Category Archives: Archives

March 8 BOCC: BOCC: More 4-H Drama, Airport Moving Runway?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC) Meeting
March 8, 2017
—WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The room again overflowed with members of the public wishing to make their views known.  Whereas on Tuesday, the public comments were unanimous in disapproval for the actions of the Board regarding Robin Young’s termination, today, they were nearly unanimous in favor.  A number of former members of the 4-H Foundation, along with Fair Board members read letters containing a wide variety of complaints against Robin Young. Continue reading March 8 BOCC: BOCC: More 4-H Drama, Airport Moving Runway?

BOCC February 21, 2017

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

—February 21, 2017

WETMORE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The Board approved the minutes of the February 7th and 8th meetings. Mrs. Hood requested that her answer to John Johnston’s question that day be reflected in the minutes for the 31st so they will be approved at a later date.
Public Comment
A Wetmore resident expressed her disappointment in the entire board from the meeting on Friday, 2/17. She said that when they ran for office, they expressed that the Wetmore Community Center was a priority for them. She stated that, in the Friday meeting, the three commissioners didn’t know anything and hadn’t done their homework. She was dismayed that the commissioners derided both the architect Tom Duke and former-commissioner Attebery. “Commissioner Attebery allowed us to dream,” she said. She stated that she felt it was easier to blame someone else than for them to own up to not doing their homework.

Kattnig began his defense by saying that at the last meeting that Attebery attended, Kattnig requested an update and Attebery didn’t give him one. He stated that none of the issues that “these two” brought up (meaning the other Commissioners, I suppose) were brought up at that time.
Printz answered her concerns by saying that he did as much homework as he was allowed to do before he was sworn in. “As a private citizen I wasn’t privy to the contracts or any discussions. I wasn’t allowed to go to any of the meetings. I specifically asked to come to the planning meetings,” he said. He commended Attebery. Then went on to say that many of these things just came up. He stated that the contractor came to them and said that if they wanted all the things in the change order, they’d be $100K over budget. They also did not know about the $300/day charge for every day past the deadline. He stated that when he asked Mr. Attebery for information, he didn’t get a lot. He hinted that maybe it was political because Mrs. Attebery ran against him for the commissioner seat.
(Note: the contract was filed with the County Clerk and has been available since it was signed. It did cost $9.25.)

Mrs. Hood responded that, from the very beginning in January, they have been meeting with the contractors. “You need to understand,” she said, “that it was not an easy transition. We didn’t have a transition with Lynn or with Kit. So we were kept in the dark.” She then referenced her papers and itemized some of the delays. “So, yes, we were in shock when we met for the first time.” She stated that she asked what the delays were costing the county and did not get an answer. She insisted that they had been doing their due diligence for Wetmore and stated again that it wasn’t an easy transition for them. “Had we sat down with Lynn and Kit at the same time and gone over the drawings, we’d be in a different spot.”

Kattnig stressed that he didn’t see this as anybody’s fault. Another citizen objected to that statement saying, that there definitely was fault. Kattnig said that once the building was finished, there may be some recompense.
For clarification, I asked if the by-weekly meetings with the builder that have happened since the building was started were open to the public. They answered that the meetings were open to the public. “So anyone who was going to be coming into office in January could have been going to these meetings to get up to speed. Is that correct?
Printz answered that this was not correct. He stated that he was at those meetings but that he was not privy to the contract or the behind-the-scene negotiations. (I am unclear what he meant by behind the scene negotiations – would that not be a violation of sunshine laws?)
Commissioner Items
Mrs. Hood listed a number of meetings that she had attended including workshops with the IT director, a workshop on a possible marijuana REGULATION, tourism board, a trip to Denver with the other commissioners to speak with the CSU president, and a workshop about the CSU Extension office.
Mr. Kattnig also had attended some of those meetings and workshops and also met with the Cuerno Verde Homeowners Association on Saturday.
Attorney Items
Mr. Smith reported that he is still waiting on the ruling to dismiss the county from the Hamilton lawsuit. He expects a ruling within the next few weeks.
When Larry Haines, from Road and Bridge, asked if they should now be working on that road, Mr. Smith reiterated that it was now a county road. Mr. Kattnig told him to hold off until after they heard back from the judge.

