Colorado Week in Review: 3/22/19

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.


Gardner Once Called for Release of Mueller Report. What Will He Do Now?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

UPDATE: Gardner’s statement on release of Mueller report: ““I have consistently said the Mueller investigation should be allowed to reach a conclusion, and I’m grateful the Special Counsel has finished the investigation and submitted a report today. The American people have a right to know the outcome of this investigation and the Department of Justice should release as much as possible to the public in accordance with the law.”

Trump Attorney General William Barr told reporters today that he will review Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and determine how much could eventually be released to Congress and the public.

During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Barr faced pointed questions from Democrats about whether he’d release the Mueller report, and he never committed to doing so.

It’s not clear what Democrats can do to force the release of the report now, but one Republican with close ties to the Trump White House is Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, and he’s called for the release of the report.

Asked about Mueller’s investigation, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said earlier this year that the “American people need the information so that they can make up their own minds.”

“Look, the Mueller investigation needs to be completed as soon as possible,” Gardner told KHOW’s Krista Kafer, substituting for Ross Kaminsky Jan. 24. “The American people need the information so that they can make up their own minds. And I think transparency is in the best interests of the President. The President has said that. And, you know, we’ve heard his Attorney General nominee say the same thing. And so, I think getting this information out — this will be — this is something that is important. This can’t drag on for four years. It needs to be done. It needs to be done quickly.”

Listen to Gardner on KHOW 630-AM Jan. 24, 2019.


Hickenlooper Introduces Himself to America

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper

On Thursday Wednesday, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper took the spotlight in the race to become the Democratic nominee for President in 2020 when he held a live CNN “town hall” event. Hickenlooper performed very well overall, but most of the attention following the event was about one specific exchange that highlights Hick’s inexperience with “soundbite politics.”

We would encourage you to watch the full town hall event yourself in order to understand the proper context for some of Hick’s remarks (for the Cliff’s Notes version, here are some key takeaways via CNN). But CNN also devotes a separate story to the one exchange that generated the most buzz on Thursday Wednesday evening:

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said that he would consider putting a woman on his presidential ticket, and then asked why female Democratic presidential candidates are not being asked if they would select a man as their running mate.

The comment struck a number of Democrats as off base, especially considering that the nation has never had a female vice president.

“Governor,” CNN’s Dana Bash said at a presidential candidate town hall, “some of your male competitors have vowed to put a woman on the ticket. Yes or no, would you do the same?”

“Of course,” Hickenlooper said, before saying he wanted to ask Bash a question.

“How come we’re not asking more often the women, ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?’ ” he said with a shrug, to audible groans from the audience.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, with CNN’s Dana Bash on March 20, 2019

Obviously, this is not a good soundbite for Hickenlooper, but it’s much less cringeworthy when Hick gets a minute to explain:

Hickenlooper stood by the comment after the town hall, telling CNN that his point was “too often media discounts the chance of a woman winning” by asking questions like that.

What Hick was trying to do, in a nutshell, was to make the case that female candidates should be considered frontrunners on an equal plane with men and that asking a question about “would you put a woman on the ticket” is disrespectful to the women who are running for President. It’s a solid point that was inartfully articulated, and it would be a shame if it dogged Hick’s campaign for an extended period of time.

Hickenlooper also had a weird moment when telling a story about watching an adult movie with his mother — this is a yarn that he’s spun before that is also included in his memoir “The Opposite of Woe.” The story is entertaining, but the problem with telling it to a wider audience is that there is no real “moral” in conclusion; it’s not clear why Hickenlooper is talking about this, and in a Presidential race where soundbites can take on a life of their own, this probably isn’t a great clip for Hick.

Hickenlooper will certainly get better at this sort of thing the more he campaigns around the country, but “soundbite politics” are not his strong suit. This is partly because Hick just doesn’t have much experience in this regard; both of his campaigns for Governor featured massively-flawed opponents who didn’t have the ability to land solid punches. By the time Hick was running for re-election in 2014, the former Denver Mayor was a well-known character to voters along the Front Range who largely got the benefit of the doubt whenever he stumbled verbally. This is the same basic reason that Hick speaks out so often against “negative ads” — it’s easy to be critical of negative advertising when you have never had to worry about employing that strategy yourself.

Hickenlooper is not any more or less likely to win the 2020 Democratic nomination based on Thursday’s Wednesday’s performance. In fact, if he learns and grows from this experience as a candidate, this CNN “town hall” might even prove to be a landmark moment for his campaign.


Biden Considering Adding Running Mate on Day One

Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden

Axios reports on an interesting idea apparently being considered by former Vice President Joe Biden:

Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.

Why it matters: The popular Georgia Democrat, who at age 45 is 31 years younger than Biden, would bring diversity and excitement to the ticket — showing voters, in the words of a close source, that Biden “isn’t just another old white guy.”

We’re less interested in who Biden might choose as a running mate (though Abrams would probably be a strong VP choice) than we are in the general possibility of picking a running mate early and not waiting until just a few months out from Election Day. New York Magazine’s “Intelligencer” thinks this is a grand idea:

The biggest single argument against naming Abrams at the beginning is that it just hasn’t been done before. [Pols emphasis] The closest parallel is Ted Cruz’s last-minute desperation gambit to name Carly Fiorina as his running mate in the closing stages of the 2016 primary. The fact that the combined charisma of Cruz and Fiorina was not enough to overcome Trump’s big lead hardly proves it can’t work. If anything, the lateness of the maneuver gave it a whiff of desperation. If Biden does wait, and his polling lead starts to melt, naming Abrams will have the same pitfall. The Cruz example argues for joining with Abrams on Day One.

Sometimes there’s a new idea that has not been done before for no good reason. “Political brilliance” is not a phrase I would normally associate with Joe Biden. But running with Stacey Abrams seems to qualify.

The more we think about this, the more intriguing it becomes — primarily because it’s different. In a field of dozens of Democrat candidates, different is good.

So, what say you, Polsters? Cast your vote below…

Is It a Good Idea for a Presidential Candidate to Choose a Running Mate Early?
View Result


Anadarko and Noble Aren’t Trying to Save Pollution Rules They Helped Develop

(We’re SHOCKED! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Some of the world’s largest oil-and-gas companies are calling on the Trump Administration not to weaken Obama-era regulations on methane pollution, which is a significant cause of global warming.

But even though Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy basked in the media spotlight for helping fashion Colorado’s path-breaking rules on methane pollution, which served as the basis for Obama’s regulations, the two companies have yet to speak out against the Trump Administration’s plan to weaken the Obama rules.

