Why did a highly publicized effort to recall four board of education members in Douglas County come to a halt last night?
According to Nate Ormond, the public figurehead of the effort and the man who donated $100,000 of his own money to get the campaign started, it’s because “by agreeing to safely return students to the classroom, [Douglas County School District] DCSD is eliminating the primary rationale for the recall.”
Last night, the DCSD board members agreed during a meeting to return older kids to in-person learning after spring break.
Ormond foreshadowed his decision to pull back while on the Randy Corporon Show last Saturday, where he told Corporon that he would consider pulling the recall if the DCSD returned everyone to in-person learning.
“Even if they decide to open all the schools Tuesday, I mean obviously we consider that a major victory; it will mean that the school board did buckle under this pressure,” said Ormond. “As far as whether we pull the effort, we’ll see, so far the board has flip-flopped on a majority of the big decisions they’ve had throughout this pandemic with no real clear guiding principles, so we need to assess the likelihood that they flip-flop again after Tuesday.”
Indeed, that was the incident that incited Ormond to start the recall in January. However, the Road2Recall website makes it sound as though the decision to bar middle and high schoolers from in-person learning temporarily was simply the breaking point.
The website lists other criteria that details why the board members should be recalled, accusing the board of a “lack of leadership,” “mismanagement of tax dollars,” “lack of trust and transparency,” and “loss of educational opportunities.”
The website also claims that the community has been “suffering the effects of poor leadership and misuse of tax dollars for over three years.”
If that’s the case, why the sudden departure from the path to oust board members accused of bureaucratic corruption?
Many of the community members who volunteered to collect signatures for the recall are wondering the same thing.
After the campaign’s announcement yesterday, the Road 2 Recall DCSD Facebook page erupted with comments from angry supporters of the movement, accusing Ormond of damaging their reputations and possibly using the Road2Recall campaign for unethical means:
“I am completely disgusted and saddened. This will only hurt our kids going forward. Nathan owes a huge explanation to everyone. Not just some trite press release. Something else is going on and we deserve to know.”
“Thank you for finally disclosing that you were really only looking for a babysitter while you are at work.”
“Really? What a slap in the face to all the volunteers who spent their time to collect signatures. This is not just about the [Board of Education’s] mishandling of the return to school, they’ve been incompetent from the get go! Shame on you!”
“Not sure if anyone donated $ to this ’cause’ but you should be demanding funds returned.”
The recall page claims that the campaign commissioned a “right-leaning pollster” to conduct a poll evaluating whether the recall would have been successful after the decision to return students back to school.
Supposedly, the poll’s data showed that it ultimately wouldn’t have been successful–but we can’t know for sure, since Road2Recall refuses to release the poll results:
“…apologies, but we can’t make the poll public,” Road 2 Recall DCSD commented in response to a Facebook user. “We don’t want to arm our opponents in the entrenched bureaucracy with expensive data we paid for.”
The page also told angry volunteers that there would be a Zoom Q&A in the next day or two to address the concerns of those involved in the campaign.
Ironically, Ormond told Corporon on the Randy Corporon Show that the decision to halt the recall would be a decision made with the volunteers.
“…We’ve got a small army of parents that are out there right now, they’re all invested in this cause, and you know, we need to make that decision together,” said Ormond.
Some Facebook users remarked on the recall’s petitioners, who gathered outside King Soopers in Douglas County to collect signatures.
Darien Wilson, who ran for county commissioner last year and is a mom in Douglas County, shared videos of an interaction she had with a paid petitioner in a King Soopers parking lot.
The videos show the petitioner asking for signatures without a badge, and omitting necessary information about the recall. She also becomes visibly angry at Wilson’s presence and begins a hostile confrontation, even allegedly touching Wilson while she wasn’t recording.
Two days later, Wilson alleges that she received an anonymous phone call who called her a string of expletives and told her to stop recording people at King Soopers, or “we’ll come out to [Wilson’s street], you fucking crazy bitch.”
Wilson filed police reports for both incidents.
Although Road2Recall may be over, the website now redirects to a new site : Road2Recovery, which focuses on the upcoming board elections in November. The effort is funded by CR Elections, a 501c4 social welfare organzation registered by Shanna Gibson, Ormond’s executive assistant.
The entity’s incorporator on file is Barry Arrington, a lawyer well-known for representing conservative clients in very public civil rights cases.
Arrington is notorious for his extremist views–like his aggressive anti-LGBTQ+ positions that he builds off his arguments in favor of intelligent design–as well as his highly publicized court cases representing gun groups and churches.
He even landed in hot water when Democratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a congressman at the time, attacked a Colorado charter school for employing Arrington’s legal counsel despite his open discrimination towards members of the queer community.
The new campaign aims to kick off “an eight-month campaign to hold this board responsible for its failure to put the children first.”
It’s unclear how much such a long campaign will cost, and what it will entail, since neither Ormond nor Gibson could be reached for comment.
In response to the termination of the recall, Dana Torpey-Newman, the chair of the DougCo Dems and a licensed clinical psychologist, told the Colorado Times Recorder that she’s glad to see the recall over with.
“Yet again, the people of Douglas County refuse to be sucked into a plan to waste the precious dollars of the school district for a political game,” said Torpey-Newman. “And we won, again.”