Kim Johnson: The Worst Kind of Lies and Why You Really, Really Shouldn’t Vote for Her

distraction“Independent?” Really?! Says who?

There are lies that don’t matter much, but then there are lies that matter a whole lot. This lie matters a whole lot: Kim Johnson has been spinning a web of lies about her “independent” campaign.

Why? She doesn’t want to be associated with WNW — but she’s been working with them for months.

You see, Johnson was mentioned as a potential candidate in a Nov. 4, 2014 meeting of Jeffco Republicans.  On Dec. 13, Johnson met with the Jeffco Republican group and introduced herself “to the team.” The minutes also noted:

Kim expressed her strong desire to be part of this process regardless if she is the candidate or not

You can read the emails containing the two sets of meeting minutes at this link, thanks to our friends at Support Jeffco Kidshttp://www.supportjeffcokids.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Opposition-meeting-minutes-1.pdf

Months later, Denise Mund — who previously co-owned Charter School Solutions with Jeffco board attorney Brad Miller, sent this June 29 email stating that Johnson was selected by the same “team” after an extensive, months-long vetting process:

After months of meetings, about 12 Jeffco conservative education leaders have selected a candidate for the Jeffco school board, to represent District 3 (Arvada).

Five prospective candidates participated in an extensive vetting process that included weekly meetings for five months and mock interviews, speeches, and responses. These people were grilled!

Following this extensive vetting process, the team selected Kim Johnson.

In a recent blog post on her campaign website, Johnson readily admits that she was asked “early on” to be part of a team. She says she “chose not to, because it would undercut my goals in running.” Then she goes on to say that “members of that group decided to support me, but saying anyone selected me is not accurate.”

We don’t buy it. And we especially don’t buy it because Johnson filed her campaign with the Colorado Secretary of State on June 19 — a mere 10 days before Mund sent her email stating that Johnson had been selected after a five-month vetting process. If Johnson knew she wanted to run as an “independent candidate,” why did she wait until she had the approval of the GOP selection committee? She could have announced her candidacy months earlier — but she didn’t.

And Johnson wasn’t picked by just ANY group. According to emails from Jonah Hearne, an officer with the Jeffco Republican Party, a group of “about 12 Jeffco conservative education leaders” convened to “contact the potential candidates for District 3 and 4 to invite them to a potential candidate meeting to discuss ideas and reach a consensus on who will be in it to win it with our support.” Other emails confirm this information. They included:

  • Sheila Atwell – executive director of Jeffco Students First, who publishes the Jeffco Observer, defends WNW at every turn, and who was often seen as the only face opposing the recall on the news over the summer (also the group to which the .com version of our domain name and the Support Jeffco Kids domain name redirects to trick recall supporters)
  • Ben DeGrow – the Independence Institute’s Education chief, who is also a graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies
  • Laura Boggs – former Jeffco School Board member censured twice for her reprehensible behavior
  • Denise Mund – former co-owner of Charter School Solutions with partner Brad Miller, (see above)
  • Preston Branaugh, Brett A. Moore, Rachel Swalley, Dan Green, David Brazzell, Jim Powers and Mary Everson.

The connections among the group involved in selecting Johnson run deep. Several of them ran for open seats on the Board of Education in 2011 or have been appointed to serve on district committees by WNW.

But now, because she says so on her website, we are to believe that Ms. Johnson is running an “independent campaign?”

No, ma’m. At this point, probably the worst lie you could tell when running for school board in Jeffco is to say that you’re independent when in fact you’re collaborating with WNW’s team. Hiding your intentions, again. We fell for it in 2013, but we won’t fall for it this time, Kim Johnson!

This is why JCSBW has been starting to use the term WNW + Johnson + Merritts.

If leaked memos aren’t convincing enough, consider that Johnson and Merritts both recently had ads in Atwell’s WNW/Koch mouthpiece (and newspaper wannabe) The Observer, and both candidates’ yard signs are appearing together. Jeffco Students First is also endorsing both of them.

The email string about Tori Merritts’ selection process just hasn’t been leaked yet.

