Search Results for: pugliese

Rose Pugliese for County Attorney, or SOS, or Whatever

FRIDAY UPDATE: Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms what we first reported on Thursday: Rose Pugliese withdrew her name from consideration for the Mesa County Attorney position:

In a letter of withdrawal sent on Tuesday, Pugliese told Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Scott McInnis that she’s not yet done with politics. As a result, she is not ready to take a bureaucratic position where she isn’t supposed to be political.

“Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you as a finalist for the Mesa County Attorney position,” Pugliese wrote in a letter of withdrawal from consideration. “Upon much deliberation and prayer, I realized that at this point in my life, my passion lies in my political work, and I am not ready yet to put that work aside. The county attorney needs to possess political savvy without being political. Therefore, I withdraw my name from consideration.”

This would also seem to confirm our original point: That Pugliese is focused on running for Secretary of State in 2022.


Rose Pugliese (current title pending)

As we had previously reported in this space, the endlessly-ambitious former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is seeking the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in 2022. From what we hear, Pugliese recently moved to Colorado Springs in part to make it easier to seek statewide office by being geographically closer to the majority of voters and potential donors.

Unless Pugliese is about to become the new Mesa County Attorney in Grand Junction.

Stick with us, because this story is a bit messy…

Pugliese has long been mentioned as a potential “rising star” in the Republican Party. In September 2019, The Denver Post featured Pugliese along with failed SD-27 candidate Suzanne Staiert Taheri and State Sen. Kevin Priola as three Republicans who could “save the Colorado GOP from obscurity.”

Pugliese has positioned herself as a champion of right-wing issues like Climate Change denial and blind obedience to the oil and gas industry, and her extracurricular political activities have kept her name in the mix in GOP circles for other jobs (Pugliese finished her second term as Mesa County Commissioner in January). In 2020, Pugliese was one of the main organizers of a failed effort to overturn a Colorado law that seeks to award the state’s electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who wins the National Popular Vote.

Pugliese was rumored to be on the short list of potential running mates for 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton (former State Rep. Lang Sias was ultimately awarded that turd of a prize). In 2019, Pugliese registered a campaign committee to run for a state senate seat in SD-07…in 2022. Pugliese terminated that committee on February 22, 2021, which was probably a good idea since she no longer lived in the district; public records show that Pugliese purchased a home in Colorado Springs in October 2020, and on January 5, 2021, she officially changed her voter registration to that same address. This move was not a secret: She penned a thank you letter to Mesa County citizens that ran in The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in December 2020 in which she noted her plans to relocate to Colorado Springs (the bio on her website also lists her as a resident of Colorado Springs).

Now, here’s where things get weird. On Sunday The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that the Mesa County Board of Commissioners was struggling to defend its decision to announce Pugliese as THE SOLE FINALIST for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which [checks map] is nowhere near Colorado Springs. That decision came only after previous finalists apparently failed to impress someone, as the Sentinel explains:

On Feb. 15 the commissioners publicly announced that they had chosen Atencio and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Lee Springer as the two finalists. Atencio has been with the county attorney’s office for a decade, while Springer has worked in the DA’s office for more than a dozen years.

Commissioners then formally interviewed Atencio and Springer in separate close-door sessions on March 16, but three days after that the application process was reopened, which was announced with little fanfare and no comments during a regular commissioners’ meeting.

The second round was intended to increase the applicant pool, resulting in six additional people applying, including Pugliese…

…The following Monday, Pugliese was named the sole finalist.

Pugliese acknowledged her role in this process in an interview with the Sentinelin which she noted again that she had already moved to Colorado Springs:

Pugliese told The Daily Sentinel that she didn’t apply during the first round primarily because she had recently moved to Colorado Springs with her two young children, and was starting a new job there in the law offices of Wegener, Scarborough & Lane, where she is of counsel along with Willett working on estate planning and business development for municipal and county outsourced work.

Headline from Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial (4/11/21)

It’s also worth noting that the law firm of Wegener, Scarborough, and Lane lists Pugliese as a staff attorney, which is a job she could not have held prior to January on account of the fact that she was still a Mesa County Commissioner. Anyway, Pugliese was supposed to have her final interview for the Mesa County Attorney job on Monday. But from what we hear, Pugliese instead withdrew her name as a candidate for the position.

Perhaps Pugliese’s name is out of the mix for County Attorney because of public criticism (on Sunday, the editorial board of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel blasted the decision to name Pugliese as the sole finalist). Maybe Pugliese finally realized that a daily commute from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction would be a nightmare. Or…it’s possible that Pugliese figures that this sort of dysfunction is exactly the sort of thing that would endear her to a GOP base that remains devoted to Donald Trump. Support Rose Pugliese for Secretary of State, or she’ll do something else!

Rose Pugliese, Mesa County Commissioner Candidate, Came to Bagels

There is a group that meets every Friday morning in a back room at Main Street Bagels to discuss current affairs. Although the group has members from both major political parties, they tend to be progressive in their thinking about issues. They also tend to express themselves frequently in letters to the editor. Because of their visibility in the community, most politicians and city and county department heads eventually show up to present their point of view.

This group is extremely well informed and well educated. I always feel as though the group IQ goes down when I enter the room. I am one of the few people in the group without an advanced degree in my profession. The members of the group include nuclear physicists, chemical engineers, marketing gurus, college math professors, small business owners, newspaper columnists…

The group tends to take no prisoners when a position is presented that is based in ideology instead of fact. They delight in telling how State Senator Steve King walked out when he was grilled about health care. They scorn at the ineptitude of Kelly Sloan, a Canadian, when it comes to describing economic issues.

Yesterday, Rose Pugliese came to Main Street Bagels. She knew about the group’s reputation before she came. Kudos to Rose–for being willing to walk into a room full of progressives and answer their questions, which she did for a full two hours. At the end of the two hours a member, who is an ex-pharmaceutical company executive and a naturalized citizen originally from England, informed Rose that he was reserving his vote because she had not convinced him that she knew enough to be a county commissioner. Later, in a facebook post, a chemical engineer made this comment, “She came across to me as an uninformed, empty vessel, who will probably be filled by Janet Rowland, and her main advisor, Rick Wagner.”

Rose is a very nice young woman. I met her when I was running against Steve King and she was working on his campaign. He and I had multiple debates, and she was always in attendance. We usually have friendly greetings when we see each other. She gave me a hug when she entered the room, and knowing that I’m about to go into chemo-therapy, mentioned that she makes an awesome baked ziti.

Rose is an attorney, who worked hard to get that degree. She understands that keeping her license to practice law is dependent upon the highest ethical standards. She speaks the Republican mantra of fewer regulations and no new taxes. When pushed on the question of which county regulations she would eliminate, she mentioned the county land use code.

She wanted our group to know that she had never endorsed the teaching of evolution in our schools, despite the community’s perception that she had. She also said she believes in climate change, but questions the element that blames it on humans.

