About kwtree

Retired teacher, aspiring writer, doting grandma. Nosy, curious, persistent.

John Newkirk, Jeffco BoE Secretary: Public Comment is too long, off topic, repetitive

(Pesky meddling citizens, who needs 'em? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

From Jefferson County School Board Watch:

The new Jefferson County School Board Secretary, John Newkirk, would really rather not be bothered with those boring public comment sessions. I mean, who really wants to hear from all of those  parents, students, and teachers?

Much easier if we just go to a Douglas County style system, break the union, teach creationism and whatever other curriculum is approved by the Tea Party, and leave it at that. No need for long, boring, meetings where the public gets to weigh in on policies, and maybe (gasp!) influence them.

At last Saturday's school board meeting, Mr. Newkirk made the following comments, which were immediately transformed into a Facebook meme:

Past blog posts on Jefferson County School Board Watch (non Facebook version)

Jefferson County parents, students, teachers, and staff are still fighting to keep the excellent school district they have created. The fight continues.

Chaos in Ferguson, MO after Police Shooting

UPDATE 8/16: Governor Nixon called for martial law, a midnight – 5 am curfew.  This was in response to increased looting and unrest. The Ferguson PD is still stalling on providing Officer Darren Wilson's photo or the shooting incident report. Citizens are frustrated. Media is confined by law to a "free speech zone". Some journos are still defying the restriction, using smartphones instead of professional cameras.  At midnight after curfew, about 75 protesters are still defying curfew and a heavy rain. New Black Panthers helped to clear the streets before curfew. At least police are keeping Captain Johnson's promise – no tear gas, no over-militarized response.

UPDATE 8/15: Captain Ron Johnson of the MO Highway Patrol did a great job in resetting the tone and relieving the fears of the community. He demilitarized the operation, and people were able to continue to peacefully protest.  Today, the Ferguson PD released the name of the shooter: Officer Darren Wilson. At the same time, instead of the actual shooting incident report, the PD released a store surveillance video which purports to show the victim, Mike Brown, robbing the store. Community reacted to this as an attempt to smear the victim without a trial. "I am Mike Brown" tribute song by rapper Gage is going viral.

 

UPDATE: Governor Nixon confirms that he will take peacekeeping duties out of the hands of the St. Louis County police force. Peace will be kept by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Federal Department of Justice will investigate the shooting.

 

Is this America?

It looked like a scene that should be shown in old black and white photos from the history books about the Civil Rights movement – lines of African-American citizens, crying, "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!" (the above photo is from the Twitter feed of  Markia Holt. https://twitter.com/MarkiaHolt )

Facing them, grim lines of camo-clad and armored white police, throwing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets from tanks and armored vehicles.  Nobody talking. Nobody negotiating. Chanting: "What do we want? Justice!" Everyone else, grim, silent, running, hiding, ducking behind shrubbery. One man on a bullhorn appears to me to be a provocateur, cursing at the police. (about 5:40 into the KARG video)

Photo, below, of police forces confronting protesters. From the twitter feed of Ryan J Reilly, a Huffington Post reporter who was arrested yesterday: He tweeted: "Overkill in . Officer won't answer my question about why this is needed. " Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson said in an ABC interview that his officers were responding to violence and threats from protesters.

The scenes from Ferguson, Missouri, last night were brutal. Clouds of tear gas billowing over the streets. Reporters on live feed choking and unable to talk, continuing to cover and live-tweet the story. Brave journalists who refused police orders to "shut down your cameras", were tweeting from McDonald's restaurants  that police were rounding protesters up and forcing them into vans, while the protesters screamed and yelled for medical help. Then the journalists started getting arrested.

Flash-bang and stun grenades were thrown at unarmed protesters. You can see this about 11 minutes into the video. Almost all the police are white – what you can see of them behind the camo and the flak vests, helmets, shields.- and almost all of the protesters are black. The population of  Ferguson, a working-class  suburb of St. Louis, is 67% African-American, and complaints of police brutality and discrimination are common.  The Ferguson County Police Chief, Jon Belmar, is choosing to escalate, or doesn't know how to de-escalate, the situation. Meanwhile, according to Belmar, Anonymous hackers are threatening to shut down the police internet. Schools are closed until Monday. People from Gaza are tweeting the residents of Ferguson about how to deal with being tear gassed. 

How did it come to this?  Like the Trayvon Martin shooting, like way too many others, it started with the shooting of a young, unarmed black man.  He was shot by a policeman, and died on the street, where his body lay for hours. The police department closed ranks around its brother, denying the name of the shooter to media and to citizens. The ACLU has filed suit to get it. For five days now, peaceful protests of citizens demanding justice have been met with inaction and stonewalling from the Ferguson police department.

This is the account of witnesses:

On August 9, a young black man, Mike Brown, was walking down the middle of a quiet street, on his way to visit his grandmother, accompanied by his friend. A police car, driven by a cop who has yet to be identified, ordered the young men to move to the sidewalk. They were reluctant to comply, as they were almost at their destination. The cop didn't wait for them to comply. He drove up next to them and tried to open his door. When the door was blocked by one of the young men, the cop reached out, grabbed the kid by the throat, and almost immediately shot him. The child ran, making it 30 feet before he collapsed, face down, hands up, shot again six more times.

This is the police version:

The police gave the young men a lawful order to get out of the street, and they disobeyed. The larger of the two young men assaulted the officer, and tried to take his gun. So the cop shot him. An investigation is proceeding. Citizen witnesses, including the victim's friend, who escaped, have NOT been interviewed by the police to date.

A police chief commentator on Rachel Maddow's show said that "Everyone needs to ratchet it back down." He  said that this could probably have been avoided if the police had just given information, like the name of the police officer who shot Mike Brown, and followed procedure. Instead, decisions to stonewall have escalated into the situation you see now.

For five days, peaceful crowds have rallied and marched during the day, calling for justice. The young man's parents have called for calm and nonviolence.  There has been some looting and crime at night, from isolated individuals, but it was not widespread. The police response to this was way overblown. At least 70, per Huffpost  reporting, have come in to Ferguson, equipped with tanks, armored vehicles with gun turrets, body armor.. Police have pointed rifles directly into the crowds. Tear gas and rubber bullets appear to be how police are communicating and negotiating. Ferguson's police chief, Mr.  Tom Jackson, speaking on the Fox News Network. blamed "outside agitators" for the unrest. He has not called for a curfew.

I think the President needs to send in the National Guard to keep the peace. Otherwise, we'll see more discriminatory violence from poorly-trained police and militias who will flock to the scene.

