CMU/PBS in Colorado: Clinton 44%, Trump 35%

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, a new poll from Colorado Mesa University and Rocky Mountain PBS today resets the presidential race in Colorado to where it was before a recent “surge” for Republican Donald Trump in a spate of early September polls–a solid lead in our state for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, leads her Republican rival, Donald Trump, by 9 percentage points in Colorado, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The poll of 540 registered Colorado voters, the first ever done by Colorado Mesa University, with Rocky Mountain PBS, also showed that Trump’s unfavorability rating of 38 percent among Colorado voters is nearly as high as Clinton’s favorability rating of 40 percent…

For the presidential race, the poll shows that Clinton holds a four-point advantage over Trump with male voters and a nine percentage-point lead with females. While the number of Democrats who favor Clinton and Republicans Trump were about the same, with about three-quarters of them favoring their party’s candidate, the split among unaffiliated voters went strongly for Clinton.

Here’s the details from CMU’s website.

In the U.S. Senate race, today’s poll shows the same double-digit lead for incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet over GOP challenger Darryl Glenn that most other polls have indicated, even while Clinton’s advantage over Trump narrowed. Turning to statewide ballot measures, the poll shows the end-of-life options proposal up by a whopping 70%, and the minimum wage increase polling at a respectable 58%. The “Raise The Bar” measure to make ballot measures harder to qualify is up by only 52%, which is troubling for its supporters given the natural tendency for ballot measures to slip in support as Election Day approaches. The “ColoradoCare” Amendment 69 measure is down heavily in this poll with 56% opposed and only 30% in favor.

Whatever caused the temporary dip in Clinton’s polling numbers in the last few week, which was undeniable being replicated in many polls here and in other battleground states, here we have evidence–in need of corroboration like any poll–that the overall trajectory of that race hasn’t really changed much.

With October almost upon us, that’s welcome news for Team Blue.

Texas Oil Industry Fights Self-Governance In Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The headline in the Denver Business Journal almost tells the story:

Colorado oil and gas industry backs tighter rules on changing constitution

But it misses the opportunity to take a deeper dive into which companies, and where they operate from, are working to “Raise the Bar” in Colorado via Amendment 71.

For that we can go to TRACER–Colorado’s campaign finance tracker, to see that the major contributor is the questionably named “Protect Colorado” (registered with the Secretary of State as Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence) set up by former Denver Post journalist Karen Crummy. 

Wow, a cool million from this innocuous-sounding group in just the last filing.

Hmmm. It seems a curious journalist might want to poke around a little more, rather than just quote Greg Brophy, as the DBJ article does:

“We’ve received funding from a whole bunch of businesses and trade groups, all of whom in the past have been subject to constitutional amendment proposals and have had to fund the defense against all these constitutional amendments,” said former state Sen. Greg Brophy, a co-chairman of the Raise the Bar campaign. 

That’s true, contributions have come from numerous special interest groups, but the majority of dollars comes from oil and gas companies, a large number of whom are not based in Colorado at all. 

Rather they are headquartered in Texas. For instance Pioneer Natural Resources of Irving Texas put in $100,000 according to company disclosures. Noble Energy (Houston Texas) has put up quite a bit of financial backing for the dubiously named “Protect Colorado.”  And Anadarko (The Woodlands Texas) has contributed millions of dollars to make it more difficult for Colorado citizens to self govern. 

It may indeed be that Colorado’s Constitution is too readily amended. However the root of that issue may not be ballot rules, but rather that the deck is stacked, it seems to many, against local communities.

The cause may be that the State Legislature and “Blue Ribbon Task Forces” fail to address a clear and present need to make sure that oil and gas operations don’t unduly impact or harm local residents.

If that is the case then “Rigging the Bar” may seem a useful tactic to the out-of-state interests that want Colorado citizens to sit down and shut up. But over time it could very likely prove to be be a losing strategy.

New Era Colorado: Young Voters To The Rescue


Student organizing group New Era Colorado is out with a new video today that’s quickly going viral with tens of thousands of views in just a few hours–the launch of their This is Why We Vote campaign to mobilize young voters for the upcoming elections:

Faced with an election which is anything but usual, New Era Colorado has launched an innovative campaign encouraging young voters to show up in large numbers this November. The campaign, This is Why We Vote, focuses on a Colorado-centered video, which puts issues firmly at the center of why young people will make their voices heard this election.

“This election shouldn’t be about a candidate’s recent gaffe; it should be about our future,” says New Era Colorado Executive Director, Lizzy Stephan. “There are some very serious issues at stake in this election, like whether we’re going to seize our last opportunity to address climate change or the fate of millions of hardworking undocumented immigrant families who don’t know what the future holds. This is what our generation cares about—this is why we vote.”

