The AP reports via the Durango Herald:
Supporters of a plan to expand the San Juan Wilderness Area say Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton is trying to pack a town-hall meeting in Ridgway with opponents to keep supporters from attending a public meeting to discuss the plan.
Republicans are accusing environmentalists who back the plan of using the same tactics…
Tipton spokesman Josh Green says Tipton was unaware of attempts by the mining association to keep supporters from attending the meeting, and he’s taking steps to make sure the meeting is open to the public. He said Tipton is moving the meeting to a larger room at the Ouray Community Center for the same date and time.
“We had no idea about that. It’s a public meeting, and everyone is invited,” Green said Wednesday.
He said Tipton waited until this week to release details of the meeting because of the ongoing budget fight in Congress that might require him to cancel the event, even though Republicans were notified of the meeting weeks ago. [Pols emphasis]
It’s natural that both sides of a controversial issue, like this proposal to expand the San Juan Wilderness Area, are going to try to get as many of their supporters to attend meetings as they can–there’s nothing unreasonable or shady about that, in fact it’s healthy and desirable.
Here’s the problem.
In July, we took note of some comments to a post on this blog about a hearing scheduled by Rep. Scott Tipton on the subject of “excessive energy regulations” in Grand Junction. The hearing was postponed due to the debt-ceiling negotiations then underway in Congress, but a commenter posted an email about the hearing that was sent to Mesa County Republicans–among other things, it revealed how the local GOP was being kept informed about the hearing in a way that other interested parties (for example, Mesa County Democrats) were not.
Back to the present, it’s all well and good for conservatives in Southwest Colorado to send emails asking their supporters to “jam the hall” at a meeting. But the story also reports that Republicans were notified about the meeting weeks ago, and the other side was not–rather strikingly like the energy regulation hearing Tipton scheduled in July, don’t you think? How can both sides be provided “equal access” if information is being fed preferentially to one side?
Anyway, you can claim a “mistake” the first time. Now it’s a pattern.