Cory Gardner: Think Big! There’s No Money, But Think Big

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A story from Sunday’s Aspen Times caught our eye as illustrative of the way Sen. Cory Gardner does business–as interpreted by local officials on the Western Slope discussing a possible new reservoir on the White River east of Rangely:

Three variations of a potential dam that could someday sit astride the main stem of the White River between Meeker and Rangely have been examined by the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District in Rangely…

[Engineer Steve] Jamieson said the district started studying the maximum size of the potential reservoirs after Sen. Cory Gardner asked during a site visit, “How big can you make this reservoir?”

During his presentation Jamieson repeatedly referred to Sen. Gardner, using phrases such as “this is the maximum Cory Gardner reservoir.”

“The maximum Cory Gardner reservoir.” As the Times reports, there are three different proposals to build a dam of varying height on the White River, which would result in progressively larger capacity reservoirs to replace the existing Kenney Reservoir which is gradually losing its storage capacity to sedimentation. Obviously, the higher the dam you build, the more it will cost.

Which brings us to the next logical question:

A roundtable member asked, “Did the senator promise the money for this?” [Pols emphasis]

The basin roundtables operate under the auspices of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and review grants for water projects.

“No, he did not, unfortunately,” said Brad McCloud of EIS Solutions, a public affairs consulting firm retained by the district. “We asked.”

The irony of a representative of EIS Solutions, one of the state’s busiest Republican political consultant groups, delivering the bad news that Cory Gardner has nothing to offer to actually help build the “maximum Cory Gardner reservoir” was not lost on us! Of course, it’s not our purpose to make a judgment on the objective merits of building a large new reservoir in western Colorado–we know our readers will not be unanimous on this question. The point is that if Cory Gardner wants to leave some kind of Wayne Aspinall-style legacy of water storage projects across the landscape of Colorado, he needs to have the pork-barrel juice to back it up. And it would seem that Gardner does not.

Perhaps the “maximum Cory Gardner reservoir” is a tub just big enough to drown the government in?

0 Shares

Somebody please run against Jerry Sonnenberg

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jerry Sonnenberg is winding up his first term in the Colorado Senate. He is up for re-election in 2018, and no one has stepped up to run against him.  Sonnenberg ran unopposed for his first Senate term, and for all four of his previous House terms, until he was termed out in 2014.  No wonder he doesn’t return liberal constituent’s phone calls – he feels pretty safe ignoring their concerns. What are they going to do, run a Democrat against him?

Sonnenberg has referred to a fellow female Senator as”eye candy” and tweeted that he’d like to lube his assault rifle with “Obama tears”. He legislated against eminent domain for water pipelines, and for eminent domain for oil and gas companies. He sponsored legislation to prohibit protesting at oil  and gas sites, and he is a climate science denier.

In an excellent piece by Win the Fourth (WTF),  the author makes the case for fielding a Democrat to run against Sonnenberg.

(more…)

0 Shares

Felon Elected to Greeley City Council – Opponent Sues

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Eddie Mirick was just elected to the at-large seat on Greeley’s City Council.  Mirick  has a 1978 felony conviction for forgery, which he lied about when he filled out the paperwork to run for City Council.  The charter of Greeley, a “home-rule” city, specifically does not allow anyone convicted of a felony to be elected to City Council. Yet Mirick was elected, and City Council members have seated him, and are letting the court decide whether he will be allowed to serve.

Mirick’s eligibility to serve on City Council will be decided in District Court, pending the result of a lawsuit filed by the campaign manager of Mirick’s opponent, Stacy  Suniga.

Mirick (3rd from left) on Greeley for a Stronger Economy’s FB ad

The makeup of Greeley’s City Council will affect the balance of power between oil and gas interests vs. the public health of residents, in one of the most fracked cities in America.

Mirick is a veteran, and lives with physical disabilities. He is active in charities and community groups. And he strongly supports oil and gas development in Greeley.  Mirick benefitted from over $65,000 spent for cable TV ads from a shadowy Denver group: “Greeley for a Stronger Economy (GSE)*”.  Mayor John Gates, and two other candidates for Greeley City Council:   appointed member Brett Payton, who won his seat against opponent Lavonna Longwell by a grand total of 2 votes. (after recount), and Ward 3 candidate Michael Fitsimmons were also promoted by GSE advertising.

(more…)

0 Shares

Brauchler Surprised that “Water is a Huge Issue” in Colorado

So, tell me more about this…water.

Many of the 17 dozen candidates for Governor in Colorado descended on the annual “Club 20 Fall Conference” in Grand Junction over the weekend. Candidates from the Front Range may not be exposed to all of the issues that are critical to Colorado’s Western Slope, but Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler was a bit too candid in his comments. As the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

As the current district attorney for the 18th Judicial District in the Denver metropolitan area, the Republican knows much about public safety issues, from the courts to law enforcement.

But being governor necessitates more than just a rudimentary understanding of other issues, something he’s learned while campaigning on the Western Slope in the crowded race for the GOP nomination for governor.

