Gardner Didn’t Get Award for His Overall Record on Immigration, Just for His Work on One Bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The National Immigration Forum, a national advocacy group, gave Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) a “Courage to Lead Award” Thursday for his work on immigration legislation last year–not for the senator’s overall record on immigration issues.

The decision by the Forum, a national pro-immigrant group, to recognize Gardner surprised immigration experts, who say Gardner, who’s up for re-election next year, has mostly been a conservative hardliner on immigration.

Ali Noorani, Director of the National Immigration Forum, explained that Gardner got the award specifically for his 2018 work on bipartisan legislation that would have established a path to citizenship for Dreamers, who came to the U.S. illegally as children, and funded border security measures, including wall construction. The legislation failed to clear the Senate.

“From a Republican perspective, that is certainly not an easy thing to do these days,” said Noorani, referring to Gardner’s role in pushing the 2018 legislation.

But the award was narrowly intended to recognize the senator’s work last year, and it should not be seen as praise for Gardner’s overall record on immigration, Noorani said.

The Forum’s decision to recognize Gardner, he said, was not based on an assessment of his immigration votes, statements, or any other actions during his career in the Senate, U.S. House, or the Colorado Legislature.

A wider review of Gardner’s record shows him to be consistently obstructing or blocking immigration reform, even, in the U.S. House, opposing the Dream Act itself and Obama’s DACA rules to protect Dreamers.

As a Colorado state representative, he went beyond the typical hard-line approach of the era, siding with extremists who favored withholding immunizations, other preventative care, and schooling for immigrant kids.

Today, while Gardner has flipped on the Dream Act, he won’t say whether he supports the American Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House in June and would protect Dreamers.

And he apparently still opposes a Colorado law, called ASSET, that grants in-state tuition for Dreamers, who would otherwise likely be priced out of college.

“But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country,” Gardner told a conservative KNUS radio host in 2013. “And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security.”



Gardner Helped Kill an Obamacare Provision That Was Similar to Colorado’s New Health Insurance Cost-Saving Program

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Pols readers might be interested in the post, below, by Kery Murakami, which appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder Friday.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has been talking up Colorado’s new reinsurance plan, which is expected to lower health insurance premiums for individuals next year by almost a fifth.

He’s also been taking credit for getting federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to approve the program, saying in a press release in July he weighed in “a number of times” to get permission.

But Gardner’s trumpeting of a program is causing eye-rolling by national healthcare experts.

That’s because Gardner was a major player in killing a similar provision of the Affordable Care Act that aimed to do the same thing as Colorado’s program, deriding it as taxpayer “bailouts” of insurance companies.

And, according to a study by economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research, ending the provision, called risk corridors, played a large part in insurance prices going up in the first place.

In fact, if not for the measures Gardner supported, the study found that premiums would have gone up by 10 percent in 2017 instead of 37 percent.



Opponents of Prop CC Argue that Colo Needs to Change Its Budget “Priorities.” But How?

(Just tap into that secret stash of gold bars in the Capitol basement! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Throughout their successful campaign to defeat Propostion CC, opponents of the ballot measure argued that the state of Colorado doesn’t need more money. It just needs to change its budget priorities. But how?

“I’m not going to do it tonight after two beers,” former GOP Gov. Bill Owens joked at yesterday’s celebration of opponents of Prop CC, which would have dedicated TABOR refunds to education and transportation.
“It’s not my job anymore to do the budget, but I do believe that state needs to make it a priority to live within these normal increased means, just as we do,” he said.
I think government has to make a very good case for more than what it gets now,” Owens continued. “I’m not greedy. I’m fully willing to fund government. But there comes a point when we have a right to say, ‘You guys have enough unless you can convince me otherwise.'”

“Transportation isn’t just being underfunded because of a tight budget; it’s being underfunded because of a choice. My priorities would be transportation and education, and just narrow it,” said Owens, declining to say where he’d get the budget dollars to fund his priorities.



Williams’ Appointment as Trump Liaison Could Fire Up Already-Flaming GOP Chaos in El Paso County, Critics Say

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Dave Williams (R), with Congressman Steve King (R-IA).

In what some are calling yet another utterly-dysfunctional move by the El Paso County Republican Party, which is already in chaos, an outspoken right-wing state legislator was selected last week to serve as a liaison between the Trump Campaign and Republicans in El Paso County, which has the most GOP voters of any county in Colorado

Sate Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colo Springs) was picked by El Paso County GOP Chairwoman, Vick Tonkins, to “work hand-in-hand with the experts advising and working in the field with President Donald Trump, Senator Gardner, and the State GOP,” according to an El Paso GOP news release.

But Williams isn’t the lawmaker that should be associated the GOP in Colorado, as it tries to win over independent voters who swing toward Democrats on social issues, in particular, say Williams’ critics, adding that the ultra-conservative lawmaker is the last face Republicans want connected to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

Williams has been a divisive figure in the El Paso Republican circles and across the state, denouncing gay rights throughout his career. He opposed civil unions, for example, referring to them as “homosexual marriages.” Sounding like Trump, who’s invited Williams to the White House, he once said at the Colorado Capitol, “People have been murdered, mayhemmed, [and] raped” by immigrants in sanctuary cities. Williams gone even further, introducing legislation that would hold lawmakers legally responsible for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in so-called sanctuary cities.

The appointment of Williams comes on the heels of serious budget shortfalls, leadership resignations, accusations of ineptitude, and backstabbing that some say could upend the El Paso Republican Party’s ability to perform its most basic functions (caucus process, GOTV) relating to next year’s critical election. And critics say the state GOP has refused to intervene to help solve financial and personality problems there.

