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May 12, 2008 06:47 AM UTC

Joan Fitz-Gerald panders to the base

  • 52 Comments
  • by: DavidThi808

I just received the Fitz-Gerald press release about the Convention results. It definitely follows the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” line of thought.

To date I have viewed all three candidates as very good candidates and I would be happy with any of them in office. I prefer Jared but I don’t dislike any of them.

But one part of this release bothers me.

FITZ-GERALD WINS BIG AT DISTRICT ASSEMBLY

Wins top line on ballot with 60 percent

WESTMINSTER, Colo.-Momentum continues to build for Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald with a big win at the Second Congressional District Assembly at Ranum High School in Westminster today.  Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald won 60 percent of the delegates, compared to 40 percent for Jared Polis, to put her at the top of the ballot for the August 12th primary.

“I am honored by the support here today,” said Senator Fitz-Gerald. “The people who showed up have reenergized the Democratic party and I am proud to be a part of it. We will not forget the veterans, teachers, doctors who have made this country great. Onward to August 12th.”

Senator Fitz-Gerald was nominated by Herman Romero, Carla Rickansrud, Holman Carter, Yvonne Bradford and Eagle County Commissioner Sara Fisher. After the nomination, Senator Fitz-Gerald paraded into the auditorium with three pieces of the Denver Municipal Band who played “When the Saints Go Marching in.”

Senator Fitz-Gerald gave a speech entitled “We Will Not Forget.” She spoke about the need to remember the service of our veterans and her support of universal single payer health care system. She said, “Here in Colorado I championed renewable energy, passing bills to get transmission lines to wind and solar generation. With your help we can take that success to Washington and challenge our federal government to end its dependency on foreign oil and improve our national security.” She is the only candidate in the race to support an end to NAFTA and CAFTA as well as No Child Left Behind. [bold added]

Senator Fitz-Gerald hits the campaign trail next week with visits to Grand, Summit, Clear Creek, Boulder, Jefferson, Weld and Adams Counties.

Ok, NAFTA, CAFTA, and NCLB are not perfect. But they are all good steps. As John Kerry said, “mend it, don’t end it.” A country looking toward the future determined to excel in the global environment needs to improve all 3 of these programs.

A country that is going to try and shut out the rest of the world and not address the disaster in it’s school system will end all 3 programs. Yes the union base will love these policies. But they are not in the best interests of the long term success of our country.

The fact that Jared and Will do not pander on such a critical issue speaks well of both of them. The fact that Joan panders on such critical issues does not speak well of her.

Comments

52 thoughts on “Joan Fitz-Gerald panders to the base

  1. Isn’t that what politicians do, when they’re in districts where the primary (not the general) determines who goes to Congress? I recall a lot of that in CD5 last time around. I don’t think that means she’ll try to get that stuff repealed. It sucks, but a lot of regulars in both parties lap that stuff up.

  2. is an unmitigated disaster. It’s not just teachers unions that want to do away with it — or overhaul it top to bottom.

    And, while I agree with you on NAFTA — mend it, don’t end it — the 2nd District is hardly Youngstown, Ohio. She’s staking out a strong left position. I bet it pushes away as many centrist Dems as it attracts from her opponents’ bases. That’s not pandering, even if you don’t agree with her.

  3. What have NAFTA and CAFTA really done for us?  Have they opened up markets?  Created jobs?  Have they even removed all the tariffs we face in other countries?  Not from what I’ve heard (a few market openings, perhaps…)

    The ideas behind free trade agreements are laudable, but I’m not sure they can be “mended” without first breaking them.  Regardless, it is not in the power of a Congressperson to “fix” a treaty…

    NCLB has done nothing for our children that could not have been done better through other means.  It has been a distraction and a cash cow for companies eager to sell their own tools for improving test scores.  Ditch it.  Retain some of the testing for metrics purposes, but ditch NCLB as a failed experiment.

    1. But CSAP and open enrollment combined have led BVSD at least to, for the first time, truly put in an effort to improve failing schools. Yes we need to make major improvements – but the way to do that is improve them, not go back to what we had before.

      Same thing with NAFTA/CAFTA – they are better than nothing. And they have reduced quite a bit of the tariffs and quotas that used to exist. Again, changes like this require step by step improvement and eliminating the agreements is not the way forward.

      Also on the NAFTA/CAFTA subject, my company sells software and as we deliver it electronically, we basically are in a market with no tariffs or quotas. Probably because countries have not figured out how to tax electronic delivery but a sale to Singapore is the same as a sale to Denver. And I love the fact that it’s an open market world-wide.

