Thoughts and Prayers to Sen. Steadman & Rep. Casso

(Seconding the thoughts and prayers.   – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

The Denver paper is now reporting the news that two legislators are dealing with personal tragedies.

Selena Casso, the former wife of Rep. Ed Casso, has passed away. She was only 36 and leaves two small children.

David Misner, the partner of Sen. Pat Steadman, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The paper reports it has progressed to a stage beyond being operable.

Thoughts and prayers to both families!

Gessler is actually right for once.

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

As much as I squawk about Sec. of State Scott Gessler misinterpreting the law to his own ends, I feel I have to give him props when he is actually right about something.

Today the AP is reporting about a dispute between Gessler and the El Paso County Clerk, Wayne Williams.

Williams wants to cancel the primary election for the parties that do not have contested primaries. However, he has contested GOP primaries, so they would have go on as planned.

Gessler maintains a clerk cannot cancel one party’s primary and hold another’s.

Having reread the recently passed law the allows primaries to be canceled, it clearly states thay if any contested race exists, the primary must proceed as normal. Gessler is arguing the side of the law for once.

I can understand why Williams would want to cancel the other parties’ primaries. It would be a big money saver (he estimates $68,000). But, the law is not worded that way, plain and simple. It would be a worthwhile conversation for the legislature to have about changing the law.

“Hunger Games” – A Submissive Political Meeage?

I have been having trouble today coming up with the words to express how appalled I am by the (political?) messages being delivered by the new movie, “Hunger Games,” to young people.

After the jump read the review I did finally write.

I just came from seeing “Hunger Games” and I am absolutely sick! I went into it not fully knowing the plot, but had a vague idea. As the film progressed I was already uneasy with a plot where the “Authority” (read: “government”) was requiring teenage children too kill each other in a reality TV show on steroids. The game show continued until there was only one winner. Keep in mind this story is targeted at teenagers.

The heroine of the story was a spunky lass who you knew would rise up against the Authority in the end. Except, she didn’t. When the “game” came down to just her and her boyfriend, rather than refuse to try to kill each other, their solution was to commit suicide. Just lie down and die, that was the message. It was only at the last second that the Authority stepped in and prevented it. Message: “you may live, but only because the government says so.” Then, when the heroine had the perfect opportunity to simply speak out against the policy (on live TV no less!) she opted not to do so and just went along.

The part that truly sickens me: this is all marketed to teenagers. The messages being sent to them: “It is okay to kill other kids.” “You cannot stand up for yourself against the government.” “You live, only to fulfill the needs of the government.” “If you can’t fit in, you might as kill yourself.” REALLY?!?

I realize this is the first of a trilogy and at some point, someone will likely stand up to the Authority. But there was no hint of it in this movie. I stopped in the bookstore afterwards, and read the last chapter of the book; no hint of hope there, either.

I hope I have managed to put into words how insidious I find this movie, especially knowing that it is directed at teens. If you have not seen this movie, don’t let them have your money! If you have not read the book, don’t let them have your money! Prove we DO have a voice, and (to quote Star Trek) resistance is not futile!

Sorting Out the New Legislative Districts

Hello all.

There is, and will likely continute to be, some confusion about who is in what State Senate and State House District now that redistricting/ reapporitonment is over.

I have made up a list of the districts, with infromation about where the incumbents have ended up and who has announced for what dsitricts, so far.

Link: New Legislative Districts

This does not include any speculative or political info, just facts. Enjoy!

Open Letter to Andrew Romanoff

I have considered Andrew Romanoff a friend longer than most people in Colorado even heard of him. But I cannot support him if chooses to run for CD6.

Joe Miklosi has been out there getting the endorsements, the local support, and the national attention needed to defeat Coffman. When he entered the race it was to win, regardless of whatever map the court handed him.

As for money, the big bucks have been holding back to see if this district becomes winnable via redistricting. After that question is answered in the affirmative next week, Joe will have a strong money train flowing into his campaign.

If the current version of CD6’s map holds, Coffman still has a small advantage in terms of registration and voter performance, but Joe has been working to systematically negate that advantage by positioning himself as the more mainstream candidate willing to take on an increasingly-right-leaning incumbent. The new district may have a few more Rs than Ds in it but I think Joe is well on  his way to capturing the “mushy middle” which is where the election will be won.

