Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg is facing criticism from some town residents who say recent social media posts show that the mayor supports conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. …
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Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg is facing criticism from some town residents who say recent social media posts show that the mayor supports conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Screenshots taken of posts from a Parler account that describes itself as belonging to Toborg were shared on the community Facebook page "Living in Parker." The Parler account used the handle @JeffToborg, a photo of Toborg as the profile image and a description identifying the account as belonging to the "mayor-elect of the Town of Parker." Toborg was sworn in as mayor Dec. 14.
The screenshots show the account had “echoed” a post claiming the Jan. 6 violence was conducted by left-wing operatives. An "echo" on Parler is similar to a "retweet" on Twitter.
Parler is a social media platform popular with supporters of President Donald Trump. The site became unavailable in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 after its cloud-services providers decided to boot Parler from their platforms, saying the site had not been able to effectively monitor content that promoted violence.
On Jan. 8, the @JeffToborg account echoed the following post: “Pretty clear now the entire 'storming' of the Capitol was a left-wing FALSE FLAG operation…”
On Jan. 11, a Facebook group called “Recall Jeff Toborg” was created. A spokesperson for the group, who wished to remain anonymous in fear for their family's safety and retribution from "right-wing" activists, said the group was created as a "private group of concerned citizens."
Colorado Community Media contacted Toborg via text message the morning of Jan. 11. Toborg responded with a text saying he had deleted his Parler and Twitter accounts. He could not be reached for further comment after multiple attempts through phone and email.
The morning of Jan. 12, a spokesperson for the Town of Parker said Toborg "does not have a comment at this time." She provided the following statement from the town:
"The Town of Parker is nonpartisan and the work of our local government is conducted as such. We operate transparently and in the public interest and strive to ensure that our important work is done with all of our residents in mind and in support of the Parker community as a whole. While our Mayor and Town Council have personal political affiliations, those affiliations are not considered when conducting official Town business. The personal social media accounts of elected officials are not maintained or endorsed by the Town of Parker."
Town elections are officially nonpartisan. Toborg, a Republican who has often shared his conservative beliefs, was elected mayor in November after two years on town council.
The @JeffToborg account's activity on Parler, as shown in screenshots shared on the "Living in Parker" page, include posts fomenting skepticism in the COVID-19 vaccine and another echoed post comparing pro-Trump insurrectionists to the soldiers who stormed Normandy Beach during World War II. The account also echoed a post claiming the election results were fraudulent.
Shaun Sindelman, a concerned Parker citizen, said the @JeffToborg Parler posts crossed the line when he identified himself as "Parker mayor-elect."
"I feel that Mayor Toborg, as a councilmember and now as mayor, does take his political ideology and uses his position as kind of a bully pulpit," Sindelman said. "The health and safety of residents should be a concern for the town council and the mayor. To see his comments, or his beliefs about the COVID vaccine, makes me feel like he does not have the health and safety of the Town of Parker in mind.
"A lot of concerned citizens feel that they were duped."
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