The Board recognized the Custer County Corps of Chaplains, approved the Annual Fire Operating Plan, and accepted the School Emergency Facility Use Agreement.
Mrs. Hood requested that she be made the contact point for the County Building Assessment done by CU students last summer. The report from the students has never been produced and will meet with DOLA to move forward on this assessment. Mr. Printz had no objection to her taking the lead but wants to be involved as well.

The meeting moved on to the Wetmore Community Center. Mrs. Hood went into the financials on the building, stating that the “$100,000 over budget” from last Friday’s meeting was, in reality more like $82,000. These were change orders requested by the county. Of that $80K+, they managed on Friday to whittle it down to $58,631.31. They did that by taking off some of the changes altogether and negotiating the rest. This figure contains the $300 per day charge for the project being delayed. The total budget for the project in August was $823,325. It now stands at approximately $880,000. There is no word yet on two grants that are still awaiting approval.
The contract for the building is on file at the Clerk’s office and, contrary to Mr. Printz’s excuse that he couldn’t see it because he was just a citizen, it can be purchased for $9.25. Contract for Wetmore Community Center

Mrs. Hood brought up an email from Jim Bradburn requesting a public hearing on the Dark Skies push to have the valley floor, and possibly the entire county, try for the designation as a Dark Skies Reserve. Both Mr. Printz and Mr. Kattnig expressed that, even if the designation is attained, there will not be a compliance requirement. “It won’t be something people will have to do,” Kattnig stated.
Mrs. Hood also mentioned an email from Charles Bogle of the Custer County Economic Development Corporation regarding the 2017 Community Assessment. The CCEDC will have a public meeting on March 3rd at 1 p.m. at the library to update the community on the broad band project.
Mrs. Hood requested that one board member be selected to respond to the newspapers and volunteered to take on that responsibility. Mr. Printz would like to see anything she sends to the paper when she is speaking for all the Commissioners. Mr. Kattnig reminded the room that personnel matters are confidential.

A Wetmore citizen requested an update on possible flooding in Wetmore due to the Junkins fire. Mr. Kattnig gave a brief update, stressing a neighbor helping neighbor plan in case of emergency and the trash along and in the creek (branches, etc) would need to be cleaned up.
The meeting was recessed until 1 p.m. when it was reconvened and the Board went into executive session for personnel issues. Terre Davis, school board chairman, reminded the commissioners that they were required to say publically who was staying in the room for the executive session. Those were: Terre Davis, Gary Hyde, the Board, the attorney, the Board’s assistant and the Clerk.
When they reconvened, they directed Mr. Smith to write the letter (confidential personnel matter) to the unspecified individual and they announced the date for the Commissioners to interview the three applicants for the assistant supervisor position at Road and Bridge would be on the 28th at 2 p.m. in executive session.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

BOCC Meeting January 31

BOCC Meeting January 31st
Board and Committee Appointments, Hamilton Ad Nauseam
and Two Executive Sessions

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—January 31, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
Commissioners approved the minutes of the January 20th meeting.
A citizen requested that the audio recordings of the BOCC meetings be put on the county webpage so that people don’t have to go into the Clerk’s office and purchase the audio.  The Board seemed favorable to the idea and it will be placed on a future agenda.
Another citizen commended Mrs. Hood on her giving her salary back to the county.  He also suggested that there should maybe be a policy on Board approval for her spending this money on various projects.  (Note:  at a previous meeting Mrs. Hood said she was purchasing laptops for the members of the BOCC.)   She replied, “It’s really my money, coming out of my paycheck.  So there’s no approval needed.”  Mr. Kattnig also stated that, since it’s not county money, per se, there is no requirement to ask for bids for the projects that Hood wants to fund.
Mr. Printz reported being real busy.  He has met with the Upper Arkansas Workforce Commission in Cañon City and has sent the resumes and letters of intent for the road boss job to the Workforce people for their input.
Mrs. Hood is reviewing the Strategic Plan and also met with the fair board.
Mr. Kattnig reported on the ongoing construction of the Wetmore Community Center, the meeting with the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the CART meeting, the Middle Arkansas Wildfire Prevention Partnership, and the Fire Recovery meeting in Wetmore.
Attorney Smith requested a workshop be set for going over the prospective marijuana ordinance.  [That workshop will be open to the public  February 13th at 1:30 PM. Meeting Location: County Courthouse /Commissioners Room. ]

