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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Current Watch: "GSCRA President admits under oath to more public funds use for personal gain"

This update post is brought to you today by ‘guyinathinsuit’, co-founder of ‘smalltown7'.

"From August 6 2012, on through her own testimony admission under oath on August 13, 2012, the President and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association was named by fourteen sworn under oath individuals as the primary leader of a vigilante group of three women who sought to take the law into their own hands over a period of five years.

With the now publicly documented power and assistance of the 9th Judicial District Office of the District Attorney Martin Beeson. The now publicly stated cooperation in local media by Virgili herself and by the publicly documented apathy of GSCRA, the City of Glenwood Springs City Council, COGS administration and city tourism boards (past and present). With the Glenwood Springs Police Department and Garfield County Sheriff’s cooperation due to their now publicly documented absence of enforcing and protecting the law over the five year period in question; these fourteen individuals spoke in different ways regarding Marianne Virgili’s leadership of this vigilante effort.

An interesting new blog is on the horizon (unaffiliated in any way with any member of ‘smalltown8') that gives an accurate view of the current atmosphere of the 9th Judicial District under District Attorney Beeson’s regime and it can be found here.

What is especially noteworthy in each of these individual testimonies is that none of them retracted in any way how significant and involved Virgili was as she gathered them in her effort.

One of Virgili’s cohorts was named repeatedly by the majority of testimony; with the third woman involved being made the obvious scapegoat by Virgili herself under oath as the trial heated up and pressure on the prosecution increased. Locals recognize that pattern of Marianne in shifting blame and dirtying of others hands any time she is put into an unfavorable public eye. ‘smalltown7' does not condone the actions of the third woman of this group but does recognize her vulnerability to that unbridled power now.

What is ironically noteworthy in further testimony by Virgili on 13 August, are her admissions under oath of her use of GSCRA credit for personal use and her justification of her actions once again being accepted as a proper use of public funds by the GSCRA Board of Directors.

Locals can think back to the year 2005 and the ‘odd’ use (still not fully accounted for in 2012) of $86,000 plus change of public funds within GSCRA and accused by former whistles as inappropriate use of public funds and reimbursements.

Locals can now add on an admitted on 13 August 2012, by Virgili, of nearly $11,000 (spent in 2008) for personal use that was "paid back" by John and Marianne Virgili on an undisclosed by the District Attorney date in 2009 and only after still yet another exposure by a whistle blower.

All local business owners can continue to watch Marianne, as spokesperson on behalf of this one 501C-6 organization, rob them of their voice and proclaim through local print media that they can rest safely in their beds at night as long as she and her vigilantism is at the helm of our business community.

One of my co-founders of ‘smalltown7' coined a phrase a few years back that I am going to borrow part of now:

"The irony does not escape me.." that any resident of 81601, who blindly follows the power of a few in our business community that are headed by such individuals as Virgili and GSCRA, can also rest easy in their beds at night knowing that the full, totalitarian power of the state is behind GSCRA and such people as Marianne no matter how unethical, unlawful and presumptuous their actions may be.

Roughly a year or so ago, ‘smalltown7' announced here on safeplace that we pulled more than a decade of CORA and FOIA records on tourism board contracts, funds spent and various other information. We then took that information and laid it out side by side with hard and dated evidence of Virgili’s now admitted under oath vigilante efforts, what the court and public have had held back from their view by the power of the state over the past three years  in hard evidence of wrongdoing by Virgili and the actual production of viable tourism gain against accommodations revenue in 81601.

Last week, after realizing that the testimony of Virgili herself gives now more publicly documented proof of ‘odd’ handling of public funds by Virgili and the decision making by GSCRA to justify all that Marianne does; we logged that information into a detailed time line spanning from 2004 through to present day.

The trail of swift and near immediate social and business retaliation to anyone, whistle or otherwise that dares to speak up in either question or protest of any abuse by GSCRA or Virgili, is documented from 2004 so very clearly in our time line we all had to step back and triple check the data.

Between city records, public revenue records, hard data from all who have suffered over the years at that hand of vengeance and the now sworn admissions by others and Virgili herself as to specific dates; there is no denying that the City of Glenwood Springs, all related city, county, federal law enforcement and the 9th Judicial District have turned their eyes and backs on investigating valid complaints over the years.

‘smalltown7' has seen nothing in the outcome of the vigilante efforts of Marianne Virgili to sway us from our support of the latest whistle. In fact, after now seeing the catastrophic abuse of the power of the state and the near rape of law and ethics by the state in its blind support of Virgili and cohorts; we stand more firmly than ever behind the latest whistle as she moves through the appellate process.

The outpouring of email to us since Virgli’s testimony and the testimony of 14 others naming Marianne has been tremendous.

We agree with you that the supporting of Randi Lowenthal’s newest efforts to boost small business within 81601 is to be supported heavily and we encourage you to throw monetary support to Randi’s resource. We thank COGS City Council for finally recognizing Randi’s efforts are the best for our business community.

Coming up in early September at city council is a request for COGS to release to the current tourism marketing vendor of GSCRA, the additional funds left over from the accommodations tax collections.  JUST SAY NO.  Until the day comes when the City of Glenwood Springs takes full stewardship and responsibility for every questionable  decision made by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association; JUST SAY NO to the release of more public funds into that non-profit entity's hands. 

We agree with you that there is no place within our business community for any organization, but especially one in a position of the trust of a non-profit, that abuses their power to such an extent it brings harm of any kind to a business or individual within our community. Boycott and speak up against in whatever way you can safely do so.  The depth of overwhelming arrogance and self-righteous declaration of being above the law was so pronounced as I sat in the gallery and watched this trial; I was ashamed to be a member of the bar here in the 9th. Our legal communities within our district are currently filled with similar feeling members.

As strong and dare we say, now powerful conservative voices within our community, we urge you to vote for Democrat Sherry Caloia for District Attorney of the 9th and completely clean house on every available seat upcoming within our BOCC and City Council. For the first time in my life, I am voting blue instead of red on a number of those upcoming seats.  You should too.

Out of consideration for the appellate efforts of the latest whistle, comment ability on this post is blocked.

‘smalltown7' once again turns the volume back on, turns it up and keeps talking."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Current Watch: "Non-Profit Organization Abuse and How to Blow the Whistle"

'smalltown8' responds to your  inquiries.  'gws44' bringing you this post:

"We still receive a lot of mail.  This blog was started in the summer of 2009.  At that time we  received tips and information that helped us track and finally be successful in our efforts to get city control of the tourism board, the accommodations tax, tourism marketing and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association's role.

We were, at one time,  open to the questions on doing other 'Current Watch' tracking of abuse in non-profit organizations.

We did take on one other concern on a 501C-6 that was in our local area.  Fortunately, unlike GSCRA, they had a Board of Directors who believed ethics and public perception of their organization was the most important consideration.  While handling the problem itself, they held themselves accountable and transparent.  They also cleaned house at the same time.  The end result was tremendous success.  And we were really happy to be able to pull them off 'Current Watch' and out of the public eye.

SafePlace took a lot of time and a lot of  heart.  We had/have a personal, vested interest because of our love and support of  our reluctant whistle.