Depressed turnout in El Paso County, where so many of the state’s Republicans congregate (157,208 registered Republican voters), would likely be the death knell to Republican hopes statewide.

With the rapidly growing number of Trump-hating independents and Democrats pooling in previously-thought-of swing areas of Colorado, the GOP must orchestrate a phenomenal turnout of voters around Colorado Springs–or it has little chance of winning Colorado’s U.S Senate race next year, say analysts.

Hence, the importance of having a functional Republican Party entity in El Paso.

But in a news release, El Paso GOP Chairwoman Tonkins said, “As the only Hispanic millennial Republican in the State House, and with strong ties to local and state parties, as well as the Trump Administration, Rep. Williams is the best person for the job.”

“Voters are ready to reject the radical agenda of Democrats in Colorado by supporting President Trump,” Williams told the Colorado Springs Gazette last week. “From job-killing oil and gas regulations to giving away our electoral college votes to California, the Democrats know their crazy record doesn’t come close to the real results the president is delivering for our state. It will be an honor to help restore balance to Colorado by mobilizing Trump supporters to get out the vote in our state’s largest Republican count.”


Gardner Money Trail Leads to Trump Hotel Restaurant

(Better have been one hell of a sandwich! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is set to attend a “Save the Senate Retreat” in Washington D.C. Thursday at the Trump Hotel, featuring the president himself, Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and others.

But it looks like Thursday won’t be the first time this year that Gardner has dined at Trump’s DC property.

Back on June 21, Gardner’s campaign dropped $600 at the hotel restaurant, called BLT Prime, according to campaign information compiled by More Gardner cash was spent at the Trump restaurant in July.

Gardner’s campaign didn’t return a call seeking to know the cost of the menu items selected–or the guest list.

But the Trump Hotel appears to have a history of jacking up the prices on GOP guests.

Rates for the least expensive rooms on Thursday night, when the “Save the Senate Retreat” takes place, are about three times higher (about $1,400 per room) than the normal rate (about $500).

Money flows from Trump to Gardner, as well. Trump sent a fundraising letter last week for Republican senators who condemned the impeachment inquiry.


Activists Dress as Toilet Paper and Poop as Part of Campaign to Wipe Out Corporate Abuse

Activists with the progressive Colorado Consumer Protection Coalition want to wipe away “unfair terms in contracts that remove everyday Coloradans’ ability to hold [corporations] responsible for everything from sexual harassment in the workplace to abuse and neglect in nursing homes.”

Toilet Paper with Poop on right

But how to do this?

On Halloween, how about dressing as a roll of toilet paper and pile of poop?

You use the toilet paper (e.g., laws, activism, public pressure) to wipe away the poop (e.g., clauses in contracts stopping you from holding corporations accountable) that’s buried in online “user agreements,” employment contracts, and fine print everywhere.

In addition to sending what some corporations might see as a below-the-belt message, the poop and toilet paper handed out candy and cards to the lunchtime crowd on Denver’s 16th Street Mall Thursday, which was Halloween.

The messages focused in particular on “forced arbitration,” a term that refers to often-hidden clauses in user agreements and other contracts that require consumers or employees to agree to use the corporation’s protocol for dispute settlement/arbitration, instead of a public process, like the court system or a lawsuit. Among other things, this serves to leave no public record of corporate misdeeds.

“Virtually nobody realizes that they’re giving up their legal rights when they sign a contract or click on a user agreement online because corporations hide forced arbitration in the fine print,” said Wendy Howell from the Colorado Working Families Party in a news release. “We’re here today to highlight companies that have earned a treat for eliminating unfair arbitration clauses and to expose others that have tricked their customers and workers into being trapped in an ugly corporate abuse of power.”

Demonstrators also said they wanted to spotlight some corporations, like McDonald’s, that have eliminated unfair arbitration clauses as deserving of treats.

“We’re trying to use the fun of the holiday to get the word out,” Robert Lindgren, Political and Organizing Director of the Colorado AFL-CIO told the Colorado Times Recorder. “We’re trying to do something different to have people take a break from their day and learn something new. Also, we wanted to do something that might get more traction as we share photos of goofy people in costumes.”

The Colorado Consumer Protection Coalition, which is a coalition of over 30 community groups, is pushing Colorado lawmakers to pass legislation next year “to bring transparency and fairness to forced arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between corporations and consumers and employees,” according to the news release.


Gardner Falsely Claims His Vote Protects People with Pre-existing Conditions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner joined fellow Republicans Wednesday in voting to maintain a Trump rule that encourages states to allow the sale of so-called “junk” health insurance that wouldn’t cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Gardner’s ‘no’ vote on the resolution was expected, in part because he’s already stood multiple times against protecting people with pre-existing conditions, because Gardner appears to have embraced a political strategy of backing Trump, even when he’s under hot political pressure not to do so, and because the vote was forced by Democrats to put Republicans on the record in support of Trump’s rule.

But what surprised health care analysts was Gardner’s own brazen–and false–claim that his vote Wednesday actually “maintains critical pre-existing condition protections.

In fact, a years-long trail of analysis documents the fact that Trump’s rule reduces protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Even Gardner’s GOP Senate colleague, Susan Collins of Maine, who was the sole Republican to vote with Democrats Wednesday, has stated the Trump rule allows for the sale health insurance plans that “do not provide protections for enrollees who suffer from pre-existing conditions.”

