About IndyNinja

I support People, not Parties. I support Ideas, not Ideologies. I am an independent voter.

First Law of 2013

Update 9:21am  –  HB 13-1057 has passed the House on second reading and is scheduled for third reading tomorrow.

Scheduled for second reading today (and likely final passage in the House tomorrow) It looks like the first piece of legislation to pass out of the 69th General Assembly will be:


by Representative(s) Mitsch Bush, Pabon; also Senator(s)Nicholson–Concerning  the  retention of the  avalanche information  center  within  the  department  of natural resources.

This bill basically prevents one of last year’s laws from going into effect on January 31st, which is why it is being hurried through the process.

Legislation passed last year (sponsored by Rep Gerou (R)) shifts the Colorado Geological Survey into the School of Mines and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CACI) with it. But School of Mines says they are not the people for that job, which involves daily reporting of activity and conditions. So lawmakers of the newly minted House and Senate are rushing to pass 1057 in order to keep the CACI where it already was, with the people who know how to do it.

Government at its finest.

1057 is expected to pass the House tomorrow and finish the rounds in the Senate by the end of next week, giving the Governor a few days to think about it before he signs.  

Sen. Brophy Makes Lemonade – Plans Odd Bills

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Greg Brophy has been in the Senate minority for a while, but now that Colorado’s lower chamber is back in the hands of the Democrats, he won’t be seeing the kind of GOP issues come across his desk this year that he did last year.

But instead of holding his breath til he turns blue or sponsoring some far-right legislation for Democratic target practice, he is making the most of his time in the minority by sponsoring legislation that is sure to keep him in the headlines throughout the session, and just might pass to boot.

While Sen. Brophy hasn’t announced all of his bills yet, the first three he has been talking about are all a lot of fun to debate.

Automated Cars

In several states, legislatures have passed rules concerning “driverless cars” as a response to Google’s ongoing project to develop and market the software that powers them. Brophy says his legislation is modeled after these other states and will provide restricted allowance for automated vehicles.

Teens in Bars

This bill is similar to laws in Texas and elsewhere that allows parents to give permission for their children to consume alcohol in an establishment that normally serves alcohol, such as bars or restaurants. In Colorado, it is already legal for a person of just about any age to consume alcohol so long as they are in the presence of their parents, have their permission, and they are on private property. This bill would extend that provision for people 18 years old and up to drink at the bars as well… with mom.

Daylight Savings

The biennial fight over the existence and practice of daylight savings time. This time around, Brophy plans to draft the bill as a referred measure and leave the matter to the voters. As usual, the breakdown will be whether MST or MDT is the new standard.

Buckner Sneaks Ahead in HD40

John Buckner is now leading incumbent Cindy Acree in the race for district 40’s State House seat, having out-raised her by a 2-1 margin in the last month.

Considering the significant advantage that Re. Acree should have in this race, the fact that she is falling behind is significant. I’ll leave it to the comments to discuss what it means, but there is no denying that Acree is faltering in one of the most important districts in the state (as far as party control of the House is concerned).

John Buckner (D)

$29,329.00 Period Contributions

$     610.46 Period Expenditures

$56,709.71 Total Contributions (since March 2012)

$10,673.87 Total Expenditures

$46,035.84 Funds on Hand

Cindy Acree (R) Incumbent

$13,530.00 Period Contributions

$  5,518.22 Period Expenditures

$47,696.99 Total Contributions (since January 2011, including $3,666.75 from previous election)

$18,877.76 Total Expenditures

$32,485.98 Funds on Hand

“Big” Art Carlson Back in the Game (but probably just to plug his show)

Art Carlson is apparently anxious to lose his third state legislative race and doesn’t want to wait another two years, so he’s filled the vacancy to run against Jovan Melton in House District 41.

Wasting no time, his first statement about the race spins a conspiratorial web (pun intended, wait for it) wherein former HD41 candidate Andrew Bateman got into the race six months before Melton in order to upset Terry Todd at Assembly nearly a year later, solely for the purpose of depriving him of the top line on the ballot, which he knew would be the deciding factor in the June primary yet another 3 months later. And here’s the kicker, both Bateman and Melton did it at the bidding of former Mayor Wellington Webb. No, seriously.

“The outsider Democrat won the primary when Webb had 2 of his candidates run in the county assembly to make sure the local favorite Terry Todd didn’t get top line in the primary.”

More below the line…

Before you all jump on me for my headline (in case you didn’t know, Carlson is only 4.5 feet tall), understand that I didn’t make it up. It’s a nickname he not only applies to himself, but seriously abuses: (from his website)

BIG Art Carlson talks about BIG topics that effect his world, such as Occupy Wall Street, National Debt (that’s REALLY BIG), Debt Ceiling, GOP Presidential Debates, Photo ID, Islamic Terrorism, Balanced Budget Amendment, Congressional Redistricting, State Legislature Reapportionment as well as non-political topics.

Big Art Carlson believes his honor and principles make him a BIG giant among men.

The BIG Art Carlson show airs every Saturday 3 to 5pm mountain time.

Art offers many services and activities right here on his website, including speaking engagements where he offers motivation, promotion, encouragement and the BIG picture of life.

His challenge is to entertain, amaze, and challenge his audience to understand that in the BIG world we live in, our only limits are the ones we impose on ourselves.

Oh yeah, did I mention that in his free time he runs an internet radio show and moonlights as a “comedian”? I put comedian in quotes because I haven’t met anyone who thinks he’s funny. Here’s a gem from 1990:


Or another from May 2009:


In which he says that President Obama was the first US President to be born in a manger, whatever that means.

Earlier this year, Carlson lost the Republican primary for Senate District 28 to John Lyons (by about 63-37) where he would have been up against Rep. Nancy Todd. Perhaps his loss can be attributed to this campaign video in which an animated character delives this line:

Wow! I am a liberal and I’m not happy with Obama. Art is on the open space board so he must like animals and beautiful open space trails. I’m going to vote for Art.

If he had won that primary, it would have been the second time he ran against Nancy Todd, the first being in 2010, when he lost by nearly 20 points. Any bets on whether he can increase his spread record again and lose to Melton by more than 30 points?

Heated Debate Shakes Up HD 41

(In-person, original coverage of a local race — wonderful. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

It was everything I hoped it would be and more. The Candidates all brought everything they had (which is more impressive for some than others) and provided a couple hours of very entertaining discussion in one of the most (if not the most) contentious Democratic primaries in the state.

The debate was hosted in Arapahoe County’s brand new headquarters, which looks fantastic, and featured the three Democratic Candidates vying for the open House District 41 seat.