We have decided, as a group, that we just aren't ready to take it all up again.  We probably will someday.  It's upsetting to see how many non-profits there are out there that the public has concerns about.  Especially in the business sector and dealing with Chambers of Commerce and promotional marketing such as tourism.  Very upsetting.

We hear and understand your frustration in your mails.

There is no place to go when you're  needing help with suspected abuse in a non-profit.  If you're a national presence or government entity then there are many resources that want to hear you.  But for the small ones, there really are none.

Someday,  we will fire back up again and lend a hand.

But for  now, please keep your emails coming and we'll be glad to give you our story.  We hope what  we learned and how we learned as we went on the best things to do to get results will help you.

Good luck."

For  smalltown7:  smalltown8@gmail.com

Friday, August 5, 2011

Current Watch: "City of Glenwood Springs awards contract to Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association"

This post is by ‘glenwoodsprings22’, founder of smalltown7.


"Almost 7 years ago, my wife, me and a friend or two, were pretty heavily involved supporting the second group of whistles on Marianne Virgili and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.  There’s been a lot of disinformation spread about the outcome of those whistles efforts.

In this blog, we’ve set those straight.  By using public records and a lot of hard work.  Tracking the details of reality on the chamber’s performance since then and watching the choices of individuals here in Glenwood Springs in the now third round of whistles on the accommodations tax.  By tracking the tourism marketing vendor's co-mingling of public and private funds management in the 501C-6 corporation that is our chamber of commerce.

Our group has taken a lot of criticism from a very small minority out there that have a lot to lose.

What’s helped get us personally through that, are the scores more who’ve recognized and considered the source of that small minority, watched the obvious or asked to see the evidence of the obvious and chose to support the way we’ve handled what we were forced into. 

As the next year or two unfold publically, we’re really looking forward to returning to our lives and the way we chose to fend off vengeance from a sick mind directed at a very good friend.

We can do that now. 

All thanks to our city council.

Almost 30 months to the day later, on August 4, 2011 and completely clueless that they finally have actually gone full circle; our city council fulfilled the request of the latest whistle.

That request was for them to take the problem she had of being in the wrong place at the wrong time which brought her face to face with their long-standing problem of all things Virgili.  She clearly asked them to leave her out of their problem and protect her life from having to go through retaliation like others before her had suffered.

The choice our leaders made back then was to instead buy into the manipulation by  Virgili that this was really just some kind of a horse race created by someone out to get her. Less than 4 days later, our whistle's life was turned into a living Hell.  Total disregard to deal with their problem was the rest of their decision.  The little they did, turning to other authority to check it out, was lost with Virgili manipulating everybody.

The folks are familiar with that blind spot in our esteemed leaders.

It’s an old tune on a warped and scratched record.

For over two decades and to the tune of  an estimated 14 to 18 million dollars of public funds, they’ve allowed themselves to be manipulated into that social stupor.  The fox in the hen house leading the willing to be blind.

The latest horse race is now over as of Thursday night. 

Right back at square one is where we all are.  We're really grateful to finally get cut free, this mess of our esteemed leaders left their control a long time ago. It's now back in their laps, the folks are out of the way.

As founder of our group, I would like to be the first of smalltown7 to thank Virgili and our council for laying such a clear path around the horse track for us to finally fulfill the request of the latest whistle.  A request she made over 30 months ago directly to them.

"Own their problem, leave her out of it and shield her from exposure to it."

Their path is not smalltown's path.  Good and decent, clear headed, 20/20 vision people that we are, would never fall for the ring-around-the-rosie our city leaders, our council, our city cops and our DA have fallen for over the past 30 months.  

But it is the path we all ended up on. 

I’ll be the first to admit that there’s been many times since my wife and I exposing what probably lay before a friend 34 months ago; that a few of us have gone toe to toe with each other.  Now that we’re at the end and finally get to dump VirgZilla in the winner’s circle of her own making; I can see where I was wrong. I apologize to a very wise woman who was right.  You can't change what's inside the core of a person.  When that core is bad, it really is the best thing to do in just letting it rot all on its own.   If we had done anything but just let the choices run where they would go; the depth this sewer of a mess is would have swallowed up the innocents.  Those sitting on that dais Thursday night and others now glued with anxiety over thinking how far off course they were led by choosing the wrong horse; every individual is now fully accountable for themselves and what they’ve allowed done.  Our girl finally has the shield of that truth.  She’s free now to stand up and tell the truth of what the problem back then really was.  I'm really sorry that the faith and trust she's shown and given to everybody in this thing is so broken now. I'm personally looking forward to helping my friends and loved ones restore life as we all used to know it.

For all of you out there, NO more smoke screens for the chamber, the accommodations tax and our leaders.  Just snap on those klieg lights.

Tonight, I’ve been asked to wrap this Current Watch up. 

The next time you see posts on this site, they will be the results of that clear path around the horse track being held accountable to law and justice.

Here's a wrap:

“32 months ago, after watching the progress on the Virgili jobsite in Aspen Glen, hammer and I realized the same problems we'd watched years ago on other whistles, were happening right in front of our eyes again.

I made a decision to not let that happen. I didn’t do enough the time before when some really good women were really attacked for whistling on Virgili and the way things ran at the chamber and the handling of the accommodations tax. That was back in the 2003 to 2006 era of whistles.  Went home, told my wife what I felt we needed to do this time and she supported that decision.  smalltown7 was born.

We spent the next six months supporting our whistle.  That story’s pretty widely known now, especially for everyone who’s followed safeplace when we launched it Summer ’09.

I’m reminding you followers of the one goal we’ve had in Current Watch.

That goal is to protect, as much as we can, the innocents in harm’s way when a pretty good bet was the chamber and our leaders would be horns waggled into letting the fox in the hen house lead the blind chickens again.

smalltown7 and the net of our #8 have been accused of a lot of things over the past 30 months.  All part of that  propaganda smoke screen.

Here’s reality:

We’ve done the best we can while onlybeing  able to move by the seat of our pants because we’re following other's choices instead of leading.  Following mostly in the dark through the sewer tunnels and rats nests this all is. 

Along the way, you grew to respect us and look to us for leadership.  I admit for all of us that was a bit of a surprise.  At one point, we were followed globally by over 500 hits per day on safeplace.  Back when you were all writing in that evidence that finally won you your Ordinance #12, Series of 2010.

When you started looking to us to lead through the rats and the winding tunnels, all we did was cut trail and hold some flashlights up for you.

The end result is that after 20 years, public funds are protected and permanent klieg lights are in place.  You did that.  All we did was cut trail.

This has never been about building a watch-dog.  We were forced by failed duty to become watch-dogs. 

The very worst in the weaknesses of human nature have done things and caused effects that have hurt people, torn apart a community and in some cases destroyed lives. As of Thursday, you can now put the effects of all that squarely in our Mayor's lap. 

Soon to be publically known, upcoming destruction of careers and political aspirations now has to reveal too.  There are a few out there in the private sector who have a lot to lose, and as long as our authorities stick in that crack with them, unfortunately, failed duty doesn’t get the luxury of retro-fitting a comfy fit getting their tail out of a crack. 

