Tulsi Gabbard: “Why I’m Leaving The Democratic Party”

Tulsi Gabbard: “Why I’m Leaving The Democratic Party”

Tulsi Gabbard, former Representative, presidential candidate and 20-year Democrat explains “Why I’m leaving the Democratic Party”.

I love our country. Our God-given rights of freedom, life, and liberty enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights are my

inspiration. I answered the call to duty and took an oath, dedicating my life to supporting and defending those freedoms,

both in uniform and in public office.

I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers

driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoke anti-white racism, actively work to

undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, are hostile to people of faith and spirituality, demonize

the police and protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national

security state to go after political opponents, and above all, are dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.

Here are some of the main reasons I’m leaving the Democratic Party, in brief.

The pro-war Democratic Party has led us to the brink of nuclear war. The party is led by warmongers who are firmly in

the grips of the military industrial complex, and don’t know or care about the cost of war, or who pays the price. President

Biden and Democratic Party elite have pushed us to the precipice of nuclear war, risking starting WWIII and destroying the

world as we know it. To protect our loved ones, our children, our world, I’m calling upon the American people to join me in

standing up to these cowardly politicians now.

Today’s Democratic Party rejects the rule of law. The people’s trust in the rule of law is the foundation for democracy. By

weaponizing the security state and Federal law enforcement for their own partisan political ambitions, Democrat leaders

are undermining the rule of law and turning our democracy into a Banana Republic. Across the country, Democrat

politicians call for defunding the police, enacting laws that favor criminal’s rights over those of everyday Americans, and

so-called progressive DA’s let violent criminals out of jail, refusing to charge them. It should come as no surprise that crime

and murder rates are rapidly increasing.

Today’s Democratic Party and the Biden DOJ and Department of Homeland Security has focused their newly formed

Domestic Terror Unit to target parents who are vocally standing in opposition to radical curriculums and explicit sexual

content being taught to young children in our public schools – labeling parents as “terrorists” for showing up at school

board meetings and demanding change.

Today’s Democratic Party does not believe in our constitutionally protected right to free speech. Fostering diversity of

thought and freedom of expression is the foundation of any flourishing democracy. Democratic Party leaders don’t agree.

They are led by fanatical ideologues who pose a threat to our democracy because they don’t believe in freedom — freedom

of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion. The Biden Administration even tried launching their own “Ministry of

Truth” to control what information we are allowed to read, hear, and say. How can a political party that is opposed to

freedom be trusted with our democracy? They can’t be.

Today’s Democratic Party does not believe in our constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion. The Constitution

recognizes that our freedom comes from God — not governments. Unfortunately, Democratic Party leaders reject this truth

and are hostile toward people of faith and spirituality, and actively undermine our religious freedom.

Today’s Democratic Party does not believe in our constitutionally protected right to bear arms. Our founders passed the

Second Amendment out of a recognition that every one of us has a right to defend ourselves and our loved ones, and to

serve as a check on a tyrannical government seeking to take away our God-given freedoms.

Today’s Democratic Party stands with giving ‘Big Brother’ more power and control over our lives.

Today’s Democratic Party racializes everything and blatantly foments anti-white racism. The Democratic machine has

betrayed Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of a nation where we are judged based on the content of our character rather than

the color of our skin.

Today’s Democratic Party is undermining families. Families are the bedrock of civilization. Today’s Democratic Party does

not recognize this truth and the importance of the central foundational role that families play in our society and civilization.

They want to strip away the rights of parents to raise their kids.

I believe in a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party

does not. Instead, it stands for a government of, by, and for the powerful elite.

So today, I’m calling on my fellow common sense independent-minded Democrats to join me in leaving the Democratic

Party.

For the full and unedited version of the above go to Tulsi.substack.com

Kathi Meyer: The Housing Issue in Routt County

Kathi Meyer: The Housing Issue in Routt County

Housing has been a challenge here in the Yampa Valley since the late 1970’s. Perhaps because we live in such a beautiful and desirable county, it may always be an issue.

But just because the goal seems insurmountable, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to help our community.

I think of the old-fashioned barn raising where neighbors gathered to help each other build something!


Kathi Meyer

I’ve spent the better part of my life creating opportunities for others to have safe, decent housing. During my corporate career, I led the financing for apartment complexes, mobile home parks and senior housing. And while serving on the Fannie Mae Advisory Board, I spearheaded national changes for first-time homebuyer loan programs and access to mortgages for minority populations.

