Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 28, 20173min1078

Word is that the Custer County clerk in tiny Westcliffe (population 564) has certified citizens’ signatures on petitions seeking the recall of all three of the county’s commissioners. So, the pending ouster is heading to the November ballot.

We learned of it from Sangre de Cristo Sentinel Managing Editor George Gramlich, who tells us it appears to be the first recall ever to make it to the ballot for an entire county commission in Colorado and possibly in the nation.

The politically conservative Sentinel has championed the recall of Comissioners Bob Kattnig, Donna Hood and Jay Printz and hailed recall organizers. The organizers’ grievances against the commissioners, as reported by the Sentinel, includes:

…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 …

The newspaper also has chronicled the joust between the recall movement and the commissioners, one of whom, Printz, wrote a letter to the editor of the competing Wet Mountain Tribune, accusing the Sentinel of  lying. The Sentinel’s Gramlich then weighed in with a comeback.

Looks like a big fight is shaping up in a small county. And the media are right in the middle. We’ll keep you posted.


Paula NoonanPaula NoonanSeptember 30, 20164min300

Colorado’s public schools have experienced the short end of the money stick since the 2008 recession. From 2010, annual funding has run about $950 per year per student less than obligated. The state Legislature labels the gap as the “school finance negative factor.” That’s the crisis that many school districts want to mitigate through bond and mill initiatives on the 2016 ballot. Denver Public Schools is asking for $56.6 million in a mill increase and $572 in bond money. Jeffco is asking for a $33 million mill increase and a $535 million bond. Cherry Creek is going for a $23.9 million mill and $250 million bond.


Michael McGradyMichael McGradyJune 11, 20163min335

Jan Kulmann, a city councilor of Thornton’s Ward 4, who was facing a recall effort from anti-fracking group, North Metro Neighbors for Safe Energy, will not be subject to a recall election this year. According to the Denver Business Journal, the effort from North Metro Neighbors group has all but “fizzled,” out. In an e-mail to The Statesman, Todd Barnes, the City of Thornton’s communication director, indicated that the petitioners failed to submit a petition by the city’s May 31 deadline. “We have no information as to how short — if they were even short — the number of necessary signatures because nothing was submitted. We received nothing,” Barnes’ e-mail indicated.


Michael McGradyMichael McGradyMay 23, 201612min420

This year, some Colorado voters are once again exercising their state constitutional right to recall their elected leaders, an occurrence that is apparently becoming en vogue in the state. Of course, no two recall situations are alike, each of them borne out of unique situations with one common trait — elected officials finding themselves on the receiving end of an angry electorate feeling some degree of buyer's remorse. Within the last couple of months, voters in two Colorado cities, Castle Rock and Thornton, have raised their pitchforks to the sky, seeking to remove their elected city councilmembers due to contrasting situations. Like the recently successful Jefferson County School Board recall and the victorious 2013 Pueblo/Colorado Springs tossing of two state legislators over their votes on gun issues, the Castle Rock and Thornton recall campaigns — both in their fledgling stages — are starting to draw attention from across the state and even nationally as the movements take shape and moneyed interests invest financial resources on either side.