Nobody wins in what this has done to our heroes in sworn duty authority.  Of all the things we’ve watched happen at other’s hands, that one is second in line to hurting our hearts the most.  What are good people somewhere inside themselves sank into human weakness, all because of following a very wrong path and a sick mind.  There are a lot of victims in this mess and the obstruction of justice holds up for all of us. 

After the next year or two, Glenwood Springs will never be the same again.

Our choice in the beginning was to just help someone we care about walk away.

The turning point that locked this all down into nowhere to go but resolution and justice, happened about 12 months ago now.

Our city council locked all in this community into the path of no return with Ordinance #12 Series of 2010. 

For our group, we really suffered the night that passed.  FCE said it really well.  That resolution passed  and all of us couldn’t feel happiness about that.  Instead, we all looked into the eyes of someone we love, who was trying very hard not to cry.  We all knew right then that what had already been really horrible acts of vengeance towards her and her life were probably going to get a lot worse.  As the next year or two reveals the truths, I’m saying it now that I’ve watched grown men vomit when they see the evidence we’ve helped compile.  The cruelty and retaliation against the final whistle stops you cold. 

It’s shocking to have watched our community find it impossible to believe those kind of depths exist around here.

The reason this is a major victory for our whistle is that by giving GSCRA the contract, after dragging all of 81601 through their sewer; the city, the chamber and Virgili are right back where they started from 30 months ago. 

Responsible for their own problem and what they face is the end result of all their own choices and actions over the past 41 months. 

Cutting your trail and holding flashlights for you, was just a bonus perk for us.  A source we didn’t expect, of pride that our group now has, that we cut trail for you and held your flashlights.  We want you to know it feels like a perk.  Our #8 joins us in that, she wants you to know that. 

No doubt, smalltown’s and all of our mailboxes we’ve used for this are going to still get flooded with your comments and thoughts.  Probably, since this new contract award was doomed before it ever got voted in; your disgust and frustrations too.

For the first time, I’m asking, on behalf of all of us, that you hold back from that. 

We’ll be over on Sandbox and the other hubs and forums you know where to find. 

Let us get back to our lives now because we have need of scraping up one that’s been shattered.  I run with my big sis, ‘battlementmom’ on that.  It doesn’t look like the infection in this town is going to cure any time soon, we’ve all missed that chance thanks to the fine and upstanding leadership of our elected and hired officials and authorities. 

We also want to thank the citizen’s seats on the new tourism board, especially Hooner. 

Was pretty revealing watching that scoring system unfold the other night, you people out there have got the kliegs snapped on and there are a few minor issues still needing to be dealt with.  Count on it that we’ll be on the political stump until every one of the tourism and business seats are filled with no conflicts of interest vested in the tourism contract. 

For the rest of it, remember that Hooner's been pushing to be involved in bigger ways for a lot of years and he’s doing a great job leading.  While you all wait for seats to come open, push them hard to make everything about the tourism board open to the public, including all meetings.  There’s still all contract details, who handles the money, accountability, cost ratios to value earned and performance.  Then there’s that other small thing about a 65% + deficit to climb out of the hole on before we can ever say we’re on the mend.  Then there's all that other stuff too. 

smalltown7 goes dark.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Current Watch: "The price paid to have the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. as our tourism marketing vendor"

‘glenwoodsprings22’, founder ‘smalltown7’ has this one today.

“Coming up on July 14, the new tourism board under Ordinance #12 Series of 2010, chooses the 2012—2013 tourism marketing vendor.

Hill Aevium, who created our logo brand of “Soak it all in” and gave us the baseline for what we’ve marketed Glenwood as for over 6 yrs. now, is one of two bids left standing.

Don’t be fooled by the spin-off of city council.  Don’t be fooled by the ‘Tourism Lions’ that have a vested interest in not awarding anyone but GSCRA.  There were other bidders.  One of them didn’t quite get in under the time-gun.  Unlike the blatant bending of ethical rules when city council let GSCRA board member and ‘Tourism Lion’ Ken Murphy shove Jon Z. out of the tourism board seat earlier this year; council, tourism board and Kate Collins decided to not give that firm the benefit of doubt.  That’s their power to do. I’m just not letting the double standard get lost in the spin-machine shuffle. Count on it that double standard is going to play over and over on the commentary if Hill Aevium is not awarded.   

The obvious point is that we don’t really have rules in 81601.  We have whatever a few who get away with it let us have.

There was also a firm that had to back out due to a conflict of interest.  No, it wasn't GSCRA, who has raging conflicts of interest.

All in all, there were 4 out of 5 possible that left us with just Hill Aevium and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc.

smalltown7 and  the dozens of businesses out here in the shadows support Hill Aevium.

Here’s why:

  • We’ve been in the tank for three years. Every resort around us has proven for two of those three years that it is not “because of the recession”.  That makes 81601 circling the drain for half of the six years we’ve been marketing under “Soak it all in”.

  • It’s so in the tank, we’re still over 60% down.  Millions of dollars down is what that translates out to.  Our hotels haven’t been overflowing and turning away for years.  Most nights, there’s no light on in the bulk of their buildings.  Our restaurants rely on a couple good nights a week and can’t rely on boom nights, if they come, they’re a bonus.  Our retail is so down we’ve still got empty buildings everywhere and not just downtown.  They can’t stock their stores.  They’ve got weeks where they only make a few sales. In fact, because of hyped-up numbers out of GSCRA vendor for all of those 6 years of this brand, we’ve never even seen reality in comparisons between sales revenues and lodging revenues.  We have no idea how it’s all really measured up.  Forget construction in 81601. The only given that’s building is the money we don’t have, being burned by city council for trails, repairs that could wait and added infrastructure.  In the case of concrete on  Grand Ave and the WWP, they gave that away to out of town contractors.  Our hungry have grown 4 times what they were three years ago.  We have families living in cars.  We have young professionals that cannot afford rent.  Even our grocery stores are not stocked like they were.  We’ve now had 3 Strawberry Days in a row that are down by 30% to 50% what they used to be. And still don’t have a clue where that civic event money is disappearing off to.  Christmas shopping’s been on its knees for the past three years.  Biggest snow year in recent history and they went to Vail or Aspen.  Vail Resorts has never dropped during the recession.  They’ve posted a $35 million dollar profit this past year, booming in events year round.  Aspen dropped, then held steady with small growth.  This year, even under major scandal, Aspen still saw an increase.  The only town in the area that’s almost as bad as we are is Basalt.  No comparison there when you look at the towns and what they offer.

  • We don’t need ladies sitting at computer keywords playing on social networks or pumping out viral marketing advertising.  We don’t need regurgitated gimmicks.  We did get, from GSCRA, an internet full of scandal with a bragging and boasting top employee in GSCRA linking our city website to her Google Blogger profile she used to become a self-declared vigilante. Then, beating all the odds and finding hundreds more social networks to glorify herself on while allegedly committing crime. Every one of them attaches our city website to them in links.   When anyone breaks off from the canned PR out of GSCRA and the City of Glenwood Springs and surfs through blogs, real news media and comments all over the nation on all search engines, they find 81601 so slammed with talking heads spouting off on the low ethics and how bad our downfall is; most of us don’t see how we’ll ever recover.  We did get all that out of GSCRA’s past two years of marketing efforts.  And they wonder why we’re still in the tank.