I think Rose’s biggest surprise came when she learned that the oil and gas industry has been subsidized for decades, and that there has not been one drop of oil produced from oil shale that wasn’t done with the benefit of huge government subsidies. It was especially poignant watching her realize that the people telling her that there is no commercially viable technology to produce oil shale are people who have actually worked in the industry as chemical engineers, both here and in Saudi Arabia. One strongly delivered comment from a former industry scientist was that we’d be mining vanadium on the back side of the moon before we’d be producing oil from oil shale on the Roan Plateau.

It was suggested that after decades of subsidy, and after becoming the most profitable industry on the planet, it was time to cut the oil and gas industry off from the spigot of government money. It was further suggested that if the US truly wants energy security we should be providing those subsidies to emerging technologies, so that we can lead the world in technologies that will replace our dependence on oil imports with renewable energy. Rose honestly said that she had never thought about it from that perspective. I’m sure that’s true, current county commissioners have sold their soul to the company store, and that’s the company she keeps.

Bottom line, Rose is a very nice and well intentioned young woman. She really wants her child to be raised in an environment where it is possible to spend a family-Sunday picking apples on a neighboring farm. Her head, unfortunately, has been filled with Republican talking points and very little scientific based fact. To her credit, she indicated she would like to do some research on the topics discussed over her two hours with us, and come back again in three-weeks.

County demographics are such that Rose will probably win the seat she is seeking. I am supporting the Democratic candidate, Dave Edwards, who is running in the same race, but it would be a real upset if Dave won. Rose walked away with the nomination at the Republican County Assembly. She appears to have the support of “reasonable” Republicans, the local Tea Party and even the emotional and out-of control Marjorie Haun, aka Reagan Girl. She is eager to please and even willing to listen to a bunch of curmudgeons hanging out in a bagel shop.

It is my personal opinion that she is not seasoned enough to be a county commissioner.

For the record, Dave Edwards also came to Bagels one Friday morning.

Everything is Going Great in Douglas County!

Douglas County Board of Commissioners George Teal, Lora Thomas, and Abe Laydon

At the end of last week, we noted in this space that the Douglas County Commissioners were uniformly declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic had ended, despite, you know, facts and evidence and stuff. Commissioner Abe Laydon was particularly tone-deaf in comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to The Emperor’s New Clothes.

This week, The Denver Post reported that Douglas County Commissioners had fired a representative of the Tri-County Board of Health for “creating distrust” in the county. Marsha Jaroch was canned because she disagrees with the DougCo Commissioners’ weird obsession with getting rid of the Tri-County Board of Health because they are mad that the organization wanted people wear masks so as not to spread COVID-19 (and before you ask…yes, that does seem like a prudent thing for a BOARD OF HEALTH to recommend).

But as The Douglas County News-Press reports, this is just the tip of the rapidly-melting iceberg in this cesspool of local Republican politics:

Infighting has broken out among Douglas County commissioners after the board chair was stripped of that title and the members began lobbing accusations at each other.

The conflict began after Commissioner Lora Thomas posted to her personal website that she was removed from her position as the board’s chair by her fellow two commissioners.

In the April 21 post, Thomas said Commissioners Abe Laydon and George Teal voted during a Monday, April 19 work session meeting to remove her as chair.

The county’s board chair serves as the public representative and leader of the board, according to the county’s policy for commissioners. They preside over meetings and decide agendas. Normally, the chair and vice chair are selected on a rotating basis based on district, according to the policy.

In many counties, the position of “board chair” is a largely ceremonial role that transfers from one elected official to the next every year or two. The role of “board chair” might be more significant in Douglas County, although that probably depends on who you ask.

Commissioner Lora Thomas, who has been openly discussing a 2022 bid for Congress in CO-6, told Colorado Community Media that she was being targeted because of her gender, before breathlessly claiming that she is “trying to save the future of Douglas County.” Almost as an afterthought, Thomas makes vague accusations that Laydon and fellow Commissioner George Teal are pursuing “big government plans” that will harm the County’s finances.

Here’s what Laydon told The News-Press in response:

Unfortunately, Lora Thomas’ egregious abuse of power and willful deceit to advance her political self-interests over the interests of the county represents an ongoing and well-documented pattern of behavior over several years that cannot be further tolerated by the citizens we serve.

Things came to a head last week after Thomas tried to pick fights with another local municipality in a fairly obvious effort to build her Twitter “brand” and raise her own name ID. While it’s tough to choose a side in this spat without having more information, it’s worth noting that Thomas has a history of not getting along with other public officials in Douglas County.

To be fair, Douglas County Republicans aren’t normally known to be dealing from a full deck, but this is silly even by their standards. Maybe there’s a new ingredient in Coors beer or something, because it sure seems that right-wing politicians are melting down in Colorado everywhere you look.

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 16)

Happy World Voice Day. Please yell out responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 


The Indianapolis Star reports on yet another mass shooting in the United States, this one at a FedEx distribution site in Indianapolis:

Officers arrived to a “chaotic and active” crime scene, according to IMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Craig McCartt.

Eight people, plus the suspected gunman, were found dead in and around the facility. It’s believed the shooter died by suicide shortly before police arrived.

McCartt said at a Friday morning news conference that the shooter arrived at the building and began “randomly” firing in the parking lot — with no confrontation or argument before the shooting started. He then went inside the building and continued shooting. Four people were found dead outside and four were found dead inside.


► Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks, the “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery,” continues to press his case as the biggest asshole in the Colorado legislature. Hanks attempted to give lawmakers a history lesson on Thursday and warmed up with a really tasteless joke. From 9News:

Hanks (R-Penrose) falsely alleged that the three-fifths compromise was not “impugning anybody’s humanity” while debating a civics education bill on the House floor Thursday.

“The three-fifths compromise, of course, was an effort by non-slave states … to try and reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had,” Hanks said. “It was not impugning anybody’s humanity.”

This comment was preceded by another where he referenced being mistakenly called up as Rep. Mike Lynch (R-Wellington).

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say … no, just kidding,” Hanks said.

Hanks’ ridiculous comments earned him national headlines.


Let’s check in on more state legislative news:

The House of Representatives approved the annual state budget bill despite a few mindless protests from Republican lawmakers.

A bill that would reduce sentencing requirements for felony murder convictions is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. On Thursday, Gov. Polis signed into law a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse more time to bring civil lawsuits against perpetrators.

Lawmakers are considering making significant changes to admission requirements for colleges and universities.

A new law will give formerly incarcerated people with firefighting experience more opportunities to return to the firefighting profession.

Legislation that would have required ski resorts to provide more transparency about injuries on the slopes died in committee.

Pueblo County is opposing a proposal to speed up the process of reducing harmful emissions in Colorado.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel voices support for the “Colorado Option” healthcare plan being debated in the state legislature.