Unfortunately,1/4  (27 out of 115) of the Missouri Sheriffs are Constitutional Sheriffs, sworn to resist Federal orders that they think are unconstitutional.  This includes Sheriff Oberkorm, President of the Missouri Sheriffs Association.  So that could be another ugly confrontation – between local and Federal authorities here. Interestingly, the Patriot groups, such as the Oathkeepers, who normally have been very vocal about police militarization and the coming confrontations to "take back America", have been silent on what is happening in Ferguson to citizens of color.

Instead of black and white, it is a scene in night vision green and black. And yes, to our shame, it is America.

 

Twitter feeds of reporters:

The best, most up-to-date reporting has been coming from social media and citizen journalists. Right wing commentators may decry liberal bias, but they have been, and continue to be, eerily silent on real-world government oppression of civilians in Ferguson.

#fergusonlivestream

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930

@WesleyLowery @trymainelee @elonjames @mattdpearce @Yamiche @rembert @jbouie @ryanjreilly

http://www.vox.com/2014/8/11/5988925/mike-brown-killing-shooting-case-ferguson-police-riots-st-louis

http://thehairpin.com/2014/08/ferguson-on-day-five

http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

https://twitter.com/hashtag/ajam

UPDATE 9/15/14: We are now three weeks into the Grand Jury investigation of the Michael Brown shooting. It is completely closed to the public. Per Dana Milbank's reporting in the Washington Post, Prosecutor McCulloch, as predicted, is looking not to charge Officer Wilson at all, and hoping to blame the lack of consequences  on the Grand Jury itself. McCullough has dumped the huge pile of conflicting evidence, including multiple new eyewitness reports onto the jury with no recommendations for charges of Officer Wilson.

New protests, more distrust between the police and the Ferguson community is being set up even as you read this. Poor choice, Prosecutor McCulloch.

Real (lack of) Obamacare Horror Stories

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Deena* did everything wrong for most of her life, and then she tried to do everything right. She had three kids by three different fathers. She abused drugs and alcohol. She had times of being homeless. But what killed her in the end wasn't her years of wild living, nor was it the years of scraping by, putting herself through school, living clean and sober, going to church, making amends,  trying to be a good citizen, mother, and grandmother.

In the last decade before she died, Deena worked as a registered nurse through a temporary agency. While the money was good, there were no health benefits offered unless the assignment lasted more than six months. So she took good care of her patients, but was unable to be taken care of herself, when she developed strange symptoms of swollen joints and incapacitating,  intense pain. Her family and I thought that she may have developed lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. A late night visit to an emergency room resulted in a condescending doctor telling her to stop complaining, prescribing a pain-killer, and sending her home.

She was prescribed a codeine-based pain killer. Because she was a petite woman, the dosage may have been too much for her, and she stopped breathing early in the morning on New Year's Day, about 15 years ago. If she had been able to have a regular doctor who tracked her health history, or access to regular care to manage her symptoms, we thought that the outcome would have been different.

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Operation Choke Point – Denying the Dollars

Victor “Everyone Loves” Head is all choked up about a Federal program, Operation Choke Point (OCP). In an interview with Jennifer Kerns, Head claimed that credit card services for Pueblo Freedom and Rights (PFR) were suddenly cut off the week before the recall elections in 2013.  Other right –wing groups  also reported sudden and mysterious severance of their banking relationships, and an astroturf organization, USCC, has been set up to take reports of suspected OCP interference.  The funders of USCC are unknown, but have strong ties to conservative groups.

“Operation Choke Point” overreach is the latest generator of anti-Obama, anti-AG Holder outrage in the right wing blogosphere. Look for it to become the next big attack on the Obama administration and Attorney General Holder, with Pueblo’s own “grassroots hero”, Victor Head, prominently featured as the poster boy. Here is your daily requirement of irony: (Below, right, is Victor Head of PFR, a recall organizer, and current Pueblo Clerk candidate, posing  in 2013 with El Paso Sheriff Terry Maketa, himself recently the target of a failed recall for sexual and  administrative offenses.)

But…Is OCP  a real “scandal”? Is it “overreach”? Is OCP the bank version of NSA spying on ordinary Americans?

William Isaac , columnist for “The Hill” wrote:

The DOJ launched Operation Choke Point in 2013, working in concert with a wide range of agencies including the FTC, FDIC, OCC, CFPB, and FBI.  The stated goal of Operation Choke Point was to “sensitize” the banking industry to the risk of doing business with legal but “undesirable” businesses through the issuance of non-public FIRREA subpoenas ( as opposed to enforcement actions where the authority could be challenged).

Regulators and the DOJ highlight some two-dozen businesses that they consider “high risk” or “undesirable”, including ammunition dealers, producers of adult films, check cashers, short-term unsecured loans (commonly called “payday loans”), telemarketers, firearms/fireworks vendors, raffles, pharmaceutical firms, life-time guarantees, surveillance equipment firms, and home-based charities.

I am all for the DOJ monitoring some of these shady businesses, and if they find illegal action, stopping it. I’ve had hundreds of dollars deducted from my own bank account via a scam for a non-existent health insurance card company, prior to the ACA’s enactment. Had someone taken the money from my purse, there would have been criminal charges; however, because it took place in the obscure world of third-party bank businesses and fly-by-night internet scam artists, it proved impossible to stop or to get redress. I'll never get that money back.

 I don’t want felons and violent offenders to be able to order firearms online.  Pharmaceutical firms that market under-the-counter medications need some oversight to protect public health.  Online child pornography businesses need oversight of their bank transactions so that they can be shut down and punished. This is the DOJ appropriately protecting the public.

The grey area is that most of these are legal businesses, at least until there is proof of criminal activity. Where I agree with the right wing outrage, (and the possibility of being on the same side of any issue as Victor Head makes my own gag reflex kick in) is on this point:  there is little or no oversight on the overseers.  People are losing access to their own money, without a warrant, without a trial, without a civil action.

Liberals may applaud the restrictions on shady businesses, and on right-wing political groups that benefit from dark money. However,  there is no guarantee that the OCP’s possible overreach stops there. Like the IRS scandal, we may well find that progressive organizations are also targeted as much or more than conservatives.   How will the Department of Justice be made accountable and transparent, when the agency is now unaccountable and its transactions are hidden from the public?

The United States Congress has initiated legislation on this issue. House Bill 4986, the End Operation Choke Point Act of 2014,  was introduced with bipartisan support in June 2014. It was referred to the Committee on Financial Services, where it sits. Given the dismal history of Congress in passing legislation, govtrack.us gives it only a 26% chance of being signed into law.  I frankly don’t have the financial expertise to understand how or if this bill will provide oversight and transparency on OCP, so I’m not going to try to evaluate the legislation.

