation and rule, to a place, in middle America, that DOESN’T WANT IT. “Control Freaks” comes to mind. And Commissioner Kattnig: I am surprised if you support this. You grew up here and understand individual liberty and freedom. Hopefully your long sojourn away hasn’t destroyed what you saw here in the old days: rugged, free, individualism and LIMITED government. And Commissioner Printz: Fully understand what “compelling” means before you apply that faulty test to our INDIVIDUAL, GOD GIVEN, LIBERTY to enjoy our lives free of government tyranny. The “Compelling” test is what liberals have used for the last 60 years to destroy our Constitutionally granted freedoms. You using this word is very troublesome as it is exactly the rationale that socialists have used since Lenin to enslave the people and rule over them like peasants. Yes, as Zman so fondly writes about, the Cloud People love to rule the Dirt People. And enjoy making the Dirt People’s lives more miserable because they know better, and “care”. How nice. How Alinsky.Most of us non-natives have moved to the Valley because we like the way it is. You folks want to turn this into Boulder. Next step it will be mandatory lawn maintenance and no plastic shopping bags. We know how this goes. This is a conservative county, Commissioners. We don’t want to be Boulder. Leave us alone! Any true “Republican” would be repelled by what you folks are proposing. Don’t bring liberal, control insanity here. Leave it back where you came from. Or better yet, move to Boulder to be with your homies. Live Free or Die, my brothers and sisters. We’ve lost our Freedom inch by inch over the last hundred years. We don’t need our own Commissioners adding another inch. The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! Might now be, The Commissioners Are Coming! The Commissioners Are Coming! Time for Tea Party, Dirt People.)

T

June 26th: a Meeting on Building Code Folks Need to BE THERE

June 26th: a Meeting on Building Code
Folks Need to BE THERE

To the Editor;

On Monday, the 26th of June, the County Planning and Zoning Advisory Board, not the Planning Commission nor the Board of Zoning Adjustment, will hold a meeting so that they can recommend adoption of a building code to the County Commissioners. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom. It is possible, though unlikely, that opposition to adopting a building code will be heard.I have included the Letter to the Editor I wrote regarding the Pro’sand Con’s document submitted by Commissioner Jay Printz and his cabal. It doesn’t address the building code as much as debunk their assertions. It is unknown if the push will be for International Residential Code or if Printz’s push includes the commercial code. Given that Printz wants the proposed county inspector to also cover the town’s inspections, we can assume he will push for adoption of the commercial code disregarding the fact that there is not a commercial zone in the county. Unless they designate AG as commercial as they have done elsewhere. Show up before you lose another right.  Here’s my LTE, in case you missed it a few weeks ago:

Weighing in on the Push for a Building Code

Liberals in Custer County have been pushing a building code for a long, long time.  And now we have the latest iteration, a la Progressive Printz.Apparently the Printz has been holding secret meetings to implement a building code for the County. And as usual he shows a complete contempt for both the law and his subjects. Rather than discuss this major character flaw, I’d like to discuss his proposal. He starts with the unanimous consent of those secret conspirators and states that they are requesting, in their capacity as surrogates for the Board of County Commissioners, that the Planning and Zoning Committee, apparently another new group, write some building and fire codes that mirror the codes of the towns. It is unknown what building code has been adopted by the Town of Westcliffe. It might be the Uniform Building Code (UBC) or the International Building Code (IBC). It is also unknown when the building code was adopted. The reason that it is unknown is that there doesn’t seem to be a record of this adoption.Regardless, the secret cabal allegedly identified the pros and cons of adopting a building code. Obviously the pros outnumber the cons. That would be a foregone conclusion of such a secret meeting. Let’s go through the pros and see if they are valid conclusions.

First is “Better product produced”. Of course, there isn’t any evidence cited but the truth is that this claim is false on its face. The reality is that all the good builders in the county build better than code and that a building code protects bad builders and fly-by-night builders. That is the main purpose of the code, to provide cover for builders from lawsuits. They can claim that the structure was “built to code” so they aren’t responsible.

Second “Reduce/eliminate inappropriate or dangerous shortcuts and cost saving activities”. This is just a ridiculous statement. Who is supposedly doing this? Hired builders or homeowners? And what are these alleged shortcuts? Building with straw bale or tires? As though any responsible individual is actually going to take dangerous shortcuts. But even if a builder did, responsible homeowners and lenders inspect the work being performed.

