Recall effort in high gear
A few blocks from where they once worked as prosecutors, Martin Beeson and Jeff Cheney sweated out another day of trying to gather signatures in the effort to recall District Attorney Colleen Truden.With temperatures in the high 80s, Beeson, wearing a dress shirt and tie after a day filling in as prosecutor for the town of Glenwood Springs, sat behind a small table on a Grand Avenue sidewalk Tuesday. His wife, Angela, was at his side.They sat in front of the Glenwood Realty business where she works. The table, which had a couple of signs urging passers-by to recall the district attorney, was about a half-block from the Glenwood Springs Farmers’ Market at the intersection of 9th Street and Grand Avenue. Foot traffic was steady when Beeson and Cheney, former deputy district attorneys under Truden in the 9th Judicial District, set out around 6 p.m. to gather signatures on their petitions.They are two of five deputy district attorneys who have resigned since Truden took office in January. Most of the former prosecutors cited Truden’s management style in their decisions to quit, and questions have also been raised about her budget practices, the hiring of her husband and the veracity of statements she made to county commissioners.While the Beesons manned the table, Cheney, along with fellow recall organizer Sherry Caloia and volunteer Kristine Del Rio, headed for the market.Baking in the late afternoon sun on the east side of the street, Beeson noted the urgency of garnering names. The recall proponents have until Sept. 16 to get the signatures of 5,455 residents who are registered voters.”We’ve got one shot at this,” Beeson said. “We’ve got to put the pedal to the metal and get the signatures. It’s not going to be easy.”Graham Gilbert, of Glenwood Springs, and an acquaintance walked by the table, and Beeson made his pitch: “Do you want to sign a recall petition?”Reading the sign, Gilbert said, “Do I ever.” His lady friend also signed.”I feel like Colleen Truden has abused her civil office,” Gilbert said when asked why he signed. “I’m frustrated.”He added that he felt Truden was using the office “for her family’s gain” and was not prosecuting the proper cases.One woman passed by with an ear of corn from the market. Asked if she wanted to sign, she said she already had. Awhile later, Beeson joined Cheney and the others at the market.Taking a break from approaching strangers, Del Rio, of Glenwood Springs, said she had collected 60 signatures on Monday – “People were grabbing pens like crazy.” A handful of people said they did not have enough information to sign. Only one person outright refused, she said.The gregarious Cheney easily started conversations with shoppers. But he said it was people like Del Rio, a mother of two, who are “the face” of the recall effort. She is part of “the public that’s affected by the decisions” of Truden, he said.Nevertheless, it was Cheney who got Myra Tobias to add her name to the recall log. The New Castle resident said she signed after reading about Truden’s saga in the valley’s papers.”It seems like she’s mismanaging too much,” Tobias said.She said she also knew several of the lawyers who resigned from the judicial district. “It’s too bad,” she said.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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