It’s time for a clean slate — and we have just the ticket. So when you receive your ballot:

  1. Vote for Ali Lasell in District 3
  2. Vote for Amanda Stevens in District 4
  3. Vote YES to recall Julie Williams
  4. Vote for Brad Rupert as District 1 successor candidate
  5. Vote YES to recall John Newkirk
  6. Vote for Susan Harmon as District 2 successor candidate
  7. Vote YES to recall Ken Witt
  8. Vote for Ron Mitchell as District 5 successor candidate

Jeffco voters will start receiving their ballots this week. When you receive yours, please vote! Every vote counts, and we need yours.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

8.20.15 Recall signatures validated!

J1picCelebrate with us: on Tuesday, the Jeffco County Clerk announced that the recall petitions have more than twice the number of necessary signatures for the ballot! Here are the numbers of validated signatures on each petition:

Ken Witt – 33,942
John Newkirk – 34,188
Julie Williams – 33,900

That’s all thanks to YOU, our dedicated Jeffco Schools supporters who value public education. More than 1200 of you volunteered and collected signatures — and what an amazing job you did!

Now we’re in the 15-day period in which any Jeffco resident can file a legal challenge to the petition. We hope they won’t so the item can be included on the November ballot and save the school district a considerable amount of money. (For details about the three-day window to submit the petitions to try to get the issue on the November general election ballot, read this post by Jeffco United for Action.)

At the moment, both Ken Witt and John Newkirk have indicated that they will not challenge the petitions, and Witt asked no one else to challenge them either. Julie Williams, meanwhile, appeared in a commercial produced by the Independence Institute’s newest creation, Kids Are First. Reports are that it’s showing both on network and cable television. They have BIG money behind them to be producing and running a commercial like that.

You might have heard the opposition shouting that thousands and thousands of these signatures were collected by paid petition carriers. Not true! More than 1200 volunteers carried petitions, volunteered at sign and drive locations, and we collected the thousands upon thousands of signatures that were turned into the County Clerk. We’ll let Jeffco United for Action explain:

Now, speaking about the truth – there have been some questions about the money raised and spent by Jeffco United for Action. JUFA has never hidden that paid organizers were hired to help us with the campaign – we can’t hide it – it’s right there in our report and we’ve talked opening about it.

We can’t do this on our own – we are doing everything we can to ensure this recall gets on the November ballot. While we knew we had support, we had no way of knowing whether on our own we could get the signatures we needed in just two weeks. So we hired Black Diamond and Strategies 360 to organize and help our over 1,200 volunteers – and it was wildly successful, bringing in more than 100,000 signatures in just over two weeks!

These expenses are not unusual for a campaign like this. What was unusual was the amazing outpouring of support we saw and the roughly 90% validity rate of the signatures we collected! Our volunteers are our life blood, but we also need professional help to navigate this very tricky process.

We still need your help. How? You can:

  • Walk door-to-door to let Jeffco voters know the facts. Remember, more than 70 percent of Jeffco voters don’t have kids in school, so they aren’t seeing the day-to-day impact this has on our kids. Go to Jeffco United for Action to sign up to walk by date and time, by articulation area, or by school area. They will train you and partner you with someone for the walks. Big walks are also planned for Oct. 3 and 10th, so keep those dates open to join us.
  • Donate! The Julie Williams commercial isn’t cheap and we need to get the word out. Anything helps!
  • Pick up a yard sign and display it somewhere prominent — in your front yard or perhaps on your back fence along one of Jeffco’s many trails. Jeffco United’s Facebook page has the latest details on where to pick up signs. They’re asking a $10 donation for signs, and quantities are limited, but that money will be used to print more signs.
  • Volunteer! We need volunteers to help staff tables at back-to-school and curriculum nights, to march in upcoming parades and more. Email Support Jeffco Kids if you can help with those efforts.
  • Show your support for the recall by purchasing a shirt, tote bag, water bottle, hat or more at the Jeffco United for Action CafePress store. There are also buttons, stickers, and even a flask (a default CafePress item, perhaps one that might be useful if you’re watching a board meeting from home, are over 21 and are not operating heavy machinery).

 

Last but not least, read this post at Support Jeffco Kids about the ongoing waste of taxpayer dollars that’s resulted since the board majority’s actions gutted the Jeffco Schools communications department. Answering board correspondence at $60 per hour? Are you kidding?