If Andrew, or anyone else, enters this race, that momentum will be lost by having to focus on winning a primary. Should Andrew pull out a primary win, there will be too many sour grapes for him to be able to pull together a win in November. If Joe wins the primary, he would likely have trouble regaining that momentum needed to win in an R-leaning district.

Andrew. I love to pieces, but I hate what Coffamn and the GOP are doing to this country far more.

Andrew Romanoff, please do not enter this race.

OK, Political Retirement is FINALLY here!

I will not be posting any more on ColoradoPols or DenverPols. I am also going to (try very hard) to not read either blog anymore so I am not tempted to correct people when they are wrong about election issues.

I hate long wordy beginnings to diaries, so I placed my reasons after the jump.

I have been threatening to drop out of the political scene for quite a while, but I held on this long so I could try to have a voice in the redistricting conversation. That conversation is now out of the poltical arena and in the courtroom, so I no longer have a role. I stuck up for Denver’s neighborhoods and for the voting privacy of people who live in small slivers within a district. I am proud of that.

I have already essentially dropped out of Democratic Party activity for several months now. My last role will be to run the HD9 assembly next spring, which as Chair, I do as a non-voting administrator.

Furthermore, I am trying very hard to find permanent work in an elections office (I’m sick of temping!) and am at various places in the hiring process in multimple jurisdictions. Being overtly political is a great hinderance in that quest.

Finally, I have been doing political activism for over 30 years now (I started VERY young) and I am tired. The nature of the beast has changed. There was a time when D’s and R’s could work together on common ground issues and argue respectfully about the rest of it. But now the two parties can’t even get their poop in a group enough to save the country from financial disaster or to protect the health of the American people.

We have new State House and State Senate maps

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Today, the Reapportionment passed new State House and State Senate District maps. They will be sent to the CO Supreme Court for approval.

There may be a little wiggle room for a court challenge, but I really don’t think one will be successful unless there is some issue that everyone, including me, has overlooked.

View the SD map here.

View the HD map here.

One technical note, the numbering of the districts will still be changing a little as the Commission passed a motion to allow incumbents who do not have other incumbents in their new district to keep the same district number. A special motion was passed to give Pat Steadman SD31 even though he technically has another incumbent (Joyce Foster) in the district because Joyc e has already announced she will not run.

There was and is a lot of debate over what is a “competitive” district. I will use my own yardstick in this regard and I differentiate between leaning D, leaning R, and very competitive. My process is use an average of the D & R votes for Treasurer and for CU Regent in 2010. If the result is +/- 5% of 50-50 that is leaning and if it is +/- 2% of 50-50, that is very competitive.

Using this standard the SD map has:

14 Safe R seats

3 Leaning R seats

9 Safe D seats

4 Leaning D Seats

5 Very Competitive Very Competitive

And the HD map has:

23 Safe R seats

4 Leaning R seats

15 Safe D seats

9 Leaning D seats

14 Very Competitive seats

Reapportionment Final Round

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Monday the Reapportionment Commission will meet to take action on a final round of introduced maps and come up with the one map they are going to send to the Supreme Court for approval.

The latest round of maps are available at the Commission’s website.

Maps numbered 001 are Republican drawn maps, 002 are Democratic drawn maps, and 003 is the map drawn by one unaffiliated member of the Commissiomn. Maps labeled v1 were the ones they started with last week and v2 or v3 are ones that came out of last weeks’ discussions.

My analysis of Denver is below, would love to hear from others about their respective parts of the state.

My focus is on Denver County and then mostly trying to keep our neighborhoods from being too cut up. Denver gets exactly 8 house districts (HDs) and 4.2 Senate Districts (SD’s), this is once the enclaves of Arapahoe and Jefferson that are inside Denver are accounted for.

On the HD maps, all of the versions from the Dems and GOP have the same map of Denver. The Unaffiliated map (U-map) has the districts in Denver arranged a little differently. There are also some numbering changes since last week. HDs 1-8 are all in Denver now and Rep. Kagan’s district is being called HD35, but what’s in a name?

I like the version of Denver on the D & R maps than on the U-Map. All of them divide neighborhoods unnecessarily, but at least the D & R maps try to follow major roads or at least straight lines, with one notable exception.

The D & R Maps have a very ugly jagged line betwwen HD’s 3 (formerly called 9) and 6. For organizers in that area, it will be very difficult to determine which voters are in which district.

The U-map has more instances of stair-step shaped boundaries which also make explaining a district difficult.

