A press release from Greenpeace USA–look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!
Greenpeace flew its thermal airship this morning over the Denver and Boulder area urging Coloradans to vote no on Amendment 71, or “Raise the Bar,” which benefits wealthy interests while shutting those without significant funds out of the ballot initiative process. “Raise the Bar” is largely funded and promoted by the oil and gas industry and is opposed by a broad and unlikely coalition.
The airship messages read “Vote no 71” on one side and “Don’t let BIG $$$ rig our democracy” on the other.
“Big corporations and industries hungry for more political power are trying to rig our democracy. If Amendment 71 passes, it will become much more difficult for everyday Coloradans to put forward ballot initiatives on everything from education to healthcare to protecting the natural beauty of our state,” said Diana Best, a Denver-based Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace USA’s Climate and Energy team. “The oil and gas industry and other wealthy interests, who are bankrolling Amendment 71, are hoping to take people’s voices out of our democracy, but Coloradans won’t easily be silenced.”
Amendment 71 would change the way Colorado’s ballot process has functioned for the last 100 years, requiring 2 percent approval in each of the 35 state Senate districts for an initiative to qualify for the ballot, and raising the minimum voter approval to 55 percent of votes cast. The Denver Post, which has come out in opposition to 71, estimates that it takes about $1 million for an initiative to make it on the Colorado ballot. Raise the Bar would increase that amount significantly, creating a barrier to entry that keeps most Coloradans shut out of the process.
“Colorado voters have seen how big money can drown out of the voices of the people in the political process. When that happens, the ballot initiative process is an opportunity for the people to address important issues. We should be making it easier for people to have their voices heard, not putting the constitution off limits to all but the wealthiest special interests,” said Common Cause Colorado Executive Director Elena Nunez.
Amendment 71 was written by Vital for Colorado, a front group for the oil and gas industry with ties to the billionaire Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Noble Energy, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
The No on Amendment 71 coalition is indeed one of the broader and more “unlikely” coalitions, with groups from left to right banding together to protect citizen participation in lawmaking via the initiative process:
If anybody gets a picture of the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara in the Greenpeace blimp, please forward. We want that photo for posterity.
How much fossil fuel does that thing take to fly? How much carbon is Greenpeace spewing into the atmosphere?
Hypocrisy. That's funny coming from a #NeverTrump turned #ForeverTrump moran
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
The very small, thermal airship depicted in that photo runs on liquid propane.
Well, you asked!
That's what you can learn from 15 minutes worth of Google research!
Fluffy missed that day in science class when they talked about flare gas and its composition. I'm guessing his tightened sphincter muscle over the propane-powered blimp loosens considerable when it sees a picture of this…
Well, the million monkey/million typewriters thesis is right after all. Moddy finally got one right. The antireform special interests ganginh up on 71 are indeed hypocrits.
You may call me a hypocrite if you wish…but you are willfully blind, so I won't take it personally. You are falling for a very clever scam.
Unless you are saying it is appropriate to take ballot access away from citizens and reserve that privilege for oil and gas companies and other wealthy interests. Is that OK with you?
I believe 71 will make it harder to clutter up our constitution with more amendments even for big money interests. I'm sure plenty of money was pumped into all those personhood amendments that failed even under our present easy as pie rules.
When you make the stairs steeper, only the weakest get left at the bottom of the stairs.
Whatever. We'll never agree.
Personhood didn't pass because Colorado voters overwhelmingly said no and money didn't change their minds. Plenty is going to get left at the bottom of the stairs, including amendments backed by a lot of money.
If we made it as hard as it is to pass an amendment to the US constitution we'd never pass another one no matter how much money got spent on both sides. That's been the case with the US constitution and that would suit me fine here in Colorado.
The constitution is no place for detailed plans of any kind. Maybe if we stop using the constitution to let legislators off the hook and stopped reelecting those who won't work together to do their jobs, our legislators might start doing what they're elected to do in a small "r" republican form of government again.