“The one issue that I did not anticipate, but appreciate more than any of the other (issues), is water,” Brauchler said Friday shortly after meeting with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership about business issues. “On the Front Range, the water issue is when I turn on my tap, is it there? Getting around the state as much as I have over the past five months, water is a huge issue.” Brauchler said his lack of understanding about water issues prompted him to meet with numerous water experts, including those with the Colorado River District. [Pols emphasis]

His main takeaway, which is still under development, is more storage and more conservation.

Whhaaatttt???

It’s hard to overstate the weirdness of Brauchler’s comments here. Water policy has been among the most important issues in Colorado since…well, since before Colorado became Colorado. We have a Statewide Water Plan in Colorado, for crying out loud. Water policy in Colorado is extremely complicated, as this briefing document from the State of Colorado outlines, so candidates can be forgiven for not knowing all of the details. But not knowing that water is a big issue in general is a flabbergasting acknowledgment from a serious gubernatorial candidate.

This bizarre admission is a terrible look for Brauchler — and no doubt something that will haunt him in the months to come. It is an inexcusable mistake that Brauchler was not better-briefed before he grabbed the microphone in Grand Junction.

If you’re not familiar with Colorado water issues, you probably shouldn’t show up at a “Club 20” event. For that matter, if you’re not familiar with water issues, you probably shouldn’t be running for governor of Colorado.

0 Shares

Gardner Talks Plenty, Answers Little in Telephone Townhall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Why won’t Cory Gardner do in -person, live town halls? That’s easy –  if he did, he would have baffled crowds of people yelling, “What?” “Who?” “When?” and turning to each other, muttering, “What – what did he just say? It sounded great, but what does it mean?” He couldn’t handle the follow-up questions. At all. There are no “mute” or “delete” buttons for real people asking inconvenient questions in a live town hall.

I listened to Senator Gardner talk at his constituents for an hour during his tele-town hall on August 2, 2017. For the first time in all of the Gardner town halls I’ve sat through, he actually answered one of my questions.  (at 49:15 in the recording). Unfortunately, it was a question with lots of wiggle room – perfect for Gardner. On the other hand, plenty of people asked him very specific questions, and he didn’t answer those, either.

Here’s what I heard between 7:05 pm and 8:05 pm on Gardner’s telephone town hall. All questions and answers are paraphrased, unless I’m using quotation marks.

Photo: ADAPT protest, Cory Gardner’s Greeley office, July 27, 2017.

In his introduction, Gardner spewed the usual glibberish. He’s going to repair the damage of Obamacare, because so many Coloradans got their policies cancelled or had to pay fines, bla bla. He lied again about how many town halls he’s held, counting his one on one meetings with a health care CEO and stopping to get fruit for his kids at a roadside stand as “meeting with Coloradans”. Oh, and he had dinner at a ranch, and met with  Chamber of Commerce members.  Aren’t those town halls? Cory swears that counts as a town hall.

Still glibbering, Gardner talked about cybersecurity and his bill to make the “internet of things” more secure, which cook rightly pointed out is not-bad legislation.  He also talked about opening up more broadband “spectrum” in rural Colorado, and mentioned tax reform, coming to you in September!!

Then he began taking questions. Some had been submitted online, while most were live telephone callers.

(more…)

0 Shares

Rep. Ken Buck – Still lying, but nicely

Representative Buck is a good communicator. His conversational skills were on display in his Sterling Town Hall on July 29, 2017.  He does not always tell the truth, and his point of view is limited to what one would expect from one of the ten most conservative members of the House of Representatives, and proud member of the ultra-right wing Freedom Caucus.  I’ve listed Buck’s lies and lies by omission below.

Buck handles these town halls well – he doesn’t get flustered when confronted, and  stayed in control with a crowd that was at least 50% Democratic and progressive. The impromptu town hall in Longmont got a little rowdier, but Buck still kept his cool.  I’d call the overall tone of the Sterling meeting “polite but firm” , for all parties involved.

Over the course of the  one hour town hall meeting, Buck and his constituents discussed the budget process, the health care bills past, present, and future, education, water law, Bitcoin and “crypto-currency”, renewable energy, constitutional convention, the VA hospital, and civility in politics. I’ve highlighted some of the places in which Representative Buck strayed from the truth.

  • At 22:59, during a renewable energy discussion , Buck said that he’s against mandates, not renewable energy, even though Colorado now gets 24% of its electricity from wind and solar, and wind turbine jobs are the fastest growing job category in the country. . He was unable to justify his statement that renewable energy is hurting Coloradans and costing them money.
  • At 30:00 Buck says he’s against unfunded mandates in education, but doesn’t commit to fund them.
  • At 39:00, Buck lies about how much ACA coverage cost in 2014. (ACA = $1800, wife’s plan =$108 – but not mentioning that the  Federal Government subsidizes all congressmembers health at 90%, so his remaining 10% cost would have been $180/mo). If you recall, Cory Gardner  tried to scam voters with this same BS, and was never able to show any proof that his ACA payment was more expensive than his private plan.
  • At 40:00 Rep. Buck says he wants to drive down costs of premiums & deductibles, but neglects to mention that the House AHCA bill would have driven those way up for consumers.
  • At 49:45 , he says we should encourage people to be healthier and drive down health care costs that way (but the bill he supported would have eliminated ACA’s preventative medicine coverage).
  • Buck told a LIE again at 51:13 when he said that the GOP congress “never attempted to repeal and replace” Obamacare. The GOP Congress voted over 50 times to “repeal the ACA, and Buck personally voted 3X since he was elected in 2014 to repeal the ACA.
  • Again, at 53: 00 when Buck is asked what can be done about the lack of civility in DC, he blames the media for publicizing sensational stories, not a Republican administration which refuses to work across the aisle, nor a President who models terrible and uncivil behavior.
  • At 53:30, Buck is asked about his book Drain the Swamp, and  if it is true that he wants to change the Constitution. He replies that he would like to have a Constitutional Convention, but only to get a balanced budget and term limits. Whew. It’s not like there are any Koch brothers or nuts out there who want a Con-con just to repeal the last two centuries of progress.