Third “Higher resale value”. A completely specious claim.  What causes the higher resale value is the higher cost to build because of all the regulations and inspections. It also isn’t a function of government to increase the monetary gain of select groups.

Fourth “Easier mortgage (lower debt/equity ratio)”. See above but also when someone builds their own house they either have sweat equity and don’t need a mortgage or they manage costs so that their mortgage requirements are much lower.I haven’t even gotten to the really stupid pros yet.

Fifth “Lower insurance costs”. Can’t imagine where they pulled this from. Insurance is based on the value of the property. Perhaps what they mean is lower fire insurance but this is also not true. That insurance would be based on the likelihood of a fire destroying the structure and as we have seen from fires like Black Forest experienced, the insurance companies required all trees and brush within 100 feet of a structure be removed.

Sixth “Health and safety of occupants” (including fire/construction) safety (sic). Stop laughing. We all know that where there is a building code, construction workers never get hurt and homeowners always are protected against the ravages of nature. When there is a building code, winds never drive debris through walls, trees never fall on homes, snow never crushes a structure, carbon monoxide never builds up.  Well you get the picture.

Seventh “Equitable – Level field – One code for everyone”. So does that mean Kommissar Printz wants to regulate the minimum size of structures in the County and Silver Cliff like he has done in Westcliffe? Then it isn’t about safety at all is it? And exactly which code has Westcliffe adopted? And when? And does the Town of Westcliffe follow the same regulations as Silver Cliff with regard to modular homes? And will alternative building materials be disallowed?

Eighth “Eliminate property tax evasion schemes”. I guess the assessor’s office doesn’t do their job and never check out structures. But a different government agency will do better than the existing one. Are there any County employees doing their job?Ninth “Protect buyers not familiar with proper building standards and adherence thereto”. Another way to say this is remove personal responsibility from people and protect them from being STUPID.  Maybe that’s too harsh.  Still, if you don’t know what you’re doing, hire someone who does. There are lots of building inspection firms that guarantee their findings and warn of problems where a bureaucrat just stamps “built to the lowest common denominator”.

And the final pro, and my all-time favorite, “Reasonable flood insurance availability”. Flood insurance has nothing to do with adopting some arbitrary building code. It has to do with becoming a FEMA participating county and producing flood maps. The HUD flood maps are not only half a century old, their scale is pathetic. The smallest amount of homework would have revealed this. And I personally know of residents that have flood insurance for about $100 per year. And that’s through Lloyd’s of London.

My favorite con is “3. Restricting Class of people (tent dwellers, makeshift housing, etc)”. Notice the wording – class of people. We certainly don’t want the riff-raff living here. How can we make this Vail or Aspen if those kind of people are allowed to live here?The closing statements say that the 2006 International Building Code is “Not over restrictive.  But that code is over 650 pages. How could that NOT be overly restrictive?But government is here to protect us from our own decisions – right or wrong.  And these current commissioners are the “class of people” who think they know what’s best for us.

Dan Bubis
Rural Custer County

BOCC: Public Input on Dark Skies Regulation

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-June 22, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis, Reporter