The candidates are/were:

Andrew Bateman: The Activist

Jovan Melton: The Staffer

Terry Todd: The Husband

Highlights and my version of Monday-morning-QBing after the jump…

Here’s how I felt about the race before the debate, including some background on the candidates themselves.

The Short Version: Bateman Won. Melton made a good showing. And Todd reinforced the feeling that he is out of his league.

Opening Statements

In the opening statements, the candidates each gave the routine “thanks for being here, isn’t democracy great, I’m a good person” type remarks. Bateman also asked the crowd (packed to the walls) to watch for who was being vague about what they want to do versus who put forward serious and specific policies, and that he planned to do the latter. In my opinion, he was the only one to do so.

The First (and most predictable) Question

When asked what they each thought the most important issue for HD41 was, Todd answered first with a vague response related to economy that could be created (yes, he said “economy created”) by ensuring that the light rail expansion is completed. Bateman immediately came out swinging, saying that if Todd thought RTD was the most important issue in the district, he should consider running for the RTD board, but since this was a race for the state legislature, Bateman would address a state-wide issue. He then laid out a fascinating proposal for what he called “partial unemployment” which could prevent workers from being laid off during a recession and help companies re-staff faster during recovery. Melton’s answer, I honestly can’t remember. It didn’t stand out to me.

The Meat of the Debate

Most of the evening followed that tone. Melton came across as likable and capable, but failed to demonstrate much knowledge of public policy. Bateman, on the other hand, was never unable to answer a question in detail and easily came across as the smartest guy up there. What’s more, he showed his work, listing off a new example of actual accomplishment and progress that he had contributed to, or even led, for nearly every issue raised by the audience.

I got the feeling throughout the evening that Bateman and Melton were united in the cause of de-legitimizing Todd. If so, it was very successful. Neither missed an opportunity to highlight what Todd didn’t know about something, including a moment where Bateman had to remind Todd what Ref C was. Meanwhile, each of them seemed to hold off on openly attacking each other. Maybe that is just a sign of who respects whom.

They did all come together at one point when Independent HD41 candidate JM Fay asked a nonsensical question about four-square-mile. All three of them, as well as anyone else in the room who knew her, let out a unanimous exasperated sigh at the woman who has become little more than an incessant bother to everyone she encounters, barraging us all with hard-headed personal vendettas and crusades. I was happy to see the three of them trade smiling glances before brushing off the question and moving on.

My Favorite Moment of the Whole Evening

Toward the end, when the candidates were given time to ask questions of each other, Todd took a desperate swing, pulling out the only criticism of Bateman and Melton he’s been able to come up with since last April. He accused both Melton and Bateman of being dishonest about their history of residency within the district. As this issue has been raised a number of times by Todd and his allies and consequently rebutted several times over the last year, I caught several people rolling their eyes.

Melton responded first by pointing out that he attended public school in the district and grew up here. He had only left the district because he was working at the capitol, but returned to care for his ill mother well before deciding to run for office.

Bateman then gave the same answer he’s been giving all along, that while he has lived in several places around the county, he has lived in Arapahoe County since the day he was born. And that while he did, in fact, move across the district board (a move of a few blocks) to run for 41, he didn’t believe that people on opposite sides of an imaginary line had significantly different issues. He went on to state that, as people who had grown up in the area, he and Melton had a much better understanding of what it is like to live, work, and go to school in the district than Todd, who grew up, went to school, went to college, and began his career in another state, moving to Colorado only after establishing a stable career.  

Bateman then responded directly to the accusation of dishonestly, calling out Todd for refusing to give a straight answer on whether or not he was running when asked repeatedly by Bateman leading up to his entrance in the race. A the time Bateman announced and filed, he was the only candidate of either party in the race.

Favorite Lines From Each Candidate

Todd: “My website is www dot… um… Terry… uh… J… Todd dot Com”

Melton: (while talking about the repeal of TABOR, which both he and Bateman committed to supporting, and which Todd avoided committing to)”You can’t eat the elephant all at once, you have to do it one bite at a time. I call it an elephant because, well, that’s where it came from.”

Bateman: “There is more to being a representative than raising your hand at the right moment. You have to be willing and able to do the hard work and convince others to raise their hands at the same time.”

What Each Candidate Could Have Done Better

Melton: Every time you followed one of the other candidates, you started by saying “I agree with…”, which made it difficult for the things you said to stand out. You have the opposite problem as Bateman. While your personality is very appealing, you don’t speak up for yourself enough to get noticed.

Bateman: I get that you are the smartest guy in the race and that you want to demonstrate that, but you have a tendency to come across as a bit arrogant. Deserved or not, it’s a little off-putting and you may want to work on it. A forceful presentation is necessary sometimes, like when pumping up a rally, but you have to be able to play the humble public servant sometimes, too. Crack some jokes, smile more, and inspire people to be a part of what you’re trying to do.

Todd: For the love of God, study! You were a teacher for crying out loud (albeit an elementary gym teacher). Being the husband of a legislator does not qualify you to be one. If you want to make it through the next few weeks as a candidate, you have got to be able to show up with something more substantive than weak lines about “liberty and justice for all.” Tell us what you plan to do. Show us you can bring something to the table. Or get out of the way and let the two who did their homework have a productive primary without you in it.

Where I Stand

Bateman and Melton both impressed me overall. Todd did not. While I think Melton could easily do the job of being a legislator and do it competently, I believe that Bateman would be able to light a much needed fire under some asses at the capitol.

I encourage others in the district or around the state to support one of these two as well. They are good, strong, up-and-coming politicos and this position will be a great fit and a great start for either of them. Todd, on the other hand, is 72. And I hate to make it about age, but this is not a person that we can hope for big things from. At best, he will follow his wife’s footsteps, serve 8 years in each house and then retire from politics at the age of 89.

I wish all the candidates well at caucus. But I sincerely hope that Bateman and Melton emerge as the primary contenders and that Todd sees the light and backs out. I think primaries are good for a party, but only if the participants are elevating the level of debate, not dragging it down.

HD41 Candidates Debate Next Monday

According to an email sent out by party officials, the Dem candidates in HD41 will be debating each other next Monday, the 27th at the Arapahoe County party headquarters.

Full text:

Dear Colorado House District 41 Democrat,

We have too very important meetings coming up in the next few weeks.