Exxon Mobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell have taken unusually sharp public stances against the Trump initiative to roll back Obama’s rules for repairing methane leaks in drilling operations.

Gretchen Watkins, president of Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. subsidiary, has called on the administration not only to retain the Obama regulations but tighten them.

“We need to do more,” she told the Houston Chronicle.

Calls to Anadarko and Noble, seeking to know if they are thinking of joining other oil-and-gas companies in speaking out against Trump’s proposal to rescind the Obama regulations, were not returned.

The absence of the two companies on the list of companies challenging the administration on methane pollution surprises some industry observers–as do reports that Anadarko is among the companies actually supporting the Trump rollback.

Not only did Anadarko and Noble proudly back Colorado’s first-in-the-nation rules, but they also brag about their stances on global warming.

In public documents, Anadarko touts its work on Colorado’s 2104 methane rules.

“Anadarko works with regulators to develop appropriate solutions at the Federal and state levels,” Anadarko stated last year in public documents. “For example, Anadarko supported air quality regulations in Colorado to detect and address methane leaks, thereby improving air quality and enhancing public trust.”

Both companies brag about their dedication to reducing methane emissions.

“Environmental protection is an integral part of Noble Energy’s commitment to operational excellence and we’ve made significant advances in reducing U.S. methane emissions,” Noble Vice President Gary Willingham stated in a company report.

Environmentalists say now is the time for Anadarko and Noble to walk their talk, as momentum seems to be building among oil-and-gas companies themselves, to push back on the Trump Administration’s initiative.

“For the first time, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies urged the Trump Administration to strengthen, not weaken, EPA climate rules requiring the oil and gas industry to cut methane pollution,” said Lauren Pagel, Policy Director at Earthworks, in a news release after Shell spoke out for tighter regulations. “Will the Trump Administration listen?”

Other oil industry companies have lobbied the administration to loosen the Obama-era methane rules, including the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies, conducts research, and advocates on behalf of oil and gas companies.

Both Anadarko and Noble are members of the American Petroleum Institute.

The shift of some oil-and-gas entities toward support of the Obama methane rules comes not only in response to public pressure but also to what appears to be a softening among Republicans and some GOP leaders on the issue.


Trump’s Shameful McCain Obsession Continues

Sen. John McCain (left) and some other guy

As Politico reports, several prominent Republicans are (finally) coming to the defense of the late Sen. John McCain after President Trump started attacking McCain’s legacy as part of his Sunday Tweetstorm:

Senate Republicans are stepping up their defense of John McCain. And Donald Trump is ignoring them entirely.

In just his latest bid to tarnish McCain’s legacy and reshape the GOP in his own image, the president offered a new set of attacks on the dead Arizona senator even after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) blasted Trump for “deplorable“ behavior on Wednesday and other Republicans issued statements defending their former colleague.

But Trump made clear at an appearance in Lima, Ohio, that he’s simply not going to adjust his public views of McCain just because it makes his own party uncomfortable.

Trump said on Wednesday of McCain that he “never liked him much … probably never will” and dinged him again for passing the Steele dossier, a mostly unverified report focusing on the president’s alleged ties to Russia, to the FBI. Trump said McCain’s vote against Obamacare repeal ended up “badly hurting our nation.” He also said McCain, who worked on expanding veterans’ health options with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), “didn’t get the job done for our great vets in the V.A., and they knew it.”

Isakson, the Georgia Republican who chairs the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, went off on Trump’s criticism of McCain in an interview with “The Bulwark” and called on fellow Republicans to follow suit. As Politico notes, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham has spoken out meekly about Trump’s comments; mostly, Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have praised McCain but generally avoided talking about Trump:

Such a brave statement. 🙄

If Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) says anything about Trump’s repeated attacks on McCain, we’ll be sure to update this page. Maybe he’ll feel more like talking after seeing this ridiculousness from Trump today. The explanation in the Tweet below is only a slight exaggeration, as you’ll see from watching the video:


“If Anything, I’ve Gotten Kudos,” Says GOP Lawmaker about his Vote for Conversion Therapy Ban

After voting last month in favor of a proposed law banning mental health professionals from trying to make gay youth become heterosexual, State Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton) “didn’t get any backlash” from his district, despite that fact that the vast majority of his fellow Republicans voted against the legislation.

“I didn’t have any constituents reaching out and saying, ‘What are you doing? You’re betraying me,'” Larson told the Colorado Times Recorder after he spoke a news conference today, organized by supporters of the bill.

“If anything, I’ve gotten kudos,” he said, emphasizing his view that GOP opposition to the bill is rooted in generational differences that are fading.

Larson, who’s the youngest statehouse member, said their’s a “disconnect” between the views of ordinary Republicans and the stances of GOP lawmakers at the Capitol.

“My colleagues have a perception that there’s this groundswell of opposition that’s actually a small minority of folks,” he said.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, agreed with Larson that “we are going through a generational change; all people are people, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Decrying the fact that, for four years, “Republican leadership” in Colorado’s state senate killed bills banning conversion therapy for minors, Daniel Ramos of One Colorado told reporters at the news conference that “this year is different.”

“With pro-equlality majorities in both the house and the senate, and a pro-equality governor, this is the year that Colorado sends the message to LGBTQ youth that they were born perfect and should be affirmed for exactly what they are,” said Ramos.

Republican opponents of the conversion-therapy ban mostly emphasize that it should be up to parents, not the government, to make decisions about therapy for their children.

The bill’s advocates emphasized that conversion therapy is opposed by major mental health professional associations.

“Through the testimony I have heard, year after year, of heartbreaking feelings of being rejected by your families and by those who are supposed to love you, we know that this practice is tantamount to child abuse,” said Colorado State Rep. Dafna Michaelson Janet (D-Commerce City) at the news conference.

Today’s news conference took place prior to a state senate hearing on the conversion therapy ban.

“I implore the committee members today to vote in a decent and ethical way and putting an end to the cruel and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said Johnny Hultzapple, a South High Student at the news conference. Hultzapple got national attention for his Facebook post denouncing a conversion-therapy program launched last month by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila.


What you can do to fight back this week (March 18)

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Many of you remember in 2014 when the Denver Post endorsed Cory Gardner in the U.S. Senate race, turning a blind eye to the clear evidence that if elected Gardner would fight against everything the Post’s editorial board claims to stand for: affordable health care, environmental protection, immigration reform, and abortion rights.

Last week, the Denver Post did something almost unprecedented. They took their endorsement back. [1]

“We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support in a close race against Mark Udall.”