The easiest to amend state constitution in the country is a terrific incentive for gutless legislators to pass on all the tough stuff. Totally irresponsible since most voters only know the basic soundbites concerning complicated baked in plans in amendment form. So stuff gets voted in not by those elected and payed to study these things in depth but mainly by voters who know nothing about them. It's a very stupid form of government. It's got to stop.
If the Independence Institute, Colorado Tea Party, anti-choicers and gun crazies are against it, then it definitely has my vote.
OF, I am not one of those crazies, but I am adamantly opposed to Amendment 71. I hope you will look closely at Canines graphic posted below. It explains my opposition.
The truth is that powerful, well-funded groups will not be prevented from acquiring the necessary signatures to gain ballot access, while grassroots groups will be put in a very difficult position, making it much harder to accomplish.
Amendment 71 is a scam. It helps those with lots of money and locks out those without.
Please vote NO on 71.
If 71 had been on the books in 1992, TABOR wouldn't have passed. Chew on that for a minute.
Both our sides are in bed with bad people, but I'll side with bad people doing the right thing this round.
Sometimes a good idea is a good idea even if it puts you on the same side as people who make you want to take a shower.
As seen at Westword:
Nice graphic, Canines. Don't you have a piece in Westword, as well?
The Colorado Constitution is a royal mess and it's regrettable that none of the Amendment 71 opponents are providing any viable solutions. We have the easiest constitution in the country to amend. Compare to the low number of amendments in the US Constitution.
I’m not impressed by Greenpeace. Their most effective presence in Colorado; with effective staff; was in the 1980s and into the ’90s. Lately, they seem to pop in and out on whims.
So rather than address the point opponents are making, you simply deflect and attack Greenpeace.
So, is it safe to say that it is OK with you to limit constitutional change to Monsanto, Exxon Mobil, and Wells Fargo, and prevent citizens groups (who are almost always underfunded) from doing the same? Is that your position?
How about, this time, you address the point?
Duke: how about you read Blue Cat's response to you above? I generally agree with her. And if 71 does pass, let's see how things work out. It's real easy now for those who want to pile junk into the state constitution (Amendment 72 anyone, with all its unwritten plans for spending money?). And proponents want to have part of 69 in the Constitution and also 70. What happens if the minimum wage passes; people at that wage level lose ground after a few years; so we then amend the amendment?
Actually, chb, thhe minimum wage has a cpi adjuster after reaching $12. Over time, it would still be distorted because real wage growth tends to outrun inflation, but it would take a while. Still, such items should be statute, not constitution. Yes on 71.
This is a vain hope, not likely to take place. "Maybe" is going to cost us plenty. There will be fewer ballot initiatives if 71 passes. The only ones who are likely to make it are wealthy special interests.
What a monumental mistake.
Since I believe that the fewer amendments the better, I obviously wouldn't find that to be a mistake. If you prefer having voters who consider actually reading all the info on amendments an annoyance they don't have time for (saw this view expressed by people interviewed complaining about the length of the voter guides this year) before they vote complex plans into our constitution where it's pretty much impossible to remove them, I can't agree with your preference. In fact I find it horrifying.
I'm sufficiently confident in my judgment that I don't feel compelled to call you an idiot, dupe or stooge for not agreeing with me. I respect your reasons for opposing. I just don't share them. You clearly don't respect mine so… not to put too fine a point on it… go screw yourself.
You know, BC, I have been posting on this site for a very long time. I cannot recall ever saying anything to warrant this response
I read back through this thread and couldn't find where I had called you any of the names you claim I used. I simply said you have made a monumental mistake supporting Amendment 71…and you respond by insulting me.
In the future, I will not respond to any of your posts
Sorry about the go screw yourself. Understand you're not replying to more of my posts. You haven't insulted the intelligence of your opponents on this specific thread.
Oh wait. You actually have insulted our intelligence on this thread.
Sure sounds like you're saying we're resentful dupes.
Still sorry about the words "go screw yourself". Not about my point.
Let's call it a better-luck-better-language-next-time initiative.