      1. NCLB has done nothing good for Colorado children or educators.  CSAP and school choice were implemented in Colorado well before NCLB.  However, the punitive measures in NCLB have ensured that schools increasingly teach only that which will be tested, and are putting incredible pressure on students to do well on the test.

        1. So teaching to the test gives us the results we want. For example, in Biology they need to understand the theory of evolution. So the test asks them to explain it, the teacher teaches to that test, and the student learns.

          I’ll throw it back to you. What should we do instead to measure the effectiveness of each teacher and school? Because without effective measurement, there will be no improvement.

          1. NCLB’s mandates are punitive, not restorative.  This makes test results something to be feared instead of something to use.

            NCLB’s test requirements do not cover many subjects; this has led to an unbalancing of class teaching methodology for subjects not covered, as schools adjust their course material to meet NCLB.

            NCLB doesn’t fund its mandates, leaving struggling schools in worse shape than they were.

            There’s nothing wrong with testing – schools have tested students since time immemorial.  And standardized tests provide valuable feedback on the direction our schools are taking.  But, as GP posted, we had standardized tests before NCLB; take away NCLB and we still have CSAP.  Testing is not the core of NCLB, only the method NCLB relies on to implement the remainder of its highly flawed remedies.

            To “mend it”, you might as well replace it.  Nothing of the original will be left intact.

          2. NCLB has been an unmitigated disaster. Longtime criticism of NAFTA and CAFTA is their lack of environmental and labor protections which have undermined US standards and contributed to ongoing problems in other countries in the agreement. Taking exception to these facts is not pandering, it’s a legitimate criticism of failed policy.

            The position that all three of these unique policies should just be incrementally tweaked instead of scrapped instead of replaced is its own ideological position, which needs to be evidentially supported instead of assumed (as you do). You seem to assume that their must be an unfunded federal-level punitive-based standard for local school districts (“the trick is to improve the tests”), when that is actually a radical position. Unless you have a leg to stand on, you shouldn’t be accusing anyone of pandering, and so far there’s no evidence you have any idea what you are talking about — which you should have before throwing bombs like this.

            And I don’t say this in defense of JFG. I like Jared, but I’m neutral in the race.    

            1. As are Phoenix Rising’s. These are 3 specific areas of concern for progressives. Sirota has been addressing the disastrous effects of NAFTA and CAFTA for quite some time now.

              To suggest that JFG is pandering is the type of simplification I would expect from a grade schooler, not a front page blogger.

      2. How many tariffs does the United States now charge?  How many tariffs do the other countries in these treaties charge?  I have heard (may be wrong) that we are getting short-changed significantly in this respect.  I don’t know that lower tariffs on their end and eliminated tariffs on ours is a step forward.

        BTW, NAFTA/CAFTA do not affect your company by your own admission.

        1. When the US had by far the largest economy in the world we generally made trade agreements that gave a bit more than we got. And in return other countries went with more open trade than the would have otherwise.

          I think now you can argue it either way for the major pacts and it depends on what matters. Companies that sold internally dislike the pacts, those that export love them.

          Yes having/not having NAFTA makes no difference to my company. My point is that we operate in a system that has no trade barriers or tarrifs and we do fine. Reduced barriers work well.

      3. is the structure of the testing and the definition of a failing school.

        Having high standards is important, but if we want to measure the performance of schools (and teachers), we need longitudinal performance measures.

        We need to measure the performance of students against that particluar student’s prior performance.  An added value concept could then be aggregated to describe a teacher or schools performance.

        If a teacher takes a student from reading 4 grades below level to 2 grades below level, that is a major achievement even if the student doesn’t meet the standard.

        Schools shouldn’t recieve a performance benefit because their students are hyperprepared and they shouldn’t be punished because their students are unprepared.  We should be measuring the Educational Value Added and rewarding that.

        This would create incentives not just to meet standards, but to exceed them.  It would also recognize that not all kids are equally prepared and wouldn’t merely shift difficult students into higher performing populations to dilute their underperformance.

        1. That would be an excellent improvement. I agree with most of the critiques above. And I would be fine with someone who said replace (not improve, replace) NCLB with …

          My gigantic disagreement is that our public schools are failing our poor and the response from one segment is to just eliminate NCLB and go back to what we had before.

