Betty Clark-Wine is Missing the Point

Dear Editor:

I took great interest in Betty Clark-Wine’s statements in the aftermath of the Secretary of State’s investigation into her campaign finance violations.  Ms Clark-Wine is mincing words just a bit too much for my taste.  She’s running for Teller County Treasurer, but her description is as Assessor, not Treasurer!  So, let’s talk.

I agree with what many have already said about this case.  This is not a “vindication” or “exoneration” of Ms Clark-Wine.  She was in violation, she cured the situation and everyone moved on, as far as I can tell.  While I think there are still some important questions about how big or small the link was on her website to a non-existent Campaign Committee, about why her printed campaign materials reference the very committee she said she had no intention of forming, I will accept that the Secretary of State handled this correctly. 

Regarding Ms Clark-Wine’s comments, however, as it relates to the campaign, perhaps most concerning, is why she emphasizes “Accountability” as one of her attributes. Then she turns around and blames her webmaster for the error.  “Accountability?” Doesn’t that website have HER name on it?  Did she even look at it before allowing it to go public?  Why didn’t she notice the boldly-printed words on the bottom of her handouts? Who created these handouts? Was she even involved?  Did she receive any contributions? Cash or In-Kind? How much? Where is it now? What was it spent on or for? Even if we accept that she didn’t catch these errors, where is the attention to detail we would expect in someone who is going to be responsible for OUR money if elected?  And when it comes to “Transparency,” why won’t she publicly explain how she decided to reference this committee on those printed materials?  She doesn’t and I don’t know why?

Ms Clark-Wine wants us to take her word for it.  Ok, I will for the sake of argument.  But, now let’s talk about what she is saying about becoming Treasurer.  I don’t think Ms Clark-Wine understands the position of Teller County Treasurer.

In Ms Clark-Wine’s letter to the editor in the October 9, 2018 edition of the The Mountain Jackpot, she commented, “I am excited about answering their (residents during her campaign walking tour) questions about taxes, exemptions, assessments and property values.  I am focusing on the issues that are important to people….”  WHAT? As important as they might be to our bank accounts, these talking points have little to do with being Treasurer.  She is talking about the Assessor’s job.  I want to know what she is going to do to make sure that distributions are handled in a timely manner.  What is her plan on reporting?  What is her opinion on the current County Investment Policy?  How about tax-lien sales?  Is the manpower in the Treasurer’s office at the right level?  Why or why not?  Look, I understand that these are not sexy campaign talking points, but they are what the Treasurer does.  She probably ought to get focused on them.  Mark Czelusta is focused. Mr Czelusta’s video series explain each and every one of his points.

In addition to the videos, I spoke to Mr Czelusta at a recent meeting and he answered all these questions.  ALL of them. And, he stands behind his website.  Every word. 

Looking at the minutes from the past years’ worth of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Meetings, I don’t see her in attendance but a few times.  The current Treasurer, Bob Campbell and Mark Czelusta, are standard attendees.  Since announcing his candidacy, Mark Czelusta has been working with Treasurer Bob Campbell to learn what to do on day one. Mark Czelusta wants a seamless transition; one Treasurer to the next. Ms Clark-Wine doesn’t appear too interested in what a county Treasurer actually does. If Ms Clark-Wine wanted to see what the Treasurer does, don’t you think she would have at least attended the meetings when the current County Treasurer made reports, and asked questions?  Wouldn’t she want to learn the ropes from the current Treasurer, and ask questions? Wouldn’t she want to meet staff, go over reports and funds invested on our behalf? There have been 3 opportunities to meet since January, (the 3 meetings were the BOCC meetings where Bob Campbell gave his semi-annual reports as Treasurer, and quarterly reports as Public Trustee) and she was at none of those meetings.  Furthermore, why didn’t Ms Clark-Wine attend the budget meeting where she was expected to advocate for her additional funding requests for the Assessor’s office?  She wasn’t even at the Board of County Commissioners Meeting where she had an agenda item on September 13th!  Where were you, Betty? Rumors won’t be listed here.

Before anyone says that I am picking on her, please understand that asking tough, fact-based questions is not mean-spirited or mudslinging.  I want answers. We NEED answers. I think it is time we look at a serious candidate for our County Treasurer. One who knows what is going on in the Teller County Treasurer’s Office and has taken the time to be prepared on day 1.  That candidate is Mark Czelusta. Mark Czelusta has managed multi-Million dollar budgets as a Colonel in the US Air Force. Mark Czelusta has a background in Financial Management. Mark Czelusta has the heart of a servant and THAT is why I am voting for him. You should, too! Oh, by the way, I am not alone in my endorsement. Look at this, these are just some of the Teller County Leaders who endorse Mark Czelusta;

Bob Campbell, the current Teller County Treasurer

Marc Dettenrieder, Teller County Commissioner, and Chairman of the BOCC

Norm Steen, Teller County Commissioner

Dave Paul, Teller County Commissioner

Jason Mikesell, Teller County Sheriff

Tony & Kathryn Perry, Local business and non-profit leaders

Dan Williams, a widely respected Teller County Veteran leader

Neil Levy, Mayor of Woodland Park

Kellie Case, Woodland Park City Council

Paul Saunier, Woodland Park City Council

Hilary LaBarre, Woodland Park City Council

Richard Cimino, Grand County Commissioner and Financial Advisor

If you want to see what they said in their endorsements…you can check here:

Rick J Krenz

Teller County Voter