Aye. I do not disagree that constitutional amendments can be very problematic and a solution needs to be found…but this isn't it. Amendment 71 is about one thing only…tipping the scales in favor of the wealthy…nothing more.
Of course, the best solution is a legislature full of committed, fair-minded, cooperative legislators, none of whom are sold out to special interests…
I just made a joke….
At least we can find our constitution.
Call it the yes on 71 and screw jon caldera amendment.
Call it the yes on 71 and screw jon caldera amendment. You forgot Doug Bruce. I hope we will eventually get rid of that half-baked idea, too. It's time to make the legislature do its job. Maybe if they had to do more actual governing and less of pawning their job off on the citizenry, they'd have less time for the knucklehead stuff they seem to dream up in every session.
Don't think we'll win but it was worth a try. I wish all those who insist that this would give big money and a single conservative district the power to pass stuff progressives don't like or block stuff we do would remember that means a single progressive district can do the same. No advantage to either side while achieving the goal of cutting back on ridiculous, inappropriate over-use of the constitution. And demographics are going to help us elect a better legislature sooner than we're ever going to be able to get rid of bad amendments under the present rules.
that means a single progressive district can do the same
People forget that 71 is the application of the principle of karma to constitutional law.
I voted for 71 but I would have preferred the signature requirements be by Congressional districts instead of state senate districts. It's almost certain to lose this year but perhaps next time the signature requirements will be by CD's instead.
Agree. Voted yes but I'd prefer congressional districts as well. That would still give a voice to western slope and rural voters. Mutual blocking would still hold true keeping amendments to those with the broadest possible consensus, regardless of money spent, which would make changes to the constitution the rarities, general statements of principle, expanding of rights etc. that they should be.
There's actually a great analogy to Amendment 71 in the news today: the blocking of CETA (the Canadian-European free trade agreement) by the Belgian province (it's big enough to have provinces?!?!) of Wallonia.
Here's an agreement that appears to have the support of the vast majority of Europeans, blocked by one district. That's what A71 gets us – one district out of 35 able to block any Constitutional initiative.
So why not put your bright idea in statute, PR? Im tired of big money buying the constitution. You only need 2 percent of the sigs from each district under71. If your plan stinks so much that you can't 2 percent, about 2,000 valid sigs in a senate district, maybe it doesn't belong in the constitution. I'm tired of eastern colorado and the western slope being rolled over by crap like tabor.
Our pro-71 folks aren't listening. Their longstanding resentments have clouded their vision.
I notice this initiative doesn't seek to change statute, but rather the constitution. If the sponsors think changing the constitution is such a bad idea, maybe they should practice what they preach. Talk about hypocrites!
That makes no sense at all, canines. Calling people hypocrites who want to protect our constitution from crap like TA bOR is offensive.
Just curious, V. Is it also offensive when you call people hypocrites for opposing 71? Because you did that, 2 days ago, on this very thread:
So if it's OK when you call people hypocrits or hypocrites, but "offensive" when Canines does it, is that not…..hypocritical?
Just voted my ballot. Yes on 69, 106, T, 70, 72, 106, 107 and 108. No on U and 71.
Out of context as usual, MJ, the comment was moddy's, which prompted my million monkey comment. In Canines' case, he claimed 71's backers were hypocrites because their proposal was itself a constitutional amendment, not a statute. Of course, that was a stupid thing for him to say because the rules for amending the constitution are in the constitution and could not be changed by statute. Rather than say Canines' comment was stupid, I softened it by saying it was offensive. But if you prefer to call it stupid, I certainly can't disagree with you.
On amendments, I'll probably cancel you on everything but minimum wage and death with dignity. Might vote for 72 just because the opponents have been such hypocrites spending $10 million to drive a dog around in an old pickup truck to avoid mentioning that their product kills kids.
The "million monkeys" part was addressed to Moddy, because he agrees with you on 71, which should in itself give you pause.
