About kwtree

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

Leroy Garcia to Run for Senate District 3

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Representative Leroy Garcia, currently a representative in District 46 of Pueblo County, has announced that he will run for election to Senate District 3 in 2014. Senator Angela Giron was recalled from that office September 10, 2013, and has let her close associates know that she is not running for the SD3 seat in 2014.

Representative Garcia's voting record is mostly very progressive: for in state tuition for undocumented immigrants, for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, for civil unions, for sales taxes and regulating the marijuana industry, and many other key bills.  There isn't much daylight between Garcia and Giron on any of the above issues. Then we get to the gun laws, and Garcia looks much closer to the current occupant of the SD3 seat, George Rivera. Rivera has vowed that repealing all of the gun legislation will be a top priority for him in 2014.

Garcia voted for background checks, (HB1229) but against the buyer having to pay for the check. (HB1228)  He also voted against limiting magazine capacity (HB1224), and against prohibiting concealed carry on campuses (HB1226). He voted yes on SB197, prohibiting domestic violence offenders from having guns, and for various other bills limiting access to firearms.


“Standing with Evie”: Supporter Pics and Updates

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

These friends of mine are Jefferson County patriots, standing up for the democratic process, and for an effective state legislator, Senator Evie Hudak. Hudak is being threatened with a recall election, and recallhudaktoo is gathering signatures for this effort. They'll need 18,400 valid signatures by December 3 in order to force an expensive recall election. On the Peter Boyles show,  recall organizers said that they had around half of the signatures they needed as of  November 8.


“Moderate” Tipton Grilled, Pueblo Style

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: Tipton town hall videos now posted at



It was not a happy night for Scott Tipton. He came to Pueblo, ready to make nice and woo himself some moderate voters of all political stripes. He attempted to sell himself as a renewable energy environmentalist, a compassionate conservative, a thoughtful guy on immigration, and a job creator.   He was short on specifics, but managed to hit every single GOP-approved talking point. The audience was polite, but skeptical, and the tough questions kept coming.


Tipton began by portraying himself as a bipartisan, moderate Republican, a true conservationist, touting his hydroelectric project bill, and legislation to prevent property owners in national forests from selling their water rights to the Federal government. I'm not well-informed on these issues, but Tipton managed to seem almost "green" on water rights and  hydro development. He lost that green hue later on, while promoting the Keystone pipeline as a job creating miracle.


Then, Tipton got grilled like a Pueblo chile.


Loose Ballots? Just send them back, voter vigilantes.

Colorado Peak Politics, your source for hysterical news reports about all manner of possible voter fraud which could conceivably happen someday, wants you to know that Todd Shepherd has loose ballots accumulating in his apartment complex foyer. Mr. Shepherd was so upset about this that he went on a mission to two other apartment buildings with ballots lying around.  And he found them, and breathlessly reported on them on CPP. "Who knows what other violations are out there?" CPP asks.


Mr. Shepherd, just so you know, it is illegal to tamper with other people's mail. This includes opening, destroying, and damaging mail. Probably videotaping other people's mail, and posting it on youtube would be considered mail tampering, as well.

While we're talking criminal penalties, you may want to be aware that forging a signature on a ballot not your own (i.e., impersonating a voter) is a felony.  And the County Clerks do have visual recognition software which checks voter signatures. So your concerns about Colorado's all mail ballot system causing voter fraud through loose ballots are not justified.

What to do if your apartment foyer is infested with "loose ballots":

1. Contact the apartment manager and ask if the ballots can be forwarded to a tenant.

2. If you are an apartment manager or landlord of a building, and you know that the tenant to whom a ballot is addressed has moved, but you do not have a forwarding address,  the civic-minded responsible thing to do is not  to rummage through their mail, videotape it, and post it on youtube and a right wing website.

3.  The  correct response to loose ballots with no forwarding address is to write "MOVED – NO LONGER AT THIS ADDRESS" on the ballot, and then put it back in the outgoing mail.

4. When the County Election Clerk receives these ballots, the voter will be inactivated. Per Pueblo Clerk Gilbert Ortiz, around 3800, or 4% of the county electorate, was "inactivated undeliverable."

