UPDATE: Jeffco Recall Gets Very Ugly, Very Fast

UPDATE: Via Support Jeffco Kids–in response to today’s video from Julie Williams, a Colorado Open Records Act request was filed seeking more information about this alleged incident of her son, a special needs student at Standley Lake High School, being made to participate in a protest against his mother. In response, Jefferson County Schools confirmed that the alleged incident was reported by Williams to have occurred in September of 2014–many months before the recall campaign ever began.

And then they confirmed something else–there’s no evidence it ever happened. From the investigation report obtained in today’s CORA request:

On September 24th, 2014, I received an email from Dan McMinimee that attorney Brad Miller was asked to reach out to me by Board Member Juie Williams. Ms. Williams had informed Mr. Miller that her son, a special needs student was used as a “prop” to carry a protest sign during a parade at Standley Lake High School.

I spoke to Mr. Miller who provided a date of September 8th, 2014 as the date the incident occurred on. I assigned the video surveillance review to Manager of Security Operations Bill Kitamura and then contacted SLHS Principal Jeff Pierson and discussed the allegations. Principal Pierson was adamant that neither a parade nor protect occurred at or in the school. [Pols emphasis]

Bill Kitamura and an emergency dispatcher together reviewed 30 hours of video from 15 cameras for the September 8th, the date that was provided to us. Nothing was found to indicate a parade or protest during this time period.

Here’s the full letter. According to investigators, Williams then suggested other days the incident could have occurred. In response to those suggestions, school security officials reviewed a total of 240 hours of video, and were “unable to substantiate that such an event had occurred.” The investigation was then closed.

And with that, Williams’ exploitation of her disabled son in this emotionally manipulative video becomes a deeply troubling thing. Original post follows.

—–

This morning, the right-wing Independence Institute released a new video spot featuring embattled Jefferson County school board member Julie Williams. In today’s video, Williams makes a tearful accusation involving her son Randy, who is identified in the video as a “special needs student.”

 

In this video, Julie Williams describes an incident where her son allegedly marched in a parade that included signs denouncing his mother. Interspersed with black-and-white shots of young Randy looking sad, Williams claims with tears welling in her eyes that the incident “has scarred him forever.”

For starters, the video doesn’t explain anything about when or where this alleged incident took place. Nothing is explained about the circumstances by which Williams’ son would have joined any pro-recall parade, or who might have asked him to do so. There’s not even a specific claim that Williams’ son held a pro-recall sign, only that he saw one, and that this apparently hurt the boy’s feelings. There is of course every possibility that Williams’ son might see pro-recall signage from time to time, like just about anybody who lives in Jefferson County today.

A 7NEWS report from over a year ago, while the controversy over Williams’ proposal to “review” the district’s AP U.S. History curriculum using politically-stilted criteria, may contain a description of the same incident–with far less acrimony:

Williams says her 16-year-old autistic son attends Standley Lake High School, where protests have occurred. Teachers have also picketed outside the school in recent weeks.

“I believe they’re picketing and targeting that specific school because he’s there and I’m his mom,” said Williams.

Williams said her son told her he participated in a “parade.”

“Are they forcing him to participate?” asked Haythorn.

“I don’t know what’s happening. I can’t imagine they would force him,” said Williams. [Pols emphasis] “But, he doesn’t understand what this is. He thinks it’s a parade. He was excited.”

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

Between then and now, Williams’ story has apparently “evolved” into something much more coercive? Since the recall campaign didn’t even start until school was out this summer, the timeline seems hard to reconcile. But either way, we can tell you with some degree of confidence that there is no photo of Randy Williams holding a anti-Julie Williams sign being circulated by recall proponents. And that’s good, because it would be in very poor taste. There would be absolutely no political value in doing something like that.

All we have is this video of Randy looking on sadly while Julie Williams makes a bunch of allegations that nobody can prove, and appear to contradict what she said a year ago. In a video released by the Independence Institute, whose director Jon Caldara has repeatedly and crassly exploited tragedy in order to join political leverage. In 2013, Caldara claimed the deadly Front Range floods “forced” him to “move back” to Boulder from Colorado Springs, helping him outmaneuver charges of election fraud. Before then, Caldara actually claimed Obamacare would result in his “losing another child”–a reference to one of his children who had tragically died of cancer years before.

Folks, if anything like what Williams vaguely alleges occurred in this video can be proved to have actually occurred–meaning that someone purposefully exploited Williams’ special needs son into marching against his mother–we would immediately join in condemning it.

Not only is there no evidence of that, the only “exploitation” we can see is Randy being exploited in this video. That leaves us disgusted, though not in the way Julie Williams and Jon Caldara intended.