You referred to "antireform special interests ganging up on 71" as "hypocrits" That's clearly not Moddy, since he agrees with you on 71. It does include the diverse coalition cited by Pols in the O. P. So it's "offensive" when Canines calls out the hypocrisy of using a Constitutional initiative process to protect the Constitution from amendments by common folk, as opposed to millionaires and superPACs. But it's not "offensive" when you call everyone opposed to 71 "hypocrits".
The day you ever admit that you're wrong, mistaken, or even mis-typed will be when Tastee Freeze opens a franchise in Hades. I get that, but tonight I'm in the mood for an exercise in futility.
Well, MJ, not everyone who supports 71 has called those who oppose hypocrites or any other derogatory term. Some of us have just expressed our own reasoning. But you antis have uniformly declared that we who disagree with you are dupes and stooges. So maybe you, Duke and Canines, among others, ought to get off those high horses of yours before you give yourselves nose bleeds.
You seem to be suffering from Dish It Out But Can't Take It syndrome.
Well, mj,, ij you really believe you can change the rules for constitutional amendment by statute, which you basically just said, then you are the stupid one. I'm glad you don't teach american government.
And exactly what might those resentments be, Duke?
Tabor, for one. Everyone who supports 71 has a reason to want it changed. This is not purely academic for anyone, I think.
I perfectly understand your position. I agree that a remedy to manipulation of the constitution is needed. I do not believe this amendment is that solution.
The availability of the amendment process to all citizens is critical in the preservation of freedom in a government wracked with partisan deadlock. Amendment 71 manipulates the process to provide a tilted playing field.
I would suggest that we simply make a ballot approved statutory change extremely, and I mean extremely, difficult for the legislature to overturn. Then perhaps, the "maybes" and "what ifs" most 71 supporters count on might mean something and voters might get behind statutory amendments.
That is not on the ballot.
There's a term for that– "legislative tampering." Many states restrict it (no changes for a year, for example), but I'm more partial to California's approach, which prevents amendment or repeal without referring the vote back to the people unless specifically allowed in the original measure.
I can't support 71 because of the requirement to gather votes in every district. Those districts are often drawn for particular kinds of voters as a compromise between the major parties. Neither an inordinately liberal nor an inordinately conservative single district should have the power to stop direct democracy. I don't have particular problems with increasing the total number of signatures or votes for passage, but direct democracy is about all people having equal input.
Since I believe in small "r" republican government, representative democracy, anything that stops overuse of direct democracy instead by voters who don't even read these amendments is fine with me.
As for the problem of legislative gridlock… yes, that's a major problem. I just don't think a good way to address it is by creating another equally or more serious problem as Colorado has by devising the easiest process for adding amendments to the state constitution in the nation.
We could have a legislature more willing and able to work together to pass useful legislation in the relatively near future. We have in the relatively recent past. But where the constitution is concerned, once in, rarely, if ever, out. In my judgement, that's the more toxic, longer range problem.
Changing demographics might well and in the not too distant future lead us to place where tough problems can be solved by the legislators that will be elected in this changing political landscape so we won't need to rely on constitutional amendments to get anything done, nor will be held hostage by one conservative or liberal district.
Any new amendment would have to represent an almost universal consensus as is the case with amendments to the US constitution. It would no longer be a vehicle for the kind of detailed plans that belong in legislation, not in a constitution.
If your main objection is that one district can hold an amendment back then that also means one liberal district could hold back amendments pushed by, say, Big Oil and Gas interests, regardless of spending.
I understand your reasons for your view. Those are mine for my view. See you on the other side of this election. I do suspect your side will win this one.
Well if the Denver Post editorial department is opposed to 71 then I'm glad I voted for it. These are the same folk who endorsed George W. Bush, Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.
Progressive district can likewise block rightie stuff. Even against big money. If we can both block each other that achieves the goal of ending inappropriate use of the constitution for plans that should be legislated and due to the same changing demographics that have turned Colorado blue in recent presidentials, we're much more likely to see more progressive legislatures in our future before we're able to use the present rules to get rid of a single bad amendment we already have or prevent the addition of more handcuffing clutter. Sounds like an argument for, not against, to me.
