Get More Smarter on Friday (Aug. 14)

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► Back-and-forth accusations continue over the massive wastewater spill into the Animas River near Silverton. As the Denver Post reports, wastewater contamination from the Gold King mine may have been nearing a tipping point even before an EPA investigation inadvertently triggered last week’s river spill:

The EPA has yet to release its work order detailing precautions the crew was to take before the Aug. 5 spill. But other documents reviewed by The Denver Post show the EPA was acting on a growing awareness that state-backed work done from 1998 to 2002 on mines around Gold King had led to worsening contamination of Animas River headwaters.

The EPA was acting at Gold King after what, in an October document, the agency deemed a “time critical” effort to try to contain the increased toxic leakage — with elevated cadmium at 35 parts per billion, lead at 60 ppb and zinc at 16,000 ppb — from the nearby Red and Bonita Mine.

► We’ve started the “The Dropout Clock” on Colorado Pols as we try to gauge which Republican candidates for President are most likely to leave the race before the Iowa caucus. Our guess is that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will be the first to go; “Republican insiders” tell Politico that they think former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the most likely candidate to fold up shop.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


► The debate over the death penalty continues to percolate in Colorado, while another state has outlawed capital punishment. As the Durango Herald reports:

On Thursday, Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled no more executions may take place in the state. A death-row inmate sentenced in 2005 had sued saying his execution is no longer legal retroactively under a state law passed in 2012 prohibiting executions.

“This state’s death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency,” wrote Justice Richard Palmer for the majority, “and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose.”

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is setting up a search committee to being the process of filling an upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court in Colorado.

► Say what you will about recreational marijuana — just don’t say that the market doesn’t exist for it to succeed. As “The Cannabist” reports:

Colorado’s monthly recreational cannabis sales topped $50 million for the first time, according to new data from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The retail pot sales figures for June 2015 also saw their largest-ever month-over-month increase, adding credibility to 2014 trends that hinted at marijuana sales spiking in Colorado tourism’s high seasons of summer and winter.

► Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is attempting an aggressive new campaign strategy where he tries to shift blame for the Iraq war to President Obama. Here’s one of many reasons why it won’t work.

Monica Mendoza of the Denver Business Journal recaps a Thursday court decision confirming that a Lakewood baker violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination act in refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

► Colorado Springs Republican Sen. Kent Lambert says he hasn’t heard of an anti-government organization called “Oath Keepers” — but that’s exactly what you would say if you were part of a secret organization. 

► The Koch-funded advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is not happy that Colorado Springs is trying to raise taxes in order to fix potholes. As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, AFP thinks Colorado Springs has plenty of money already:

Calling the AFP’s contentions “very uninformed” and bizarre,” Suthers says much of what the AFP contends is indecipherable in terms of what they’re talking about. For example, AFP recommends the city “recover $20+ million in property taxes lost by granting exclusions.”

“I think they’re talking about exemptions,” Suthers says, meaning nonprofits, churches, government agencies and the military. “If we as a city made the decision to do so [collect property taxes from those entities] we would be the only entity in the state of Colorado doing that. I don’t think for a second people would want to tax churches.” Suthers notes such a change would require a vote of the people.

► Controversy continues to surround the approval of a new Martin Marietta asphalt plant in northern Colorado.



► Colorado is redrawing its enterprise zone boundaries for the first time in 25 years. Here’s the story for the rest of us who don’t know what this means.

► Vice President Joe Biden may be considering running for President under a pledge to serve only one term.



► The Denver Broncos will play their first preseason game of the 2015 season tonight in Seattle against the Seahawks. 


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5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    I'd be tickled if churches were taxed!  You go, John!

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Sorry Alva, never ever underestimate the power of crazy coupled with genetics.  Rand ain't goin' away easy ….

  3. Has anyone reminded Sen. Gardner that his Leader isn't allowing judicial nominations to come to the floor until Obama's out of office?

  4. The Gold King mine owner blames neighboring Sunnyside mine for the leakage. Just one more bit of blame to go around.

  5. Budded says:

    Oh man, they just keep eating each other on every level of government. It's great to see, especially here in C. Springs, where the roads are 3rd world. The problem is, no matter how bad they make Suthers look, or Suthers stumbles on his own, the derps down here will just keep electing (R)s because Gawd told 'em to. 

    It's a travesty this city is so beautiful, but filled with so much ignorance.

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