The final straw for the Post was Gardner’s vote last week in support of Donald Trump’s fake “national emergency,” even after Gardner himself claimed he opposed it. Once Trump followed through on his threat, Gardner spent the next few weeks shamelessly backing away from his former very clear opposition. This was a moment of cowardice that could define Cory Gardner’s political career, and kudos to the Post’s editorial board for bravely admitting their previous support for Gardner was a mistake.

At the state capitol in Denver, it’s another very busy week of important hearings on bills we all care about. Here are a few great opportunities for you to make your voice heard:

On Tuesday in the House State Affairs Committee, SUPPORT legislation to protect net neutrality in Colorado. Senate Bill 19-078 withholds state funds from internet service providers who engage in throttling by source and paid prioritization of internet content.

Also Tuesday, SUPPORT paid family leave in the Senate Finance Committee. Senate Bill 19-188, the FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program, will help ensure that no working family in Colorado is forced to choose between caring for a loved one and financial stability.

On Wednesday in the House Health Care and Health Insurance Committee, SUPPORT House Bill 19-1176, the Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019. This is legislation to find solutions for ongoing high cost of care in Colorado by studying major changes to health care finance compared to the current model including a public option and universal care.

Also on Wednesday, SUPPORT Senate Bill 19-180 to create an Eviction Legal Defense Fund to provide counseling and representation for indigent Coloradans facing eviction.

Thanks for your help with these priority bills! Here are more great ways to take action for the week of March 18:

Faithful Tuesdays at the Colorado State Capitol

Faithful Tuesdays is a diverse coalition of leaders, organizations and community members who are committed to adding a deeper, moral dimension to the public policymaking process in Colorado. Our focus is to advance a faith narrative and collaborative process that supports a just economy, promotes equity, and eradicates racism in Colorado. Our work will forward a unifying narrative uplifting our common faith call to build human dignity in our state.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 East Colfax Avenue, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 19 at 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

One Colorado Phone Bank

We would love you to join us at a phone bank to help engage our members on important events and our legislative priorities.

Where: One Colorado, 1490 Lafayette St, Ste 304, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 19 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Indivisible Lobby Day at the Capitol

Local officials affect our lives and our communities most directly. There is nothing more powerful than a citizen-led lobby, and that’s what this is. You don’t need to have ever been to the capitol before to join us. We want to let our elected officials know that we are here, we care, and we are watching!

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 20 at 8:15am

Click here to RSVP.

One Colorado: Soup Supper and Speaker

Join us Wednesday evening for a Lenten soup supper followed by a presentation by Extended Hands of Hope and One Colorado. Our theme for the year is “Year of the Child” so every speaker will focus on how their organization helps children and youth. Extended Hands of Hope will also report on our Advent collection from 2018.

Where: Hope United Methodist Church, 5101 S Dayton St, Greenwood Village
When: Wednesday, March 20 at 5:50pm

Click here to RSVP.

Accompany Arturo and Ana to ICE – Keep Families Together

Arturo Hernandez Garcia’s claimed Sanctuary in 2014 at First Unitarian Society of Denver, sacrificing his freedom for the next 9 months to keep his family together. Together with the community, he won freedom and returned home in July of 2015. After President Trump was elected, ICE targeted Arturo for deportation, reneging on a promise that he was not a priority for deportation. Once again, his family and community rallied to free him. Senator Bennet and Congressman Perlmutter advocated for his release and also introduced a private bill on his behalf. Arturo was granted a two year stay of deportation, which will soon expire. Arturo and Ana invite you to accompany him as he attends a check in at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This Colorado leader and father continues the fight to remain with his family and community.

Where: 12445 E Caley Ave, Centennial
When: Thursday, March 21 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Warm Cookies of the Revolution: Own this City: LEGOS, Comedy, Candidates for office, Cookies!

Regular candidate forums are boring, with pre-approved questions and a lot of blah blah. Not ours! Politicians in the audience and comedians at the mic: What could go wrong?! We’ve got millions of LEGOS, professional LEGO-builders, videos by Lockerpartners and Molina Speaks(Mo SPKX), comedians Andrew Orvedahl, Nathan Lund, and Janae Burris, we’ve invited every politician running for city-wide office in May to sit with you and share about their ideal vision for the community.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Thursday, March 21 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Denver Mayoral Candidate Forum

Join us on Thursday, March 21, at The Alliance Center for a forum featuring the candidates for Denver’s next mayor. This forum will this forum be sustainability-focused, covering the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability. Confirmed participants are Michael Hancock, Lisa Calderón, Marcus Giavanni, Jamie Giellis, Ken Simpson and Penfield Tate. All candidates have been invited, so please check back, as more candidates may be added. Doors will open at 5:30, and the event will begin at 6 p.m.

Where: The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop St, Denver
When: Thursday, March 21 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Conservation Colorado: Denver’s Climate Future Forum

We have the opportunity to be a leader in the nation by taking bold action to protect our natural environment. Join us on Wednesday, March 20th at Renegade Brewing Company for a discussion about climate change in Colorado and how Denver’s state representatives can defend our future from air pollution and rising temperatures.

Where: Renegade Brewing Company, 925 W 9th Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 20 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Drinking Liberally Denver and Psilocybin Decriminalization

Another Drinking Liberally is upon us this Wednesday. Come learn about the Denver psilocybin decriminalization initiative with campaign director Kevin Matthews. The initiative would decriminalize the adult personal possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms – no person should face extreme penalties like incarceration, heavy fines, losing their job, and/or especially having their children taken away for using a naturally-occurring substance that is not only safe and non-addictive, but also has tremendous therapeutic potential.

Where: 1201 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Reporting on Migration from Obama to Trump

Please join us for the next in the Crimmigration Law & Policy 2019 Event Series hosted at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. On March 22, Reporting on Migration from Obama to Trump will feature five journalists who cover immigration exclusively or primarily. Encompassing various media and audiences, they will be divided into two events.

Where: University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2255 E Evans Ave, Denver
When: Friday, March 22 at 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Rent Stabilization Rally! / Rally para estabilizar la renta!

Join us for a rally to support our effort with Sen. Julie Gonzales to pass a bill that would allow our cities and counties to stabilize rents and create other housing solutions.

Where: Inner City Health Center, 3800 York St., Denver
When: Saturday, March 23 at 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Toxic Masculinity: Beyond the Basics with Regan Byrd

We love hosting brave spaces to process hard topics and learn from people who will challenge and stir us to change. Join us for this afternoon workshop centered on Toxic Masculinity with Regan Byrd, who is a Denver-based anti-oppression activist, consultant, speaker, and trainer. Discussions about masculinity and how we teach men and boys to behave continue to be at the forefront of public conversation. From the #metoo movement, to the online “manosphere” of pick up artists and incels, to the blatant sexism of our President, to the recent Gillette ad, the implications are clear: we need to do more to challenge how men are socialized to interact with each other, women, and others impacted by sexism.

