Kerr Upset By Neville at SD-22 Vacancy Committee

( – promoted by c rork)

POLS UPDATE: From the gist of Luning’s reports below, as well as our own sources today, Rep. Jim Kerr essentially got ambushed by the “Tea Party” last night, and all the things we’ve been talking about for months now as flash points within the GOP were on display. Jim Kerr was attacked for his vote in favor of “AmyCare.” He was attacked by the “NRA is for wussies” Rocky Mountain Gun Owners over some obscure bill in 2006 that just about every Republican voted for. Kerr’s victorious opponent Tim Neville was even endorsed by Tom Tancredo. More or less every symptom of the Colorado GOP’s post-2010 hard right insurgency.

Original post follows.


Fireworks were flying last night in southern Jeffco as a tense vacancy committee election between current HD-28 Rep. Jim Kerr and upstart education privatization advocate Tim Neville ended with Kerr, backed by establishment Republicans like District Attorney Scott Storey, losing by two votes to Neville–endorsed by none other than Tom Tancredo and other far-right interests.

The Colorado Statesman‘s Ernest Luning tweeted what can only be described as a full-on Republican v. Republican feeding frenzy:

10:47 PM:

Hard not to think of recount scene in the movie Election during #SD22 vacancy recount. No Mr. McAllister, though. #coleg #copols #tracyflick

9:13 PM:

Though Jeffco DA Storey protested, Colo GOP chair Ryan Call says rules were followed in #SD22 vacancy appt of Tim Neville #coleg #copols

9:04 PM:

Big ruckus at #SD22 vacancy after Tim Neville beats Rep Jim Kerr 60-58 votes, Kerr backer Storey calls it “an illegal mtg” #coleg #copols

Full blow-by-blow tweet-by-tweet timeline below the fold:

9:01 PM:

Jeffco DA Scott Storey challenges #SD22 results, says call didn’t go to all vacancy comm members, but Neville named winner. #coleg #copols

8:35 PM:

GOP official sez it’s unlikely there’ll be #SD22 primary challenge at assembly but not to rule it out, it’s just 3 mos away #copols #coleg

8:31 PM:

To be clear, a recount is not unusual and was expected if #SD22 vacancy vote was close, and it’s about as close as can be. #coleg #copols

8:13 PM:

Neville: 60 votes, J Kerr: 58 votes for #SD22 vacancy; Kerr has asked for a supervised recount. #coleg #copols

7:44 PM:

No surprise nominations, so it’s Kerr v Neville for #SD22 vacancy to replace Mike Kopp. Voting now under way. #copols #coleg

7:43 PM:

At #SD22 vacancy, Tim Neville sez he’ll pass right to work law, end Hick’s “sanctuary city” policy, oppose all tax increases #coleg #copols

7:36 PM:

Tim Neville nominated for #SD22 now, backed by conservative state Sens, @ttancredo “won’t waver in his principles” #coleg #copols

7:33 PM:

Jim Kerr accepts #SD22 nom, sez backed SB200 health exchange law to protect state’s rights, not implement #Obamacare. #coleg #copols

7:25 PM:

#Jeffco DA Scott Storey nominating Jim Kerr for #SD22 vacancy. Sez Dems will target seat, need proven campaigner to defend it #coleg #copols

18 hours ago

7:01 PM

Packed house at #SD22 vacancy mtg in Ken Caryl to replace Sen Mike Kopp. #coleg #copols

Colorado Stonewall Dems Return

Just in time for Denver PrideFest 2011, it was announced this week that Colorado Stonewall Democrats has been reorganized and will once again provide an outlet for progressive members of the GLBT community to have their voices heard. As OutFront Colorado reports:

Gay? Check. Democrat? Check. Politically active? Check.

Sounds like you’d be the perfect member for the newly reorganized Colorado Stonewall Democrats.

The organization announced Tuesday they’re back in business.

In March, when Colorado Democrats picked Rick Palacio–an openly gay activist and former DC staffer–to be their State Chair, he promised that the once-defunct initiative would be reborn. Former Colorado Pols contributor and gay rights activist Justin Henceroth will serve as interim Chair until the initiative can elect official leadership at their first meeting at State Party headquarters June 27th. Full press release below the fold.

For Immediate Release:

June 14, 2011

Contact: Justin Henceroth, 970-389-6996      

                                         Colorado Stonewall Democrats Announce Reorganization

(Denver) – The Colorado Stonewall Democrats today announced the reorganization and reactivation of the initiative and called on Colorado Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Democrats and their straight allies to join their efforts.

“Democratic party leaders, like State Party Chair Rick Palacio and State Representative Mark Ferrandino, along with a diverse group of community members have already signed on to help get the initiative up and running again,” said Interim Chair Justin Henceroth.  “Colorado was a single vote away from enacting the Civil Unions bill this year, which means our level of participation–in electing Democratic legislators and educating our elected officials–is as crucial now as ever.

“Colorado Stonewall Democrats will be active in helping the Civil Union Act pass next year, along with all legislation going forward that affects GLBT Coloradans.  And we will work hard to elect fair-minded legislators who are friendly to our causes into office.  We call on our community members from all over the state to join our movement today.”

Stonewall Democrats have more than 90 chapters across the country and act as a grassroots force for social change within the GLBT rights movement and Democratic Party.  Members participate in a variety of party-related activities from calling voters, putting campaign mailings together, going door-to-door for GLBT-friendly candidates and having honest conversations with Democratic officials about why GLBT families need and deserve more support.