Given the people promoting the right wing outrage over OCP, most critical thinkers are justifiably skeptical of the claims of OCP overreach. Jennifer Kerns, aka California Partygirl, aka anti-recall spox, aka California Republican media consultant, now a Washington pundit, wrote in  “TheBlaze.com” that Operation Choke Point,  (OCP): “Evidence has emerged of Operation Choke Point targeting other Republicans on or before Election Day.”  Victor Head has a record of rummaging through post office trash for ballots to bolster his claims of possible election fraud.

Jennifer Kerns would be an expert on dark money funding of political organizations, from the inside – Magpul funded $150,000 for  the organization “Free Colorado”, which in turn funded  the recall efforts against  Senator Morse in Colorado Springs.  Free Colorado was promoted by the Koch brothers on the AFP-Colorado website. Kerns was the spokesperson for Basic Freedom Defense Fund, and helped to promote “Free Colorado”  anti-recall efforts.

I don’t find the outrage over OCP to be credible, because it comes from these sources. However, I’m aware of and concerned about NSA and IRS overreach, during the course of legitimate agency endeavors. Progressives shouldn't dismiss concerns about government stomping on privacy rights, just because they come from a conservative direction. I’d like to see more transparency and accountability of OCPs efforts to curtail borderline-criminal financial transactions. I just don’t quite know how that balances with civil-liberties concerns.

UPDATE:  A Huffington Post article by Zach Carter posits that OCP is an effective way to curb money laundering schemes.  Similar laws were put in place during the Bush administration, and resulted in, for example, Wachovia Bank paying $150 million to resolve charges that it laundered money from drug cartels.

Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkely, and Dick Durbin like the OCP program.

An Assessor, a Sugar Daddy, and “Infilling” Open Space in El Paso County

UPDATE: KRDO has picked up this story, and citizens are calling for Lowderman to resign. There is an "appearance of impropriety", according to current El Paso Treasurer Bob Balink.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Something is rotten in El Paso County.

 It’s not the persistent dank from the recent flooding.  It’s not the shower mold from Sheriff Maketa’s selfies.  There is, however, quite a stench wafting from the recent campaign finance violation of the El Paso County Tax Assessor, Mark Lowderman. Lowderman sent out 20,000 campaign mailers on the taxpayer’s dime.  Ostensibly informing seniors about a tax credit, the mailers described Mr. Lowderman in glowing terms, coincidentally, the same terms as his campaign literature.  A complaint was filed, Lowderman was fined and penalized $14,580, yet is running unopposed for the County Treasurer’s office, and  will almost certainly be the next El Paso County Treasurer. Matt Lowderman, Candidate for El Paso County Treasurer

The El Paso County Commissioners appear to be no more concerned about Lowderman's ethical lapse than they were about Sheriff Maketa's hijinks.  The Commissioners "circled the wagons" to protect Maketa for years, according to an insider source. The County Comissioners also had to have known about Lowderman's ethical lapses – yet there is no record of any censure of the Assessor. The Board of Commissioners is reputed to be marshalllng resources to overturn the Administrative Judge's ruling on Lowderman's finance complaint. El Paso is apparently the swamp where ethics go to die. "At every turn, it's dirty," said an informed source.

That would explain the smell. Wafting from the swamp is the funk of the aggregate $17,500 campaign donations Lowderman received from David Jenkins, Chairman of Nor'wood Development Corporation, the largest property owner and developer in El Paso County, within 10 days of Jenkins buying the biggest parcel of property in the County – the legendary Bannings / Lewis Ranch. Donations to Lowderman's campaign for Treasurer were dated May 30 – June 2, 2014. The Banning- Lewis property sale was announced by Nor'wood on June 10, 2014.

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“Constitutional” Sheriff Terry Maketa Endorsed by Anti-government Extremists

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sheriff Terry Maketa is in trouble. Accused of sexual harassment and misusing his department's funds, he is now facing an energetic effort to recall him from his elected office. Volunteers must gather 45,000 valid  signatures by July 12, in order to initiate a recall election. Many of his staff have resigned or are on leave; computer hard drives at his office have been taken for investigation. The FBI will investigate his finances,  and his undersheriff and former campaign manager have not only signed the recall petition , but they are helping to gather signatures to recall the "Shirtless Sheriff". Several former colleagues are suing the Sheriff's Department for sexual harassment,  workplace discrimination, and/or  creating a hostile work environment. The Board of County Commissioners has met with him twice, urging him to resign. Even usually-reliable right wing radio hosts are backing away. In a rambling video obtained by the Gazette, Maketa apologized, but refused to step down.

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Where does your state legislator stand on women’s issues?

 Women's Lobby of Colorado Legislative Scorecard.  See how your legislators are rated.

It's a ten page document, and posting pdfs is a pain, so you can look it up yourself. But you may find some surprises.

My SD3 candidate, and current HD46 rep, Leroy Garcia, has 100%.

My Senator, George Rivera, has 64%, which was higher than I thought he would have.

My current HD47 rep, Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, is rated 36%. I guess that's what happens when one's market brand is being "business friendly".

By the way, "women's issues" are not just reproductive rights issues – economy, healthcare, education, and opportunity are also women's issues. Sorry, Laura Carno, larger magazine size on full auto guns didn't make the list.

 

 

Koch-sponsored “GenOpp” wants you to know about Udall’s “War on Youth”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You remember Creepy Uncle Sam, who symbolized all that was unknown and scary about the Affordable Care Act. Sam had a fun few weeks to try to frighten consumers out of signing up on the health exchanges. Uncle Sam was everywhere  – on your favorite cable news shows  and web pages. Then, as suddenly as he had popped in, he disappeared, after the ACA signup deadline was over.

Generation Opportunity, or GenOpp, the organization which sponsored the Uncle Sam ads, is still going strong, and working harder than ever to lure young people away from the Democratic fold. GenOpp's media arm is called FreetheFuture, and it is mostly funded by the Koch brothers, via GenOpp, through the Freedom Partners LLC, which has funneled five million dollars into it during 2013, according to an expose by Viveca Novak on OpenSecrets.org.

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Citizens United: We are “The Media”

UPDATE: Victory! Thursday, June 5, 2014, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert denied  Citizens United's petition to "be the media", i.e., to run political ads masquerading as documentaries, without disclosing donors.