          NCLB is punitive. But when a school is a total disaster, punitive measures are a way to force change. Sticking with business as usual definitely is not the answer.

          And love it or hate it, NCLB has forced districts to try new approaches.

    1. Jared exceeds expectations and does “surprisingly well” and Joan “panders.”

      So just who got 60% of the delgates votes???

      Let’s look at the numbers. Joan is definately in the lead because of well run campaign and a competant and knowledgable candidate. Jared bloggsters have filled this site with snide comment,innuedo, and childish jealous remarks. David you are leading a pack of rabid wolves who can’t see the forest for the trees.

      THe numbers don’t lie.  

      1. Joan is in the lead today against Jared. And she may be in the lead with Will in the race too. But she is not perfect, the race presently looks close, and Jared did do better than expected.

        ps – What you wrote is beautifully written. Very well phrased.

      2. David, you are openly supporting Jared and it comes across in your headlines and commentary. I think you should consider abstaining from posting front page stories on CD-2, you are hardly balanced.

        As Lenny points out the way you’ve spun the story from the weekend a reader might get the impression that JP is going to wallop JFG in August.

        Sure, I know you’re really saying it’s just going to be closer than expected, but how about just reporting the facts and leaving your bias out of it.

        I also want to point out that I don’t really have a pony in this race. However, if I did live in CD-2 it’d be hard not to vote for Joan since she’s the most likely to hit the ground running in DC and actually, you know, pay attention when she got there instead of playing on her cell phone.  

        1. there was much complaining that the posts from the poster known as ColoradoPols were blatantly in Joan’s favor. I’d say, if both side are unhappy, then the balance is just right … except that it seems Shafroth gets no respect outside of the occassional post from Danny the Red Hair.

        2. The front page post titled “Polis Does Surprisingly Well at CD-2 Assembly” was by ColoradoPols, not me. Joan won but Jared did do better than expected.

          As to bias, yes I support Jared. This is a blog not a newspaper. The ColoradoPols writers will bias toward Joan in their posts (and the big line) and I’ll bias a bit toward Jared. Poor Will is the one left out.

          With that said, if I was supporting Joan I would have said the exact same thing about this press release. If Jared had written this press release I would have zinged him equally for it. I do zing him here too.

          1. I have asked and asked and asked Matt Mosley to have someone on the JFG campaign post press releases as a diary. And the ones I or Haners or Pols think are worthy will get promoted to the front page.

            But ask the JFG campaign – why don’t they post here? Every other competitive house race candidate except MM does. And I’ve promoted some of Will’s and not promoted some of Jared’s.

            But if they won’t post, I can’t promote.

            ps – who are the “CD2 Progressive Democrats?” I’ve never heard of them.

          2. that’s what happened to the post.  everybody realized that Joan may be a D and may even be a super lib, but she’s not possibly the more progressive of the three.  so if an org that has “progressive” in its name can’t even find the most progressive of the candidates then why should anybody listen to anything they say?

        3. With all due respect, David is a prime example of open and fair-his views haven’t diminished his coverage of the race at all.  Asking him to avoid commenting on the front page is completely ridiculous and a slap to all the hard work he has done in covering this race.

          We all have views, asking someone on a blog which is a views driven discussion environment is equally ridiculous.

  4. Is it a fact that Joan FitzGerald has and does accept contributions from corporate PACs? Just asking for a yes or no in order to ascertain the facts, not the meaning of the facts.

    Is it a fact that Joan FitzGerald has and does accept contributions from PACs related to the oil and gas industry? Again, a yes or no will suffice.

    Is it a fact that Joan FitzGerald, in acknowledging contributions from oil and gas PACs, has told voters that well, these are important industries in Colorado (whether in CD2 I don’t know), but the fact that she takes their money doesn’t mean her vote would be influenced? Again, I’m asking for verification of what she has said, not whether this is a good or bad idea, whether we can believe “not influenced.”

    Thanks in advance for advising us of the facts.

    1. I am not sure if PAC funding ever lost anyone an election. As a general rule, more money to a candidate is better.

      All three have taken some form of PAC money. The quick thumbnail shows that Joan gets her money from individuals + PACs. Jared gets his from individuals + Jared. Will gets his from individuals.

      As of 3/31

      FEC.gov

      Fitzgerald:

      Individual Donations: $905,639

      PAC Contributions: $215,550

      Self funding: $15,000

      Polis:

      Individual Donations: $1,021,519

      PAC Contributions: $12,250

      Self funding: $602,921

      Shafroth:

      Individual Donations: $1,015,947

      PAC Contributions: $6,000

      Self funding: $6,900

      Other: $13

       

    2. but the fact that she takes their money doesn’t mean her vote would be influenced?