The video, which can be viewed at ThisIsWhyWeVote.org, is centered around a poem read by Toluwanimi Obiwole, a prominent spoken word artist in Colorado and Denver’s first Youth Poet Laureate. Toluwa, a previous intern at New Era Colorado, was born in Nigeria, raised in Colorado, and is currently pursuing an ethnic studies degree at the University of Colorado…

Research shows that young people are less likely to vote out of party loyalty or the appeal of a candidate, but instead vote in order to create change on the issues they care about. A line in the video “we know that protest can coexist with process” is a nod to the theme of the millennial generation generally endorsing acts of both civil disobedience as well as political participation.

Young “millennial” voters are emerging as a potentially decisive bloc in this year’s presidential elections. Despite attempts to inject a sense of “weakness” for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump in the conventional wisdom, polls focused on younger voters show Trump very weak with them.

With Trump seemingly no more able to win over young voters than any other demographic besides old white guys, the focus for GOTV messages to these voters must be one of values overcoming a natural tendency toward complacency. Cynicism among young voters in this crazy, ugly election is probably the biggest obstacle to getting them to make the effort.

We like this video for placing its message about the noise–and talking about the values that motivate us to participate in political team sports to begin with.

Oops! J. Paul Brown Trips on 527’s Yard Sign

GOP Rep. J. Paul Brown, running for re-election in Southwest Colorado’s HD-59, was delighted last month to see one of “our” yard signs on display in the district:

brownmessage

The problem with Brown referring possessively to this sign as his own are the words you can barely make out in the lower right of this photo–where the sign says it is “not authorized by any candidate or any candidate campaign.” You see, this sign isn’t from J. Paul Brown’s campaign at all! It was paid for by a 527/IE organization registered in Brighton called Restore Colorado Business. And even in today’s Citizens United free-for-all world, keeping 527s separate from actual campaigns is important. As in, you know, legally important.

We’d hate to think that Brown recognized this sign because he was illegally coordinating with an “independent” 527. On the other hand, there are no laws against stupid.

Coffman still supports dropping bilingual ballot requirement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmansmileIt’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.

So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.

One item deserves clarification.

FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:

This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.

As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.

Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.

Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.

Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But the Voting Rights Act? Coffman doesn’t think we need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.

“Really, there’s no ground game,” says Adams County GOP Chair of Trump efforts

(No, this is not good news for Republicans – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

trumpburnAfter Colorado Trump campaign director Patrick Davis said last week that Trump will rely on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican Party to mobilize voters leading up to November, a key county Republican chair said Saturday there’s no signs of any Trump ground game in Adams County, a critical battleground in our state.

ADAMS COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN, ANIL MATHAI: Honestly, I have not seen [the Trump ground game] in Adams County.
KNUS RADIO HOST CHUCK BONNIWELL: [chuckles, knowingly]
MATHAI: It’s consistent with what happened before caucus. Really, there’s no ground game. There’s no campaign here in the state. I know that [Republican donor and Colorado Statesman owner] Mr. Mizel is helping with fundraising here in Colorado. Also, I believe Mike Shanahan and Pete Coors are helping to raise major donations for Mr. Trump.
CO-HOST JULIE HAYDEN: Right.
MATHAI: So, there is activity going on. It’s going to ramp up. But honestly, there is no real solid ground game here.And that needs to be increased. And the state party, [Sate GOP Chair Steve House], I believe, is working on that.
BONNIWELL: Well, you better get to it one of these days. [laughs]
HAYDEN: I agree with you, there, too. I was worried that that was going to be your answer because, you know, just as a reporter, having covered it and sometimes seeing the difference in sort of the Democratic Party’s ground game and the Republican Party’s ground game – it seems to me it can make a big difference.
MATHAI: It can. And we expect – I expect the state party, and I believe, will set the tone on this and set the leadership on this. They’re having a unity tour for, uh, Darryl Glenn up and down the state, going to different places, here. Yeah, it starts in Larimer at, I believe, nine o’clock, and then all the way down to Pueblo County. So, they are making attempts here to make sure that we win all of our races.

Adams County is widely regarded as one of the most important counties in the state, so the total absence of a Trump ground game there in mid-July is not good for Republicans, who’ve been facing the same problem nationally, according to an Associated Press piece yesterday titled, “A lot of holes in GOP ground game in key states.” The AP reported:

“In Colorado, recent staff departures have left about two dozen employees, far short of the 80 that were to have been in place.”

Sorry, Frank McNulty: Colorado Supremes Kill Redistricting Proposal

the-original-ma-gerrymanderedAn ill-conceived (mainly) Republican effort to get a redistricting “reform” initiative on the November ballot was decisively struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court today for not one–but two–violations of the single subject requirement. As the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports:

The Colorado Supreme Court has thrown out two constitutional ballot measures that sought to change how Colorado draws its congressional and state legislative maps. But proponents of the measure vow they’ll try again in 2018.

The measures, promoted by Highlands Ranch Republican and former Speaker of the House Frank McNulty and former Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison, who ended her legislative career unaffiliated, were deemed in violation of the “single subject” rule and tossed Tuesday morning by the Court in a 4-3 decision.