Our Colorado State House District 41 Representative Nancy Todd is term limited and we will be electing a new House District 41 Representative this November. There are three Democratic candidates who have filed with the Secretary of State’s office. They are, in alphabetical order: Andrew Bateman http://www.batemanforcolorado…. Jovan Melton http://jovanmelton.com/, and Terry Todd http://www.terryjtodd.com/

You’ll have a chance to get to know them and learn about how they plan to represent you at our Arapahoe County Democratic House District 41 meeting on Monday, February 27 at 6:45 PM at the recently relocated Arapahoe County Democratic Party Headquarters located at 10730 E. Bethany Dr., Suite 240, Aurora (See map below). The candidates will be debating each other. Please submit your questions to me at hd41dems@gmail.com no latter than February 24 so that I can combine the duplicate questions.

My thoughts after the jump.

First and foremost. I am excited to see these three debate. They are all coming from very different backgrounds and it should be fascinating.

Terry Todd, of course, is the husband of incumbent Nancy Todd, who is term limited from the house and is instead running for the Senate. The Todds have held many of their campaign events together, though many people supporting Nancy, either with endorsements or money, seem to be holding off on supporting her husband. Before being the husband to a legislator, Terry taught PE for an elementary school and coached high school football. He is also a military veteran.

Andrew Bateman comes from the non-profit advocacy world. I met him when he was the head of the state-wide student advocacy group, the Associated Students of Colorado, which peaked in effectiveness under his leadership. Andrew was constantly testifying at the capitol, holding joint press conferences with other major organizations, and authoring editorials in the major papers. At one point, he managed to get over a thousand students to an event on at the capitol protesting education cuts. That event made the front page of CNN’s website that day. Since then, he has worked raising money for a few different non-profits, including the ACLU, and currently sits on the budget advisory committee for the City of Aurora.

Jovan Melton I don’t know much about. I haven’t met him, but according to his website, he worked for Lt Gov OBrien and has been a staffer on a number of campaigns, mostly in the denver-metro area. I also read in the Aurora Sentinel that he was the campaign manager for Aurora’s Recreation Center initiative this past fall. I find that interesting because if I remember correctly, there was an opponent position arguing against that measure in the blue book, but not a proponent position arguing for it. Now, I don’t know who’s fault that is, but in my experience, the campaign manager generally oversees that stuff for initiatives. So that makes me wonder. His endorsements, on the other hand, are impressive. Mayor Webb, a couple current legislators (most of whom he helped elect) and several other interesting names.

Of the three, I think Andrew will have the advantage in the debate. His work for most of the past several years has been directly involved with state policy and he is really good at talking about it. I also think that, in a caucus setting, he is mostly likely to win over activist-base type voters. However, I think if two or all three of them make it through the caucus process or petition onto the primary ballot, that Terry Todd will have the advantage, due to greater access to special interest money (which he is taking full advantage of) and the name recognition perk. So if Jovan or Andrew hope to win, they need to keep Terry off of the Primary ballot.

And finally, as to who I want to win. I dont know. When it was just Todd and Bateman, the choice was pretty clear for me. I don’t like the feel of nepotism and, in my opinion, no one would consider Todd a serious or qualified candidate if he wasn’t married to Nancy Todd. But after Jovan entered the race a few months ago, that preference became harder. They both seem like good solid candidates with a background in showing good work. They’re both younger, which I like, and I think I will just have to see them argue before I’ll be able to tell for sure.

Of course, my opinion doesn’t matter much, since I don’t live in that district and I’m not a democrat, but I do plan to donate to one of them, most likely after the debate.

I encourage dems in the area (or other interested folk like myself) to check this event out. It should be a lot of fun.

Brian Carroll Back In For HD28

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

According to documents filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on Thursday, December 29th, Brian Carroll will again be seeking election to Colorado’s 28th House District.

Carroll originally filed to run for HD28 in the midst of the reapportionment process and got significant press coverage as the first openly gay soldier to run for political office after the historic repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which effectively ended in the summer of 2011.

However, his district already had an incumbent Democrat, Representative Andy Kerr, who quickly mobilized an impressive list of pro-LGBT rights individuals and organizations for a fundraiser.  

After several days of pressure, Carroll withdrew his candidacy and accepted a position as interim Chair of the first Colorado Democratic Veterans and Military Council for the Colorado Democratic Party.

However, when the final district maps were approved in December, Rep. Andy Kerr (D), Rep Ken Summers (R), and Rep. Max Tyler (D), were all placed into HD23, and Republican HD23 candidate Amy Attwood was moved into HD28 and was now the sole candidate for that seat.

Shortly after, both Kerr and Summers announced that they will be running for the Senate in district 22, rather than take on Rep. Tyler.

All of this shuffling provided an opportunity for Carroll, who many considered to be an ideal candidate running at the wrong time, to reactivate his campaign for the State House.

District 28, while relatively balanced in voter registration, tends to lean Democratic in voting history.

BREAKING: Mayor Hancock to meet with Occupy Denver protesters

(Best of luck to the occupiers in brokering a fair agreement that recognizes their rights and the city’s needs. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

UPDATE 5pm: Mayor Hancock sends Occupy Denver delegates packing, but promises future useless meetings.


According to releases from multiple sources, Mayor Hancock will be meeting with representatives of the Occupy Denver protest, which is now in its fourth week of demonstrating between the State Capitol and the Denver City and County Building.

The meeting will take place at 1pm in the Mayor’s office and will last 30 minutes.

I just talked with protesters in Civic Center Park who are giving credit to City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega and State House candidate Andrew Bateman for arranging the meeting.  

Reapportionment Maps Are Up

(New idea: Every 10 years we give 10 randomly selected non-human primates from the Denver Zoo a marker and a map of Colorado. First to draw the right number of districts wins and those are the final, indisputable maps. About the same result. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

The commission staff has posted two versions of new state legislative district maps. The commission will meet to discuss the maps on Sept 12, and will vote on Sept 19.

Maps available here.

Go nuts COPols.

Sen. Williams Avoids Prison, Names Successor

Despite killing a pregnant woman with her car, and injuring several passengers including two children in her own vehicle who were not wearing seat belts, State Senator Suzanne Williams will not face criminal charges for the December 2010 car crash that she caused in Hartley County Texas. The Family of the woman who was killed may still seek civil damages, however.

Amarillo’s Channel 7 reports here.

Eric Gomez, husband of Brianna, said the grand jury’s decision was “unfortunate.”

“No matter what I do, no matter how long I stomp my foot it’s not going to change the call on the field,” said the coach and teacher at Amarillo High School. “And on a larger scale there’s nothing I can do to change what the grand jury decided.”

According to the AP, he said the family is regrouping and will “see where that leads us.”

Williams told The Associated Press that she was relieved by the announcement that she was not facing charges.

Some posturing in the weeks leading up to this decision, however, led some to speculate that she was worried about the decision. Details on that after the jump.