From Brandon Rittiman's reporting on 9news:

The Colorado Secretary of State's office ruled that an upcoming documentary featuring state politicians "is an electioneering communication" and that it does not fall under any of the exemptions to state laws requiring political groups to disclose financial donors when running ads that mention candidates within 60 days of an election.

Practically, this means that Citizens United will have to disclose that it is a political organization in any TV ads running 60 days before the election. CU can still run a planned film documentary which "focuses on left-leaning groups and their influence on Colorado politicians and policies", according to David Bossie,  President of Citizens United.

Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch, which challenged the Citizens United petition, said that CU could sue Secretary of State Gessler in Federal Court and get an injunction. It's all speculation at this point, stated Toro. David Bossie signalled his intent to take the case back to the Supreme Court, which has ruled in favor of Citizens United.

CitiCartoon by Kip Lyall at http://kiplyall.blogspot.com/2011/12/cartoon-citizens-united.htmlzens United,  the conservative "non-profit" which won a landmark Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited dark money in politics, wants to spend big on political attack ads in Colorado without disclosing any donors.  

 

 

 

As an end-run around campaign finance laws, Citizens United is claiming to be a media organization,  composed of independent journalists just like Michael Moore, according to CU President David Bossie, quoted in the  9News interview below. CU  petitioned the Secretary of State to determine that its proposed political films should not be considered "electioneering" or "political expenditures".

Colorado Ethics Watch  pushed back in a hearing  through the Secretary of State's Office, which is  no friend to Colorado Ethics Watch.  That makes this decision pleasantly surprising.

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Running for Election Clerk, Head Violates Election Law

Victor Head, running for County Clerk in Pueblo, is raising funds through some creative means. A machine gun shoot. T-shirts advertising that "Everyone Loves Head".  A raffle of a unique motorcycle. Say what?

Perhaps someone should let Mr. Head know that, according to the Colorado Constitution, Article XVIII, Section 2 (2013), also known as "bingo and raffle law", an organization has to be a nonprofit, veterans, volunteer firefighters, or bona fide charity to conduct a lottery, bingo, or raffle. And those organizations have to apply to the Sec State for a license. So far, no license is on file for Mr. Head's raffle of the motorcycle. They are calling it a chance for a door prize, but that is the definition of a raffle.

Someone running for the office which will supervise elections in Pueblo County should at least know of and follow the relevant statutes.

 

Marilyn Marks: Mail-In Ballots Threaten CO GOP’s Electoral Chances

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

So I attended the Pueblo County Republican Party Meeting on May 13, 2014. My intent was to go incognito, as a generic interested Puebloan, and to find out what Marilyn Marks, (left)  the featured speaker and Colorado elections activist, had to say about elections in Pueblo, as well as how the primary-election GOP candidates were positioning themselves on issues. The meeting was open to the general public, and covered by media, including the Pueblo Chieftain. My "undercover" mode included dressing up and wearing makeup. I figured that would make me unrecognizable. It didn’t work well.

I was outed by Victor Head as someone who writes for Pols about five minutes after I dropped off the obligatory bag of chips at the pot luck table.  Nice to know that Mr. Head is a dedicated Pols reader, and that he follows my writing, in particular. It’s always nice to meet a fan.

Becky Mizel, head of the Pueblo Republican Party, wanted to see my card.  “I don’t have a card,” said I, truthfully. “That’s strange,” she replied, her brow furrowing with suspicion.  I gave her my best aging-flaky-schoolmarm smile, and my contact information.  

Then I was introduced to the audience at large as a writer for the  Colorado Independent, and had to correct that grand, but mistaken, affiliation to that of an “Independent journalist, whose work appears on Pols, but who does not work “for Pols”.

Most people were very nice and friendly to me, even after my dreadful citizen-journalist secret was revealed. Senator Crowder and Sherry Crowder, in particular, were charming. I never got a chance to ask Richard Anglund why, after derailing mail ballots in the Pueblo recall, he never actually turned in a single signature to petition onto the ballot.  Perhaps that answer is self-evident, in the “derailing mail ballots in the Pueblo recall” part.

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Malkin to Fundraise for Pueblo GOP

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Michelle Malkin, Fox news pundit and angry Tweeter,  will headline a Pueblo Republican fundraising event – the Lincoln Dinner- on June 7.

 From Facebook: 

 

The Pueblo County Republican Party will be hosting our 

Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday, June 7, 2014. 

Michelle Malkin will be our keynote speaker.

The dinner will be at Pueblo Community College – 

Fortino Ballroom at 6pm. 

The cost for the dinner is $50 per person.

Before the dinner, there will be a reception (5 – 5:45 pm) with 

Michelle Malkin and our slate of republican candidates. 

Malkin has been pushing Benghazi hysteria, and criticizing Pelosi, Grayson, Reid, the Common Core, and most liberal commentators.  She is a supporter of Colorado's medical marijuana laws, and has visited Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo West.  Malkin is based in Colorado Springs.

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Those Wacky GOP Candidates – Where Are They Now?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado's Republican party has put up some rather entertaining candidates for the state legislature this year, and I just had to post some updates on them.

Nate Marshall posted an official withdrawal from the HD23 race on April 9, after being exposed as an active white supremacist. However, his campaign committee is still active. Is he hoping the outrage will die down? Marshall's latest post on his Facebook page links to an article positing that liberals are "purging Christians". Huh?

Right now, it appears that  Max Tyler won't have an opponent in HD23, as the committee of the other GOP candidate, Christopher Hadsall, is inactive.

 

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Immigration Rights Activists Rally in Pueblo – and Everywhere

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican and Democratic politicians alike were denounced by the 50 activists rallying at Bessemer Park in Pueblo on April 5, 2014, as part of a national Day of Action on Immigration. Barack Obama has deported more immigrants than any other President; Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton, and Mike Coffman have all voted to defund programs to make it easier for undocumented "Dreamers" to stay in the USA, and have repeatedly voted against comprehensive immigration reform.  Ken Buck and Tom Tancredo were also called out for their unrelenting history of opposition to not only immigration, but immigrants. All of the Republicans have opposed a path to citizenship, calling it "amnesty".

In Denver, activists rallied in Civic Center Park and on the 16th St. Mall (below): (Photo by Ray Rodriguez)

Elsewhere in Colorado, Summit County, and  Durango, saw rallies,waves of protests, support for youth and families facing deportation proceedings. On Saturday, the call across Colorado and the United States was  "Not one More Deportation!"

 

Under the Obama Presidency, more than two million people have been deported, most of them for low-level crimes, such as traffic offenses. Sunday talk shows debated whether or not Obama really is the "Deporter in Chief" On  Steve Kornacki's show, "UP", the focus was on how Obama's high deportation numbers may affect Latino voter turnout in upcoming elections.