The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms a story first reported here at Colorado Pols about former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese withdrawing her name from consideration as Mesa County Attorney…which probably has something to do with the fact that Pugliese wants to run for Secretary of State and now lives in Colorado Springs.


 Republican Qaucus leaders were the ONLY two Members of Congress to vote NO on a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood used in bone marrow transplants. Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene represented the “2” in the 415-2 vote in favor of H.R. 941.



More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…



The Big Line: 2022

NOTE: Percentages reflect Colorado Pols’ estimated chances of winning in the 2022 General Election in ColoradoNumbers are not intended to estimate final margin of victory.

*Indicates incumbent

LAST UPDATE: June 9, 2021



(D) Michael Bennet* (70%)↑
Bennet would be the first U.S. Senator from Colorado to seek a third term in office since Gordon Allott in 1966.

(R) Eli Bremer (10%)
Former El Paso County GOP Chairman is thus far about the only Republican to even be expressing interest in a U.S. Senate campaign.

(R) Steve Reams (10%)
Conservative Republicans think the Weld County Sheriff could be a contender for…something. Reams would also be a likely candidate in CO-04 if Buck moves along.

(R) Darryl Glenn (10%)
Glenn was the Republican Senate nominee in 2016 when Bennet was re-elected. He may be hoping that lightning can strike twice.

(R) Erik Aadland (5%)
He’s only been a registered Republican voter in Colorado for a few months, but he officially filed to run for U.S. Senate.


(R) Ken Buck (OFF)
Buck didn’t bother keeping up the charade for very long.



(D) Jared Polis* (70%)↑
Polis was elected by an 11-point margin in 2018. In 2020, Joe Biden carried Colorado by 13 points and John Hickenlooper won a Senate race by about 10. There’s little reason to think Polis won’t cruise to another term in 2022.

(R) Heidi Ganahl (20%)↓
Ganahl is almost certainly running for Governor in 2022. If she hopes to have any success, she’ll need to keep her feet out of her mouth.

(R) Kevin Priola (10%)
Priola lands here — for now — because he is one of the few Republican success stories in Colorado over the the past two election cycles. He’s also term-limited after winning re-election to the State Senate in 2020.

(R) Greg Lopez (10%)
Lopez got about 13% of the vote in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, and about a year later he announced that he planned to run again in 2022. If his 2022 bid gets any traction, Lopez will have to explain why he violated conflict of interest rules when he served as district director in Colorado for the Small Business Association.

(R) Bob Beauprez (10%)
Beauprez ran for Governor in 2006 and 2014. If you’re graphing it out, then 2022 is Beauprez time once again.

(R) Cory Gardner (1%)
We’re including Gardner here mostly to make it clear that there is virtually no chance he might run for Governor in 2022. Any idle speculation about a potential Gardner run is not coming from anyone close to Gardner.



(D) Phil Weiser* (60%)
Weiser turned a lot of heads as a first-time candidate in 2018. He’ll be even better in 2022.

(R) Jason Dunn (40%)
Dunn is currently the U.S. Attorney in Colorado and will be out of a job after Joe Biden becomes President (although these appointments can take forever to come through). Of all the potential Republican candidacies on this list, Dunn for AG is the most logical fit.



(D) Dave Young* (60%)
Young’s biggest task might be in convincing Democrats to pay attention here.



(D) Jena Griswold* (60%)
Griswold was the biggest surprise of the 2018 cycle. She’ll be a top target for Republicans in 2022.

(R) Rose Pugliese (20%)
Former Mesa County Commissioner has long carried other ambitions…if she can figure out which one to pursue.

(R) Merlin Klotz (10%)↓
Douglas County Clerk and Recorder is likely focusing his sights at another County-level run.




(D) Diana DeGette* (95%)↑
DeGette is now longest-serving federal elected official in Colorado history.



(D) Joe Neguse* (95%)
You’re going to read this refrain a lot, but it’s true: Barring major redistricting changes, Neguse is perfectly safe.

(R) Casper Stockham (5%)
We don’t have any reason to think Stockham might run here, but he’s already failed in CO-01, CO-06, and CO-07, so maybe he’ll try to complete the set.



(R) Lauren Boebert* (60%)↓
Boebert will likely remain the favorite here unless something really strange happens in redistricting. Will Boebert’s act still be interesting to voters by November 2022?

(D) Kerry Donovan (40%)↑
Donovan raised more than $614k in just 55 days since announcing her candidacy to solidify her place as the likely Democratic nominee in 2022.

(R) Tim Foster (20%)↑
President of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction is retiring in June and is actively moving toward a Primary challenge of Boebert.

(D) Sol Sandoval (20%)
She is not a well-known name in CO-3 politics, but her kickoff video shows potential.

(R) Marina Zimmerman (10%)
It’s too soon to tell how serious to take Zimmerman’s candidacy.

(D) Don Valdez (10%)
State Representative making another go after a brief bid in 2020.

(D) Many Other People (1%)
There are a bunch of unknown Democrats running for this seat who are unlikely to still be hanging around a year from now.



(R) Ken Buck* (70%)
Buck announced that he is running for re-election, but we still wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to do something else instead.

(D) Ike McCorkle (30%)
McCorkle is running again after losing handily to Buck in 2020. Unless redistricting really changes the electorate, he’s looking at the same likely outcome.



(R) Doug Lamborn* (80%)↓
Ruh-roh. Lawsuit from former staffer could be the beginning of the end for unremarkable Lamborn.



(D) Jason Crow* (80%)
Yada, yada, redistricting. Otherwise, Crow doesn’t have much to worry about in 2022.

(R) Lora Thomas (20%)
Douglas County Commissioner thinks she has a shot after winning re-election in 2020 in a solid red county. She’s wrong.



(D) Ed Perlmutter* (90%)
But for redistricting, there’s no reason for Perlmutter to be concerned in 2022.

(R) Laurel Imer (10%)
Redistricting would have to make massive changes to CO-07 for Imer to have even a chance at beating Perlmutter.


CO-08 (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

(D) Democrat Person (60%)
Colorado will likely get an 8th congressional district before 2022. We don’t know where this district will be located, but Colorado is too blue for this to not be a Dem-leaning seat.

(R) Republican Person (40%)
However the new maps are drawn, CO-08 will probably be the best chance Republicans will have at gaining another congressional seat in 2022.



Democrats took control of the State Senate in 2018 and picked up another seat in 2020.

The State Senate is once again the best chance for Republicans to make gains in 2022, but only because things look so bleak everywhere else.



Democrats earned their biggest House majority in decades in 2018, then kept things intact in 2020. There’s virtually no chance Republicans could flip enough seats in 2022.

Capturing the majority here would be a multi-cycle task for the GOP. Colorado has changed significantly since Republicans last held a majority in the State House.