A second apparent falsehood in Gardner’s statement explaining his vote Wednesday left already-head-scratching observers scratching their heads harder.



Trump Ignites Feverish Fight Between Colo Conservative Radio Hosts

“He’s a narcissist, incredibly flawed, and I think he’s the greatest president of my lifetime,” said Chuck Bonniwell, right-wing radio host, to Craig Silverman, another conservative host, both on Colorado’s KNUS radio.

“I’ve heard you say that, and I love a lot of his policies,” replied Silverman. “But what about him calling Republicans who don’t support him ‘human scum?'”

“He calls lots of people bad names,” replied Bonniwell, who’s a Republican activist and publisher of the Cherry Creek Chronicle. ..”I find repellent, that’s not quite the same as human scum, the Republicans who refuse to support the president and who are no better than the Democrats. …He’s actually building the wall. He’s brought jobs back to America. I’m willing to forgive his many personal faults if his policies are great for America.”

“But what if he does corrupt things in Ukraine to try to win the election?” said Silverman, sliding toward an issue that tripped up Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who’s refused to say if it’s appropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival.

“What corrupt things!” said Bonniwell, who loves to say how much he hates GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

“…Do you like the procedure that’s being implemented to impeach the president?” asked Bonniwell.

“Oh my gosh, Chuck…This is normal.”

“It’s sad that you don’t recognize justice….” said Bonniwell.

Listen to the Oct. 24 battle on KNUS 710-AM here:



Five Colorado Governors Urge ‘Yes’ Vote on Prop CC Ballot Measure

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Gov. Roy Romer (D).

With a ballot measure allowing Colorado to use already-collected TABOR taxes for roads and schools expected to be close, five Democratic Colorado governors have joined together in calling on citizens to vote ‘yes’ and get their ballots submitted by mail or at drop-off locations by next Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Gov. Jared Polis and former Govs. John Hickenlooper, Bill Ritter, Roy Romer and Dick Lamm endorsed the measure, called Proposition CC, in a news release sent to reporters today.

“Our schools and infrastructure are not keeping up with our growing economy and population,” said Polis. “Proposition CC will reduce congestion and improve our schools. The amazing thing is that we can do it without raising taxes.”

Funds from Prop CC are earmarked for roads and schools, including community colleges and trade schools.

“I’m voting for Prop CC because our teachers are undervalued and deserve more resources, and our roads and bridges are in need of repair,” said Hickenlooper. “Prop CC will help us address both of those critical issues by making needed investments in Colorado’s priorities, without raising taxes.”

Colorado’s only living Republican Governor, Bill Owens, is against Prop. CC, saying this is not the type of short-term budget fix that he’s supported in the past.

But the Democratic governors say the measure is needed as an investment in the state.

“Coloradans treasure our way of life — our identity is tied to this place we live and love,” said Ritter. “But we need to do what almost every public and private sector leader has told us: we need to invest to keep it. The best part? We can do it with no new taxes, with unprecedented transparency and accountability. Let’s vote to uphold our values and grow Colorado responsibly.”

Opponents say Prop CC amounts to a tax increase because Colorado will keep TABOR refunds that would otherwise have been returned to taxpayers, while proponents point out that the measure doesn’t raise tax rates or result in anyone paying more taxes.

During the past 14 years, taxpayers received just one refund under TABOR rules, in 2015. The checks ranged from $13 to $41. This year, the refund is estimated to be around $60.

Romer believes the TABOR rules, which mandate the refunds, are hurting Colorado.

“TABOR’s 30-year-old formula for growth has shackled Colorado’s investments, leading to some of the most underfunded roads, bridges and schools in the country,” said Romer. “It’s time to unleash Colorado and move into the 21st-century by investing in things Coloradans have been demanding for decades.”

Lamm echoed this sentiment.

“With one vote on this commonsense measure we can untangle our broken tax code and start fixing things, with a 3rd party independent monitor to track where every dollar goes. Vote Yes on Prop CC before November 5th!” said Lamm.


FACT CHECK: Prop CC Ballot Measure Would Not Take Away Tax Exemption For Seniors and Veterans

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Opponents of Proposition CC are saying the ballot measure would “take away” a property tax exemption for seniors and veterans when, in fact, it would not.

Prop CC allows Colorado’s state government to keep already-collected taxes that otherwise would have been refunded under TABOR–and to spend the money on schools and roads.

9News and ColoradoPolitics reported that Prop CC would not affect the Homestead Property Tax Exemption, which significantly reduces property taxes for seniors and disabled veterans.

Asked by a viewer, “Does Prop CC affect the Homestead Property Tax Exemption,” 9News anchor Kyle Clark replied succinctly on air, “No, it does not.”

Viewers may have been confused by widespread misinformation about Prop CC that’s being spread by its opponents.

The Arapahoe County Republican Party posted on its Facebook page that Prop CC would “take away Seniors’/Veterans’ property tax exemption.”

A message asking the Arapahoe GOP to remove the inaccurate information was not returned.

The official website of the “No on CC” campaign states that Prop CC “would hurt seniors and veterans” by putting their property tax exemptions “at risk.”

“Proposition CC would take that refund money away,” falsely states the No on CC campaign.

ColoradoPolitics reporter Marianne Goodland cleared up misinformation from the “No on CC” campaign in a post Saturday that referenced No on CC’s false statements.

Goodland reported:

A rumor making the rounds (including here) is that Proposition CC will eliminate long-cherished property tax exemptions for seniors and disabled military veterans, if it passes on the Nov. 5 ballot. Not so, say experts such as state Treasurer Dave Young and the state economists who wrote a fiscal analysis of the measure. Among the reasons: Proposition CC is a statutory measure that seeks to change state law, not the state Constitution. However, the property tax exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans came about from voter approval of not one, but two constitutional measures.

