Don’t cancel your subscription to The Denver Post–even though you’ll get your some of your money back if you do

Some people are feeling betrayed by The Denver Post, or should I say its hedge fund owner, for putting its articles behind a paywall about a month before the newspaper decided to lay off a third of its news staff, meaning there’s no way The Post’s offerings will match what you expected when you bought your subscription.

It’s a bait-and-switch, even for someone like me who’s had a subscription to The Post for over 20 years.

So I called The Post to find out if you get your unused money back, if you cancel your annual subscription during the year.

You’d expect to get a partial refund, but with the hedge fund involved, and things being what they are, you don’t know.

You’ll be happy to read that, yes, if you cancel, you can claim your money for unused months.

So now what do those of us with subscriptions do?

You could argue, why give money to the hedge fund, which appears to be sucking money from the newspaper without any concern about journalism?

But you could have taken that position not only when the newspaper went behind the paywall in early January, but ever since Alden Global Capital acquired The Post in 2013.

Things look worse now, awful in fact, but if you subscribe to The Post because you wanted to support local journalism, you still should.

Don’t cancel your subscription.

I mean, there’s still hope. It’s hard to write it, but it’s true.

At some point, you have to expect that The Post will be sold, and maintaining as much journalism between then and now is worth it, so that the next owner can start off in the best place possible under horribly adverse conditions.

Yes, Alden Global Capital will eat some of your money, but not all of it. Or maybe not all of it.

Also, if you believe there’s hope in The Post’s subscription-only model, and I have an itsy bitsy amount of faith in it, then you want to give it a chance to succeed. Yesterday’s staff cuts, coming so soon after the wall was put up, are even more sad, because Alden didn’t give the subscription model a chance to succeed, and now it has much less of a chance.

But there’s still hope for it,

So I’m not canceling my Post subscription. The newspaper still deserves the best shot possible. That’s what it should get from its owners but is not getting. And that’s what we should give it.

Plus, I have no doubt that the dregs of the Post, the 70 stiffs who remain, will still churn out great stories that I will want to read.

Don’t cancel your subscription to The Denver Post–even though you’ll get a partial refund if you do

Some people are feeling betrayed by The Denver Post, or should I say its hedge fund owner, for putting its articles behind a paywall about a month before the newspaper decided to lay off a third of its news staff, meaning there’s no way The Post’s offerings will match what you expected when you bought your subscription.

It’s a bait-and-switch, even for someone like me who’s had a subscription to The Post for over 20 years.

So I called The Post to find out if you get your unused money back, if you cancel your annual subscription during the year.

You’d expect to get a partial refund, but with the hedge fund involved, and things being what they are, you don’t know.

You’ll be happy to read that, yes, if you cancel, you can claim your money for unused months.

So now what do those of us with subscriptions do?

You could argue, why give money to the hedge fund, which appears to be sucking money from the newspaper without any concern about journalism?

But you could have taken that position not only when the newspaper went behind the paywall in early January, but ever since Alden Global Capital acquired The Post in 2013.

Things look worse now, awful in fact, but if you subscribe to The Post because you wanted to support local journalism, you still should.

Don’t cancel your subscription.

I mean, there’s still hope. It’s hard to write it, but it’s true.

At some point, you have to expect that The Post will be sold, and maintaining as much journalism between then and now is worth it, so that the next owner can start off in the best place possible under horribly adverse conditions.

Yes, Alden Global Capital will eat some of your money, but not all of it. Or maybe not all of it.

Also, if you believe there’s hope in The Post’s subscription-only model, and I have an itsy bitsy amount of faith in it, then you want to give it a chance to succeed. Yesterday’s staff cuts, coming so soon after the wall was put up, are even more sad, because Alden didn’t give the subscription model a chance to succeed, and now it has much less of a chance.

But there’s still hope for it,

So I’m not canceling my Post subscription. The newspaper still deserves the best shot possible. That’s what it should get from its owners but is not getting. And that’s what we should give it.

Plus, I have no doubt that the dregs of the Post, the 70 stiffs who remain, will still churn out great stories that I will want to read.

Anti-abortion organization continues to attack state senator

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado State Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik continues to take heat from the Colorado Campaign for Life (CCL), which has been seeking a “strong God-fearing, pro-lifer” to challenge the Thornton Republican in the GOP primary election this year.

In an email to supporters last year, CCL criticized Humenik for her votes on an abortion bill, claiming that she betrayed her conservative base.