That’s right — when you, as a taxpayer write the board to make your voice heard, your tax dollars go to compose the generic form letters — at $60 an hour! — to respond to you. That’s completely unacceptable!

The Jeffco Schools contract with Novitas Communications has cost the district $84,062 already and nevertheless, the district renewed the contract for another two months.

Jeffco Schools is not currently advertising for any communications positions. Perhaps they have already chosen an individual to hire and are simply waiting for the upcoming Aug. 27 board meeting, but that agenda hasn’t been posted yet.

Remind them we are listening and watching, because we are.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!

8.14.15 Education, Inc. showing tonight & other updates

Education-Inc-691x1024

If you have some free time tonight, please consider watching the debut of Education, Inc. at one of four Jeffco locations. The documentary talks about what is really happening in Jeffco, Dougco, and around the country and how it is affecting our schools.

You can watch the trailer here:

Tonight, you can see the documentary at the following Jeffco locations:

Mountair Christian Church, 1390 Benton St., Lakewood
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Arvada West High School, 11595 Allendale Dr., Arvada
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Chatfield High School, 7227 S Simms St., Littleton
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Evergreen Fire Rescue Admin Building (aka Bergen Fire House), 1802 Bergen Pkwy, Evergreen
6 – 8 pm

If you can’t make one of those sessions, there will be one in on August 27 from 4 – 7 pm at the Mayan Theater in Denver, or one on Sept 1 in the Louisville Elementary Library (in Louisville, CO) from 3 – 4 pm. You can also find other upcoming screenings here.

In other Jeffco news, our friends at Support Jeffco Kids have filed a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State, District Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Attorney General after learning about some shady practices by a supposedly charitable organization that backs Witt, Newkirk and Williams. Here’s the story:

Support Jeffco Kids uses the domain name http://www.supportjeffcokids.org. The other organization purchased the .com version of the identical domain and redirected it to their site, in yet another attempt to silence the voices of the Jeffco community. Longtime readers won’t be surprised to learn that the “charitable” organization is the reform-minded Jeffco Students First, who backed WNW during their campaign. JSF has also tried to donations for their own site through dubious Twitter posts about the recall that don’t happen to mention their opposition to said recall.

While they were at it, JSF and even John Newkirk decided to purchase a few more domain names, though notably, domains like recallwitt.com were purchased more than a year ago. Perhaps even JSF doesn’t have faith in WNW?

Regrettably, the .com version of jeffcoschoolboardwatch.org has also been purchased by JSF and will redirect you to their site. While we’re pretty sure our readers can easily tell the difference between JCSBW and JSF, we’re hoping you’ll bookmark JCSBW in your browser so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when you’re looking for us.

Support Jeffco Kids is also asking the Jeffco community to march with them at upcoming community events. If you’re free this Saturday, please join them at the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival Parade. We also encourage you to join SJK on Sept. 12 at the Arvada Harvest Festival Parade, and again during the weekend of Sept. 18-20 at the Somerset Festival in Clement Park. For more details, please email them at volunteers@supportjeffcokids.org.

And last but hardly least: there’s a non-partisan highly-partisan Jeffco School Board candidate forum scheduled for Monday, Aug. 31 at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. It’s sponsored by the Centennial Institute, which is directed by Republican John Andrews, founder and former president of the Independence Institute and former Colorado Senate President. Although they claim the debate is “impartial,” we’re not convinced they know what that term really means. Note their copious use of charged language, which we’ve highlighted in red to make it easy:

The reform-minded board majority, Republicans Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams, face a union-backed recall petition. Seats of the two Democratic incumbents and union allies, Leslie Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman, are open as neither is seeking reelection.

As we’ve done in the past, Centennial Institute will host a nonpartisan forum for all contenders, impartially moderated by former Senate President John Andrews. You’re invited to come meet the candidates and learn about the issues.

Of interest: the announcement says all five board seats will face voters this fall. Perhaps that means that WNW and their various backers won’t challenge the petition?

We’d love to see Jeffco recall supporters there. The event requires attendees to RSVP, so please do so using their form or by calling 303-963-3424. The forum is Monday, Aug. 31, from 7 to 8:30 pm on the CCU Lakewood campus, Leprino Hall, 180 S. Garrison, Lakewood, CO 80226.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!