Colorado Stonewall Democrats will be in attendance at the Denver Pride Parade on June 19 at Civic Center Park. All members of the Colorado GLBT community and their allies are encouraged to join the Colorado Stonewall Democrats in the parade. The parade will start at 9:30 am in Cheesman Park.

The next meeting of the Colorado Stonewall Democrats will be Monday, June 27, 2011 at 6:30PM at the Democratic Party Headquarters, 777 Santa Fe Drive, Denver.  This meeting will include the election of officers and enactment of by-laws.


Shock Poll: Hancock by 10

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)


How about a little spin with your Sunday morning coffee? Romer and Hancock respond:


In the words of Wellington Webb, “A poll is just a snapshot in time. The only poll that actually matters is the one on Election Day.”  

We know from early ballot returns that our opponent has strong support, and these poll results will only make our opponent and his allies more likely to step up their attacks against us.

This is pretty much the same message Hancock has had for the entire second round. The e-mail goes on to make a fund raising ask, which is pretty easy to do when you get a poll like the one published this morning.


The poll itself has significant flaws. The sample size is very small. It is a push-button poll, not conducted by actually talking to voters – whoever answers the phone just punches numbers. And most importantly, this pollster has a history of polls that are wildly at odds with actual results.

Romer’s campaign is correct in pointing out previous Survey USA polls have incorrectly predicted the outcomes of races–most recently in the US Senate primary between Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet. However, Romer Campaign Manager Adam Dunstone’s criticism of Survey USA’s accuracy in this particular race, which centers on James Mejia’s apparent drop compared to May 3rd’s result, ignores a couple realities: 1) By Survey USA’s own analysis of their polling, Mejia’s performance was dependent on Latino voters turning out, something that did not end up materializing, and 2) Carol Boigon’s withdrawal from the race, and subsequent endorsement of Hancock, occurred largely as a result of that poll and changed the dynamic of the race.

Original post follows


With just 10 days left in the race to become the next mayor of Denver, a new poll shows a clear front-runner–Michael Hancock. As Fox 31’s Eli Stokols reports:

Hancock has 49 percent support, and Romer has 39 percent in a telephone survey of 548 likely voters conducted last week by SurveyUSA.

Eleven percent of voters remain undecided with just 10 days left until mail ballots are due on June 7.

Hancock’s advantage in the poll was even larger than many anticipated earlier in the week. [rsb emphasis]

Previous polling done by RBI Strategies and Colorado Pols showed Hancock with a four point lead in the early stages of the second round of voting. Naturally, the reason this poll is so shocking is that despite a nearly daily barrage of attacks from the Romer campaign on issues ranging from abortion, to evolution, to (most recently) immigration, Hancock’s lead has not only grown, it’s grown to double digits.

Political analysts, like Eric Sondermann in the article quoted above, are pointing out that time is running out for Romer to make a move; at ten days out, though, you don’t have to be a political insider to see that this poll shows Romer is in deep trouble. Romer’s problem isn’t just a matter of time, either. Given the tenor of the campaign, it’s possible that not only have Romer’s swings come up empty, but they’ve turned off people who are making up their minds based on likability factors, as Sondermann points out in the Fox 31 article:

“I don’t think voters think the stakes are terribly big or if there’s that big a philosophical difference between the candidates,” Sondermann said. “So if there’s not that big a difference, go with the guy you like.”

Of course, if this race was always going to be about personality and likability, then there really shouldn’t be anything shocking about this poll.

Denver Law Enforcement Scandal Timeline

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

While insiders and observers of the mayoral campaigns are content to discuss abortion, evolution, and the merits of negative campaigning, arguably the most important issue facing Denver’s next mayor is being largely ignored by the media and the campaigns themselves. Bucking that trend, Westword has put together a timeline that shows how, in the span of less than a year, the need for change inside Denver’s law enforcement institutions*–and in the ways that the City and County respond to incidents of brutality–has become blatantly apparent.

Some of the highlowlights and a poll below the fold. Be sure to visit the actual Westword post to see the full compilation of videos and links.

July 9, 2010: Homeless street preacher Marvin Booker dies in jail in the new Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center.

August 14, 2010: News breaks that Perea has chosen not to fire officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr for the beating of Michael DeHerrera, 23, outside a LoDo nightclub on the same night Watkins says he was assaulted by the police, overriding Rosenthal’s recommendation. Instead, Perea docked each of the officers three days’ pay, even though a video of the altercation, captured by the DPD’s High Activity Location Observation (HALO) surveillance system, shows the officers tackling DeHerrera, beating him with a sap and slamming his ankle in a car door after he’d apparently done nothing other than make a call on his cell phone.

August 17, 2010: Another HALO video surfaces of 32-year-old Mark Ashford being hit by police officers in a March 17, 2010 incident

August 17, 2010: Mayor John Hickenlooper, then running for governor, announces that he wants the FBI to look into the incident.

September 15, 2010: In response to City Council inquiries, the City Attorney’s office announces that Denver has spent nearly $6.2 million since 2004 to settle lawsuits involving police officers, a number the office says has remained fairly static.

September 19, 2010: Denver police announce that in the previous month, officer-initiated investigations declined by nearly 25 percent from the year before, a drop that some officers attributed to fears about losing their jobs if other media controversies break out.