      The money goes to the candidate that is most friendly to an interest group. So if candidate A says that they will kill someone and candidate says they will just beat the snot out of someone – that person will donate to candidate B. Because being beat up is better than being killed.

      Environmentalists don’t donate to Udall because he will give them whatever they want. They donate to him because he is respectful of the environment while Bob Schaffer would put drilling rigs in everyone’s front yard.

      I think it’s very legit for Joan to say that those donations aren’t buying any votes.

      1. You mean like, ‘says hello in the street’? Or ‘looks sad while voting against their corporate interests’? Don’t know how, but urge that this sentiment be forwarded to lobbyists, who are evidently operating under illusions. At present Joan’s corporate PAC contributions appear to be running about 12:1 to Jared’s (and that’s without examining which industries are represented there)…that’s a whole lot of smiles, to say the least.

      2. i generally agree with most of what you post but this is flat out wrong


        I think it’s very legit for Joan to say that those donations aren’t buying any votes.

        Even if you can’t pin direct contribs to specific votes, they buy access, influence, timed amendments to key bills, ominous letters to stakeholders, key meetings with stakeholders, and I could go on and on.  

  5. How is getting over 60% of the vote a “lemon” that needs lemonade?

    Oh, and spare us:

    A country that is going to try and shut out the rest of the world and not address the disaster in it’s school system will end all 3 programs.

    (A) NCLB has been a disaster in our nation’s school systems. Criticizing NCLB is not equivalent to ignoring the problem in our school systems. Just the opposite.

    (B) Criticizing NAFTA and CAFTA is not “shutting out the rest of the world.” The major criticisms of these agreements is that it fosters environmental degradation and labor exploitation in these countries, who are able to use their lower standards to undermine the competitiveness of the US economy. Ignoring these problems, as you would have us do, is shutting out the economic reality of the last 15 years.  

    1. Thanks for being blunt and making it clear.

      If NAFTA and CAFTA had done what they were advertised as doing, then I might advocate reforming them rather than replacing them.  Because of the nature of the beast, it is easier to scrap these agreements and start from a stronger negotiating point.

    2. All I hear is end NCLB/NAFTA/CAFTA and no proposed alternative.

      As to NCLB being a disaster, up here in Boulder it is making Fairview face up to the fact that it has been failing it’s poor latino students. Prior to NCLB that failure was well hidden.

      1. We ship off our worst-performing students to avoid the fair evaluation that you seek through NCLB.

        It’s a Good Thing when a school has to face up to its problems, and we need to acknowledge that standardized testing has its place; I wouldn’t give credit to NCLB, though – CSAP covers the same ground.

        Good to see you’re willing to scrap it and replace it.  I don’t think we’re fighting each other here; we are not serving our children as well as we should, and we must address that at any level we can.  Punitive and permanent action isn’t a solution for our children, though; we must solve our problems to help solve theirs.  Remediation and innovation must not be held hostage to a prison system mentality.

      2. (a) The purpose of your post is to slam JFG for not buying into three major policies that you support, despite not understanding them.

        All I hear is end NCLB/NAFTA/CAFTA and no proposed alternative.

        Your post wasn’t “about” alternatives to NCLB/NAFTA/CAFTA, it consisted of a lame criticism of a press release. Now you are just moving the goal posts with a change of subject.  That dog won’t hunt.

        (b) As for NCLB and Fairview, if you thinking burning down a village to save it makes for good education policy, then there’s nothing more to discuss.  

        1. She did not say improve all three. She did not say replace all three. She said that she wants to end all three – period.

          For the difference look at what Jared wrote below – he discusses what we need to do instead to improve education. To me that is a vast difference.

          My concern is that the teacher unions mostly lobby to eliminate any kind of measurement or accountability for their members – and that seriously damages our schools. I read a statement like Joan’s as she will support the unions in that effort.

  6. The federal government has an important and constructive role to play in improving our public education system.

    There should be three main areas of focus for federal education policy:

    1) Direct resources (financial and technical assistance) to the schools that serve our most at-risk children

    2) Promote innovation

    3) Promote transparency

    So how are we doing on those counts?

    1) No Child Left Behind penalizes some of the very schools that we should be helping (schools that don’t test well serving at-risk families).

