Establishment Gunning For Ramey Johnson

One of the important lessons Mayor Adam Paul learned from his mentor, Bob Murphy, is the need to eliminate critics.  When Ward 1 Council Member Ramey Johnson ran against Paul for mayor in 2015, she automatically went to the head of the mayor’s hit list.  Since Ramey received over 49% of the city wide vote during an election that was ultimately driven by fallout from the school board recall, she remains a threat to Paul’s control.

 

Observers may recall several months ago Paul and his Council allies tried to get Ramey banned from this year’s ballot by claiming her partial two-year term should be counted as a full four-year term.  For months Council debated the issue with the mayor and his allies seeking to impose term limits against Ramey.  The establishment finally abandoned this scheme only when it became clear the courts would rule in favor of Ramey if the Council tried to misinterpret the City Charter.

 

During the “term-limits” debacle the six establishment councilors kept claiming in public that their opposition to Ramey was “not political”.  Although no-one actually bought that story at the time, the latest campaign finance disclosure reports finally cleared up any doubts.  The cliche “money talks, bull@#* walks” speaks volumes.  The second campaign finance disclosure reports filed October 16 revealed four of the six establishment councilors who were claiming “it’s not political” made personal financial donations to Ramey’s campaign opponent.  Adam Paul donated $100, Shakti donated $100, Scott Koop donated $200 and Dana Gutwein made an in-kind donation she valued at $500.   You may have seen some of Gutwein’s work on her facebook page “NotGoodEnoughForLakewood” where she did a couple of attack pieces on Ramey.

 

To give the 26-year-old yoga instructor, who moved into the City less than two years ago, a chance against the popular incumbent, the establishment has tapped into the usual flow of special interest money (including $2,500 from the Home Builders Association, $2,500 from the Realtors PAC, $600 from the Apartment Association, $500 from CRL Associates, the developers’ lobbyists, etc.)   In the recent filing, Kyra DeGruy listed over $22,000 in donations.  This is more than double the amount raised by Ramey Johnson who continues to rely entirely upon individual citizen donations.

 

There is a new twist  in the establishment’s fundraising strategy this year.  To avoid reports of the lopsided campaign donation race, Mayor Paul has formed some “independent” committees to raise money that can’t be attributed to his candidates.  For the city council races, he had his former room-mate Kaleb Young form a committee called “Lakewood Voter Information Project“.  He used this committee to fund mailings supporting Kyra DeGruy.  It has been reported that his former room-mate left town nearly ten years ago and now lives in northern Colorado.  A google search of Kaleb Young found a funny story of how the young marijuana care giver was arrested and during his confinement his “crop” failed.  An imaginative young man, Kaleb sued the local municipality for damages resulting from the police’s failure to water his crops.  For more on the attack committees check out our October 11 post.

35 comments

  1. I found this story on the internet. You can find it at http://www.lakewoodwatchdog.net

    Newcomer Gets Special Interest Donations

    How does a 26-year-old yoga instructor, who has lived in Lakewood for less than two years, suddenly raise over $22,000 in the race for the Ward 1 City Council seat held by Ramey Johnson?
    Here is a partial listing of Kyra Degruy’s donors:

    Home Builders Assoc. (dba MHC) Developers’ lobbyist Centennial $2,500
    Realtor PAC Realtor lobbyist Englewood $2,500
    Metro Denver Apartment Assoc. Apartments lobbyist Denver $600
    Dana Gutwein City Council Lakewood $500
    United Food & Commercial Workers Union Denver $500
    CRL Associates Lobby/PR firm Denver $500
    Ian Silverii ProgressNow Colorado Lakewood $300
    Dave Ruchman Retired RTD Lakewood $250

    1. To begin, the source of Mr. Wiechman’s story is lakewoodwatchdog.net. Those who publish the site are entitled to their opinions and they are not surprisingly in every way consistent with lakewoodpols.com. I respect this but no one reading my comment should believe lakewoodwatchdog/pols are not advocating a point of view, which is supportive of Councilwoman Johnson and working hard to defeat her opponent, Kyra deGruy. This is 1000% ok as far as I am concerned, but just understand the source of what is being said in Mr. Wiechman’s comment.

