How Tipton “Packs” His Meetings?

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.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    Its only controversial to a few.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      In my reply to myself.

      In an op-ed piece put together by county commissioners from San Miguel, Ouray and San Juan Counties that appeared in Wednesday’s Planet, the commissioners expressed ardent support for the measure.

      “The economic stability of our three counties depends on clean air and water, scenic vistas and backcountry recreational, hunting and fishing opportunities as well as ranching, which this wilderness designation supports,” it read.

      Now, proponents are working to get a version introduced into the House as well.

      This task may prove tough as proponents are asking Rep. Scott Tipton, a conservative Republican, to support the wilderness bill.

      It’s already proving controversial, too, with a flare up Wednesday over a listening session Tipton is holding on Friday about the bill.

      The listening session was originally scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Ridgway Town Hall.

      An email from Ouray County GOP chairman Jim Buske to fellow Republicans, obtained by The Associated Press, asked them to “jam the hall with conservatives” before the town hall meeting Friday to discuss the proposed expansion.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    Using your position as a public servant to give your side a distinct partisan advantage is something that would produce unholy outrage by Republicans if it was done by Democrats.

    You can bet GrOPer and Libby will be along shortly to tell us that elections have consequences except for 2008 of course where the will of the people needed to be prevented at all costs and those with a different viewpoint deserve to get excluded because they didn’t win.  Cue the apologists in 3-2-1.

  3. gertie97 says:

    Congressional staffs, county party chairmen and activists have been trying to pack office-holder meetings for years. It used to be done, and still is to some extent, by phone trees. E-mail has provided another method, and obviously is far easier to be intercepted by the other side.

    Plain ol’ fashioned organizing does the trick. It’s also commonly done for meetings of state and federal regulatory hearings.

    Tipton’s people are still rookies, but the concept is not a new one.

    • BlueCat says:

      Everybody does it.

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        I think there’s a point to be made about notifying Republicans weeks ahead of time but only telling the public a few days before. That’s the hole in “everybody does it” in this case. If Dems do it they shouldn’t. I see Perlmutter’s announcement for Government in the Grocery, for example, in the Denver Post before the Jeffco Dems.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      The goal of a vibrant democracy is to provide an even playing field in the arena of ideas.  Let the best ideas win and let the people decide which ones should be tried at a particular point in time.

      When one side has the advantage of preparing and that the other side is denied that opportunity then IT IS NOT a level playing field.  It is preferential treatment of one group over another to gain a political advantage that doesn’t rely on the merits of one’s position.

      The sports analogy is giving one team a month to prepare for a game and then telling the other team about the competition just hours before the contest is to begin.  Who do you think is going to win?

      The obvious advantage of preferential treatment is that it gives those with inside knowledge time to organize and prepare.  For those who do not have access to this information until the last moment many of their supporters might have already made other plans that can’t be cancelled.

      It is total and absolute BULLSHIT to say that both sides engage in this kind of cheating and Republicans are just meaner and smarter about it.  They are cheaters who can’t win on the merits of their position so they have to constantly be stacking the deck so only their voices are heard.  They are cowardly traitors to the basic concepts of a democracy.  Tipton and Gessler are the ugly traitorous face of the Republican Party with their winky-winky denial that they didn’t know what their staff was doing.

      • onebigrepublican says:

        The fact that you are actually whining about this amazes me, and it offers insight into someone who must be so disgusted with the world they live in.  

        Every side does it.  Gertie is absolutely right.

        • ArapaGOP says:

          “Waaah! Republicans ‘play politics!'”

          Yes. This is politics.


        • Gilpin Guy says:

          out of their arguments.  They always try to accuse you of being angry so they don’t have to justify their own illogical arguments.  The cowardly fuckers can’t defend their positions so they always try to portray you as the irrational one.

          Tell me dip shit how would you feel if Democratic politicians who are elected to serve all the people are secretly scheduling meetings and not openly announcing them?

          A real honest to God conservative would be pissed off that that all the citizens were not treated the same but today’s Republican fuck jobs don’t want a true democracy.  They see the world as dictatorships and they have to be the ones who are the dictators because they think Democrats also want to be dictators.  It is inconceivable to these traitors that we are all partners and stakeholders in this democracy and our integrity and trust in the rule of law is what holds us together.  Play fair or admit that you don’t believe in real democracy or in a level playing field.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          motivates Republicans to cheat in every way at every opportunity.  They have to “win” because they can’t be subject to a Democratic dictatorship.

          We all lose when Republicans cross the line and then call it “hardball”.  It’s not “hardball”.  It’s cheating and it’s cheating because of a flawed view of their opponent and a failure to understand the very nature and basis of a democracy.

          I am not your enemy asshole.

          I love this country as much as you do.

          I probably love the land and the environment more than you do.

          I can work with you if you have the integrity to honest with me.

          I won’t accept the destruction of our democracy because pricks like you don’t believe that rules apply to you and your friends.

          Play fair or admit you don’t believe we are all citizens of the same country.  

    • Tom says:

      Phone trees and email blasts are used to get a friendly crowd out to meetings. That’s after the meeting has been announced. Open to the public has always meant published- on a website, in the newspaper, posted on a bulletin board and then both sides organized at that point.

  4. ClubTwitty says:

    and basically stating that he is agnostic on this bill, which first came about under Salazar, was just introduced in the Senate, and has as broad of a base of support as any Wilderness bill has for some while in CO, including from three county commissions.  

    This happens.  Makes it look like either his mind is already made up before he comes to ‘listen’ to his constituents and its just a show; or he doesn’t communicate too well with his party’s local infrastructure, nor they with him.  

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