At a local meeting in April. Senator Williams (SD28) told democrats in her disrict that State Representative Nancy Todd (HD41) would be seeking her Senate seat in the 2012 election and that Rep. Todd’s husband, Terry, would be running for his wife’s seat. (Terry Todd has filed the appropriate paperwork with the SOS, Rep. Nancy Todd has not. So for the time being, Nancy Todd’s candidacy is not official)

Some questioned the timing of the announcement, over 18 months before the election, and it seems that the move was designed to set up for potential vacancy committees that may have had to be convened if Sen. Williams was summoned to Texas for a criminal trial, or worse yet, found guilty and sentenced to jail time. The idea being that announced candidates would have an advantage in a vacancy process.

But the move brought other questions forward as well. For one, how appropriate is it for our representatives to be naming their successors and overtly working to prevent challenges?

In this case, Sen. Williams’ husband will be the campaign manager for Rep. Nancy Todd’s husband. Sen. Williams previously held the seat currently occupied by Rep. Todd.

And at a different meeting, when another Democrat (Andrew Bateman) announced that he would be running against Terry Todd for the open HD41 seat, Senator Williams jumped in on Terry Todd’s behalf  citing the fact that there hadn’t been a Democratic primary in Aurora in years and criticizing his choice to run when there was already someone else. She even went so far as to suggest that he should move to another district and run there.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, for what it’s worth, Bateman filed his candidacy paperwork before Todd.

So what do you think polsters? Do primaries have a value to the parties? Or should the establishment and incumbents choose the candidates with everyone else clearing the path for the entitled husbands, wives, and children of other electeds?

Full disclosure: I won’t be casting a vote in this race, first because I don’t live in the district and second because I’m not a Democrat. But the dynasties annoy me nonetheless, hence the tone of bias. But, if I hadn’t been following the Sen. Williams car crash story so close, I probably wouldn’t have even known about this whole mess. Which is why I wanted to bring it up to the rest of you, who also may not be aware of it.

BREAKING: Civil Unions Bill Fails

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

After over seven hours of testimony, the House Judiciary Committee has voted to postpone SB 11-172 indefinitely (kill it).

The vote was along party lines with all Dems voting in favor of the bill and all GOP voting against it.

GOP Reps. DelGrosso and Nikkel each paused for several seconds before casting their vote.

A disappointing end.

If the bill had passed this committee, it would have had to also make its way through both the Appropriations Committee and the Finance Committee. The bill was assured passage in each of the with GOP Reps. Looper and Conti having already publicly supported the bill.

Had it made it through all of that, it would have passed in the full house 35-30.

Remember the names of those who voted no.












Irony: Trump’s Birth Certificate Invalid?

Trump relished in Proving he was born in Queens. Saying that “Somebody asked me today, ‘Can I see your birth certificate?’ I had it in my hands in less than an hour.”

And Fox News wasted no time in posting the story and even posted a PDF image of the document.

But as usual, they maybe should have waited a few seconds to fact check, because New York officials have now said that it’s “not an official document”.

So, Is Trump a “natural born citizen” of the United States? Poll and More after the jump…

Well, he hasn’t proved it yet in any case. But I’m sure that he was “probably” born in the United States.

“After several New York City-based readers contacted POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman, her call to city officials revealed that an actual birth certificate, which is issued by the Department of Health, would have the agency’s seal and also a signature of the city registrar – neither of which the Trump document has. Officials said the city Health Department is the “sole issuing authority” of official birth certificates in New York, and that the document would clearly say so, and “city officials said it’s not an official document.”

This is particularly amusing since only a week ago  Trump was on The View calling out Obama to produce his birth certificate, saying “I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate. There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.” He then went on to say, “If you go back to my first grade, my kindergarten, people remember me. Nobody from those early years remembers him,” Trump said. “If you’re going to be president of the United States, it says very profoundly you have to be born in this country.”

Some of you may remember that Hawaii’s Governor had originally promised to track down and produce a copy of Obama’s Birth Certificate while saying that he remembers Obama being born. (He was a friend of Obama’s family.) Unfortunately, his staff reminded him that it was illegal for him to do so.

Even most Republicans aren’t willing to question Obama’s citizenship. They know that it comes across as racist since there is absolutely no evidence that Obama is not an American and since white candidates are never asked to do the same.

But with Trump’s latest “oops”, maybe we should be asking everyone running for President.

Let’s not forget that Senator John McCain has publicly admitted that he was not born in the United States. He was born on a military base in Panama. And at the time he was born, US law did not recognize those born on foreign military bases as automatic citizens. SO if he had been elected, we might have seen a genuine question about his “natural born” status.

The fact is, no one really knows what it means to be a “natural born” citizen. The term is not defined anywhere in the law. And the Supreme Court has never been in a position to interpret that section of the US Constitution.

So what do you say? What should the requirement be to run for President of the United States?

What "level" of citizenship should be required to be eligible for President?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

3 R’s Help Civil Unions Clear Final Senate Hurdle

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE #2, 3-25-11: The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on SB 11-172 at 1:30PM on March 31. -IndyNinja

UPDATE 3-25-11: The bill was introduced in the House this morning and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Currently, only 5 of the committee’s 11 members have expressed support of the bill (The five D’s). However, according to House sponsor, Mark Ferrandino, There are House Republicans who have confidentially given him their support, so we’ll just have to see what happens. So far, Republican Representatives Conti, Looper, and Priola have indicated support. -IndyNinja


Senate Bill 11-172 has passed the Senate with an overwhelming 23-12 vote. Three Republicans (Roberts, Spence, and White) voted yes, increasing the spread in the Democrat controlled Senate.

Here’s yesterday’s CPols diary about the bill

Here’s a link to CNN’s coverage.

While the statements from Senate Democrats today continued to be compelling. Sen. Linda Newell, a Democrat from Littleton, lost her composure momentarily and shed some tears while talking about her brother, who didn’t “come out” until he was 50. Her vote, she said, was for her brother.

But the real surprise of the afternoon (for me at least) was the heart-felt and powerful speeches from the Senate Republicans who voted yes on the Bill.

More after the cut…

Republican Senator Jean White of Hayden said,

“It occurred to me that if I did not come to the mic in support of this bill today, that I would be voting quietly for it but not having the courage to stand up for what is right… My vote today is for love and respect and commitment. My vote today is for my niece and my nephew.”

Reports the Grand Junction Sentinel…

“For me… I believe the moral debate about whether this is right or wrong belongs in our faith communities, not in this building and not in this chamber,” Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, said. “You need those children to know that they will be cared for. My core beliefs are that I believe strongly in protecting all people’s individuals rights, freedoms and liberties, and for me this bill advances that.”