The meeting started at 6 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.Commissioner Jay Printz began the meeting by stating that, unequivocally, Dark Skies ordinances have been beneficial to both towns.  The BOCC sees this as economic development without impact.  The Board provided a draft resolution amending the County Zoning Resolution of 2016, written by County Attorney Clint Smith who is also vice-president of Dark Skies.The meeting was opened to comments from the forty or so people in the audience.Jim Bradburn, president of Dark Skies, resident of Cotopaxi, Fremont County, spoke first as a “citizen of this valley” that the night-scape is our second greatest asset (after the mountain views) and suggested that the dark skies will only stay that way if we take action to put hoods on our lights.  He stated that Dark Skies (would pay for anyone who wants to change out their light fixtures.)Several other Cotopaxi citizens spoke on behalf of our night skies.  One Cotopaxi resident said that most people will hood their lights voluntarily.Other citizens of the two towns and a few residents of the county also spoke in favor of the beauty of the night skies.A number of people suggested that having a county-wide Dark Skies ordinance would encourage outsiders to come, spend their money, and leave.Several citizens spoke up with concerns about the proposed resolution.One rancher pointed out that his single yard light illuminates his livestock, his corrals and has saved his life in blizzard conditions.  He urged that, at the very least, the 80-acre zone be exempted from the resolution.Another citizen pointed out that the Board had a responsibility to the citizens of Custer County, not other counties, and not just to the citizens of the valley.  Mr. Kattnig pointed out that this resolution would only apply to the land between the crest of the Sangres and the crest of the Wet Mountains.  Mr. Smith corrected him by stating that, if passed, this resolution/ordinance would apply to the entire county.Former commissioner Shy asked several technical concerns.  How would the county know that a light had been changed – would there be a permit required?  Since this proposal will be in the compliance section, there will be charges possible against anyone who is not Dark Skies compliant.  He stressed that, while it was gracious of Dark Skies to pay for fixtures, that would have to be stated in the ordinance and he did not think that could be done.There was no one in attendance that didn’t want our rural county to remain dark.  The questions lay in whether an ordinance was required to insure that.  Many wondered at the growing movement by the BOCC to create laws because something bad may happen someday.Mr. Smith, county attorney and vice-president of Dark Skies (wearing his county attorney hat for this meeting) again stressed the process that would have to be followed for this to become law.  The BOCC would vote for it to go forward (in an early July BOCC meeting – watch the agenda) and send it to the Planning Commission (PC).  The PC would have public meetings and study the matter before making recommendations back to the BOCC.  The BOCC would then have to have public meetings before making the decision.Mr. Kattnig repeated that this proposal was only a draft and that the Board hasn’t made up their mind yet.Note:  This topic is on the agenda for the July 6th BOCC meeting.