He read a note from Jordan Hedburg regarding the response to Mr. Hedburg’s email.  The note stated that Hedburg was satisfied with the response and would be taking no action at this time.  A copy of Hedburg’s email to the BOCC commissioners can be read here: (http://sangredecristosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/email-from-Trib01252017-C.pdf) and the attorney’s response can be seen here. (http://sangredecristosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/letter-to-WMT-from-CC-Lawyer.pdf)

Smith also reported that the motion to dismiss the county from the Hamilton lawsuit was in process.  Hamilton’s attorney had not responded to the county’s request so Smith had prepared a reply that he will file “this afternoon”.    He also seemed to be surprised that an executive session was on the agenda with the Hamiltons (who were present in the audience).  He stated that he could not attend that executive session with the county not having been officially dismissed from the lawsuit.  The Board agreed to meet with Smith prior to meeting with Hamilton in executive session.
The Board approved vouchers to be paid and funds to be transferred to pay the bills for January.
Ashley Gillum was approved to be the 4-H representative on the extension advisory board and Debra Fisher on the fair board.
The Board then addressed the appointments to the Board of Zoning Adjustment and Planning Commission.  There were many questions from Mr. Kattnig on how things were done on these boards and which members were absent from meetings.  The questioning went on for quite some time.  When Mr. Printz tried to get clarification, Mr. Kattnig told him to “speed it up.”  Mr. Printz responded “No, I’m going to take my time,” that this was important business.  There was much talk about the value of experience on the boards vs. having “new blood” on these boards.  Jackie Hobby and Vic Barnes (Chairman of the Planning Commission) both adamantly defended the written policy that new members come onto these boards as non-voting alternates before being moved to voting positions.  In the end, the new members were only added as alternates and Keith Hood, who has been on the Planning Commission for 20 years, was returned to the board.
Planning Commission
Dale Mullen
Pat Bailey
Vic Barnes
Bill Donley
Patrick Lynch
Keith Hood
Chris Nordyke
Board of Zoning
Adjustment
Ken Patterson Sr.
Jean Canterbury
Brad Hartbauer
Lockett Pitman
Rob McIlwraith
Alternates to the Planning Commission & Board of Zoning Adjustment
Skip Norcross
Lance Ingram
Mike Shields
Steve Henning
Mike Carter
The lease agreement with the radio station was approved.
The Early Childhood Council MOU was tabled until the Board could get the actual document.
There was a discussion about the county’s response to non-county roads for emergency snow removed and for getting people out from their homes for medical care.  The Board and the Sheriff agreed that there was a necessity in some of these developments for road signs.  No decisions were made on this issue.
The Board went into executive session for “advice from counsel.”
When they returned, they informed Mr. Hamilton that, on advice from Mr. Smith, their meeting with Mr. Hamilton would have to be held in open meeting.  Mr. Hamilton agreed.  Attorney Smith excused himself from the room.  Without his attorney present, Hamilton brought a 5-page document that he hoped the Board would approve and sign.  It is unclear if that would have happened had the Board met with him in executive session.  At any rate, the Board informed Mr. Hamilton that they could not take action on his request without their attorney’s input.  A copy of that 5-page request can be seen here. http://sangredecristosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Hamilton-Letter.pdf
The Board then went into executive session for “personnel issues.” Present for that session was HR Department head Donna Hobby and Sheriff Byerly.
When the Board returned to open meeting, Mr. Printz made a motion that they approve the purchase of a truck.  No further details were forthcoming on which department this vehicle is for.
The meeting adjourned at 1:50 p.m.
NOTE:  Questions:  should Mr. Kattnig and Mr. Prince have recused themselves from hearing Mr. Hamilton’s requests since both accompanied Mr. Hamilton to the court hearing in Denver?   Regarding the second executive session about “personnel issues” – where, after they returned to open meeting, the board approved the purchase of a truck – how is this truck purchase, obviously discussed during that executive session, a personnel issue?
The recording of the meeting can be heard here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV2-x-qBRcw&feature=youtu.be

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly: Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 1 of 2