54 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Oh my God. This is really disgusting.

  2. SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

    Or very crazy, very fast

    The psychotic JeffCo recallers sunk to flat out evil making special needs child lead parade against his own mother. DESPICABLE! #copolitics

     

    — Jonathan Lockwood (@JNTHN_LCKWD) October 20, 2015

     

    Apparently, the kid is now the grand marshal.  It's an amazing game of crazy telephone played by right wing lunatics.

     

  3. Early WormEarly Worm says:

    Caldera is channeling Lee Atwater. Timing is everything. Release this crap now, when people have ballots in their hands.  If he had done it sooner, he would have risked the backlash. Williams should be ashamed of herself, but I am sure that she is not. She is beneath contempt. 

    • SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

      Well, perhaps our local media will immediately question the candidate and ask for specific information and debunk…OK, OK.  Can't stop laughing.  Never mind.  Lie away, Jonny!

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        Stop it. You're killin' me.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Where are those clumsy, cobbled together videos when you need them Julie?  Better get on the phone to David Daleiden ASAP.  I'm sure he can photoshop your son into one of his videos.  For a fee of course.  There is a lot of money to be made with custom altered videos of fictitous events that Republicans can peddle as the gospel truth.  That is a lot easier than actually coming up with date, time and place of the alleged injustice.  Operators are standing by to take your call Julie.

  4. flatiron says:

    Standley Lake happens to have the best student journalism program in the district, and is the closest high school to Boulder, meaning a fair number of CU faculty and staff live in that part of Jeffco (since no one can really afford to live in Boulder itself any more). Combined, that means one of the better informed and more progressive schools in the district.

  5. TobiasFunke says:

    "I'M THE VICTIM! I'M THE VICTIM! WAH!" 

  6. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    Do not pass smell test. Do not collect recall vote win.

  7. OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

    As much as I would like all three gone, I believe I would be ok if just Julie Williams was recalled.  

  8. ModeratusModeratus says:

    It takes a lot to make me consider not reading this blog anymore, but your disgusting attacks on Julie Williams and her disabled son are out of line. Say what you want about Williams, but NOW YOU ARE ATTACKING HER DISABLED KIDS.

    What is the matter with you liberals? Is nothing sacred? Have you no shame?

    I'm sure none of you will miss me if I don't come back, but I want you to know I am personally offended by this hypocritical smear on a good woman who is WORKING FOR FREE to make our schools better. Shame on you all.

    Good bye, at least for now. I'm too angry to keep writing!!

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Don't let the door hit you in the  Moderatus!

    • OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

      pretty sure it's the conservatives exploiting her disabled child here (since they made the video about it). But you coming to that self evident conclusion would require actual original thought on your part, so I'm not holding my breath. 

    • SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

      I know you left so you wouldn't have to answer comments from folks like me pointing out that Pols said nothing about the kid except what's in the news, but could you really please stay away?

      I'm also a bit confused about what Julie Williams working for free has to do with her damaging a school district or lying about her son being victimized.

    • TobiasFunke says:

      Go ahead and point to where anyone attacked her disabled son. We'll wait.

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      In your newfound free-time why don't you write a dissertation on your mythical free market and bring it back to us for peer review?

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      You apparently don't actually read the blog now. You just scan for key words and respond with Borg points. There are no attacks on the disabled son coming from us, just more manufactured hysterical lies from the righties. Reading would tell you that the candidate, Caldera, those lying hysterics and possibly the Music Man are the only one's being made fun of.

      But, now you mention it, since you constantly drop your little Borg response bombs without bothering to read through what you're allegedly responding to first, we would very much appreciate you dragging your useless, waste of space little Borg ass out of here. I'm guessing it's one of those flat ones that don't hold up your pants without a belt. Am I right?wink

    • rconley100 says:

      Moderatus,

      The problem is this story is fiction. Julie, asked for proof that her son participared and thounsads of dollars was spent reviewing hours and hours of video tape and he was never in any of it. She made it all up and she knows there is no evidence that he was there. It is likely that he does understand that the voters do not want her because this news is everywhere, but she should not use him and pretent something happened that never happened. She should stop lying. 

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        Don't hold your breath for Moderatus to pounce with outrage on Julie Wiliams for attempting to use her disabled son for political advantage via a manufactured story. And absolutely don't expect any apology for calling us shameless and disgusting over completely nonexistent attacks on said son. He really doesn't care that neither the video nor our comments here show what he'd like them to show. Pretty sure he thinks evidence and verfiable facts are what the Devil creates to help liberals trip up stalwart conservatives. 