Where: the refuge, 6900 W 117th Ave. #200, Broomfield
When: Sunday, March 24 at 2:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Thanks again for your help making these events a success! Remember to check your inbox or the Beacon (formerly RiseUp) app for the latest alerts. See you next week.


Truth Check on Oil & Gas Industry Attack on SB-181

Marshall Zelinger of 9News breaks down a television ad you may have seen over the weekend from oil and gas industry opponents of SB-181, legislation that seeks to prioritize health and safety concerns in decisions about drilling and extraction. The verdict is another strike for the industry’s flailing narrative of opposition:

CLAIM: “But a handful of politicians didn’t like that result and think they knew better. So now they’re trying to ignore the voters and pass a law in the middle of the night, to shut down energy production in Colorado.”

VERDICT: This section is full of overstatements.

“Pass a law in the middle of the night” is not accurate at all. [Pols emphasis]

The bill, Senate Bill 181, is the oil and gas reform bill that would give local governments control over where oil and gas operations could set up. It would also change the makeup of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission – the state regulators – to include fewer members from the oil and gas industry and one with an expertise in public health. The commission would also have to start making decisions considering public health and safety first.

The first committee hearing for this bill was on March 5. The hearing started at 2 p.m. The vote that passed it out of the committee didn’t happen until nearly 2 a.m. 9NEWS had a camera and reporter at the committee hearing, as did other news media. The public testified before and against the bill throughout the 12-hour hearing. While the bill was voted on early in the morning, it wasn’t passed blindly with no one noticing or participating.

As we’ve pointed out before in this space, arguments that Democratic lawmakers are being secretive about the legislation and speeding the bill through the State Capitol are just plain silly and easily refutable. Attempts to muddy the story being told by Erin Martinez, whose family was devastated after a home explosion in Firestone, have fallen equally flat.

Senate Bill 181 made it through the State Senate last week. Today it makes its first stop in a State House committee, one of three committees it will go through before a floor discussion and vote.

Today begins the third full week of discussions about SB-181.


Gardner Said Twice He Was Against Trump’s National Emergency. What Happened?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

In his short explanation of why he voted with Trump for a national emergency to build a border wall, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner did not explain why he told at least two Colorado media outlets that he opposed the national emergency.

The two statements are unequivocal, starting with his March 13 statement to KOA radio’s Marty Lenz, one minute into the interview:

“I think declaring a national emergency is not the right idea,” said Gardner on air. “I think Congress needs to do it’s job. There may be some dollars that are available for reprogramming. I’m not sure what they would be, and that would be a matter of a lot of debate because Congress holds the purse strings.”

The next day, Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner Thursday got a similar response from Gardner.

Warner: How do you get the message to him that you don’t want him to perhaps declare a national emergency, as has been hinted? Or, raid other funds for this. How does —

Gardner: Well, it’s pretty simple. I’d tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

Warner: Have you done, that? And do you —

Gardner: I have.

Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking to know why he previously held such a firm view on the national-emergency issue–and what made him do an about face on it.

After the interviews, Gardner issued a statement saying he was still undecided on the national emergency.

“I’m currently reviewing the authorities the Administration is using to declare a national emergency,” stated Gardner.

But he did not explain what he was thinking before and why.

His statement on Wednesday hints that he now believes there is in fact a national emergency on the southern border, and so maybe this affected his thinking:

“Between October and February, border patrol apprehensions were up nearly 100 percent and since 2012, border patrol methamphetamine seizures are up 280 percent,” Gardner said in his statement.

The New York Times has pointed out that it’s apprehensions of families that have increased over time, pointing to a humanitarian crisis. Overall apprehensions are down historically, and ports of entry, not the wider border, is the gateway for most drugs entering America from Mexico.


Spilling & Drilling Through SB-181 Debate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Greeley Tribune runs a regular column entitled the Weld County Oil and Gas Spill Report that provides a handy break-down of the spills and other “releases” reported in Colorado’s most drilled, most fracked county. A pretty typical spill summary might read:

KERR MCGEE OIL & GAS ONSHORE LP, reported March 6 a tank battery spill west of Platteville, about 1,250 feet west of Buck Rake Boulevard and Rodgers Circuit. Less than five barrels of oil, condensate and produced water spilled. Waters of the state were impacted. The separator cabinet at the production facility developed a leak. A groundwater sample from 8 feet below ground surface indicated benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene concentrations above COGCC standards. -Greely Tribune: Weld County oil and gas spill report for March 17

It is a useful feature, and worth checking regularly. But it didn’t capture what’s going on a few counties west, up in Jackson County. Apparently for that its up to individuals to check the state’s databases, since most counties and communities–even those being actively drilled–are not served by such diligent reporting.

Of course media following the oil and gas beat in Colorado have been busy covering SB 181–the pubic health and safety/oil and gas reform bill. Which means covering the Capitol circus–Democratic leader using machines to a read bill, a Republican senator talk of secession. But meanwhile the wildcatters and frackers, the big boys and the ‘moms and pops’ are still busy.

Even if drilling is down a bit, along with the price of fracked gas glutted at the hub. Leasing and permitting still continues apace–locking up the public’s lands in speculative chains, raising uncertainty in neighborhoods and for nearby towns and ranchers–all without much say by local jurisdictions about when, how, and where such activity should occur.

Which is to say that business still gets done–even if some workers get a paid day off to spill into the capitol instead. Consider North Park, for instance. There an Oklahoma company is getting called out by the state oil and gas commission, the “COGCC,” for the number of “reportable” incidents–also called “spills and releases”–in its operations there. 



Colorado Week in Review: 3/15/19

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.


Get More Smarter on Friday (March 15)

Happy early St. Patrick’s Day. It’s time to “Get More Smarter.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is in a very bad place, politically-speaking, after his inexplicable vote on Thursday to oppose a Senate measure (which passed anyway) condemning President Trump’s “emergency declaration” for wall building money. Gardner’s decision so incensed the Denver Post editorial board that the newspaper essentially retracted its 2014 endorsement of his Senate candidacy:



As the New York Times reports, President Trump made a number of calls to Republican Senators in hopes of persuading them to vote “NO” on the resolution. Was Gardner among those who received a personal call? As one Republican donor told Politico, “Beware the fury of Trump.”