When I moved to Routt County 26 years ago, I continued creating safe, decent housing opportunities, serving on the Board of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation (RALF). We acquired the 55-unit Hillside Village Apartments, started the USDA self-help program which financed the building of 18 single family residences throughout Routt County, and began the planning for the construction of 30 for-sale condominiums at Fox Creek. Then after the RALF Board worked collaboratively for two years with City and County officials, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) was born.  And it was an honor to be chosen the first YVHA Board President. Since then, the Housing Authority has acquired the 68-lot Fish Creek mobile home park and built the 48-unit Reserves apartments and the 72-unit Alpenglow apartments with joint venture partners. The 90-unit Sunlight apartments will be leased up this summer. And recently YVHA broke ground on their next low- and moderate-income project at Anglers 400.

In 2010, I joined the board of Routt County Habitat for Humanity where I served as its Treasurer and past President. Under my watch, we built and sold a duplex in the Riverside neighborhood.

In 2018 our community voted overwhelmingly to support a small mil levy, as a dedicated funding source for housing. Perhaps that was one reason a generous, anonymous donor gifted $30 million dollars to expand our community housing stock by more than 2,500 units by 2040. The Brown Ranch is envisioned to be a new community and the Mid-Valley development will provide for-sale and rental opportunities.

Our County Commissioners should be leaders in setting goals, acting, and making sure the people who represent the essential core of Routt County—our teachers, firefighters, nurses, and service employees can live in the communities where they work.

Infrastructure, such as water, sewer, and roads, represents a major cost and hurdle in the development of housing. The County should play a significant role in solving the most high-profile challenge facing its citizens by endorsing housing grants, streamlining its internal approval processes for housing projects, and supporting its municipalities as they deal locally with their own infrastructure and housing challenges.

Finally, we must not forget our senior population who struggle to “age in place” and stay in the communities where they raised their family, and maybe our next generation.

Food and shelter are basic human needs. But we, as Routt County, can certainly do better than just basic.

SOURCE: Kathi Meyer for County Commissioner

JOE O’DEA’S AGENDA FOR THE SENATE:

JOE O’DEA’S AGENDA FOR THE SENATE:

Denver, CO — In case you missed it, political outsider, successful business leader, and Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Joe O’Dea announced the top two legislative priorities he will be pursuing when elected to the U.S. Senate.

See a recap of the coverage below:

Priority 1: Reduce Biden-era spending to reduce inflation and the deficit; re-prioritize funding away from the bureaucracy to protect our kids, communities, and border instead

Priority 2: Establish American energy dominance to reduce inflation and undercut the power of Putin and energy-rich tyrants

In the News:

Fox NewsColorado GOP Senate nominee O’Dea aims to target federal bureaucracy, push border security, energy dominance

“As part of his plan, O’Dea said in his first bill in the Senate he’d push to get “rid of new programs, new spending and new bureaucracy from [President] Biden and the Democrats. I would then use those cuts to drive down the deficit.”

“But on the combustible issue of immigration, O’Dea would break with hard-right conservatives and said he’d work with Senate Democrats to give Dreamers “full legal status.” Dreamers — the thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents — were granted legal protections through the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”

“O’Dea highlighted that ‘my second bill would center on making America energy dominant. Let’s unleash American innovation and modernize permitting so we can modernize our grid and bring more clean energy online like wind, solar and nuclear. Let’s also get pipelines moving. Let’s get natural gas permits on the Western Slope and across the United States, along with LNG terminal permits, in the review process and approved and open new markets for our natural gas in Europe and Asia.'”

“O’Dea emphasized that ‘I’m running on the issues that are important to working Americans here in Colorado. It’s inflation, price of gas, price of groceries, record crime here in our state… And those are the issues I’m talking about. All this other nonsense with the Democratic Party, disingenuous ads, trying to paint me as something I’m not — I mean, it wasn’t but a couple of months ago I was moderate and now I’m a MAGA man. It’s unbelievable. These guys will do anything to stay in power.'”

