Budget Advisory Committee Member: Recall Barrentine Now

Steve Ward has served on the budget advisory committee for 5 years, and served as chair for 2 of them. He posted the following article on his personal Facebook page. By his kind permission, we’re reproducing it here.

Folks, the money’s getting spent whether you want it to or not. In my opinion, $15k is a small price to pay to take another step toward restoring reason on city council.

Take five minutes with Englewood’s city charter and then ask yourself if District 3 councilmember Laurett Barrentine has the right to contact any city agency for non-emergency service on behalf of a citizen. (She doesn’t. Charter paragraph 32 prohibits her from interfering with any city employee.)

Watch a few Council sessions in their entirety and ask yourself if she provides the type of leadership Englewood needs. Pay special attention to her fractured relationship with our city manager and her fellow members of Council.

Listen to the cutting remarks. View the interruptions. See the off-topic filibusters. Watch how she enables citizens with whom she agrees and undermines those who do not fall into line with her.

Travel the community and see how she poisons individuals against each other and how she impedes rational, factual, polite civil discourse. Witness the half-truths she utters and the twisting of facts. (K-mart property? Giving Heart? Code Enforcement? EEF/EMRF?)

Get out from under her umbrella of ignorance. See and feel the light. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and recall is the cure for what ails Englewood. You may disagree, but that disagreement should be based on fact, not half-truths, ancient history, and character assassination of the citizens who initiated the recall. Truthfully, I would not vote for Randy Penn or Jim Woodward if either one of them was seeking office again… unless they were running against HER.

Woodward and Penn certainly made policy mistakes during their tenure. They failed to properly mind the shop. They failed to manage former Englewood city manager Gary Sears. They sold the Depot which remains a blight and an eyesore but has garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity for the new owner. They oversaw the death of the Englewood Fire Department.

Those mistakes are small in comparison to the constant destruction and obstruction that the city has seen in the past three years of the Barrentine administration. She has driven good people away from civic engagement. She has frustrated competent managers and city employees into leaving for other opportunities. She must be stopped now, and recall is the only way.

Conspiracy Theories

Barrentine regularly perpetuates and promotes baseless conspiracy theories that divide our community, waste time and distract from real issues. It takes courage and integrity to confront those promoting baseless conspiracy theories. Barrentine, however, does the opposite. She stokes the flames of misguided conspiracy theorists in an attempt to manipulate their passion and fear for her own political benefit. This behavior can be seen over and over again throughout Barrentine’s tenure on Council.

An excellent example of this is Barrentine’s perpetuation of the repeatedly disproven “Agenda 21” conspiracy theory. To summarize, this baseless conspiracy theory claims that the United Nations intends to essentially take over control of local governments through its voluntary action plan that offers suggestions for sustainable ways governments can combat poverty and protect the environment in the 21st Century (hence the “21.”) In 1992, the US, led by George H.W. Bush, and 177 other nations voted to adopt the program, which is not legally binding. Since then, conspiracy theorists like Barrentine have claimed that this is some sort of attempt to create a “one-world government.”

Don’t believe that Council Member Barrentine would actually believe this nonsense? See this email to fellow Council Member Rita Russell, where Barrentine suspects a municipal “Inclusivity Board” in Westminster of being a part of the “Agenda 21” conspiracy that doesn’t exist. This public email was received via a Colorado Open Records Act request.

If you think our elected officials should focus on real issues rather than fake ones, vote YES to recall Barrentine by September 18th.


Rigged Debates

Laurett Barrentine has a long history of attempting to trick Englewood voters by setting up rigged debates. In a real debate, in order to guarantee a level playing field for everyone, all parties agree in advance on the time, place, format, and moderator. In Barrentine’s rigged debates, here’s the pattern:

  1. Barrentine chooses a time and place, invites a moderator (typically one of her friends), and even makes the fliers.
  2. She will then have someone invite the participants to the debates. Her favored candidates will know the invitation is coming, but no one else does. About the same time (without waiting for a response from the other participants), her people will publicly announce the debate, claiming that all the invited participants will be there.
  3. She then has some of her people distribute fliers announcing the event and claiming that the participants will be there. These are not distributed throughout the relevant district, but just to the houses in close proximity to the participants’ homes. The goal is to create the illusion that everyone knows they will be coming to the debate—-whether or not they have agreed.
  4. This puts the participants in a bind. If they are not her favored candidate, they will face a rigged debate where the format and moderator are already stacked against them. If they reject the invitation, they will be accused of refusing to publicly debate. The goal, of course, is to convince the voters that her favored candidate is the best choice by rigging the debate from the start.

This little trick worked pretty well for a few years, but last year the whole thing began to unravel. In October, Barrentine planned a debate and designed the flier using her organization “Englewood Citizens for an Open Government” (Barrentine’s home address was identified in documents as the address for ECOG) and directed her friend (and front person for ECOG) Belinda Porter to distribute the fliers. The problem came when all three at-large candidates declined the invitation.

Instead, they all attended a fair, even-handed debate hosted by another organization. ECOG tried the same trick again in the 2018 special election for district 1. Two of the three candidates refused to attend the rigged debate (although of course Barrentine’s favored candidate was happy to attend). Once again, another group hosted a real debate with all three candidates in attendance.

When the rigged debate trick failed for a second time in a row, it was apparent that ECOG had lost all credibility. But suddenly a new organization appeared—Englewood Citizens for City Transparency—again fronted by Barrentine’s cronies. With the recall coming up, the new organization ran exactly the same play, planning a rigged debate moderated by one of Barrentine’s friends.

Recall Election Date Set: September 18, 2018

Mail ballots will be sent to registered District 3 Englewood voters on August 27, 2018. Ballots MUST be returned by 7 PM on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 to be counted.

The Recall of Laurett Barrentine from City Council will be the only issue on the ballot. For a positive and cooperative future for Englewood VOTE YES on the recall!

If the recall is successful, Laurrett Barrentine will be immediately removed from City Council and an election for her successor will be scheduled.

“You want a piece of me?” -Barrentine

Aside from regularly antagonizing and chastising both City employees and citizens she disagrees with who appear before Council, on August 15, 2016, Council Member Barrentine took her aggressive and unprofessional behavior to new heights. While returning to a Council meeting from an executive Council session, she stated to Englewood City Manager, “you want a piece of me?” This type of conduct would not be tolerated in any workplace in America and it should not be tolerated on our City Council. Manager Keck relays the story to all of Council in the following video clip from a public meeting while imploring Council to address the dysfunctional dynamic perpetuated by Member Barrentine.

Take a look at the video of the incident for yourself below. The statement is made in the last several seconds of the video (turn your volume up):