    2) It too frequently discourages innovation by focusing exclusively on some indicators of success to the exclusion of all others.

    3) Finally, while it does help identify learning gaps that have historically been swept under the rug, it does so in a punitive and mean-spirited manner.

    As someone who has been an ongoing critic of No Child Left Behind as Chairman of the State Board of Education, I can’t say I know what it means to say “She is the only candidate in the race to support an end to… No Child Left Behind.” The federal government provides about ten cents of every dollar we spend on education, and it’s an important ten cents that districts count on.

    At the end of the day, we need much better Federal education policy. Whether that is an amended No Child Left Behind that addresses the problems with the law, or we call it a new name, is far less relevant than the substance of the policy.

    For my detailed education agenda, please see:

    http://www.polisforcongress.co

    Jared Polis

    http://www.polisforcongress.com

    1. …that the federal government is able to tap into financial resources that states or localities are unable or unwilling to access, given their competition to attract investment by corporations by such means as tax breaks?

      In a highly mobile society like ours, surely an educated citizenry is a national interest, whereas short-term or parochial thinking may short-change that effort on a state level. And given all the wisdom in the world, there are major financial resources (e.g. Wall Street investment houses) that attract funds from the Far Flung Territories but are inaccessible to many states. Ergo, the federal government assists in evening out the national playing field.

      And finally it seems hard to argue that parochial funding can lead to parochial education. I’m thinking here of teaching Creationism in science classes in some nearby states. Certainly in the past, uneven funding of schools for majority and minority students has been a serious issue. In many respects, the federal system of 1789 has become outdated.

      1. More than ever, education is in our national interest for our country to remain competitive.

        We can’t allow the race to the bottom in granting favorable tax treatment for corporations to negatively impact education funding.

        Jared Polis

        1. Jared, I’m a fan (though undecided on the 2nd District race), and I realize you’re writing your own stuff off the cuff here, but

          We can’t allow the race to the bottom in granting favorable tax treatment for corporations to negatively impact education funding.

          ??

          I imagine there’s a good idea in there somewhere. But you’d have my vote if you announced a moratorium on “negatively impact” as a verb. Especially in a discussion on education policy.

          1. It’s a reference to JO’s statement:

            that the federal government is able to tap into financial resources that states or localities are unable or unwilling to access, given their competition to attract investment by corporations by such means as tax breaks?

            To attract major employers, local jurisdictions offer tax incentives that cut into local property taxes and sales taxes that would normally feed into the public sector and our education system. That is one of the reasons that the federal role has become more important. Frequently the most desperate communities are the ones that mortgage their futures in a faustian bargain.

            The good ideas are:

            1) Further examination of whether there are federal statutes we can pass that would discourage this race towards the bottom

            and

            2) An increased federal role in addressing the funding disparities between districts. Just as Colorado has a robust equalization formula for at least for the operating side of school funding, the federal government should invest to reduce the funding disparities that exist across our nation. Especially with increased mobility and the growth of information economy jobs, an educated population is more than ever in our national interest.

            Jared Polis

            http://www.polisforcongress.com

            1. That’s clear, cogent and compelling.

              Tax increment financing is a scourge on communities, taking money from residents and giving it to giant retailers. Competition for corporate headquarters or plants reaches similarly absurd levels. Remember the bidding for Boeing a while ago? Talk about race to the bottom – and it’s a good thing we lost.

              Terry Gross interviewed David Cay Johnston about his book, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill) (that’s a mouthful). Wonderful insight into hidden policies that cost communities some serious money.

              What can the federal government do to curb these practices? Or is it up to states and cities to wise up?

          2. I thought he was referring to Colorado’s standing as 47th in education spending.

            I might have put it differently: We can’t let the local obsession with eliminating taxes no matter what to put Colorado in competition with Zimbabwe and Myanmar (among others) for lowest education funding on the globe–with predictable results. In our oxygen deprived environment, whereas politicians all cheer for better education to benefit the state’s children, no one wants to admit the obvious: Colorado is hamstrung in financing public education. Being 47th among the states in this category would discourage lots of parents from moving here, thus negatively impacting corporations thinking of opening new facilities here, thus reinforcing the race to the bottom.

            TABOR needs to be repealed ASAP. There, I said it. Eeek! Hope I don’t turn into a goblin before dinner.

            1. thus negatively impacting corporations thinking of opening new facilities here

              How about

              thus discouraging corporations thinking of opening new facilities here

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