Now, at the meeting on Monday, more amendments could be introduced. I would urge the Commission to seriously consider the map of Denver I drew where I only have 5 split neighborhoods and then the splits are mostly on major roads.

On the SD map, I actually prefer the U-map except for a weird division between SD’s 32 and 35 near the south portion of Capitol Hill. I am sure it would be fairly simply to work out a more “squared-off” boundary there.

New Reapportionment maps now available

As part of their process to produce new HD and SD maps for Colorado, the members of the Reapportionment Commission have introduced potential replacements for their initially approved maps.

These maps all can be seen at the Reapportionment Website

The Commission will discuss these proposals on Monday (Sep. 12th) and vote adopt a final plan the following Monday (Sep. 19th). The final plan is presented to the CO Supreme Court. If they have no legal objections, it goes to the SoS as the plan to be used in 2012 elections. If the COSC does have legal issues, they will remand it back to the Commission to address the issues.

Please look at the maps and discuss.

Joye Foster Likely Not Running for Re-Election

Yesterday, the Reapportionament commission gave its initial approval to a House and Senate District plan for Denver and Arapahoe Counties.

The Senate plan puts both Joyce Foster (my current senator) and Pat Steadman (one of my oldest friends) in the same senate district (SD31).

Joyce has said she will not run for re-election in 2012 if it means challeging an incumbent. I am happy she has said this as I would hate to have to choose between them.

The Reapportionment Commission has actually initally approved maps for the whole state at this point. They will use the month of Augustto to take public testimony on the maps throught the state and then make adjustments as necessary to pass a final map.

see: The Redistrinvg/Reapporionment website for details.

Redistrictng Now in Court

In a move that is now believed to have been planned from the get-go, both Democrats and Republicans have each filed lawsuits over redistricting in Denver District Court.

The lead attorneys are Mark Grueskin for the Dems and Richard Westfall for the GOP.

Each suit is fled on behalf of one person from each Congressional District.

The Dem plaintiffs are Kristi Matsunaka (CD1 – daughter of former Senate Pres. Stan Matsunaka), Rita Mahoney (CD2), William Patterson (CD3 – former Montrose County Comm.), Roger Clerk (CD4), Christine Le Lait (CD5, Vice-Chair, El Paso Dems), Mikel Whitney (CD6), Dominik Montero (CD7 – Commerce City Councilman)

The GOP plaintiffs: Danny Stroud (CD1 – Denver GOP Chair), Dick Murphy (CD2), Kathy Hall (CD3 – former Chair, Club 20), Mark Hillman (CD4 – RNC member, former legislator), Wayne Williams (CD5 – El Paso Clerk and Recorder), Mark Baisley (CD6 – Dougalas County GOP Chair), Shirley Seitz (CD7)

Battling Committee Hearings. Redistricting Round 37

Yesterday, Rep. Balmer introduced his lastest effort to get a redistricting bill going and the committee hearing was promptly scheduled for tomorrow at 2.

Now we are being told that the Senate bill, introduced by Sen. Heath last week will be heard at the same in Senate State Affairs (which incidentily is chaired by said Sen Heath)

I’ll leave it at that and let y’all discuss!

Comparison of Redistricting maps by the numbers.

I said earlier today I would work on a report about the introduced Dem map. In the meantime, the GOP map has been introduced as well. See below the jump for a side by side comparison.

First of all, let me explain how I am evaluating the maps.

Each map when introduced includes a spreadsheet of how the vote came in in each of the new proposed districts for 3 past races: the US Senate race in 2010 and in 2008 and the CU Regent at large race in 2010.

The thought behind using these 3 races is to use a big race from each of the “wave” years. 2010 saw a surge in GOP participation and 2008 saw a similar surge on the Dem side. I guess they also included to the CU Regent race because it is lower profile and therefore likely to be a better barometer of more purely partisan voting, where US Senate is likely to include more “voting for the person” mentality.

I would have picked a slightly different set of races for this purpose to try to get to a more neutral guage of party strenth in a district, but no one asked me so I will continue with the same premise they are using.

When you average together the percentage results of each of the 3 races, then subtract the GOP result from the Dem result (or vise versa to guage GOP strength) you are left with a number that is called the Democratic Performance Index or DPI. (Republicans would go the other way and get a RPI). For example a district with a DPI of -3.53 means in a race between two exactly equal candidates, it could be expected to produce the result of the Republican winning by 3.53 percentage points. Of course, nothing is ever that cut and dry, but it is a reasonably accurate measuring tool as long as it is applied consistently.