  • The only way to get out, is to clean house and stand up for accountability.  Tell the truth.  We need a marketing firm that will deal with our reality.  Not the Pollyanna view from rose-colored glasses that does exist.  The RFP for this contract bid did not even have the guts to tell the bidders (except the chamber that knows) what our reality is.  ‘smalltown7’ sent the links to Hill Aevium so that they could at least have a level playing field and so the folks could stand a chance with what will be close to a million bucks of public money awarded over two years.

  • We need a marketing firm that will build us a future while maintaining what we have without losing any more ground.  We need a legitimate firm that has integrity, ethics, values and standards.  That if they were faced with either doing a cover-up or what’s in the best interests of the folks they ultimately service, they would choose the folks.  That firm is not the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. 

Here’s where reality is on the problem of GSCRA:

  • There is an investigation.  Your city council and D.A. (9th Judicial elected with likely a re-up attempt coming up in 2012, be sure to vote) have just kept it swept under the rug and that rug shoved in the basement cellar closet under triple deadbolt.

  • That investigation has gone so far there’s admission by those authorities that victims have tort power.  The problem there is not that major action against all parties is coming.  That’s a really big problem.  But the real problem 81601 faces is how long that is going to take.  We’re looking at minimum of a year on one part of that mess in the system and likely another year for a total of two plus before it all resolves. That’s the entire life of the next marketing contract award.  So far, our gutless local news media has burned every credibility and ethical bridge they could ever hope to have in not reporting.   Since when have you ever heard of stalkarazzi style reporters who didn’t jump on fresh blood no matter whose it is?  That tide on raw meat is getting ready to turn.  Finally the real whistle is opening her mouth to speak up on the other side of the story. All those linked to city glorifications of that one person at the chamber are likely to be as historic as the sinking of the Titanic.  Remember that when certain members of city council, who attached us to that kite-tail going down come up for re-elect over the next two years.  Remember that when city admin contracts come up again in 2013.  The only reason we’re still headed for the iceberg is thanks to their failed stewardship to the oaths they took.  

  • There’s also the reality of the problem that thanks to the super-fine viral marketing efforts of one individual at GSCRA; that turned tide is going to rage through the stratosphere of 24/7 news.  It wasn’t enough for our council, city admin and D.A. to force a community to kow-tow to ‘VirgZilla’ and her will.  The folks, thanks to our city and district attorney blessing Marianne Virgili to the point of ignoring crime, are now forced to stay on their knees while everything surrounding our integrity as a community is questioned.  We cannot financially handle, as a community, another day of being attached to the mass liability the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. represents.

The city rolls out financial records for 2010 this upcoming council meeting tomorrow night. 

Read those and see how poorly the decision making over the past year alone has been.  When financials for a number of years are held up to us not even being able to collect money we know has ‘slipped’ through the cracks of the accommodations tax and Strawberry Days; it’s not an option any longer to just have wishful thinking  over whether or not we get fireworks.  The barn’s ready to burn, folks.  It’s been empty for a long time.

Here’s what a nationally known figure in the construction industry had to say when he turned down area contractors awhile back for bringing his event to 81601:

“For me to schedule my event in Glenwood is to say I support the community leaders and their choices. After watching with you the city council meeting’s videos that declare a nearly undying devotion to an organization that has not only authorized its President and CEO to engage in unlawful activity that also is vigilante activity, but has blessed and publically supported that activity and years of allegations of crime with city money;  I am appalled. That they have allowed this to happen in the middle of the worst construction recession in history and with your sinking sales revenues tells me they have no control. The devotion to the chamber of commerce when they cannot keep their own house in order over this public tax also tells me it would be an uphill climb to get these officials even in the ball park of normal business.  They strike me as bent on personal games and social gain rather than stewards. That they would allow the obvious at the same time they’re making constrictions on construction even tighter is also a sign that they do not care for pro-growth.  If I could even get past the wondering if your authorities have lost their collective mind, I still have my own standard of ethics in responsibility for what we’re trying to bring together here to get past. Glenwood Springs and Garfield County have some of the least friendly to construction ordinances in the state.  How can we go before a BOCC and council that lack the foresight to even police their ethical standard to their community?  No, I am sorry, but we must decline.”  

smalltown7 keeps talking.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Current Watch: City of Glenwood Springs City Council "Spell it out"

This post is brought by 'gws44' on behalf of 'smalltown7'.

Buzz, spin, twisted play on words to meet individual spin machine goals brings to our attention continued complaints re: our lack of clarity.

'What do they want?'

Let's go over what remains  to be answered by council:

1.  Never once has the public been made aware of the results of a forensic audit (not the calculator tape run from 2005) on the funds feeding into the tourism marketing contract. Yet, years upon years worth of concerns and discrepancies have been not only voiced by the public, those concerns show up in dozens of city council meeting minutes and taped video recordings of council meetings.

Request:   Publically disclose all the results, from all audits, including forensic strength from third party, on all funds feeding into the tourism marketing contract since it's inception.

2.   It's public record the battle that took 14 years minimum to get done with Ordinance #12 Series of 2010.  Now that it's here, there are 3 sitting chamber directors on the new tourism board.  The secretary taking minutes is a chamber employee.  The chamber's CEO sits meetings at her discretion and the board's.  That makes 5 out of 11 people present who have a vested interest in the accommodations tax.  As defined by the city attorney in a recent council meeting:   "Jan Shute explained the Conflict of Interest statute deals with not only financial interests, but whether there is an interest that would cause a person not to make an objective decision. That’s a personal decision question."

With all the public record history of the tug-of-war with the chamber over the marketing contract for the past 14 years (or more) and the ethical propriety concerns of a non-profit in a position of trust repeatedly skating under the public eye radar on serious allegations; the new tourism board should hold only one chamber representative seat.

The issue of abysmal performance for 3 years and refusal to publically disclose answers to legitimate public questions, such as Strawberry Days has severely undermined the trust needed for someone in a position to hold one of the most important marketing functions we have.

Request:  This is a public RFP that nowhere on city website does it state fair and equitable coverage of inside information to all bidders. 

There are very clear statutes in place regarding conflicts of interest. 

Disqualify the chamber's current bid until all questions over forensic auditing, current investigations, current contract performance and Strawberry Days contractual arrangements are publically answered.

3.  Ethical propriety.  Publically taped evasion by council to address ethical propriety and public unrest has now been ongoing for over two years.  With the ending now confirmed as legal liability for the city and others.

Request:  The city needs to publically address exactly why we have been put in this position. 

Then stay on top of every concern in a public, forthcoming manner until all matters are cleaned up. 

The city needs to issue city controlled, not local reporter controlled press releases that publically clear up the entire decades old problem that have created all ethical impropriety.

smalltown7 keeps talking.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Current Watch: City of Glenwood Springs oversight of tourism promotion within 81601"

This post is brought to you as a group compilation from 'smalltown7' and posted by 'gws44'.

As a group we make the public statement that we had hoped the passing of a little time would see the end of the few remaining issues surrounding current and past use of public funds by GSCRA.

Not only does that seem to not be happening, public awareness now holds serious concerns over conflicts of interest that effect fair process in the tourism RFP, still no control over the funds surrounding Strawberry Days and no answers to the citizens on the legal concerns surrounding public monies.