This week, prior to the beginning of the GOP’s county assemblies, where a challenger to Humenik would emerge, if there is one, CCL posted an image on its Facebook page, labeling Humenik a “pro-abort.” CCL commented:

A Colorado Campaign for Life Member sent us an e-mail from Senator Beth Martinez Humenik, touting her experience with a certain women’s group [Jewish Women International].
“It was a great reminder for women to support and empower each other every day.”
Here’s a reminder for Pro-lifers in SD24, Senator Martinez-Humenik voted to empower abortion facilities…

In the comment section, CCL Director Christy Rodriquez apparently wrote, “I’ve wondered the same thing, and if she has had an abortion, I sincerely pray she seeks repentance and forgiveness. But, if a politician doesn’t mind we kill babies, we shouldn’t mind killing their career.”

A call to CCL to confirm the Facebook posts and to determine whether CCL had identified someone to primary Humenik, who represents a key swing district, was not immediately returned.

Coffman adds to her list of contradictory stances on abortion issues

In a radio interview Saturday, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman appears to stand behind her work to defund Planned Parenthood, adding to her growing list of seemingly contradictory stances on abortion-related issues.

On KNUS 710-AM, she also reiterated her past statement that she doesn’t want to be labeled “pro-choice.

Yet, she sounded like she was pro-choice when she previously said abortion should be “rare” and “safe.

But abortion would be less safe if the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark abortion-protection law, Roe v. Wade, were overturned. Coffman, a Republican, has said she thinks states should determine whether abortion is legal, and she personally opposes Roe.

Except, she also has a self-described “libertarian view that a woman should have a right to an abortion.

In any case, she also thinks Roe is “settled.”

Overall, she’s on neither “end of the political spectrum,” she’s said, and she doesn’t like any label. “I don’t fit in the category of ‘pro-choice,’” she said Saturday. “I’ve looked at the list of everything that is pro-choice, and there are a lot of things there I disagree with.”

But after a reporter labeled Coffman, who’s Colorado attorney general, as “pro-choice” in a TV news story, Coffman’s campaign declined an offer from the reporter to change or delete the pro-choice label in her story.

Asked on Saturday if she would “use the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to advocate for life,” Coffman said “yes,” citing her work in the Owens Administration when “we took funding from Planned Parenthood” by “putting the pressure on them to meet the law in Colorado.”

But she’s said “there is a right to choice,” which she’d support as governor.

In his post on Coffman’s radio interview Saturday, ColoradoPolitics reporter Joey Bunch quoted a Coffman campaign spokeswoman as saying, “As many Coloradans understand, [Coffman’s] position on this issue is more than just a label.”

That’s where this blog post ends.

Colorado conservatives lash out at students who advocate for gun safety laws or plan to walk out of class tomorrow

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last month, after students from Parkland, Florida began speaking out for gun safety laws in the wake of a massacre at their high school, Denver conservative radio host Randy Corporon went on the attack, calling the students “manipulated damaged children” and “brainwashed Florida teenagers” and accusing “the left” of “seizing on this tragedy and weaponizing these children against the rights of fellow American citizens, and against a political party, and against an organization like the NRA.”

“[The students] have no idea what they are doing,” said KNUS 710-AM Corporon on air Feb. 20. “They’re being manipulated by these leftists. This is the war for our civilization that I talk about.”

“If you listen to these speeches, that are very well read by these students, it’s very difficult for me to believe that these students wrote many of these speeches and statements themselves,” Corporon explains.  “They do not sound like 14-year-olds or 15-year-olds. Or even 16-year-olds or 17-year-olds…”

“It is their teachers. It is the leftists that are in their lives, could be their parents…

“These kids should be with their families, with their friends. They should be going through the mourning process. They shouldn’t be drawn in to this political turmoil, this political whirlwind that’s going on right now, but they’re in it. And we cannot let them seize the day and own the conversation.”

With students across Colorado set to walk out of class tomorrow to support of Florida teenagers and advocate for gun safety laws, I asked Corporon if he stood behind these comments–or if he’d changed his mind, or possibly tempered it, after seeing how the students, many of whom studied debate in school, have organized themselves and expressed their views.

“No, I don’t feel any differently about it than I did at the time, and you can re-quote me and re-affirm what I said,”  Corporon told me, adding that he still opposes tomorrow’s walk out, in part because “we’re just making kids targets with no protection whatsoever.” “If my kids were in school still, they would not be participating in any walk out. That’s for sure.”

 

(more…)

Colorado Republican Party Makes Last-Minute Hotel Switch Because of NRA

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Republican Party has decided not to hold its multi-county assemblies at the Best Western Hotel in Longmont, “due to recent news of Best Western pulling their support from the NRA and our 2nd Amendment rights.”