Here is the DPI for each of the districts on the maps introduced. I am including one for the current districts for the sole purpose of giving you a feeling for how DPI’s relate to actual districts.

CD1:

Current: +45.06

SB268 (Dem map): +37.43

HB1319 (GOP Map): +39.39

CD2:

Current: +30.7

SB268: +10.46

HB1319: +15.9

CD3:

Current: +7.5

SB268: -13.67

HB1319: -4.33

CD4:

Current: -4.1

SB268: -7.47

HB1319: -8.44

CD5:

Current: -34.68

SB268: -22.66

HB1319: -28.04

CD6:

Current: -22.26

SB268: +5.67

HB1319: -10.06

CD7:

Current: +4.94

SB268: +4.64

HB1319: +3.97

So we can see the only place the two plans have a major conflict in terms of sheer numbers in CD6. Both plans have about the same degree of competiveness except that one district. In fact, the GOP has a more cometitive CD3 than the Dems.

It’s Gonna Take a Few Brave Souls to Save Redistricting

I have spent much of the past 24 hours trying to gage if there is any hope of saving the possibility of the legislature passing a redistrcting bill.

That hope is now somewhere between slim and none and slim was seen heading out of town.

Details below the fold.

The Senate Dems appear to be in a tight formation and not willing to budge much from the maps introduced in the Redistricting Committee by Sen. Heath. These are the maps with CD3 spreading the expanse of the southern half of the state, the NE plains making up CD4 and the NW Mountains from Boulder to Grand Junction making up CD2.

With this somewhat abolutist stance, I do not see any GOP-suggested map (none of which would look like Heath’s) surviving a committee hearing in the Senate.

On the House side, I frankly cannot see any Republican supporting the Dem map. I am not even sure they will be able to get every House Dem on board for that matter. So again, we have a dead bill in committee.

I am seeking one Representative and one Senator, don’t really care which party, who are willing to put together a compromise map to introduce. It does not have to be the map I have already done, I am pretty flexible. But I am willing to work to give the General Assembly something that can be truly called bi-partisan and give them one more opportunity to keep the redistricting job in their own hands and not those of a judge.

Willing to help? Email me at dan@dan-willis.com

Kumbaya Committee Closer than they think

(An interesting perspective on redistricting from a longtime Polster. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last night the Redisitricting Committee seemed to, publically at least, try to be working their way back to being a bipartisan group working together. I hope that direction continues.

There was a fair amount of discussion about what they thought some important points were and listening to them I realized they really were not all that far apart on a resolution.

If fact, I have drawn a new map to try to incorporate much of what I heard. You can see it here.

The political reality of this map is CD’s 1 and 2 will be safe Dem seats, CD’s 4 and 5 will be safe GOP seats and 3, 6, and 7 will be competitive.

No cities are split. Counties are only split to accommodate equal population.

Western Slope is whole except ski communities which are included in CD2 (as is currently).

Eastern Plains are whole.

Per the requests made in public testimony around the state: Longmont is in CD4, El Paso is not split up, Lake is included in ski counties, Aurora is whole, Jeffco is whole, Chaffee is in CD3.

Two requests that could not be accommodated:

Douglas had to be split to make Aurora whole.

Greenwood Village was added to CD1 as it was the only practical way to get to the right population. Any other scenario would have split a city, either Centennial, Aurora, or Lakewood.

Population equality: my map as drawn is a little off (within +/- 400 people). It will require the Committee’s more sophisticated software to bring them down to equal numbers, but each district has areas where that can be done easily without changing the overall map.

If you like this map, please feel free to call the Redsitricting committee membes and let them know so it brings it more to their attention. As you might imagine they are being bombarded with emails so it would be easiy for them to overlook mine.

Slowly Progressing towards Retirement

I have made no secret of my desire to remove myself from the political arena as much as possible to focus on other areas of my life. Any bit by bit I have begun to make this happen.

The most recent step has been to begin dismantling the political portions of my website www.dan-willis.com. The site will remain active, but will focus much more on my genealogy business, which I am happy to say is booming at the moment.

I will keep the Redistricting portion active until that process is done later this year.

If you have direct link to the political pages, they do still exist, they are just not linked to the home page. I will likely start deleting those pages next week.

I will not be doing a 2012 Rumor Page.

I will still follow ColoardoPols and DenverPols and comment as necessary on election policies/rules/laws as they are my only real political passion anymore.