The highly effective medium of this blog seems to be the answer once again in getting voices heard.  Now that confirmation holds the innocent in this scandal are safely tucked aside, we can return to the cause we began in 2003.

Which is the full securing of past, present and future aaccommodations tax revenues within 81601.

This post is a summary of where we are in that battle:


"The standard response from elected officials and city administration anytime the subject of any question raised about the current and past handling of public funds or public events by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. is that they believe the chamber does an excellent job and has their full support.

To say that answer is an evasion of the question(s) is unnecessary.

Anyone can see that it is not only an evasion, it's a deliberate spread of disinformation by omission.

Anytime a question of concern by taxpaying citizens is not only avoided but deliberately steered in another direction, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that something is being kept hidden.

If the problems and concerns were fresh, new and few then maybe some understanding of officials possibly wanting to not tarnish their city could be found.

But in the case of 81601 the diversion and aversion has run rampant and unchecked for literally decades.

Where exactly do the citizens of Glenwood Springs stand now?

Let's take a look:

  • A quick review of this blog shows that not without a great deal of passive aggressive manipulation by the Chamber and its Board of Directors, 81601 now has a strong Tourism Board in place that is under the control of the city.  Also in place is a first ever competitive bid process for the tourism promotion contract, starting with the 2012 award.  What is very important to note are the subtle manipulations in the background and throughout 81601 to try to undermine this good work.  The people see it, they know it, but yet the behavior remains tolerated by our sitting officials.  There is some hope that our new council members will finally get their legs under them and begin to objectively look at what is ultimately best for 81601 when it comes to tourism, events and city functions that draw revenue into our community and meld all factions into a working unit rather than under the umbrella of a unilateral determination of direction.

Let's take a look at the loose ends surrounding those two big changes.  All of which are not minor, but rather are major thorns in progressive movement for 81601:

*  The allowing of a bidding vendor, in the Chamber Resort Assoc. to hold a monopoly of seats on the new Tourism Board.  The people still state that this is not a popularity contest nor is the rationale that just about everyone on the Tourism Board is a chamber member.  This conflict is directed at any sitting Tourism Board member that is also a sitting director on the chamber board.  There are at least three in Peter Tijm, Ken Murphy and Carl Moak.  The solution is simple.  All should have abstained from any input whatsoever on the RFP, any input whatsoever on selecting who can and cannot bid and certainly abstain from any voting.  We can see in our own city council that even the slightest hint of conflict of interest and councilmen abstain.  Actually leaving the chambers during discussion. 

While on the topic of conflicts and special privilege granted to certain members, the question of whether or not Ken Murphy's application to re-up his seat was done in a legitimate manner or should Jon Zalinski actually be sitting that seat needs to be answered by council.

The  tourism board, because it is a public funds accountable board, should have minutes and taped meetings available for public view instead of kept under lock and key with the city clerk.  

The point to these questions is that our board needs to be held to legitimate standards, not selective and preferred by some standards.

What is our call on these points? 

Publicly announce what has been done to date on the issue of conflicts and if the answer is nothing, then GSCRA should disqualify.  

If the answer is only abstain from voting, then the public should be informed of all the reasons why the Tourism Board is being granted any special privileges above any other city board and requirements of charter and law.

This board is the only board that handles public funds and they should be held to the highest of standards as they are in a position of trust.  Be accountable and transparent in public ways.

Moving forward with the remaining issues we see:
  • The current tourism marketing contract for 2011 was given blindly to the chamber in early 2010.  No one really has a problem with that, it's best we have someone familiar to keep things going while transitions are being made.  Where the problem lies is still in the stone wall to show transparency to the money. Since the time of giving them 2011, publicly recorded minutes and videos of meetings show the see-saw effect of the chamber's attempt to push council and the citizens back to 'the way things used to be'.  These public records then show a grudging acceptance. 
The three issues still unanswered, but still on public record as questions and concerns are: 

a)  Where is the accounting for at least the 2010 bailout of the grant fund? Why haven't the detailed records of exactly where the 2010 20% to the chamber went been seen by the public?

b) Why  hasn't the accounting for the tourism contract cushion, spoken of by Lindsay Lewis as being sat on by the chamber and the obvious accounting for the salary of Kate Collins that was not spent after she quit yet was funded by the contract; been accounted for publicly?  The chamber is boasting of sitting on a positive bottom line at the end of 2010 fiscal year.  How much of that is public money?

c)  Mayor Christensen showed a rare moment of both anger and disdain when confronting Virgili over the signing of the 2011 contract.  On public record, the city returned to the contract the more rigid requirements and accounting mandates for the 2011 contract that had previously been imposed, then removed to soothe ruffled feelings by the tourism board.  Those accounting mandates held to a placing of the bookkeeping into the hands of private and tourism board/city controlled hands as of April 1, 2011.  Where is that accounting?  Does it finally include forensic accounting of past year's records?

What is our call on these issues?

a and b) Forensic accounting of legal strength and standards needs to be done on all public funds passed through GSCRA to date.  If the dogma defense that it is more important to maintain the popularity contest stature of our council and chamber still prevails, then fall back on city charter and law that mandates good stewardship, not guessing games, of public funds.

If any type of forensic look of any type of legal strength and standard is being done already, then control the press release that divulges that information and let the people know.  The people of 81601 are struggling mightily and working hard to prosper, they need to know exactly where the money is, where it has been spent and how it has been accounted for.

c)  The public focus on Virgili has been proven, time after time, to have nothing to do with one individual.  Yet, our esteemed council, our city administration and our law enforcement have now put many levels of 81601 in legal jeopardy from failure of their duty.

The citizens who ultimately have to pay for that loss and not just in monetary ways, deserve to have their minds put at ease that the time of blindly stumbling about making governing judgments from the foundation of gossip are over.  To alter a legal contract, given by us as a people in good faith and then attempt to shove that contract into signature was an outrageous showing of contempt for our community.  As shown in our last municipal election, the people no longer tolerate the abuse of power from anyone, including our elected officials.

Our call?  Announce publicly that the city has proven smalltown7 wrong on every point.  If that cannot be done, then begin the painful process of telling the full truth publicly.

  • Strawberry Days.  81601 needs every dime of tourism related revenue we can get.  Before our esteemed council even tries to run a new attractions tax by us, they need to get control over all the loose ends in tourist related revenue we have.  Our biggest event of the year is Strawberry Days.  And it used to be a fund-raising civic event.  We just blew another $9,000 in bailout money for fireworks, on top of the tens of thousands we bailed out the grant fund in 2010 when the chamber ran that dry.  Strawberry Days should not be a Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. fund-raising event, it should be returned to the City of Glenwood Springs control.
Our call on this one?

The city either needs to show the public, through council, the contract for the turning over of Strawberry Days to private controls or take it to the people on whether or not the event should be returned to city controls.  Including the money generated, which would be a great source to fund our discretionary grant spending.  If it should turn out that the event and all monies it has generated over the years is just another one of those 'whoops' of being asleep at the wheel by our elected officials, then the chamber needs to provide an accounting.