In an email announcement about the Republican State Convention, to be held April 14 at CU’s Coors Events Center, and the multi-County Assemblies, scheduled for the day prior, the State party, which is officially called the “Colorado Republican Committee (CRC),” wrote:

We have had many voice their concern over the multi county assembly location due to the recent news of Best Western pulling their support from the NRA and our 2nd Amendment rights. With this in mind along with other factors, the CRC has decided to pull our business from the Best Western Event Center and have changed venues for the Friday, April 13th multi-county assembly meetings. The Centennial Dinner and all Friday (April 13, 2018) meetings have been moved to the Hyatt Denver Tech Center.

“Thank you, Chairman Jeff Hays!” said the Jefferson County Republican Party in response to the decision to abandon the Best Western.

The Colorado Republican Party did not immediately respond to my question about what the “other factors” were in deciding against the Best Western–and whether there had been any opposition to the decision to switch locations.

The state GOP wrote that it was “recent news” that Best Western had pulled support from the NRA, but Best Western “ended any association with the NRA in 2014,” a representative told Business Insider last month. The move came after the Sandy Hook massacre.

In response to gun-safety activists who were calling in February for a boycott of Best Western due to its connections to the NRA, the hotel furiously tweeted that it doesn’t have an affiliation with the pro-gun organization, though Business Insider reported that Best Western was offering discounts to NRA members as recently as 2016.

The move from the Best Western in Longmont to a hotel in the tech center for Friday’s county meetings will surely be inconvenient for Republicans, who are holding their state GOP convention in Boulder on Saturday.  Longmont is in Boulder County, while the tech center is a half hour south of Denver. Republicans may have already booked hotel rooms near Boulder.

Post Follows Up After Gardner “Doesn’t Deny” Blocking Gun Safety Legislation

(Click here for more on Gardner’s “Face The Nation” interview — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Denver Post took time to extract the actual newsworthy information from Sunday’s Face-the-Nation interview, featuring U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), instead of simply transcribing the main topic of the senator’s appearance on national TV.

The news, which came at the end of an interview focused on North Korea, was, as The Post’s headline stated, “Cory Gardner doesn’t deny blocking a bipartisan effort to improve gun-purchase background checks in TV interview.”

In contrast, CBS4’s news-free headline read, “Gardner on North Korea Relationship: Hold China Responsible.” CBS4’s piece, like the Hill’s and not surprisingly the Washington Times’, failed to mention Gardner’s repeated refusals to answer questions about his alleged decision to block a proposed bipartisan law to help force federal agencies to accurately document the criminal histories of gun buyers.

The Post not only reported Gardner’s newsworthy gun-question dodge, but also tried (and failed) to get a clarification from Gardner, provided background on the issue, and noted Gardner’s recent statements on gun issues (urging a focus on mental health care, not guns).

Related: In radio interview about how to respond to the Florida massacre, Gardner doesn’t utter “gun,” “rifle,” “firearm,” “bump stock,” “magazine,” or any related words

The important interview, illustrating the secretive tactics used to stop gun-safety legislation, was mostly ignored nationally and locally.

The Post reported that Gardner “did not deny that he put a hold” on the gun-safety bill.

From The Post:

The Colorado Republican, interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said he has concerns about the measure that has broad bipartisan support in the Senate over what he describes as “due process issues.”

“This isn’t a issue of whether you like this or not,” he said. “It’s a question of constitutional rights and protecting the people of this country, protecting them from harm …”

“So, you are blocking the bill for now?” moderator Margaret Brennan interjected.

Gardner continued, “… and, and making sure we’re protecting people from harm and making sure that we get this right, and if there’s a constitutional issue at stake then that should be worked out.”

Time for Colorado to dig out of budget hole, say progressive fiscal analysts

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Bell Policy Center and the Colorado Fiscal Institute (CFI) are trying to popularize their view that Colorado needs more tax dollars to pay for schools, roads, child care, housing, and other basic community needs.

Look at it this way, say the progressive budget wonks at the Bell and CFI, Colorado is already in a “hole” budget-wise. Now legislators should “stop digging” by providing funds for key programs and by stopping legislation that will make the fiscal hole deeper.

To make the point, the two organizations have launched a multi-faceted campaign to encourage you to tell your state lawmakers to stop digging the budget hole. Among other things, there’s a petition and this video:

The campaign comes as Republican state lawmakers try to slash taxes in Colorado, by cutting state income rates, while simultaneously proposing to spend hundreds of millions on transportation.

Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Colorado Springs) and Tim Neville (R-Littleton) are sponsoring the tax-cut bill, while Sens. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, John Cooke of Greeley and Rep. Perry Buck of Windsor are proposing to spend nonexistent money on roads.