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Will you please take Andrew Carnegie with you…….. 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Moderatus: you'd probably be less angry if you actually did a thorough read of the original post; its update; and the comments. I have a younger brother with an estimated IQ of 20 who is in a group home situation back in the Midwest. I am very in tune with any attempt to denigrate or exploit disabled citizens and I have not seen any attempt here, other than Jon Caldara exploiting the child. Why aren't you upset about that?     C.H.B. 

  9. gumshoe says:

    It would take a lot for you to stop reading this blog? 

    Or if they quit writing you a paycheck for posting — would you quit then?

  10. SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

    Oops! (please note the source is a site supportive of the recall)

    CORA Proves Julie Williams’ New Video Is Untrue and Insulting!

    Apparently she made this or a similar claim through paid assassin board attorney Brad Miller last year, and, after reviewing a few hundred hours of tape, the Jeffco security folks found not only no "coercion" of her kid, but no such gathering.

  11. jraiffie says:

    The timeline is significant because protests were occurring at the district as filmed by lame stream.media. It was just before the school's blue flue day organized by teachers who encouraged students to skip class as documented by lame stream media and an email from one of the teachers and student  comments caught on video. On those pesky facts. 

    • SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

      You only make yourself look ridiculous when you use terms like "lame stream media."

      As for facts, it seems like the district investigated these accusations a year ago, and fairly thoroughly.  It also seems that nobody can produce a picture of Julie's child being used in the way she describes despite the documentation of the "lame stream media."  Those are facts.  The rest– your apparent belief that students needed the encouragement of teachers to protest, Julie's child being paraded through the streets while forced to denounce his mom, that's all your sad little fantasy.

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        Facts, schmacts. They just mess with blind faith and all the stuff your favorite crazy uncle posts on facebook. TPers know enough to keep everything, not just religion, faith based. They're not Godless commies, after all!angry

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Hmmm, ok … trying to follow, really I am.  If you wouldn't mind, could you please try that again in English???

  12. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Jen,

    If there were any truth to this story, there would be big time, verifiable, legal proceeding tracks. Any teacher who took a child in her charge to participate in a protest would be subject to reprimand, possible dismissal. And justifiably so, because it would have been completely unprofessional and exploitive – had it actually happened.

    I'm assuming that Julie Williams would not be shy about making such a complaint to the Principal, or to the School Board of which she is a member.  This incident would be in the teacher's personnel file, probably have been responded to by the JCEA union, and thus be both in the media, and in the public minutes of the school board, as well leaving paper trails in the union's and teacher's files. 

    So in the absence of any of these factual paper trails, we have no choice but to assume that something much more mundane happened – perhaps there was a picket at the ad building, and Julie's son saw the pickets, possibly even saw his mother's name or likeness on a sign. So Julie could be telling the truth about her son being unhappy and upset about it, while completely misrepresenting the context. 

    That is my guess about what actually happened. Unless Julie is willing to produce a written, dated, witnessed, cosigned or notarized complaint, together with the union's response, we just have to assume that the sad story on the video is a political ploy. 

    • DavieDavie says:

      Let's not forget Jon "Ask me about voter fraud" Caldara's complicity in producing this phony exploitation video.  You'd think his credibility, and that of the Independence Institute would take a hit, curtailing all the propaganda the Denver Post publishes for them.

      Not holding my breath…

    • Worse than that, apparently, as the school couldn't even find evidence of an event like the one Williams described occurring on any of the possible dates she provided.

    • RunningOnEmpty says:

      One of Julie's friends (Donna Jack, perhaps? Or one of the others) said something in a public comment about Williams' older son originally thinking that the protesters outside SLHS in Fall 2014 were celebrating and praising his mother. Only later did he figure out that they were protesting. The friend said he was really sad and upset about that. I'm thinking that's the little bit of fact that provided the inspiration for the Caldara fantasy story Williams tells in the video.

      I don't have time to find the public comment recording where I heard it (nor frankly, the urge to listen to any of the rambling nonsense that Williams' supporters spout during public comment), but it was likely from the November 2014 meeting (or possibly as early as the October meeting). 

      On a different note, I continue to be amazed at how badly Caldara does PR. You'd think they could do a better job with as much AFP funding as they're getting. Maybe they could hire an actual marketing consultant because their own attempts are falling pitifully short?