The redistricting measures intended to remove the ability to draw those maps from two redistricting commissions currently established in the state Constitution and put it instead in the hands of a single 12-member nonpartisan commission. The maps are drawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census…

Rep. Frank McNulty.

Rep. Frank McNulty.

You may remember last fall when GOP operatives Frank McNulty and Alan Philp’s first draft of a redistricting ballot measure blew up in their faces because of language that would have limited minority representation in congressional redistricting. The “Initiative 55” campaign was hammered by minority groups and business leaders alike, representing organizations such as the NAACP, the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, Common Cause, ACLU, Mi Familia Vota, and Los Servicios de la Raza.

Today, the clumsily re-drafted version to draw maps for both the legislature and the commission was struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court because as many as three different subjects had been jammed into a single ballot question. In addition to their constitutional issues, this latest version never defined a “competitive” district, and never addressed what would happen if commission members couldn’t agree on final maps.

The larger problem is that the measure was written behind closed doors last fall by a narrow, self-selected group of former elected officials who never bothered to engage the public and stakeholders. Colorado’s redistricting process–now done by the state legislature–may need some changes, but certainly not by a few sore losers who were upset with the maps drawn in 2011.

Apart from lawyers who made decent money arguing for these “solution in search of a problem” ballot measures, this was a big loser for everyone involved.

Drawing and re-drawing legislative maps are some of the most far-reaching political activities in America, with a dubious historical legacy. It’s not something that a handful of well-known Republican insiders should ever be entrusted to make sweeping changes to. What’s needed is a truly diverse, bipartisan initiative with a clear plan and a clear case for support: and even then it would be a tough slog.

In the end, Frank McNulty and friends accomplished very little with this quixotic effort, though perhaps they can take credit for boosting the economic fortunes of a couple of Colorado law firms. Next time, have evidence of a problem before you try to foist a “solution” on the rest of the state.

Bernie Sanders to Supporters: Run for Office, Keep Progressive Agenda Alive

On June 16, 2016, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders  spoke to  his supporters for 25 minutes. Since I have been and am a supporter, I signed up, and took notes on the speech, the important points of which are summarized below. A video link is also included at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot of Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders speech to supporters, screenshot 6/16/16

Most of Bernie’s speech was a list of what progressive Democrats want and fought for, what we want our country to be and to do. As such, there are few surprises in the list.These are not “demands”, as we used to say in the 70s. These are the prerequisites for social and economic justice.

I didn’t expect, but was delighted by, Bernie’s call for his supporters to run for local political office: school boards, county commissioners, entry-level offices, however we can get our feet in the door. I applaud this and agree strongly. That is what it will take for real change. From the bottom up -that’s how change happens. As expected, Sanders called for the party to unify to defeat Donald Trump. He has pledged to support this effort, and will do so.

UPDATE: 6700 people responded to Bernie’s call for public service. Per Berniesanders.com, “The 6,685 supporters who expressed interest in running cover 51 percent of state house districts, 69 percent of state senate districts and every congressional district in the country.”

He called for his 1900 delegates to come in to the convention to create the most progressive platform in Democratic history, and to act on it. He called for a 50 state strategy – decrying the lack of support for Democratic candidates,  allowing right wingers to take red state governments unopposed.

He called for the Democratic National Committee to open its doors, welcome young people and working people. He called for the DNC to embrace a $15 / hour wage. He called for a party which has “the guts” to take on the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. He called for stopping the  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) –  it should not come to a vote during a lame duck session of Congress, he said. These are positions which sharply differentiate his policies from those of Hillary Clinton.

What Bernie did not say was more surprising:

  • He did not “concede” defeat in the primary election, although that was implied.
  • He did not endorse Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, although he emphasized that they have much more in common than not.
  • He included very little on foreign policy – only in points 29 and 30 below did he allude to the Department of Defense and wars abroad, and only to emphasize cutting waste in the DoD, and not to spend young people’s lives in unnecessary wars. This was primarily a domestic policy speech.
  • He didn’t talk about the drug war or marijuana legalization, although he criticized the prison industry and school-to-prison pipeline in point 27.
  • He did not call for an end to superdelegates, lobbyist contributions to the DNC. He did not say what his negotiations with rules committee would be. He did not mention today’s big news that unpopular chairwomanDebbie Wasserman Schultz is stepping aside as party chair to allow Brandon Davis to take over operations.
  • He did not mention the numerous allegations of fraud and voter suppression in the Democratic primary.