This is, of course, an absurd story. It is, however, part of a continuing push to discredit Colorado's HB1303, the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act. Jon Keyser shared his fake "double ballots" story on CPP. Every time a "mail ballot fraud in Colorado" story is debunked, two more pop up in right wing media.

Colorado is considered to be a model of good voter access and reliability. Colorado's voter turnout of 71%  was third in the nation in the all mail-ballot 2012 election.  So, of course, too many people are voting, and this is suspect..

Moral: If you see a loose ballot, don't videotape it.  Get it to the voter, or get it inactivated. 

Mad Libs/ Mad Cons


This is an equal opportunity politician and political party bashing spree . If you don’t know how to play Mad Libs/ Mad Cons,  you make a list with the part of speech or requested noun. Don’t scroll down to read the paragraph! You may have to use a word or text doc or  (gasp!) paper  to record your choices.

THEN scroll down, and fill in the numbered blanks – plug them in to the paragraph below. No cheating! It’s funnier if you don’t. Either this will be hilarious, or lame, or both. It's non-partisan, , but you don’t have to be, and it can be NSFW. Please post your completed mad libs/mad con paragraphs in the comments. Thanks to slavdude and realist for the idea. Suggestions welcome.


1.     verb participle (ends in –ing)

2.     emotion

3.     adjective

4.     political party

5.     verb (present tense)

6.     adjective

7.     group of living beings i.e. bankers, inmates, Democrats, tea-baggers, children, teenagers, cats, etc.

8.     adjective

9.     group of living beings

10. Name of politician or celebrity

11. Noun (person, place, thing)

12. Political party or group

13. Collective noun, i.e. crowd, gang, party, family, town, band

14. Intense adjective, (fierce, hated, adored, putrid,hairy, smelly)

15. Plural noun (ends in s)

16. Verb

17. Preposition (through, above, into, out, around)

18. Body parts

19. Body part

20. Verb

21. Adjective

22. Plural Insult noun

23. Adjective

24. adjective


Fill in below: 






“I am just so 1. ____________ 2._________ about the damned _3_______________ _4_______________s. How dare they _5________________ our__6__________________ 7____________________  away, and put all of the 8______________ _9__________________out of work!,’”


10_____________ ___________, a famous spokes11__________________ for the 12____________________, 13___________ today.


Why, if I only had 14____________ 15_______________________s, I’d 16_________________ _17______________ every single one of their _18____________ ________________ so fast, it would make their 19_________ __20__________________. That would show the 21____________ 22_________________.


My fellow Americans, let’s take our country back!  Then we can truly be the land of the _23__________________, and the home of the 24____________________.





Recallers: We won, and now we want more…

Fresh from the recalls of Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron, Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for Basic Freedom Defense Fund,  (BFDF)said September 15 on the Breitbart Sirius XM channel  “We won and now we want more." What more do they want?  

Depends whom one asks, but at a minimum, BFDF wants to repeal the new gun laws  which restrict magazine size, require gun buyers to pass a $10 background check before purchase, and restrict known domestic violence offenders from buying guns. 

Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF) and Pueblo Freedom and Rights (PFR) have jointly sent out a questionnaire to all state legislators, and all candidates for state office, which asks:

  • Will you vote for a repeal of Colorado’s new gun laws if given the opportunity in the 2014 legislative session? ___ YES or ___ NO
  • Would you support a Ballot Initiative that would repeal Colorado’s gun laws? ___ YES or ___ NO

Jennifer Kerns, whose Twitter IDs include California party girl, and Kstreet Kerns, aka Limbaugh imitator, aka Spokeswoman for BFDF, says that BFDF planned to publish the results of this survey Oct  1.  The survey has not yet been published,  which brings up the question:

Are legislators and candidates answering , or refusing to answer?

At least one of the "pro gun rights" organizations following this thinks that legislators are refusing to answer, and plans to put on a little more pressure. KeithC, a poster at Firemission, writes: 

UNCONFIRMED rumor mill is that Dudley is pissed about "competition" and is pressuring "his Republicans" to not reply. 

