Category Archives: 2017

September 6, 2017 BOCC: Building Code Ballot Wording Presented

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

—September 6, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, Colorado
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 crowd overflowed into the hallway.
There were no public comments.
There were no commissioner items.
Attorney Items:
Attorney Clint Smith brought Resolution 18-18 (to put the building codes question on the ballot) to the Board for final approval.
The wording for the ballot is as follows:

Continue reading September 6, 2017 BOCC: Building Code Ballot Wording Presented

September 5th BOCC: BOCC: Printz: “Vague” Building Codes Ballot Wording “In Our Best Interests”

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

—September 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 crowd overflowed into the hallway.
There were no public comments.
Commissioner Items:
Mrs. Hood has spoken with Jeff Wood the DU instructor that brought students to Custer County to do the building assessment. There will be a BOCC meeting on September 19th at 5:30 pm (THIS DATE CHANGED IN THE NEXT MEETING – see next article) for this building assessment presentation to be made to the public.
Attorney Items:
Mr. Smith presented Resolution 17-16 appointing Dawna Hobby as the Finance Officer when John Piquette leaves in mid-November. (Note: John Piquette’s salary was just under $10K per year. The BOCC will address salaries in the October budget meetings.) This resolution passed unanimously. Continue reading September 5th BOCC: BOCC: Printz: “Vague” Building Codes Ballot Wording “In Our Best Interests”

August 16th BOCC: Grants, Building Codes and Much More

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

—August 16, 2017
SAN ISABEL, Colorado
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started at noon with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
Minutes from July 31, August 1, and August 2 were approved.
Public Comment
Becky VanWinkle from Wetmore requested support in her battle to get Centurylink to provide better landline service in her area. She recently was interviewed by KOAA television regarding Wetmore residents not having landlines that are reliable in bad weather – causing emergency notifications to go unheard. After discussion, the commissioners agreed to put a petition on the county website for people to sign.

Continue reading August 16th BOCC: Grants, Building Codes and Much More

August 10th BOCC: OVERWHELMING Rejection of Codes

BOCC Refuses to Accept
The Consensus of the People

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-August 10, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, Colorado
by Jackie Bubis, Reporter

The meeting started at 7 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll call. The room was packed to overflowing so, in lieu of taking time for introductions of the public, a sign-up sheet was passed around.
This meeting was called solely for more input again from the public on the issue of building codes. There was a similar meeting in June before the Planning Commission. In early July, the Planning Commission voted 5-2 to recommend that the BOCC NOT proceed with a building code. The commissioners stated that they were not content with that decision and put this meeting on the books.
First to speak was Cindy Howard, head of the Custer County Office of Emergency Management. She confirmed that the previous statements (on numerous occasions) from Commissioner Jay Printz – that a building code was necessary in order to get flood insurance – were false. Continue reading August 10th BOCC: OVERWHELMING Rejection of Codes

August 2nd BOCC: August 2nd BOCC: Smith Denies Illegal Executive Sessions, Hood Defensive on Painted View Light Bomb

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-August 2, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, CO
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.
Yvette Big Eagle Stanley complained about the condition of county roads 271, 264 and 265. She also has issues with the naming of her road. JD Henrich gave her some options to take back to her neighbors. Commissioner Kattnig assured her that he would pass her complaints on to Road and Bridge but stated that the county does not have enough people or equipment to keep up with all the roads.
Mr. Louis “Perry Mason” Devanney again brought questions for the Board, in this case, particularly Attorney Smith. He asked if there was current legal action by the Colorado Secretary of State against the commissioners regarding executive sessions. The Board and Mr. Smith assured him that there was nothing at this time. He again asked if the executive sessions regarding the Hamilton cattle guards were illegal. Mr. Smith answered no. The Board thanked him for coming and told him he didn’t need to worry about the time he was taking, that he should “do what you need to do.” (Note: the Board regularly limits time of public comments. Apparently Mr. Devanney has special dispensation. )
Elizabeth Harman, holding up the 2006 IBC book, asked if the Board had read it and how extensive their knowledge of it was. Mr. Kattnig told her to come to the meeting on August 10th. When pressed by Ms. Harman, as to whether “this” was the code they were proposing for the unincorporated county, the commissioners weaved and dodged. At last Mr. Printz admitted that it was – along with the 2006 National Fire Code.
Mr. Devanney interjected that a handful of people should not be making this decision and that building codes should go to the vote of the people. When reminded by the Clerk that only voters who live in the unincorporated county – and not people in the towns – would be allowed to vote on the issue, Mr. Devanney seemed quite distressed.
Moving on, Ms. Harman then asked Mrs. Hood if she had an event on Friday night, July 21st. She then referred to the photo on the front page of the Sentinel. Mrs. Hood immediately jumped to the defensive, saying that she couldn’t say if that was a picture of her ranch, that pictures can be altered, and that the light on her barn was hooded. When Ms. Harman stated that, if there was an event, it was perfectly acceptable to have those lights, Mrs. Hood continued to be defensive and told Ms. Harman that she should come out to the ranch to see Mrs. Hood’s lights. Continue reading August 2nd BOCC: August 2nd BOCC: Smith Denies Illegal Executive Sessions, Hood Defensive on Painted View Light Bomb

August 1st BOCC Meeting: Board Attorney Admits Violations of Executive Session Laws

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-August 1, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, CO
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.
For the second day in a row, the meeting began with Louis “Perry Mason” Devanney asking pointed questions of the Board, this time of Attorney Smith. His questions revolved around the statutory reasons for Executive Sessions. Smith answered that there were statutory reasons. Those reasons included legal advice, personnel issues, etc. Smith stated that “personnel issues should be discussed in executive session unless the person being discussed has made a specific request to have an open meeting.” Mr. Devanney belabored the point with Mr. Smith that all the executive sessions that this Board has had since January (Note: their estimate was 10 of them – by my count there were 17) were proper and necessary. The Sentinel reporter asked a follow up question of Mr. Smith. “On each of the executive sessions regarding personnel since the new Board was seated (there have been nine) was the person being discussed notified beforehand so he could choose an open meeting?” Mr. Smith replied that the person had been there in one case but was not invited the other eight times. (Editor/GG: Not notifying the subject of a “personnel” based Executive Session 24 hours in advance so the person can exercise their statutory rights on whether they want to attend, not attend, or make the session public is a DIRECT VIOLATION of the Open Meetings Law. These are serious violations of the employees’ rights under Colorado law that do not seem to bother Attorney Smith or the BOCC. This is just another example of the lack of character and honesty of the BOCC. This problem must be rectified.)

Continue reading August 1st BOCC Meeting: Board Attorney Admits Violations of Executive Session Laws

Citizens: We Have Liftoff!

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.

No Printz, Once Again, The Sentinel DID NOT LIE

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.

Sign the Petition

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.
Chris Ueberroth,
Rosita, Colorado

RE: “This is Diligence”

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