January 12, 2011: New Denver mayor Bill Vidal indicates at his swearing-in ceremony that police brutality concerns will be one of the top priorities of his administration. Soon after, he promises to resolve all ongoing cases of alleged police misconduct before he leaves office in July.

January 12, 2011: Community College of Denver student Alexander Landau files a lawsuit alleging that he was pulled over for an illegal left turn on January 15, 2009 and beaten him bloody with flashlights and a police radio. One of the officers was Randy Murr, who was also involved in the DeHerrera incident. Landau was eventually taken to Denver Health to be treated for a broken nose, lacerations and closed head injuries — but not before he demanded somebody take photos of him.

March 25, 2011: New Manager of Safety Charles Garcia fires officers Sparks and Murr for their involvement in the DeHerrera incident, because they were found to have lied during the internal investigation.

April 11, 2011: Garcia fires two more officers, Ricky Nixon and Kevin Devine, over a July 2009 incident at the Denver Diner in which cops allegedly beat women to the ground and maced one of them. Nixon was one of the three officers named in the Alex Landau beating.

May 9, 2011: All officers involved in the jailhouse death of Marvin Booker are cleared of any wrongdoing. At the press conference announcing the decision, city officials release videos of the incident and a forty-page report from the investigation, which Rosenthal calls “one of the most comprehensive and thorough that I have seen since I began monitoring activities six and a half years ago.”

May 10, 2011: Booker’s family members call on federal investigators to look into the jailhouse-death investigation.

*an earlier version of this diary wrongly insinuated that the timeline was related solely to DPD. It has been corrected.

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My Fellow Polsters

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

TUESDAY POLS UPDATE: A reminder to post your nominations for our newest front page guest editor in comments below. The election will be held this Friday, February 18th.


POLS UPDATE: We will hold a special election for one new front-page editor to fill out the remainder of redstateblues’ term at the end of the week. This election will be held Friday, February 18th, from 7:00AM to 7:00PM, and the new front page guest editor will take office immediately following. Use this thread to nominate candidates for the position, and we thank all of our front page editors, past and present, for their valued contributions.

To the best that we can, we at Colorado Pols do not allow official campaign staffers (for any campaign) the ability to serve as Front Page Editors. We thank redstateblues for taking it upon his/herself to inform us that he/she has accepted a campaign staff position.

This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this front page, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this blog. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter than I believe affected the state’s interest.

However, in recent days I have come to take a position on a Denver municipal campaign. Rather than try to wade through a scandal involving conflict of interest, I have decided to step aside.

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as Front Page Editor, I must put the interest of the blog first. Colorado Pols needs a full-time Front Page Editor, particularly at this time.

To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal satisfaction would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the Front Page Editor and the readers of this blog in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace in the blogs and prosperity without sockpuppetry on Pols.

Therefore, I shall resign as Front Page Editor effective at 2:00 today. MADCO will be sworn in as Head FPE at that hour, on this blog.

May Pols bless you, and may Pols continue to bless the Colorado blogosphere.

Steadman: Civil Unions Bill “Overdue”

Despite the fact that Colorado voters made same sex marriage illegal under a constitutional amendment in 2006 (and in that same year struck down a referendum that would have legalized domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples) a 2010 poll showed there is strong support for extending many of the same rights enjoyed by straight spouses to GLBT partners. Democrats see this as evidence that opinions on the subject have changed drastically since 2006, and the law should reflect that.

KUSA reports on the bill sponsored by State Senator Pat Steadman:

“This is something that I think is overdue, something that will protect families and will make our laws a little bit more fair, and a little bit more inclusive so that everyone has the same opportunity to have economic security and stability in their family relationship,” Sen. Steadman (D-Denver) said.

Republicans point to economic matters being more pressing than social issues right now, but who could argue that legalizing civil unions would not be a boost to the economy? According to industry analysts, US spending related to weddings is projected to total $50 billion in 2011. Expanding the customer base for wedding planners, cake designers, rental companies, caterers, and every other business that goes in to planning a wedding ceremony (or commitment ceremony, in this case) can only be a good thing for those businesses.

Tea Party: Cut the Military

Not Colorado politics necessarily, but I noticed this bit today from the AP. Buried beneath all of the usual talking points is a big time break with Republican standard operating procedure:

Back home, tea partiers clamoring for the debt-ridden government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they’re not exempting the military’s multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war.

That demand is creating hard choices for the newest members of Congress, especially Republicans who owe their elections and solid House majority to the influential grass-roots movement….

This is in conflict with the Republican plan that they revealed during the campaign. A decidedly old guard platform:

House Republican leaders specifically exempted defense, homeland security and veterans’ programs from spending cuts in their party’s “Pledge to America” campaign manifesto last fall. [rsb emphasis] But the House’s new majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., has said defense programs could join others on the cutting board.

By all accounts, Republicans seem willing to go along with the notion that nothing should be off the table when it comes to budget cuts. But when the time comes to actually cut the budget, how will their current rhetoric mesh with their past policies? Establishment Republicans like John McCain are wary of the potential to return to the Clinton-era policy of base closures.

Observers will be eager to see what happens with the new Republican majority in the house, but on this particular issue it appears that Tea Party Republicans may have found common ground with liberal Democrats. (Reports of blizzard conditions in the 7th circle of hell have yet to be confirmed.)