"Dudley" would be Rocky Mountain Gun Owner (RMGO) lobbyist Dudley Brown, here shown declaring intent to sue to overturn the existing gun legislation.   If RMGO and BFDF/PFR are fighting over whose "territory" Republican legislators inhabit, and whether direct lobbying after publicizing survey answers (BFDF/PFR), or a lawsuit challenging the law's constitutionality (RMGO) is the right way to go, that will certainly be highly entertaining for everyone to the left of "way out on the right wing fringe".

Back to the BFDF questionnaire that is somehow not getting enough responses to publicize the results:

Is the purpose of BFDF's questionnaire simply intimidation, the "wave of fear" Caldara bragged about? I think that the answer to the second question is definitely yes. Are legislators being intimidated? We'll see. Their reluctance to return questionnaires is promising.

We have already seen Caldara's prediction coming to pass, in that "Recall Madness" is again aimed at 7 year veteran state Senator Evie Hudak.  Other Senators may also be targeted.

In the seemingly never-ending quest to prevent or repeal any meaningful gun-limiting legislation ever, NRA lobbyists seem to have overlooked the tendency of human beings to compete over territory.  Which is going to be the preferred strategy, recall,  repeal, or lawsuit? Who's going to get to take the credit? Who's in charge, anyway?

Republican chairman Ryan Call is trying to dial things back a bit, asking Republicans – gasp! – to wait until the next regular election to unseat a Democrat.  Unfortunately, that seems way too moderate and sensible for these people. Call is being savaged by his own base

They want more! More guns! Fewer gun laws! No, fewer Democrats! More Republicans! Lawsuits! Recalls! Repeals! Everybody join in!

Break out the popcorn, people. It's going to be a long run-up to 2014.

Fracktivists to media: Cover fracking-related contamination in Colorado flooding.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


TXSharon , former oil and gas industry employee, and current anti-fracking activist, and East Boulder County United continue to do citizen journalism covering the flooding and possibility of fracking contamination. The​ situation continues to deteriorate – Denver Post finally covers the story, but a Weld County resident has this reaction to the industry response:

It’s taken 5 days. Tisha Schuller, quoted in the article saying there are “thousands” of flooded wells, is the president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), the industry’s lobbying group here in Colorado. If you read the article, she’s asking that activist photo takers (who stood on broken highways and in flood waters where you can’t tell where the heck you are in all the flood waters) tell her the locations of the damaged wells! I’m dumbfounded. The drillers and lobbyists don’t know where their flooded wells are? Anadarko and Encana can’t hire a plane and fly over their own damn wells to assess the damage? They have no data transmissions indicating problems with a well?


Maybe they could just follow journalists around. Gasline rupture bubbing up through floodwaters in Greeley: (filmed by Channel 1510's Scooter McGee)

Author's note – So I'm low down on the learning curve about fracking.  I assume that industry spokespeople are lying when they say that the wellheads were shut down before the flooding and that there is no contamination – but I don't know enough myself to be able to challenge their statements intelligently. Those of you on Pols who do, please feel free to jump in anytime. – mj55

TX Sharon is a Daily Kos blogger from Texas, who often writes about environmental issues. Her Colorado Weld County friends are sending her pics and video on this disaster, specifically about probable fracking contaminants in the floodwaters. Various Facebook friends of mine  have shared this, and it seems relevant to re-post. TXSharon is trying to get wider coverage for the story, so I've posted it here, and written to her to get her permission to do so. 

From TXSharon's BlueDaze Blog:

Oil and gas wells drilled in a flood plain are under water and leaking in Weld County Colorado. There is at least one pipeline that broke as the dirt supporting it was washed away. Hydrocarbons and no telling what else are leaking into the flood waters yet the media is silent.


TXSharon's blog, which she will continue to update, shows tanks and equipment floating downstream, apparently contaminating the floodwaters. The blog also features first hand accounts from Weld County residents, and excerpts from the sparse media coverage.  


PFR Buys Giant Storefront Billboard Next to Dems HQ

Santa Fe Street is the easternmost downtown artery through Pueblo, running alongside I25. Pueblo Democrats has had its headquarters  at 305 Santa Fe St for decades.  Pueblo United for Angela, the pro-Giron anti-recall issue committee, began renting the space in May of this year. In late August, Jami Baker, a real estate agent and recall petition signer,brokered a transaction to rent the unused space at 307 Santa Fe St, next to the Dems HQ. 

