County Clerk Certifies Recall Petitions
1st Time in Colorado History
All County Commissioners on Recall Ballot?
KOAA 5 interviews Ann Barthrop and Ann Willson of the
Custer County Recall Committee Photo by G. Gramlich
by George Gramlich
In a possible historic first for Colorado, on August 24th, 2017, Custer County Clerk sent a letter to the Custer County Recall Committee stating that sufficient recall signatures have been certified thereby placing the entire Custer County Board of County Commissioners up for recall in the upcoming November 7th general election. (See page 23 for the letter.)
Research by Sentinel staff indicates that this is apparently a first for Colorado in that an entire county commissioner board has been successfully been placed on a ballot for recall.
County Clerk Kelley Camper also provided the recall petition statistics in her letter. Considering there are only about 3,700 registered voters in Custer County, the number of signatures gathered in just four weeks is impressive.
For Commissioner Bob Kattnig, there were 79 petitions turned in with a total of 833 signatures. 470 were required to put Kattnig up for recall. Out of the 833 signatures submitted, only 70 were disqualified leaving an impressive 763 valid ones.
A similar story for Commissioner Jay Printz with 814 signatures submitted on 78 petitions. 582 signatures were required to place Printz on the ballot for recall. Out of that, only 69 signatures were rejected leaving an emphatic 745 accepted.
A somewhat different story occurred in Commissioner Donna Hood’s recall effort. Due to the voting history in her district, a high number of signatures were required to recall her. That number was 735. The Recall Committee submitted 79 petitions for Hood with a total of 849 signatures. 71 of those submitted signatures were rejected leaving 778 valid ones, ensuring that Hood would be up for recall albeit with a tighter margin than Printz or Kattnig.
So, what’s next? After the recall was certified (August 24th), there is a 15-day dispute period where petitions can be challenged. After that, Colorado law has a five-day “Resignation Period”, where if one or more of the three Republican Commissioners resign, the Custer County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) gets to appoint a successor(s) to fill out the entire term of the resigned Commissioners. The CCRCC has ten days to fill any vacancies.
On the November 7th General Election Ballot, there will be a recall question for each commissioner. There will also be a recal petition statement and a commissioner statement from each commissioner The question will look something like, “Shall John Smith be recalled from the office of Custer County Commissioner?” There will be a “Yes” box or a “No” box to check. If there are more “Yes’s” than “No’s”, that commissioner is recalled. If there are more “No’s” then the commissioner will finish out his or her term.
Underneath the recall question will be list of one or more potential successor candidates that have successfully petitioned to be placed on the ballot for that district. Whether you vote “Yes” or “No”, you can vote for a successor candidate. The successor candidate with the most votes for that district will be the new Commissioner for that district.
Note that there will be a recall “Yes” or “No” for each commissioner and a separate list of successor candidates for each commissioner.
As we go to press, we know of seven citizens seeking to be placed on the ballot. Three of them, Bill Canda (District 1 against Commissioner Kattnig, Sandra Attebery (District 2 against Commissioner Printz) , and Kit Shy (District 3 against Commissioner Hood) are running as a “Slate” or team. Also announcing they will run are Dan Fischer (District 1), Richard Posadas (District 2) , Tom Flowers (District 3) and John Johnston (District 3). All Republicans need 300-plus valid petition signatures to be placed on the ballot.
‘We The People’ Have Spoken
Huge Signature Counts to Recall
All Three Commissioners
by George Gramlich
Monday, August 14, 2017, marked a milestone in Custer County politics as the Take Back Custer County Recall Committee delivered 236 notarized recall petitions with enough signatures to have a recall election for each of the three Custer County Commissioners, Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood. The recall election would be placed on the regular November 2017 election ballot at no extra cost to the county.
The Recall Committee was formed as a grass-roots, non-party affiliated, effort to replace the current Custer County Commissioners due to the Commissioners activities since Commissioners Printz and Hood were sworn in January 2017. Commissioner Kattnig took office two years ago. Some of the items that motivated the Recall Committee to form included the incredible mismanagement and lies surrounding the Colorado Extension Agent Robin Young affair; the seemingly endless drive to impose a building codes ordinance on Custer County despite the obvious vast majority opposition to it; the attempt to impose a ‘dark skies’ outdoor lighting amendment to the zoning ordinance that has criminal and financial penalties if you use the wrong outdoor light bulb or fixture; the continued public false statements by Printz concerning whether he is indeed returning the 30% salary increase to the county and not taking the county health benefits; more false statements by Printz concerning his repeated assertions that a building codes ordinance was required to get federal flood insurance; the failure of the BOCC to listen to the people in the public meetings on Young, building codes and dark skies; the obvious arrogant attitude by the BOCC towards the citizens of the county, both in public meetings and on the street; the disrespect shown to the Custer County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) by all three Commissioners when after they were elected in (Kattnig in 2015 and Hood and Printz in November 2016) and using the CCRCC to get elected, then failed to come to any of the regular monthly meetings. In addition, they incredibly refused to attend the most important CCRCC event of the year, the Lincoln Day Dinner (with Kattnig attending the Democrat dinner instead!); and the lies of omission during the campaign last year by Printz and Hood in failing to mention that their intention their top priorities after getting elected were building codes and dark skies.
