Sharon Sullivan

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April 19, 2013
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Majority of Grand Junction City Council calls for Brainard's resignation

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Grand Junction City Councilmen Jim Doody and Bennett Boeschenstein were cheered when they spoke at a rally last week in front of GJ City Hall. They said they would seek to draft a resolution calling for the resignation of councilor-elect Rick Brainard.

"He's already cost the city a huge amount of embarrassment," Boeschenstein said.

All but one council member, Sam Susuras, agreed to the resolution at Wednesday's city council meeting.

Brainard was arrested and charged April 6 with third-degree assault and harassment after an alleged incident with his girlfriend in his home. A court appearance is scheduled for May 6, the same day the newly-elected councilmembers are to be sworn into office.

It's been widely reported, first by the Daily Sentinel, that Brainard, after initially denying a physical altercation with his girlfriend, later admitted to police that he grabbed, pushed and slapped the woman because "she needed to shut her mouth."

In a statement, Brainard has indicated he will not step down.

Linda Moran, who said she voted for Brainard, organized the April 12 rally calling for his resignation.

"I'm pleased people decided they could do something about this," Moran said at the rally that drew more than 100 men and women, both young and old. "We as a community have witnessed so many acts of violence against individuals. We need to put a stop to this."

Several people, like 65-year old Vangie Hansen, indicated it was the first time she'd ever attended a rally.

"I'm not really a protester but this was something I just could not miss. I had to be here," Hansen said.

Jane Wheeler, 82, said it was her first protest in 50 years.

Ted Warnica spoke at the gathering, saying although he had voted for Brainard, he was now calling for him to step down.

"I don't see how he could represent us when this has come to the surface," Warnica said. "I have no faith in his ability to make good decisions."

At the rally, $230 was collected for the Latimer House, a nonprofit that provides services and shelter for victims of domestic violence.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce endorsed Brainard in the recent city council election. Chamber president Diane Schwenke e-mailed the Free Press Thursday stating its position on the issue: "The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is aware of the arrest and allegations against Rick Brainard. While the allegations reported are troubling, Mr. Brainard is entitled to Due Process. We will continue to monitor the situation as it moves through the legal system."

Brainard's employer, West Star Aviation, said Brainard wasn't there Thursday and refused to say where he is or when he's coming back to work.

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 20, 2013 05:23PM Published Apr 19, 2013 01:48PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.