|Loveland's Independent News Source
|School Election Landslide for TEA
Impacts Council Races
Loveland - November 4, 2015
The statewide struggle between the education reform movement and teacher unions had a profound impact on
Loveland's local elections Tuesday night as voters rejected the reformers by large margins both in Loveland and
across the state. Thompson Board of Education incumbents Pam Howard and Denise Montagu retained their seats
while their running mates Jeff Swanty and David Levy won big as well. Pam Howard lead the landslide by achieving
68% of the vote over her opponent Tomi Grundvig who finished at only 32%.
Loveland's municipal election unofficial results, as of 1:00 AM this morning, show the only Loveland City Council
incumbent, Councilman Ralph Trenary, losing to challenger Republican Don Overcash who narrowly topped 51% of
the vote for Ward IV. In Ward I, local attorney and longtime Democrat activist Richard Ball defeated his conservative
opponent and political newcomer Patrick McFall and in Ward II Democrat activist Leah Johnson defeated Loveland
Planning Commission Chairman Buddy Meyers. Both Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez and Councilman John Fogle ran
unopposed thus each receiving 100% of the votes cast for their seats.
Loveland ballot measure 2C, whether the City of Loveland should offer city-wide broadband, was approved by 83%
of the voters while curiously the DDA (Downtown Development Agency) bond measure was rejected by 56% of the
property owners and voters in downtown Loveland (it was not a citywide measure).
At 7:30 PM, Leah Johnson called her opponent, Buddy Meyers, to ask for his concession of the race when the first
election results were announced. Given the narrow margin of only a few percent, Meyers declined saying he would
wait for the final results given the slight difference. By 1:00 AM this morning Johnson held her lead to 62% of the
Colorado State House Representative Brian DelGrosso of Loveland warned of the overwhelming shift in political winds
within the normally conservative city he represents two-years ago warning it could have ramifications across the
ballot. His predictions came true Tuesday night as Loveland Republicans crossed party lines in large numbers to
support the TEA's school candidates over their Republican rivals. While all the numbers have yet to be reported, the
TEA and other teacher union affiliated groups poured an unprecedented 1/4 of a million dollars into the races for local
candidates and may even top 1/2 million when the final reports are submitted.
Trenary The Exception
The only Republican to win Tuesday night in Loveland was independent businessman and Chamber of Commerce
activist Don Overcash. Overcash initially considered running for school board but was later persuaded to seek a
position on Loveland's City Council by members of that body who accurately predicted the school board election
would be a "disaster" for any Republican on the ballot. Councilman Trenary was discovered to be pressing city staff
to remove Overcash signs from various locations around the city while his friend and activist Jeff Goody was caught
allegedly by an eyewitness trespassing and attempting to steal Republican signs near the corner of S. Taft Ave.
City Council Dynamic - Whose Majority?
While the self-described "conservatives" are still a majority on Loveland's City Council, John Fogle is the wild card
who can now swing the majority in either direction. Outgoing Ward 1 Councilman Chauncey Taylor slowly moved
throughout his term distancing himself from the firebrand politics of Republican Councilmen Troy Krenning and Hugh
McKean thus completing Mayor Gutierrez's majority regardless of how Fogle voted.
Overcash, an articulate businessman who will likely carry more influence with colleagues than his quiet predecessor,
will now complete the 'conservative' majority on Loveland's City Council. This puts Councilman Fogle back in the
driver seat as the swing vote that neither side can rely on for support as he is known to switch sides in the very last
minute. Sometimes called the "Donald Trump" of the city council, Fogle enjoys the attention of being the deciding
vote and can sometimes be very glib.
Thompson Board of Education Dynamics
As the city's largest employer, many friends and family members of those teachers who recruited their support to
achieve a stunning defeat for the charter school supporters and education reformers may not stay with the TEA
candidates into their next battle. Their first priority, while kept at a low-profile for this election, is a record setting
property tax increase through a public bond election. Buoyed by their election results, the TEA sponsored candidates
who have already committed to their bond company supporters placing a bond on the ballot, will likely seek an even
larger increase given their large margin of victory thus testing the support they have from the community.
If the DDA defeat is any measure, a bond election will yield different results. Loveland voters have a history of
rejecting property tax increases. TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) took the authority away from local governing
bodies like the school board from raising property taxes. As a consequence, voters who are not directly impacted by
public schools are less likely to become involved in board elections unless they have a personal interest in the outcome.
Regarding board politics, outgoing School Board President Bob Kerrigan is likely to miss the last meeting while the
remaining reform board members, Bryce Carlson and Carl Lagner will likely be prevented from speaking or
contributing to discussions as was the case when Kerrigan was the lone charter school supporter or reformer on the
Board of Education. Whether Carlson resigns or stays is under heavy speculation. A first order of business of the
newly elected board members will be firing attorney Brad Miller, re-instating half-day Wednesdays and approving a
new contract for the union; the primary purpose the TEA put so much work into their election.
Lastly, Carl Lagner who served as the swing voter of the school board is unknown. Since he has little to impact and
appears unable to carry an opposition flag, speculation is Lagner will begin voting more frequently than before for
with his TEA sponsored colleagues who already was supporting infrequently while in the majority.
|Scheer Stadium Going Forward
McWhinney Planning Secret Land Swap With
While Troy McWhinney partied with the
Republican candidates at the Black Steer
Tuesday night, Superintendent Stan
Scheer celebrated the TEA victory to
finally realize his dream.
Scheer and McWhinney have been
secretly negotiating a land swap for the
property McWhinney owns behind
Mountain View High School. In exchange
for some reported 5 acres to the District,
Scheer has promised McWhinney the
District's 20 acre parcel off 1st Street near
Scheer is hoping to build a long awaited
football stadium just behind Mountain
View High School which he wants to be
named in his honor as
Given the election result, Scheer, who
largely obstructed the 'reformer' majority
on the current Board of Education,
privately has obtained commitments by
the TEA backed candidates he will get the
stadium named in his honor according to
State law is fairly rigid on how real assets
can be disposed of by school districts.
The current board may have required
Scheer to make the appropriate public
notices or conduct a public bidding
process for the 20 some acre parcel on
Given the new TEA board majority and a
rumored resignation by Bryce Carlson,
Scheer will have clear sailing to get the
land swap deal approved and the stadium
named in his honor.
|Loveland Councilman Troy Krenning (center)
drinks a beer with Councilman Elect Don
Overcash (right) and Pat McFall whose council
bid was defeated by longtime Loveland political
activist Richard Ball on election night.