At Least He’s Not Your Lobbyist

Or maybe he is… as 9News reports:

A Denver Police arrest affidavit says Ronald Smith, a state lobbyist, is accused of breaking into his ex-wife’s home on North Akron Court on Sept. 27, 2010 and damaging her newly-finished hardwood floors, pouring bleach on clothing and inside a piano, and leaving spoiled chicken in all the heating vents inside the house.

Smith was also accused of offering up ultimatums in exchange for signing the couple’s divorce paperwork, including a demand that she have sex with him one last time.

Smith, who was hosting a fundraiser for then-candidate John Hickenlooper the night of the alleged fowl foul play, was reportedly AWOL for most of the event. Read the whole story, because it only gets more bizarre from there.

Organ Donor Bill Upsets Some Stomachs

A bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Pabon and Sen. Lucia Guzman, both of Denver, that would make organ donation something Coloradans would have to “opt-out” of has created some controversy. As The Huffington Post Denver reports:

Colorado’s proposal, introduced in the Legislature last week, would change the process for renewing driver’s licenses and ID cards so applicants are assumed to be organ and tissue donors unless they initial a statement that says they want to opt out.

The “presumed consent” system is common in Europe and is credited with dramatically raising donation rates.

Not surprisingly, as with many bills laden with good intentions, the devil is always in the details. KDVR’s Tammy Vigil explains why even some organ donors and organ donation advocates are upset:

“We have a crisis of over 2,000 people in Colorado and over 105,000 nationally on waiting lists.  So people are exploring other ways donations can increase,” says Sue Dunn, CEO of Donor Alliance.

Dunn applauds the effort to increase donations, but she says she can’t stand behind this bill because of too many unknowns.  Plus, she says the major stakeholders in organ donations, such as donor hospitals and transplant centers, had no input into the bill. [rsb emphasis]

That’s where the problem lies here, folks. Whenever legislators want to create sweeping changes with a proposed bill, the best way to get support behind it is to talk to the people who are directly involved with the areas where the proposed changes would be made before such a bill is introduced. It’s not that those stakeholders are automatically right in their objections to not being consulted first, but in politics it’s always best to have them behind you at the press conference announcing the legislation, rather than criticizing your bill in the newspapers.

Top Non-Stories of 2010

Every year in politics there are big news stories that drive places like this blog, the newspaper(s) (They Who Must Not Be Named) and the television news reports. At the same time, there are also stories that these media/new-media outlets severely blow out of proportion. The following is my list of the biggest (or dumbest, depending on your perspective) non-stories that were treated as big stories by the media and the chattering class. These can be stories that either didn’t materialize the way observers were hoping, or were the lead candidates for silliest of the silly season.

List follows below the fold. Feel free to add any that I couldn’t remember in the comments section, or to chime in with your thoughts on the ones I listed.

#5 Dan Maes Picks Tambor Williams As Running Mate

Back when there was still a shot in the dark that Dan Maes would have the support of the Republican Party establishment and the Tea Partiers who got him the GOP nomination, there was a lot of chattering from the chattering class about Maes’ decision to pick an old guard establishment Republican as his candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Much of the gestation of this story was, of course, cut short by Dan Maes’ own a-Maes-ing candidacy, but when this was suggested to me as a potential top non-story I had to pause to go “Oh right, Tambor Williams was Maes’ pick.” Now that is a non-story.

#4 “Democrats Are All Goners For Sure in 2010”

It’s possible that this would have materialized as a real story in 2010 had it not been for the meltdown in the GOP gubernatorial race, and a slim margin of victory for Michael Bennet, or if the Democrats had not been able to keep their State Senate majority intact. However, all of those things ended up happening and Democrats were able to turn November 2nd into a mixed bag, or even a victory on the top two lines of the ballot. The bigger story, in fact, ended up being the Republicans going all-in on buying the headline, and maybe not working as hard on the ground as they could have.

#3a Romanoff’s Caucus Night and State Assembly Victories

It’s probably expected that from what I would argue was the biggest story for most of 2010–the Democratic US Senate Primary–come three of my top non-stories of 2010. Despite predictions a year out that Andrew Romanoff would likely do well at caucus and assembly voting, but fall short when the time came for the primary election, his campaign for US Senate treated those two victories as though they were much more meaningful than they actually were–of course, the Bennet camp delved into silly spinning as well by sending out press releases saying that their losses at caucus and assembly were really victories too. Though Romanoff’s wins were certainly good for boosting the morale of a campaign that had been dealing with far too much damage control up until that point, they became somewhat illusory for the campaign. In campaign e-mails, Bill Romjue kept referring back to their support being “doubled” when in fact it was pretty much staying the same. The real race was always about August, and those two events distracted the Romanoff campaign from the big picture.

#3b The Bennet/Norton/Stapleton campaigns petition onto the ballot

All of the opponents of the people mentioned above  tried desperately to create a story out of this non-story. Romanoff, Buck, and Ament all accused their opponents of trying to buy their grassroots support by paying staff and canvassers to get enough signatures to put their names on the ballot–rather than rely on the support of activists at their respective State Assemblies. Did it matter? Nope. Bennet and Stapleton won, and Norton lost–presumably for other reasons (Hint: it starts with Referendum C.)

