Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 13, 20173min1182

So, you thought some of last week’s Colorado school board races were contentious? They pale next to the raucous recall mounted against the board of commissioners down south in Custer County. The Take Back Custer County Recall Committee succeeded in persuading voters two dump two of the three commission incumbents on Election Day, with the third hanging on by 122 votes.

The bone of contention? Well, there were more than one. The Westcliffe-based Sangre de Christo Sentinel — which bills itself as, “The Voice of Conservative Colorado” and openly expressed support for the recall — called the election’s outcome “an astonishing display of voter revolt”:

The recall was the first of its kind in Custer County history. The effort … was a non-partisan, grass roots effort initiated due to Commissioner gross mismanagement (the Robin Young Affair) and constant attempts to push extremely unpopular measures (e.g., building codes, Dark Skies), which were never brought up during their campaigns, on the people of Custer County. A good example is the defeat of the Building Codes Ballot initiative (1A) by a huge margin. This effort was pushed incessantly by the Commissioners even after, in meeting after meeting, they were told by the vast majority of attendees that it was not wanted.

The Sentinel also picked up on this undercurrent:

… all three Commissioners ran as Republicans and were constant attendees at the Custer County Republican Central Committee meeting before their elections. Immediately after being elected all three never went to another meeting (except one by Hood that went poorly). All three also refused to attend this year’s Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, the premier Republican social event of the year.  … The three … were liberals posing as Republicans to deceitfully win elected office. And all three have paid a price.

Indeed, they have. Agree or disagree, you can’t say the voters didn’t have their reasons.




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.