The trio leading the recall effort and the signees on the applications for the recall were Custer County citizens Ann Barthrop, Ann Willson and Mike Haga. They in turn recruited a non-partisan Recall Committee team consisting of 61 Custer County residents who turned in a astounding 79 petitions handed in for Kattnig, 79 for Hood and 78 for Printz.
The Recall Committee needed the following number of signatures to place each Commissioner on recall in the November 2017 election: Hood – 735; Printz – 582; and Kattnig – 470. The Committee easily beat each number with citizens delivering an amazing 839 recall signatures for Hood, 780 for Printz and 780 for Kattnig. All in just four weeks!
The petitions were delivered to Custer County Clerk Kelly Camper last Monday who will review and certify each signature. If enough signatures are certified for each Commissioner, their name will be placed on the November ballot for recall. The ballot will ask if one wants to recall the specific Commissioner, yes or no, and will also allow one to vote for any candidate who successfully petitioned to get on the ballot.
Ann, Ann and Mike stated that they were honored to have a committee that worked countless hours and gave of their time to represent the voice of the Custer County citizens. The citizens have shown Courage, Bravery and Strength to have their voices heard in this recall effort and need to continue this effort and VOTE on November 7, 2017.
This is possibly the first time in the history of the State of Colorado that all of a county’s commissioners have been placed on the ballot for recall. This is huge, folks.
The TRUTH About Commissioner Printz’s Salary “Give Back”
Let’s Set the Record Straight
by George Gramlich
In a Letter to the Editor in the July 20, 2017 edition of the Tribune (which was not sent to the Sentinel), one Louis Devanney of Westcliffe states that The Sentinel recently “lied” about the fact that Printz is NOT giving back the 30 percent salary increase that he said he would once he took office. Mr. Devanney alleges that since Printz is not taking his county health benefits (around $15,000) that this counts as not taking the salary increase. This false narrative has been repeated often lately by the Printz camp as the recall campaign proceeds.
The problem is that this is a lie of omission. Last year Printz repeatedly stated that he would NOT TAKE THE SALARY INCREASE AND ALSO NOT TAKE BENEFITS PACKAGE. Note, Mr. Devanney, that Printz said he would not take BOTH.
Can’t seem to recall that Mr. Devanney? Want some written proof, sir? In the January 22, 2016 edition of The Sentinel, (link will take you to original pages) in an interview conducted by this reporter and Fred Hernandez, Printz unequivocally, in person to both of us, stated that he would NOT TAKE BOTH. This article draft was sent to then candidate Printz before printing and he approved it. There was also no notice afterwards from Printz of anything wrong in the article. In fact, Printz had stated that position multiple times in public before that.
Here’s the quotes from the article, Mr. Devanney, of what Printz told The Sentinel: “Mr. Printz said he is legally bound to take the salary but will refund to the county the new 30% raise.” And, “As for the health benefits he would not accept that either which would be additional savings for the county.”
As you stated in your letter to The Trib, “So much for the Sentinel’s credibility…” I posture, Sir, that it was well known last year that Printz stated that he would not take both. Lies of omission and rewriting history seems to be a stable of the liberal political mindset. So much for credibility…
We prefer the truth here at The Sentinel. As do most Americans.
Letter to the Editor;
Just returned from signing the recall petitions on all three county commissioners.
Where are these people think their coming from? We voted for Republicans, who are by name, very conservative people. However they all turned out to be liberal Democommies. Everyone of you need to sign this petition.
Why do we live in Custer County? Most people live here because it is out of the way, sort of a one horse town, so to speak. We like it that way, but we have a few that would change that. Lets put it bluntly.
We most definitely do NOT want more people moving in here, we have too many now. We don’t want, building codes, dark skies, a Main Street manager or any other Progressive big city ideas. If you have ANY ideas of changing our living habits, you are not welcome here in our little corner of paradise.
Seems our Commissioners think we need this stupidity. Well let them go back to the Big city and leave us alone. Vote them OUT.