What They’re Saying:

Paul Steinhauser, 
@steinhauserNH1: “2022 Watch-New on @FoxNews – #GOP Senate nominee @ODeaForColorado aims to target federal bureaucracy, push border security,energy dominance, tackle crime, in first bills, if elected in November. https://foxnews.com/politics/colorado-gop-senate-nominee-odea-target-federal-bureaucracy-push-border-security-energy-dominance…#2022Elections#copolitics#FoxNews

Kristi Burton Brown, @ColoradoKbb: “The @coloradodems and @MichaelBennet refuse to stop the drugs flowing across our border – creating crime and killing our kids. Let’s elect @ODeaForColorado to clean it up! #copolitics

Dustin Zvonek, @DustinZvonek: “For too long Washington has failed to address our border crisis. We need leaders serious about solving problems not partisan posturing. Both parties have failed, it’s time for a new direction. #copolitics#cosen

Quill Robinson, @QuillRobinson: “.@ODeaForColorado is exactly right. America needs common-sense permitting reform to strengthen our energy security and continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Learn more about O’Dea’s campaign here

SOURCE: Joe O’Dea for Colorado

COLORADO SENATE DISTRICT 8 CANDIDATES SQUARE OFF IN EAGLE

COLORADO SENATE DISTRICT 8 CANDIDATES SQUARE OFF IN EAGLE

Matt Solomon, the Republican candidate for Senate District 8, promised a boring discussion before the start of Thursday night’s debate hosted by Moving Mountains Eagle County, but he managed to keep it lively while squaring off against Democrat Dylan Roberts.

The event took place inside the Eagle County building in Eagle, a fitting venue as both candidates for the sprawling 10-county district live in Eagle County.

Roberts, from Avon, is currently the elected representative for House District 26, and Solomon, a Republican from Eagle, is a former town board member. Both men are seeking a four-year term in Colorado Senate District 8, which was redrawn in 2021 to include Eagle County. The newly redrawn senate map takes effect in January 2023.

The district itself was among the topics of discussion; Roberts described it as a district that’s “at a tipping point” when it comes to issues related to housing and climate change, and Solomon said as the third-largest district in the state, “we have almost every source of revenue and every industry available in the state of Colorado within this one district, which means there’s a lot to balance, there’s a lot of responsibility and there’s a lot of concerns, and there’s a lot of good people that need and want to be represented.”

On housing, Roberts touted legislation recently passed to provide one-time funds to help local governments and nonprofits build more attainable housing.

“We made amendments to prioritize teachers, police officers, nurses and our tourism work force,” Roberts said. “We also put an amendment into that bill that says at least 50 percent of the $178 million dollars has to come to rural and resort communities.”

Solomon said the effort doesn’t go far enough, describing the bill as “a band aid on an arterial wound.”

“One-time funding, one-time growth is one time, it’s singular,” Solomon said. “We need to look longterm for economically sustainable solutions.”

On the environment, Solomon referenced former United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in illustrating his views on the situation.

“As General Mattis says, we should spend 95 percent of our time identifying what the problem is, and then we can spend 5 percent working on the solution,” Solomon said. “We haven’t spent the 95 percent of the time addressing how to address it yet.”

Roberts said when it comes to climate change, the problem is clear.

“Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life here in the Colorado mountains and it’s an existential threat to our economy,” he said. “We do need to take action at the state level, more action, to combat the impacts of climate change and to protect our communities from those threats.”

The candidates discussed a wide range of other issues in the hour-long event, touching on topics like economic vitality, firearm legislation, fiscal responsibility, transportation, abortion, private sector experience and education.

Roberts touted his experience in the legislature, calling himself “one of the most bipartisan legislators at the Capitol” while Solomon criticized the size of the government in Colorado, saying the growth of the state budget troubles him.

“That’s going to be a common theme tonight,” Solomon said. “This is going to be one of the most boring debates that you will watch.”

Questions from the audience were also allowed; one person in attendance brought up criticisms of SB 21-260, a transportation bill that passed the state legislature in 2021, saying the bill created a new retail delivery fee that “puts an additional compliance burden on retailers and increases costs for consumers at a time when both are suffering from inflation, supply chain issues and high fuel costs.”

Solomon said he agreed with the opinions expressed in the question.

“The cost of doing business is rising, and that cost of doing business, whether it’s a recycling fee on a manufacturer, or a delivery fee that retailers were opted into, which they can’t just pay when they pay their sales tax, it’s a separate form that they have to fill out or complete, which adds time and bookkeeping expenses to doing business, which makes the cost of doing business more expensive,” Solomon said.

Roberts said the bill received bipartisan support and was supported by the Colorado business community.