 

Here’s what the man did say:
1.    The revolution continues – like every movement for social change, civil rights, etc.
2.    In every state, we won the overwhelming majority of those under 45.
3.    We are mainstream, not a fringe movement.  Numbers. 12 million votes, 22 states, Stats on contributions, 75 million phone calls, 5 million doors, 740,000 meetings, etc. Showed that we could run a national campaign without big money contributions. Bulk of contributions came from low income and working people.
4.    In every state, we took on the entire political establishment. Senators, Reps, Governors, elected officials.
5.   6:35  This campaign has never been about any single candidate .
6.    It’s about ending income inequality. It’s about ending corrupt campaign finance by corporations. Creating an economy for all of us, not just the 1%.
7.    Ending status quo: Native American reservation low life expectancy, lower than 3rd world countries. Millions of Americans dying at a younger age than their parents: suicide, drugs, alcohol, highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialized country on earth. Ending the disgrace, undocumented people exploited on their jobs.
8.    Tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from preventable diseases, because lack health insurance, high deductibles, costly drugs.
9.    Young single mom in Nevada in tears, asking on $10/hr, How can we make it ? Millions like her.
10.    Mom in Flint, Mich. Excessive lead in water, stunted intellectual development of her child. Thousands of CA homes can’t drink tap water.
11.    Homelessness is increasing.  veterans in streets – lack of affordable housing.
12.    Corporations avoid paying a nickel in Federal taxes, stash in tax havens.
13.    6:40 Priority this year is defeating Donald Trump. Makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign.  Trump wants to give hundreds of B of $ in tax breaks to very rich, is a climate change denier.
14.    Major political task: Defeat Trump, badly. My role in that process will begin soon. But can’t be our only goal. Must continue grassroots  movement.
15.    Must take our energy in to the Dem convention in Philly with >1900 delegates. I met with Sec. Clinton.
16.    No secret HRC and I have strong disagreements, on important issues but agree on others.
17.    I will make sure that your voices are heard. Democrats will pass the most progressive platform in its history and that we actually fight for that agenda.
18.    I look forward to working with Sec. Clinton to form aparty that has the guts to take on the Pharma, Fossil Fuel industries, others.
19.    Dem party must support raising Fed. minimum wage to $15 / hr.  women .79 / vs men $1. Women must have right to control own bodies. Protect right to gay marriage.
20.    As Orlando has made clear, Ban sale and distribution of assault weapons, gun show loophole, and have instant background checks.
21.    Stop the TPP, must not come to the floor in a lame duck session.
22.    Expand Social security, not cut it.
23.    Greed, recklessness of Wall st must end. Pass a modern Glass Steagal. No more “too big to fail”.
24.    Aggressively combat climate change, impose a tax on carbon. Must protect our water supply by banning fracking.
25.    To compete effectively globally, Make public colleges tuition free reduce student debt.
26.    Join rest of industrialized world – Health care a right, not a privilege
27.    Stop incarcerating more people than any other country – Rein in prison industry, criminal justice reform.
28.    Comprehensive immigration reform for 11 M undocumented people.
29.    Cut waste in every department including Department of Defense.
30.    Can’t keep throwing young people into perpetual unnecessary wars.
31.    6:47 Revolution means more than Fight for our ideals, defeat D Trump. At every level continue to fight for our nation to be just. Current DNC leadership has turned its back on dozens of states, like red states, allowed right wing to run unopposed, we need a 50 state strategy. Must provide resources to ignored and poor states.
32.    Leadership, DNC must open its doors, welcome working people and young people. That is the energy we need to transform the Democratic party and our country. Cold hard fact. Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans.  We must Start engaging at local and state level in unprecedented way.
33.    Young people deeply concerned about country and community. Start running for office! School boards, commissioners, whatever! Be prepared to engage at that level.
34.    6:50 With energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown, we can win significant numbers of offices at down ticket level. We need new blood. You are that new blood.
35.    Government is not the enemy.(what Republicans say). I disagree. Government must protect us and our planet. But we need to attract dedicated people from all walks of life to run for office.
36.    Tens of thousands of new Dr.s, medical personnel, where people lack care.
37.    We need child care workers, teachers.
38.    We need scientists, engineers, entrepeneurs to work for renewables, efficient and cost effective as possible. Construction.
39.    Business people who respect employees and environment.
40.    Conclude: we have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America. My hope is that when historians look back and find when we began reversing the trend towards oligarchy. They see that the political revolution began in 2016. 6:53. Dark screen.

Version 1 of this diary posted at caucus99percent.com

Video available here and here

Full transcript of Sanders’ speech from Burlington Free Press

To recruit candidates, go to berniesanders.com/win

Jon Keyser’s Forgeries: The Post-Perp Walk Question Remains

Jon Keyser.

Jon Keyser.

Last night, 9NEWS aired a jailhouse interview with Maureen Moss, the petition gatherer accused of forging dozens of Republican voter signatures for petitions on behalf of Jon Keyser’s U.S. Senate campaign–what’s been arithmetically determined to be a sufficient number of forged signatures to account for the extremely small margin by which Keyser qualified the ballot in the First Congressional District.

Unfortunately for Keyser and the professional signature gatherers his campaign hired to get him on the ballot, Moss did little to clear them of ongoing questions about how her obvious forgeries were submitted by the campaign as valid signatures.

In fact, she may have made it much worse.

“I have forged signatures, yes,” Moss said.