Others who’ve been spreading misinformation about Prop CC include Pueblo County Republican Chair Marla Spinuzzi Reichert.

Riechert shared a Facebook post stating, “Prop CC will hurt Colorado’s Disabled Veterans and their families the most.”



Child Sex Abuse Occurs in “Every Organization,” Says Denver Catholic Leader

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila apologized Wednesday for sexual abuse of children in the Colorado Catholic Church, and then he went on the defensive, saying “perpetrators infect every organization,” not just the church.

“We must learn from the suffering of the victims and never assume that we could not face another perpetrator in our midst,” said Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila in a video statement after the release of a partial investigation of sexual abuse in portions of Colorado’s Catholic Church. “Just in the last few years, it has become even more apparent that perpetrators infect every organization: the Boy Scouts, public schools, the Olympics, news organizations, colleges. These abuses can manifest in every part of our lives if we are not alert and responsive.”

Does Aquila think the church is being scapegoated?

The archdiocese’s office didn’t return an email seeking an answer to that question, but abuse survivors and advocates say the answer is a resounding no.

“On the one hand, we do know that child sexual abuse happens in every community and every organization. So that’s true,” said Jenny Stith, Director of the WINGS Foundation, which helps adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. “But I think he may have been using that tactic to minimize the fact that the Catholic Church has such a history with this.” “In general, the response to the abuse within those institutions has been similar and self-protective,” added Stith. “And if there are any similarities, those are the ones that should should be highlighted.”

Aquila’s mention of news organizations could have been a reference to harassment and abuse that was publicized with the emergence of the #MeTo movement and mostly involved adults.

The investigation into abuse in the Catholic Church in Colorado, which turned up 166 incidents since 1950 involving 43 priests, focused narrowly on child sex abuse–and did not address any problems or incidents involving adults.

Denver KHOW radio host Dan Caplis, who doesn’t conceal his social conservativism, views sex assault in the public schools as “similar to what’s occurred in the church.”

Efforts to find out if Caplis thinks Catholics have been scapegoated were unsuccessful.

Regardless, Aquila has promised to stop abuse in the church.

“I want to remind you that a year ago, as your archbishop, I made a series of public promises to ensure the sins of the past are not repeated,” said Aquila in the video released Wednesday. “Today I stand by those promises and reassert my promises. …In these times we are called to be holy and to keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Jesus Christ for he alone is the one who can bring healing and redemption to each one of us personally and to the church.”


Buck Says Democrats Should Join Him on the High Road and Oppose Impeachment

(“The high road?” — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At a political moment when even the most somnolent people are wondering why more Republicans aren’t ripping Trump, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck was repeatedly attacked by KNUS host Randy Corporon yesterday for not supporting Trump sufficiently because, among other things, he didn’t cosponsor the resolution censoring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for his satirical comments about Trump.

Buck, a Republican, said the Schiff’s alleged lapse didn’t rise to the level required for censure.

The radio host sharply disagreed–and so did another KNUS host, Chuck Bonniwell, who called Buck’s response to Corporon “pathetic.”

But the strangest part of the Buck’s KNUS interview came later when, in an oh-my-god-crazy false equivalency, Buck told Corporon he’d use his “principled” stance on the Schiff censure to shame Democrats into joining him later in not voting for impeachment, which is based, among other things, on blackmailing a foreign power to investigate political opponents.

“I have gone to Democratic colleagues,” said Buck on air, “and I’ve said to those Democratic colleagues, ‘Listen, I didn’t co-sponsor this censure motion because this is not censurable conduct. The president, and you know it, has not engaged in impeachable conduct. And I hope you remember the principled people on our side of the aisle who did not support this censure motion when it comes time to vote on impeachment, because impeachment is something that is far greater — in significance — to the integrity of this country and the process and frankly, historically significant, that any censure motion.’
“And I will continue to take the high road. And I will continue to talk to my Democrat colleagues and appeal. Now, not all of them. There are some of them that are gone, and, you know, they talked about impeachment before this president ever signed a single bill into law. But many of them are having a lot of doubts about this process. And frankly, the American people are having a lot of doubts about the impeachment process, the way the Democrats are going about it, as well as the substance of what they’re bringing out.”

At the end of the interview, Corporon essentially told Buck to toss civility, rationality and principles out the window and back Trump, no matter what.

“What Republican leadership is doing is trying to change the president when in fact, the message that should be garnered from the president’s victory and the president’s success so far is that you can’t do politics as usual anymore,” advised Corporon. “You can’t try and play to the middle in order to win elections. Being polite and civil in these debates, when you’ve got an Alinsky-fueled left that is so crazed right now, because they just can’t believe that Hillary Clinton is not the president of the United States — neither can she.  Are Republicans learning the message that Donald Trump is providing on what it takes to actually win in the 21st century?”


Colo Catholic Leader Wants to Stop Sexual Abuse by Blaming LGBT People for It

Had Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila made himself available to reporters today, after the widely-covered release a partial investigation of sexual abuse in portions Colorado’s Catholic Church and related entities, he would have been asked why he thinks “homosexuality” is a cause for sexual abuse by priests.

There’s no science to back up his bigotry.

And it has no place coming from a religious leader who today promised that the “sins of the past” are not to be repeated.