The “Big Line” and its contents are the exclusive creation of Colorado Pols and will be updated as conditions change prior to the 2022 General Election. It is an accurate, if unscientific, look at the races from insider perspectives from both parties. It does NOT reflect who we might like to see win, but reflects who has the best chance to win a General Election based on inside information and our analysis of that information. 

Usage allowed with credit to

Even More Republicans Just Making Stuff Up

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

As the old saying goes, it’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble–it’s what you know for sure that just isn’t so. Western Slope Republicans are proving it’s still as true as ever. Congressman Scott Tipton, to kick things off, heard a rumor! And on the basis of that rumor made some very stern demands of Gov. Jared Polis:

“I am writing to seek more information on how the state of Colorado will allocate the approximately $1.7 billion it will receive under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to county and local governments. Rumors [Pols emphasis] that you plan to use the entirety of the federal aid to balance the state’s budget, and neglect to distribute the funds to smaller county, tribal and municipal governments for which they are intended, are deeply troubling…

I am extremely concerned about information I have received that indicates your office plans to use all of Colorado’s CARES Act funds to balance the state’s budget, [Pols emphasis] rather than allocate a portion of the funds to county and local governments to help offset their revenue losses and unforeseen expenses related to the pandemic. This decision would be completely unacceptable, against Congressional intent for these funds, and I request an immediate response from you or your office on this matter.”

“Several state and federal elected officials are telling local ones things that may not be true.”
Grand Junction Sentinel, 4/18/20

The full text of the letter has since been deleted from Tipton’s website, and there’s a good reason. Any of you who know who Colorado’s budget-setting process works, or for that matter we believe this process works across the country, should have by now taken note of a very basic problem. As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

In his regular COVID-19 press briefing, Polis said he spoke to Tipton and reminded him that as a former member of the Colorado House, he should know that it’s the Colorado Legislature, and not the governor, who controls the state’s purse strings, [Pols emphasis] so it’s up to them to decide how that money is to be spent.

You see, governors do not pass the budget. Governors recommend a budget, but budgets are assembled and passed by the legislature–the state legislature in Colorado that Rep. Scott Tipton used to be a member of, and the federal legislature we call “Congress” that Tipton is a member of today. Some of the money is earmarked in the federal CARES Act to go to larger population centers, but that’s of course not the same thing–and the exact opposite of what Tipton and the “rumor” he was acting on believed. Apparently Tipton’s “rumor” was a mistaken email from Colorado Counties Inc., but Tipton as a federal official has an obligation to vet allegations before they become the subject of official correspondence. Especially when the allegation is so wrong it’s silly.

After all, Tipton voted for this bill.

From here, Ashby documents how the lie traveled around the Western Slope while the truth was still getting its proverbial pants on:

The CCI email spurred Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and state Rep. Janice Rich, R-Grand Junction, to repeat the false news on social media Friday.

“Shocker!,” Pugliese wrote on Twitter. “It appears the Polis Administration made the decision to use the state and local government CARES Act funding, almost $1.7 billion dollars, to balance the state’s budget.”

Rich later corrected her Facebook post after checking the matter with the U.S. Department of the Treasury… [Pols emphasis]

Seriously folks, doesn’t any Republican legislator west of the Divide understand how their own jobs work? Sen. Bob Rankin serves on the Joint Budget Committee and definitely knows better than this. Two seconds’ consultation with Rankin might have spared Tipton and Rep. Rich a lot of embarrassment. We assume he was not on the Zoom call.

The real problem, of course, is that this kind of misinformation always travels farther and faster than the subsequent correction. Social media misinformation in particular can exponentially outrun the mainstream media’s less captivating reality, like a self-selected virus. Despite the best efforts of the Grand Junction Sentinel, voters on the Western Slope will go into the election season convinced that Jared Polis swiped their cash to balance his big-city budget.

We can only hope not too many, and other voters who don’t like being lied “rumored” to outnumber them.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 27)

Colorado could see its first snow of the season as soon as next week. Yes, it is still officially summer. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.


President Trump wrapped up his visit to the G7 summit in France with a long, rambling press conference that could easily just be a cold opener for “Saturday Night Live” by itself. This is the actual President of the United States of America at the peak of his lunacy.


Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in Aurora on Monday to talk about curbing gun violence. As the Denver Post reports:

“Be bold, be courageous. The nation is counting on you,” Giffords told a standing-room-only crowd of about 150 people during a town hall meeting in Aurora.

Giffords was shot and nearly assassinated in early 2011 during a constituent event in Arizona. To focus on a lengthy recovery, she retired from Congress the following year and has since become one of the nation’s leading advocates for gun control measures.

On Monday night, she hosted the town hall event with three Democratic members of Congress from Colorado — Reps. Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter — as part of her advocacy work in the Centennial State. Attorney General Phil Weiser and several state lawmakers were also in attendance.

“The good news is, the tide is turning,” said Crow, who represents Aurora and ran for Congress on a gun control platform last year. “The majority of Americans are with us” on gun control.

Cardboard Cory — who has had a very big month already — was also in attendance on Monday:

Photo via Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post


► Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff reached a new level of self-parody on Monday.


► The latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. Find out more about John Hickenlooper’s Senate candidacy, Cardboard Cory’s adventures, and whether or not wearing pants will become the signature issue of 2020.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


More Colorado Republicans Tripped Up Over Jordan Cove

Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction).

After last week’s damaging story from The Guardian documenting what sure looks like a huge violation of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s promise to steer clear of conflicts of interest between his current position and his friends and former clients in the oil and gas industry–revelations that came courtesy of emails from Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson celebrating Bernhardt’s unethical promotion of the Jordan Cove natural gas export project–the Huffington Post reports:

In late June, Colorado State Sen. Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese published a guest opinion column in the Boulder Daily Camera celebrating the growing “momentum” for an initiative to export Colorado and Utah natural gas to markets in Asia.

“What benefits us locally will translate into geopolitical and environmental gains for the United States and the world,” the column says…

But while those words were attributed to Scott and Pugliese, they were actually the work of the Consumer Energy Alliance, a Houston-based industry trade group whose members include oil giants like BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. Emails HuffPost has obtained via the fossil fuel watchdog Energy and Policy Institute show that while the Colorado officials wrote a first draft of the piece, CEA heavily revised it before publication.

That line is one of many additions CEA made to the column, and the emails show the inner workings of a larger campaign to win local support for a major liquified natural gas infrastructure project in Oregon.

Sen. Ray Scott doing some “research” during 2019 legislative session.

To put it charitably, Sen. Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese do not top anyone’s list of “experts” in the field of oil and gas development or, well, anything else. Sen. Scott, a fireplace dealer by trade, is the same state senator who waxed idiotic about the “massive improvements in the climate” made in recent decades during this year’s legislative session, and was even caught watching movies during debate instead of paying attention. Pugliese is less known on the east side of the divide, primarily for her work on the National Popular Vote repeal initiative, but Mesa County locals have been documenting her antics in this space for years.