Prosecutors allege from Feb. 24 through March 31, Moss submitted at least 34 forged signatures to her employer, Denver-based Black Diamond Outreach, which then submitted them to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser’s campaign.

Jefferson and Arapahoe County prosecutors worked with Denver deputy district attorneys for a unitary prosecution in Denver District Court…

After Jon Keyser’s on-camera meltdown when confronted about alleged forged petitions by Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger in mid-May, the campaign belatedly switched messages from repeating the words “I’m on the ballot” to distancing themselves from the people and companies they hired to conduct the petition drive. It’s a defense that would have been far better for Keyser if he had had the presence of mind to offer it immediately–instead of going into hiding for days followed by that disastrous first appearance. Obviously, the apologists would say, Keyser’s campaign didn’t know this lady was forging signatures. Right?

Well, as Maureen Moss tells us from jail and her former employers corroborate, that’s not so simple. At all.

Arrest records say Moss’s employers “noticed something fishy with the M’s” on her petitions “approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the campaign.”

…Black Diamond Outreach told investigators they weren’t “able to fire her after Ms. Moss denied twice, she didn’t do anything wrong, so she continued collecting signatures for the Keyser campaign.” [Pols emphasis]

Moss was fired May 11, the day after media reports surfaced indicating at least some signatures were fake.

Do you understand what is being admitted to here? Keyser’s signature gathering outfit detected Moss’ fraud halfway through the campaign. We shouldn’t have to remind readers that this was really obvious fraud, with Moss making no attempt to change up her handwriting or anything else to make these forgeries appear unique.

And yet the Keyser campaign took her word that these obviously forged signatures were genuine.

Herein lies the problem. Keyser’s campaign barely submitted enough “valid” signatures to qualify for the ballot, only clearing the margin of sufficiency in CD-1 by 20 signatures. We know now that the Secretary of State does not verify petition signatures in the manner that mail ballot signatures are verified. We didn’t know that until this scandal broke.

But we’d bet money that Black Diamond Outreach knew.

In a situation where you know you are very tight on the margin of signatures needed, and you know the Secretary of State doesn’t check petition signatures for forgery, and you’re faced with a petition gatherer who has obviously forged petition signatures you know will probably pass muster…

Sorry, folks. The questions will not end with Maureen Moss’ perp walk.

PUC Hearings Slated on Xcel’s Solar-Killing Proposals

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Thursday, June 9, in Denver, and on June 16 in Grand Junction, Colorado’s Public Utility Commission will hear public comment from 4-6 p.m.about Xcel Energy’s new rate proposal.

solar panels in colorado

Solar Panels in Colorado -photo courtesy of the Sierra Club of Colorado.

The Sierra Club of Colorado is inviting public comment about the proposals, and asking supporters to meet early (at 3:15  pm) for a press event on the west steps of the Capitol, then walk with signs to 1560 Broadway to picket and to speak at the hearing. Sierra Club’s invitation reads:

Xcel’s new proposal called “our energy future” is moving in the wrong direction. It adds fees that negatively impact our families and communities – whether they have solar or not – and places corporate profit over the public interest.

Xcel tried unsuccessfully to drive solar competition out of Colorado from 2013-2015 by proposing an end to Net Metering. After a long consideration process and multiple hearings Colorado sent the signal to continue with net metering.

The Sierra Club is referring to Xcel’s second proposal:

Establishing a “grid charge” to recover distribution system costs for residential and commercial customers. The company is proposing to assess graduated charges that increase with a customer’s average use over their past 12 billing periods.

This proposal would charge solar customers a “grid charge” to penalize them for having the gall to install solar panels, which feed energy back into the electrical grid. They would like solar customers to pay extra for the privilege of generating their own power.

Xcel’s “Solar Connect” program is the same program which was rejected by the PUC in 2014. In 2014, Solar Industry called the proposal “Sleight of billing,” in which customers would have been billed for more solar power than was actually produced. Xcel’s own spin on the program somehow neglects to mention this aspect.

What happens when a utility gets to charge solar customers extra for installing solar:

The Pueblo Paws4Life no-kill animal shelter found out when they tried to be a Leeds Green building, and installed 234 solar panels on their roof.  Black Hills Energy(BHE) had a dual rate structure for solar installations, with some sneaky fine print in the contract. The shelter was a commercial installation, and so had to pay a “demand fee” to BHE.

Carol Warner, President of Paws4life, recounted what happened when the “demand fee” kicked in. The shelter’s utility bills rocketed to $12,000 per month, even though they were generating most of it from their own solar panels. The “demand fee” charges commercial consumers a rate consistent with their highest peak use. Paws4Life began to struggle just to keep the doors open.

BHE  has been no friend to solar in the Pueblo area, and many companies are going out of business.  BHE also has some of the highest utility rates in Colorado, and a bad reputation for price – gouging customers.

Rural Electric Associations across the state often have a confusing dual rate structure for solar, leading rural customers to erroneously believe that “solar costs more”. They do this because the PUC allows them to get away with it.