  • Sunshine.  Since when does our community sit back and allow a few in positions of power make the kind of governing decision that the public should be kept in the dark?  Obviously, since our own council members have remained oblivious to what the common man on the street has known for months; we have a very real concern that our leaders are possibly deliberately keeping themselves blinded.
Our call?

Get it all out in the open and make certain there is no twist or spin on the content.  Otherwise, the citizens of 81601 are not going to trust where they are being led.

smalltown7 keeps talking.

Current Watch: Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. “City refuses transparency to taxpayers”

“smalltown7 keeps talking.”

‘gws44’ bringing you this post.

"Official confirmation has been obtained that state and federal investigations are open into suspected misuse of public funds at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc.  

Further confirmation verifies investigations are outside of the local prosecutorial investigation rumored to be ongoing for the past aprx. 10 months by the 9th Judicial District Office of the District Attorney Martin Beeson.

The entire region is already aware that to date, there has been no official confirmation from 9th Judicial or the City of Glenwood Springs that any investigation into allegations of misuse of public funds by any chamber employee is ongoing.  'smalltown7' has been very vocal in asking the question of "why" has this information been kept from the general public and GSCRA sheltered? 

The obvious covering of any public or media exposure has been seen by the people as no different than the many years of our officials condoning all of the issues surrounding the accommodations tax and its use here in 81601.  

Also confirmed by  an agent of 9th Judicial is acknowledgment of tort remedies existing for the private citizen whistleblower and her family.   

On confirming that wildfire rumor directly with the victims, ‘smalltown7’ has learned that the scope of that imminent  suit is contained in what is known as criminal liability. 

It is understood by ‘smalltown7’ that the actions potentially acted upon in criminal investigations would have separate liabilities from any actions taken by a victim through tort litigation. 

We also understand from our own internal members within the legal field that it makes no difference in any way, the outcome or subject matter of any other litigation present in the victim’s life. 
The evidence is so overpowering as to what was done to her and her family and the failure of duty on multiple levels  so documented; there is no protection anywhere for any entity or individual that sanctioned or failed to stop the acts committed. 

After a great deal of internal discussion within our group and a number of our followers; ‘smalltown7’ returns back to the one undeniable and original issue we have had all along.

Which is the complete and utter lack of  transparency within the City of Glenwood Springs over the decades of allegations against the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. 

Over the next few days, ‘smalltown7’ will attempt to narrow down any and all remaining issues we see.

And return to posting regularly here on safeplace so that you can speak up safely and freely."

‘smalltown7’ goes live.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Current Watch: "City of Glenwood Springs: Tourism Marketing Contract and the Public Accommodations Tax"

'gws44' bringing you this post.

It's official. 

The talk around town, that the new Tourism Promotion Board, with no dissent among them now believes an RFP for tourism marketing is in the best interests of 81601, has been substantiated by board vice chairman Don Gillespie.

By unanimous vote at the 02/03/2011 City Council meeting, and after council comments, unanimous support was given to the board's recommendation.

Enough said. 

The citizens of Glenwood Springs have now not only accomplished Ordinance #12, Series of 2010, they have made effective changes in oversight policy and placed the wishes of a community into putting the contract out for competitive bid and positive change.

Filling available seats on the board is Steve Beckley retaining. 

While disappointing only because of his conflict of interest serving as a Chamber Director while the chamber is the tourism vendor; Ken Murphy retains.  We assume that in any bid the Chamber may wish to put in for the future, all Tourism Board members who are also Chamber Board directors will abstain.
 
By unanimous vote, Scott Hemmen retaining his current seat.  A very special thank you goes out to Hemmen for his desire to retain.

This is a board that was given a very, very tough job that made the conscious choice to pull together as a team.

Enough said.

'smalltown7' feels this action on the part of the City of Glenwood Springs closes the Current Watch on the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. 

Public funds are secured into oversight's hands and the voices of a community have had the ability to raise in a safe place.

Allowing your public comments now, in our view, is neither necessary or appropriate.  smalltown can be reached by email at smalltown8@gmail.com and also by personal contact for those of you that have that information.

smalltown7 goes dark. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Current Watch: "City of Glenwood Springs City Council"

"'glenwoodsprings22' writes you this post.

'Ok, everyone.  I am going to put this comment into a post so that I can make sure it's seen.

Here are the answers we have:

No, there is no video of the 1/20 council meeting, where you can see for yourself the reactions of council and listen to their statements as they reviewed board meeting attendances.  No, that is not normal and yes, it is something that you should all be upset over.  Totally inappropriate given the current climate. 

Yes, your board applications are in.  They look great.  Murphy is not re-submitting, tomorrow night's meeting will show if that stands.  Beckley is.  Jon Zalinski and his latest venture 'Treadz' has stepped up for the tourism seat.  Great choice.  The next move we feel should happen is for Peter Tijm to resign from the Chamber Board if he wishes to sit the Tourism Board as long as the chamber is the marketing vendor.

Scott Hemmen has stayed the course for the resident seat.  Retain him, even though Judy O'Donnell is the best pick ever to be strong enough to also stay the course.  When the next resident seat is available, we hope Judy steps up.  Scott is settled in and should stay, in our view.

Yes, we see the staying away from the PI Hub that many are doing.  We feel that is the very best thing for you to do.  If you want to chat with us, we are over on Sandbox.  No, it is not safe on the PI Hub.  This morning, as I write this, one of the predator trolls that hub is infested with has showed up.  Probably because of today's news media reports, Russ Arensman and Dirk Myers putting up their websites and blogs.  Because it is standard news, SandBox has posted and we have commented.  'FCL' gave a great commentary for us on Russ's news that started it off.  Of course, predator trolling is going to start again on the PI Hub, there is no longer an opening to get close elsewhere.

You need to take your own stand.  The good news, is that Russ has comments open on his blog and we are sure he would welcome you.

Dirk Myers has a great website up and we notice he has extended himself to you on the PI Hub.  Take him up on that and communicate with these guys in a safe and controlled environment.

No, we will not be on either one, there is simply no safety.  You can find us on SandBox, along with the vast majority of previously censored by the PI avatars.  Just click on the title of this post and you will get there.

Here's Arensman's blog: http://arensman4gws.com/

Here's Dirk Myers site.  Looks like he is moving fast to get it up to speed, but it's there. Frankly, impressive.  http://www.dirkmyers.com/

'smalltown8' encourages every council candidate to set up a blog arena and chat ability for 81601.  It's not as easy as it sounds to guarantee anonymity.  Likely, you won't.  Come to think of it, every sitting seat on the big boards should also have a blog and chat ability that guarantees anonymity.

But sooner or later, the leaders in this town need to step up and openly acknowledge that they have a very real and very serious concern. 

Time for change. 

Time for the end of an era. 

Time to come out of the shadows and work for what a community wants and needs.  Not just a self-appointed elite circle of a few.

Watch your council meeting tomorrow night, folks.  If you need to, access through the link in the post below.'

'glenwoodsprings22'

Friday, January 28, 2011

Current Watch: "Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association Investigation"

Today's post is put up by 'GWS44'. 

Yesterday, a Garfield County citizen commented and put up his name.  This individual has been aware of the whole scope of problem from the beginning.  His comment was heated, direct and if there were no concerns for harm to others, we would let it stay.  In fact, we wanted to let it stay.  It was pulled by grace that runs far, far deeper than my own.