Yet, Aquila apparently still stands behind a 2018 tweet of an article with the headline, “Active Homosexuality in the Priesthood Helped Cause This Crisis.”

Last year, Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George tried to question Aquila about the tweet but instead got a response from Mark Haas, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Haas told St. George that not all LGBTQ people are pedophiles.

“No, he is not suggesting it’s one in the same, but Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality is well known,” Haas told St. George. “Teaching on any sexual act outside of a man and a woman in marriage open to procreation is viewed by the church as not living up to the teachings of the gospel.”

“He’s not suggesting they are one in the same” is about as reassuring as saying, “Yes, if you’re gay, I might not want you around my kids.” It’s offensive and awful.

With this kind of mindset at the helm of the local Catholic church, do we really think Aquila has the credibility to fight abuse in the church and deal responsibly with what happened?

At the end of a video response to today’s release of the investigation, which deserves some praise for sure, Aquila refers to an archdiocese website, where he wrote:

“Sexual abuse is a societal problem and there is no single answer or single action to eliminate all sexual abuse, but we will not rest in our efforts to protect children. We will use our resources and community partnerships to be a leader in this area, and we will strive to improve.”

There’s no single action to eliminate abuse, Aquila says, but it looks like going after LGBTQ people is at least part of the archbishop’s solution.


FACT CHECK: Ballot Measure Prop CC Won’t Take Away Your Personal Tax Refund

(Like we said, please tell your friends – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Courtesy of ColoradoPols

Last week, 9News anchor Kyle Clark answered questions from viewers about his station’s story about Proposition CC, which would allow Colorado to keep already-collected taxes that otherwise would have been refunded under TABOR.

9News viewers wanted to know if it were true that, under Prop CC, the state of Colorado would not keep the money you get when you overpay state taxes.

“Absolutely correct,” was Clark’s response, due to the fact that Colorado would only keep TABOR refunds. You still get your personal refund, if one is owed to you.

Clark said on air that he appreciated viewers who ask for information that’s unclear or incomplete in the station’s reporting.

In this case, however, it appears that the source of confusion about Prop CC refunds could well be misinformation from the opponents of the ballot measure.

For example, State Rep. Kimmi Lewis wrote on her Facebook page that Prop CC “takes away your right to receive your tax refund.” She made no mention of TABOR at all, much less any effort to distinguish between TABOR refunds and personal tax refunds.

That’s seriously misleading.

Over the past 14 years, taxpayers received exactly one refund under TABOR rules, in 2015. The checks ranged from $13 to $41. This year, the refund is estimated to be around $60, and the state wants this money for roads and schools.

On its Facebook page, the Arapahoe County Republican Party weighed in with its own version of the same misinformation, stating, “If the government keeps our refund $$$, that IS a tax increase.”

Anti-Prop CC advertisements are taking the same approach.

As first reported by ColoradoPols yesterday, opponents of Prop CC are mailing advertisements warning that the measure will let the state “keep your tax refunds forever.”

That’s seriously misleading.

Over the past 14 years, taxpayers received exactly one refund under TABOR rules, in 2015. The checks ranged from $13 to $41. This year, the refund is estimated to be around $60, and the state wants this money for roads and schools.


Beware of Unverified Claims by Credibility-Challenged Recall Campaigns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here was The Denver Post headline about the campaign to recall Colo Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) last Tuesday: “Effort to recall Colorado Senate president on track as deadline nears, organizer says

And this was the newspaper’s headline three days later: “Organizers needed 13,506 signatures to force recall vote of Colorado Senate president. They handed in 4.”

So what happened? On Tuesday, the news story, if any, should have been about the approaching deadline, not about the anti-Garcia activists’ claim that they were on track.

That’s how Colorado Public Radio presented the story on Tuesday: “Campaign To Recall Senate President Leroy Garcia Plans To Turn In Signatures.”

If The Post had information Tuesday to confirm the claim of the recall campaign’s likely success (trusted sources, evidence of signatures gathered), then you could justify a story about imminent success. That would be good journalism. But such information did not exist.

Instead, The Post apparently simply regurgitated the claim, which lead CO PeakPolitics, a conservative blog, to gloat that Garcia had “arrogantly predicted” that voters had “no appetite” for a recall election. Oops.

PeakPolitics Post

The blog removed its post after the four-signature truth came out Friday, saying that no amount of correcting could have salvaged its story.

The Post left its piece in place, which was the right thing to do, and it now serves as a reminder that the shrill and unverified utterances or screams of small numbers of credibility-challenged discontents and their backers, while deserving of respect, shouldn’t dominate the news or certainly a news cycle, whether it’s at the beginning of a failed recall campaign or at the end of one.

This is especially true given that recall proponents demonstrated repeatedly that they weren’t credible.

House Republican Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock announced with gun extremist Dudley Brown that recalls against state Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village) and state Rep. Meg Froelich (D-Englewood) were coming. They weren’t.

Backed by Brown and Neville, Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown launched a recall of state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Aurora) on May 13. She dropped it less than a month later. The Colorado Politics story reporting on the Sullivan recall included this line:

Republicans and their conservative allies have said they plan to launch a dozen or so recalls against Democrats.

This also did not happen.

Organizers of the statewide recall efforts aimed at Colorado Gov. Jared Polis were similarly factually challenged. One group, calling itself the “Official” Polis Recall, never even pulled recall petitions. Donors were furious and demanded refunds. Rather than return the tens of thousands of dollars, however, leaders simply moved donors’ money from account to account before giving it… to themselves.