► On Wednesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on a resolution encouraging the full public release of the final report from special investigator Robert Mueller. Nationwide polling has consistently shown that Americans want to see the full report, and a new Colorado poll echoes that sentiment. From the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Public Policy Polling — on behalf of left-leaners ProgressNow Colorado and Protect the Investigation —surveyed 543 registered Colorado voters between March 7 and March 8.

According to a press release about the poll, 77 percent of voters expect “a full, public report” on the investigation’s findings. The Justice Department, under President Trump, will determine how much of the report is submitted to Congress and, by association, the public.

The liberal groups said the poll indicated 57 percent “believe that the Special Counsel investigation has already uncovered crimes by associates close to Donald Trump.”


► So-called “red flag” legislation makes its way to the State Senate today after passing the House last week. Meanwhile, Governor Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser are speaking out against pressure from right-wing Republicans to encourage individual counties in Colorado to just refuse to enforce an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO).


►  The Joint Budget Committee gets a new look at Colorado’s budget numbers today, which could play a significant role in how the legislature proceeds on one of Gov. Polis’ signature issues of offering free full-day Kindergarten in Colorado.



Get even more smarter after the jump…



Neville: “They love to primary anyone who likes to stand for liberty and conservative ideals”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock)

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland broke news this week that moderate Colorado Republicans are launching a new organization, Friends for the Future, to try to elect more moderate Republicans in Colorado and appeal to Unaffiliated voters.

Birkeland reports that the effort could be at odds with the strategy of House Republican Leader Patrick Neville. who’s been accused of backing candidates who are so conservative as to be unelectable. Birkeland:

Still reeling from historic losses that put Democrats in charge of Colorado’s government, a group of current and former Republican state lawmakers say it’s time for a different strategy. They created a new organization to recruit and train more moderate candidates. The aim is to appeal to a broader swath of voters, especially the state’s growing segment of unaffiliated voters…

Rep. Lois Landgraf of Colorado Springs and former state lawmakers Dan Thurlow and Polly Lawrence are behind the new independent expenditure committee, Friends for the Future, which they formed in December.

“For us to get clobbered across the state, it’s just not acceptable,” Landgraf said. “And we sat back and said, ‘who’s doing any of this stuff? You know, what’s your party doing?’ We were not happy the way the various elections were run, the campaigns were run. We weren’t happy with any aspect of what went on in this last election.”

Neville didn’t respond to a request for comment from Birkeland, but he answered questions about Friends for the Future on KNUS 710-AM this morning.

The Castle Rock Republicans thinks Friend for the Future will try to use primary elections to oust conservative lawmakers.

“Part of it is a vendetta,” said Neville on air, when asked about Friends for the Future. “They have a vendetta against me. Part of it is, they’ve done this for years. They have a history of doing this.

“If you look at what happened in 2014 and 2016, they love to primary anyone who likes to stand for liberty and conservative ideals.”

KNUS Host Peter Boyles: The establishment [of the Republican Party] hates you as much as the progressives do? Why is that?”

Neville: You know, I don’t know if they just can’t get over the fact I actually got leadership. That might be part of it. [laughs] ..But it feels like I’m fighting a two-front battle constantly against these establishment Republicans and then the Democrats. If they could spend as much time and effort fighting the Democrats as they do myself and other conservatives, we’d be in a lot better place in Colorado.

“We have some folks who think we should be more like Democrats and that will get us wins,” said Neville on air. “I think quite the opposite. I think we need to paint a clear contrast and actually show what we stand for and not just say, ‘We’re for less higher taxes than the Democrats.’ No… Let’s fight against tax increases. They’re coming.”

Neville did not mention other issues that create the divide between his conservative wing of the party and the moderates, but in an interview with KHOW’s Dan Caplis yesterday, former GOP lawmaker Lawrence emphasized that Republicans should be flexible on the issues, including abortion, so that GOP candidates can espouse positions that reflect their districts.

RELATED: Why Can’t Republicans Win in Colorado? Bad Election Campaign Tactics? Or Bad on the Issues that Matter Most?

“A lot of these folks sit around and figure out what their principles are by the latest poll numbers,” said Neville, referring to the leaders of Friends for the Future. “But you can’t do that. Sometimes you have to look at things with common sense.”


Polis, Weiser Speak Out Against 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s governor and attorney general both stated today that sheriffs should disregard county resolutions not to enforce gun-safety laws.

The statements came as Colorado lawmakers are poised to pass “red flag” legislation allowing police to take firearms from people deemed by a judge to be dangerous to themselves or others. Most Republicans oppose the measure, while Democrats support it.

Asked about the “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” resolutions passed by over a dozen Colorado counties, Gov. Jared Polis (R-CO) told KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky:

POLIS:  “Obviously, elected sheriffs don’t choose the laws, right? I mean, they enforce the laws. I would think that there are laws that every sheriff has qualms with and wouldn’t vote for if they were a legislator or wouldn’t sign if they were governor. So, I don’t think that it’s different than any other law that a sheriff opposes. But obviously, it’s the constitutional responsibility of a sheriff to enforce the law equally and without prejudice… We have a very important third branch of government, Ross, and that’s the courts – the judicial branch.  The judicial branch definitively determines what is constitutional and what is not.  Sometimes they put a stay on a law, and it’s not enforced pending appeal.  Sometimes the law is found unconstitutional. Sometimes laws are found constitutional. I mean, so, we have a process to do that. I have faith in our democratic republic. I have faith in that process. “

For his part, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser also stated today that such resolutions “cannot and do not override a valid judicial order implementing state law,” such as an order a judge might issued to confiscate a gun under the red flag law.

“Our nation and state depends on the rule of law. All law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the rule of law,” stated Weiser, a Democrat elected in November, in a news release. “I am confident that when and if the time comes, all law enforcement officials will follow the rule of law.”

The bill’s opponents disagree, saying the red flag measures violate multiple articles of the U.S. Constitution.

Weiser pointed out that that multiple states passed red flag laws, and he believes they save lives and pass “constitutional muster.”



Why Can’t Colo Republicans Win? Bad Campaign Tactics? Or Bad on the Issues?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republicans are standing chest-deep in blue water that crashed here in November.

They’re soaking wet, the water isn’t receding, and they’re frustrated, trying to figure out what went wrong, so they can dry out and win again in their lifetimes.

But pretty much all they’re talking about is changing their campaign tactics. More digital ads. Fewer mailers. Better mailers! More money.

GOP operative Mark Hillman, a former Colorado Treasurer, wants Republican donors to pony up big bucks like progressive groups allegedly get.

Former State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) wants fellow Republicans to stop spending money on certain failed political consultants–and instead spend their money on other failed political consultants. Former State House Speaker Frank McNulty has the same idea, but he’s likely thinking of the opposite consultants.