Colorado’s unfunded priorities, as listed by the Bell and CFI include: $828 million in reductions to K-12 education funding; $55.6 million needed by 2020 to adequately fund Colorado’s housing trust fund; $3 billion in funding shortages for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program; $31.5 million needed to serve all eligible children through the Colorado Preschool Program; $9 billion in funding shortages for the Colorado Department of Transportation over the next decade.

“With every boom comes a bust, and if Colorado is already stuck in a hole when that happens, getting out becomes even harder,” says Carol Hedges, director of the CFI. “It’s hard to ignore the hole we’re in today was caused in part by the tax cuts in 1999 and 2000. What we learned then still holds true: Reductions in tax dollars mean fewer teachers, correctional officers who are stretched too thin, higher student debt, and less community support for hardworking families.”

Republicans, like Patrick Neville, say the state government will have more money this year, due to economic gains from new federal tax guidelines.  This money should be spent on roads, they argue, even as their colleagues propose returning it to tax payers in the form of tax cuts.

Related: Republicans propose taking Colorado’s surprise increase in tax revenue and double spending it.

Neville said back in December.

“Roads are our top priority,” he said in a December statement, “and there is no reason why nearly all of this new revenue should not go to widening highways and expanding primary arteries. I have heard the governor and Democrat leadership say they agree roads are their top priority as well. With all this new revenue for the upcoming budget, it’s time to see if they are willing to walk-the-walk, so that we can relieve our citizens of congestion and truly unleash our economy.”

Republicans reject Mike Coffman in Adams County; Stapleton scores multiple GOP caucus victories

UPDATE: In startling caucus results posted this weekend by the Adams County Republican Party, both U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman were rejected by Adams County GOP voters.

The suburban Denver Republican committee, which held both in-person and online votes, called “straw polls,” selected Mike Coffman’s primary challenger, businessman Roger Edwards, by 51 to 49 percent, in combined (and “weighted”) in-person and online votes. In in-person voting held Tuesday, Edwards defeated Coffman by 69 to 31 percent; online, Coffman defeated Edwards by a 67 to 33 margin.

In gubernatorial voting, former Colorado Trump Campaign Co-Chair Steve Barlock won the combined online and in person voting with 33 percent of the vote, followed by Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s 23 and Greg Lopez’s 16. Cynthia Coffman received 5 percent.

The in-person tally showed 33 percent for Barlock, 25 for Stapleton, 19 for Lopez, and four for Coffman. Online: 27 percent for Barlock, 27 for Lopez, 15 for businessman Victor Mitchell, 12 for Coffman, and four for Stapleton.

“Donald Trump is doing well, and people are excited,” said Barlock. “When there’s only one Donald Trump candidate in the race, Republicans are excited to vote for me. We’re sick and tired of the dynasties and political insiders. We want citizens running citizens’ lives.”

He said the victory is a result of “hard work,” visiting groups across the state, and a reflection of support from a broad range of Republican voters in Adams County, who are dissatisfied with politics-as-usual.

Barlock pointed out that with 30 percent of the vote at the general assembly in April, he’d gain access to the GOP primary ballot.

——-
The Colorado Republican Party did not conduct an official tally of gubernatorial preferences among caucus-goers Tuesday, but some county Republican committees held their own informal votes, and the winner so far is State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, judging from GOP county Facebook posts with the results.

Pueblo County Republicans selected Stapleton with 46 percent, choosing former lawmaker Victor Mitchell second at 24 percent. Next was Greg Lopez at 16 percent.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman finished fourth with 8 percent (And her name was misspelled in the final count as “Kaufman.”).

For Treasurer, State lawmaker Justin Everett won in Pueblo with 40 percent.

Sixty-one percent Boulder County Republicans at their caucus went for Stapleton 61 percent. Coffman finished a distant second with 20 percent, followed by Mitt Romney nephew Doug Robinson at 6 percent. Mitchell was fourth with four percent, tied with former Colorado Trump campaign chair Steve Barlock.

In as straw poll of Douglas County Republicans, with low turnout, Walker Stapleton got all but one vote, according to a Dougco County GOP Facebook post.

On the Democratic side, Cary Kennedy was the choice of 50 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers statewide, while U.S. Rep. Jared Polis took 33 percent, followed by Mike Johnston with nine percent, according to totals released by the Colorado Democratic Party this week. 

No Evidence to Support Skepticism of CD-6 Polling

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey, conducted in February, predicts that Democrat Jason Crow would defeat U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora by five percentage points. A December PPP poll showed a unnamed Democrat defeating the incumbent by eight points.

But a PPP poll in October showed Coffman leading Crow by a 43 to 36 margin.

What’s going on in the district?