#2 Andrea Merida Recall Campaign

The campaign to recall Andrea Merida was a story that was born out of the Democratic US Senate primary. Merida, an ardent Romanoff supporter who was paid for her work on Romanoff’s campaign, won election to the Denver School Board–an entity which would often vote along the lines of political leanings in that primary election. Merida was almost immediately challenged by former State House candidate Jose Silva as being worthy of a recall election. Silva, somewhat ironically as we would later see, accused Merida of “unethical conduct” and “unbecoming behavior” in his petition for a recall election. As our own Middle of the Road would show in a well-researched diary on Silva in early October, Silva had his own history of unpaid campaign debt, and failure to file even a single campaign contribution report to the Secretary of State’s office. The recall effort fizzled out, as well it should have.

#1 Romanoff Photoshopgate

What happened: a woman who was at a different Romanoff rally was cropped into a logo so that the space between last “F” in the logo and Romanoff’s face was not the back of the head of the woman in the original picture. This was reported on by Lynn Bartels and Susan Greene (who suggested that the Romanoff campaign had done the editing to make Romanoff’s rallies look more racially diverse. Follow the link to the Colorado Independent link for the full story on this in case you don’t remember or weren’t paying attention) and of course prompted Roy Teicher’s now infamous “…these minority folks” line.

What the result was: Like so many other campaign derailments, it was the Romanoff campaign’s handling of the non-story that actually turned into the bigger story. This is the number one non-story of 2010 because it was, at its essence, a whopper of a non-story. However, it ended up completely distracting the Romanoff campaign, and they repeated the mistake over and over again during the course of the primary.

Aguilar Wins SD-32 Vacancy

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dr. Irene Aguilar, President of the health care advocacy group Health Care for All Colorado, has won the State Senate District 32 vacancy committee vote this evening. The seat became vacant when Sen. Chris Romer officially became a Mayoral candidate earlier this month. Aguilar beat out Rep. Beth McCann in the third round of voting.

This rules out the possibility of another vacancy committee election–which would have happened in the event Rep. McCann was selected to fill the SD-32 vacancy.

(H/T Square State)

At Least He’s Not Your County Commissioner

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

…Unless you live in Mesa County, of course, as the Grand Junction Sentinel reports on a story that keeps getting better and better–as long as you’re not Craig Meis:

Meis, who was pulled over May 15, 2008, along Redlands Parkway, told Officer Allen Kwiatkowski toward the end of a conversation he was “a big supporter of law enforcement,” and that he’d recently attended a law enforcement memorial service, according to an audio recording of the traffic stop.

“I’m a county commissioner, too, so I help you in that direction,” Meis told the officer, adding soon after, “I’m not trying to use that as influence, but I’ve got to say …”

The incident marks the third time since 2007 that a law enforcement officer has documented statements from Meis raising his elected position, or that he knows influential people, in the course of a police contact involving the commissioner.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Meis–a Republican who is already facing increased scrutiny about these incidents from dissatisfied constituents among a broad range of ideological viewpoints, including Tea Party groups–he goes and does something really dumb by sending the Sentinel a typo-laden diatribe about how the victim in all this is really Meis, and the Sentinel reporters are just a bunch of meanies.

“I knew when I publicly opposed Grand Junctions (sic) Public Safety Initiative a couple years back that I didn’t endear myself with many of those at GJPD,” Meis said, when asked for comment about his statements in the officer’s recording. “It appears that it is payback time since I recently had the nerve to take a citation to jury trial and question the validity of a law enforcement officers (sic) discretion or lack thereof granted to him by those higher up.”

This is politics 101 people. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do is to stop digging. With statements like this one, it appears Meis is intent on getting a bigger shovel.

(H/T Ralphie)

Waak This Way

This week, in a post-election interview InnerView with editor Jody Hope Strogoff and reporter Ernest Luning of The Colorado Statesman, Democratic State Chair Pat Waak lent some of her insights into the mixed bag Democrats were handed on election night, where she sees the party headed, her Republican counterpart Dick Wadhams (who gave his own InnerView in November) and her future with the party as the reorganization meeting looms. These interviews tend to be very long, so readers should really take in the entire piece if they want to get the full effect, but some of the highlights follow.

On the close Senate election:

CS: How nervous were you about – I think we all kind of expected that John Hickenlooper would win the governor’s seat –

PW: Right.

CS: But how nervous were you about the Senate race?

PW: I wasn’t. I always believed that we would win the Senate race. And I believed that because basically early on when I saw a wing of the Republican Party sort of take over the party, I know how hard it is then to bring things back to a centrist position, which is really what the state is. And so when I saw what was happening there, I was less worried about the Senate race.

CS: Were you not a little worried when Ken Buck was ahead in the polls nearly a month out?

PW: (Chuckles.) I never believed that he was ahead in the polls. One of the things that has been so frustrating – there are several things that have pinpointed for me in this campaign cycle, has been the type of polling that was being done, and the people who were doing the polling. You know, we tend to – both in the media and even among campaigns, depending on how the poll’s going – we’re always talking about, for example, Rasmussen, which is a Republican-leaning poll and in some states – we’ve had some intense discussions about this at the DNC and among the state chairs – some states, Rasmussen is all they have. And so you look at the methodology and if you are a real political strategist, you’re constantly looking at, “What is the methodology and what is the universe?”

CS: Do you think if Jane Norton had been the nominee it might have been closer?

PW: Yes.

More after the jump

On Wadhams:

CS: That’s one of the things that Mr. Wadhams says is evidence of their great Victory operation and ground operation, is that people like Walker Stapleton and Scott Gessler were able to attract (voters) – without running very significant statewide campaigns.