Although Ms. Baker refused to reveal to the Democratic tenants whom their new neighbors would be, it soon became evident that it had been rented to recall forces:

  • Odd men in camouflage clothing began to come in to harangue the bemused staff and volunteers. I personally had one very irate gentleman try to lecture me for 5 minutes about how he was mad at Senator Giron for signing a law that would prohibit teachers from carrying concealed guns.  (No such law has been proposed or voted on in Colorado…yet). Eventually, not getting the reactions he desired, the education expert left. 
  • There have been loud gatherings in the 307 half of the building, disrupting normal business operations. Most of the canvassers and volunteers have now been moved to other locations. Pueblo Dems had already planned to move and leased space elsewhere,  so PFR just accelerated the process a bit by moving in next door. 
  • The most obvious effect of Ms. Baker's renting of the space out to the PFR tenants is a gigantic sign, easily the largest on the street, which reads, " Recall Giron! Can You Hear Us Now?!!"
  • We can only assume that PFR's intent in renting empty space next to the Dems HQ was to intimidate and overshadow the anti-recall effort. If so, it isn't working well. Turnout in Pueblo is high, and Dems are outvoting Republicans 3-1.  

Enjoy your expensive sign holding space after the recall fails, boys!


“Labradoodle” recall election: Voters 3, Vote Suppressors 0

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Back in court again Thursday August 29, for more recall election challenges, , Judge McGahey was having "the most fun I've had since being a judge." He called the recall election a "Labradoodle", meaning a hybrid of a traditional polling place and the new all mail-ballot election mandated by HB1303. 

Challenges which were heard today:

1. Libertarians were challenging the secrecy of emergency ballots emailed back to elections clerks. These are used in an "extremely limited context", according to Judge McGahey, and were ruled as allowable.   However,per the judges guidance,  and per the rules of our great Pueblo County Clerk Ortiz, anyone in Senate District 3 now may request a "no excuses" absentee ballot to vote in the recall election. In other words, if you want to vote by mail in Pueblo, and are willing to download the form and drop it off, you may. You don't have to provide a reason for your request.  Contact your county clerk  for more information.

2. Rebecca Mizel, Pueblo County Republican Chairwoman, and our partisan Secretary of State Scott Gessler, challenged those yellow ID cards voters have been getting as voting ID.  The basis of the challenge was that they may not require signatures, when presented, allowing for "express voting". Gilbert Ortiz, Pueblo County Clerk, said that there was never intent to bypass the signature requirement. Per the Secretary of State's website, "(g) A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the elector" is allowable ID to vote. Ms. Mizel's challenge was not upheld.

3. Judge McGayhey ruled that County Clerks may set their own rules, that Pueblo and El Paso do not have to have identical rules, and that he is "not going to micromanage this election." Therefore, in Pueblo, by Clerk Ortiz' rule, early voting will begin Friday, August 30, at the Election Office at 720 N. Main St, during business hours. Other voting locations will be open September 5 – 10.

Sources: Twitter feeds of https://twitter.com/APkristenwyatt, https://twitter.com/CapitolSchrader

Pueblo Recalled – a Fractured Fairy Tale

In the sunny dales of Pueblo town, there was great woe.

Repetitive ads whined on all the TV channels. There were portents and signs, saying "Vote Yes” or “Vote No”.  The village mailboxes were stuffed with mailers with pictures of sad women and pompous men.  Peasants feared to answer their doors or telephones, lest they be harangued by the dread Canvassers . The name of Pueblo was on many tongues all across the nation. Yet none were content.


As I strolled through the formerly peaceful lanes of Pueblo town, I asked how this came to pass. An answer came: “I don’t recall,”  an old woman snarled.  Confused, I asked a younger man passing in the lane. “I DO recall,” he sniffed, elbowing me out of the way.


Again I inquired, and finally was answered.


