Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 25)

Enjoy the not-as-cold weather today, because temperatures are predicted to drop significantly by the weekend. 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

The Gazette “newspapers,” led by the Denver Gazette, are picking a public fight with The Denver Post in a strange attempt to increase stagnant readership numbers.

 

Colorado educators are badly in need of more assistance, as Denver7 reports:

The Colorado Education Association released its annual State of Education report and concluded the state’s education system is in a state of crisis.

The largest teachers union in the state — representing 39,000 public educators and school staff — says it is seeing a large number of educators who are considering leaving the profession because of low pay, staffing shortages, work load and safety issues — all problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers cite safety issues as their number one concern, followed by the consistent problem of low pay for educators. The Colorado Sun has more on the results of the new survey.

 

As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post, Democratic lawmakers at the State Capitol are looking at trying to eliminate bans on rent control in Colorado:

Nearly half of Colorado’s House Democrats have signed on to a bill that would allow local governments to enact rent control, repealing a decades-old prohibition and setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Jared Polis.

HB23-1115 does not institute any rent control or stabilization policies statewide. But it removes a state-level block on local officials rolling out one of their own, and it comes as lawmakers and Polis weigh an array of legislation to address Colorado’s growing housing crisis.

“Rents are too high,” said Rep. Javier Mabrey, a Denver Democrat, eviction attorney and one of the bill’s primary sponsors. “And that does not just mean essential workers like grocery store workers and servers. It’s unaffordable for teachers and nurses.”

Mabrey, a freshman lawmaker, is joined by fellow Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, of Glenwood Springs, as prime sponsors in the House. Twenty other members — all Democrats — have also signed on. That list includes nearly all of the chamber’s leadership, including Majority Leader Monica Duran, Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon and the House’s two whips, Reps. Iman Jodeh and Andy Boesenecker.

The Colorado Apartment Association is one of the more vocal opponents of the idea of rent control, because of course it is.

 

As Colorado Newsline explains, a national debt default could be catastrophic for the economy, but House Republicans are still playing games with demands for spending cuts:

If Congress doesn’t come to an agreement before the default date, expected in early June, economists have warned it could have drastic repercussions for Americans and across the globe. The Treasury would no longer have borrowing authority to pay for the country’s bills in full and on time, which has not happened before in the country’s history.

“Global financial markets and the economy would be upended, and even if resolved quickly, Americans would pay for this default for generations, as global investors would rightly believe that the federal government’s finances have been politicized and that a time may come when they would not be paid what they are owed when owed it,” said Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi and Assistant Director Bernard Yaros in a September 2021 report that came out during the last round of debt limit brinkmanship.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, said in a town hall with news reporters that right-wing Republicans don’t want to “exert fiscal responsibility.” She said the debt ceiling was something people on both sides of the aisle always agreed on until the Tea Party Republicans fought raising it in 2011, like she said the MAGA Republicans are doing now.

DeGette said she’s “disturbed” by the rhetoric she’s heard from the far right and how a default could “wreak havoc” on the country’s economy.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) thinks the debt default concerns are overblown, which says more about Buck than it does about the problem at hand.

 

 

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Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…

 

► Conrad Swanson of The Denver Post tries to understand why Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is so opposed to providing U.S. aid for Ukraine:

The far-right congresswoman remains one of the loudest voices opposing American aid for Ukraine, underscoring a need for the money — more than $100 billion — to solve domestic problems. Boebert might also have more leverage in the matter now that Republicans hold such a slim majority in the House. She flexed that newfound power in early January as she sought to prevent U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy from becoming the next Speaker of the House.

Despite Boebert’s opposition to the aid, America benefits from sending billions to Ukraine, political scientists in Colorado said. The money is a proactive investment to avoid even more bloodshed, an international deterrent for similar invasions around the world and offers an image boost after America hit an all-time low in global opinion in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center…

…Boebert’s opposition to the spending, particularly to the Ukrainian aid, perhaps culminated in December when Zelensky appeared before Congress. As the Ukrainian president pleaded for help, the congresswoman sat, looking at her phone, while the chamber offered Zelensky a standing ovation.

But the congresswoman’s argument fails to consider what America receives from the money it sends to Ukraine, Dominik Stecuła, a political scientist with Colorado State University, said.

“When you read the price tag without context, obviously it’s a lot of money, no doubt about it,” Stecuła said. “But relatively speaking, for us, it’s not as much money as some of these opponents purport it is, especially in the context of what we get in return.”