Back in May, readers will recall, Secretary of State Jena Griswold was subjected to an over-the-top roasting by Republican opponents organized by former Secretary of State Scott Gessler after her office sought and received minor edits from Planned Parenthood to a press release condemning the state of Alabama’s recently-passed abortion restrictions. Contrast that to this full-scale rewrite of Scott and Pugliese’s op-ed by oil and gas PR guys–so much that Sen. Scott even responded:

“When you guys edit you really edit…….lol,” [Pols emphasis] Scott responded later that afternoon.  “Overall I’m fine with it,” he added.

We’re going to hazard the guess that the Republicans who lost their minds over Griswold’s trivial Planned Parenthood edits will be a little less incensed this time! But with Colorado charting a course away from fossil fuels while a faction of Western Slope Republicans and energy extraction interests and the Western Slope-born Interior Secretary works surreptitiously against the interests of their own state, this is a story so much more important…it’s just kind of ridiculous to compare them.

The Coming Battle Over NPV: Qui Bono?

President Donald Trump.

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports:

Proponents of the effort to repeal Colorado’s new law that would give Colorado’s presidential electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote submitted more than 225,000 signatures Thursday, organizers said.

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, who is one of the organizers of the effort along with Monument Mayor Don Wilson , said the Protect Colorado’s Vote initiative submitted 227,198 signatures from voters statewide to the secretary of state’s office for review.

The proponents need 125,000 of those signatures to be deemed valid for the referendum to be put on the 2020 ballot. Aug. 1 was the submission deadline.

Opponents of Colorado joining the not-yet-operational National Popular Vote Interstate Compact have been working to collect signatures for a repeal measure ever since Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill back in March. The campaign reportedly used both volunteer and professional paid signature gatherers. To put this result in perspective, supporters of the campaign to recall Gov. Polis have a much smaller window in which to collect at minimum three times as many valid voter signatures–clearly demonstrating the near-impossible task ahead for the “Dismiss Polis” campaign in only a few short remaining weeks. As we’ve said repeatedly in this space, the NPV repeal effort makes far more political sense for Republicans than pursuing recalls, not least because it’s an attainable goal.

And now, it’s a good bet the NPV repeal will be on the 2020 ballot right along with President Donald Trump, the polarizing chief executive serving as the backdrop for this larger philosophical battle over the role of states in presidential elections and the relative power of individual voters. If Republicans are correct that Democratic “overreach” in Colorado since the 2018 Democratic landslide is provoking a conservative backlash, NPV could give them an excellent vehicle to turn those voters out.

But what if it backfires?

The principal hole in the reasoning of Republican opponents of NPV is the fact that President Donald Trump remains unpopular in this state, and polls show there’s been nothing since the 2018 elections to significantly alter that downward trajectory. The “overreach” tag has not taken hold outside the Republican base, the only group where even a plurality agrees–and who we’d bet money were the overwhelming majority of NPV petition signers. If NPV becomes part of a wholesale rejection of Donald Trump by Colorado voters in 2020, there’s a likely scenario in which the NPV repeal attempt goes down along with him.

Either way, once the dust settles from the current spate of fringe-backed recall attempts, this is going to be a central battlefield for Republicans in 2020. And it will be up to Colorado voters to decide if the personal satisfaction of having a vote “worth more” than a vote in a large state is worth the end result as delivered by the Electoral College in both the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections–Presidents elected by a minority of American voters.

Repeal A Law? Beats Repealing People

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Joe Vaccarelli reports, Republican faithful looking to act on their frustrations over the massive defeat for their party in the 2018 elections and the resulting loss of any power to stall legislation passed by the Colorado General Assembly have a few options beyond the most obvious and probably best choice of trying harder to not lose in 2020.

If you’re not interested in signing on with the virulent anti-Semites who want to recall Gov. Jared Polis or helping the Neville family live down their disastrous management of House Republican electoral messaging but would still like to lodge your disapproval, try this:

Hundreds of Grand Junction voters turned out Saturday to make their voice heard regarding a recently passed state law.

While they weren’t casting ballots this day, they hope to in the future. Voters signed petitions to support an effort to put a question on the 2020 ballot to repeal the National Popular Vote Bill, which was signed into law March 15…

The effort to place a question on the ballot is led by Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and Town of Monument Mayor Don Wilson. The bill — which would change the way Colorado commits its presidential electoral votes in future elections — passed through the State House of Representatives in February and was later signed by Gov. Jared Polis.

Colorado law provides a method by which voters can petition to have a recently-passed statute put before the voters for a second guess. In order to qualify such a repeal question for the ballot, opponents need to collect a similar number of valid signatures to what’s required to place a statewide proposition before voters. And time is short: the petition deadline is August 1st, and if they can’t get enough signatures to qualify the question the national popular vote compact law will “take effect”–which in this case means nothing unless enough states join the compact to produce an Electoral College majority.

If you support changing the system to reduce the possibility that the Electoral College might come to a different result than the popular vote, as most recently occurred in 2000 and 2016 resulting in the election of Republican presidents in both cases, you’re not going to be very excited about a petition campaign to block the law from taking effect. On the other hand, collecting over 125,000 valid Colorado voter signatures to force a 2020 ballot question on blocking Colorado from joining the National Popular Vote Compact, which is years from becoming binding if it ever happens at all, is a tall order–leading to an expenditure of resources that Republicans would arguably be much better served by devoting to Republican candidates in the 2020 general election.

But the fact remains that blocking a law from taking effect by petition is a legitimate process permitted under Colorado law, and it’s a far more appropriate protest than attempting to recall lawmakers for passing legislation. And the fact is, if opponents do manage to achieve this lofty goal it would be a more potent statement in their favor than an opportunistic recall of some legislator nobody outside their district has heard of.

Again, the best way to handle defeat in any election is to try to not lose the next election. But if you’re a vengeful Republican with money burning a hole in your pocket, this is perhaps a more honorable way to console yourself.

Tonight: Colorado Mesa University Hosts Climate Change Denier

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Heartland Institute climate skeptic Billboard

Colorado Mesa University is hosting climate change denier Steve Goreham this evening, for a speech titled “Energy, Climate Change & Public Policy.”

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese promotes tonight’s speech at CMU by climate change denier Steve Goreham

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese promoted the event on her Facebook page.

Pugliese has publicly rejected global warming, saying, “It is not a proven scientific theory. There is not evidence to support it.” Pugliese did not return a call requesting comment.

Goreham is the Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute, a Koch-funded advocacy group that has disputed the reality of climate change and global warming for decades.