PW: Well, I don’t think anybody ran a significant statewide campaign outside of maybe the governor’s race.

CS: Cary Kennedy was on the air (with television commercials) …

PW: Well, she was out there doing things, but it still did not have the magnitude that any of the other campaigns did.

CS: To kind of penetrate the morass there?

PW: Yeah. You just don’t see that, and you know, I would say that I think that I would be reluctant to take a position. But that’s up to him – he can spin things the way he wants to.

On the circular firing squad in the Republican gubernatorial race:

CS: Right. I mean it must have been, in a way, not comical but you must have followed the whole governor’s race on the Republican side with maybe a little bit of wonderment or awe or glee or – what were your feelings?

PW: Well, I don’t know whether you would say “glee,” because I am compassionate to some extent, so I sort of felt for what people might be going through. But I was stunned. To watch, from my perspective, a party deconstruct. A party deconstruct. And the way it was deconstructing was amazing to me. It was like it was totally out of control. And so, I guess, yeah, I probably stood around with my mouth open a little bit, saying, “Oh my God, what is happening here?” And that’s why I’ve often said – and I’ve said to Dick (Wadhams), when I’ve seen him – it’s like you get out of bed in the morning and say, “Okay, what’s going to happen today?” And all I can say is, thank God it’s not happening to me (laughs).

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend reading both this interview, and the one with Dick Wadhams to get the full story.

Bennet to Support Obama-GOP Tax Plan

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a move that will no doubt cause a stir among the newly elected Senator’s supporters as well as his vocal detractors, The Ft. Collins Coloradoan’s Bob Moore reports:

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will support a tax-cut compromise put together by President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders, even though he said the package was flawed.

“The bottom line is simple and straightforward. These tax cuts will expire in less than four weeks,” Bennet said in a statement Wednesday. “If we do nothing, hundreds of thousands of Coloradans will see a tax increase and thousands more will lose their unemployment benefits. That is unacceptable.”

Despite his tough rhetoric on the campaign trail on the budget deficit, Bennet will vote for the plan that, if passed, will add $900 billion to the Federal debt. Despite that apparent flip flop, this move shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to close observers, as Bennet had been saying during the campaign that he supported a one year temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts for all earners as a compromise.

Bennet’s vote will be cancelled out by Colorado’s senior Senator Mark Udall, who came out against the plan yesterday by saying it “makes no sense”.

UPDATED: You be the RTD Board

(From the earliest days of this state, major decisions on transportation infrastructure have driven land-use decisions and ultimately economic development.  Polster Redstateblues now asks us to play the role of the RTD board and ponder how to rescue the Fastracks plan from the economic doldrums. – promoted by Voyageur)

Wednesday Update: Kevin Flynn from RTD e-mailed me this morning about this diary. He wanted to point out, just like a few of the comments below, that this is not new money, and that it cannot be used for operating expenses (or to help shoulder the cost of fare prices.) It must be used to fund one or some of the unfunded FasTracks projects. Another important bit of information that he added was that in 2009 RTD was given full authority by the legislature to gather petitions to pose tax increase questions to the voters in the form of a ballot initiative. His e-mail follows, along with the original diary below the fold.

I appreciate the coverage in your post from Monday, “You Be The RTD Board,” but I’d also like to clarify some of the information in it. Foremost, the figure of $305 million is not a budget surplus, but rather a reduction in one project in the FasTracks program that allows for that amount to be reallocated elsewhere within the FasTracks program. It is not “new money” or extra money, as some have been reporting.  In August the winning bidder on the Eagle Project (combining the FasTracks rail lines to DIA, to Arvada-Wheat Ridge and to Westminster) came in $305 million below our budget estimate, which simply means that we can now re-allocate that amount to the partially funded FasTracks corridors. This is the decision on which RTD is now seeking stakeholder input.  Please note that FasTracks revenues cannot be reallocated to other areas such as RTD operations, they must remain within the FasTracks program..

Secondly, RTD has stated very publicly since 2007 that FasTracks needs additional funding to be completed by the original schedule.. We have been pursuing other funding since then, including the successful public-private partnership agreement on the Eagle project that brought the $305 million in deficit reduction, and will continue to do so prior to – and even after – reaching a decision on whether to ask voters for additional tax revenue.

RTD does a complete budget re-evaluation on the entire FasTracks program every year. The 2010 evaluation released last January showed a projected capital funding shortfall of approximately $2.5 billion through 2019, the currently assumed completion year.  But with this shortfall, we know we cannot complete the program in 2019 as currently assumed without new revenues. With only currently identified resources and no increase in sales taxes, revenues won’t provide for full program completion until 2042. RTD ran the financial model looking at varying levels of new sales tax.  With a one-tenth of a percent sales tax beginning in January 2012, the additional funding would result in a projected full program completion in 2035 – seven years earlier. An increase of two-tenths yields a completion year of 2027; three-tenths brings completion in 2022; four-tenths permits completion in 2018.

Finally, you stated that it is unlikely for the legislature to refer an RTD sales tax increase to metro area voters. While it used to be the case that RTD could not directly place tax referendums on the ballot, relying instead on the General Assembly to authorize it as it did in 2002 (which allowed the 2004 vote), that is no longer the case. The legislature amended RTD’s enabling statute in 2009, giving the RTD Board of Directors the authority to place tax increases on the ballot at its own discretion.