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly:
Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 1 of 2

by George Gramlich
This article features information about important bills from the 2017 Colorado Assembly, Representative Jim Wilson’s take on these and if appropriate, the Republican Caucus’s view on a bill, and occasionally, the Sentinel’s view.
We encourage our readers to ENGAGE our representatives with regards to your opinion on these bills BEFORE THEY ARE VOTED ON.  Make your voices heard. Contact information for our local representatives is at the end of the article.
The Sentinel will be tracking these bills during the legislative session and will keep you updated on their status. We will also include new bills when they are introduced and track them also.
You can view additional information on each bill, including the whole bill, its status and all the sponsors at: leg.colorado.gov and click on the “Find a Bill” icon.
Colorado House Bills:
HB17-1013 Free Exercise of Religion
House Sponsors: S. Humphrey (R), D. Williams (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), V. Marble (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Specifies that no state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to a person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest;
•    Defines ‘exercise of religion’ as the practice or observance of religion. The bill specifies that exercise of religion includes the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief; except that it does not include the ability to act or refuse to act based on race or ethnicity.
•     Provides a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is burdened by state action; and
•  Specifies that nothing in the bill creates any rights by an employee against an employer unless the employer is a government employer.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is a “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I agree with the bill and I believe I have signed on as a co-sponsor.  I predict the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1036 Concealed Carry in Public Schools
House Sponsors: P. Neville (R), K. Ransom (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds. The bill removes the limitation.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is another “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I will support the bill, but will not have the chance to hear it because I am sure the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1042 Increasing Funding For Full-day Kindergarten
House Sponsor: J. Wilson (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under existing law, the Public School Finance Act of 1994 funds kindergarten students as half-day pupils plus the supplemental kindergarten enrollment, which is an additional .08 of a full-day pupil.
The bill increases the supplemental kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-18 budget year and each budget year thereafter to .16 of a full-day pupil.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because it is my bill, Great Bill!  No, seriously – this bill addresses the fact that fully funding Kindergarten has been in statute since the recession. The legislature added .08 the first year and has ignored the obligation from that point.  I believe we should fund our current obligations before adding expenditures for new programs each year.  This bill only increases funding by another .08, but it is a step in the right direction.  Funding this obligation would assist school districts (especially rural ones).  It will be fun to see how this one plays out…
HB17-1063 Reduce Business Personal Property Taxes
House Sponsors: T. Leonard (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), L. Crowder (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under current law, if a business has less than $7,300 of personal property that would be listed on a single personal property schedule, then the personal property is exempt from the property tax and the business is not required to submit a schedule to the county assessor. With respect to this exemption, the bill reduces the amount of personal property tax that businesses pay by:
•  Increasing the exemption that applies per schedule from $7,300 to $50,000, adjusted for inflation in the future, which increase will allow more businesses to avoid filing personal property tax schedules; and
•  Allowing businesses whose personal property value exceeds the total exemption amount to claim the exemption.
For public utilities that are assessed statewide, the property tax administrator currently considers all of a public utility’s tangible property within the state as a factor in determining the value of the public utility as a unit. The bill modifies the valuation process by:
•  Exempting the first $50,000 or an inflation-adjusted amount of personal property from the property tax and excluding it from the administrator’s consideration for valuation purposes; and
•  Excluding the exempt personal property from the public utility’s statement of property that it files with the administrator.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because of giving tax breaks, it may face opposition in the House.  I will support the bill because it is good for small businesses.  This will a fun one to watch.  Both sides of the aisle claim to support small business — we shall see…
Our state representatives contact information:
House District 60 Rep. Jim Wilson: james.wilson.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2747
House District 47 Rep. Clarice Navarro: clarice.navarro.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2905
Senate District 35 Senator Larry Crowder: larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4875
Senate District 2 Senator Kevin Grantham: kevin.grantham.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4877

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly: Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 2 of 2