The organization’s claims are so dubious that esteemed scientific journal Nature felt the need to editorialize about its suspect assertions back in 2011, saying: “the Heartland Institute’s climate conferences…are curious affairs designed to gather and share contrarian views, in which science is secondary to wild accusations and political propaganda.”


Stapleton Taps Sias for LG, Confirms Screwing Up Process Entirely

UPDATE: The jokes write themselves:


As Brian Eason first reported for the Associated Press this morning, Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton has selected Arvada Rep. Lang Sias as his running mate and candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

What Sias may or may not bring to the Republican ticket is really a secondary conversation at this point, because this news confirms speculation that Stapleton’s campaign absolutely botched this entire process.

As we recapped earlier this week, Stapleton’s campaign opened the month of July by criticizing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jared Polis for “rushing” the announcement of his own LG pick — former state Rep. Dianne Primavera. Stapleton’s campaign manager, Michael Fortney, tried desperately to spin this narrative in the face of what seemed to be a fairly obvious reality: That Stapleton’s team apparently didn’t realize that the law requires a gubernatorial nominee to choose a Lieutenant Governor within seven days of the June 26 Primary Election.

Fortney claimed on July 3 that Stapleton had indeed selected a running mate but would not make the announcement for several weeks under the theory that the law gives LG candidates 30 days to officially register their campaigns with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. This story was immediately questioned by several reporters, including longtime political journalist Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel. With Stapleton’s spin unraveling, Fortney then told reporters that the campaign was likely going to announce its running mate sometime around July 26 in order to theoretically generate more publicity for the decision.


If Stapleton did not, in fact, select a running mate within seven days of the Primary Election, then he appears to have broken the law. We know that Stapleton’s initial choice for Lieutenant Governor was CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, but Ganahl turned down the offer to be his running mate. Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese was believed to be Stapleton’s second choice, though that has not been confirmed, and the rumor mill on Monday seemed to indicate that Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo was at the top of Stapleton’s list. The point of all this speculation leads in the same direction: If Stapleton had actually selected a running mate as his campaign has claimed, there would not have been this insistent chatter about potential candidates to run alongside him.


Stapleton is apparently going to officially announce Sias at an event today — notice the totally-not-rushed signage in the photo above — and the campaign will cross its fingers that nobody asks for proof that Sias was indeed offered the job and agreed to said offer within the seven-day time limit. This is another terrible look for a bumbling Stapleton campaign that is constantly defending concerns that its candidate for Governor pays no attention to details and couldn’t manage a Taco Bell restaurant.

Walker Stapleton’s Short List for Lieutenant Governor

Libby Szabo (right) poses with actor Scott Baio during the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Earlier today we recapped the odd early-July saga of Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton maybe (possibly) having chosen a Lieutenant Governor (LG) running mate but thus far remaining mum on the selection. We’ve heard that CU Regent Heidi Ganahl turned down Stapleton’s offer to be his running mate, which prompted a shift in attention toward someone like Mesa County Commissioner and Climate Change denier Rose Pugliese. Stapleton may well choose (or have chosen) Pugliese, but apparently there is another name in the mix.

Over the weekend we ran a poll asking about potential Stapleton LG candidates, and it appears that we just missed the mark on a finalist from Jefferson County. We speculated, half-jokingly, that longtime Jefferson County elected office hopper Faye Griffin could be Stapleton’s choice for LG, but from what we hear, Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo has made Stapleton’s short list (pun intended) to run alongside him in the fall.

Szabo is a former state representative — and Assistant Minority Leader — who made headlines in late 2014 when she abandoned the Republican caucus shortly after winning re-election to the House in order to secure a vacancy appointment for an open seat on the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners. The Jeffco Commissioner job came with a significant salary increase and other perks — including a brand-new car purchased by Jeffco taxpayers that was equipped with special pedals to accommodate Szabo’s short frame (in the photo at right, Szabo poses with 5-foot-10 actor Scott Baio; you can make your own guesses about Szabo’s actual height).

The upside (pun intended) of choosing Szabo as his running mate is that might help Stapleton with voters in the always-critical Jefferson County. Szabo is also a Spanish speaker, which would theoretically help in attracting Hispanic and Latina(o) voters. There is also considerable downside (pun still intended) of a Szabo selection beyond the negative stories related to her move to Jefferson County government. If Stapleton picks Szabo, it would focus new attention on her 2013 appearance on disgraced Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show in which she and O’Reilly agreed that there is some sort of correlation between homosexuality and child sex offenders. The significance of this story is obvious given that Democrat Jared Polis would be the first openly-gay man to be elected Governor in the United States.

In short (yep, still), Stapleton will likely announce a running mate who is either a noted Climate Change denier or someone who has no problem intimating that gay people are more likely to sexually assault children.

Have we mentioned that Democrats aren’t at all afraid of running against Stapleton in 2018?

Stapleton’s Top Lite Gov Pick Says No?

Walker Stapleton.

We’re hearing rumors that one of GOP gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton’s very first acts to consolidate support after Tuesday night’s primary win has hit a snag: Heidi Ganahl, Republican Regent-At-Large for the University of Colorado, is said to have declined Stapleton’s offer to serve as lieutenant governor.

With Ganahl out, speculation is now centering on Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese as Stapleton’s likely LG pick. Pugliese is a considerably less desirable choice for a running mate than Ganahl, with a record of political activism on the Western Slope than can best be characterized as…out of the mainstream:

Rose Pugliese, an unsuccessful candidate for a District 51 school board seat in the last election, presented a petition with 700 signatures to the board asking that science teachers stop giving lessons on global warming.

Pugliese, a 32-year-old Grand Junction attorney and activist in Tea Party and conservative Republican groups, also presented a petition with 600 signatures demanding Mesa County schools keep political views out of classrooms…

“It (global warming) is not a proven scientific theory. There is not evidence to support it,” Pugliese told the board, generating applause from about 40 Tea Party and other conservative group members who filled the room for the first school board petition battle over this issue in the country.

This wouldn’t be the first time a wacky Mesa County politico got elevated to the statewide stage, only to crash and burn in the spotlight–in 2006, Bob Beauprez selected then-Mesa commish Janet Rowland as his running-mate, and Rowland’s record of on-record crazy became a liability that helped sink Beauprez’s campaign.

As they say, what’s past is prologue! Apparently the talent pool hasn’t expanded much.

Mesa County Commissioners and Math

The Mesa County Commissioners’ weekly meeting was punctuated by several scenes of interest.
The first, was the opening statement by Rose Pugliese regarding the denial of the Jordan Cove port project with its subsequent cross-country pipelines. The usual rhetoric about “government” overreach ensued. Rose used the public’s time for a tirade that was made of her total misunderstanding of what she called “basic economics.” She ignores what the public has stated in no uncertain terms, that Jordan Cove is not in the future thinking of Oregon or Colorado citizens. The future belongs to renewables. Old oil and gas technology is a Trump-thing due to his aging brain.