With everyone agreeing this morning we're putting up his revision at his request.

For anyone else wanting to speak while we have comments down again, write in by email in a letter form and we'll review it.

"smalltown:

I talked to her at length yesterday after she pulled my name and comment off this blog.

There’s 2 reasons I’ll go along with that.

The biggest one is after talking, I see your right.  There’s a list now of people hurt and after a lot of years, clear evidence that shows who did that. That woman is known now with hard evidence that eventually stops her.  If people don’t have a safe place from that, they not only won’t talk, she’s daily revealing she doesn’t think she has anyone stopping her and anyone getting in the way gets hurt.   

The second reason I’ll go along with being yanked is because the men involved in this group and the men who have fallen in alongside them since you started now have one who needs help staying standing. They now have vulnerable younger kids and their parents in the line of fire from that same woman running loose. The goal seems to be complete destruction of their lives. On the other hand it’s not an option to let lives be taken. Those men are right that the thing to do is stay standing in front until authority deals.  Those men are right that there isn’t anyone stopping her.  The vulnerable come first.

You put me up in an email post too.  For now, leave my name off and I won’t post it again until we agree on that.

Here’s my words:

“Interesting to see the delay in the video put up on the city site.  Save the smoke and whistles trying to slap an excuse on that. I don’t want to see minutes like I saw yesterday on the city site that are shaved down from what they were when they came in the council packet last Monday.  Shaved down in Kaup’s stmts of why she’s not running again.  I don’t appreciate the attempt to insult my intelligence.  Remember, your all on public record now in a lot of areas and your actions reveal. 

Chuck out to the garbage every single word out of council, city leaders, tourism and the chamber mouths that distracts from that fact and please do so from this point forward.  I don't want to hear it.

At this point, I want to know where in the hell my Garfield BOCC is. 

They oversee the county.  What we have here that a blind man can see now is verified proof that more than one of Garfield’s citizens has a complaint against the chamber of commerce.  And every one of those complaints says the same thing.  Get the problem of your public tax, your public contract and your whole relationship with the chamber away from the victims.  Deal with it, it’s your responsibility, they have nothing to do with it and never have wanted to.  What we have here now is a proven city council not doing anything about at least the current for over a year now until recently when it's so bad it gets filed in a court of law.  What we have here now is a legal process trying to back track and clean up but think it's Ok to still let more fall and all to go deeper into the shadows.   

The writer before me is dead on right.  Those things stand when all else falls away.

What really stands up that needs intervention from higher, is council and chamber board not just turning backs on those complaints, but encouraging the harm happening to people by encouraging a process that is now proven to allow anything to go on because they're being led around by the help that can't be fired.

To hear at Christmas another family has fallen prey. And to keep hearing no matter how bad or obvious it gets, there’s still a council sitting that has the audacity to act like they are now in public meetings plus still sit cowering in front of that one sick mind in the help that can’t be fired,  sends nothing but a cold chill up my spine. 

To watch with my own eyes that council has the power to run human lives, businesses and physical bodies into harms way is a feeling of fear looking at the depth.

Since when is any part of this allowed?”
MR 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Current Watch: "City of Glenwood Springs City Council, Tourism Marketing Contract 2012, Tourism Oversight and Promotion Board

This morning's post is done by 'GWS44'.

Today's Glenwood Springs Post Independent announces a deadline of this coming Friday (2 days from now), for 'vacancy' seats on the new Tourism Promotion Board that was just sat last fall.

These three seats have always had a short term in order to work the new board into the designated seating cycles. 'smalltown7' is just not buying the obvious today in the fact that the PI has not announced this publically so the folks could truly be informed.

When City Council chose to heavily seed the new board with the current marketing vendor's Board of Directors last Fall, the public noticed.  One of those seeds is Ken Murphy.  He sits both Chamber Board of Directors and the new Tourism Board.  Ken also was sitting the Financial Advisory Board that has a direct tie to the tourism grant fund requests.  Ken is a highly qualified person and well liked in the community.

smalltown7 points out again that this is not a popularity contest and we do not care for the performance of our City Council's oversight.

It is a true conflict of interest for the marketing vendor board of directors to be seating the Tourism Board.

The people's request for a city handled tourism board has seen nothing but purposefully driven friction from the tourism sector that is now having to fund their private businesses themselves and who support giving no public transparency.

Nobody will blink today seeing this from the PI. It's also possible they still just remain asleep at the wheel and missed the signficance of these seats upcoming.

We hope our resident seat in Scott has not already reached a point of being so fed-up with little to no true support (or) is watching the current harm being done to still yet another local family, that he decides this is not worth it and bails.  If he does, we hope John Duven steps up now that he has not turned in a petition to take the council seat held by Dave Sturges.

We call out today to 81601 avatars in commentary and ask you to pull in any tourism sector replacement that meets the requirements and at the very least replace Ken Murphy.  Steve Beckley needs to move on as well.  From the sound of the tourism feedback, his position of trying to force the old status quo that has kept both the rift in the community and our lodging revenues in the tank is just not right for 81601. 'necky', 'remedy'--you both could make this change happen because of how you are placed in the community.

There are terrific replacements on council in Leahy and Gamba.  They'll do a great job.

Support Edmonds for Arensman's seat and urge him into the position of Mayor.  smalltown could support Arensman if he retains his seat but feels it's time for a clean sweep.

Very disappointing that Dave Sturges has no competition unless what could be a well-supported write-in steps up. The one thing we know historically with Dave is that once he can finally be made to move, he usually follows through.  His handling of the chamber situation and his allowing the lack of support to hold the tourism board's positions is deeply concerning.

Applications for the Tourism Board seats are due by this Friday.

Good luck and our thanks,  to any qualified  individual stepping up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Current Watch: "Tourism Marketing Contract 2012 and City of Glenwood Springs City Council Oversight"

Instead of continuing to answer individual emails with the right links, here again are the links to access the minutes archives, the new video library, the board meeting dates and the email address to set yourselves up to go in and view the tourism board minutes.

We are not certain, but do believe if you will just click on the links from this post, they will show as safeplace under #8 IP address. 



http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/   takes you to the city's site.
http://centralvideolibrary.info/   takes you to the video feed.
http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/council/agenda.htm  takes you to the minutes and agenda archives for a number of years.
http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/boards/2010_MeetingDates.pdf  takes you to the meeting dates of all boards within city control and some county.


GWS44 here, posting these links to you.  And also bringing an interesting detail that should be watched on the upcoming 2/3/11 council meeting.

Today's PI, plus from the looks of things at least 2+ dozen search optimized newspapers and viral sites all over the country, has the article  on Randi Lowenthal's new idea. 

Avatars in comments on safe sites are commenting that they feel council should fund Randi and the Roaring Fork Resource Center's new project, with the 'cushion' Lindsay spoke of along about this time last year when the chamber was promoting themselves for the upcoming 2011 contract award.

This is a cushion that 81601 has heard about for a lot of years.  Usually during the friction moments each year when the chamber is on the hot seat.  Yet, it never shows up.  Not even when grant funds are hit because there is no money for events they say are related to tourism.   Like last year.