Will Republicans Join the Fight to Save Journalism in Colorado?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Media Project, a coalition fighting to give journalism a future, plans to push legislation next year to save local news in Colorado.

“We have talked to legislators on both sides of the aisle already,” said JB Holston, a Denver University dean and a spark plug of the CMP. “The frames are different, but they are not incompatible. A lot of R’s look at it and say, ‘Gee, that’s an economic development, Colorado-innovation, small-business development opportunity.’ Those on the other side of the aisle resonate with the notion that democracy is at risk.”

“But I think the other notion is, when you have a one-party state, the other party doesn’t mind having journalists to the same degree,” Holston continued. “So, I think there is some of that going on.”

Holston was speaking on a panel yesterday about the CMP’s new report, “Local News is a Public Good.”

“I think one of the challenges for the conversation in Colorado, though, is, how do we scale that conversation,” Holston said. “This kind of a forum is great. How do you have a hundred times as many people in real time involved. I think the New Jersey story is a good example of how you get that done. But a lot of the challenge for this is, where do we go from here?
“Now we are putting legislation on the table for this session. This is the beginning of a scaled, Colorado-wide, collaborative conversation about the issue.”

Holston and his fellow panel members took the surprising step of advocating a tax specifically to boost journalism in Colorado (e.g., a sales tax on digital ads, a local special-district tax).



Protesters Spotlight Trump Official’s View That Public Lands Should Be Sold

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a protest Friday, Sierra Club activists spotlighted environmental threats posed by William Perry Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) acting director, who spoke on a panel at the annual conference of this week’s Society of Environmental Journalists at Colorado State University (CSU).

The activists fear that Pendley, who was appointed to his position in July, will, among other things, push Trump to sell public lands.

“PENDLEY’S PUBLIC LANDS LIQUIDATION! PRICES REDUCED,” stated a sign held by one of about a dozen demonstrators at the event.

“This longtime president of a nonprofit that advocates selling off millions of acres of federal lands — who is now overseeing 245 million acres, more than 10% of the entire U.S. landmass — is right out of Trump central casting.” said Jim Alexee, director of Sierra Club Colorado in a statement about the protest.  “It’s up to us to stop Trump’s latest yes man from carving up and auctioning off our last wild places — not to mention sacred Native American spaces — to Big Oil and Gas.”

In fact, Pendley once said all public lands owned by the government should be sold, writing in the National Review in 2016 that the “Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold,” and the government has a “constitutional duty” to do so.

Asked about this stance by the Colorado Times Recorder at the SEJ event, Pendley said his personal opinions would have no impact on his decisions in his job, just as he said his denial of global warming would have no bearing on his actions at BLM.

“Once again, those views [about a “constitutional duty” to sell public lands] I expressed then,” he said. “That was then. This is now. My personal opinions in that regard are irrelevant.”

Promises no “wholesale” selling of lands, but how much?

Pendley told journalists at the SEJ conference that the Trump Administration does not favor the “wholesale” transfer of public lands, but he did not offer his definition of “wholesale,” leaving conference goers to speculate on how much land he might actually want the government to let go of.

“The Administration has been crystal clear,” said Pendley. “The president of the United States and the secretary of interior have been crystal clear. We do not believe in, we will not participate in, the wholesale disposal or transfer of federal lands. Bottom line.”

With respect to his 2016 National Review article, which was titled, “The Government Should Follow the Constitution and Sell Its Western Lands,” Pendley told the SEJ conference, “Well, I didn’t say there’s a constitutional duty to sell the land. What I did say was that the property clause, which is in Article 4, gives all that power to Congress. I also said that the founders intended to sell all the lands, but things change. Times changed. Congress passed the National Parks Act in 1910. Congress passed…the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, for which it said we have come to the end of the disposal era. We are no longer selling our federal lands. We are holding on to them. In other words, times changed. We are talking about the past.”

Pendley concluded his 2016 National Review article, after reviewing the congressional action mentioned above, by writing that it’s “hardly surprising that westerners think” federal lands in the West should be sold.

Environmental activists worry that Trump will nominate Pendley to direct the BLM, bumping him up from his acting role in the position.

“We also need to stop Pendley from being confirmed as the permanent Director of BLM, because it’s likely Trump will nominate him for that position,” said the Sierra Club’s Alexee.


Trump Public Lands Director Won’t Say Why He Denies Global Warming–And Says He Has Yet to Be “Briefed” on It

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Acting BLM Director William Perry Pendley.

In a contentious exchange with journalists Friday, the acting director of the federal agency in charge of most public lands in the U.S. insisted his “personal views,” which include a denial of global warming and hostility toward immigrants, have no bearing on his job and he repeatedly refused to discuss his opinions on some topics.

But William Perry Pendley, the acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management, contradicted his no-personal-opinion stance by offering strong opinions on other topics.

“You have been clear in the past, on twitter and elsewhere, that you don’t think climate change exists,” New York Times reporter Lisa Friedman told Pendley during a panel discussion at the annual Society of Environmental Journalists’ conference in Ft. Collins. “I’m hoping that you can clarify for us, first, what did you mean by that? What don’t you think exists? Is it, you don’t think greenhouse gases are warming the earth? Is it something else? What scientists do you rely on for those conclusions, and if the answer required is that this is your personal opinion, maybe you could explain to us some concrete things that you’ve done to help inform or discuss this issue and ensure that personal opinions are not at play in making policy decisions.”

“Nope, not going to clarify,” replied Penley, who’d said earlier in the session that, in his role as BLM director, he’d not yet been “briefed” on climate change issues, in his new job, and did not know when he would be briefed. “Those are my personal opinions.”