Ken Buck apparently also has access to the Trump White House connection to Breitbart public relations  services. Buck’s humorous “Cut the Debt” video

features Trey Gowdy, Mia Love, Ted Cruz, and other Congress members, and promotes his point of view that cutting the national debt is an urgent priority. It was a front page Breitbart story on 3/15/2017.

Ken Buck is still one of the most conservative members of Congress. People running against him need to confront him on policy and votes. He’s not stupid or undisciplined – he’s not going to curse anyone out or get into a sex or money scandal. He’ll be a formidable foe not least because he is so “nice” and “personable”. Candidates running against him need to be prepared to confront him on votes, policies, and facts, stay polite and respectful, but call his lies out when necessary.

Representative Buck has other town hall meetings scheduled. See his website for updates.

0 Shares

Good news! July 1-7, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary is about small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine, and categories often overlap.

Attorneys General across the country (including Colorado’s Coffman)  are claiming that they will check Big Pharma’s pushing of opiods, “clear the swamp”, ensure fair voting, and protect transgender people. AGs be aware – people will check to see that you follow through on your promises.

Voting rights roundup

flag with I voted

Image by debaird on flikr

Fourth of July, Fireworks, and the Franchise – what could be more patriotic? Voting seems to be on everyone’s minds right now.

Alabama seeks to inform felons of restored voting rights in jail

Kentucky also ordered the voting rights of 284 felons to be restored.

Kris Kobach, Vice-Chair of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity,  requested that all 50 states send him their voter information by July 14 so that the Commission can create a national voter registry to prevent what he claims is rampant voter fraud.

Unfortunately, rather than creating a process to make it easier for voters to register and vote, the Commission’s goal appears to be to selectively disenfranchise voters. The good news is that 45 states now have refused to provide part or all of the information requested. President Trump is not pleased, and has let us know this in his usual way.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, KY Secretary of State said that there is  “not enough bourbon in Kentucky” to make  Trump’s request seem sensible.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann suggested that, “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from…”

Floridians are also petitioning to restore voting rights to felons.

Colorado’s Secretary of State Wayne Williams is trying to have it both ways  –  comply with Trump’s request, while still protecting the privacy of Colorado voters by supplying only publicly available information. Many voters are choosing to keep their data confidential by filing a form and paying $5 at the Secretary of State’s Office.

Voters seldom commit fraud in Colorado – but when they do, they are usually Republicans.

(more…)

0 Shares

Good News! June 16-23, 2017

(Because Lord knows we can use some – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This was a hard week to write “Good News” for. Still, there was some.

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine.

This week, it’s all about the heat, voters, immigrant rights, cannabis, and beer. Farmer’s markets. Buying local. No sports news, because the only sports I halfway understand are basketball and baseball. Anything else, I’m the one looking at you to see when to stand up and cheer.

Environmental / energy

It’s freaking hot in Colorado, especially on the western slope , down south, and in Denver, but the head of the EPA won’t say if climate change is a hoax, although his boss says it is.

Good news: It’s not as hot as Phoenix’s 119 degrees . Even AZ Sen. McCain thinks this global warming thing is the real deal.   Plastic mailboxes are melting in Arizona – it’s that hot.  (Photo from reddit, via Buzzfeed)

 

MacGregor Ranch is piloting a program to work closely with the NRCS to cut underbrush and mitigate wildfire risk, since it is so freaking hot in Colorado. Drought and wildfires are the two main hazards Colorado experiences from climate change. Here’s the video from the pilot project.

Virgin Mobile and several other big retailers are planning to conserve energy by running their trucking fleets more efficiently.

Coal India, the world’s largest coal mining company, will shut down 37 of its mines that are no longer economically viable. The lost energy will be replaced mainly with solar.

Clean energy jobs remain the fastest-growing employment sector in Colorado  – with 62,000 added last year.  65% of those jobs are in energy efficiency.   This all helps Colorado to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 2.3%.    Rates for youth under 24 were at 6%, and for Hispanics at 5%, still lower than most other states.

There’s still some good fishing around Colorado. Get’em while there’s still water enough to fish in.

And you can drive to your fishing spot on roads you won’t have to pay an extra tax on, per the Colorado Business Coalition. Amendment 267 passed, funding $3 Billion for road repair and maintenance; however, $10 billion was needed. Where will that come from?