It began with madness and great evil, the old woman began.  Men killed innocents in Aurora and Newtown,  and the makers of the laws looked to prevent further massacres.  If madness and evil in the heart were known before the weapons were bought, perhaps the evil could be prevented, the lawmakers thought, and so the Background Check was born.  And Lo, King Hick signed the law, and it was good.


And so it was with the law that allowed only fifteen shots before the killer would have to pause and reload. This too, was signed. And the people cheered, and thought it was well done.


But some of the people feared for their weapons. Rumors began that Demon-crats would come in the night and take the weapons away. No, no, we have no use for your wacky weapons, the lawmakers said.  Yet, the Worriers would not be comforted, and began to seek defenders against imaginary foes.


Sir Scott of Gessler came to Pueblo to consult with the worried ones.  Fear not, he said, your weapons are safe. The lawmakers can be recalled. Recalled? cried the worriers. How?  Merely collect the signatures of 11,000 Worriers, said Sir Gessler. And the Demoncrat lawmakers shall go "Poof!" and you need not Worry over your Weapons anymore. 


And all across the vales of Southern Colorado, the Worriers collected signatures. In Pueblo, and El Paso, Lady Carno gave generously of her gold,  as did the Duke NRA, and the Brothers Koch, and the gatherers of signatures were paid well, and the recalls prospered.  The Brothers Head, and Richard of Anglund, all rejoiced, for they sought to Recall Lady Giron, and the Springs village to recall the Morse . Even the town crier, Roper of Chieftain, was well pleased with the recall.


A date for the Recall was set. And the Clerks Ortiz and Williams prepared the ballots, and all was in readiness. Yet, the Lady Marilyn of Marks was oppressed in spirit. Too many Democrats voting here, she complained.  Lady Giron is well-loved by the villagers of Pueblo, and Constable Morse of the Springs was elected twice. We need an edge, she said. And the Worriers pondered.


At last, she said, “I have it! Lo, the Democrats do not deserve a ballot delivered to their humble cottages! Let them sweat! Let them stand in line and miss their work and arrange for care for their peasant brats!” “How shall this be?” asked the weaponed Worriers. Simple!” smirked Marilyn Marks.  I shall find those who claim to be wronged by the date of the Recall–and when the Judge decides in their favor, ha HA! No more mail ballots for the Demoncrat hordes!


 And all came to be as Lady Marks had foreseen.


And now, Pueblo staggers under the cloud of the Recall Plague.  Yea, even the Springs of Colorado is plagued by the Recall. The town’s gold has gone, to fund the Recall. Lies and half-truths offend the ears and eyes of those watching the media. Pundits, politicians, infernal interns,  and  dark money haunt the watering places and flow in the sewers of Pueblo town.


Yet, fear not. All tedious things must end. On the 5th of September, Pueblans may begin to rid their town of the recall plague. In 5 days, ending on the 10th, with enough votes, the recall shall be defeated,  Lady Giron and Lord Morse shall triumph, and the Worriers shall find that Lo! Their weapons are still their own.


And Pueblo shall be as a shining city on a hill – or a very dry city in a bowl.  And all shall be well. 


I was asked to write a letter to the Editor,and this was what came out.  Shockingly, neither the Chieftain nor the Gazette wants it as an LTE.

Much Ado About…Disenfranchising Voters (Recall Updates)


To no one's surprise, Richard N. Anglund did not gather sufficient signatures to make it onto the recall ballot in Pueblo.

In the Springs, Libertarian candidate Gordon Butt had already dropped out to pursue his business interests.

However, he had been replaced by Jan Brooks. The Libertarian party has announced  that they have turned in more than enough (more than 575) signatures to the Secretary of State's office, which will determine the validity of the signatures. If the signatures are deemed valid, then January Brooks will be on the recall ballot.

I, and others, think that the intent of the lawsuit was not about adhering to the Colorado Constitution, nor about enabling third party candidates. The court's decision on the lawsuit, in effect, has disenfranchised voters who needed mail-in ballots to vote. So in Pueblo, we'll waste $80,000, and 100,000 recall ballots, in order to disenfranchise and suppress the votes of poor and working people, seniors and disabled folks (likely Democrats). I still think that the recall will fail, but it will be all about turnout.