“The retail delivery fee is 27 cents, it is assessed on things like Amazon deliveries and other types of deliveries, because those trucks use our roads significantly to make their deliveries and to keep those businesses going,” he said. “That has wear and tear on our roads, and so that’s the thought there, that those types of funds will improve our infrastructure and also recognize that our economy and our way of life is changing, with more electric vehicles that don’t pay gas tax, and people using delivery services more.”

A final question from the audience revealed a point that Roberts and Solomon agreed upon.

“Wolf reintroduction, should it be continued or terminated?” the audience member asked.

Roberts said he doesn’t support wolf reintroduction.

“I was never supportive of that effort, and I don’t think it was the right way to make that decision by having it voted on by the public,” Roberts said. “We have a very liberal system in Colorado when it comes to ballot issue access, where anybody can gather signatures and get almost any question put on the ballot.”

Solomon said he doesn’t support wolf reintroduction either, and pointed out that he and Roberts were in agreement on the issue.

“My dog has to be on a leash in Boulder, but the people in Boulder voted to unleash wild dogs in the area of our ranches,” Solomon said.

The moderator, former Eagle Town Board member Kevin Brubeck, used the opportunity to ask a follow-up question.

“We talk about defunding the police, we talk about defunding the FBI, have we ever thought about defunding wolves?” Brubeck asked.

Pam Anderson wins Colorado secretary of state’s primary, handily beating indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Pam Anderson wins Colorado secretary of state’s primary, handily beating indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Republican Pam Anderson handily defeated two other candidates, including indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, in Tuesday’s secretary of state primary in a major rebuke of Peters’ 2020 election denialism.

The Associated Press called the race on Anderson’s behalf at about 8 p.m. At that time, Anderson had received 45% of the vote, to Peters’ 25%. Mike O’Donnell, a nonprofit administrator from Yuma County, had 29% of the vote.

Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk, will face Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, whom Republicans have accused of politicizing the office that oversees elections and business filings.

The secretary of state contest drew national attention as a test of whether GOP voters would embrace the election conspiracies espoused by Peters, who ran on claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. Peters is accused of crimes in a breach of her county’s election system that she allegedly orchestrated.

Anderson, who also led the Colorado County Clerks Association and has worked as an election consultant, pledged during the primary to be a nonpartisan administrator.

“Colorado Republicans have nominated a professional, competent, experienced leader,” Anderson said in reaction to her victory. “And that’s a big deal. On the campaign trail, there are people of good conscience that have questions (about elections). We need someone who can answer them and not vilify people.”

Griswold, responding to Anderson’s win, touted her success at various voting reforms, including more ballot drop boxes and a statewide ballot tracking system.

“Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated voter — I will uphold your right to make your voice heard at the ballot box,” she said in a statement.

​​At Peters’ watch party at the Wide Open Saloon in Sedalia, a few dozen supporters gathered as the returns came in. When the first results were posted — showing Peters well behind — supporter Rich Wyatt stood to rally the crowd.

“Our people didn’t even vote until today,” he said. “If the vote is rigged, you’re going to see crazy stuff. Hold on tight. The wind’s going to blow, but we’re going to get through the storm.”

Peters, gathered with supporters, refused to accept defeat and claimed without evidence that the outcome had been manipulated. She said Colorado voting officials were “cheating” and had “flipped” the vote totals.

“It’s not over. Keep the faith,” she said.

Anderson will face an uphill battle against Griswold’s well-funded campaign. The Democrat has raised nearly $3 million and has at least $1.7 million in TV ad time booked for the fall 

Anderson’s victory comes despite spending $124,000 less than Peters, who spent $183,000. 

In addition to her campaign cash, Griswold will likely benefit from the $603,000 in cash held by super PAC Defend Democracy Fund, created to support the Democratic candidate for secretary of state.

But there are likely to be outside groups supporting Anderson as well.

During the primary, Defend Colorado spent nearly $495,000 on digital ads supporting Anderson and opposing Peters and Griswold. Citizens for Election Integrity spent more than $99,000 on TV ads opposing Anderson.

Peters was one of several GOP secretary of state candidates across the nation embracing false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. She spent campaign cash to visit Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in May, and she held a campaign fundraiser in April featuring Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO who has widely promoted election conspiracies. On Friday, she attended a Grand Junction event featuring Lindell and other election deniers.