Coffman’s campaign spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, has called the PPP polls “garbage” multiple times, even though the October survey put Coffman ahead. The December poll, according to Sandberg, as quoted in the Aurora Sentinel, isn’t worth the “paper it’s printed on.”

“Why do you think the PPP polls are ‘garbage?'” I asked Sandberg on Twitter “…Do you have a specific problem with the methodology? Thanks.”

Sandberg, a prolific tweeter, did not respond, though he’s pointed out that these three PPP polls were conducted for progressive organizations. And, to be fair, all three showed undecided voters in the double digits.

PPP Director Tom Jensen Jensen told me his firm “absolutely” used the same polling methodology in the February survey (showing Crow beating Coffman), the December poll (showing a generic Dem beating Coffman), and the October survey (showing Coffman beating Crow).

Jensen defended PPP’s track record in Colorado.

“At various points in 2016, there were polls that had Hillary up by 11 and 14 points in Colorado,” he said. “We consistently had Hillary up by six points, and that’s what she won by. So even if there were a lot of polls that did inflate what Hillary was winning Colorado by, and what Michael Bennet was winning Colorado by, we were pretty much on the mark on those races. In 2014, we had Udall losing, just as he did. In 2012, when most of the polls had Colorado as a tie, we had Obama up by five or six, which is what ended up happening. We’ve had a strong track record in Colorado.”

He said that PPP hasn’t done much polling in Coffman’s district previously, though a PPP poll from Oct. 2013 showed Coffman trailing a generic Democrat 49 to 41, and Coffman went on to win the next year.

Polling aficionados know that a survey or two doesn’t mean all that much.

I asked Jensen for his explanation of the current Democratic advantage in Coffman’s district.

“Clearly there are many polls nationally that have Democrats up by 12 or 14 points on the generic congressional ballot,” Jensen told me. “So it’s safe to say places like Coffman’s district are going to be leaning toward the Democratic side as well. Obviously, there’s a campaign to be conducted and things could shift, but it’s pretty intuitive that in a national political climate like this, that somebody like Mike Coffman in a Clinton-plus-nine district, would be really struggling for re-election.”

“I think Coffman definitely does worse against a generic Democrat than a named Democrat, and that’s not because anything is wrong with Jason Crow,” said Jensen. “It’s just a reflection that Jason Crow isn’t that well known yet. So you expect in these situations that a named Democrat, with low name recognition, wouldn’t be doing quite as well as a generic Democrat who could be anybody. But I do think that part of the reason you had Jason Crow doing better in our recent poll than our poll in October could be increased name recognition over the four months between the two polls, maybe an increased sense that he might be the Democratic candidate.

“But we also have found a worse political climate in the last month for Republicans across the country than we found in early October, when we did that original poll. So I think part of the shift could just be that.

You had Republicans, when we did that earlier poll in October, already hurting because of health care, and now we’ve added to the equation that they are hurting because of tax reform. Those are two big issues now where Republicans have antagonized voters.”

Asked what else might be different about the Coffman race this year, Jensen said: “One dynamic he’s going to have to deal with this year that’s different is you had people who, even if they were voting Democratic, were willing to vote for Coffman as a check, while they simultaneously voted for a Democratic president. And now with a Republican president, people who voted for Clinton but also voted for Coffman–or for Obama and voted for Coffman– they no longer need to vote for Coffman as a check on a Democratic president. They might feel they need to vote for a Democratic candidate as a check on a Republican president.”

Other candidates in the race are businessman Levi Tillemann and attorney David Aarestad. Highlands Ranch Republican Roger Edwards is running against Coffman in the GOP primary.

Reyher’s “Mistakes” Draw a Republican Primary Challenger

(Hint: Reyher was the mistake – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Newly appointed State Rep. Judy Reyher (R-La Junta) has drawn a primary challenge from fellow Republican Don Bendell, as reported first by Peter Roper of the Pueblo Chieftain.

Asked why he’s challenging Reyher, Bendell said:

“I had been asked by a few people privately to get involved because they felt like there had been a few mistakes made that are going to be used by the Democrats against us,” Bendell said. “And we can’t lose that seat. And they felt like I would have a better chance to beat the liberal they are running from Pueblo in the general election.”

Bendell launched his campaign by making mistakes of his own, however, telling potential donors on Facebook that they “can donate privately and confidentially” and that such donations would be “tax-deductible.”

He removed the erroneous information from his Facebook page, and expressed gratitude to those who pointed them out. Donations to candidates are neither private nor tax-deductible.

Bendell declined to name the people who privately encouraged him to run against Reyher.

Neither did Bendell specify the mistakes he thinks Reyher has made.