      Now to Mr. Wiechman’s comment itself. Frankly, I don’t get the importance of the candidates age, as long as they are legally old enough to run. Ms. deGruy is 27 (not 26) and Councilwoman Johnson just turned 71 this month (Happy Birthday!). For the record, I am 64. I am not basing my voting decisions on the age of candidates and I hope others won’t do so either. Then there’s the “yoga instructor” reference. I find the incumbent being a nurse (Councilwoman Johnson) and challenger (Ms. deGruy) a yoga instructor to both be completely respectable jobs where the health and fitness of the person they are serving is paramount. Both these professions deserve, in my view, our respect and admiration. That said, Kyra teaches yoga as a hobby. She is also a grant writer for a health non-profit that is seeking to protect good health for all. And she’s also doing work for Metro State in their health professions department. Let’s paint a complete picture, just as Councilwoman Johnson has transitioned from a nurse to a 15-plus year career politician.

      As for contributions, it is common in a political campaign to list them as the author’s source has done and use innuendo to draw conclusions. So rather than do the same and directly out one of Councilwoman Johnson’s major contributors ($1000) by name, I would simply suggest you go to the City’s list of all persons donating to the Councilwoman’s campaign and scroll to Line 31. Then google the name and look up the reviews of the businessperson who believes so strongly in the Councilwoman. There are two reviews of their business (one from 2013 and the other 2016, so neither motivated politically). Both reviews give the Councilwoman’s big supporter one out of five stars. The first leads with the word “Caution” and the second with the words “Buyer Beware.” Maybe these reviews were unfair, but we do know they were consistent. Is this the kind of business community that the Councilwoman thinks best represents Lakewood?

      Finally, I’d like to offer an alternative to the post offered by Mr. Wiechman intended to demean Ms. deGruy. I’ve spent time with Kyra and she is not in anyone’s pocket. Rather, she’s an energetic young person who represents the best of what Lakewood has to offer especially as we face the issues of a growing and vibrant community in 2017. Councilwoman Johnson has run for multiple offices over 15 years, both winning and losing. I am sincere when I say I really respect that. But don’t forget that Councilwoman Johnson once ran for office for the first time, and I’m sure she heard the same kind of nasty comments directed at her that her supporters are now directing at Ms. deGruy today. Ok, maybe I am being idealistic, but how about the same respect now for Kyra deGruy, a candidate who wants to serve the people of Lakewood for reasons every bit as admirable as Councilwoman Johnson had when she first ran for office? For me, the question is who best represents the future of our amazing city, not whether the person is 27 or 71, a nurse or a yoga instructor.

      Full disclosure, this is only my fourth year in Lakewood (we love it!) but I moved to Denver in 1971 and aside from several years away for school, Denver or Lakewood has been my home. I did give Kyra $100 because I was so impressed with her desire to serve our community, even though I live in Ward Two. I work for a general contractor but we don’t build apartments in Lakewood. So, I am not writing this as anything but a person who lives in Lakewood that really wants the same thing as all of us… a great and inclusive “All American City.”

      My best to all! Steve

    2. Update. In your original story, you mentioned four of the six Councilors who tried to impose term limits on Ramey are now making personal donations to Ramey’s opponent thus demonstrating their opposition was personal and political. You didn’t mention two of the six – Karen Harrison and Sharon Vincent. On the campaign facebook page of Ramey’s opponent, Kyra deGruy, the first person to “like” it was none other than Karen Harrison. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

      1. This is coming from the guy who gave his political ally, Pete Roybal, $20,000 for his City Council campaign (while he himself was on the same council), as well as offered to fund others campaigns. Talk about hypocrisy.