In March, a Mesa County grand jury indicted Peters in an alleged breach of her county’s election system, charging her with seven felonies, including attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation, and three misdemeanors. The charges did not prevent Peters, who denies wrongdoing, from running for office.  

GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown and others urged Peters to drop out of the contest after her indictment by a grand jury in March. 

O’Donnell hedged on whether the 2020 election was stolen, instead focusing on what he said were issues with voter registration and emphasizing the office’s work with businesses.

SOURCE: Colorado Sun

Another former Steamboat council member enters Routt County commissioner race

Another former Steamboat council member enters Routt County commissioner race

Former Steamboat Springs City Council member Kathi Meyer announced Wednesday, Feb. 2, she is seeking the Republican nomination for Routt County commissioner.

Meyer, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination for the seat, was first elected to in 2015, holding the seat until last November. Last month, Meyer was appointed to be a member of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority Board, the second time she has held that role.

“After rolling off City Council last November, I want to keep helping people,” Meyer said. “I get a great deal of satisfaction out of being an elected official, so I’m driven to continue providing service to my community.”

Meyers is the first Republican to announce their candidacy for the commissioner’s race after incumbent Beth Melton said she would not seek reelection last week. The District 3 seat is completely within Steamboat Springs city limits. Candidates need to live inside the district to run, but commissioners are elected by the entire county.

Prior to Melton’s announcement, Meyers said she hadn’t anticipated a run for commissioner but thought now could be her time after being a full-time resident of Steamboat for more than 25 years.

A self-described moderate, Meyer said she doesn’t think anything about the county is broken, but she feels she could bring skills to the role, like a strong fiscal background, that she believes are current commissioners lack.

“I’ve run major corporations with large staffs, so it’s natural for me as far a s a skill set,” said Meyer, who has a background in commercial and residential real estate lending for companies like U.S. Bank and GE Capital. “I’m used to managing large groups of people with big dollars, so I think that would serve the county well as far as oversight.”

Meyer said she also has a lot of experience with housing issues — 15 years on the city’s planning commission and being a founding member and past president of the housing authority — that will be helpful as a commissioner. Meyer said she believes commissioners need to be more engaged in addressing housing struggles across the county.

One area where the county can do more is in terms of financial support, Meyer said. The housing authority has a lot of land but will need to raise money to build on it. She believes the county can take a lead organizing various groups so they can leverage more money from state and federal coffers.

“If the city, the county and the housing authority all go to the state or the feds, and they all have a small financial skin in the game, I think you’re much more likely to have a higher probability in getting grant funding,” Meyer said.

The Combined Law Enforcement Facility, a $19.3 million partnership between the city and county completed in 2019, is an example of this kind of collaboration, she said.

Commissioner should also look to communities like Milner for potential housing growth, Meyer added, as it is just 10 minutes from Steamboat and could probably accommodate 20-50 homes. Other growth should be centered in municipalities, especially Hayden and Oak Creek, she said.

With that, Meyer said there needs to be a regional transportation solution that moves people around the county with more frequent trips to outlying towns that can bring people into Steamboat for work.

“We need to take a look at our transportation infrastructure and see what we can do to make things more efficient,” Meyer said. “We’re going to grow — we live in a very attractive area. We don’t want to screw that up.”

SOURCE: Steamboat Pilot & Today / February 3, 2022 / Author: Dylan Anderson

To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.

Failure to protect: A system meant to support defendants often backfires on victims of domestic violence

Failure to protect: A system meant to support defendants often backfires on victims of domestic violence

Editor’s note: To protect the identity of the victim in this story, Steamboat Pilot & Today has used a pseudonym to identify the victim and the defendant. This story focuses on domestic violence.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — “What does it take in this county? For me to be killed before it matters?” Anne asked a law enforcement officer once.

“Pretty much,” he responded.

That conversation still echoes through Anne’s mind today — 15 years after she met Ryan, her ex-husband, whose abuse of Anne and her children resulted in a three-year sentence, which was shortened to six months due to COVID-19. The abuse also gave Anne a diagnosis of C-PTSD, a more severe form of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.

Anne first posed the question to the officer in 2018 as she watched the cycle unfold. Ryan would abuse her or her children, law enforcement would arrest him, he would appear in front of a judge, and the judge would issue him a personal recognizance, or PR, bond. This meant he was released from jail without paying a bond and with no supervision. If he did not appear in court, he was required to pay a bond amount, which varied with each new charge.