To the Editor;
Re: “This is Diligence” July 14, 2017
I believe I am for more personal liberty than TL Davis claims. I have chosen to live in this community, which TL Davis does not, because of the freedoms it affords. He does not seem to understand there are two domains in exercising freedoms. If he or I do not infringe upon his or my domain, then freedom lives on.
I am a physics professor, the manager of the CSUP Observatory, the technical consult to enact the dark sky ordinances in Pueblo County and a life-long amateur astronomer. I believe in the aesthetic and financial value in preserving the night sky. This domain belongs to all of us. Is it not an infringement if others obscure the beauty and wonder of all that is above and about us? If uncontrolled light is allowed to squander our nightly heritage, is this not an intrusion on my and other’s freedoms? If someone perpetrates some noxious activity on his property or domain, with such things as excessive noise or odor or excessive light, that intrudes upon my domain, should I not have the right to seek relief? A night sky ordinance is our only possible way to preserve freedom in our domain.
The problem we and the county commissioners now face is a result of their lack of seeking out others who might provide a tiny bit [of ] technical expertise. To preserve the night sky or to prevent light pollution, which TL Davis so scathingly refers to, the commissioners should know that regulating the wattage of light bulbs on private property is entirely the wrong way to go. It is truly absurd it to think of passing laws or ordinances that would do so. To do this is to infringe on the privacy and freedoms of individuals, which we all want to avoid.
The simple win-win solution is to limit the direction of the light produced on private properties. The Pueblo ordinances grandfathered in all existing lighting fixtures. The only limitation sought was to require lighting and fixtures to prevent light from shinning in directions above the horizontal. Light directed upwards is scattered by several mechanisms in all directions. With this restriction on direction, private citizens are allowed to exercise all other freedoms in their own private domains. As a result the rest of us then are free to appreciate and to study the universe above unhindered by the noxious intrusion of stray light.
William Brown, Ph.D.
Pueblo and Rural Custer County
Dark Skies Fiasco
To the Editor:
The new “law” the County Commissioners are attempting to force on the citizens of Custer County regarding county wide lighting restrictions with fines and imprisonment is the most INSANE regulation I’ve ever heard of!
Ranchers of the county have livestock to be protected from predators i.e. bear, mountain lions, coyotes, wild dogs etc. and tended to for injuries or illnesses. These do not occur only during the daylight hours (usually in the middle of the night, has been my experience).
My exterior lights actually saved the life of Robert Powers during the time he and his wife, Virginia “Ginny”, lived in Aspen Ridge at the west end of Junkins Park.
He was on his way to orchestra practice in Cañon City one very cold winter evening when his car slid off the road in Puma Canyon and ended in the creek bed. He (carrying his bassoon) then walked two miles down to McKenzie Junction for help. Finding no one home there except a young dog (that should not have been out in that cold either). He then had no choice but to start back up the canyon toward home. He was almost “done in” when he saw my lights on. (My house was about 1/2 mile off the county road).
He had now walked approximately 10 miles mostly uphill in the dark sub-zero temps. He headed for the light! By the time he got to my place it was about 10:30 p.m. and he knocked on the door and called my name and identified himself. I opened the door a crack and when satisfied as to who he was (he was unrecognizable because of his ice/snow crusted face and beard) and said you can come in but your dog has to stay outside, (because I had cats and a dog and didn’t want a fracas). He uttered the famous Peter Sellers line “But it’s not my dog,” in all sincerity and I chuckled and said, “Come on in and I’ll get a coat and the Jeep.”
So off we went to Aspen Ridge — Bob, the dog and me. Had it not been for those lights, he would have surely frozen to death before he reached his home. That was another four plus miles uphill from my place, extremely cold temperatures (well below zero) and a very dark night. Ever since, I have been considered Bob’s and Ginny’s hero. Unfortunately, they’ve had to move back east due to Ginny’s health and to be closer to their children, but we do still keep in touch during the holidays.
Bottom Line – Yes, good exterior lighting is very necessary in Custer County!
I suggest the current county commissioners perhaps would be better suited to someplace like Boulder, or Chicago, or New York City and try their Dark Skies experiments where they might be appreciated. Or better yet, consider going out to an isolated area in Custer County on a cold dark night, alone with only a 40-watt light, and see how well they like it.
Lorene B. Cushman
Rural Custer County and Niwot, Colorado
To the Editors of the Sentinel and the Tribune:
I’ve only lived here for a little over five years but wish that it had been much longer. The Cliffs are a dying type of refuge from the big cities and their lax ethics and morals. Not that the ‘Cliffs don’t have their share of problems.
I am writing regarding the current effort to recall our three County Commissioners. So, right to the point.