State GOP chair candidate Ken Buck wants to identify more Republican voters and increase turnout.

What they’re not talking about are the issues.

Aren’t Colorado Republicans going to have to change substantively to make more people like them? Specifically, to get more love from Unaffiliated voters, whose support they must have to win in Colorado?

Yes, say moderate Republicans I spoke with, on and off the record, over the past week.



Neville Family & Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Working On Recalls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Patrick Neville and Dudley Brown talk recalls

Thursday night, House Republican leader Patrick Neville stood before a room of Rocky Mountain Gun Owner members and pledged to support their efforts to recall his colleagues, not just with a public statement, but by providing the campaign’s “infrastructure.”

Neville: I’m already getting pushback on this, but there are grassroots folks out there initiating recalls. It’s not something we asked them to do. It’s you the grassroots voter out there doing it. In 2013, the same thing happened and people in my position actually tried to prevent the grassroots from doing it. I’m not going to take that same position. I’m here to support you. We’ve actually started up a website called We will provide infrastructure for those who are actually pushing recalls. If you want to recall your legislator you can email [us]. We’ve got to do something to stand up right now.” [CTR emphasis]

The website the House Minority leader is referring to was created and paid for by Values First Colorado, the House Republicans’ 527 political committee. That entity is run by Patrick’s brother Joe Neville, who previously worked as Political Director for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organized Thursday’s event, enticing RMGO members to the Centennial Gun Club with the promise of a free hour of range time. RMGO staff broadcast the entire event on Facebook live.

Director Dudley Brown spoke largely about two topics: the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, or “red flag” measure, which would allow judges to allow the confiscation of guns from dangerous people, and “the R-word” as he called it: recalls.

Brown mentioned the two state legislators, Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village) and Rep. Meg Froelich (D-Englewood) who are already named on the recall website created by Patrick Neville and his brother Joe (who also attended the briefing).



What you can do to fight back this week (March 11)

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It’s hard to believe, but we’re already halfway through the 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly! As debate continues in the Colorado legislature on many important pieces of legislation, this week we’d like to focus on two especially important bills we need your help to get over the finish line:

We’re fighting to protect Colorado’s local communities and natural environment from the harmful impacts of oil and gas drilling. It’s vitally important that your lawmakers understand that this issue is why our progressive majority was elected last November. Senate Bill 19-181 will give local communities the power to protect their residents from drilling next to homes and schools, as well as reforming “forced pooling” and empowering the state government to put public health and safety first.

Click here to contact your representative and urge them to pass Senate Bill 19-181. Then stay tuned: from rallies to opportunities to testify in support of the bill, there is a lot to do to make sure we keep this promise to the voters and future generations. Thank you!

Next, join us at noon Wednesday for a rally to kick off the campaign for paid family leave in Colorado. Senate Bill 19-188, the FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program, will give every Colorado worker the ability to take time off to deal with medical emergencies without jeopardizing their economic stability. After years of division in Colorado’s legislature, 2019 is finally the year we make this important benefit a reality! We’ll rally at noon at the Colorado State Capitol and testimony in favor of the bill will get underway at 2PM. Click here to RSVP!

Bills at the Capitol are moving quickly this year, and that’s good. For the past four years, partisan divides in the legislature prevented a large number of pressing issues from being addressed. Right now progressive leaders are working through a backlog of pent-up solutions to problems that were allowed to go unsolved for too long. Be proud of the progress we’re making in Colorado this year, and thanks again for letting our representatives know you’ve got their back when they do the right thing.

Here are more great ways to fight back for the week of March 11th–don’t forget to check the RiseUp app on your smartphone for the latest:

$15 Final Vote – Denver City Council

City council will take a final vote on a proposed ordinance to raise the minimum wage for airport and other city-contracted workers to $15 an hour. Let’s turn out and help Denver workers win a living wage!

Where: Denver City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St, Denver
When: Monday, March 11 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

One Colorado Phone Bank

We would love you to join us at a phone bank to help engage our members on important events and our legislative priorities.

Where: One Colorado, 1490 Lafayette St, Ste 304, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 12 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Celebrate Sunshine Week: The First Draft with CFOIC, CSPJ, CPA and CMP

Celebrate Sunshine Week the evening of March 12 with the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, the Colorado Media Project, the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists and pick up a hot-off-the-presses copy of CFOIC’s updated, revised and much improved 2019 guide to Colorado’s sunshine laws. Mingle with journalists who will answer your questions about getting information from your government. And try your hand at CORA trivia!

Where: Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 12 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Community Forum: Changes to Deputy Misconduct Investigations

Join the COB, Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, Together Colorado, Shorter AME Church, and others for a community forum on proposed changes being made by the Department of Safety and the Sheriff Department to sheriff deputy misconduct investigations. The intention of this forum is to provide you with information and get your feedback. We anticipate the following agenda.

Where: Shorter AME Church, 3100 Richard Allen Ct., Denver
When: Tuesday, March 12 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Concert for Denver Right to Survive!

Come to this important concert featuring Local Legends Esmé Patterson (performing solo), Wheelchair Sports Camp, and Solo Artist Laura Goldhamer. We’ll be discussing the effects of Denver’s Urban Camping Ban! Denver Right to Survive is a community-led organization that aims to educate the public about the human rights of people experiencing homelessness.

Where: The Oriental Theater, 4335 W 44th Ave, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

ACLU at the Capitol

Please join us on Wednesday, March 13 for ACLU at the Capitol, a day of advocacy and action. ACLU of Colorado has an ambitious legislative agenda this year, and we need your help to make it happen. Meet with your lawmakers and encourage them to improve our criminal justice system, pass comprehensive sex ed, and make Colorado a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees. We’ll provide breakfast in the morning and a full training on how to talk to legislators about our priority bills. Then, we’ll team up and head over to the Capitol for lobbying meetings. Afterwards, we’ll meet back for lunch and a recap of the day.

Where: First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant St, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 13 at 8:00am

Click here to RSVP.

CIRC Movement Building Training- Pueblo

Join us to defend Colorado’s immigrant families by helping us pass Virginia’s Law, a comprehensive bill aimed at keeping Colorado families together, in 2019’s legislative session. Virginia’s Law will protect immigrant domestic violence survivors from being deported by ICE and will limit ICE enforcement in public spaces, like schools and hospitals.