‘Red flags’ turned into abuse

Anne met Ryan in 2006. The “red flags” began quickly, she said, after having children with him. Each time Ryan mistreated her, she wrote down the incident on a notepad. But he would always apologize, and she would throw the notes away.

But eventually, the red flags turned into bright, flashing lights of abusive behavior.

“It very quickly got scarier than I ever thought it could be,” Anne said.

Ryan frequently abused her and her oldest daughter, who was 9 years old at the time. The types of abuse ranged from physical to emotional to sexual, and police reports confirmed the allegations. As the abuse progressed, Anne told her mother, an attorney, who advised her to seek a divorce and a protective order, which Anne did with the help of Advocates of Routt County, a local domestic violence nonprofit.

At that time, Anne believed the protective order barring Ryan from being within 100 yards of her home and her children’s school would keep them safe, but Ryan quickly found ways to defy the order.

According to police reports, on Feb. 7, 2018, Ryan told Anne’s neighbor he planned to see his three kids and then take his life. Anne’s neighbor called police to alert them of Ryan’s threats. Ryan then showed up on Anne’s doorstep, called her from a fake cell phone number using an app called Caller ID Faker and flickered her lights on and off, which she told officers terrified her.

Ryan had been served divorce papers and the civil protection order a month earlier on Jan. 4, 2018. Anne was told by police and others to “be careful, it’s only a piece of paper,” though she had no idea what those words meant at the time.

“I’d very soon find out,” Anne said. “What I’d hoped would become a needed time of relief after finally escaping the hell I’d lived in for over a decade, proved to be nothing but the opposite of that. The period I was entering became scarier than I could ever imagine.”

Over the next several weeks, Ryan repeatedly used Caller ID Faker, and according to police reports, called Anne more than 1,000 times. Ryan was arrested three times for phone harassment and stalking, and each time, he was let out on a PR bond.

At each proceeding, Ryan appeared before Routt County Judge James Garrecht, who said he could not comment on the cases, as the Judicial Canon of Ethics prevents judges from discussing specific cases.

“I would tell you his cases were complicated for a myriad of reasons and handled by different judges and prosecutors,” Garrecht said in an email.

The cases stayed in Routt County, but the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office ultimately prosecuted Ryan, because of a conflict of interest.

Each time Ryan was released, Anne grew more and more concerned for the safety of herself and her three children.

On Feb. 7, 2018, Anne’s worst nightmare turned into a reality.

As she and her three children — all younger than 10 at the time — were asleep, Ryan appeared outside Anne’s bedroom door at around 2 a.m., according to police records.

Anne’s dogs and neighbor alerted her to Ryan’s presence outside the sliding glass door of her bedroom, and then her neighbor, in a “grave voice I’d never heard before,” told Anne to grab her gun. She immediately left her sleeping son in bed to go to the kitchen and call 911.

Ultimately, Anne’s neighbor forced Ryan to leave, and law enforcement later found his vehicle in a snowbank. He was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence, domestic violence harassment, violation of a protective order, reckless driving and eluding a police officer, according to charges filed in Routt County Court.

Anne immediately had a security system and cameras installed at her home and obtained an emergency concealed carry permit from the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

Ryan then appeared in Routt County Court and was issued another PR bond, and law enforcement officers advised Anne and her children to leave the area while Ryan was out of custody. They left for three weeks and returned when Anne was told Ryan would be checking himself into a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism, though he returned from rehab early, Anne said.

(Photo by John F. Russell)

Scarier than I’d imagined’

In February 2018, Anne and her neighbor began receiving phone calls from a blocked phone number, then from a series of phone numbers she did not recognize. The calls were often late at night or before a large event, Anne said.

“His fixation of me never stopped,” Anne said. “Him repeatedly getting out was really hard to understand with other people saying they don’t understand why this is allowed.”

Ryan was sentenced to three years in Correctional Alternative Placement Services in Craig, though he was let out two-and-a half years early due to COVID-19, about which Anne said she was not alerted.

During the last three years, Ryan has been arrested seven times, four of which resulted in a PR or cash surety bond, according to records from the Routt County Court. With the cash surety bond, Ryan was required to pay a fine immediately but was still let out of custody.

The PR bond process

When defendants in Colorado appear in court, the judge has several options: issue them a cash surety bond requiring them to pay money in order to leave jail, keep them in custody without bond or issue them a PR bond, which means they do not need to pay unless they fail to appear for court.