The “Dog Days” are  approaching. If you see poor Puddles panting in a hot car, you can break in to save the pet – but not legally,  in Colorado, until August.

(more…)

0 Shares

Good news! Week of June 11- 17, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine. And that’s fine. Something I’m missing? Add it in the comments.

LGBT:

Massive Marches may move us, but the  biggest and gayest parade this year in Colorado will be Pridefest, this Sunday June 18. Civic Center Park will host the celebration all weekend. For your daily minimum requirement of fabulousness, go to Pridefest Denver. (Photo from 2016 Pridefest, Wikipedia Commons)

Pridefest Denver 2016 -from Wikipedia commons

LGBT hero: One of the Capitol Police agents wounded in the recent terrorist attack in DC was Crystal Griner, a married lesbian woman. Griner and her fellow officers, including David Bailey , rushed the shooter, taking him down and preventing a massacre.

(more…)

0 Shares

Rep. Doug Lamborn Hopes Trump’s EPA Screws Over Pueblo

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports, GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is appealing to the Environmental Protection Agency–that is, the new EPA under President Donald Trump–to drop a lawsuit filed by that agency and joined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Pueblo County over the city of Colorado Springs’ mismanagement of sometimes pollution-laden stormwater flowing down Fountain Creek to the Arkansas River in Pueblo:

Pueblo County officials bristled upon learning that Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its water quality lawsuit against Colorado Springs.

Pueblo County Commission Chairman Terry Hart said Lamborn has played no role in the years of negotiations between Colorado Springs and county officials over stormwater controls, adding: “He should stay the heck out of it.”

…Hart countered that Lamborn is ignoring the importance of the lawsuit in forging a better relationship between Pueblo County and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and that city’s council.

Hart said Suthers’ support for spending $460 million over 20 years is a fragile commitment between Pueblo County and the current leadership in Colorado Springs.

“The threat of that lawsuit was critically important in our reaching an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado Springs,” Hart said Tuesday. “We joined that lawsuit to protect our interests and right now, Colorado Springs is doing a good job of honoring its commitment. But the lawsuit would nail down the agreement to withstand the political winds that blow back and forth.” [Pols emphasis]

Lamborn and Colorado Springs argue that their agreement to improve management of stormwater from that city negates the basis of the lawsuit. But Pueblo officials counter that the lawsuit (or the threat thereof) was what motivated Colorado Springs to come to the table at all–and if it were to be dropped before resolution, especially before that remediation work was complete, Colorado Springs might find itself substantially less motivated to care about the polluted stormwater that flows downstream into Pueblo.

With that said, Lamborn’s push to get the EPA to abandon this lawsuit is meeting resistance from fellow Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, who represents Pueblo:

“While Congressman Tipton has been encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Mayor (John) Suthers to solve this long-standing problem, the lawsuit was filed by both the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a reason,” a spokesman said. [Pols emphasis]

It will be interesting to see if Tipton sticks to his guns in the event of an adverse decision by the EPA regarding this lawsuit, but for now it’s good to see him at least paying lip service standing up to Rep. Lamborn and Colorado Springs. Working-class Pueblo has long felt slighted by its larger neighbor to the north, whose military-based economy gives them economic stability as well as population growth that has worsened pollution along Fountain Creek. The promise of new funding to protect Fountain Creek was critical in Pueblo’s approval of the Southern Delivery System, which connected Colorado Springs water supply to Pueblo Reservoir.

All told, it’s just another consequence of the political sea change caused by Trump’s surprise election. Everyone with something to gain from rolling back environmental protections, or for that matter any regulations viewed as impediments to progress as defined by interests favored by the Trump administration, is making their play.

And without vigorous opposition, it’s always communities like Pueblo who will get the shaft.

0 Shares

In CD3 race, Schwartz and Tipton radio interviews reveal contrasts on public land management positions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gail Schwartz.

Gail Schwartz.

During separate interviews broadcast last Wednesday on KSJD (91.5 FM, Cortez), host Austin Cope questioned the two major party candidates running for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District seat, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and former legislator and CU Regent, Democrat Gail Schwartz from Crested Butte. Their answers highlighted one of the more contentious issues emanating from the coverage of their race: Schwartz’s attacks on Tipton’s record in protecting and managing federal lands in Colorado, and Tipton pushing back by characterizing her attacks as misleading or untrue.

In recent weeks, the CD3 race has gained unexpected attention, with a volatile campaign landscape in an unconventional and somewhat unpredictable presidential cycle, attracting late and significant increases in political spending from Colorado entities and out-of-state sources.

Schwartz has benefited from a surge in momentum in a district where Republicans were previously heavily favored.

The candidates’ contrasting policy positions on public land management have been highlighted in reporting and endorsements from an array of Western Slope and front range media outlets, including The Daily SentinelThe Durango Herald, Real Vail, The Pueblo Chieftain, The Colorado Independentand Colorado Public Radio.  