A trail of  Facebook posts and comments immediately engulfed Reyher in controversy when she was appointed to the state house last year.

Reyher told The Denver Post, for example, in November that black people “hate white people with a passion.” The Post questioned her after reviewing her Facebook feed which had posts like these and these, first reported by this blog. Reyher issued a partial apology to The Post.

“I welcome any challenger,” Reyher said Wednesday.

“My opponent has already asked me to step out, which I don’t intend to do,” said Reyher.

“I thought to myself, ‘Doesn’t everyone want to tell their challenger to take a walk?'” Reyher said. “You know? It kind of took me by surprise. I just said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I’m in it to win it. I’ve got the experience the seat calls for.'”

“I’m not here to trash her,” Bendell said. “She’s a very nice person. In fact, She and I have been Facebook friends for a long time.

“She may not like me, but I like her,” Bendell said, referring to Reyher. “I think she’s a nice person. I have nothing against her whatsoever. I’m not here to talk about her. I’m here to talk about me.”

Bendell said he “never wanted to run for political office before, although he’s been involved in politics for years, having “hosted” rallies for Donald Trump and Eric Trump prior to the last election.

A Republican vacancy committee, in a close vote, appointed Reyher last year to the state house seat after Clarice Navarro, who won re-election in 2016, resigned to work for the Trump Administration.

The winner of the GOP primary race between Reyher and Bendell will take on the Democratic nominee for the seat in the November election.

 

Court Documents Detail Cynthia Coffman’s Role in Defunding Planned Parenthood

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman doesn’t want to be labeled “pro-choice” but says abortion should be “rare” and “safe.” She’s personally opposed to Roe v. Wade but thinks the landmark abortion-protection law is “settled,” and she believes in the “libertarian view that a woman should have a right to an abortion.” Overall, she’s on neither “end of the political spectrum,” she says.

ColoradoPolitics reporter Joey Bunch is the latest journalist who’s tried to sort this out, and her campaign didn’t return get back to him last week.

With Coffman not talking, I wrote a post for Rewire today outlining her history as a leader of the successful effort, during the Owens Administration, to defund Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM).

The issue came up last month when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that our state constitution’s ban on direct or indirect funding of abortion doesn’t preclude the state from funding Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services. 

As the point person for the defunding effort in 2001, Coffman wrote that the decision to defund PPRM was a “common sense application of the facts.”

The Supreme Court took the opposite view, ruling that a ban on non-abortion services would lead to “absurd” results.

Coffman hasn’t said whether she stands behind her 2001 legal opinion, which was cited in plaintiff Jane Norton’s brief in the Supreme Court case.

But when asked about the case last week, she said it deserved a long conversation another time, indicating that she may have changed her view on it, even though her work on the defunding issue was featured in multiple court documents that I reviewed.

At the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), where she was hired by Norton to serve as the department’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Coffman apparently developed the anti-Planned Parenthood legal opinion and implemented the policy, according to court documents.

Among other things, she was featured in a 2001 CDPHE news release announcing the PPRM defunding, she informed PPRM of the decision, and she issued statements explaining it.

By distancing herself from anti-choice leaders, such as Denver talk-radio host Dan Caplis. Coffman is apparently trying to appeal to unaffiliated voters who can now participate in June’s primary election and to general-election voters, who will cast ballots in November, while wrapping herself in enough of a anti-abortion blanket to have a shot at winning the required 30 percent of votes at the Colorado Republican assembly in April and to anti-choice Republicans in the June primary–if she clears the assembly.

Her problem: nearly half Colorado GOP voters won’t even “consider” voting for a “pro-choice” candidate, according to a poll released yesterday by a Republican consulting firm in Colorado.

So, if you were Coffman, maybe you’d want to talk about about Planned Parenthood? Or maybe not.

Ken Buck Defends AR-15 for Shooting Small Animals

(It’s best to shoot squirrels with a bazooka — promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado defended the sale of AR-15 rifles last week, saying “the AR-15 is a gun that is used in my district by farmers and ranchers to shoot pests, raccoons, or foxes or other smaller animals that are trying get into their chickens or disrupt their operations.”

The AR-15 is a military-style semi-automatic rifle used by the shooter at the Florida school massacre.

Buck, a Republican, made the comments on KOA 850-AM Wed., amplifying on anti-gun remarks he’d made earlier in the day to KCOL radio host Gail Fallon.

The use of the AR-15 for shooting rodents is confirmed by an internet search, but gun-safety advocates say rabbits, foxes, raccoons, and other animals can be killed by other means.

On KCOL, Buck suggested that gun massacres are the price we pay for living in a free society.