NECN.com did a great job of capturing the tone of the debate.

I particularly appreciated the civility of Senate Republicans who opposed the bill (even if I strongly disagree with their approach to governing). Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Weld County, summed it up well during his opposition speech.

“Many times, we tragically fail in speaking truths with gentleness, with grace and with respect. I’m opposed to the civil unions bill for many reasons… I’m a follower of Jesus. And I believe following Jesus is the way through which we can run the race and finish strong. Marriage is the fundamental institution that holds our society together and my Christian beliefs.”

My favorite Senator, Morgan Carroll of Aurora, had this to say:

“Giving equal rights is not a zero-sum game,” she said. “No one loses. Your marriage is your marriage. Your marriage will not be, and no one’s marriage will be any weaker the day after this bill passes. Who you love will not be any different. Who you worship, how you think about life, the rights you enjoy, by adding equality to all of our residents – no one loses.”

The bill now heads to the House where Speaker McNulty has assured the sponsor, Rep Mark Ferrandino, as well as reporters, constituents, and… well… everybody, that the bill will have a “fair hearing”. But what that means remains to be seen.

Based on the House Republicans that have publicly expressed support for the bill, there are several committees in the House in which the bill will almost certainly pass. But there are others where it’s fate would be less certain, if not outright grim.

If the bill should reach the floor of the House, however, it will pass. With all but 3 of the House Democrats as sponsors (the other three have all commented on the record in support of the bill) and multiple Republicans on record supporting it, the only real test left is whether the House Speaker will listen to the 70+% of Coloradoans who support legal recognition for same-sex couples.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not point out the pattern in the votes. All three of the female Republicans (and the fact that there are only 3 out of 15 Senate Republicans is a story in and of itself) voted yes on the bill and all 12 male Senate Republicans voted no. I will let you all draw your own conclusions on that point.

GLBT Lobby Day – GOP Hides on the Floor

(But a few didn’t, as explained below – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Over a hundred GLBT citizens as well as dozens of people like me who described ourselves as “straight allies of the movement” spent time in the capitol talking primarily about SB11-172 (which would allow same-sex civil unions) with our representatives.

Well, we talked to some of them, anyway.

See, people are allowed to move around the capitol freely for the most part, but they are not allowed on the floor of the House and Senate. So that’s where Republicans stayed to avoid having to face their constituents demanding equal rights.

Two Republicans, Reps. Swerdferger and Scott, were willing to leave the bunker and talk to people, but the rest stayed safely hidden from the scary public opinion.

Some good news came about today, however. Republican Representative Priola has been added to the list of the bill’s supporters (according to the organizers of the event). This is especially significnt because Rep. Priola is the Speaker Pro Tem (sort of like a vice president) of the House and is a respected and established member of the House GOP.

Rep. Priola told the DP back in December that he favored civil unions but would not commit to a vote until he saw the actual bill.

Republican Kathleen Conti has also said she will vote for the bill.

Patriot Act Extension Fails in House Vote

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

26 Republicans voted against their party today, contributing to the defeat of the House Bill that would have extended provisions of the controversial Patriot Act, which are due to expire at the end of February.

The Washington Post has the story

House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback Tuesday when they fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party’s tea-party bloc.

The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures.

More after the jump.

The provisions of the Patriot act in question are:

1. Authorize the FBI to use roving wiretaps on surveillance targets;

2. Allow the government to access “any tangible items,” such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and

3. Allow for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

While President Obama supports the extension of these provisions, the vast majority of the opposition has come from House Democrats, who continue to complain that the Patriot Act represents an unacceptable intrusion into civil liberties gauranteed by the US Constitution.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has presented an occasionally lonely opposition to the Patriot Act, said that Tuesday’s vote demonstrated that he now had company from more than two dozen Republicans who support the Bill of Rights. “The Patriot Act represents the undermining of civil liberties,” Kucinich said after the vote. Republicans “brought [the bill] forward not knowing the votes.”

House leaders rejected that analysis. “Democrats in Congress voted to deny their own administration’s request for key weapons in the war on terror,” said Erica Elliott, spokeswoman for Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

This does not mean the end of the Patriot Act or even these select setions of it. House Republican leaders are already preparing to find a way to pass the measures with only a simple majority instead of a super majority, and the Senate is considering its own approach to the question as well.

But as February 28 draws near, watch for this debate to get a lot more heated.

CO Revenue Resolution Dies

Perhaps someone else can find something that I can’t.

The annual non-binding resolution that declares and certifies the revenue estimates will not pass at all this year.

House Republicans refuse to budge on their rejection of the estimates set by people who do so for a living in favor of their own random guess. Senate democrats refuse to spend anything less than every dime they expect to make (even though the budget has had to be re-cut each year since 2007 due to the estimate being too high).

So for what I believe is the first time in at least the last decade, if not ever, the resolution will not pass.

They aren’t even bothering with a conference committee because neither side intends to compromise even a little.

Let’s give a big cheer for all that bipartisanship we were promised when the session started.

Senator Williams’ Case Delayed

According to channel 7 in Amarillo, TX, Colorado State Senator Suzanne Williams will not find out if she will face criminal charges for the December car accident that killed a pregnant woman in December of 2010.

Reports Channel 7:


Pronews 7 has learned that the case involving Colorado State Senator Suzanne Williams will not be presented to the 69th District Attorney’s office as expected.

District Attorney David Green said the case will not be ready to present to his office until around the end of February. Green said that the case would not be presented to a Grand Jury in February but said he is anticipating the case to be presented to a Hartley County Grand Jury in April.

Williams allegedly was the driver of a car that killed Texas Panhandle native Brianna Gomez and could face criminal charges.

What, exactly, is taking them so long?

I hate to draw baseless conclusions, but it’s really hard not to think that this is being delayed so that any potential trial that arises from the case will occur after the Colorado Senate has adjourned.

I struggle to see what more could be discovered about this case. All witnesses are accounted for, all evidence is collected. And all emotional stuff aside, it’s a pretty straight forward case.

Originally, the DA said he was going to present the case to the grand jury at the beginning of January, now it’s not until April. And this three month delay is not in the trial itself, but in simply deciding whether or not she will be charged at all.

So if not as a special courtesy (aka special treatment) for an elected official, what’s the hold up?

Palin Confirms Presidential Interest, Alaska’s Senator Re-Elect Lashes Out

Full Article

In an article that will be published in this weekend’s issue of the New York Times, Robert Draper quotes Sarah Palin confirming that she is interested in a run for President, which is more than she’s given any other reporter.