(more…)

0 Shares

Trump Supporter Who Poisoned Groundwater Places Trump Billboards on I76

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The plains roll on for hundreds of miles  under blank blue skies near Roggen, Colorado. Sage, scrub grass, fracking tanks, and a few cattle dot the vast landscape.  Roggen itself is a ghost of its former prosperity – the town consists of a grain elevator, a telephone co-op,  two churches, a convenience store, and a post office.

Yet, Roggen boasts two new roadside attractions: gigantic “Trump for President” billboards facing west and east, placed to catch the eyes of all travelers along I76.

I wanted to find out who felt strongly enough about Mr. Trump’s candidacy to build, paint, and place these monumental political advertisements in this desolate area. I investigated, and found a family saga rooted in the heyday of Colorado political journalism, in the gas and oil boom years, including rodeo circuit stardom and family tragedy, and the criminal indictment and sentencing of the landowner, Mr. Mike Cervi, for violating the Safe Water Act by injecting petroleum wastes into the High Plains / Ogalalla Aquifer from 2001 – 2002.

Cervi’s Journal – the founding Cervi business

Eugene Cervi produced and edited Cervi’s Rocky Mountain Business Journal in Denver from 1954 until his death in 1970.   Cervi’s Journal later became the Denver Business Journal. “Gene” and his daughter, editor Cle Symons Cervi, were both inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.   Gene Cervi was twice Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, although he was critical of JFK. Later in his career, the “Journal” became more conservative and more pro-business in viewpoint.

(more…)

9 Shares

Bernie Sanders to Supporters: Run for Office, Keep Progressive Agenda Alive

On June 16, 2016, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders  spoke to  his supporters for 25 minutes. Since I have been and am a supporter, I signed up, and took notes on the speech, the important points of which are summarized below. A video link is also included at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot of Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders speech to supporters, screenshot 6/16/16

Most of Bernie’s speech was a list of what progressive Democrats want and fought for, what we want our country to be and to do. As such, there are few surprises in the list.These are not “demands”, as we used to say in the 70s. These are the prerequisites for social and economic justice.

I didn’t expect, but was delighted by, Bernie’s call for his supporters to run for local political office: school boards, county commissioners, entry-level offices, however we can get our feet in the door. I applaud this and agree strongly. That is what it will take for real change. From the bottom up -that’s how change happens. As expected, Sanders called for the party to unify to defeat Donald Trump. He has pledged to support this effort, and will do so.

UPDATE: 6700 people responded to Bernie’s call for public service. Per Berniesanders.com, “The 6,685 supporters who expressed interest in running cover 51 percent of state house districts, 69 percent of state senate districts and every congressional district in the country.”

He called for his 1900 delegates to come in to the convention to create the most progressive platform in Democratic history, and to act on it. He called for a 50 state strategy – decrying the lack of support for Democratic candidates,  allowing right wingers to take red state governments unopposed.

He called for the Democratic National Committee to open its doors, welcome young people and working people. He called for the DNC to embrace a $15 / hour wage. He called for a party which has “the guts” to take on the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. He called for stopping the  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) –  it should not come to a vote during a lame duck session of Congress, he said. These are positions which sharply differentiate his policies from those of Hillary Clinton.

What Bernie did not say was more surprising:

  • He did not “concede” defeat in the primary election, although that was implied.
  • He did not endorse Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, although he emphasized that they have much more in common than not.
  • He included very little on foreign policy – only in points 29 and 30 below did he allude to the Department of Defense and wars abroad, and only to emphasize cutting waste in the DoD, and not to spend young people’s lives in unnecessary wars. This was primarily a domestic policy speech.
  • He didn’t talk about the drug war or marijuana legalization, although he criticized the prison industry and school-to-prison pipeline in point 27.
  • He did not call for an end to superdelegates, lobbyist contributions to the DNC. He did not say what his negotiations with rules committee would be. He did not mention today’s big news that unpopular chairwomanDebbie Wasserman Schultz is stepping aside as party chair to allow Brandon Davis to take over operations.
  • He did not mention the numerous allegations of fraud and voter suppression in the Democratic primary.

 