And, to make things even more bizarre, the Atlantic's Joshua Spivak, and those who predicted yet another legal challenge to the recall proceedings, were correct. Lawyers will be asking the Colorado Supreme Court for guidance about whether the Colorado Constitution may conflict with the First Amendment – because if one does not vote for or against the recall, one's vote for successor candidates will not count.

Stay tuned for further updates from Recall Bizarro World.



And here are those updates!

  • Richard Anglund still plans to run as a write-in candidate in Pueblo..
  • If her signatures pass inspection, Jan Brooks, the Libertarian candidate, would be an openly gay candidate on the recall ballot. Ms Brooks is married to her wife, Amanda, on "About Your Family" on the  "Q&A with Jan Brooks" section.
  • My take:  If Brooks' signatures pass muster, it could be interesting to see how this plays out with the Springs' large and politically diverse gay and lesbian community.  El Paso County liberals will still vote against the recall, as Bernie "Personhood" Herpin would likely be their Senator if the recall succeeds. Senator Morse has done an outstanding job,  and should not be recalled. However,  Brooks' candidacy is an evident attempt to cater to female and socially liberal voters.
  • Neither Brooks, nor the Libertarian party, seems to have any position on abortion, personhood, choice, or those other pesky issues. The Libertarian stand on "privacy" is a stand for online privacy. The stand on "healthcare" is (wait for it) a demand for an end to government intervention.  If Brooks' signatures pass the S o S inspection to allow her to get onto the ballot, it will definitely be time to try to draw out her positions on choice and access to abortion.

Who Pays for the Recall?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Southern Colorado's little spat over a few gun buying restrictions has gone national and international. Very heavy hitters in the media and public life are weighing in. And, naturally enough, what started out as a modest change which would have  brought revenue into state coffers (via the $10 buyer-paid background check fees)  has burgeoned into an epic proxy fight, with hundreds of thousands of dollars now flowing in to political coffers on both sides of the issue.

Meanwhile, in Pueblo, we are faced with skyrocketing costs from this recall election. What started out as a mail ballot election costing $180,000 has now been forced by the Libertarian lawsuit into a polling place election with unused mail ballots, polling place staffing, and other costs bringing it into the $250,000 range. Secretary of State Gessler has refused to pay any costs up front.  In Pueblo, the Motor Vehicle Department will be closed for motor vehicle business on September 5, 6, 9, and 10. MVD employees will staff the department as a polling place on those days, according to County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz. After the recall election, Pueblo County will petition the Joint Budget Committee to reimburse the recall election costs.  These are some of the costs citizens in Pueblo will bear as a result of the recall election.

What about the rest of the money flowing into the coffers of political organizations in Pueblo and Colorado Springs? Where is it coming from, and where is it going? 


Recall Updates–SoS Opens Public Comments on Rules

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: Today, August 15, 2013, the Colorado Supreme Court denied an appeal to McGahey’s previous ruling.  County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz had  appealed to the court to not allow the Libertarian candidates extra time (until August 26) to get on the recall ballots as “successor” candidates. By a vote of 3-3, with Chief Justices Bender,  Coats and Marquez voting to review the appeal, and Justices Rice, Eid, and Boatwright declining to review the appeal, and with Judge Hobbs abstaining,  and no further appeal allowed,  Ortiz’s appeal was denied.

So on September 10, it will in fact be a polling place election. Ortiz and Williams, the El Paso Clerk, are asking for extra days and hours,  including the entire weekend before September 10, for voters to vote at polling places.


Colorado Gun Owners, Inc Runs Stealth Candidate for Recall Ballot in Pueblo

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Richard Anglund, a Democrat from Pueblo, and Gordon Butt from El Paso County, a Libertarian, have filed suit  to be included on the September 10 recall elections in Pueblo and El Paso Counties. The basis for the plaintiffs asking to be included is a conflict between the State petition filing deadline, which was July 29, set by Sec. State Gessler, and the Colorado Constitutional deadline, which would have been 15 days before September 10, or August 26. The two say that they met the Constitutional deadline; Secretary of State Gessler refused their petitions, saying that they did not meet the July 29 deadline.  A Denver District Court judge will likely rule on the case Monday morning, August 12.