        This guy too funds and hides behind a publication exactly the same as this one, full of lies, biast crap, meant to divide and scare constituents. He’s been whining about PACs over the last months, I’d challenge him to reveal how much $$ has been spent by the Lakewood watchdog group who has printed and sent numerous campaign material supporting his fellow candidates. Last I checked, the PACs aren’t illegal, and the miney raised and spent is transparent. What about you Dave, can you say the same about the Watchdog? How much have you spent on others campaign? We all know that you spent $20,000 buying Pete’s election, so I’d venture to guess that wasn’t the last time you’ve done that.

        1. I’d also like to point readers to the personal posts of the president of lakewoodwatchdog to fully understand the point of view and background of the author of these posts. Take a look here: dansmithforlakewood.com

          1. We checked on the website Tricky references and it turns out not to be Dan Smith’s website. It was set up by a dirty trickster pretending to be Dan Smith.

          2. So, are you saying the disgusting, racist, and hateful public-facing Facebook posts featured on that site not from the same Dan Smith who is listed as president and author of the lakewoodwatchdog.net site? Because it 100% is the same person.

  2. Curious to see if you have any proof of the statement in your article — “You may have seen some of Gutwein’s work on her facebook page “NotGoodEnoughForLakewood” where she did a couple of attack pieces on Ramey.”

  3. Michael Bieda — Finally a grown-up, really?? Not according to the Colorado Judicial Review Committee, which stated as part of its review:

    – – – – – – –
    Honorable Michael L. Bieda

    Retention year: 1994
    Recommendation: Do Not Retain

    The Commission reviewed surveys and personally interviewed representatives from the criminal justice system. Most responses indicated that Judge Bieda has a poor courtroom demeanor, is arrogant, and has angry outbursts toward lawyers and parties. Judge Bieda received low ratings in his sensitivity toward witnesses and jurors. There are also responses that indicate that Judge Bieda is “unfair” in his treatment of women in his courtroom. The Commission is concerned that Judge Bieda’s hostile courtroom behavior has not improved over time nor has it changed with his transfer from the Domestic Division to the Criminal Division. Responses indicate that Judge Bieda has demonstrated an unwillingness to become proficient in his management of his criminal docket, and the handling of criminal cases. An additional concern to the Commission is the number of complaints alleging that Judge Bieda appears unprepared in his handling of criminal matters.

    The Eighteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance recommends that Judge Michael L. Bieda SHOULD NOT BE RETAINED.
    – – – – – – –

  4. Speaking of other candidates donating, it appears Ramey Johnson has also received campaign contributions from others of her party:

    $100 ROYBAL, PEDRO
    $25 BIEDA, MIKE
    $100 FRANKS, BARBARA

      1. Technically, so is Shakti and Scott Koop which are mentioned in the article above. Can’t have it both ways there lakewoodrebel.

        1. Not sure what you are trying to get to but for what it is worth the Republicans on Council are Harrison, Koop, Johnson, Roybal and Wiechman. The Democrats are Gutwein, Vincent and Shakti. The Unaffiliated are Franks, Paul and Able. Hope that helps.

          1. Not sure what your point is but Skilling is unaffiliated just as is Franks. Again, although the Dems are trying to make it a partisan (in the sense of Democrat vs. Republican) race in Ward 1, in the rest of the city the election remains relatively nonpartisan.

  5. And take a look at the contributions to the Michael Bieda campaign — also features multiple Council member contributions:

    Michael Bieda – Campaign Contributions

    $ 200.00 — David Wiechman
    $ 50.00 — Pete Roybal
    $ 100.00 — Charles & Tamara Able

  6. October 26, 2017 at 5:47 pm Edit
    Oh, I think I see where the confusion is. The story above was NOT about Councilors contributing to each other’s campaigns. That happens all the time with all the campaigns. No, the point of the story was that six Councilors tried to prevent Johnson from running earlier in the year. It was a political ploy to get her off Council. However, tthese Councilors were claiming their efforts to bar Johnson were “not political”. The fact that four of those six have now donated their personal funds to defeat Johnson is a clear demonstration the effort to bar her was indeed “political”. Now, whether one thinks that being political is a good or a bad thing is a matter of personal judgement. We’re not making a judgement just pointing out what it is.