I am. I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.

Palin also said that there aren’t meaningful differences in policy among the field of G.O.P. hopefuls, and that she’s evaluating whether she can “bring unique qualities to the table.” I would say that “unique qualities” is something she has plenty of, but are they the kind that get you elected President?

More about the in-depth inteview with Pain and those close to her after the jump. I’ve done my best to summarize and comment on the 7 page article, but it’s still a long post, nonetheless.

(Check it out, there’s some really good stuff in there.)

Palin World

The article examines those close to Palin who have served as her guides and advisors since hitting the national stage so suddenly two years ago.

Andrew Davis, one of her advisers, describes a cult-like environment driven by “personal devotion to Palin rather than the furtherance of her political career”, and where people don’t have titles or specific jobs and rarely know what they will be doing from one day to the next. It’s “the way things always operated in Palin World.”

Hm, interesting.

Davis is also the person who screened the candidates for Palin to endorse or not by trying to determine whether they met certain base-line standards (like being anti-abortion, pro-A.N.W.R. drilling and anti-stimulus). Palin would then make the final decisions. As you will see at the end of this article, she had more misses than hits.

Lessons from ’08 and Media Aversion

Draper also asked Palin about the 2008 campaign. Her answer is very interesting.

Palin said that her experience as John McCain’s running mate was for the most part “amazing, wonderful, do it again in a heartbeat.” But she added, “What Todd and I learned was that the view inside the bus was much better than underneath it, and we knew we got thrown under it by certain aides who weren’t principled” and that “the experience taught us, yes, to be on guard and be very discerning about who we can and can’t trust in the political arena.”

She went on: “I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn’t have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record. That’s the most frustrating thing for me – the warped and perverted description of my record and what I’ve accomplished over the last two decades. It’s been much more perplexing to me than where the lamestream media has wanted to go about my personal life. And other candidates haven’t faced these criticisms the way I have.”

I asked her if by avoiding the national press, she didn’t bear at least some responsibility for the way the public viewed her. “I’m on television nearly every single day with reporters,” she shot back. “Now granted, that’s mainly through my job at Fox News, and I’m very proud to be associated with them, but I’m not avoiding anything or anybody. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I’m out there. I want to talk about my record, though.” Palin was referring to “getting in there and cleaning up corruption, taking on the oil companies and the good old boys in the party, things like the natural-gas pipeline” and “getting things out of the government’s hands, like the state-owned dairy creamery in Alaska.” Asked if she believed in 2008 that these accomplishments made her at least as qualified as Barack Obama to be president, her response was immediate: “Absolutely. If I had any doubt in my ability or administrative experience that would’ve been put to good use in a McCain administration, then I never would have accepted the nomination.”

One has to wonder if she is genuinely dilusional in thinking that her limited experience qualifies her to be President, or whether it is simply her experience as a sportcaster and journalism major telling her to fake it and hope no one notices. She also said the media’s “unfairness” toward her makes her “fear for our democracy”, which is especially humorous coming from a person of the salary of Fox News.

Later on in the article, she shows how paranoid she is about anyone who has been in politics very long, describing them as “unprincipled people who are in it for power, money and job titles.” So maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to do the time and work her way up through the system like everyone else. Maybe she’s worried that she’ll become like them.

Ignoring Advice and Rejecting Help

The article highlights how Palin has ignored those tradition political manuevers, for better or worse, and disregarded the advice of the seasoned political operatives.

One afternoon in June 2009, Gov. Sarah Palin was sitting in the Washington office of her friend Fred Malek, whom she met through McCain during the 2008 campaign. She was listening to the former White House aide to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford map out logical next steps to her political career. Focus on amassing a good record as governor, he advised her. Run for a second term. Develop some policy expertise. Do some extensive overseas travel. Generate some good will by campaigning for fellow Republicans.

Malek said that Palin was visably displeased with that advice and told him that she wasn’t willing to stay in office as Governor where all of her mistakes would be public knowledge and easily exploited. “Under the laws of Alaska, anybody can file suit or an ethics charge against me, and I have to defend it on my own. I’m going into debt.”

So, in other words, she resigned the Governor’s seat to escape transparancy or critical review of her work as the cheif executive officer of the state of Alaska. Hm, well she’s gonna be in for a surprise if she does find a way to the Oval Office, where she and every member of her staff will be subjected to constant scrutany.

Malek also said that he hosted a foreign-policy lunch discussion with Palin, where Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, received an appreciative grin from Palin when he told her that he himself had seen Russia from an island off the coast of Alaska – “I defended you on that.”

Just… wow.

Three weeks after the series of meetings with Malik, Palin resigned as Governor.

Palin’s New Media

On the topic of her self-driven media explosian, Robert Gates, the White House Press Secretary, talks about his frustration with the Palin phenomenon…

If I would have told you that I could open up a Facebook account or a Twitter account, simply post quotes, and have the White House asked about those, and to have the entire White House press corps focused on your quote of the day on Facebook – that’s Sarah Palin. She tweets one thing, and all of a sudden you’ve got a room full of people that want to know. . . .

Gibbs shook his head and continued: “Now, I could say, ‘You know what? I’m not going to deal with that.’ And big headline: Palin Accuses Obama of X. The White House had no comment.

Palin’s Lawyer Thomas Van Flein, who helped her get through Troopergate, says she doesn’t consult anyone before she posts her tweets and facebook statuses, and that he struggles to keep up with her, especially since her moments of “inspiration” could come at any time of the day. Said Palin about her tweets, “that’s just the way I roll.”

Loss of Bi-Partisnship

Bill McAllistar, former Communications Director for Palin, says that she used to be far less partisan than she is now and recalls a time when, “while editing a speech she was about to give, the vice-presidential candidate crossed out a disparaging reference to liberals, telling an aide, ‘We want liberals to vote for us, too.'” But when the election was over, supposedly, the democrats in her state were more interested in attacking her than working together to govern, which she gives as another reason for leaving her position there.

And y’know what, I’m sure that she’s right. If she had stayed in the Governor’s seat, every single issue in Alaska would be a national headline in no time and Democrats in the state would surely use it to garner press for themselves. When all is said and done, resigning the Governorship was probably the best thing Palin could have done for the state, even if it is going to kill her if she tries to run for President. She will be plagued with statements like “Palin didn’t honor her commitment to the people of Alaska by serving her full term. Instead, she decided to resign and go make millions with her book deal, Fox News job, and reality TV show. It’s seems like she is more interested in being a rich celebrity than serving the voters. So why should we trust her to do anything different as President?”