Here’s what the man did say:
1.    The revolution continues – like every movement for social change, civil rights, etc.
2.    In every state, we won the overwhelming majority of those under 45.
3.    We are mainstream, not a fringe movement.  Numbers. 12 million votes, 22 states, Stats on contributions, 75 million phone calls, 5 million doors, 740,000 meetings, etc. Showed that we could run a national campaign without big money contributions. Bulk of contributions came from low income and working people.
4.    In every state, we took on the entire political establishment. Senators, Reps, Governors, elected officials.
5.   6:35  This campaign has never been about any single candidate .
6.    It’s about ending income inequality. It’s about ending corrupt campaign finance by corporations. Creating an economy for all of us, not just the 1%.
7.    Ending status quo: Native American reservation low life expectancy, lower than 3rd world countries. Millions of Americans dying at a younger age than their parents: suicide, drugs, alcohol, highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialized country on earth. Ending the disgrace, undocumented people exploited on their jobs.
8.    Tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from preventable diseases, because lack health insurance, high deductibles, costly drugs.
9.    Young single mom in Nevada in tears, asking on $10/hr, How can we make it ? Millions like her.
10.    Mom in Flint, Mich. Excessive lead in water, stunted intellectual development of her child. Thousands of CA homes can’t drink tap water.
11.    Homelessness is increasing.  veterans in streets – lack of affordable housing.
12.    Corporations avoid paying a nickel in Federal taxes, stash in tax havens.
13.    6:40 Priority this year is defeating Donald Trump. Makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign.  Trump wants to give hundreds of B of $ in tax breaks to very rich, is a climate change denier.
14.    Major political task: Defeat Trump, badly. My role in that process will begin soon. But can’t be our only goal. Must continue grassroots  movement.
15.    Must take our energy in to the Dem convention in Philly with >1900 delegates. I met with Sec. Clinton.
16.    No secret HRC and I have strong disagreements, on important issues but agree on others.
17.    I will make sure that your voices are heard. Democrats will pass the most progressive platform in its history and that we actually fight for that agenda.
18.    I look forward to working with Sec. Clinton to form aparty that has the guts to take on the Pharma, Fossil Fuel industries, others.
19.    Dem party must support raising Fed. minimum wage to $15 / hr.  women .79 / vs men $1. Women must have right to control own bodies. Protect right to gay marriage.
20.    As Orlando has made clear, Ban sale and distribution of assault weapons, gun show loophole, and have instant background checks.
21.    Stop the TPP, must not come to the floor in a lame duck session.
22.    Expand Social security, not cut it.
23.    Greed, recklessness of Wall st must end. Pass a modern Glass Steagal. No more “too big to fail”.
24.    Aggressively combat climate change, impose a tax on carbon. Must protect our water supply by banning fracking.
25.    To compete effectively globally, Make public colleges tuition free reduce student debt.
26.    Join rest of industrialized world – Health care a right, not a privilege
27.    Stop incarcerating more people than any other country – Rein in prison industry, criminal justice reform.
28.    Comprehensive immigration reform for 11 M undocumented people.
29.    Cut waste in every department including Department of Defense.
30.    Can’t keep throwing young people into perpetual unnecessary wars.
31.    6:47 Revolution means more than Fight for our ideals, defeat D Trump. At every level continue to fight for our nation to be just. Current DNC leadership has turned its back on dozens of states, like red states, allowed right wing to run unopposed, we need a 50 state strategy. Must provide resources to ignored and poor states.
32.    Leadership, DNC must open its doors, welcome working people and young people. That is the energy we need to transform the Democratic party and our country. Cold hard fact. Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans.  We must Start engaging at local and state level in unprecedented way.
33.    Young people deeply concerned about country and community. Start running for office! School boards, commissioners, whatever! Be prepared to engage at that level.
34.    6:50 With energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown, we can win significant numbers of offices at down ticket level. We need new blood. You are that new blood.
35.    Government is not the enemy.(what Republicans say). I disagree. Government must protect us and our planet. But we need to attract dedicated people from all walks of life to run for office.
36.    Tens of thousands of new Dr.s, medical personnel, where people lack care.
37.    We need child care workers, teachers.
38.    We need scientists, engineers, entrepeneurs to work for renewables, efficient and cost effective as possible. Construction.
39.    Business people who respect employees and environment.
40.    Conclude: we have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America. My hope is that when historians look back and find when we began reversing the trend towards oligarchy. They see that the political revolution began in 2016. 6:53. Dark screen.

Version 1 of this diary posted at caucus99percent.com

Video available here and here

Full transcript of Sanders’ speech from Burlington Free Press

To recruit candidates, go to berniesanders.com/win

0 Shares

Animas Animus: From Mindless EPA Bashing To The Real Issue

UPDATE #2: The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul:

For roughly two decades, Silverton has pushed back against the EPA designating the area a Superfund site, which could have brought substantial remediation funds. In 2014 the EPA warned the town that without such a label, funds for long-term remediation would be scarce.

Town and county officials say the new resolution is not a request for Superfund designation, though such an option is still on the table…

Silverton had rejected Superfund designation out of fears of the stigma associated with it. Superfund sites are on the national priority list for hazardous waste cleanup and can attract massive sums of federal aid.

Mark Eddy, a spokesman for the town and San Juan County, said Tuesday while this petition for federal funds is not linked to Superfund, it does not remove that option.

—–

UPDATE: FOX 31 reports this afternoon that officials from San Juan County and the town of Silverton passed a joint resolution last night seeking federal aid to clean up their polluting mines–acknowledging that the problem is longstanding, and making no attempt to blame the EPA:

“The people of the town of Silverton and San Juan County understand that this problem is in our district and we feel we bear a greater responsibility to our downstream neighbors to help find a solution to the issue of leaking mines,” the resolution said.

“We have been working together for over 20 years to try to deal with the environmental threat of the idled mines in the area, but we’ve never had the resources necessary to get the job done,” Silverton town administrator Bill Gardner said in a statement. “We are committed to working with our downstream partners to make sure a disaster like the Gold King spill never ever happens again.”

…The joint resolution says federal funding could pay for building and operating a water treatment facility and further remediation of the contaminated mines in the area.

