The Grand Junction Sentinel's Duffy Hayes updates on the story of Grand Junction City Councilor Rick Brainard, who has resisted all attempts to get him to resign following an arrest and subsequent guilty plea for a domestic violence incident that occurred just after his election:
A promise by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce to “review our position” on Grand Junction City Councilor Rick Brainard — who pleaded guilty to charges of domestic violence stemming from an April 6 incident while he was a councilor-elect — was met Thursday with another pledge to consider its position if a recall election is called.
The chamber endorsed Brainard as a candidate for the City Council, among other supposedly pro-business endorsements. When reports of his arrest became public, the chamber in a Facebook post cited Brainard’s entitlement to due process in responding to calls for the group to renounce its support of him.
Well folks, Mr. Brainard has had his "due process," and he pled guilty to the charge after his nolo contendere plea attempt was appropriately rejected by the judge. But it appears that the court wasn't the "due process" the Chamber was referring to? They attempt to explain:
“Once they are in office … we comment on their actions and whether or not they are good for business or bad for business,” [chamber President and CEO Diane] Schwenke said. “But in terms of whether or not they are fit to serve the office, we’ve never, in all of our history, commented on that.” [Pols emphasis]
But apparently they had promised to undertake such a review with Brainard. Now, the story is they will "revisit" their support only if a recall election is held–which Brainard's opponents say is underway. As we and local readers have written in this space, Brainard's domestic violence arrest and subsequent refusal to step aside have outraged women in Grand Junction, who have dogged his every move with taped-mouthed silent protests–a reference to Brainard's statement to arresting officers that slapping his girlfriend was the only way to get her to "shut her mouth." Other community organizations like the Grand Junction Economic Partnership have forced Brainard to resign, and he lost his job as a vice president of West Star Aviation.
But not the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, who is standing by their man! Whether it's Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis' crass attempts to beat a ticket by invoking his position, or Rep. Jared Wright's hypocritically lecturing about "personal responsibility"–and now institutional excuse making for a city councilor who beat up his girlfriend–there is enough public disgrace in this conservative stronghold to make anyone cynical.