“I’m a Marine. I follow orders,” Pendley responded, saying his boss, Secretary of Interior David Benhardt, has said global warming exists and humans have an impact. “He’s told me the way it’s going to be, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

In response to another journalist’s question, Pendley refused to say whether he still thought “illegal immigration is spreading like a cancer,” as he wrote in a 2007 fundraising letter.

“My personal opinions are irrelevant,” responded Pendley, who will be visiting the border next week to inspect BLM land that his agency must clear for use in construction of Trump’s proposed border wall along the Mexican border. “I have a new job now. I’m a zealous advocate for my client. My client is the American people. And my boss is the president of the United States and Secretary Bernhardt. So what I thought, what I wrote, what I did in the past is irrelevant. I have orders. I have laws to obey, and I intend to do that.”

But Pendley was eager to offer his personal opinion on multiple other issues that arose in the session.

When the panel’s moderator asked all the members of the panel for their thoughts on the proposals by Democratic presidential candidates to stop all new fossil fuel leasing from public lands and public waters, Pendley said, “I’ll jump in,” and he slammed the idea.

“I would be absolutely devastating not just to the American West but to the entire country,” he said. “A tremendous amount of the energy we use every day, whether it’s natural gas or oil, comes from federal lands.

“I can give no other word for it than, absolutely insane and a terrible blow to the American people, to the West. We’ll see how that stands up,” he added. “…I think the overwhelming majority of American people would vote against it.”

Pendley’s desire to pick and choose which of his views to discuss leaves much on the table–because he was widely known as a hardened conservative activist, with extreme views, prior to his appointment to his post by Bernhard in July.

He once accused federal land managers and advocates of “tyranny” for “waging war on the West.”

Pendley served under much-criticized Secretary of Interior James Watt from 1981-1984 and was accused at the time of selling coal resources at the Powder River Basin to industry entities at a $100 million loss to taxpayers.

As the long-time Director of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a conservative advocacy group based in Colorado, Pendley supported Cliven Bundy, the renegade anti-government activist who occupied public lands in a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management.

On Thursday during an interview on talk radio in Dener, Pendely inched toward supporting folks like Bundy.

The radio host referenced “families fighting with the government” and a “shoot out,” and then asked Pendley about people who feel like the government isn’t on their side.

Without responding directly to the “shoot out” comment by the Libertarian radio host Ross Kaminsky, Pendley framed himself as a defender of the people against government.

“Over the last 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with loggers, miners, ranchers, recreationists, canoeists, boaters,” Pendley told KHOW radio’s Ross Kaminsky. “You name it, I’ve worked with them, represented them, gone to the Supreme Court on their behalf. And so, I get their situation vis a vis the federal government.”

“When I was with the Reagan Administration, our desire was to be a good neighbor — [for] the federal government [to] be a good neighbor to local citizens. That’s President Trump’s desire. That’s Secretary Bernhardt’s desire, to be a good neighbor.”


Brauchler Compares Prop CC Ballot Measure to Sex Assault

(It’s so weird that Brauchler failed at running for both Governor AND Attorney General in 2018 🙄 Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“This is the hand on the knee, and if we don’t swat it away, they’re going to come for TABOR with a big, deep, tongue-down-your-throat kiss, here, next year or about a year after that.”

That’s Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler on KHOW radio yesterday (at 43 min 30 seconds), using a sexual-assault analogy to convince voters not to approve a ballot measure allowing Colorado to spend all the tax revenue it already collects.

“Slippery slope,” is a much gentler way of making Brauchler’s argument, and it’s not clear why Brauchler felt the need to use the inflammatory language.

The primary argument that advocates of the ballot measure are making is, the state needs to remove restrictions on its budget so that it can “fix our roads and bridges, improve our schools by hiring and retaining the best teachers, and improve our economy with investments that help all Coloradans.”

Opponents like Brauchler say there’s already enough money.

Do we need to bring up sexual assault to debate this, asked one proponent, pointing out that most Coloradans have already voted at the local level to let the government keep all the taxes it collects. This measure would extend it statewide.

The question, called Proposition CC, on the ballot reads: “Without raising taxes and to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges and transit, within a balanced budget, may the state keep and spend all the revenue it annually collects after June 30, 2019, but is not currently allowed to keep and spend under Colorado law, with an annual independent audit to show hoe the retained revenues are spent?”

Colorado conservatives have been using sex-assault analogies lately to throw punches in debates about state taxes and budgets. Jon Caldara used a similar date-rape analogy in Denver Post last month in a column headlined, “Why Date Rapists Hate Tabor.”

Given that one in five U.S. women has been raped, the use of sex-assault analogies in political campaigns is risky at best but more likely counter-productive, say political strategists.


“There, I said it”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Given the repellent effect Trump has on election-deciding independent voters in Colorado, and failed U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s post-election declaration that Trump caused him to lose his swing district last year, you’d expect more Colorado Republicans to start jumping off the Trump ship, at least here in Colorado.

Maybe they think it won’t help, and they’re probably right, if you look at how hard Coffman tried (and failed) to make people believe he was the anti-Trump Republican.

But conservative KOA 850-AM radio host Mandy Connell might be leading the way on her show, which airs from noon till 3 p.m.

“There, I said it.”

On her blog yesterday, she wrote, “Could Mitt Romney be considering a primary run at Trump? I would consider voting for him. There, I said it.”

But will other Colorado conservatives start saying it? Chances are the dam won’t break until/if the blue-wave round-two strikes next year here.