Communities across Colorado are letting the PUC know that they support renewable energy –  with mixed results:

Solar advocates in Weld County successfully defeated a proposed ordinance which would have prohibited  solar installations on agricultural land. (Fracking was still allowed on ag land, though). This happened after massive community protest of the BCCC’s original solar-killing proposal.

The PUC is also considering the city of Boulder’s planned  intervention in Xcel’s wind farm proposal. Boulder is trying to municipalize its electrical utilities; so the planned wind facility would be one they would try to purchase, if successful.

Governor Hickenlooper appointed a GOP lawmaker with ties to ALEC to the PUC. There was massive public protest, and Vaad was never confirmed by the Colorado legislature. Hick reappointed Vaad anyway.

Show your support of renewable energy. Let the Public Utility Commission know that we will not allow Xcel Energy to kill the solar energy industry in Colorado.

For more information, contact the sponsors of the press event and public input at the PUC hearing:

Alliance for Solar Choice, which advocates for rooftop distributed solar across the country

And Sierra Club  of Colorado.

Punting Ryan Frazier

Round and round and round he goes...

Round and round and round he goes…

There are five Republican names on the June 28th Primary ballot. We still don’t know if all of them are official candidates.

Jack Graham, Robert Blaha, and Darryl Glenn are on the ballot and any votes they receive will almost certainly be counted. Jon Keyser is on the ballot (no, really, just ask him), but there are so many problems with his petition signatures that it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was ultimately forced to withdraw from the race before the election.

And then there’s Ryan Frazier. The Secretary of State’s office originally ruled that Frazier did not submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the Primary ballot. Frazier then filed a lawsuit in a Denver court to get his name on the ballot anyway; with the deadline to print ballots looming, a judge ruled that Frazier could remain on the ballot under the condition that if he loses, he must withdraw from the race. Confused? Check out this story from the Grand Junction Sentinel on Sunday for more background.

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued an “opinion” on Frazier’s legal challenge that basically amounted to another punt. The Supreme Court “ruled” that 49 more signatures for Frazier should be counted…but then kicked the case back to a lower court. So it looks like the Frazier case will go back to a courtroom where a judge couldn’t make a decision in the first place. Good times!

If we’ve learned anything from the last month of political Primary ballot football, it’s that judges in Colorado don’t want anything to do with any of these questions. This is not very helpful, since asking for guidance from the Secretary of State’s office is like giving money to a fortune teller on the 16th Street Mall.  

Ballots for the June 28th Primary are supposed to be arriving in voters’ mailboxes in about two weeks. Ryan Frazier still doesn’t even know if he is really a candidate. This is beyond absurd. 

Sucks To Be Wayne Williams

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank:

“In retrospect we could have done a better job on the review of the individual lines and I think we all admit that,” said Judd Choate, the elections director in the secretary of state’s office. “And that’s why we are trying to develop better policies.”

At the same time, state election officials acknowledged that the scope of the controversy involving forged signatures is still unknown. The secretary of state’s office has not yet conducted a review of other petitions submitted by the same collector who submitted the questionable signatures for Keyser. [Pols emphasis]

“We haven’t looked at it,” Choate said.

“We haven’t looked at it.” That’s encouraging. Maybe the Secretary of State’s office can get around to doing their job later this summer.

—–

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The office of Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams held a press conference today, to respond to this week’s shocking update in the ongoing scandal over forged petition signatures submitted on behalf of Senate candidate Jon Keyser: the revelation that Williams’ office was made aware of a deceased voter who had “signed” Keyser’s petition over a month ago, weeks before a local liberal group exposed the initial forgeries on May 3. As the Aurora Sentinel’s Chris Harrop reports:

Judd Choate, state election director in the Secretary of State’s office, addressed an array of questions Thursday, May 19, over the petition process after U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyer’s campaign became embroiled in a controversy over forged signatures discovered on his petitions.

One signature in particular — that of Judy DeSantis, who died in January — was found on Keyser’s petition, dated March 28. An elections worker was notified of the anomaly in April, but the issue was not brought to the attention of Secretary of State Wayne Williams until Tuesday, May 17.

“Under state law we are permitted to evaluate the content of a signature … we are not permitted under state law to compare signatures,” Choate told reporters, explaining that the reporting procedures at the time did not call for checking the date of the signature against the date of the voter’s death.

“We would have no reason to believe they have done anything wrong here,” Choate said, later adding that “the assumption was that they had died after signing the petition.”

liarliarkeyserReaders will be pleased to learn that the Secretary of State’s office is moving to correct this rather stupefying gap in their signature verification process for petitions. Again, what we’re talking about is routine verification of a voters’ identity and valid signature that already occurs with actual ballots–just not with petition signatures. We know exactly what needs to be done to catch fraud like the forgeries in Keyser’s petitions, it simply wasn’t done due to the “cost and effort” involved. And because, well, the law didn’t say the Secretary of State had to.