At issue are thousands of ballots which need to be mailed out (or have already been mailed)  to military voters overseas, and the printing of ballots for local recall elections. Until the judge decides on the validity of Anglund and Butt’s lawsuit, and resolves the issue of whether Anglund and Butt can be included on the ballots, the recall election can’t go forward.

Richard Anglund, Senior, is listed on the  Secretary of State's website as the registered agent for the Colorado Gun Owners Association. His home address is listed as the  corporate address for Colorado Gun Owners, Incorporated. 


Chieftain: The Gypsy Votercalypse is Coming!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just when I thought that the Pueblo Chieftain was trying hard to be more balanced and less sensational, they run a piece like this one.  First line:

There are growing concerns about the potential impact of the state’s new voting law.

So, we have anonymous third party attribution of a quote. "Someone" has growing concerns. Who? You won't know until you read through the paywall, although there is a hint at the bottom. Becky Mizel, Chair of the Pueblo Republican Party. She's very concerned. Jeff Chostner, the Democratic District Attorney, who would have to prosecute any voter fraud found. He's concerned, too, but we won't know that without a subscription.

Then, you have sloppy reporting and sourcing. Which new voting law? This refers to House Bill 1303, passed in the last legislative session. What's got conservative shorts twisted is page 10 of the bill, which changes the requirement to live in Colorado prior to an election from 30 days to 22 days. That makes Gypsies pack their wagons, doncha know. We'll have voter fraud for sure, if we just cut 8 days from the residence requirement.

Then there is an anonymous photo of County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz. Nice photo, no caption. Who is this guy and what does he have to do with voter fraud? Sorry, you have to pay to know that. UPDATE: This is only a problem on the online preview edition. The paper edition, and the paid digital pdf edition, have a caption with a quote attributed to Ortiz: "The fundamental rights of the individual outweigh the possible loopholes to the law. "

Continuing with the portion of the article visible on the online preview edition:

People need only to swear under penalty of perjury that they have lived in Colorado for at least 22 days and reside or plan to reside in the precinct or county they wish to vote. Once they do that, they’re allowed to cast ballots.

See anything missing there? How about the fact that registering to vote in a place one does not live is voter fraud?***  If one reads through the paywall, one finds some  reasonable quotes from Mr. Ortiz  explaining that the "new law" is neither new, nor a big deal, nor likely to result in fraud based on past experience.


Chieftain Unethical? Yup.


The Pueblo Chieftain today, in an editorial titled, “Unethical? Nope,”  finally answered Progress Now's charge of  unethical conduct, based on Chieftain board members  signing recall petitions. Chieftain claims that their actions were ethical. They also claim

“While Sen. Giron apparently believes she’s been treated poorly by The Chieftain, we maintain our news coverage of her has been fair and balanced."


Wrong on both counts.


The PC executives signing of the recall petitions is ethically problematic, for the reasons Jason Salzman  and Colorado Pols reported earlier.  Basically, a news organization needs to be transparent about its biases and opinions, rather than claiming not to be biased. The Chieftain has been promoting, not just reporting on, the recall efforts, since the recall began circulating petitions in April 2013.


The Chieftain is biased because:

  1. The Chieftain has consistently supported the recall effort. Of 20 articles on the recall topic, 12 are pro-recall or anti Giron. The bias is evident in quotes from recall proponents, the actual petition language being posted on the Chieftain site, and an absence of opportunity for Giron to respond. 
  2. Giron’s opponent in the recall election, George Rivera, has all 20 Chieftain links posted on his site. He certainly believes that the Chieftain is in his corner, as well he should.
  3. The Chieftain has posted two youtube videos of Mr. Rivera speaking to the public. Shockingly, the Chieftain has posted  no video of Senator Giron speaking to her constituents.
  4. Even in the Local News/Community briefings departments, the Chieftain has shown preference to recall and to Mr. Rivera’s events, posting them with commentary and implied endorsements. Senator Giron’s July 3 event, however, was not posted. A field organizer for "Pueblo United for Angela" said that all public event notices are sent to the Chieftain, as well as other local media outlets.
  5. The biased news coverage continues, as evidenced by the Chieftain’s coverage of Mr. Rivera’s invitation to Senator Giron to debate. Giron’s response was that she would consider a moderated debate:
  6. “This is not two candidates running against each other and at this time and I see no need to debate him. But if a neutral party puts together a forum, I will consider it.