Please continue to cover this issue and feel invited to contact me for information as needed. As we all know, matters of long-term finance can be complicated and we would welcome the opportunity to clarify or provide details as these matters arise.

Thank you,

Kevin Flynn | Public Information Manager

Recently the Regional Transportation District announced that they are projecting a more than $300 million budget surplus in savings on transportation projects. Among the plans for the money are to fully fund the Gold Line–the light rail line that would run through Aurora from the Tech Center up through Fitzimmons, and up to DIA.

What do you think they should do with the surplus money?

More after the jump

Another development from the last board of directors meeting was the revelation–less surprising to those with knowledge of the project–that FasTracks won’t be completed for decades unless the voters approve another sales tax increase. RTD has a plan that calls for anywhere from a .1% to a .4% sales tax increase, a plan which could double the current FasTracks tax that was approved by voters in 2004.

Given the current appetite for tax increases among the  Republican majority in our newly elected State House of Representatives, the likelihood of such a plan being referred to the voters by the state legislature is somewhere between an ice cube’s chance in the Mojave and a Dan Maes presidential bid.

But all things being equal, what’s your plan for rescuing these badly needed transportation projects? Will the voters approve a tax increase if it appears on the ballot in the near future? Will the economy turn around in enough time to make a tax increase unnecessary? Does the state even need more rail, or is an increase in mass transit bus service the answer?

Just so you know I’m alive

Hi everybody, I just wanted to tell you all that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve been absent from Pols because I got a new job that precludes me from blogging. Please hold your tears, sobs and cries of “NO! RSB! We need you!!” I should be back after the election.

I’ll still be lurking though, so don’t go trash talking–because I’ll be watching you…

Good luck to you all, and I look forward to reading–if not responding to–your diaries and comments.

As Muhammad Ali Hasan would say, peace and love!


McInnis’ 0% NARAL Rating Based On Four Votes

In a recent diary here on Colorado Pols, the rating from the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) of Scott McInnis from the 2003 session of Congress was disputed. Using the original printed copy of the Congressional ratings provided by NARAL, it appears to be a small sample size–there were only four votes that McInnis was rated on, two of which were the same piece of legislation with one of them being the final vote on the conference committee.

The McInnis campaign originally touted the figure in Denver Post article covering a Republican gubernatorial candidate forum on November 3rd of last year. In the article, McInnis campaign advisor Mike Hesse was paraphrased as saying

McInnis received a ‘zero’ ranking from NARAL Pro-Choice America, meaning he supported none of the bills they backed.

A little digging determined that the year they bragged about getting a zero percent rating from NARAL wasn’t exactly their busiest year rating the House of Representatives.

Votes and pictorial evidence below the fold.

In 2003, the four votes that NARAL used to rate members of Congress were:

  • An amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would have repealed a law to allow women to receive privately funded abortions at overseas hospitals. McInnis voted no, or against NARAL.

  • A motion by Rep. Crowley (D-NY) on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act that would have reinstated the United States’ contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This was a motion to, according to NARAL, “…clarify language that President Bush used to cancel three years’ appropriations to the UNFPA.”

  • The “Partial Birth” Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Both the final floor vote, and the final conference report vote.

Of course, all of these votes are in keeping with the claim that Hesse made last year that McInnis was rated 0% by NARAL. They also all came while he was still on the board of Republicans for Choice–when, in 1995, out of 21 votes, McInnis voted with NARAL seven times, or a 33% rating.

And for the record, here is the actual rating from NARAL’s 2003 Congressional Record on Choice:

Bennet Petition Drive Collects 20,000+ Signatures

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Spot reports:

Sen. Michael Bennet’s office says it has more than 20,000 petition signatures to get on the Democratic primary ballot in August. But the campaign will avoid turning them in to the secretary of state, in a mutual agreement with state officials, in order to save the money the state would be required to spend checking the petitions.

The decision by the Bennet campaign to start the signature drive came under heavy scrutiny when the decision was announced in early April. Jane Norton’s campaign even went so far as to say that they were being forced to do a petition drive of their own to compete with their potential Democratic opponent in fall’s US Senate election.

Norton’s own petition drive garnered 15,000 more signatures than Bennet–though the extra signatures likely came at the cost of hiring a private firm to gather 66% of the signatures. In the end both candidates will be on the ballot, so despite the heavy criticism from activists within their own respective parties, the petitions gathered could become useful grassroots tools for the primary, and if they make it that far, the general election.

Another point that can’t be ignored is the significance of 20,000 registered Democrats signing a commitment to vote for Bennet. That’s nearly six times the number of total delegates in attendance for last week’s State Assembly and only 2,000 less than the total number of voters in March’s precinct caucus.

Troll/Shill open thread

Post your shill/troll/sock puppet/false flag/double reverse psychology/etc. comments in this thread. It’ll really help the overall flow so the real people can have an actual conversation.



GOP State Treasurer Primary Heating Up

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The contest for the nomination to represent the GOP for the office of State Treasurer on the fall ballot has started to get a little feisty, as Lynn Bartels reports for The Spot:

Treasurer hopeful J.J. Ament’s campaign today unveiled a “fact check” page he says refutes the “false claims and “wild allegations” made by one of his Republican primary opponents.