Victoria De Francesca-Soto posited that the immigration numbers may be exaggerated statistically, as now everyone who is caught near the border, but turned back immediately,  is counted in deportation numbers. De Francesca also pointed out that immigration reform may not necessarily be the top issue among all Latino voters; for most, jobs and health care reform are higher priorities.

Yet, Gabriella Domenzain, another guest on Kornacki's show, said. "Four out of ten Latino voters have a personal relationship with someone who is being deported, and that changes you." People point to the unequal enforcement of immigration law – Canadian citizen Justin Bieber was convicted of driving drunk; yet he is not being deported, and, every year 400,000 Latinos, with similar or lesser convictions, are formally deported, for a total of two million under Obama.

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Gays, God, and Guns…GOP lineup for HD15

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE:  Gordon Klingenschmitt, aka "Dr. Chaps" just received 71% of the delegate votes at the El Paso County Republican Assembly. Dave Williams announced his intent to petition onto the primary ballot, to be held in June. Great opportunity for the Democrat in the race, Lois Fornander, to pick up some moderate ,Independent, and disenchanted Republican votes, whichever one of these two charmers ends up on the November general election ballot.


 

Voters in El Paso County's HD15 will almost certainly elect a Republican. The district was and is 63-30% Republican vs. Democrat , so Democratic representation is not on the menu for HD15.

But which Republican will get the assembly's nomination on March 29?

Will it be bachelor #1, David Williams, known for extreme homophobia, , while simultaneously  giving child sex offenders the benefit of the doubt? Back in  2013, PCG exposed this bully in a series of investigative diaries.  Best quote (after being requested to apologize to gay Republicans): "You know what I'm sorry about? Not buying an AR-15 sooner." Photo and quote from Williams' Facebook page, researched and diaried by PCG

Williams is strongly supported by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, as evidenced by his campaign financial disclosure of January, 2014: $100 from Tim Neville, $2,000 from Rocky Mtn Gun Owners PAC. Most of the remainder of his $37K finances consist of a loan from himself. The other two candidates are also self-financing.

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Rivera / Crowder Town Hall Heats Up, Democracy Thrives

 

 



 

 


When Colorado Senators Larry Crowder (left) and George Rivera convened a town hall in Pueblo on Wednesday, March 19, they probably hadn't planned to be confronted, interrupted, and corrected by dozens of Pueblo citizens of various political stripes. But that's what happened.

Over the course of a two hour meeting, Rivera and Crowder discussed wage theft, the proposed SouthWest Chief Rail expansion to Pueblo, PERA, TABOR, minimum wage and the rights of workers to organize, with about fifty vocal and opinionated constituents.

Senator Rivera came out swinging as the hard-right conservative he is- he explained that he is a "right to work" guy, that he is "not a believer in… the whole concept of the minimum wage", that he would like to privatize PERA (change it from a defined benefit to a "defined contribution" model).

He does not support the  lawsuit challenging TABOR, and he would rather see people paying fuel taxes than using public transportation, a dig at the proposed SW Chief rail line, the signature issue of his opponent for SD3, Represenative Leroy Garcia.

On SB14-05,  the "wage theft" legislation passed out of Committee  and into Appropriations with no Republican support, neither Senator took a strong position.  Both Senators agreed that it is a shame to steal a day's pay for a day's work, expressed some caution about costs of the measure, and moved on.


Senator Crowder, the more experienced politician, took softer stances, or tried to avoid taking stances altogether. He did not agree with privatizing PERA. He also does not support the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of TABOR, does not support raising the minimum wage to $10.10, and seems to be somewhat ignorant of what would be required to dismantle TABOR.

On the minimum wage issue, Crowder advocates for raising the "median wage", a proposal which got quite a few baffled looks from the town hall attendees. Crowder stated  that only 2% of workers receive minimum wage, when, in actuality, 59% of workers, mostly women, are paid at the minimum level. 


When directly challenged by Yesenia Beascochea (left) of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition: "How are people supposed to buy groceries on $7 an hour?" Crowder waffled until he was rescued by George Rivera's daughter, (left center) who ranted for three minutes, questioning  why anyone should support poor folks on Medicaid.

So, Crowder never answered Beascochea's question.  Crowder is also the more moderate of the two southeastern Colorado Senators; Crowder was the only Republican to vote for Colorado's Medicaid expansion and Health Exchange. Lamar's Crowder is also a co-sponsor of the SW Chief rail expansion legislation, and did not agree with Rivera on the need to "privatize PERA".


Excerpts from the Town Hall discussion:

PERA

Rivera supports a “defined contribution” plan, not a “defined benefit” plan. Rationale: it will save money.

Carole Partin, a teacher, challenged him: Privatizing PERA will change it, and those are benefits that we worked for.  A defined contribution plan goes out to the hedge fund managers.

MINIMUM WAGE:

Barb Clementi, another teacher,  schooled the Senators on how we subsidize Walmart because of minimum wages. Rivera argued that low wages, low taxes are what brought businesses in.

Rivera argued that minimum wage legislation is a "slippery slope." He wondered, "Why would it stop at $10/hr, why not $25 hr?", and predicted that businesses would pass costs to the consumer, or close down. When confronted with examples of businesses such as Costco and others which pay $10.10 an hour, and are thriving, he changed the subject.

Question: What’s your opinion on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?

Rivera: "Well, I’m not a believer in the minimum wage. The whole concept of the minimum wage.  Because, OK, you raise it up to ten dollars and ten cents. What’s the business going to do? Are they gonna sit there, and say, OK, we’re gonna pay out that ten dollars and ten cents? And all of a sudden, we’re in the red, and whereas before we were paying seven dollars, seven-fifty, and isn’t that three dollars…more?. What are they gonna do? They’re gonna raise the cost of their goods to make up that three dollars and ten cents. So all of a sudden that ten dollars and ten cents…you’re right back where you were, a year or two later, you’re chasing your tail."

"Now let me give you another, for example….why stop at $10.10?  Why not go to twenty-five? Because twenty-five dollars an hour…Heck, we’ll all agree is good money, and everyone will be happy. No, that’s not gonna work, again, because they gotta raise the cost, raise the price of whatever goods they’re selling. They gotta make up for the cost of that pay raise, whatever it is."

Q: Do you think that Walmart’s going to go in the red by paying the minimum wage?