Just voted NO on 71. Have persuaded several others to change their votes to NO as well.
Lovely weekend, all.
No reply boxes on Vger's "hypocrits" thread, so posting down here.
V: True to form, you won't admit that your charge of hypocrisy against anti-71 people can be equally, if offensively, applied to the pro-71 folk. Didn't really expect anything better from you. In addition, you feel compelled to distort Canine's point about the irony of using Colorado's constitution to prevent Constitutional changes, and throw in a dig about my supposed teaching practices, as a bonus. So predictable you are.
Bluecat: If you want to feel all hurt and insulted by my being against 71 while you are for 71, for my supposedly implying that you are a dupe and a stooge", I can't stop you. That is your M.O., after all. Gin up hurt feelings over nothing, strike back hard.
In my world, people can disagree without insulting each other, or taking disagreement as insult.
Reasonable people can disagree about 71; I get the argument that constitutional change is less preferable to legislative work. I don't think you are a stooge or a dupe; I think you're mistaken. If 71 passes, Colorado's constitution can still be amended, but only by those who have millions of dollars to self-fund a ballot signature drive. No paltry $15 contributions or volunteer hours needed.
No renewable energy, marijuana legalizing, civic-minded, constitutional clutter cleaning, fracking limiting initiatives will ever make the ballot; only those ALEC-approved, astroturf-disguised, corporate-friendly initiatives that will help Monsanto or Exxon or Phillip Morris preserve profit and market share will make it through the initiative gauntlet.
So it's your story that you can change the constitution with a statute and in true mj fashion, you're sticking to it. Dumb. Really dumb.
Not my story; your projection, Voyageur, in hyperbole, of what Canines said. Let's be clear about this: Nobody, but nobody, wrote that one could change Colorado's Constitution with a statute. If you think someone did, kindly cite the quotation.
You wrote that as a "straw man" fallacy to ridicule Canine's ideas, and mine. We're all civic-savvy enough to understand this. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this, admittedly tedious, conversation.
As I expected from you: distortion, straw men, fallacious attacks, ludicrous assertions for you to oh-so-valiantly knock down. Yawn.
Canines said 71 backer were hypocrites because they were themselves trying to change the constution instead of changing it by statutes. The only reasonable interpretation of that is he thought a statute can override the constitution. In your frenzy to attack me and other 71 backers, you endorsed his view that 71 backers were hypocrites. There are just two choices: you really are so dumb as to think a statute can override the constitution or you think it is hypocritical to try to raise the bar in any way
Either way: dumb. Really, really, dumb. This is my last word on the subject so you can conclude. With another dumb reply.
Actually, there are plenty of other interpretations. Or, you could, you know....ask Canines what he meant, instead of attacking him. And, as a matter of fact, he's right….and you're wrong…..
Colorado's constitution can be amended by lawmakers proposing amendments with a 2/3 vote, (voters still have to approve) constitutional convention, (which voters have to approve),or by citizen initiative. It so happens that we're slightly more (5%) more citizen-initiative-y than the average state.
As cook wrote, we need to make our legislators do their jobs. This is risky business since the last big changes were made by lawmakers (Giron, Morse, Hudak) who were either recalled or forced out. But we can insist they grow spines.
A constitutional convention on TABOR seems like a good idea to me. My Senator, unfortunately, is Jerry Sonnenberg. My rep is Jon Becker. Think they’re down for that? Maybe we could give away an AR15?
Oh dear, MJ. Getting all emotional and borderline hysterical about these things is your MO. For weeks we who support have been hearing about how we are being duped by the arguments from the big money side which I take as an indication that you aren't at all confident in simply presenting your views as I have presented mine, respecting everyone's right to agree or disagree.
You will note I've never claimed that your side just doesn't get it or is being foolish. I have no problem at all with your having a different view. You're the ones who seem incapable of disagreeing on this issue without being insulting but I can assure you that my feelings are entirely untroubled by those insults. Thanks for your concern, though.