Where: Protegete Pueblo, 119 E Abriendo Ave, Pueblo
When: Wednesday, March 13 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Homes For All March Legislative Meeting

We will giving updates on moving legislation including the bill to overturn the ban on rent control, the Safe & Healthy homes Act, the Fair Application Cost Bill, and Virginia’s Law. We will also be talking about our political and media strategy. We will have food, childcare, and Spanish interpretation as usual. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Where: 1609 Havana St, Aurora
When: Thursday, March 14 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Education Association March 15th Day of Action

Join us for CEA’s Day of Action on March 15th! Colorado is experiencing a teacher shortage unprecedented in the state’s history. Pay inequity, respect, and dwindling classroom resources are all to blame but one subject that often gets overlooked is the state’s current educator evaluation law, Senate bill 10-191 (SB10-191).

Where: Colorado Education Association, 1500 Grant St, Denver
When: Friday, March 15 at 8:00am

Click here to RSVP.

$15 for DIA Canvass Kickoff!

We are less than 10 weeks away from the first votes being cast in the May 7 Denver municipal election. Join us as we start going door to door asking voters to support our ballot measure and make a $15 minimum wage a reality for thousands of Denver airport workers.

Where: Mi Familia Vota, 4730 Oakland St, Aurora
When: Sunday, March 17 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Padres & Jóvenes Unidos: The Peoples Wave 2019

Join us at the capitol to protect the rights and wellbeing of students, renters, and immigrants. Our lawmakers work for us, so lets make sure they are building a Colorado that puts our people first! Let’s get together Sunday, March 17th for a training on the legislative process and teach-in on priority bills affecting our communities. On Monday, March 18th we’ll head to the State Capitol to lobby our leaders to demand action on the solutions we need!

Where: 4130 Tejon St, Denver
When: Sunday, March 17 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Press Conference for House Bill 19-1129

One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and the Colorado Senate Democrats are hosting a press conference on HB19-1129: Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors before the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee hearing. Join us in support at the West Foyer on the first floor of the Capitol at 12:25 PM for a 12:30 start time.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Monday, March 18 at 12:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Thanks again! We’ll be back next week with more ways to take action.


INTERVIEW: The Artist Who’s Painting the Trump Portrait for the CO Capitol

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a successful fundraising drive last year led by local Republicans, Colorado Springs portrait artist Sarah Boardman was commissioned to paint a portrait of President Donald Trump for the Colorado Capitol. She’s putting the finishing touches on her work, which she says will done by the end of the month. Boardman also painted a portrait of President Barack Obama, which hangs at the Capitol. Read more about Boardman here.

Boardman took time over the weekend to answer questions, via email, from the Colorado Times Recorder.

Trump Image Selected For Capitol Portrait

The first set of queries is about her artistic process on the portrait and her work as an artist; the second set addresses the response to the Trump portrait in particular. Boardman’s sketch for the Trump portrait, as well as her selection of the photo underlying it, were first reported in a Colorado Times Recorder article last year.

Here’s the interview:

Hi Sarah –

Thank you again for taking time for this interview.

I’ve got questions about the art itself and the response to your sketch.

How’s the painting process going? Are you finding President Donald Trump harder or easier to paint than President Barack Obama?

Neither harder nor easier. I love painting portraits, and each one brings different challenges and highlights. I approach each one as an individual project and prefer to avoid comparing them as I go along.

Do your personal feelings about Trump affect your work on his portrait?

Not at all – when I start to paint a portrait, it is the portrait, likeness, and “essence” of the subject which I strive to portray.  Any personal feelings about any subject are not relevant and are left outside the studio per my training to “leave those emotions at the door”.

You told me that you’re painting by daylight only, as opposed to artificial light. Why?

Yes, I do paint portraits in natural daylight. Light from the north is indirect light and produces the most consistent, cool, environment with the fewest changes in shadows and values throughout the day. Natural, northern, daylight does not change in temperature during the day as sunlight does, so the atmosphere remains much more controlled and I do not have to continually readjust colors because the sun is moving and changing the light.



Sheriff Receives Threats For Saying Counties Can’t Refuse to Enforce State Gun Laws

(It’s not always easy to do the right thing — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder says he’s getting “threats” for denouncing the El Paso County Commission’s vote to become a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary,” under which the county would reject state laws affecting guns.

This past weekend, Elder first spoke out against the “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” measures, which are intended to block a proposed red-flag law that would allow judges to authorize the confiscation of guns from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

“I’ve already had threats, and a bunch of them from that lunatic fringe that don’t understand what Madison and the framers of the Constitution said,” Elder told KVOR’s Richard Randall today [listen below]. “There are provisions in place with our Constitution that say exactly how to deal with rogue legislators. And frankly, I’m going to follow what the framers said. Go read the Federalist Papers and you’ll see what I mean.”

The Republican sheriff, who opposes the red-flag measures, did not specify the nature of the threats, and he added on Facebook:

ELDER: “And what EXACTLY do you think would be the legal and appropriate thing to do? Did you read what I wrote? Do you understand that I said I would not initiate an action thru my office? This accounts for less than 1/4 of El Paso County and nothing inside any of the cities? A friend reminded me of these quotes from the Federalist papers which really sums this whole thing up nicely. “The court ensured that the will of the whole people, as expressed in their Constitution, would be supreme over the will of a legislature, whose statutes might express only the temporary will of part of the people.’ “Madison had written that constitutional interpretation must be lead to the reasoned judgement of independent judges, rather than to the tumult and conflict of the political process. If every constitutional question were to be decided by public political bargaining, Madison argued, the Constitution would be reduced to a battleground of competing factions, political passion, and partisan spirit.” Now there is some food for thought… Madison was right in my opinion (and in the opinion of the Supreme Court I might add) and I will use the Rule of Law, the guidance of Madison and the reasoned judgement of independent judges in this matter. [CTR emphasis]

The 2nd Amendment Sanctuary declarations were passed by over a dozen Colorado counties. They appear to rely on the local sheriff to stop enforcing state laws he or she finds unconstitutional, based on an alleged constitutional authority to do so.

RELATED: Lawmaker Wants Colorado To Become An “Oil and Gas Sanctuary”

“Do people expect a Sheriff, a Chief of Police, a Mayor, or ANY elected person to decide if a law is ‘constitutional’ or not?” tweeted Elder Saturday. “If so, I have a question about hundreds of others. I know my opinion is different than many others in the state, God knows around the country. We have a system where laws are tested and declared one way or another by the courts, don’t we?”

“I believe the point here is that we have a system that’s been in place since 1803 that is meant to hold rogue legislators in check and that is through the Supreme Court. WE MUST follow the system that provides judicial review and not allow any single individual or ruling class the power to override our Constitution.”