Good Article

Overall, this article shows a picture of Palin that hasn’t really been seen before. It shows her method of strategizing (which sometimes consists of asking for advice and then dismissing it) is very intentional and at least moderately organized, while still somehow being chaotic. I fully recommend reading the whole thing.

Toward the end, it gets much more relaxed and almost settles into just being a conversation bewteen Palin and Draper.

The Missing Story: Palin’s Endorsements and Senator Murkowski

One issue that is only touched on breifly, however, is her relationship (or lack thereof) with Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who the AP just now announced is the first person to win a write-in campaign for the US Senate in over 50 years.

Palin, however, supported Murkowski’s opponent, Joe Miller and helped him defeat Murkowski in the GOP Primary. But Murkowski decided to continue her campaign anyway, not wanting to leave Alaskans a choice between “an extremist and a Democrat” (sound familiar, Colorado?), and managed to defeat not only Miller, but Democrat Scott McAdams as well. The relationship between Palin and Murkowski has been strained since Murkowski was appointed to replace the late Senator Ted Stevens. And after Palin endorsed Miller, Murkowski fired back, saying “Well, perhaps it’s time they met one Republican woman who won’t quit on Alaska,” And she didn’t quit.

Much of her campaign focused on simply helping people remember how to spell her name correctly and making sure they new how to properly cast a write-in vote. Supporters even passed out blue rubber wrist bands with voting instructions for people to wear to the polls on election. Those bands eventually became a show of solidarity for those who supported her. Maybe she should have just switched to the American Constitution Party instead.

So now, Palin has to contend with a female Republican Senator from her own state who is out to get her. And you better believe that Senator Murkowski will be using some air-time to get a few blows in. When asked whether she would support Obama and Palin for President in an interview with Katie Couric on Monday, Murkowski said

I just do not think that she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity that allows for building good and great policies. You know, she was my governor for two years, and I don’t think that she enjoyed governing.

I will tell you, I am not one of those who wants Obama to fail. If he does well, that means the country’s doing well. We don’t have time as a nation to spend all of what we do blocking. We have got to figure out how we get to a point where we can be sitting around the table and talking about these difficult problems and advancing some solutions.

If nothing else, Murkoiwski’s election should serve as a bit of a blow to Palin’s confidence about her influence, even within her own state. While she was able to boost the Tea Party backed Miller to the GOP nomination, he wasn’t able to actually win the election. Though the Washington Post reports that the results were typical.

Of the 11 Governor candidates she supported, only 5 won.

Of the 33 US House candidates she supported, 18 won, possibly 19.(New York’s 25th District is still counting, but the Palin-endorsed candidate seems to be winning)

Of the 13 candidates for Senate that she endorsed, only 6 will be in the Senate next year. (and one of them is John McCain)

That’s 25 out of 54, less than 50%. In a Republican “wave” year, most people could have picked more winners by simply flipping a coin.

So hopefully she, or at least one of her advisors, is quickly learning that there is a difference between being popular and being influential. And she is going to need both is she hopes to win in 2012.

Denver Councilman Hancock Will Run for Mayor

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Denver City Councilman and former Council President Michael Hancock (District 11) will seek to succeed Hickenlooper as the City’s Mayor, he announced Monday.

Denver’s District 11 includes Northeast Park Hill, Stapleton, Gateway, Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Parkfield, and Denver International Airport.

According to his website, he is currently serving as Chairman of the Bond Implementation Committee, Vice Chairman of the Economic Development and a member of the Finance Committee.  He has served in numerous leadership posts since joining the Council, which include one term as President Pro Tem, and chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

Councilman Hancock is a Denver native and he and his twin sister are the youngest of 10 children.  He was educated in public schools, graduating from Denver’s historic Manual High School.  He attended Hastings College in Nebraska graduating with honors and a degree in Political Science.  He completed his graduate studies at the University Of Colorado Graduate School Of Public Affairs, earning a Masters of Arts degree in Public Administration Management.

Other official candidates are Councilman Doug Linkhart, city employee Danny Lopez and James Mejia, executive director of the Denver Preschool Program.

And of course, let’s not forget State Senator Chris Romer, who seems to be taking his time announcing, even though pretty much everybody knows its coming.

GOP “Bans” Earmarks, Udall Joins the Fight

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Read more at Policystation.org

Well, the GOP Caucus passed the “ban” on earmarks yesterday. As I said last week, the move was completely symbolic and non-binding, so the GOP can now claim that they have taken a serious move to cut spending, even though they can still request earmarks if they choose and earmarks account for only about 1-2% of federal spending anyway.

Interestingly enough, according to the Wall Street Journal, only three Senators have broken the $300million mark for personal earmarks, and two of them were Republicans. Coming in first place is Republican Senator Thad Cochran from Mississippi, who has personally secured almost $500million for his state in FY2010 and is the only person to have over $400million.

And now, Colorado’s Senator Udall has joined the fight. And it might not be in the way you expect.

Senator Udall posted a message on his Twitter yesterday afternoon, indicating that he would support an across-the-board ban on earmarks.

Mark Udall: “I’m calling for an end to the wasteful and influence-laden process of earmarking.”

According to USA Today, President Obama has yet to come down firmly anywhere, yet, though he did release a statement yesterday signalling that he will be open to the idea.

As President, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks and set new, higher standards of transparency and accountability.

Of course, a ban on earmarks favors the sitting President, as all the previously mandated spending will now be up to him to divide and disperse as he sees fit. So while the Republicans have only passed a symbolic and ultimately meaningless gesture, the President has the opportunity to one-up them by announcing that he will veto any bill that includes earmarks, which would both please the electorate and give him and his cabinet more power.

On Thursday, the White House is hosting a large bipartisan dinner. The agenda hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s hard to imagine that this topic won’t come up, maybe as they are serving up the pork.

CO 2010 Election, THE MOVIE

Now accepting cast nominations for the IndyFilms production of “The 2010 Colorado Election”. The film will focus only on the Governor and Senate elections.

Most roles are open, but we are specifically seeking nominations of A and B list celebrities for the following roles:

John Hickenlooper

Dan Maes

Tom Tancredo

Scott McInnis

Bill Ritter

Ken Buck

Michael Bennet

Jane Norton

Andrew Romanoff

Other available roles after the jump

Barack Obama

Ken Salazar Single scene where he passes up the Governor election. Small part, but very important

Joe Gestngpindnapdskntner Republican spoiler for the Gov nomination

Dick Wadhams

Josh Penry

Pat Waak (This is a voice-only role, as she will not actually appear in any of the events of the election, but will be heard over the phone a few times.)

