Committee galvanizes for recall of Brainard
It is a no Brainard.
At least, that’s partly the name of a new issue committee created Thursday that hopes to recall Grand Junction Councilor Rick Brainard: the No Brainard Recall Committee.
The coordinator of that effort, Jessica Coleman, said the name speaks for itself.
“What’s so great about this recall effort is, we don’t have to convince people to sign,” said Coleman, who filed paperwork with the Grand Junction Clerk’s Office officially creating the committee. “The community is pretty united in their support of the recall. Everyone I’ve talked to who doesn’t have a vested political interest is not supportive of Mr. Brainard. The community understands what’s happened here. The community does not want Rick Brainard representing them.”
Brainard could not be reached for comment.
Coleman said people are still upset with the newly elected city official, who pleaded guilty last month to charges of domestic violence stemming from an April 6 incident with his girlfriend just days after he was elected to office.
On that day, when he was arrested by Grand Junction police, Brainard initially denied that an altercation with the girlfriend turned violent before later admitting to pushing her, grabbing her hair and slapping her, according to his arrest affidavit.
He also told police he slapped her because she needed to “shut her mouth,” the affidavit said.
On May 17, Brainard tried to plead no contest to misdemeanor assault charges, but later pleaded guilty. He later received an 18-month deferred sentence and can have his conviction wiped from his record if he stays out of trouble.
All of that was enough to start a groundswell of anti-Brainard protests around the Grand Valley that continues today, though most of it right now is confined to social media.
Numerous community groups and organizations, some of which supported his election, have cut ties with him, all except the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, who endorsed his candidacy.
Last week, the chamber, which had promised to reconsider its support of Brainard, announced that it wasn’t yet ready to do so.
Instead, the chamber board issued another pledge to reconsider its position if a recall election actually is called.
Coleman, not happy with that decision, advised the chamber to stay out of this one.
“I hope that the chamber of commerce does not fight to continue their involvement and get further entrenched with this radioactive mass that is Rick Brainard,” she said. “I was really surprised that they chose to continue their support just from a public relations standpoint. But that’s their public-relations suicide if they decide to do that.”
According to the city charter, Brainard can’t be recalled until he’s served in office for at least three months. In this case, that would be Aug. 6.
The charter also says any recall group has 30 days to gather the needed petitions to call for that election, and get at least 5,326 signatures of registered city voters to sign it, though Coleman says she intends to gather a lot more than that.
That means the committee can’t start gathering names until at least July 6.
If the petition effort is successful, the City Council would have up to 40 days to set an election date. That ballot measure would include possible replacements, who would have to petition onto the ballot to be considered, but Brainard himself would automatically be included to replace himself unless he asked not to be.