Ament blasted Ali Hasan, saying the part-time filmmaker’s latest attack on him is like a movie script: based on actual events, but “largely fictional” and offering “some very misleading and financially inaccurate information (nearly 90 errors in the text alone).”

J.J. Ament, the former Citigroup banker who brags he “…would be the first State Treasurer in Colorado in more than 40 years who has a professional background in finance and banking,” posted the attack on Hasan on his website earlier today.

This afternoon, the Muhammad Ali Hasan campaign hit back at Ament with their own media-friendly soundbite:

Why does JJ Ament hate the idea of investing in Colorado? As Ali Hasan has demonstrated, Colorado bonds offer stronger yields, while also creating jobs. JJ Ament, on the other hand, has gone through Hasan’s State Treasury Plan and provided 25 pages defending bailouts, CitiGroup, and Cary Kennedy.

Grab a bag of popcorn, folks. This one could get fun.

Will Tim Tebow Affect The 2010 Colorado Midterm Elections?

The decision by the Denver Broncos to draft University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow last night in the first round of the NFL draft was controversial among football fans in Colorado and all over the country, but could it prove to be even more controversial during the election here?

Tebow, an outspoken Pro-Life advocate, starred in an ad with his mother during this year’s Super Bowl that stirred up emotions on the issue of abortion. The ad was paid for by Colorado-based Focus on the Family.

With the start of the NFL season conveniently coinciding with the final push for votes in the coming election, will Republicans use Tebow to their advantage?

If they tried to, and he went along with it, he wouldn’t be the first Denver Broncos quarterback to mix sports with politics. John Elway is almost as synonymous with the Republican Party as he is with the game of football. In addition to his financial support of the GOP, Elway is biennially discussed as a potential candidate for office. The Republicans haven’t stopped at QBs either–All-Pro free safety John Lynch was involved in both fundraising and discussions of running for office.

Obviously Tebow has some football to play before he can get too involved in Colorado politics, but given his recent history, it’s not that big of a leap to suggest that if he has success, that it may translate into more forays into politics. Of course, if the Republicans are going to try to use him to motivate the base, they risk bringing up the most divisive social issue in American politics in a year when their strategy is to try to stay away from the culture wars.

Whatever effect Tim Tebow has on this state–either on the gridiron, or the political podium–one thing is clear: controversy will follow him throughout his rookie season.

Supreme Court Woefully Technologically Illiterate

In an age when the law and technology are becoming more and more intertwined thanks to the communication tools like the Internet and cell phones, the reports coming in from the US Supreme Court today during oral arguments for the case City of Ontario v. Quon are raising some eyebrows. Check out this article that I swear isn’t from The Onion:

The first sign was about midway through the argument, when Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. – who is known to write out his opinions in long hand with pen and paper instead of a computer – asked what the difference was “between email and a pager?”

At one point, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked what would happen if a text message was sent to an officer at the same time he was sending one to someone else.

“Does it say: ‘Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?'” Kennedy asked.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrangled a bit with the idea of a service provider.

“You mean (the text) doesn’t go right to me?” he asked.

Then he asked whether they can be printed out in hard copy.

I could almost start to forgive them for being old fogeys who aren’t really hip to the new fangled gadgets, but this case isn’t even about new technology. It’s about pagers that can receive text messages. What’s disturbing about this is that the Supreme Court doesn’t understand technology that became obsolete before I got to high school.

Or, as my friend put it, “What is the difference between e-mail and a pager? I mean it’s not like either of those have been around for 20+ years.”

New Bennet Ad Shows Improvement

(Really you can press play, it’s not painful – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This new ad from Bennet for Colorado began airing on TV this week. I saw it while I was watching last night, and I thought it showed marked improvement over the first two.

The ad reminds me of Mark Udall’s 2008 campaign. Those ads talked about issues that voters cared about, and didn’t need to be goofy or funny (aside, of course, from the memorable “Lock your doors and hide! It’s me, Mark Udall” spot.)

Bennet’s ad, entitled “Important”, still has some things left to be desired. Namely, the Senator does mumble through much of the copy. The visuals, however, are much better, and it doesn’t look like it was cut on my old high school’s Casablanca editor.

The two previous ads from Bennet, “Wake Up” and “This Washington” were met with harsh criticism from his opponents and lukewarm receptions from his supporters.

Bennet Raised $1.4 Million In 2010 Q1

(Nuclear explosion added for effect – promoted by Colorado Pols)

From an e-mail blast just sent out by the Bennet for Colorado campaign:

Thanks to an outpouring of grassroots support, we raised more than $1.4 million in this most recent quarter — our most successful quarter to date. Even more importantly, we had nearly 12,000 new donors [rsb emphasis] invest in our campaign to fix a broken Washington during this most recent quarter alone.

Another million dollar quarter from Sen. Bennet. No matter how you shake it, this has got to be making Republicans and the Romanoff campaign at least somewhat concerned. Speaking of the “Grassroots candidate”, no word yet on how much his campaign pulled down in the first quarter, but political junkies won’t have to wait too long–FEC reports are due in less than 48 hours.

Romanoff vs. Bennet: Round Two

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Hot off of Colorado Statesman reporter Ernest Luning‘s Twitter page:

The Showdown in the Springs! Will the gloves come off this time? The last debate had some good back and forth moments between the two candidates, but the campaign has taken a decidedly more negative tone since then. Who’s going to go for the knockout first?

Share your prognostications and predictions in the comments below.