The PR bond, several law enforcement experts said, was created with good intent to make the bond system more equitable for lower-income defendants.

“The bond system legally, almost by design if not intent, discriminates against low income people, which is completely unacceptable,” said Matt Karzen, district attorney for Colorado’s 14th Judicial District, which includes Routt County. “That doesn’t change the fact that there are certain people, who when they’re arrested, they get out right away.”

The system meant to protect defendants has sometimes backfired on victims, Karzen added.

“A paper restraining order doesn’t stop a knife blade or a gun,” he said.

In Routt County, 336 domestic violence cases in 2020 resulted in the defendant being issued a PR bond, according to data obtained by Steamboat Pilot & Today from the Colorado State Court Administrator’s Office. Karzen estimated that number accounted for almost every domestic violence charge in 2020. Karzen attributed the high number of PR bonds to jails wanting to keep populations low due to COVID-19.

“When you take away the monetary bond but you don’t replace it with a well-thought-out alternative, then everyone just starts getting out, and there have been some bad outcomes,” Karzen said. “I have seen the scenario hundreds of times where someone gets arrested for domestic violence, they get out and they’re arrested again within days.”

However, statewide domestic violence experts said Routt County’s high number of PR bonds for domestic violence defendants may be unique to Routt County.

“There are tools available to the prosecutor and judge not to give out a PR bond and that happens in a lot of places as judges have other options,” said Lydia Waligrowski, public policy director at Violence Free Colorado. “There are tools to address that. Why they chose not to is a completely different question.”

Waligrowski pointed to a lack of training as one possible reason.

“Our judges are appointed from a wide array of backgrounds, and a lot of them don’t necessarily have training on domestic violence issues,” Waligrowski said. “They need to be able to look at this from a research-based perspective.”

Lack of accountability for defendants

Because of its rural nature and small size, Routt County does not have a pretrial services system that many communities on the Front Range do. In such a system, defendants are placed with a services officer and are supervised as they move through the system. Defendants in cases involving victims usually receive an ankle monitor to ensure they do not go near the victim, which experts said could have helped in Anne’s case, as well as those like hers.

“Right now in our community, when someone gets a PR bond, there is nothing really holding them accountable,” said Lisel Petis, executive director at Advocates of Routt County and a former prosecutor in Moffat and Weld counties. “The fact that we don’t have pre-trial services here is really concerning for victims.”

Waligrowski said it would be a “false equivalency” to claim victims in larger metro areas are safer than those in rural areas.

“If you have multiple arrests with the same victim, that is an opportunity for judges and prosecutors to recognize escalation and figure out another solution,” Waligrowski said.

While Petis said she could not speak to specific cases, Petis and Karzen said an ankle monitor could have made a difference in cases similar to Anne’s, where a defendant was arrested and then returned to harass the victim.

“Being able to track someone is huge,” Karzen said. “If you see someone moving towards the victim, you can mitigate whatever is about to happen. The system owes it to the community it serves to undertake a reality-based analysis on how do we balance public safety and individual liberty and the presumption of innocence.”

Karzen also said a system of preventative detention, in which a defendant with violent history is not let out on a bond, is essential to protecting victims.

“Unless someone like (Ryan) can demonstrate that they can be trusted or supervised, they should have to stay in custody,” Karzen said. “There is this directive to move away from a monetary-based bonding system, but at the same time, they’re not going to tell us how else we should go about this.”

Anne said she shared her story to shine a light on what she believes is a serious issue.

“It’s more than just one judge. I’m just hoping there can be awareness brought to this system — a system that doesn’t keep victims safe.”

SOURCE: Steamboat Pilot & Today / September 2, 2021 / Author: Alison Berg

To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.

National Democrats assail Boebert with digital ad blasting vote against COVID stimulus bill

National Democrats assail Boebert with digital ad blasting vote against COVID stimulus bill

By ERNEST LUNING ernest.luning@coloradopolitics.com

National Democrats are targeting U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert with digital ads criticizing her vote against the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed over the weekend by the Democratic-controlled House.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 23-second ad depicts the Silt Republican as more concerned with partisan politics than with sending stimulus checks to Americans and providing aid to schools, businesses and vaccination programs, but GOP lawmakers have complained the legislation amounted to a Democratic wish list larded up with spending and programs that have little to do with the pandemic.