    1. So, are they not allowed to donate to members of their own party running in the race? Not sure how you connect the dots there if members of the Republican Party are doing the same. I believe each side has a vested interest in seeing a candidate with similar morals and ethics win. Again, you can’t have it both ways.

      1. Let’s get the facts straight here. The term-limit debate arose because Ramey Johnson was shy of her 2-year term limit by 3 days. The term limits are in place to limit our elected officials to a finite amount of time they can serve, which is 8 years. Because Ramey got elected mid-term, she served 1 year and 353 days of that term. Therefore, she threatened to sue the city to allow her to run for yet another term, due to the 3 day shortage. Which means, if elected, she would then have served as a City Councilor for 9 years, 353 days. I ask you this, if the shoe was on the other foot, and a democrat was in the same position, I wonder what the posts on this site would look like.

        http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/03/lakewood-city-council-ramey-johnson-term-limits/

      2. I think the problem here is some people think the word “political” automatically means Republicans vs. Democrats. In City government we don’t have these parties. The word in this context means partisanship in governance, i.e. choosing sides. Lakewood has factions often referred to as the establishment versus the independents or reformers. Members of both factions can and often are registered to the same national political parties. The point is your references to Republicans and Democrats don’t actually work here as you have noted in your discrepancy questions.

        1. Let’s get the facts straight here. The term-limit debate arose because Ramey Johnson was shy of her 2-year term limit by 3 days. The term limits are in place to limit our elected officials to a finite amount of time they can serve, which is 8 years. Because Ramey got elected mid-term, she served 1 year and 362 days of that term. Therefore, she threatened to sue the city to allow her to run for yet another term, due to the 3 day shortage. Which means, if elected, she would then have served as a City Councilor for 9 years, 362 days. I ask you this, if the shoe was on the other foot, and a democrat or as you’ve labeled them, “establishment” was in the same position, I wonder what the posts on this site would look like.

    2. Let’s get the facts straight here. The term-limit debate arose because Ramey Johnson was shy of her 2-year term limit by 3 days. The term limits are in place to limit our elected officials to a finite amount of time they can serve, which is 8 years. Because Ramey got elected mid-term, she served 1 year and 363 days of that term. Therefore, she threatened to sue the city to allow her to run for yet another term, due to the 3 day shortage. Which means, if elected, she would then have served as a City Councilor for 9 years, 363 days. I ask you this, if the shoe was on the other foot, and a democrat was in the same position, I wonder what the posts on this site would look like.
      http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/03/lakewood-city-council-ramey-johnson-term-limits/

  7. By the way, thanks for all the participation. Nothing like a close election to generate some interest in local politics. Keep it up and please stay involved after the election.

      1. Sorry but when you use the different names, FactsAreTricky or FactChecking to repeat the same points over and over again, you begin to fatigue our readers.

  8. Still waiting for my post regarding the parking restrictions at LHS to be posted. I know YouTube is restricting Dennis Prager so maybe critical comments of Rameys policy fall in the same bag on this site. Again I would urge folks to listen to the June 5th study session and Ramey Johnson’s comments from the 2:26 minute through councilman Koops comments. Despite facts presented in the Hutchinson traffic report and the ACIC study she imposed parking on the High Schools frontage. For you conservative minded voters when did it become sensible thinking that your rights extend across the street to another public or private property owners frontage. This is what has happened on the south side of 9th Ave between Garrison and Kipling on the schools frontage. It hurt churches and the handicapped too. Add the fact she does not want kids playing sports 7 days a week on the best baseball field in Jeffco and we have a silly policy.

    Oh and Council Weichman suggested complaining neighbors should be bought out! Instead Rameys solution puts the burden on schools to solve problems while taking its frontage. That’s not fair!

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