Crowder: Here I thought I had a chance. I can wait outside. (laughter)

"Here’s the thing about the minimum wage. 2% of the people rely on the minimum wage. (he’s 57% off, according to the Dept of Labor- 59% of American workers work for minimum wage)

What we ought to be talking about is the median wage. (Audience murmurs, puzzled) We’ve lost so much ground in the middle class. That’s what we ought to do. ….we need to work legislatively to stay out of the middle class’s way, so that they can continue…I think if we take care of the median wage, that the minimum wage will take care of itself. One of the things we can do is we can look at the employment percentage right now. "

It’s 9%. What we can do is get that employment percentage down here (gestures), and

Q: Yesenia Beascochea: Can I interrupt real quick, because I hear the both of you talking about the minimum wage.  Pay the people seven dollars an hour, minimum wage, and they have to buy the groceries, as the prices rise. The prices are rising. So how are you guys expecting…and I’m talking about poor people, that can’t afford to buy groceries at seven dollars an hour?

Crowder: (doesn’t answer her question) Would it benefit the working poor if a certain percent lost their jobs?

(Rivera's daughter complains for three minutes about how health care for the poor costs money to middle class people because: Obamacare).

TABOR:

I asked both Senators about their positions on TABOR.

Crowder: "My position on TABOR is simple. Voters voted it in. It’s up to the voters to vote it out. I do not agree with the lawsuit on TABOR that’s in the courts right now. I think what it does, it…undermines the voters…If people, truly, do not want TABOR, which I believe is….you hear both sides, you know? But I do believe that, to go through the court system, when the people of Colorado voted for it, undermines them.  So if someone wants to bring a petition, and convince the people of Colroado to get that back on the ballot,  then I would support that."

Barb Clementi (left): You recognize that it would take six or eight initiatives to actually do that?

Crowder: No, no, that can’t be true.

Barb Clementi: Yes, it would take many different initiatives to undo TABOR.

(Rivera interrupts)

Rivera:  "Well, I’ll be honest with you. If we have the low taxes that you’re talking about, ….you don’t think that TABOR had something to do with that? Look at all of the fees we pay…the fee you pay when you get your license plates. What do you think that is? That’s a tax by another name, that’s all that is."

UNIONS and ORGANIZING

Ron Greenwell, (left), chair of the Pueblo Democratic party, questioned Senator Rivera about how he felt about unions in general.

Greenwell: What do you know about the Colorado Peace Act? What do you feel about unions in general? And, would you support organized labor in the future?


Rivera: On the Colorado Peace Act, I'm not sure what you're referring to.

Greenwell: The Colorado Peace Act is legislation, that, when you're going in to organize, it's not a 50 plus 1, ….it's a 60 plus 40, something like that. And so, to make it fair for those who are organizing, they have to get 60% of the vote, rather than 50% plus 1.

RIGHT to WORK (for less): Rivera: Well, I believe in “right to work”. Let’s put it that way. …

(loud disagreement, chatter, laughter, comments from audience.

Rivera: …I don't think it's anti-union, whatever…I believe in right to work.

Rivera: I think if the government just keeps out of the way of people….(interruptions by several audience members) "Government is people! ”Government is in the business of helping the common people."


GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE OK IF IT'S WOMEN'S BODIES?

Kiera Hatton-Sena countered with a pointed question: So,  the “government shouldn’t interfere” with my body?"

Neither of the Senators answered Hatton-Sena's question.

The town hall finished with Rivera proclaiming that he was happy that so many people had attended his town hall, although they were clearly not in agreement with him. Colorado Progressive Coalition had informed its members about the town hall. 

I personally found it disturbing, not that there was conflict and disagreement, but how uninformed both Senators were. Rivera did not know the provisions of the Colorado Peace Act, although he proclaims that he believes in "Right to Work". Crowder had no clue that 59% of the population, not 2%, receives minimum wage. Neither Senator knew how much work it would take to undo Tabor; when they advocated for voter initiatives, to "Let the Voters Decide," they were effectively advocating to let TABOR continue to wreak harm in Colorado indefinitely. Rivera was seemingly not aware that a "defined contribution plan" effectively privatizes people's retirement benefits.

Senators Rivera and Crowder are out of touch with the majority of their constituents who are in favor of raising the minimum wage. They don't "get" women's complaints about the hypocrisy of proclaiming that government should not interfere with people's lives, while the government aggressively interferes with women's reproductive choices over their own bodies. In pro-union Pueblo, in which most people have a family member who worked or works for a union, Rivera's hard anti-union stance will also not win friends and influence constituents.

This is what small-d democracy looks like, and it is indeed a positive thing. It remains to be seen if the Senators will follow up with conversations with, and allow themselves to be educated by their disaffected constituents, or merely heave sighs of relief: "That's over."


 

Video from 3/19 Pueblo town hall More videos at: http://www.youtube.com/user/socoteacher

 

All photos and videos of this event by the author.

 

Liberal Lurker on Tipton’s Telephone Town Hall 3/12

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tipton’s staff somehow included my number in a telephone town hall on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. They didn’t allow me to ask any live questions*, so their lapse in constituent screening has only resulted in this diary.  Only supportive conservative callers were allowed to ask softball, pandering questions.

from the blog of timemarcheson, http://timemarcheson.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/september-1-ringy-dingy-almanac-of-absurdities-new-9-1-2012/

This was interesting, as Tipton’s real approval ratings in his district are way down after his vote to shut down the government. A PPP poll conducted a year ago (April 2013), showed 25% disapproval to 16% approval statewide, with 59% “not sure”.  It’s only gotten worse – As of last October,  PPP found that 51% disapprove, while 28% approve, of the job Scott Tipton is doing in Congress.

Does Tipton believe that he has few or no liberal and moderate constituents? Does he think that he can continue to skate by on smooth talk on water rights and veteran's issues, while ignoring immigration, the government shutdown, and education funding?

Does he understand that some of CD3 wants more than "greenwashing" environmental legislation?


Photo: Lily Tomlin, as Ernestine the switchboard operator. Credit:http://www.lilytomlin.com/characters/ernestine/


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Andrew Bateman: Check your precinct number – there are errors

Andrew Bateman put this in the Thursday Open Thread. I think that it's important information -so I am putting it out as a diary. The average voter would probably would not be concerned with this- it's mainly for campaign volunteers who work with the voter database.

The database is VAN on the Dem side. I don't know which database the Republican party uses. But it's probably worth the time for  "average voters"  to take a quick look for on the Secretary of State voter registration site, just to see if your precinct and ward info is correct, and correct anything needing correcting on your own voter registration.

Here's Andrew's post:

Hey, everybody. I am not allowed to post a diary since I am still on "COPolsProbation" (I just joined yesterday), but there is some information that really needs to be disseminated quickly. 

