On Tuesday afternoon Weld Deputy Sheriff Officers removed two young activist petitioners who were collecting signatures for the Barbara Kirkmeyer recall campaign from outside of the South West Weld Services Building. Austin Harper & Patrick McClintock were outside of the building when the officers approached them and informed them that they received an email from a “County Commissioner” ordering their removal from county property. When the two young activists informed the officers that their right to collect petition signatures while on a governmental property is in fact protected by the first amendment the officers went inside the building and placed another phone call.
When the officers reappeared from the building they informed the young men that their Sergeant ordered them removed and that they must leave. After a few words were exchanged the young men decided to leave the property out of fear of arrest and retribution.
Weld County has an ordinance prohibiting “Electioneering” on county property and within a certain distance of those buildings. That law is however unconstitutional, Federal courts have consistently upheld that the right to gather petition signatures is a foundational cornerstone of the American democracy. That the right to free speech through the act of petition and to do so in public spaces cannot be denied.
Multiple groups have requested through the Freedom of Information act the email that the deputy referenced in his conversation with the activists, as of this posting we do not have the email in our possession to prove which of the commissioners ordered the activists to be removed. We will continue to update this story as it progresses.
Earlier this week a judge threw out Barbara Kirkmeyer’s complaint against Lesley Hollywood and the We Care 4 Weld 501-(c) (4) organization for taking a contribution from a group called the 5767 Taskforce. Kirkmeyer filed the complaint in an effort to try and find out who the principal donors to the recall campaign were. Unfortunately for Kirkmeyer a 501-(c) (4) organization under federal law does not have to disclose its donors. Kirkmeyer argued that both groups had acted together, that notion was however thrown out of court.
In a confusing statement to the press, Kirkmeyer called the ruling a victory, “ And I actually think it’s a voter in Commissioner District 3,” Kirkmeyer said. “When they hide who their donors are, we don’t know their ulterior motives, and it challenges the very foundation of our government.”
Kirkmeyer accused both groups of ulterior motives while profoundly displaying hers throughout her years of service as a county commissioner while voting for hundreds of oil and gas industry USR’s while taking campaign contributions from the oil an gas industry, fundraising commissions, and shares of personal land sales to Anadarko and Kerr McGhee.
We Care 4 Weld founder Lesley Hollywood took to Facebook last night to express her disgust on the matter and announced that she will be in the same place on Thursday that the young activist was removed from to continue the signature collecting process.
Our source inside the We Care 4 Weld informed us that in fact there were multiple teams of individuals at multiple Weld County governmental buildings collecting signatures on Thursday and as of this posting there have been no contacts with any law enforcement agencies.