“How about everybody keep their heads on their shoulders, and let’s fight this [proposed red-flag bill] like a bunch of civilized Americans,” Elder told KVOR at 8 min 15 sec below.

Bill Elder on KVOR March 8:


Colorado Week in Review: 3/8/19

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.


Let’s Talk About the U.S. Senate Race!

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is among the most endangered Republican incumbents in the country. We know this because hardly a week goes by without some news outlet mentioning his vulnerability in 2020. While the 2020 election is still 607 days away (as of today), we’re less than a year out from the party caucuses in Colorado, which means the clock is ticking as potential candidates jockey for position in 2019.

Gardner officially kicked off his Senate re-election campaign last month with a high-dollar fundraiser in Washington D.C., but he has yet to announce any sort of campaign launch in Colorado. We’re still not convinced that Gardner will ultimately be on the ballot in November 2020; sharing a slate with Donald Trump is going to be rough for any Republican, particularly in a state like Colorado where Democrats ran roughshod over Republicans in 2018.

Gardner is not the kind of politician who joins a fight he isn’t confident about winning, and his polling numbers have been in the toilet for several years now. His increasingly-close embrace of Trump – Gardner was one of the first big Republican names to endorse Trump’s re-election — won’t help him in a state carried by Hillary Clintonin 2016. His strange waffling on Trump’s “emergency declaration” for border wall money suggests that he’s also worried about a potential Republican Primary.

But enough speculation about Gardner for now. He’s still the incumbent and he says he’s running for re-election, so let’s focus instead on the Democratic side of the aisle, where the likely 2020 nominee isn’t even a candidate yet…




Saine Wants Weld County to Consider Becoming an “Oil and Gas Sanctuary”

(This is getting silly – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a handful of Colorado counties declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, rejecting a proposed law that allows judges to take guns from dangerous people, a Colorado lawmaker now wants her county commissioners to consider not enforcing state laws regulating the oil and gas industry.

“I definitely would encourage the commissioners to take a look at making it an oil and gas sanctuary county, too – a business sanctuary county,” said State Rep. Lori Saine, the Republican told KCOL radio Monday.

Saine made the comment in response to KCOL host Jimmy Lakey’s question about whether Weld County could be an “oil and gas production sanctuary,” in response to legislation under consideration at the Capitol that would, among other things, prioritize health and safety in oil-and-gas regulations and give more control to local jurisdictions.

Asked whether he favors Saine’s suggestion, Weld County Commissioner Mike Freeman told the Colorado Times Recorder that he strongly opposes the proposed oil-and-gas legislation at the state Capitol, but he doesn’t think that Weld County has the constitutional authority to declare an oil-and-gas sanctuary county.

“There is a little bit of difference between the Second Amendment sanctuary county versus oil and gas,” said Freeman. “And this is just my opinion. The difference is, with the Second Amendment, with the red flag bill, I think it’s a direct violation of the Constitution, which makes it much easier for us to take a stand on. I don’t really know that this oil-and-gas bill, at this point, could be declared unconstitutional.”



Now THIS is the Real “Overreach”

UPDATE: These recalls are brought to you by the Neville clan.

Even before the final votes were counted in a 2018 election that saw sweeping victories for Colorado Democrats, local Republicans were keen on telling anyone who would listen to expect Democrats to “overreach” in the 2019 legislative session.

As we noted in this space last November, “overreach” is the kind of term normally reserved for the losers of a given election:

As all sides in Colorado politics take stock of this year’s landslide victory for Democrats up and down the ballot, we’re seeing reactions that closely parallel–at least on the surface–the response to the last big Democratic surge in Colorado in the 2012 elections. Hand-wringing about the supposed horrors of life under Democratic control in Colorado leads to talk of certain areas of the state either seceding or (new in 2018) joining Wyoming.

And that’s how it’s spun: Democratic “overreach” prompts a completely unhinged secession movement that is nonetheless taken at least somewhat seriously. And of course, in 2013 Democratic “overreach” led to recalls! Some variation of this faux concern warning  to victorious Democrats has been the conclusion of the majority of post-election opinion from conservatives, as well as the state’s crop of aging white male “centrist” opinionmakers.

It was silly for Republicans to predict a Democratic “overreach” in 2019 when you consider the results of the 2018 election. Democrats won every statewide office, something that neither political party had accomplished in decades; Jared Polis was elected Governor by a double-digit margin; and Democrats added seats to their State House majority and took control of the State Senate. Nevertheless, Republicans clung fast to their “overreach” message, using the same club to whack away at issues from gun safety to a National Popular Vote for President.

While Republicans yell “overreach” every time a Democrat grabs for a cup of coffee, the real “overreach” is happening within their own ranks. As Marianne Goodland reports today for the Colorado Springs Gazette,

Recall petitions are underway against two Colorado Democratic lawmakers over their votes on Senate Bill 42, the bill that will add Colorado to the national popular vote interstate compact.

And a Facebook page has been set up to start the process for a recall of Gov. Jared Polis, though he has yet to sign the bill.

Statements of purpose, the first step before the petition filing, have been submitted to the secretary of state. They target state Sen. Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village and Rep. Meg Froelich of Englewood. Both voted in favor of Senate Bill 42.

Sorry, wrong Jeff Bridges. But maybe they’ll try to recall him, too.

We’re a bit surprised that the first recall attempt of Democratic lawmakers is in reaction to National Popular Vote legislation; we would have put better odds on the first recall attempt coming in overreaction to so-called “red flag” legislation, since the 2013 GOP recall efforts were related to the darn libruls taking everybody’s guns high-capacity magazines.

It also strikes us as odd that the first recall targets would be Denver-area Democrats from House District 3. Last November, incumbent Rep. Jeff Bridges pummeled Republican challenger Toren Mushovic by a 61-39 margin; you can’t make much of an argument that HD-3 voters were on the fence about Bridges in 2018. Bridges has since been appointed to fill the remainder of Daniel Kagan’s State Senate term, with Froehlich selected to replace Bridges in the State House. In the case of Froehlich, we’re talking about a recall attempt of a legislator who has not yet been elected by voters; local residents approached about signing a recall petition for Froehlich will be excused for being confused.

And finally, as Goodland reports, any effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis will require more than just a Facebook page:

Recalling the governor (who has not yet signed Senate Bill 42) will take more than 631,000 signatures to get to the ballot. And he cannot be recalled until he’s been in office for six months, according to the secretary of state.

To recap, an “effort” is underway to recall a legislator who won re-election by 22 points just four months ago. Another group is trying to oust Gov. Polis — who was elected by an 11-point margin — which is something they can’t even legally attempt until later this summer.

This should work out well.