  7. Both the Chieftain and the local Republican Party chair instantly leapt on this, crowing, “Giron Refuses to Debate”. On July 30, the Roper article said: “Rivera wants Giron to agree to a debate, which she has declined to do.” The Republican party gleefully started a new meme:
  8. Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call jumped into the local recall fight Monday, saying Giron was "hiding from voters by not debating Rivera."
  9. Then there was the nasty email Chieftain General Manager sent to Senator Giron, stating that he disagreed with the gun legislation, which is his prerogative, but then implying that the Chieftain would work against the legislation, which is not a news organization prerogative. He ended the email with his job title, and underneath, "And Gun Owner". That was certainly an ethical abuse of his position, and unprofessional, as well. Stafford has never apologized to Giron for the email; all of his public discussion has been to justify it.


Most Pueblo residents understand that the Chieftain is biased. This may partly account for the Chieftain's decline in circulation, along with the trend among younger readers to get news digitally. Mr. Stafford, the Chieftain’s new General Manager, is an expert in “turning it around”, according to his Linked In profile. Mr. Stafford will need to turn the Chieftain around to be a genuinely balanced news organization, as well as one that has a digital presence, in order to appeal to the new generation of Pueblo readers.


In full disclosure, I do volunteer for the Giron campaign.

GOP Senators Target Correctional Officer Salaries

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POLS UPDATE: Joint Budget Committee leadership slams Senate Republicans on this issue in a letter today:

This letter responds to a letter dated July 19, 2013, from the Senate Republican Caucus addressed to you.  In that letter, the senators indicate concerns regarding the Colorado salary survey, specifically that it “has not been conducted according to best practices, or according to statutory requirements for determination and comparisons of total compensation.”  As evidence, they cite the salaries of private corrections employees as compared to public corrections employees, and indicate a belief that the Department does not use private prisons as data points when conducting salary surveys…

Public safety is a core mission of state government.  Prisons perform a complex and vital function and must have competent, professional and committed staff to operate safely and well.  A “race to the bottom” on corrections employee salaries would certainly diminish the safety of our prisons, increase recidivism, and potentially put workers and Coloradans at risk.  We are troubled by the discrepancy between salaries at state run and private facilities that the Senate Republicans helpfully point to, as well as the significant differences in staffing levels between the two types of institutions.  We think that reflects a problem in the private, for profit prison industry. 

We are interested in ensuring that the private prisons corporations with which the state contracts are meeting the same stated goal we have set for the state’s personnel system of providing total compensation that ensures the “recruitment, motivation and retention of a qualified and competent workforce.”


Imagine your day as a correctional officer. You get up, put on your uniform and protective gear, and go to work in a stressful,tense environment. Your clients are incarcerated people, some of whom will be verbally abusive, many of whom are despairing, potentially violent, or dangerous. Your job is to protect the inmates from each other, help them to rehabilitate themselves, and to keep the public safe from your clients. Sound challenging? How about a 33% pay cut to sweeten the deal?

On Friday, July 19, 2013, fifteen Republican senators wrote a letter to Director of Personnel Kathy Nesbitt, proposing to change the method which determines correctional personnel salaries in Colorado.The Senators opined that the existing salary survey was flawed, because it didn’t compare public correctional officer salaries to those of workers in private for-profit prisons. If Nesbitt adopts the recommendations of the senators, it could result in a 33% pay cut for state employee prison personnel, an average pay cut of $17,000 per employee per year.

In Colorado, most of the 4000 correctional officers are unionized, on the union pay scale, and working in publicly funded prison facilities. 16% of correctional officers are working in privately owned for-profit facilities, and most of these are paid 33% less than their public-sector counterparts.

Why are these 15 senators suddenly targeting the wallets of Colorado prison guards?