From there, things got a bit more defensive:

As to the larger issue of signature verification, Choate said that his office is prohibited by law from taking that step while some county elections officials — such as those in Denver — have implemented signature verification under their county charters.

“It would require a change in law, we would need a statutory change … we have very, very limited authority to pursue someone for a violation like this,” Choate said.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels added that the office does not have criminal prosecutorial authority. The forgery complaints to date have been referred to the Denver and Jefferson County district attorneys, respectively.

The problem is, the Secretary of State’s office is not who referred the overwhelming majority of evidence to prosecutors–a “liberal attack group” did that. The only item “referred” to investigators by Williams’ office to our knowledge was the deceased voter they reportedly knew about for a month, and we seriously doubt we would have ever heard about that were it not for the larger scandal. Excepting that action the Secretary of State’s office has mostly outright defended Jon Keyser, making assumptions about the case that investigators have in no way determined, and reaffirming with a shrug that Keyser is “on the ballot” regardless of any evidence of fraud that has been or might be uncovered.

In short, Williams has done very little to help resolve this situation, and a great deal to make it worse. He made it worse though his own ill-advised defense of Keyser, coupled with the belated admission his office failed: not just to catch these forgeries, but to heed warnings about forgeries and even dead voters coming from their own workers looking at Keyser’s petitions. And we can’t help but wonder what else may be out there we don’t yet know.

Everyone needs to do better next time, starting with the Secretary of State.

Who Hasn’t Jon Keyser Blamed For His Forged Petitions?

Jon Keyser.

Jon Keyser.

An hilarious press release from the Colorado Democratic Party spokesman Chris Meagher today seems comprehensive, but you never know:

Denver, Colorado – Remember when Jon Keyser himself said that “we double and triple checked our petition signatures”? Well, it seems like he’s unwilling to take personal responsibility for what happens in his own campaign, even after revelations that the Secretary of State’s office was informed about potential forgeries a month ago.

Since it has been easy to lose track of everyone and everything Jon Keyser has blamed for his campaign’s submission of forged signatures to qualify for the ballot (it seems only his dog Duke escapes blame), we decided to compile a helpful list. One person in particular though is conspicuously missing from the list—himself:

List of everyone Keyser has blamed for his signature snafu:

Employee of a subcontractor of a company of a company his campaign hired

Mitchell (Marshall?) Zelinger

Democrats

“the media”

Sinfulness

ProgressNow Colorado

He’s on the ballot

He’s taking the bark off Michael Bennet

George Soros

Anyone but himself“Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser said Tuesday he won’t quit his campaign if it’s found his primary bid was marred by fraudulent petitions to get him onto the ballot.”

Hey, they missed George Soros! Oh wait, no they didn’t. It’s worth nothing, with the possible exception of blaming Michael Bennet and liberal attack groups, that this string of excuses from Jon Keyser’s campaign over allegations of petition fraud has mostly come in just the past few days that Keyser has been willing to discuss the subject at all. And even as Keyser has begrudgingly acknowledged the seriousness of the situation, he continues to throw shade at the “liberal media” as if he hadn’t acknowledged anything.

Putting it all together like this really helps show how Keyser has flailed away with excuses instead of taking what everybody wanted to see: on ounce of responsibility, for forgeries that appear to have directly helped qualify Keyser–and just barely at that–for the 2016 U.S. Senate primary ballot. Had he done so immediately and forthrightly, we might be having a very different conversation today. But after two weeks of some of the worst press we have ever seen in Colorado politics, it’s too late for that now.

As much as the crime itself, Keyser’s refusal to take ownership of this scandal is what killed him.

Keyser says “liberal media is not going to give up”

(It’s kind of pathetic – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jon Keyser.

Jon Keyser.

U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser has proven to be a horrible media critic, threatening a reporter with his dog and saying the media is out to get him, without offering any evidence for his anger. In fact, I can’t identify a single question from reporters that’s been unfair to Keyser or unreasonable given the facts on the table.

If anyone doubts this, I offer the following exchange between Keyser and KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, beginning at 28:50 May 18 Hour 2 here.

Caplis: Obviously you’ve been getting a lot of questions over the way you handled an interview with a particular reporter from Channel 7. Give folks your perspective of that conversation through your eyes.

Keyser: The interview that you’re talking about, it actually took place during the middle of a debate. We were in a debate, a candidate debate. We took a five-minute stretch-your-legs break, and then of course this guy  [Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger] came and shoved a camera in my face. We were in the middle of the debate!

You know, I think it takes a lot of discipline to stick you your guns and say, ‘Here’s what I know. I know that I’m on the ballot. The Secretary of State has looked at that. A judge has looked at that again and again.’

And it takes a lot of discipline to not give the left what they want, which is — it’s not the 24-hour news cycle anymore–it’s something that will feed into the 24-minute news cycle.