Also willing to hear other proposed characters and nominations for who would play them, so long as they were players in the Governor or Senate races.  No one in the general public cares about any of the others and we gotta sell imaginary tickets to this thing.

Roles already cast include:

John Kennedy (AKA protestinthestreets) will be played by Michael Moore

Sarah Palin will continue to be played by Tina Fey. Apparently she trademarked the imitation.

ColoradoPols and the Denver Paper will be played by the Muppets characters Statler and Waldorf respectively (The old guys that sat in the balcony and insulted everyone else)

The bloggers of Colorado will be played by a Greek style Chorus. But none of them will be given a script before filming.

Earmark Battle Heats Up

(More on this from Newsweek as the Tea Party looks to Republicans to pay up for support they received in the election. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

x-posted from PolicyStation.org

A fight is brewing between Republicans in the US Senate over whether they will honor their pledge to reduce spending and crack down on earmarks.

According to the Washington Independant, Sen. Jim Demint (R – SC) will be proposing a resolution which would ban Republicans from requesting earmarks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, has been resisting the move, saying that “eliminating earmarks would effectively cede Congress’ spending authority to the White House while not making a real dent in the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit.”  

Republicans are lining up on both sides, some saying that eliminating earmarks won’t reduce spending at all and that it is a “phoney issue”, while others like Sen. Coburn (R – OK) who said in an editorial for the National Review, “If they didn’t spend money, why defend them? Stopping an activity that spends money does result in less spending. It’s that simple.”

Republicans can’t seem to keep a consistent message about earmarks. Year after year, candidates from the Republican party for the US Senate and House pledge to put a stop to earmarks and “pork barrel” spending. And we all remember when Sen. McCain (R – AZ) pledged to veto any and all “pork” that crossed his desk if he were elected President.

But when it comes time to walk the walk, they fail to live up to the rhetoric. In fact, a few have pointed out that the resolution proposed by Demint is non-binding. So while violations would technically be against the “sense of the caucus”, earmark requests from Republicans would not likely be reduced.

In 2010, Republicans have secured over $2.6 billion in earmarks, and that’s as the minority party. Democrats certainly don’t escape blame on this issue, as the D party has secured about $5 billion in earmarks so far. (The difference is that they don’t campaign against them) Bi-partisan earmarks and those whose requester was undisclosed totaled about $8.2 billion. You can see a break down of the state by state costs and a list of every single earmark over at endspending.com.

One thing that you will notice is that Colorado receives proportionally less money in earmarks than other states. Our per capita earmark is only about $17 (Rank 42nd) while most states come in at about $30-$60 and a few shooting through the roof. West Virginia has pulled $173.74 per person (Rank 3rd) and Hawaii (Rank 1st) has managed a whopping $318.36 per person.

All told, earmarks accounted for about $16 billion worth of federal spending this year. And while that is certainly a lot of money, it’s money that goes back to the states and to direct spending projects that build communities. That’s why no member of congress, Republican or Democrat, is ever going to stop. They get to come home to their states with a new airport or 15 new schools and campaign that they fought hard to get those things for their state and the people love them for it. But when compared to the $1 trillion deficit or the $13 trillion national debt, $6 billion sure doesn’t seem like a lot. And unlike many of the ways congress spends money, earmarks actually help communities and taxpayers most of the time.

Now, Colorado doesn’t have any Republican Senators for me to write to about this, but the Senate Republicans should defeat Sen. Demint’s resolution when they vote on Tuesday (by secret ballot, btw). It would be a purely symbolic move with no real backbone or intention to follow through. If they were serious about this issue and the resolution had any true effect, maybe I would feel differently. But as it is, it’s nothing more than grandstanding, and that’s one thing this congress and this nation do not need any more of.

Ron Paul Gets Early Nudge For 2012 Presidential Run

The New York Daily Times reports that Ron Paul is the favored conservative candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012.

Paul was preferred by 31% of voters in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s presidential preference straw poll yesterday, one of the strongest wins in CPAC history.

Sarah Palin, who skipped the group’s conference, came in a distant third with 7% of the vote.

Paul ran for President in 2008 but didn’t come close to claiming the GOP’s nomination.

Mitt Romney, after topping CPAC’s poll for the past three years, came in second, with 22% of the 2400 votes cast.

Ron Paul has become a grass roots, Obama style insurgent, gathering devoted volunteers from every corner of the nation. But many outside the Republican party question whether he has the style, charisma, and general appeal to be able to reach the out to the middle of the political spectrum.

What’s more, his constant cries to end corruption at all levels of the federal government doesn’t really sit well with big donors, who are often served by the kind of corruption he wants to end. So the question then becomes one of whether he will be able to raise the funds to run a successful bid for the R nom.

Palin already has the lead on 2012 bumper stickers, and we certainly haven’t seen the last of Mitt Romney. But the early numbers show that Paul stands to be much more of a force this season than he has in the past.

Higher Ed Tax Hike?

On Thursday, the Higher Education Strategic Planning Committee recommended that the Colorado General Assembly consider referring a measure to the voters to increase taxes to fund Higher Education.

The committee presented five options for the tax increase in the nearly 40 page report which can be found here.

But how realistic is that?

Even when democrats were in control of both houses of the Colorado legislature, they had trouble with this. HCR 10-1002 would have made a exemption in the TABOR laws for education funding. It failed to even get all of the democrats to vote for it, much less the 2/3 required to refer it to the voters. And what’s more, many people are pointing to that measure as one of the causes of the downfall of it’s prime sponsor, Rep. Benefield.

Now that the Republicans control the house, and the vast majority of them have signed the Colorado Union of Taxpayers pledge to not raise taxes, how exactly does anyone hope to pass this measure?

And even if they did, it is not likely to have the Governor’s support, since Hickenlooper ran on a platform of not raising taxes.

Much more likely is that the Higher Ed leaders hope to get the Republicans to vote no on this so that they can use it against them in the next election (“So and so voted against education funding”), and then run it as a citizen’s initiative anyway.

The task force was assembled by Governor Ritter last Spring amidst threats from college and university presidents that they would begin making recommendations without his support if he didn’t do something about their funding problems. And in fact, under the direction of Senate Majority Leader Morse and Minority Leader Penry, they did just that, passing a “Higher Education Flexibility Bill” (SB 10-003) which allows colleges and universities to raise tuition as much as 9% without any outside approval and can raise it even further with the approval of the Colorado Commission of Higher Education, whose members are appointed by the Governor and son’t answer to the General Assembly or the voters.

So on top of limitless tuition increases, higher ed now wants a tax increase, too.

But is there really any chance of them getting it?