 

Despite Boebert’s opposition, meanwhile, the United States continues to providing aid to Ukraine. As The Washington Post reports:

The German government announced plans Wednesday to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries to send theirs, ending months of debate among Western allies and unlocking a package for scores of tanks that could help shift the balance on the battlefield.

In Europe, the goal is to quickly assemble two Leopard tank battalions — equivalent to at least 70 tanks — for Ukraine, the German government said in a statement. As a first step, Germany will provide a company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its army’s stocks. European allies will also provide tanks with German approval.

The Biden administration is also due to announce Wednesday that it will send the main U.S. battle tank, the M1 Abrams, though probably not until at least the fall, a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Washington is expected to send at least 30.

If Germany is sending leopards to Ukraine, we should send bears or wolverines or something.

 

Let’s stick with Boebert for one more entry: Her presence on the House Oversight Committee might be more irritating for Republicans than for Democrats. 

 

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) has settled a lawsuit from a former staffer alleging a host of workplace problems. Lamborn is not out of the woods yet, however; there is still an ongoing case about his office with the House Committee on Ethics. We still want to know more about how Lamborn’s son was able to live in a storage area in the Capitol basement for several weeks.

 

Colorado Newsline examines why the U.S. Senate still hasn’t confirmed President Biden’s nominee — Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington — to head the Federal Aviation Administration. 

 

The Associated Press has more on efforts in the Colorado legislature to combat gun violence:

Two decades after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and two months after five people were killed at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado lawmakers are drafting a sweeping ban on semiautomatic firearms.

If passed, the ambitious legislation would make Colorado the 10th state in the nation to ban the sale and transfer of certain semiautomatic guns while grandfathering in the state’s existing ones. California passed its ban in 1989, and most recently, Illinois’ ban was signed into law two weeks ago…

…One of the bill’s sponsors, Democrat Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, said there remains a long runway before the legislation’s introduction, with more stakeholder input to hear and potential concerns to accommodate. Boesenecker remains confident in its support, adding, “I always count my votes.”…

…His draft of the bill prohibits the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines that also have one or more of a list of seven characteristics that include a pistol grip, flash suppressor, folding stock or threaded barrel. The ban would also extend to certain semiautomatic shotguns and handguns but allow some exemptions including for military personnel and police officers.

Colorado residents who already own semiautomatic weapons would be allowed to keep them. Rapid-fire trigger activators, devices that modify a firearm’s fire rate, however, are banned flat out by the bill.

 

Denver7 reports on proposed legislation in Colorado that would provide for annual mental health screenings for public school students. 

 

Colorado Public Radio looks at a bill in Colorado that would prohibit employers from asking about the age of job applicants.

 

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on a State Senate hearing about a proposal to ban the selling of horse meat in Colorado. 

 

Nearly one in four Colorado lawmakers began their careers by winning an appointment via a vacancy committee, as The Colorado Sun reports. Perhaps if Colorado lawmakers weren’t paid a part-time wage for a full-time job, we wouldn’t have so many vacancies to fill. 

 

 The Colorado Times Recorder looks at the poisonous impact of the right-wing Leadership Program of the Rockies on virtually every aspect of public policy in Colorado.

 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy booted longtime Intelligence Committee members Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff from another term on the committee. McCarthy made the decision basically just because he’s a dick.

 

 There are officially 17 candidates seeking the job of Denver Mayor. And no, we’re not counting write-in efforts from candidates who couldn’t figure out how to collect a measly 300 signatures for ballot access.

 

 We’re talking about jaywalking?

 

 The City of Aurora has a new fire chief, pending confirmation by the city council. Hopefully this process resulted in a better candidate than last year’s bungling efforts to come up with a new police chief.

 

 

Say What, Now?

Surely you jest…

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

 The Rhode Island Department of Public Health was not able to confirm DNA evidence of the existence of Santa Claus. 

 

► “Dog bites man” may not be a story…but “dog shoots man” is absolutely worthy of media coverage.

 

 

ICYMI

 

The New York Times profiles the most important race of 2023 that you may not have heard about: The battle for a swing seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

 

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila blames…Critical Race Theory and “transgender ideology” for lagging Catholic Church attendance.

 

Check out the latest episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an extended interview with legendary Colorado politico Alan Salazar (the current Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock):

 

 

 

Don’t forget to give Colorado Pols a thumbs up on Facebook and Twitter. Check out The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com

 

 

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