You're quite welcome.
Oh and BTW, while V throws around insults just as freely as your crowd tends to do and does tend to indulge in a bit of foaming at the mouth himself, there is, in fact, nothing hypocritical about a constitutional amendment to make it harder to add constitutional amendments since that is the only means by which the change can be accomplished. It's a necessary evil for achieving that goal due to practical reality, not hypocrisy. Peel away the insults on both sides (You're a hypocrite. No, you're dumb, etc.) and I believe that's what V's getting at. I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong.
As I wrote in my last post to V, while it's true that it takes a Constitutional amendment to amend Colorado's constitution, there are two other pathways to get there, other than the citizen initiative process.
One: propose legislation to amend. This takes a 2/3 majority of both houses, and general election approval. This is the norm; 70% of constitutional amendments were referred legislatively.
Two: Call a constitutional convention. Again, this requires 2/3 approval of each House, and voter approval in a general election. This is probably the only way we'll ever get rid of TABOR. If we take both state houses, it will be time, IMHO, to press for this.
You're like a dog with a bone. Sweet dreams.
You are desperately trying not to look like a total idiot and failing. This whole discussion has been about citizen initiatives. Canines never referred to a constitutional convention (a very dangerous path, btw) or the alternative legislative referral. He said the sponsors were hypocrites for trying to amend the constitution at all! Clearly he fforgot or never knew that the initiative rules are themselves part off the constitution. With every desperate twist, you just look dumber and dumber. Just admit you screwed up and stop conjuring alternative universes.
I haven't screwed up yet. Point to anything I actually wrote (not your inference and distortion), that is factually wrong. This post, at its core, is about how Coloradans amend their Constitution. Y'all are not happy with the citizen initiative process of amendment, and seek to limit it so that only well-funded superPACs can afford to do get an initiative on the ballot. Fair enough – you're entitled to your opinion.
However, the alternative legislative and convention pathways to amendment should at least be considered. These are hardly "alternate universes", especially if we're serious about kiboshing TABOR.
You, on the other hand, might admit you were wrong about legislation having no role in amending the Constitution. What happened to "This is my very last word", btw? I know….you just can't stand not to have the final word.
But….Be glad. Tomorrow I will again have no time to engage in trivial pursuit, find-the-fallacy, hyperbolic restatements, and chain-yanking games on Colorado Pols. You'll be free to bully and pontificate, put out completely contradictory standards for yourself vs. other opinionated people, without interference from me.
I gave you thelast word, but you wanted two posts, the latter one devoted to implying that cacines was really calling for a constitutional coventioon. You just screwed up again by claiming I was wrong to say legislation can't change the constitution. To begin with, I said statutes can't change the constitution__ and it can't. A legislative referred amandment ratified by the people is a constitutional amendment, not a statute! Like, new amendments proposed by a convention are part of the constitution not statutes. You keep digging indeeper and deeper, sounding dumber and dumber.
Methinks you've been nipping from the cooking sherry.
Right…statutes can't change the constitution. Never wrote that they could. You projected that onto Canines, but it isn't at all clear to me that that was his intention. The way this whole stupid debate started was that I pointed out your hypocrisy in claiming that Canines' post was "offensive", when you had posted basically the same thing. You couldn't admit that….of course.
All of this other crap with statutes and who-said-what are your imagination figments.
I've challenged you now twice to prove me wrong – to cite any quote that I posted that was factually wrong. You can't….because I didn't. All you have, as usual, is bluster, blather, and bloviation.
As I wrote, it takes legislators 2/3 vote to amend the constitution….but ballot initiatives are not the only, nor even the most usual, way that this happens. That was my point, and it is not wrong. If Democrats take both chambers of the Statehouse, it would be worthwhile examining how to make that happen. That's my second point.
Methinks you've been sipping at a lot harder brew than cooking sherry.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, for other Polsters' patience), I still have a pile of papers to grade tonight, and no more time for your nonsense. Good night.
Good night. May your hangover be a gentle one.