LovelandPolitics
Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland, August 18, 2019

Earlier this year, Loveland Reporter-Herald (RH) reporter Julia Rentsch was gathering information
regarding a group she found on Facebook calling itself "
Loveland For The People."  The young
reporter noticed the group was recruiting candidates to run against incumbent candidates like
Councilman Don Overcash in this year's election.

The young reporter sent Councilman Overcash the following in an email,

"I'm taking a look at a new group of activists that has recently formed on Facebook called
"
Loveland for the People." Have you heard of them? Their stated mission is to recruit candidates
to run for council who believe in transparency, easily accessible public information, and in
creating a culture that welcomes citizen input. Since your seat is up for reelection, and is one of the
seats this group is targeting with its efforts, I wanted to reach out to ask if you have any opinion
on what this group is doing. I will be available throughout the weekend if you would like to
discuss. Thanks!"

Overcash replied, "I would be happy to discuss on Monday as it is Easter weekend.  Councilor
Clark, the other Ward 4 councilor, will join me as this is a topic of interest to all of council and we
work closely together on most issues."

They met at Loveland's Coffee Tree Monday morning on April 22, at 9:00 AM.   Despite warm Spring
temperatures for the previous two weeks, this morning was overcast and temperatures back to the
40's causing Councilman Overcash to wear his signature long black overcoat.  He and Rentsch
arrived first while exchanging pleasantries about the lingering winter weather and made other
small talk prior to Clark's arrival.

At approximately 9:10 they were joined by Councilman Dave Clark.  The reporter would later
describe the change in personality by Overcash as
"it was like a sheet of ice came down Don's face."  
In what was described to be prearranged talking points, Clark is reported to have clarified the
meeting content was to be strictly
"off-the-record" and even the meeting itself could not be
disclosed by the reporter to anyone in the general public.  In addition, Overcash reiterated, as he
indicated in his email, that he and Clark were essentially speaking for all of their council colleagues
and senior city staff who were aware of their meeting and hoping the message they would deliver is
well understood.

Curiously, despite agreeing to be off-the-record, all three recorded the unpleasant conversation that
followed since both councilors grabbed their iphones after Julia Rentsch, always the reporter,
reminded them that even off-record conversations she prefers to record though she agreed to their
terms for keeping the meeting secret.

The Threat
Apparently representing themselves as speaking for everyone but Loveland Mayor Jacki Marsh,
Overcash produced newspaper clippings while both he and Clark reviewed information from their
laptops listing
"offenses" by the reporter in previous stories.  The reporter later wrote privately the
objections to her previous articles were weak and it appeared to largely be an attempt to stop what
she considered balanced reporting on city affairs where both sides are well represented on any
issue in her articles.  

LovelandPolitics has learned both Overcash and Clark have also talked subsequently about the
meeting to essentially brag they effectively halted what they considered poor press coverage and
eventually ran the young reporter out of town.  While versions may differ, LovelandPolitics has been
informed the recording of the meeting captures raised voices and essentially a threat that if her
reporting didn't change, the City of Loveland would essentially give the reporter a cold-shoulder
preventing her from reporting on any official city events thus ending her current position with the
newspaper.

The Loveland Report-Herald, Loveland's only daily newspaper, was purchased in 2011 by Prairie
Mountain Publishing, a subsidiary of MediaNews Group, that owns a number of newspapers along
the Front Range and is published in Berthoud but senior editorial and staff writers are mostly
located at the Daily Camera offices in Boulder.

When news of what the reporter herself described as an intimidating "
shake-down" hit Boulder the
editor and senior staff were furious.  There was talk of a front page editorial, a bolder reply and even
court action to defend their reporter's independence from city manipulation.  Ultimately, Julia
Rentsch asked they not elevate the
"drama" and began looking for work outside the area because
she reasoned the reporter should never become the story and she had agreed the meeting would
remain off-record.  

Prairie Mountain Publishing also likely considered the city's close relationship to various advertisers
who have received city subsidies and whether an open conflict with city officials would hurt their
revenue.  In addition, the City of Loveland has become a larger share of the newspaper's revenue
with its own legal notices and advertising as private companies look to big-tech companies like
Google and Facebook to reach their customers.

Because the meeting was indeed on behalf of the city council, as documented in Overcash's email,
the recordings both he and Clark made of the encounter should be accessible to the public via
Colorado's Open Records Act (CORA) if a request is made to the city.  LovelandPolitics has not made
such a request but will rely on the Loveland Reporter-Herald version eventually being made
available to the public if the councilors attempt to edit or degrade the quality of their recordings of
the secret meeting in an attempt to mislead the public.

Press Intimidation
How two Loveland City Councilmen ambushed a
young reporter in an alleged attempt to change
her reporting through intimidation tactics on
behalf of their colleagues and senior city staff


special investigative report

Julia Rentsch Today

Former Loveland Reporter-Herald
reporter Julia Rentsch maintained,
"It's my
job to continue to treat people nicely even
if they have treated me badly"
in reference
to what she later described as the
"
shake-down" that cold April morning at
Loveland's Coffee Tree where Councilmen
Dave Clark and Don Overcash are reported
to have raised their voices and essentially
threatened her job.

Soon after the ugly encounter with the two
senior Loveland City Councilmen, Rentsch
began seeking new opportunities so she
could "
move-on" from Loveland.

Today she is working and living in
Maryland and writes for the
Salisbury Daily
Times
in southern Maryland.
Where is she now?
Councilman
Dave Clark
Councilman
Don Overcash
Photo obtained online of Julia Rentsch and is being
published under the Fair Use Doctrine to provide our
readers her image as available online