BOCC Meeting June 21, 2017

June 21st BOCC Meeting

-June 21, 2017
WETMORE, Colorado
by Jackie Bubis, Reporter

The meeting started at 9:00 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The Commissioners thanked Alden Grey and Nan and Courtney Davenport for all their hard work on the Wetmore Community Center.
Commissioner Items:
Commissioner Hood reported that the tourism board has selected a vendor to remodel their website. She met with Jeffery Wood and three CSU architect students with regards to the DOLA grant. She took part in the Public Health Department’s mock outbreak exercise. She has appointed a communication committee made up of Cindy Howard, Shannon Byerly, Dawna Hobby, herself, and Chuck Ippolito. They will be looking at the county phone system which she calls a “dinosaur”, will be getting rid of some phone lines and, in the end, hopefully saving some money. She also attended a tourism board/economic development/Dark Skies meeting and learned of various grants available for agri-tourism.
Commissioner Printz met with the Early Childhood Development Counsel. He also is working with the Planning and Zoning Office, the Sheriff and Under Sheriff on what he calls “unsafe” conditions in a home in the county. He reported on the fuel dispenser at the airport, which is in but continues to have some electrical issues.
Commissioner Kattnig stated that he attended the Democrat Party Dinner as Chairman of the BOCC, not as a Democrat or Republican, to give an update. He met with Senator Cory Gardner regarding the Junkins fire who seemed very supportive to get the county funds for monitoring equipment for runoff. He commended Kevin Day and Larry Haines for their extra work during recent runoff issues. He also stated that he is hearing very divisive rhetoric from both Democrats and Republicans and hopes we can all put aside our differences. Mr. Kattnig also reported on a DOT regional planning meeting he attended saying that no one there knows what anyone else is doing.
Attorney Items
County Attorney Smith reported on the upcoming public meeting to discuss a light pollution resolution/ordinance (Dark Skies) schedule for June 22nd. He outlined the process that a resolution/ordinance would have to take before becoming law. The BOCC would refer it to the Planning Commission who would have public hearings. They would make a recommendation back to the BOCC who would have further public meetings before voting on the matter.
New/Old Business
The building code proposal by Mr. Printz will be discussed in a “Planning Committee” meeting on June 26th at 7 p.m. in the courtroom. He states that he is an advocate of a building code but that it will be a community decision.
Mrs. Hood said she spoke with the people with the Underfunded Courthouse grant, asking if the Board could use the $145K planning money for a justice center instead of upgrading the courthouse. He is taking the question to his board and will report back to her.
The Board approved a pre-grant application for the Court Security Grant that will continue to fund the full-time court security position (Mike Halpin’s position). Mrs. Hood wants clarification on what the grant covers in terms of that position and hours, etc.
An estimate was finally received for the courtroom door from JDH Construction for $3,470. It was approved and will be taken out of the capital improvements fund.
Next on the agenda was a meeting with Mike Halpin, his attorney, and Dr. Hamilton’s property manager (Marvin Boyd) to discuss the cattle guards on CR 390 requested by Dr. Hamilton. The major sticking point between the parties at this point is the fence that Hamilton will take down, leaving the road open to the cattle. Halpin has maintained a portion of CR 390 for over 20 years and remarked that the cattle on the road are very destructive. The Board agreed that it is a county road and that it is the County’s responsibility to maintain the entire road.
Mr. Halpin’s attorney pointed out the precedent that will be set by this decision of the Board if it allows Hamilton to put in the cattle guards and take down the fencing. The precedent would mean that wealthy ranchers with property on either side of a county road could put in cattle guards and take down the fences. (Note: This would be both a health and safety issue and a financial issue as it would increase the cost of maintenance to county roads.) The meeting went on for fifty minutes and will be addressed again in Executive Session in an early July meeting.
Chip Taylor, Director of Colorado Counties, Inc presented their annual report to the Board.
Mr. Kattnig stated how sorry he was that he was unable to attend the CCI Conference that the other two Board members attended due a to death in the family. (Note: The County spent $700 for each of the commissioners to attend this conference.)
Atencio Engineering was present for a discussion of the Hermit bridge project. The decision on designating a firm for that project was tabled until the June 30th meeting. Mr. Kattnig asked for references from the firm and the engineer stated that she had provided those with the bid.
The Custer County Economic Development Corporation – represented by Wilson Jarvis – requested a letter of support for a grant with Colorado Small Business Development (no matching funds) that would possibly provide a satellite office in the county. Currently, when the CSBD is working in the county, they are using the Chamber Office.
Cindy Howard updated the Board with OEM issues. She stated that on June 15th, the Junkins fire was declared “out” at 18,762 acres. She also stated the Hazard Mitigation Plan stakeholders listed consistent building codes as their number one issue. (Note: This plan’s stakeholders were mostly emergency services representatives and concerned with mitigating fire. The meetings were said to be poorly attended even by emergency services and even more poorly by citizens.)
Mrs. Hood suggested that SECOM be awarded the broadband contract with the county for the next year. This proposal was passed unanimously. Installation will start with the Sheriff’s Office where there is desperate need for higher bandwidth.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Republican Dinner Void of Recently-Elected Republican-Ticket Officials

Republican” Comish Kattnig Skips Republican Dinner, Then Attends Democrat Dinner!!!
Other Two “Republican” Commissioners ,
Also No Shows

by George Gramlich,
News and Commentary

“…as we march towards being Boulder South…”

My, my, my. I can hear then Commissioner candidate Bob Kattnig stating unequivocally, about two and a half years ago, in the Sentinel’s office, to my face, that he was a “conservative Republican”. He then listed the usual conservative talking points that he adhered to politically. Sounded good to me. Although his family were life-long democrats, and he was a long term, tenured professor at an Arizona university (warning signs, maybe?), he insisted he believed in limited government and traditional conservative American values.
“Honesty” was one of his big themes. Yes, honesty. A “man of his word” or a similar phrase was used often. “I will treat people fairly” was another. Hmmmm.
And now we have this: Registered Republican Commissioner Bob Kattnig skips the most important Republican event of the year, the Lincoln Day Dinner, sponsored by the Republican Central Committee (where two Custer County School homeschooled students received awards for an essay contest), and ATTENDS AND SPEAKS AT THE DEMOCRAT DINNER a few days later. Guess who also skipped the Lincoln Day Dinner? Our two newly elected RINO Commissioners, Jay Printz and Donna Hood. Too busy watching CNN maybe. How nice. How loyal. Children and loyalty only matter when it is politically expedient.
Little did we know.