They wanted me to misspeak, or they wanted to have me say something that they could run with or that would hurt me later. But I was focused on not stoking that fire, because, frankly, that is a very serious thing. And we wanted to make sure that we had the truth, that we knew exactly what happened. And that takes a little while sometimes. Now that doesn’t satisfy 24-minute news cycle.

But, you know, I think it was important that I stood in there, and frankly, we got to have a Republican who can stand there and take the punches, because the liberal media is not going to give up. They are not going to give me a free pass. That’s for sure. So, I’ve got to be able to stay on message, stay disciplined and be able to take the punches. And I’ve shown again and again that I can. I’ve answered more questions in the four months that I’ve been running for the United States Senate than Michael Bennet has in 4 years…

Caplis: This reporter who went to your home during the day?

Keyser: Yeah, certainly I think there are boundaries. And like any dad, I’m protective of my family. And if it seemed in that interview that I was agitated or somewhat upset, it’s because I was! It’s because I’m a dad. I’m very protective.  He scared my kids. My baby cried for another hour after they left. Nobody’s jumping out of Michael Bennet’s bushes to ask him questions.

Keyser is correct. The media isn’t going to give up. Why should it, when it’s just doing its job?

BREAKING: Keyser Breaks Silence…Badly

Jon Keyser.

Jon Keyser.

After nearly two weeks since a scandal over forged petitions broke in Denver media, embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser gave an extended interview to the Denver Post’s John Frank that went up a short while ago:

The former state lawmaker blamed an employee hired by a canvassing firm connected to his campaign and suggested the issue will not hurt his once-promising bid because he collected more than enough voter signatures to qualify for the race.

“It appears, in fact, that some of those signatures were turned in in an improper manner and that’s a very, very serious thing,” Keyser said in an exclusive interview with The Denver Post two weeks after questions enveloped his campaign. “It’s an extremely serious allegation. I think that speaks to why I was very measured and very disciplined in talking about this.” [Pols emphasis]

By “very disciplined,” we assume he means repeating the words “I’m on the ballot” over and over again while claiming the whole business is a Democratic plot. Repeating those words thirteen times between the Thursday debate and his confrontation with Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger during a break has become by orders of magnitude Keyser’s biggest-ever press hit–far bigger than the original shock that he had initially missed the ballot before his court challenge got him restored.

Meanwhile, Zelinger reports today on increasing law enforcement activity on the case:

On Monday, investigators with multiple District Attorneys offices met to discuss complaints received from voters who said they did not sign petitions for Keyser.

Two voters contacted the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County to complain about their signatures being forged.

Denver7’s online list of petition signers has reportedly produced many more tips to that news station, as well as the independent contacts by voters who found their names on that list to the Arapahoe County District Attorney. Sources tell us that the Denver DA’s office is taking the lead in the active investigation into the Keyser campaign’s alleged petition fraud, working with the Jeffco and Arapahoe DAs. Speaking to the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning Friday, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler sounds pretty serious about prosecuting:

“It is illegal to forge a name on a nominating petition that is filed with the State of Colorado,” Bruachler told The Statesman. “Under Colorado law,” he said, citing C.R.S. 1-13-106, “any person who ‘forges any name of a person as a signor or witness to a petition or nomination paper’ commits the crime of forgery,” which is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. In certain cases, he noted, the potential prison time could increase to six years.

“We consider forgery of candidate petitions to be a serious matter that we would diligently investigate if an instance of it occurring in this judicial district was brought to our attention, and we will prosecute those cases where there is sufficient evidence,” Brauchler continued. “We encourage any persons with knowledge of this or any other election offense occurring in the 18th Judicial District to report it to us. If it happened outside of this judicial district, we encourage citizens to report violations to the appropriate District Attorney’s office.”

Looks like that’s happening all over the place, folks. The political questions and now criminal investigations into whether Keyser qualified for the ballot due to fraud have effectively ended Keyser’s U.S. Senate bid, helped in no small part by his worst-case-scenario initial reaction to them. But even as Keyser finally admits after nearly two weeks that he indeed has a serious problem, albeit taking no responsibility for it, he defends the part of the story that might have done as much to off-put potential supporters as the petition fraud. It certainly helped made him the butt of nationwide jokes. Frank:

Asked why he invoked his 165-pound Great Dane, Duke, in an interview with a local TV reporter — a comment some found menacing — Keyser pushed back.

He said the reporter crossed a line by knocking on the door of his home to request an interview in the middle of the afternoon.

“Like any father, I was upset that my privacy was invaded at my house while I wasn’t there,” he said.

The problem with this, of course, is that it’s totally ridiculous. Marshall Zelinger has reported that his attempts to contact Keyser for days to get a response were fruitless–and that the address given by the campaign went to a rental mailbox. After trying the state GOP and other intermediaries without success, Zelinger did what any reporter on a hot story would do. He knocked on Keyser’s door.

That is not an invasion of privacy. That does not rise to the level of threatening a reporter with your dog. If you don’t agree, the thing we would suggest to ensure you are not likely to be contacted by a reporter is this simple.

Do not run for the United States Senate.