The second, was Scott McInnis’ tirade at two citizens that dared to make him uncomfortable. Two citizens of Mesa County had legitimate questions and wanted answers and wanted to make sure the Commissioners were compliant with the law. Scott McInnis showed just how thin his skin really is when it comes to questioning his transparency and honesty.

The third and most disturbing issue had to do with the audience. I don’t know how many Mesa County Department heads were in attendance, but I would venture to say most of them. The meeting in which they remained an audience lasted about an hour and a half. They were sitting like dutiful lackeys, doing the Commissioners’ bidding by being there on the taxpayers’ paid time. They were there to take their turn genuflecting, at the podium, reassuring the Commissioners that they were doing a good job. Of all people, President Tim Foster of CMU, was there and was saccharin in his appraisal of the Commissioners’ attempt at making a budget and ensuring he gets his blood money from the Mesa County turnip.

Mesa County Commissioners: In, minus out equals accumulation. This is real basic economics Rose. As “fluid” as you think your budget is, you cannot spend money the county does not have. It is called money management, where “deficit spending” is NOT considered good money management. Deficit spending has become a Republican hallmark. Just ask Cheney about deficits incurred on the Iraq war and never addressed. Then remember 2008.

All Tea Parties Are Not Created Equal

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Recently Kevin McCarney was quoted, first in the Denver Post and later in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, in stories about how the IRS went after conservative groups and how Western Slope Conservative Alliance (WSCA) was hassled by the IRS and still does not have its not-for-profit status. These days WSCA is calling themselves Freedom ! Colorado.

There is a long and quite sordid story behind this story, and it is about the Republican Party being scared to death of the Tea Party. The Tea Party, truly a grass roots movement, grew out of discontent with government spending. But locally it got hijacked by Western Slope Conservative Alliance, an invention of the Republican Party. Kevin McCarney, recently transplanted from Chicago, eventually joined the hijackers. However one of the first hijackers was Janet Rowland, Mesa County Commissioner at the time, previous candidate for Lt. Governor, and current Director of the Center for Local Government at Colorado Mesa University, another Tim Foster Republican hire.


The Wild and Wooly West is Alive and Well

This morning the Mesa County Commissioners considered a resolution, drafted by Commissioner and attorney Pugliese, which resolved to protect the Second Amendment in Mesa County. After much discussion, the resolution was unanimously passed.

This was a raucous meeting. Most of the people in the room were there to offer their enthusiastic support for the resolution, although they seemed to be a bit misinformed about the role that County Commissioners play in setting up gun regulations nationally and statewide. They also seem to believe that the second amendment, despite having the phrase “well regulated militia,” does not allow for any regulation of fire arms, although a good friend of mine suggested that the county set up a militia and regulate it.

The first person to speak out against the resolution was Benita Phillips, after announcing that she had a conceal-and-carry permit. Her objection was to the waste of taxpayer’s money. Her expectation is that county commissioners will limit their actions to things that impact the county, including water.

The second person to speak out against the resolution was Robyn Parker. She detailed how women are most frequently the victims of gun violence, often at the hands of their own partners. She then invited the commissioners to CMU at noon on Wednesday for one of the many Billion Women events scheduled for that day.  She suggested that the commissioners spend some time talking to the rest of their constituents.

I was the third person to speak out against the resolution, which contains language suggesting that the second amendment drives economic development in Mesa County. I spent many years in the field of economic development, and I can’t think of any retail development that would thrive if shoppers knew that there was a likelihood of being surrounded by people with pistols strapped to their hip, as I recently was in a BLM meeting at the Clarian Hotel.  In Colorado, one is permitted to openly carry a gun anywhere that is not posted with a prohibition. Sadly, my doctor, who has an office on the Community Hospital campus, has recently added a new sign at the front door announcing that guns are not allowed on the campus.

The last person to speak was a retired LAPD officer who spoke eloquently about his experiences with guns. He said he could count on one hand the number of times that he had seen someone actually protect their property or person with a gun. But it would take all the fingers and toes of all the people in the room to begin to count the number of times he had seen tragedy at the end of a gun. He also spoke about armor piercing bullets, and his distaste for being the probable target for those bullets.

This meeting had its own attendees openly carrying, including my favorite pretty-bad-boy, David Cox. His gun prompted someone to ask an officer to show up and stand at the back of the room just as I was leaving the meeting. Given the direction of the current county commissioners, we can expect to see people packing all over the county. One can only hope that the City Council thinks a bit about what actually drives economic development. Reinventing the Wild and Wooly West is not an economic driver, unless it is being done by a film company.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose…

So, I met Rose Pugliese today. It was an experience that reminded me one should try to avoid jumping to conclusions. Rose is running for Mesa County Commissioner and I had heard a few things about her that seemed outrageous. Rose purportedly said, whilst running for the school board a while back, some ill-advised things about climate change and evolution as they relate to school curriculum. Today, she informed the Bagel Street Irregulars (AKA “the commies in the back room”), that she had been misquoted or something like that. In any case, that is old news and she seemed almost contrite in her explanation today.

I was impressed with the way Rose presents herself. She is articulate, educated and carries herself confidently. But…she suffers from MCMS… Mesa County Mis-infomation Syndrome. You see, Rose came here from out of town not too long ago and became immersed in one of the most pervasive and effective message machines on planet earth (well, at least in Colorado).

When asked her opinion about the future of oil shale (kerogen rock, actually) all she could say was… “I support all forms of energy development”. When pressed for more…she had nothing. It is because the MCrMM (Mesa County republican Message Machine) doesn’t get into messy, facty, details and such.

Not having a ready answer about energy issues might not be a problem if you are running for a county clerk position on Long Island, but when the goal is Mesa County Commissioner, this is required knowledge. But I don’t blame Rose. She is comfortably in the cupped hands of the republican party that can’t go into facty details, because those details always prove them wrong. So the candidate gets a brief primer from an O&G hotshot from Club 20 filling her head with bullshit talking points. It doesn’t really matter in most cases ’cause Rose doesn’t often talk to a crowd like the one she encountered this morning.

You see, you really don’t need to have actual information at your disposal when you talk to  republican gatherings in Mesa County. They don’t want to hear it anyway, because the meme is set in stone here and those who speak out against it are treated as pariahs. I am often approached by progressives who move here and find they can’t talk to their neighbors because progressive thought is actively and angrily suppressed in this community.

Rose got an earful today and spent significant time writing down the things she was hearing. She even promised she would have an open mind (we heard that from Laura Bradford, too, once upon a time) and contact and listen to all sides when making decisions. Platitudes..? I can’t say, but she seemed sincere to me. We will see what develops in our next episode…”the Education of a Rose”.    

Mesa County Stealth Party

As an officer of the Mesa County Democratic Party, I knew about and attended the Assembly on Saturday.  It seems that other than the precinct captains, who are the party’s most active members, few others knew that an assembly was held.