“At the same time when you have a free and open society, you’ve got to understand that there have always been acts like this in any country,” Buck said.

Buck also dismissed the proposal to restrict gun purchases by young adults, telling Fallon:

“You know Gail, the United States government, the Army, handed my son an M-4 when he was 18 years old. He’s responsible and could could handle it,” said Buck. “And I think he was shooting a 50 caliber when he was 18 years old. So the idea that age is simply the answer, I do not agree with. We lived in a country, outside Greeley when when my kids were growing up. They grew up with the BB guns and a 22, and I had absolute confidence  that video games, music other things were not going to affect their responsibility.

“Unfortunately we have some young people who have a tendency to violence and are irresponsible, and we need to identify those young people and not have a policy that discriminates against the vast majority of 18- 19-year olds who can responsibly handle a gun.

“We let we let young people drive at less than 18-years old. We let young people vote at 18, and I don’t think it’s right to increase the age to 21 when they are doing so many other things that are responsible.

“A lot of young people want to go out and enjoy either target practice or hunting with a parent or other friend. And to me it’s not a simple answer. We’ve got to identify the mentally ill, and we’ve got to make sure that they don’t have access to guns.

If the allowable age for buying a gun were increased, young adults would likely still be able to hunt or shoot at targets with a parent or friend, gun-safety advocates say.

Listen to selected quotes from Buck’s KCOL interview:

Tancredo says Republicans who back gun control are making the same mistake he did after the Columbine shooting

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo.

Back in 2014 when he was running for governor, former Congressman Tom Tancredo came under attack by fellow Republican candidates, like then State Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray, for supporting gun control legislation after the Columbine massacre.

Brophy accused Tanc of being “weaker” on gun control than Gov. John Hickenlooper, which probably sounded awful to the hard-right Republicans who were choosing to vote for Brophy, Tancredo, or others in the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2014.

Part of Tancredo’s response to Brophy, who was trailing in numerous polls: “He’s a dead man walking.”

But Brophy insisted that Tancredo’s 1999 vote for expanded background checks for gun sales and more severe penalties for specified gun crimes would sink Tancredo in the election.

Tancredo also told his fellow Republicans that his gun-control vote was mistake, as reported in The Denver Post at the time:

Tancredo said his position has evolved since Columbine, which was in his congressional district and impacted close neighbors and friends.

“I think we’ve all learned a lot about this issue,” he said this week. “The only thing that stops a bad person with a firearm is a good person with a firearm. That’s it.”

This year, Republicans like Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are backing some gun-control measures in the aftermath of Florida.

Tancredo thinks those Republicans are making the same mistake he did:

With regard to the vote after Columbine, I know how easy it is after an incident like a horrific school shooting, to have emotion rule over reason.  Certainly happened to me, and I guess its happening to Rubio,” Tancredo said via email.  “When I say my vote was a mistake its because when you can begin to think logically about it, you realize that most of the things that are proposed are not ‘fixes’ but platitudes attempting to be put into law.  I am far prouder of the work I did to create the Safe School Hotline which is now Safe2Tell.  And yes, bolstering mental health programs is a positive. Of course the best preventative is a good guy with a gun – when they are not afraid to use it!!

Gardner discusses Florida massacre without saying “gun” or any related word, like “rifle” or “firearm” or “weapon”

In what appear to be his most extensive media comments on the Florida school massacre, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) made no mention of the word “gun” or anything similar or related.

“We have to come together as a society… on ways that we can stop this from happening again. And it’s not by hurting people’s rights. It’s by making sure that we respect people’s rights,” Gardner told KDMT Business for Breakfast host Jimmy Sengenberger.

Continuing without mentioning “gun,” “assault rifle,” or even “firearm,” Gardner then described vaguely what could be done to prevent more school shootings. He wants to gather more information about the “evil actor” and understand why he wasn’t already “behind bars.” Gardner wants better communications among schools, law enforcement, and mental health officials.

“I hope that over the coming days that this discussion leads to a solution that protects innocent, law-abiding people: those people in harm’s way, and those people who respect the rights that they have in our Constitution,” Gardner said, in part.

It was the conservative radio host who introduced the word “gun” into the discussion, but not because he wanted to discuss any proposed gun-safety laws.

“And yet, we’re focused on the gun issue,” Sengenberger told Gardner. “We’re focused on raising the age to buy a rifle. We’re focused on bump stocks, and a number of other issues, as opposed to some of the things you were talking about.”

Sengenberger’s references to “gun,” “rifle,” and “bump stocks” bounced off Gardner without acknowledgement.

Gardner responded by suggesting schools be equipped with airport-style security measures.