 

While reviewing data in my City Council Ward in Aurora, I noticed a error in the voter file (Secretary of State voter file via VoteBuilder) that had an entire precinct, several hundred voters, listed in the wrong Ward. This mistake has been in place since the redistricting. This is not just a VAN issue. The SOS has it wrong. 

I have contacted all the relevent officials (City Clerk / County Clerk / SOS) and they will be fixing this particular problem. But if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. 

So, Candidates and Campaigns, check your voter file for accuracy. If mistakes like this one are found after the caucus/assembly process is complete, it could cause any number of problems for nominated candidates. I found the issue by comparing the SOS data against the official city districting maps from their planning and development office. 

I think that County Commission, City, and special districts are the most likely to be effected by this. But everyone should probably double check, just to be safe. 

And if someone wants to go ahead and put this out there in diary format, since I can't, so that people will actually read it, that would be a good thing. 

Andrew Bateman

 

– See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/55186/thursday-open-thread-57#sthash.GxhrTob8.dpuf

 

Head Games – Voting Rights 3, Head 0

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Victor Head, "Pueblo Plumber", recall proponent, and County Clerk candidate, has been lying again, and digging through trash for ballots to make the case that only he can prevent election fraud.  

HB1128 , Reduce Voter Identity Theft

In the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee of the Colorado legislature, on February 12, Head testified on behalf of HB1128, a thinly-disguised "voter ID" bill. Szabo and Harvey were the sponsors. The bill, thankfully, is parked in the State committee, and unlikely to come out of it.

The facts were not with this bill. There is not, and never has been, a problem of "voter identity theft" in Colorado. Over the last 10 years, there have been no instances of someone voting under an assumed name. Yet, Head, with an eye on the Clerk position supervising elections in Pueblo, wants voters to believe that he  has expertise in this area, and will help protect us from the dreaded (but nonexistent) problem of voter identity theft.

In order to create a problem only he can solve, Victor Head lied again  in HB1128  hearing testimony.  He told Representative Salazar that signature cards weren't used in Pueblo County when Pueblans began voting in the Recall election. This is demonstrably not true.

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Jeffco School Board Open Thread

For all my Jeffco peeps:

This thread is intended to be a place to share information about the struggle for a representative school board in Jefferson County, vs. right wing ideologues that apparently would like to:

 

  • break the education unions
  • channel more funding to charter schools
  • politicize and narrow the curriculum to fit right wing ideology

So here's a link to a page, Jefferson County School Board Watch, that appears to be a forum and clearinghouse for rumors and information on what's going on with the School Board. A community member reports on intimidation and sneaky tactics at an informational meeting Feb 11..

 

You all will have to take it from here; I'm just putting up this thread. Peace!

Background Check Repeal Hearing Monday

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Audio of the hearing here:
http://coloradoga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=5

MONDAY POLS UPDATE: A statement from Rep. Rhonda Fields today via Stand Strong Colorado:

State Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) welcomed representatives from Stand Strong Colorado to the Capitol today in support of the common sense gun laws passed in the 2013 legislative session. She thanked supporters for standing strong in support of the bill she carried to expand background checks to private gun sales.

Rep. Fields took aim at the blatant fear-mongering and lies advanced by the gun lobby. “They’re saying we’re banning private gun sales. That’s a lie,” she said. “Since the 2013 law went into effect more than 6,000 private gun sales have gone through the CBI. 98 percent of those sales went through without a hitch. Those are the facts. They’re saying we’re limiting gun transfers among family members. That’s a lie. The 2013 law explicitly says a gun owner may give a gun or loan a gun to a family member.  Those are the facts.”

We'll update with coverage from today's hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Original post follows.

—–

Senator George Rivera, having bungled the first rollout of his background check repeal bill SB 14-094 by not meeting the deadline, is trying again Monday, and is hoping that this time, the law will make it out of Committee.  

 The bill is not likely to make it out of the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, often known as the “kill committee”. Megan Schrader reported in the Gazette that advocates for and against repeal of the background check law will be testifying tomorrow, February 3, at 1:30 PM in SB room 353. Senate President Morgan Carroll has pledged to allow everyone who shows up at committee hearings to testify.

Therefore, the Capitol is likely to be a nonstop media circus tomorrow. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is  activating its base to testify for Rivera’s bill. RMGO’s Facebook page pleads:

It’s very important that gun owners turn out for the hearing in large numbers. If gun owners don’t show up, it will only embolden the left.

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Daneya Esgar announces for HD 46: “Pueblo Deserves Better”

Daneya Esgar announced her candidacy for House District 46 in Pueblo at the Steelworker’s Union Hall on January 21, 2014.  The seat is being vacated by Representative Leroy Garcia, as Garcia  will be running against George Rivera for Senate District 3.  Esgar’s competition for the HD46 seat will be, first, Democrat Stephanie Garcia (no relation to Leroy), a term-limited past President of the District 60 School Board. Local caucuses March 4 will select a Democratic nominee, and the final decision will be taken at the County Assembly on March 22nd.

The Democratic nominee for House District 46 will then run against Republican Brian Mater, a Pueblo businessman and failed candidate for Pueblo City Council at-large. Mater is not an especially strong candidate; while evidently a nice guy, he also apparently has a temper, and has not always managed money well. Mater still has a permanent restraining order against him, and was the subject of several court proceedings for questionable business dealings. Mater has not filed any campaign finance reports with the State, although they were due January 15. Mater’s policy positions, as far as they can be determined from his Facebook page for the City Council position, are closer to Stephanie Garcia’s privatizing and union-busting ways– He advocates for returning PERA funds to the City, and for a “balanced budget”. If Garcia and Mater run against each other, it may be hard to tell them apart on budget issues.

As School District 60 President, Stephanie Garcia was heavily criticized by union employees and by parents for her vote to privatize the District’s night custodians and school bus drivers. The move was supposed to cut costs for the cash-strapped district; parents cited safety concerns, and community members warned that “short-term savings could mean long-term problems.”

Daneya Esgar, the granddaughter of two steelworkers, supports “public policy that brings jobs to our community. Not just any jobs, but “jobs that come with the right to bargain for a real living wage.” Esgar spoke about her concerns about poverty in Pueblo:

“Five out of every ten families live below the federal poverty level. Our unemployment rate is still one of the highest in the state. Our city has the highest utility rates and insurance rates in Colorado…  Small and successful businesses … have left Pueblo County because of our utility rates…The good news is that there is real work that can be done at the state legislature to fix Pueblo’s high utility rates.”