The Sentinel’s opinion piece on Sunday was written by Jim Spehar about the lack of news coverage on either the Republican or Democratic meetings. Spehar is an old news hound, so for him it was personal that there was a dearth of coverage in his old stomping grounds. Then blogger Ralphie took Spehar to task for expecting him to report on the DEM assembly.

To be fair, Gary Harmon wrote his piece about the Republican assembly, although Laura Bradford and her challengers weren’t mentioned. Gary did describe his eyes popping out at the fiery red dress worn to the Republican assembly by Rose Pugliese. I’ve never heard him mention the attire of any of the male candidates, so that was quite the news scoop.

So, for those of you who missed hearing about the Democrat’s Assembly, here goes:

It started with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner performed by a CMU student. Then we all pledged our allegiance to the flag.

As soon as the meeting was gaveled to order, Sal Pace told us why he is running for office, followed by Jessica Garrow telling us why she is running for office. Do any of you know about Jessica Garrow? She’s running for CD3 CU Regent. Locally nobody knows about her because she’s a stealth candidate running in a stealth party. If any reporters had been in attendance at the assembly they would’ve had a real scoop!

For me the most fun part came before the Assembly was called to order, and just before it was gaveled to a close. I can’t stand the fact that there is no Democrat running in House District 54. When a woman I know, who happens to live in the district, emerged from her car I grabbed her and asked if she had ever considered running for office. I told her that we might even draft her from the floor.

Then I spent the rest of the time between meeting her at her car door and the opening gavel trying to convince this woman to run. I introduced her to every person I could find at the assembly, always pointing out that she’s a retired Air Force Officer, really smart, and quite easy on the eyes. Bernie Buescher tried to talk her into running. Sal Pace even spoke privately with her when he finished speaking. I sent Paul Brown to talk to her. I sent Martelle Daniels to talk to her. I sent Co-Chairs Karl Castleton and Arn McConnell to talk to her. I even got some delegates chanting “Run, Mary, Run.”

As the last order of business, I stood up and asked the Assembly Chair if there was any truth to the rumor that there was a woman willing to throw her hat into the ring and run for House District 54. The Chair decided we should ask. Mary stood up and said that she hadn’t decided to run, but would take some time to consider it.

For the record, after the Assembly, I got all of the paperwork together to get our candidates Dave Edwards and Dan Robinson on the ballot.

We got our business done, and we had a good time doing it. Too bad that you all missed the fun! See you in two years.

Run, Mary, Run-it isn’t too late to get on the ballot, and there are a lot of people willing to get you elected.

Lights Out on Democracy

Most of the news cycle yesterday was taken up with stories about the death of the Dear Leader of North Korea and his under-thirty son who now has a nuclear arsenal. One news story showed North Korea at night from space. While the rest of the world is bathed in light, North Korea is black because when the sun goes down, the light goes out.

That image could be an apt metaphor for what is happening to democracy in Mesa County. The lights have gone out for the local Democratic Party, or at the very least someone turned the dimmer way down. There is an election in 2012, with a crowded field of candidates for the two county commissioner open seats. Not one Democrat has thrown their hat into the ring. How can there be democracy if there is no choice? How can there be democracy if all of the candidates stick to party dictated talking points, as evidenced by the recent usage of the word “vindictive” by Republicans all across the state to describe the new political maps?

To be fair, there are two candidates who are running as independents in the county commissioner race. One, a woman, is working very hard to get elected. The other, a man, is rumored to be a former Democrat who decided he would have a better chance of winning if he ran as an independent. Given the demographics of this county, he may be right. There are more independents than Republicans on the voter rolls, and more Republicans than Democrats.

I got a call yesterday form one of the Co-Chairmen of the local party asking if I would attend a meeting at Colorado Mesa University. The purpose of the meeting was to provide county commissioner candidates with information and resources about water. In the arid west, water is an extremely important issue, so it was no surprise to see almost all of the candidates at this meeting. (Rose Pugliese was not there.)

What was surprising was the age of most of the candidates. I’ve been saying that I think it is time to turn over governance to a younger generation. Most of the people in the room made me look like a youngster. At least one couldn’t stay awake for the entire meeting. Something is seriously wrong with our democratic process when the only people running for office are about to experience lights out-they are barely fogging the mirror now. (Apologies to the two women in the race.)

Ignorati Proclaim There Is Not Evidence That Science Exists

(Flat Earth Society keeping it real – promoted by Colorado Pols)

As reported yesterday by Ralphie here and here, the Ignorati are targeting schoolchildren in Mesa County. But don’t relax just because you live on the other side of the hill. They’re also after YOUR little darlings in all of Colorado. And your dog Toto, too.

Who’s They? The anti-science, anti-education movement that un-ironically calls themselves [un]Balanced Education for Everyone (or [u]BEE). (Careful readers will note they left out the word “fair” from their name.)

From the Denver Post:

GRAND JUNCTION – A national group that thinks global warming is “junk science” and that teaching it is unnecessarily scaring schoolchildren brought its first petition effort for “balanced education” to Mesa County Schools on Tuesday night.

[Unsuccessful school board candidate Rose] Pugliese’s efforts have made her the poster girl for the group Balanced Education for Everyone and have pinpointed Mesa County as a national test case for keeping the teaching of humans’ influence on global warming out of science classes. [emphasis added]

OK, let’s be clear here. I completely agree that teachers should check their political perspectives at the classroom door. Especially at the science classroom door. But that’s not really what these petitions and “battles” are about, are they?

The goals of people like Rose Pugliese and [unsuccessful Lt. Gov. candidate] Janet Rowland and Marcia Neal (see below) and [u]BEE are to promote particular political perspectives and to eliminate consideration of factual information that might call these ideologies into doubt.

Contrast Real Estate Attorney Rose Pugliese’s claim reported in the Denver Post:

“It (global warming) is not a proven scientific theory. There is not evidence to support it.”

With the joint conclusions from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council:

The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to begin taking steps to prepare for climate change and to slow it.

Who to believe? Scientists who have long careers built upon rationally evaluating evidence? Or an ideologue? Oooh, will this question be on the CSAP?

But if you want conspiracy theories, the professional climate scientists who are actually studying the issue can’t hold a candle to the lawyers and politicians who don’t even have a concept of their own ignorance.

Pugliese, who has the backing of Colorado State Board of Education member Marcia Neal, said she hopes to expand her campaign to attack curriculum issues on a larger scale.

“This is just a small battle in a larger battle,” Pugliese said. “I really hope this inspires more people to get involved in our schools.” [emphasis added]

I’m inspired. Are you?

If you care about the education that your children and children all over Colorado will receive, then it behooves you to keep on alert for the names that were reported in the Denver Post article. Attend your local school board meetings and speak up for rational, evidence-based thought. Please.

Are you inspired?

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