Gardner: “Well, and I think, again, where we have to go is, ‘How do we protect our schools? How do we make sure?’– I mean, the comment made yesterday by one analyst on TV said, ‘You have a lot of protection at an airport. We don’t have the same protection at a school.’ And what can we do to provide protections for our schools, the most vulnerable, most precious in our in our society?

“What can we be doing to to provide the resources? Let’s say that the sheriff’s office, you know, did respond, and did take this gentleman — not gentleman, this horrific individual — into custody. What then? Was he going to be released, or was there a mental health system in place that could have provided the treatment and custodian efforts that would have prevented this person from happening — this person carrying out this evil act. This has got to be something that is more than just — more than just political division, here, but something that brings America together for solutions to prevent this from happening, wherever. We’ve seen far too many of this in Colorado. And we’ve got to do what we can to prevent it from happening elsewhere.”

Despite his avoidance of the use of the word gun, Gardner said:

Gardner: “And there is no person in this country that thinks that what happened is something that shouldn’t be discussed, talked about, or figure out how to prevent this from happening again.”

Gardner’s office did not answer my question, left on the voice mail at his office, of why he didn’t use the word “gun” or any related word, in this radio interview.

Gardner, who holds a Republican leadership position in the U.S. Senate, has been criticized by progressives for taking over $3 million during his career from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is the fifth highest amount accepted by a U.S. Senator.

Elsewhere in KDMT interview, Gardner showed no signs of bending toward Democrats on key issues facing Washington lawmakers, advocating for even bigger tax cuts and blaming liberals for the impasse on legislation to help Dreamers, saying people who are “serious about finding a solution on DACA, then I think they’ll come to an agreement with the President on border security and other measures that he has talked about needing in order to support it.”

Listen to Gardner talk about a gun massacre without using the word gun on KDMT 690-AM Jan. 28.

Here’s the full segment of the radio interview during which the Florida massacre was addressed:

SENGENBERGER: [00:05:44] Senator Cory Gardner, our guest here on the program. One issue that obviously has sucked up a lot of oxygen in the room — and understandably so — has been the issue of guns in our society and what’s going on there with regards to the mass shootings that we have seen and so forth. [I’m] wondering what your thought is on, first of all, what we saw take place — that tragic incident, you know, just horrible — in Florida, and also moving forward in this gun debate.

GARDNER: [00:06:14] Well, you said it very well. This was a horrible, horrible tragedy done by a person of evil. And there is no person in this country that thinks that what happened is something that shouldn’t be discussed, talked about, or ways figure out how to prevent this from happening again. We have to come together as a society; not be divided, not let the loudest voices try to divide us, but to come together on ways that we can stop this from happening again. And it’s not by hurting people’s rights. It’s by making sure that we respect people’s rights. It’s about making sure that law enforcement can communicate with schools, can communicate with mental health officials to have the resources they need to address somebody when they have the kinds of problems that this perpetrator — this evil actor — seemed to have. You know, why –. There are still answers that we have to get. Where, in the police investigations, did they go wrong, contacting the sheriff’s office over 40 times? You know, the cyberstalking that this guy –. There was an article in The Miami Herald yesterday that said he should have been you know in jail, and he should have been already behind bars. This is the kind of thing that we have to figure out. But I hope that over the coming days that this discussion leads to a solution that protects innocent, law-abiding people: those people in harm’s way, and those people who respect the rights that they have in our Constitution.

SENGENBERGER: [00:07:45] You know, it’s just interesting to me that we see this debate focus on the issue of guns and so forth, when there seems to have been so many failures on the part of law enforcement — which is rare! It’s not a common thing for law enforcement to not follow up and do their job diligently. But that seems to have been the case, here. And yet, we’re focused on the gun issue. We’re focused on raising the age to buy a rifle. We’re focused on bump stocks, and a number of other issues, as opposed to some of the things you were talking about.

GARDNER: [00:08:14] Well, and I think, again, where we have to go is, “How do we protect our schools? How do we — how do we make sure –“? I mean, the comment made yesterday by one analyst on TV said you have a lot of protection at an airport, We don’t have the same protection at a school. And what can we do to provide protections for our schools, the most vulnerable, most precious in our in our society? What can we be doing to to provide the resources that –. Let’s say that the sheriff’s office, you know, did respond, and did take this gentleman — not gentleman, this horrific individual — into custody. What then? Was he going to be released, or was there a mental health system in place that could have provided the treatment and custodian efforts that would have prevented this person from happening — this person carrying out this evil act. This has got to be something that is more than just — more than just political division, here, but something that brings America together for solutions to prevent this from happening, wherever. We’ve seen far too many of this in Colorado. And we’ve got to do what we can to prevent it from happening elsewhere.