Fast forward two and half years, fellow Custer County citizens. Yes, Republicans, Democrats and Independents. What we have here in Kattnig is a person who intentionally deceived the citizens who signed his primary petition to get him on the ballot; who intentionally deceived the Republican Central Committee (RCC), and intentionally deceived the citizens of Custer County who voted for “Mr. Honesty” because he was a “Republican”.
After Kattnig got elected two years ago, you could visibly see the constant friction between then Republican Commissioners Attebury and Shy versus Kattnig at the Commissioner meetings. It was obvious they disagreed on a whole variety of topics. Attebury and Shy were (and are) good, solid, traditional, rural, conservative Republicans. And allegedly so was “Republican Bob”. So, why the friction?
We now know. As soon as our two new RINO Commissioners were sworn in, the cat was out of the bag for all three.
Commissioners Printz and Hood, traveled a similar route, pretending to be traditional “Republicans”, duping the Republican Central Committee members to launch their campaigns, and avoided stating their main political agenda of bigger government, more fees/revenue/taxes, and more rules, rules, rules.
This includes Printz’s proposed Custer County building code that will decimate the poor, the middle class and the people who want, as an American right, to build their own home, garage or shed; the government sponsored wifi/internet access that is totally unneeded and will be obsolete in a few years; their intention to regulate “Dark Skies”- telling us we can’t light our doors, driveways, corals, or barns the way WE want (this has worked out just fine through education and volunteerism WITHOUT laws outside the towns); vindictive attacks against people who have crossed them (the CSU Extension/Robin Young assassination for one, that they still lie about) and the complete abandonment of the Republican base that voted for them. (Note: BEFORE the election, all three were constant attendees at the Republic Central Committee. Hood was even an official. We’re “just like you folks”, say the three RINOS. Everybody is happy. They show deference, respect to the Committee. We will be loyal Republicans. We’re honest people. Yea.)
After the election, when they don’t need the Committee anymore, Committee members have informed me that NONE OF THEM HAVE COME TO EVEN ONE MEETING. The Committee wrote them a letter two months or so ago with a list of complaints and a requested a substantive answer. The three RINO’s (and calling them RINO’s is being kind) send a two-sentence answer basically saying go take a hike we don’t need you now. And now they refused to attend the premier Republican affair of the year, the Lincoln Day Dinner.
“Republican” Printz says on Facebook, something like “I don’t think I would be welcome there”, (ol’ “man to man” Jay again) and true to course, His Largess Himself, Bob Katnig, can’t seem to make the Republican Dinner, but has time to attend the annual DEMOCRAT DINNER a few days later and gives a speech to his Dem homies on how great he is. To Bob, repeat after me: honesty, integrity, and loyalty. And East Coast Hood? Maybe she was too busy shopping for neon western wear to attend the dinner. Who knows. They live in different worlds then we do.
Does the word “arrogant” come to mind, fellow
citizens?

“They live in a different world than we do.”

The point is folks, that these three Commissioners used deception and dishonesty to get elected, and are NOT representing what the Republican majority (and a vast number of Independents) in this county want: limited government, fair play, compassion for your fellow citizens, freedom and liberty.
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, this is not the kind of people you want representing you.

“They are pushing a classic, extreme left-wing agenda with big government, more spending, more laws, more control, more fees/revenues/taxes, and more rules, rules, rules, rules; often in a very secretive manner…”

They are pushing a classic, extreme left-wing agenda with big government, more spending, more laws, more control, more fees/revenues/taxes, and more rules, rules, rules, rules; often in a very secretive manner (just a few examples being: look at the simply astounding number of “Executive Sessions” of questionable legality they have been having at the BOCC meetings, and the secret meetings Printz was having; re: the building code issue. Even Brother Kattnig commented on that in a BOCC meeting.)
The three RINO’s have only been in charge for six months, causing immense damage to our county. One person has lost their job and was forced to move out of the county with her husband and child, onerous rules and regulations are about to be forced down our rural throats, and they want to fee/license and tax us to death. (The leftists are, of course, thrilled as we march towards being Boulder South.)
The natives and the vast majority of people who have moved here want what WAS here: a friendly, rural, easy going, traditionally western place where we can do what we want without big government dictating every aspect of our lives and we treat our neighbors and the people who work for us with dignity and compassion, NOT as ignorant peasants to be ruled by an all knowing and caring elite. Our old way of life is RAPIDLY disappearing as these three “Cloud People” Commissioners implement their left-wing agenda. We will be Boulder South soon. If that’s what you want, folks, stay at home and let it happen. If not, you better start making some noise.
Time for a change.