This year, smalltown7 calls out, here on SafePlace to our current  Glenwood Springs City Council, for a reveal of that cushion.  And then, a request for the decision on pulling that cushion over into promotion of small businesses in 81601 that are definitely going to be pulling in visitors and revenues into town under Randi Lowenthal's 'Economic Gardening' project.

The email address below is to the head city clerk who handles putting people on emailing lists for current council packets.  This is also where you set up to come in during City Hall hours to view the Tourism Board minutes. The answer to the question of why Lindsay is still doing the minutes of the Tourism Board, we cannot answer.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Current Watch: Tourism Contract 2012, The City of Glenwood Springs City Council oversight and a sharing of email from a follower"

The following is an email from a follower that we are asked to not cut down to a capacity that fits comment character allowance.

Sure.  We are happy to do that for you. Verbatim as received:

“The key to this stranglehold on the AC tax and our revenue generating tourism promotion could be said to be in the details that stand when all else falls away.

In the over 20 years the chamber has been the sole source vendor for promotion, there has never once been anyone in true control of the promotion contract funded by public tax except the unprecedented allowing of the vendor.

Nobody cares if the vendor is the chamber or the guy down the street.  They care where officials put the marketing contract that gives peak performance and public accountability for that performance.  The only ones who seem to care about the chamber being the hired help are the ones who have made this about personally supporting one individual within the chamber and a political popularity contest for the powerful who are run by that individual.  The citizenry has never bought into it and we have been listening to it for years. 

During that 20+ years, somehow the hired help vendor has developed into controlling all  information,  handed a contract and a check for the entire amount of the contract and  spend that without anything except weak control  from their own board.

It’s only been because of friction from citizenry for more than 18 years, that the chamber board handling this contract has moved in the last three out of 20+ years to being even partially not hand-picked by its own employee. An employee that no one can possibly argue with as being the most magnetic polarizing force the community has ever encountered. It’s only because of the yearly repeat of that friction that awareness of a problem continues to grow hits the public eye. 

During the past five to six years, the detail that refuses to be lost in the mist is the truth. 

There is no employee plot.  There is no lack of money. There is no economic factor that put the community here.  There is no lack of cooperation or lack of enthusiasm to make big ticket things happen in our town. There is no incompetency in who gets hired within the subs or employees of the hired help.  There is no elected official not friendly to the hired help.  There are no persons unknown not touched by the hired help, there is only an entire community helplessly in tow of the hired help’s agenda to not part the mists.  There are no consequences for the mists of the chamber board, there is now only one apparently very private citizen that apparently did nothing more to get caught up in this than to tell the powerful to take hold of their problem and leave her out of it.  Two years or more ago according to public record, yet the mists have not parted, they instead have been turned into a concrete wall using the mother of all excuses that it is OK because they are, the hired help that cannot be fired.

There only remain the two components of the truth that never die. 

1.  There is a complete shirking of duty on the part of the chamber board in not governing the accountability and transparency of their entity, because they refuse to lay down the public fear fueled by not showing the hired help’s intent.

2.  The hired help has convinced elected officials that no matter what the hired help does, the hired help is apparently above ethics, law and is infallible. So much so, elected officials and powerful business now have moved the citizenry from the possibility of belief that even our prosecutor and law enforcement might be approving on behalf of the hired help that anything goes, the public only has to look at the public record and the obvious to know for certain that the hired help has put our prosecutor and his investigation methods into public concern. I resent deeply our prosecutor and our law enforcement being placed in this position but also clearly see the verifiable of public record that duty followed would not have them there.  Knowing the hired help  as well as they do, the citizenry may have some hope of their concerns over our prosecutor and our law enforcement being alleviated from taint as the mists continue to part.  But the verifiable that we  have any citizenry, including the private one and all associated with her left hurt and unprotected is as zgnative says, horrifying.

The smaller details remain kicked under the rug even though when combined they are the bulldozer that knocks down the wall are easy to spot.  Just pick up the rug and let the bugs scurry.

  • A good deal of talk of big things and big change from the chamber with no performance showing the turn-around of this supposedly different chamber board in charge.  
  • After 3+ years of that big talk, there is still nothing but double speak on what the real numbers are. Leading up to this time the community, despite incredible assets, remains one of the poorest displays of performance in the state. When the citizenry objects, we can believe our eyes and ears and watch where that is brushed over by our own council still letting the hired help run the show.
  • There is no itemized break-down of the tourism contract spending because when it suits them, the board still says they are a private entity that now, apparently claims full ownership and control over what our public funds bought and if fired, we can't have our own assets.
  • During the past 20+ years, there has never once been any report that tied the lodging sales to the sales tax sales. The city does the sales tax sales, the chamber does the lodging sales. There is no municipality in the state (maybe even the nation) that allows the hired help control over the books when public funds are involved.
  • To make this even more alarming, this same vendor has been allowed to co-mingle what they do with a clear and direct tie to being the head of all of our small business in the area.  If we were to place a vote of confidence before voters in the way that Aspen just did that earned a voters confidence approval to actually raise the lodging tax in Aspen, it would landslide fail.
  • During the course of this massive failure within the AC tax, the downtown has polarized away from everyone and we spend more money to help it.  The elite few (not unlike what happens right now with skico) have prospered so much that no one has even blinked an eye yet at the outrageous admission from the chamber retreat that they want an attractions tax added on to the burden of the people so there can be more uncontrolled money to spend.  Those elite few are the attractions that have had their advertising budgets paid for by the promotion of what is supposed to be global 81601 tourism.  While the small businesses within 81601 have suffered for almost three years from all eggs being in one basket.
  • Even knowing they have no confidence from the population, when it suits hired managers, elected council and stroked tourism board members to not tangle with the chamber because it’s too much or fear of ending up like we are right now verifiably in personal harms way; the chamber/hired help hides behind some cock and bull concept that they are a private entity, owner of the brand and all with it that public funds hired and paid for. 
  • To further that embarrassment of insult to the citizenry’s intelligence, this dancing by the hired help is not being done by a private business, it is being done by a held at high standard non-profit in position of trust.  Who highly likely should never have been put in this position in the first place if we are to look around the country at the state of failure our chambers of commerce are in.

On a logistics level, it does not matter if all the above is wrong.  The citizenry is neither blind nor dumb.  We are not stupid.  We will vote out the weak, keep on carrying the load and believe in a democracy that eventually will change all of this.

On a moral level, any individual in the community of 81601 who does not see the magnitude of this entire situation, that feels no concern  that our foundation is cracked and marred forever now by the hired help, will remain my community but is no longer  a neighbor of my household, my professional services and my firm. You ask too much of me and my own to participate in this.

As for all of us  raising our public voices, under the circumstances of the obvious, be wise enough to remain closet expressions and err on the side of prudence.  I know I am.

As for the private citizen who still has not spoken a word according to public record, but whom I hear from sources I trust deeply really is a very good person who no one could ever say is not vocally forthcoming if asked and whose intent shows on every aspect of her being; you have my deepest prayers and most heartfelt wishes that your life is not ruined beyond hope of any repair.  

As for the verifiable others falling daily in harm to the obvious and verifiably no prosecutor or law enforcement in front of them, I honestly do not know what to say.

As for what sits on that dais calling itself my friends and my leaders, think again."