It does NOT matter if you liked Robin Young or not. By all rights she was mischievously removed by shady back door dealings for questionable, possibly even personal reasons. And MAKE NO MISTAKE, elected officials that behave in that manner have little regard for those who elected them, any of them. They will eventually get around to something or someone near and dear to you and you’ll be powerless to defend your friend or ideal. And to mention, apparently little to no consideration for the devastation of losing the 4-H program for our kids.
It does NOT matter if you are in favor of dark skies or not. “To criminalize outdoor lighting choices in an already dark county in order to increase the Dark-Skies certified footprint that will not bring any more eco-tourism to the county than the existing ‘Cliff’s certification has, is inflicting a small group’s opinion/agenda on all of us.”
Not to mention the blatantly obvious good/light versus dark/evil subtext involved. But that does not matter. What matters is that those elected officials that so chose to inflict their opinion on the rest of us will eventually get around to inflicting an opinion on you that you do not care for. And, you’ll be powerless to defend yourself against it.
It does NOT matter if you ever want to buy a new home in Custer County or not. But those elected officials that immediately, upon entering office, find it necessary to institute more government via a building code, clearly had this in mind but did not mention it in their campaigns (or for that matter any of their other questionable acts). On the surface, this appears sound and good and is certainly packaged as such and of little financial impact. But has anyone considered the effects on the cost of a house? Let’s face it, few of us can afford the home we would like and they are about to get more expensive. And as is typical of governmental creep (or creepiness), this is just the beginning of regulations, codes, restrictions and more government intrusion into your life and your wallet. They’ll eventually institute a rule, code or regulation that does significantly affect you.
It does NOT matter if you agree or disagree with closed door meetings. The State appears TO DISAGREE, but so what if our local elected officials ignore a higher power, the State or otherwise, and choose to discuss and make plans that affect your future behind closed doors. Eventually they will hatch a plan behind closed doors that you do disagree with.
The bottom line is that these particular elected officials have only been in office for a little over six months and have already proposed so many vast and sweeping changes; it clearly appears that they had a plan to do so before they were elected and neglected to inform those that elected them of their plans. It appears that they clearly have no plan to stop doing so. AND, they will eventually negatively affect your life and pocket book. Make no mistake about it. You are witnessing the tip of the iceberg and after only six months, the part that is revealed or above the water line is massive. Just imagine what’s lurking beneath the surface.
So, right to the point. Like the County Commissioners or not, they do NOT appear to be representing the values of this community, following state law or public opinion or adhering in any fashion to what they campaigned on and the citizenry should have the opportunity to vote to remove them from office. Now that you know the true agenda, decide for yourself, and SIGN THE RECALL PETITION before your refuge is no longer.
Frank L. Oberlin
Eva (née Adams) Colgate, 88 years old, was so incensed by the actions of the County Commissioners over the last six months, she decided it was time to take action. Eva grew up in the valley and worked on her daddy’s dairy farm until she went to college. She moved back to the Valley after a career teaching Home
Economics. Even though she had to move to Cañon City due to health reasons a few years ago she is coming back as a certified Take Back Custer County Petition Circulator to gather signatures to throw the current deceitful Commissioners out of office. As a Custer County land owner, Eva says,“What they do effects me.”
God Bless, Eva. Go Get ’em.
Photo by George Gramlich
(Editor/GG: A phone call to The Editor on July 5th, re the proposed County criminal outdoor lighting ordinance by a native resident. Printed with permission from Eva Colgate.)
“George. This is Eva Colgate.
I just got my Sentinel. I read your article on the new Custer County change in outdoor light fixtures. It is a wonderful article.
I was Eva Adams. I grew up in Custer County on a dairy and I stumbled around with a coal oil lantern all my childhood doing chores for my daddy. My daddy worked with the REA to get electricity into Custer County.
It absolutely makes me furious that these do-gooders and these silly people want to take our lights away.
Just leave us alone.
If you want darkness go into the mountains.
Let us please have our lights so we can function and do our chores. One farmer says his barn light saved his life a few times.
If there is anything Eva Colgate can do to stop this nonsense, please, please, let me know.”
(Editor/GG: Eva, and our whole beloved County: We made a mistake electing these three left-wing County Commissioners and we can right the wrong NOW. Sign the recall petition for each of these deceitfully elected Commissioners, Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood and get rid of them. Send them back to the lying liberal swamp they came from and restore traditional, western and American values to our County government. TAKE BACK CUSTER COUNTY!)
More Bulls Bullying, Landfill Made More $’s,
Public Health/Clinic Relationship Ended?
Board of County
-July 5, 2017
by Jackie Bubis,
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.
Continue reading July 5th BOCC Meeting
Commissioners Proposed “Dark Skies” Ordinance
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. (See Ordinance Proposal.) 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.
Continue reading The New Custer County: Change an Outdoor Light Fixture, Go To Jail