Activist Tries to Find Gardner at Trump Tower in New York

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Have you seen Cory Gardner yet?” I asked Laura Packard, as she was trekking through New York today.

No. But she’s convinced she’s getting close.

As a National Co-chair of Health Care Voter, Packard knows Gardner is the featured attraction at this weekend’s “Trump Victory Committee’s Fall Retreat” in New York City.

But Packard doesn’t know precisely where the Victory Committee is meeting.

Her first assumption was Trump Tower. So Packard went there. No Gardner.

A tweet bounced around showing Packard standing next to a Trump Tower doorman. She held leaflets stating, “MISSING: CORY GARDNER” and “TELL HIM TO GET BACK TO WORK,” along with his phone number, “202-224-5941.”

Then Packard went to another hotel, Lotte New York Palace, identified by conservative author Bill Kristol as the location for the lavish gathering..

No Gardner.

In between, Packard went to Central Park.

“I asked all the carriage drivers, and they have not seen him,” said Packard. “I asked the horses, and they had nothing to add.”



In the Bubbled World of CO Talk Radio, Bazookas Are Your Friend

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Paul Lundeen (R).

For those of you who may not listen to conservative talk radio, here’s a glimpse into the bubbled world of KVOR in Colorado Springs.

“The Second Amendment is not actually about my right to hunt,” said state Sen. Paul Lundeen on a Colorado Springs radio station recently. “It supports that, of course. And it’s not actually about a person’s right to defend themselves when someone is coming after them…. The Second Amendment is about the protection–over the people–from tyranny.”

Later in the show, a caller named “Rudy” challenged Lundeen.

“If that’s so, [people] should be owning bazookas, or what have you.”

“Okay, so, now it just gets Crazy-town!” interjected KVOR host Tron Simpson. “This is what we do. Now, Paul, try to educate him a little bit more.”

“Here is what I’d say, Rudy,” replied Lundeen. “Go out to YouTube, find the video from Venezuela, where the military police in their armored personnel carriers were driving over the tops of the citizens of Venezuela.”

“Runnin’ ‘em over, man!” exclaimed the talk radio host.

“And that is exactly why the Second Amendment needs to be in place,” explained Lundeen. “It’s how you avoid tyranny. To your question, ‘You need a bazooka?’ – perhaps the people DO, in order to stand against tyranny. So, consider that as a philosophical construct.”



Dems Simply Upset With Last Election Or Playing Politics, Say Republicans Who Backed Colo Recall Efforts

(O-kay… Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democrats are pursuing impeachment for political reasons or simply because they’re upset with the last election, say Republicans who backed the recall of Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) and/or other Democrats soon after they were elected.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, head of the Colorado Republican Party, came out against impeachment, saying: “Democrats spent three years trying to overturn an election that didn’t go their way… It’s time to move on.”

In reporting on the statement, 9News’ Kyle Clark pointed out Sept. 25, “But the Colorado GOP pushed for the recalls of six Democrats this year.”

Buck called for the recall of Colo Democrats in a campaign-style speech in March, saying, “We need to teach them how to spell “R-E-C-A-L-L.”

Now, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling is echoing Buck, telling a northern Colorado radio station that the impeachment effort is “playing politics,” and it’s a “distraction.”

“It’s a huge huge mistake for Nancy Pelosi to go down a path in which the polling that I have seen across the country is, people don’t want us to go down that path they actually want us to actually get our business taken care of in Washington DC and quit playing games,” said Sonnenberg on air.
“It just seems ludicrous to me that you would want to continue down that path rather than move an agenda forward,” he added.

Yet, Sonnenberg was a high-profile signer of the petition to recall Polis, having been featured on the Facebook page of “Dismiss Polis,” a group backing the now-failed effort.

Does Sonnenberg think the Polis recall was less about “playing politics” than the impeachment inquiry?

“They are two different scenarios,” Sonnenberg told the Colorado Times Recorder, emphasizing his point that he thinks the impeachment inquiry will hurt Democrats. “A recall is grassroots driven. It comes from the people. The impeachment came from the Speaker of House or a faction of that caucus.”


Gardner Again Takes Credit for Lowering Healthcare Costs Via a Program He Wanted to Kill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Over the weekend, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner again took credit for a health-insurance cost-saving program that, if Gardner had his way, would not exist.

The program, funded via state innovation waivers in Obamacare, allows states to essentially provide insurance for insurance companies, covering extremely costly claims and allowing the companies to lower insurance rates on the individual market in Colorado by an average of about 18 percent.

During a speech at Saturday’s meeting near Grand Junction of Club 20 , a group of rural government and business entities, Gardner said he made sure Trump officials approved Colorado’s request for the reinsurance program, after state officials asked for it as part of a new state law.

“I was glad that it was issued and grateful to be a part of that bipartisan work to get that waiver accomplished,” said Gardner during a speech at the event.

But Gardner has voted to kill the Affordable Care Act multiple times, even giving a GOP repeal bill the thumbs up when fellow Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona famously gave a bill to end Obamacare the thumbs down, and Gardner has said repeatedly that the law is a “disaster.”

Reporters have noted the inconsistency of Gardner’s taking credit for a waiver program that wouldn’t exist if Gardner had succeeded in killing the federal health care law.

In a 9News segment in July, news anchor Kyle Clark said that a spokesperson for Gardner said he was approached by Polis to talk to the Trump Administration to help ensure the program’s approval.

But, as Clark put it, “Senator Gardner wants to demolish the house, but today he’s claiming credit for helping the homeowners put on an addition.”