Here’s the full language of the joint resolution. This significantly more contrite stance from the local stakeholders in Silverton, no longer deflecting blame out of political expediency–though we’re obliged to point out that the “resources necessary to get the job done” have been repeatedly rejected by these same local officials–should be regarded as a very positive development.

—–

Animas River fouled by minewater spill near Silverton.

Animas River fouled by minewater spill near Silverton.

After weeks of grandstanding politicians making speeches, and conservative astroturf “grassroots” groups issuing over-the-top press releases vilifying the Environmental Protection Agency for the spill of mine wastewater into the Animas River early this month, we’re no closer to answering the most important question: how do we prevent another disaster from the derelict, polluted mines above Silverton, Colorado?

As everyone not on the well-funded low-information gubmint-bashing bandwagon knows, the EPA unleashed the spill into Cement Creek above Silverton while attempting to remediate what was well known by all stakeholders to be a rapidly worsening minewater pollution problem. Contaminated runoff had been building up for years behind hastily-erected bulkheads in disused commercial mines, while mine owners from small-time local outfits to Canadian gold mining giant Kinross pointed fingers at each other. About the only thing Silverton locals and mining corporations could agree on was that they didn’t want the EPA declaring the area a Superfund site. Mining companies were afraid that operations would not be able to resume, and other locals feared the damage to Silverton’s “repuation.”

Well, as the Durango Herald reports today, the debate over Silverton’s “reputation” has taken on a very different meaning in the wake of the spill. And the part of the story frothing EPA bashers don’t want to talk about is taking center stage:

The Animas River Stakeholders Group – an un-elected volunteer group that for two decades has been at the center of the debate about how to address the pollution gushing out of Silverton’s defunct mines – is to meet Tuesday for the first time since Gold King Mine spewed 3 million gallons of sludge downstream on Aug. 5…

The meeting comes at a time when the question of whether the Environmental Protection Agency should list Silverton’s oozing mines under Superfund has taken on new urgency for both downstream communities such as Durango and people in Silverton.

Mine water retention ponds near Silverton. Photo credit: EPA

Mine water retention ponds near Silverton. Photo credit: EPA

On the one hand, you have basically every Republican politician and allied interest group in the state focusing their attention solely on the EPA’s role in this latest spill. On the other, you have stakeholders from the Animas River’s headwaters in Silverton all the way down to the river’s end and beyond–tens of thousands of people–who understand that the problem is much older and much bigger, and that this was just the latest symptom.

And those people are beginning to understand something else: a small faction in Silverton, Colorado, population 629, and big-money mining interests behind them, have put these tens of thousands in danger for their own self-interest:

Facebook users have been planning to crash the meeting for weeks. Tom Newman, writing on The Durango Herald’s website, challenged others to attend in the wake of the Gold King blowout and go “person to person” to ask why Silvertonians still spurn Superfund designation…

Even in recent years, as pollution from Silverton-area mines worsened – killing 3 out of 4 fish species living in the Animas below Bakers Bridge – San Juan County officials resisted the EPA’s warnings that the defunct mines needed to be placed under Superfund, saying they preferred working on the problem through the stakeholders’ group. [Pols emphasis]

But since the Gold King blowout, skeptics downstream and in Silverton have questioned whether a cleanup can be accomplished through the stakeholders’ group – which counts representatives from Sunnyside Gold Corp., the last major mining company to operate in the area, and San Juan Corp., the owner of Gold King Mine, among its members.

Folks, it was always going to come back to this. The last few weeks of nonstop bashing of the EPA by opportunistic Republican politicians, who never once gave a shit about the Animas River but became its come-lately champions in order to attack the EPA on unrelated issues, have accomplished absolutely nothing to solve the very real and ongoing problem of pollution flowing out of Silverton’s mines. Releasing “Good Samaritans” from liability for their own cleanup accidents is one idea, but it can’t possibly solve a problem this big–not in Silverton, or the many other polluting mines throughout the West. No one is suggesting that the EPA be held blameless for the harm from this latest spill, but fixating on the EPA instead of the pollution they were trying to clean up is an inexcusable distraction.

Hopefully, that’s about to end. Because whatever the solution is, we’re going to need the EPA.

0 Shares

All of Colorado is (NOT) Contaminated

Gov. John Hickenlooper drinks from the Animas River.

Gov. John Hickenlooper drinks from the Animas River.

Governor John Hickenlooper juggles a lot of different responsibilities as Colorado’s top elected official — which includes serving as Colorado’s chief tester of gross-looking water, which he did again last week in chugging a bottle of water from the Animas River in the aftermath of the Gold King mine wastewater spill.

Hickenlooper agreed to drink from the river at the request of several people in the Durango area in an effort to assure people that the water was safe — and the big sip made Hick plenty of friends as a result. From the Durango Herald:

John Hickenlooper was Johnny-On-The-Spot, clearing his schedule to be in town, see the Animas River firsthand, listen to concerns and offer the power of his office.

Then there was The Moment – when Gov. Hickenlooper took a bold stand for Durango and La Plata County. He defiantly raised a bottle of river water and downed it.

“If that shows that Durango is open for business, I’m happy to help,” he said.