  13. I notice this is an ad featuring Board recall target Williams, produced by the Independence Institute. I'm sure that the money comes from properly documented donors, since this has to fall under the definition of "co-ordinated advertising". Of course, we won't know until after the recall, and a simple fine will solve the infraction, so it will be worth it all…

  14. Early WormEarly Worm says:

    1-13-109. False or reckless statements relating to candidates or questions submitted to electors – penalties – definitions
    (1) (a) No person shall knowingly make, publish, broadcast, or circulate or cause to be made, published, broadcasted, or circulated in any letter, circular, advertisement, or poster or in any other communication any false statement designed to affect the vote on any issue submitted to the electors at any election or relating to any candidate for election to public office.
    (b) Any person who violates any provision of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) commits a class 1 misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S

    I understand why DAs are loathe to prosecute political speech. But why do we have the law on the books but for these situations where someone is demonstrably lying.

    • Oh, if only someone would actually prosecute this. Williams had the results of an investigation called by her own appointed Board Attorney in her hands before she made this ad. That's about as close as certain as you get to "knowingly" false. Unfortunately I have doubts that DA Weir would prosecute if asked, and I have even stronger doubts about AG Coffman given her recent political missteps.

      I think elections would be much cleaner if we tightened some standards around election speech. I'd modernize the above statute to include "or easily fact-checked" since we live in the age of search engines, and I've long proposed tightening libel and slander standards around election time so that candidates (and campaigns) were given the protections of private citizens rather than of public figures.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      There is no way something like this statute could ever be found to be constitutional. Remember what Bismarck said, "The biggest lies are told just before the wedding, right after the hunt, and in the middle of the political campaign."

  15. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    Man! Is she getting desperate and scared.  She's cornered and lashing out.They're coming for her and she knows it. I expect Newkirk or Witt will put out some outrageous tripe next. It would be entertaining if it weren't so sad.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Late in the game for any new advertising by the odious three.  A lot of ballots have already been returned.  The Law of Diminishing returns are at work here.  I agree with you Chef that it smacks of desperation.  Kind of like a wolf chewing off it's leg to escape the trap.

  16. Awen says:

    The investigation was flawed: it didn't look at the one date when students WERE protesting. I checked into it, see my story here: http://www.coloradoindependent.com/155762/dirty-politics-in-jeffco-whos-exploiting-a-school-board-members-son

    • SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

      No, it looked at the three dates that Julie provided to her lawyer as the dates she believed the incident had "occurred."  She did this just days after supposedly experiencing the problem (Septemeber 24th).  On the 19th, there'd be no reason for her to bring her vulnerable child to school– as the article notes, it was closed.

      So when did this mysterious even occur?  She said it was the 8th.  Then she said, with all the benefit of the incident having been very recent, that it may have happened 10 or 14 days later (on the 18th or 22nd– the 20th and 21st were weekend days).  So, she can't state when this horrifying even occurred, and the one day you say it might have, she'd have no reason to bring the kid to school.  Not for nothing, but don't piss on us and tell us it's raining.

      • Awen says:

        As a journalist, I wanted to give Ms. Williams and her son the benefit of the doubt, and try in every possible way I could think of to verify their story. That meant looking into a date on which it is well-documented that there WAS a protest, even if the investigators didn't look at that date. I could not find any evidence that he was even at the school on the actual day of the protest. much less participate in it.

        • SocialisticatSocialisticat says:

          I can understand trying to be fair.  What I saw was this: "The investigation was flawed: it didn't look at the one date when students WERE protesting."  That's a claim, by you, not Ms. Williams, that the investigation failed to live up to some standard of thoroughness.  The fact that the investigation didn't cover the 19th, a day when school was out and not a day that Ms. Williams asked to be investigated, indicates neither that it was poorly executed nor even incomplete.  The claim injects doubt and suggests that the personnel conducting the investigation somehow fell short– both of which I don't see evidence for.

  17. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Looks like Modster is making good on his "threat" to leave us. Or at least this thread since he's got nothing. He can pretend to be too mad to paricipate right now. Then he can pretend to give us another chance on another thread. Pretty sure we're not really rid of the little guy.

  18. Gadfly says:

    The truth has a certain ring to it and Ms. Williams was not telling the truth.  Obviously the school district did everything possible to substantiate her claim and there simply was no proof whatsoever.

  19. FrankUnderwood says:

    My Jeffco ballot was sitting on the shelf waiting to be completed and sent in. Thanks for your thread about Julie Williams and her son. It served to remind me to fill the thing out and return it which I did this morning. 

    I voted to give Julie some more free time by recalling her so she can focus on her family as opposed to her kooky political agenda.

  20. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    I completely oppose the recall

    That said, the school security service memo raised serious questions about the veracity of Julie's story.  Without further info, I don't believe her

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