Completely OT: Plugging my Services for Royal Wedding

I know several reporters at least read through this blog and some even participate in the discussions, so this is for you.

If your paper, magazine, or station needs a royal expert for commentary on the upcoming royal wedding, I am more than happy to assist.

See below the fold for my credentials

I am a Denver resident and the author of 5 books to date (#6 is due out late 2011/early2012) about Europe’s royal families. While I have wide-based knowledge of all of Europe’s reigning and former reigning families, I am considered an expert on the British Royal Family, as well as the Habsburgs and the Romanovs, the former imperial families of Austria and Russia, respectively.

I maintain a website at www.dan-willis.com which has links to further information about all of my books. I started in the field of royal genealogy, and as the internet made such books less marketable, moved on to family biographies.

My most recent book was about the 20-year love affair between Britain’s King William IV (reigned 1830-1837) and the actress, Mrs. Jordan. I focused heavily on their 10 children and the descendants of those children (one of whom is the current Prime Minister).

The book I am working on now is about another unorthodox relationship, that of Archduke Ernst of Austria (1824-1899) and his secret wife, Laura Skublics. This book will also cover the fates of their 4 children and the subsequent generations to the present day.

In addition to the genealogical aspects of European royalty, I am also well-versed in the customs, traditions, and rules surrounding the British Royal Family and the titles system for all of the nobility of the United Kingdom.  With the upcoming wedding of Prince William of Wales, there are many nuances that reporters need to be aware of about this system and there are a lot of details to keep straight. I am happy to assist with any of this.

I look forward to working with you in whatever capacity to may need,

Daniel Willis

email: dan@dan-willis.com

(email me for my cell #)

My Humble Attempt at Redistricting

As mentioned in the previous diary about Redistricting, I have been working on the new congressional district maps.

I have finally worked out a map I like. Pictures and a descriptive report can be found on my web site. Just click on the district map over my picture.

Stephanie O’Malley not running for re-election as Denver County Clerk

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cross-posted at DenverPols

Both the Denver Post and Denver Daily News report this morning that Stephanie O’Malley is not running for re-election as County Clerk. In her announcement she made no mention of possible future plans.

Stephanie was appointed by then-Mayor Hickenlooper in Jan. 2007 when it was an appointed position. That same month, the voters (in a VERY small turnout) voted to get rid of the Election Commission and have the County Clerk elected and the Clerk would oversee Elections (as is done in nearly all other counties). Stephanie ran for the seat in May 2007 and won.

The only other person filed to run at this moment is an employee of the Clerk’s office, Jacob Werther.  However, with Stephanie’s announcement there are likely to be more to follow.

Pat Waak stepping down as State Dem. Chair

(Promoted with minor link edit. – promoted by redstateblues)

Pat Waak sent out a letter announcing her decision to not seek a 4th term as the State Dem’s Chairperson.

Full story

I have enjoyed having Pat as our party’s state chair. I have worked on several projects with the state party and have found her very pleasant and professional to work with. I wish her the best of luck in whatever she decides to do next.

No word yet on who is going to run to replace her. I suspect the next week or two will bring some names to light. Denver County Chair Cindy Lowry-Graber had been looking at it, but announced a couple of weeks ago she would run for re-election in Denver instead.

The first vice-chair of the party, Dan Slater, had already announced he was not going to seek an officer position this time around. I do not not know the plans of the other officers.

SD32 Heading for Vacancy Committee

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Romer’s pending run for Denver Mayor has been no secret, and we would expect his resignation from the State Senate to come at any time. With the Denver Mayoral election in May, there’s no way he could run a real campaign while also serving in the legislature.

—–

This is second hand info so I cannot swear to its exact accuracy. But apparently Chris Romer has let it be known he intends to resign from the State Senate soon in order to focus full time on the mayor’s race.

This will create a vacancy election for his seat. I don’t know who all is looking at that vacancy but the district cuts a wide swath through central & SW Denver.

Some names living in the district:

Andrew Romanoff – is he willing to go back to the legislature at this point?

Beth McCann, Lois Court, and Jeanne Labuda – all current State Reps living in the district. Lois was just elected to be House Caucus Chair so I doubt she would leave current spot.

Jennifer Mello and Fran Coleman – Romer’s 2006 primary opponents. I think both have moved on to other things though.

Ann McGihon – former state rep.

several party activists also live there.