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly:
Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 2 of 2

by George Gramlich
This article features information about important bills from the 2017 Colorado Assembly, Representative Jim Wilson’s take on these and if appropriate, the Republican Caucus’s view on a bill, and occasionally, the Sentinel’s view.
We encourage our readers to ENGAGE our representatives with regards to your opinion on these bills BEFORE THEY ARE VOTED ON.  Make your voices heard. Contact information for our local representatives is at the end of the article.
The Sentinel will be tracking these bills during the legislative session and will keep you updated on their status. We will also include new bills when they are introduced and track them also.
You can view additional information on each bill, including the whole bill, its status and all the sponsors at: leg.colorado.gov and click on the “Find a Bill” icon.
Colorado House Bills:
HB17-1013 Free Exercise of Religion
House Sponsors: S. Humphrey (R), D. Williams (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), V. Marble (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Specifies that no state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to a person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest;
•    Defines ‘exercise of religion’ as the practice or observance of religion. The bill specifies that exercise of religion includes the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief; except that it does not include the ability to act or refuse to act based on race or ethnicity.
•     Provides a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is burdened by state action; and
• Specifies that nothing in the bill creates any rights by an employee against an employer unless the employer is a government employer.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is a “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I agree with the bill and I believe I have signed on as a co-sponsor.  I predict the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1036 Concealed Carry in Public Schools
House Sponsors: P. Neville (R), K. Ransom (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds. The bill removes the limitation.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is another “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I will support the bill, but will not have the chance to hear it because I am sure the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1042 Increasing Funding For Full-day Kindergarten
House Sponsor: J. Wilson (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under existing law, the Public School Finance Act of 1994 funds kindergarten students as half-day pupils plus the supplemental kindergarten enrollment, which is an additional .08 of a full-day pupil.
The bill increases the supplemental kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-18 budget year and each budget year thereafter to .16 of a full-day pupil.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because it is my bill, Great Bill!  No, seriously – this bill addresses the fact that fully funding Kindergarten has been in statute since the recession. The legislature added .08 the first year and has ignored the obligation from that point.  I believe we should fund our current obligations before adding expenditures for new programs each year.  This bill only increases funding by another .08, but it is a step in the right direction.  Funding this obligation would assist school districts (especially rural ones).  It will be fun to see how this one plays out…
HB17-1063 Reduce Business Personal Property Taxes
House Sponsors: T. Leonard (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), L. Crowder (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under current law, if a business has less than $7,300 of personal property that would be listed on a single personal property schedule, then the personal property is exempt from the property tax and the business is not required to submit a schedule to the county assessor. With respect to this exemption, the bill reduces the amount of personal property tax that businesses pay by:
•  Increasing the exemption that applies per schedule from $7,300 to $50,000, adjusted for inflation in the future, which increase will allow more businesses to avoid filing personal property tax schedules; and
•  Allowing businesses whose personal property value exceeds the total exemption amount to claim the exemption.
For public utilities that are assessed statewide, the property tax administrator currently considers all of a public utility’s tangible property within the state as a factor in determining the value of the public utility as a unit. The bill modifies the valuation process by:
•  Exempting the first $50,000 or an inflation-adjusted amount of personal property from the property tax and excluding it from the administrator’s consideration for valuation purposes; and
•  Excluding the exempt personal property from the public utility’s statement of property that it files with the administrator.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because of giving tax breaks, it may face opposition in the House.  I will support the bill because it is good for small businesses.  This will a fun one to watch.  Both sides of the aisle claim to support small business — we shall see…
Our state representatives contact information:
House District 60 Rep. Jim Wilson: james.wilson.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2747
House District 47 Rep. Clarice Navarro: clarice.navarro.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2905
Senate District 35 Senator Larry Crowder: larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4875
Senate District 2 Senator Kevin Grantham: kevin.grantham.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4877

Trump Street

 

“Trump Street Team” Gets It Done
Grass Roots Effort Turns Blue Pueblo Red for Trump

for full article as printed see:

120916 pg 1, 23

by Becky Mizel
Election night showed an unprecedented sea of states going from Blue to Red. All against the predictions of “experts” in main stream media and political establishment status quo pundits from the Democrat and GOP elite. Looks of horror and dismay could not be hidden on the faces of those who predicted a Trump win would never happen– in fact Trump would certainly bring ruination and disaster upon the GOP according to “experts” such as National Review globalist William Kristol, Red State’s Erick Erickson, the Bush family, Romney, Lindsey and our own Colorado legislators Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman. The sea of now Red states was spread across the country in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
Viewing the United States ‘sea of red’ map, minus the usual states of California, Washington and Oregon and a few east coast states such as New York, we see Colorado. Blue. Sticking out like a sore thumb.  Colorado should have, like so many other states, gone Trump. Our voter numbers are almost equally divided between Democrat and Republicans.  We lost by a narrow margin.   However, nowhere else was the #nevertrump movement more virulent regarding Trump.  The Colorado State GOP Chairman, Steve House, stated in a public meeting that “Trump’s candidacy was a joke and he couldn’t wait for Carly Fiorina to wipe the floor with him in a debate.” No reprimand came his way, despite the fact party officers are bound by bylaws to stay neutral in the primary. After the Colorado State Convention, the tweet, “We did it.” #nevertrump appeared on the Colorado State GOP website.  Three weeks before election only 19 out of 49 Colorado legislators had signed the letter of support for Mr. Trump.  In comparison, all 51 Democratic Colorado legislators signed a similar letter to support their candidate Hillary, in spite of her email debacle, pay for play and other blatant scandals affecting her campaign. The Colorado delegation led the walk-out shunning Mr. Trump at the National Convention in the “Conscience Movement”.  After Trump won the primary the RNC/Colorado GOP ground game was missing in many counties or weak. Dollars spent by the RNC to help Romney vs. Trump was in the million dollar range.  Positive messaging for President Trump was driven by PAC dollars – not the GOP calling and door knocking effort.  Calling or knocking doors consisted of “Who are you voting for Trump or Hillary?”  An attitude of embarrassment  that Trump was our candidate prevailed.  In Pueblo County, the GOP field director instructed paid and volunteer door knockers to say, “Who do you hate least – Trump or Hillary?” – hardly an inspirational message to convince people to vote Trump.
While those in Colorado GOP power held their noses about the crass, brash, populist Trump, one completely unexpected county in Colorado voted and won for Trump, in a 3:1 Democrat majority: Pueblo County.
Trump’s candidacy rang true with a few activists in Colorado early on.  Especially those of us living in or born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado. Pueblo was once a thriving middle-class blue collar, steel community. Pueblo was home to the third largest steel producing mill in the country.  In 1971, Pueblo’s population was the second largest in Colorado, larger than Colorado Springs. Schools competed in every aspect with those in Denver. Low crime and a sense of community were strong, a great place to raise a family.   NAFTA changed manufacturing nationwide, and brought about the ruination of the steel industry. Ross Perot said it best– NAFTA would bring about the “Great Sucking sound of lost jobs to America.”  Pueblo, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Ohio are poster children of the devastation brought about by NAFTA.  Crushing anti-business regulations brought in the closures of coal mines, farming and lumbering.  Politician’s promises to bring back prosperity and jobs especially in former blue collar cities didn’t happen. Politicians from both parties began pushing TPP and open borders threatening more jobs and the economic security and safety of citizens.  Union labor leaders did little to push back against TPP.  Voters had had enough. They stopped voting and left the Democrat and Republican Party in record numbers. Everyday citizens no longer believed politicians had the best interests of Americans in mind. Pueblo mirrored the other “Rust Belt” states that voted for Trump, across ethnic lines.
Then Trump came on the scene. Trump brought the average citizen an air of optimism with his theme “Make America Great Again”.  Americans didn’t want to believe the line of Obama that America is in decline and we’d better get used to a globalist “New World Order”, a theme coined by George H.W. Bush.
Pueblo Trump organizers Becky Mizel, Jennifer and Dr. Keith Lorensen, along with others, Susan Carr, Roxie McNames Paine, Jack Roberts, Joseph Santoro, Hal and Elaine Bowen, Dr. Bruce and Debbie Johnson, Bernice Rivera, Jennifer Krutshke, Marla and Steve Reichert, Carole Morenz, Dr. Chuck and Barb Schneider, Mary Tonne and many others organized early on with a mix of GOP, Tea Party activists, unaffiliated voters and former GOP party chairs Frances Mathews and Tom Ready. Before the primary, an early social media presence was formed on Facebook; Coloradans for Trump.