Pueblo’s Black Hills utility rates are “the highest on the Front Range”, according to those who work with families whose utilities have been shut off for lack of payment. Esgar’s message will resound with Pueblans struggling to pay high utility bills.

Esgar is well-known as an advocate for LGBT issues, and is herself an open lesbian; however, her campaign is much more about economic issues which affect all Pueblans.

From her press release:

Daneya Esgar has worked closely with local families throughout the community who have sought to improve local law enforcement. She is well-known on the grassroots level for her hands-on work on issues of equality, education, justice, and poverty. Esgar has a record of listening to the community and transforming those needs into sound public policy that is good for Pueblo’s families.

Photo Credit: John Jaques, The Pueblo Chieftain, December 9, 2013

Gessler Blows State Budget, Blames Election Law and Democrats

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Had we not had 1303, our budget would be in exceptionally good shape. We’d be just fine,” Gessler testified to his fellow Legislators last December.. “1303 has been a budget-buster. It has completely blown our budget out of the water.”

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

This is a lie. It is not taken out of context, nor is it possibly true in some alternate-spin right wing media universe. Secretary of State Gessler has blown his budget, and he is lying about the cause .There are several reasons for the projected fiscal year 2014-2015 5.1  million dollar budget deficit, some of which are Gesssler’s choices, some of which are beyond his control, but implementation of House Bill 13-303, otherwise known as the  “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act” is not one of the factors leading to the projected 5.1 million budget-buster.

The Colorado State Department runs on cash. Businesses, nonprofits, and all manner of political committees pay registration and late fees to the Secretary of State’s office. (JBC 5) Out of these fees, approximately 21% is allocated for election expenses.  (JBC 4 ) When HB13-1303 was enacted, the Legislature set aside $ $1,029,181 from the State Cash fund,  divided into $772,905 for information technology expenses, and $256,276 for the elections division.   (from the HB1303 JBC staff fiscal analysis page 2)   The total amount allocated from the cash fund for 1303 is expected to be $1,317,181 for FY14-15 ( FY14 -15 JBC  page 35 ) So 1.03 million out of election's division 4.4 million yearly share of the State budget is significant, but a small price to pay for free and fair Colorado elections. Most of it goes to information technology, which makes all election operations more efficient and transparent. The Election Clerks agree.

Secretary of State Gessler doesn’t like HB1303. He never has, and he never will. Something about the convenience of all-mail ballots, the greater turnout rate, the ability to register and vote on the same day – These things help voters vote, and the more voters turn out, the less likely they are to elect Republicans, and, according to Gessler, a good election is one in which Republicans win.    

At least a million dollars of the budget-busting overrun over the last two years has been legal expenses related to  Mr. Gessler’s attempts to disenfranchise voters , or to his ethical missteps.

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Klingenschmitt vs. Right Wing Watch: Round Two

UPDATE 12/10/2013  Right Wing Watch had their Youtube Account restored, and their lawyer has sent a "Cease and Desist" order to Mr. Klingenschmitt. Klingenschmitt, for his part,  has declared that he has no intention of stopping his harassment of Right Wing Watch.

In the never-ending, but somewhat entertaining saga of Statehouse Candidate Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt's war vs. sanity, Right Wing Watch (RWW) won a round and is down for round two.

David Edwards, rawstory.com

RWW's mission is  "monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement". Hence, they often report on some of the weirder nonsense preached by would-be representative Klingenschmitt:

(left) Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt, HD15 candidate, by David Edwards, rawstory.com, 

 

Six year old gender-bender Coy Mathis and her parents filed (and won) a lawsuit for Coy to use the female bathroom in her Fountain elementary school.

Below: Coy Mathis, holding parent's hands, after her civil rights hearing, photo by RJ Sangosti, Denver Post, article by Kieran Nicholson

Coy Mathis, after winning her lawsuit: Credit: Denver Post, RJ Sangosti

Coy's victory was enough for Klingenschmitt to claim that the transgender rights movement has a "demon of rape…. to violate your daughters".

Right Wing Watch  publicized Klingenschmitt's latest diatribe against little Coy and her parents, and, in retaliation, Klingenschmitt has again complained to youtube that RWW is infringing on his copyrights.

This was round two of the RWW vs. Dr. Chaps battle over bogus copyright claims. In round one, youtube went through its usual process of determining Fair Use, and while they were deciding this, RWW's youtube site was made inactive. Finally, youtube decided that RWW had not in fact infringed any copyrights, and RWW's youtube account was restored. 

The next day, Klingenschmitt again made bogus claims against RWW, and succeeded in shutting down RWW's youtube account.This is currently being appealed, and if you like, you can sign a petition in support of the appeal.

Klingenschmitt fundraises from his 350+youtube videos, all of which have a donate button. I found his charity "pray in jesus name.org" on  this site, on which Klingenschmitt appears in a Navy Chaplain's uniform, which, according to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, is illegal, since he was discharged for cause. Dr. Chaps' explanations of his finances, which extend to at least 3 separate profit, non-profit, and political corporations, are  convoluted, but his 501c3 charity, Persuade the World Ministries,  seem to bring in an average of 50,000 per year since 2010.

Klingenschmitt, a discharged Navy chaplain,  has  bragged about "performing exorcisms" of the "demons" in gay men and women, and also complained that a West Point Chapel  had been "Desecrated By 'Acts Of Sodomy' Performed On The Altar" when two gay men were married there. 

Klingenschmitt must go to more exciting weddings than I do- hardly any of them actually consummate the marriage in public anymore.

But I digress.

Here's the scary part: Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt is a serious Republican candidate for House District 15, a north-east Colorado Springs district,created in 2011 redistricting, currently represented by Republican Mark Waller. Waller won with 73% of the vote in 2012,  but has set his sights (and his $63K fund)  on campaigning for Attorney General in 2014. Also running for House District 15: Allison Hunter (D), an independent candidate, "Bishop" and Republicans Michael Kuhn and David Williams.  It's remotely possible that Waller could win the Republican nomination for Attorney General, or, as Pols wrote, be a distraction and an embarrassment for Republican candidates.  So, yes, the "exorcise gay demons", persecute-little-kids-for-fun-and profit guy could be your representative, if you live in northeast-ish Colorado Springs.

Klingenschmitt has an extensive youtube account for his religious sermons and speeches. Apparently, though, Dr. Chaps believes in separation of church and state. He definitely doesn't want these religious video clips to interfere with his secular bid for political power. He especially doesn't want voters in House District 15 to know how bigoted, extreme, hateful and bizarre his views actually are.

All  links in this post are either widely available on public media, or used in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine, and links point to proper attributions to original authors.