The bill, a top priority of President Joe Biden’s new administration, passed early Saturday morning 219-212, with just two Democrats joining every Republican in voting against it. It moves to the Senate, where a procedural hurdle could prevent lawmakers from voting on a provision in the bill that would increase the minimum wage to $15. 

Among Colorado’s House delegation, the state’s four Democrats voted for the bill and its three Republicans, including Boebert, voted against it.

The ads targeting Boebert are part of a monthlong YouTube campaign aimed at 10 GOP incumbents the DCCC considers vulnerable. Unlike the other nine targets, who represent districts won by President Joe Biden, Boebert represents a district President Donald Trump carried.https://www.youtube.com/embed/479doiJ_yqI?enablejsapi=1&origin=https://www.coloradopolitics.com

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a New York Democrat and chairman of the DCCC, said in a statement that Boebert’s vote demonstrates she is “refusing to take this pandemic seriously.”

Said Maloney: “From denying the seriousness of the virus, to refusing to follow the public health recommendations from Dr. Fauci and medical experts, to refusing to give American families the aid they need, Washington Republicans like Lauren Boebert have made clear that she is unable to lead us out of this crisis.”

Polling shows the bill — which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans, as well as expanded unemployment benefits, funding to support vaccination programs and a $350 billion relief package for state and local governments — is overwhelmingly popular among voters. A recent Morning Consult/Politico poll found 76% of voters approve — including 60% of Republicans — and a CBS News/YouGov poll found 83% support.

Boebert’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the congresswoman took to Twitter on Sunday to attack circumstances surrounding the bill’s passage.

“The Democrats blew their chance at ‘unity’ by passing the first major piece of Biden legislation on a completely partisan basis. They’ve even brought back earmarks,” Boebert tweeted. “In other words, the swamp is back and deeper than ever before.”

Boebert, who won the Republican-leaning 3rd Congressional District after unseating incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in last summer’s primary, is already facing at least seven Democrats who hope to run against her.

Among Boebert’s potential challengers: state Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail; state Rep. Don Valdez, D-La Jara; Pueblo activist Sol Sandoval; Marine veteran and former CEO Gregg Smith of Westcliffe; Glenwood Springs attorney and former legislative candidate Colin Wilhelm; Root Routledge of Durango, who ran for the seat last cycle; and Rifle resident Naziha Karima In’am Hadil.

Routt County could move to level yellow in a week

Routt County could move to level yellow in a week

COVID-19 cases would need to stay below 76 for 7 days

Dylan Anderson 

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, February 17, 2021— Routt County could soon be in a position to move to level yellow on the state’s COVID-19 dial as new weekly cases have hit their lowest mark since just before Christmas.

There were 67 new cases in the county in the last seven days, below the 76 case threshold for level yellow, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard which was last updated on Tuesday. But the county needs to maintain less than 76 cases in week for seven days before it could be moved on the dial.

The earliest a move to level yellow could be made is Tuesday Feb. 23.

To actually move on the dial, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment asks local public health directors to send a letter requesting to be moved. Those letters are reviewed once a week, on Tuesdays at 12 p.m., according to the online form used to submit letters.

A move to level yellow could further loosen local restrictions, allowing restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, offices and non-essential manufacturing to operate at 50% capacities.

Currently, Routt County has a local public health order that restricts gatherings to just one household, limits capacity in offices to 10% and requires restaurants to carry out additional mitigation efforts like taking contact information of guests to allow for better contact tracing. This order would supersede restrictions outlined in the dial.

But commissioners could change or remove that order before the county would be moved to level yellow. The order is currently in effect until March 1, but the agenda for Friday’s Board of Health meeting indicates they intend to consider amendments to the order.

Test positivity is also continuing to decline with it now at almost exactly 5% after it was almost double that less than a month ago. About 17% of residents have now received a COVID-19 vaccine first dose, with about 8% being fully inoculated.

The county has now been eligible for the 5-Star certification program since Saturday, but Kara Stoller, CEO of the Steamboat Chamber and co-chair of the Administrative Committee setting up the program, said Public Health has not sent a letter of support for the program yet.

If the county moves to level yellow, there would be no immediate benefit from instituting the 5-Star Certification Program locally until the state has given at least 70% of 70-year-olds a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Routt County has given about 72% of local seniors the first dose of the vaccine, but is outpacing the state as a whole. Gov. Jared Polis said earlier this month the state is on track to meet that mark by the end of the month.

To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.