The Pueblo group decided to approach campaigning and get out the vote effort with an outside out of the box in your face but friendly method. This effort was not coordinated with the Colorado GOP/ RNC or the Colorado Trump campaign which made the decision to let the Colorado GOP and RNC guide and direct the campaigns efforts.  After the primary, the “Pueblo Trump Street Team” was developed and deployed. This team literally hit the streets on corners in the busiest times with positive messaging for Trump that would resonate with local Puebloans. Being on corners engaged in eye to eye direct contact, reaching thousands daily, we encountered drivers who were about 5:1 positive for Trump. We also encountered nasty anti-Trump vitriol, resulting in being sworn at with the worst possible language, things thrown at us and a few physical threats.  Many, many people thanked the wavers profusely for being out there. The positives kept us going and were contagious. The National Trump campaign heard of our efforts and designated 5,000 yard signs and eighteen 4×8 signs the team put together and distributed to smaller counties such as, Custer, Teller and Fremont.   The team wore Trump hats to local bars, coffee shops, grocery stores and restaurants talking to all who would listen. Colorful eye catching banners were developed by Carl Lorensen with themes and messaging that resonate with Puebloans, such as, “Trump Loves Steel”, “Trump Digs Coal”, “Trump for Borders”, “Trump for Safety”, “Save our Guns – Vote Trump” and “Americans for Trump”. Endless hours were spent on street corners talking with drivers face to face and passing out yard signs.   Phone calls and door knocking by the GOP also occurred.  Telephone banks, though necessary, result in most recipients of the calls either not answering or hanging up.  Hang ups by people who are fed up with solicitations can cause irritation if called over and over. Door knocking, while effective and needed, can be counterproductive without a positive convincing message-to-go along with the face to face contact. “Who do you hate less, Trump or Hillary?” is hardly positive messaging and was used for a time with the Trump get out the vote effort in Pueblo.  Nor does it help down ballot candidates by setting negative messaging at the top of the ticket.
Many days the Trump Street Team was discouraged.  We persevered due to the energy of the driver’s honking and waving in encouragement.  And the hope Trump could win and possibly we could play a part. Many said our street waving and outreach efforts were worthless, even discouraged us from doing it.  Pundits and media said Trump had no chance.
Election Day the Pueblo Trump Street Team began waving early, until dark, talking to people and reminding drivers to vote.  That day, I hand delivered my ballot and my aging father’s ballot to the election department. I met a man who was also walking in to vote.   He said, “I saw you early this morning waving your signs.  I wasn’t going to vote. I didn’t think Trump has a chance to win. But when I saw your group out waving, I felt I needed to do my part and go vote.” That said it all for us.  The Trump Street Team did its part. The win in Pueblo for Trump in a Democrat bastion was indeed historic.
(Editor/GG: An outstanding effort by THE PEOPLE. An inspirational story of how to get it down at the street level. We only had two Trump sign wavers here in Westcliffe – should have had a hundred. The apathy of the republican base is appalling. Fox News, email and Facebook do NOT cut it folks if you want to save America. Get off your bu**. Thank God for people like Becky and The Trump Street Team. The Pueblo County results were Clinton, 35,875 and Trump 36,265. Wow.)
Becky Mizel’s Bio:
Becky Mizel is the former Pueblo County GOP chairman. Her county was the only local county party to openly support the grassroots efforts in the historic recall effort of Angela Giron in 2013.  Pueblo County had the highest percent of GOP Get out the Vote in Colorado in 2014. Becky openly exposed voting irregularities that occurred in Pueblo County in the elections of 2012 and 2014.   Becky was Tom Tancredo’s Pueblo Campaign Director in 2010, garnering over 19,000 votes vs. the Pueblo GOP numbers of 9800. Much of the outreach used in Pueblo in 2010 were used in the Pueblo Trump Street Team to help elect Mr. Trump in Pueblo County.  She was a board member of Southern Colorado Tea Party and Liberty Action Group. She has been an active Republican for over 40 years in Colorado and Texas.   Becky was responsible along with Council Woman Vera Ortegon, to have Pueblo officially recognize Constitution Day.  She taught hundreds of students the Constitution through Liberty Day in the schools and through the Center for American Values.
Becky is widowed and has one son Max, who is attending UC Davis, working on his Doctorate in Environmental Engineering and Water,
Becky is semi- retired from a 34-year career in nursing and health care administration.