Hickenlooper didn’t say whether or not the Animas River was tastier than the glass of fracking fluid he once quaffed, but the move nevertheless generated a bit of controversy. On Monday, Denver Post reporter John Frank Tweeted a link to his Sunday story about the Animas River, asking the question “Is [Hickenlooper’s] big Animas River sip a liability or political win?” Here’s what the Governor had to say regarding his motivation for drinking from the river:

“The point I was trying to make is that the river is back to normal,” Hickenlooper said in an interview after returning from Durango. “There’s a silver lining in all this. It doesn’t appear there is going to be lasting environmental damage or significant environmental damage, and what most of us were fearful of didn’t happen.”

Sunday’s Post story notes some vague disapproval from the likes of state Sen. Ellen Roberts, who offered her usual brand of WTF-flavored commentary, but you’d have to really squint your eyes in order to make out the downside of Hick’s demonstration. By swigging river water, the Governor was making a pointed effort to ease fears and tamper speculation about the extent of the pollution in the Animas River — and to make sure that misinformation didn’t cripple the tourism economy in Southern Colorado. (more…)

0 Shares

Republican Animas River BS Reaches Flood Stage

EPA treats wastewater at Gold King Mine. Photo credit: EPA

EPA treats wastewater at Gold King Mine. Photo credit: EPA

For nearly two weeks now, local and national headlines have been dominated by a spill of acidic mine wastewater by an Environmental Protection Agency work crew into a tributary of the Animas River near Silverton. Investigating longstanding but recently accelerated minewater pollution into Cement Creek, workers punched through debris blocking an abandoned mine entrance, unleashing a torrent of yellow water that flowed through Durango and into neighboring states. As of today, the Animas River has re-opened for recreation and irrigation, and work continues to determine the extent of the harm done–with a sense of heightened awareness of the tens of thousands of abandoned mines across the West, many leaking pollution into our precious water supplies.

On the other hand, for some politicians including many local Republicans, this disaster has become an opportunity to attack one of their foremost bêtes noires–an opportunity they’ve seized to the utmost, even at the long-term expense of their own credibility. As the AP reports via the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Authorities say rivers tainted by last week’s massive spill from an abandoned Colorado gold mine are starting to recover, but for the Environmental Protection Agency the political fallout from the disaster could linger.

The federal agency’s critics are already seeking to use its much-maligned handling of the mine spill to undercut the Obama administration’s rollout of major regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions at the nation’s power plants. [Pols emphasis] Members of oversight committees in both the House and Senate say they are planning hearings after Congress returns from its August recess…

For Republicans, it was an opportunity to put the EPA on the defensive.

“I think we have seen what happens when the EPA comes after private industry — they come after them with heavy hand,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. “Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and we have seen a lack of communication and coordination. … This goes to the core competency of the EPA.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R).

House Speaker John Boehner (R).

Some responses on the right to the spill, like from Koch-related conservative advocacy group Advancing Colorado, have been laughably ridiculous. But with this latest story, we’re beginning to see press coverage back away from the right’s early success at turning this spill into an EPA hatefest, and the beginnings of recognition that Republicans are misusing the Animas River minewater spill to undermine the EPA on totally unrelated issues.

“The House will continue to monitor the situation and the appropriate committees will conduct rigorous oversight to make sure the administration is assessing the damage the EPA has caused and taking action to clean it up,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Now that his EPA has accepted full responsibility, I expect President Obama to demand full accountability for what happened here.”

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

With Republicans from House Speaker John Boehner on down piling on with ever more bellicose anti-EPA talking points, it’s necessary to return to what actually happened in the mountains above Silverton two weeks ago this coming Wednesday. This weekend, one of many excellent stories on the spill published in the Durango Herald got to the heart of the matter far better than most coverage we’ve seen. Contrary to what Boehner, Cory Gardner, and all the other Republicans hoping to exploit this spill for unrelated political gains are saying, the EPA was working to clean up pollution, not create it. The EPA did not “cause” the pollution in the mines above Silverton, private mining interests did.

In fact, the EPA has been trying to solve the problem for years. Who resisted? The local population of Silverton, and the mostly corporate owners of the mines doing the polluting.

Three million gallons of sludge rushed out of Gold King Mine last week, flooding the Animas River with higher levels of metals than usual, causing economic and environmental damage in three states. Yet in the wake of the disaster, many Silvertonians are redoubling their resistance to a Superfund listing the Environmental Protection Agency has long argued is necessary to deal with the town’s network of draining mines…

Tim Hewett said the “pro-Superfund forces are very vocal right now,” but the majority of the town’s residents still oppose any such listing on the National Priorities List, fearing the designation will ruin the town’s reputation, strangle credit and blight the local economy.

…But to the thousands of people living downstream of Silverton, the problem isn’t so much the EPA as it is Silverton residents’ decades-long refusal to accept that their mines require federal intervention. [Pols emphasis]

Mine water retention ponds near Silverton. Photo credit: EPA

Mine water retention ponds near Silverton. Photo credit: EPA

Here’s the bottom line: a few people in the small town of Silverton, along with mining companies like Canadian Kinross Gold who would someday like to restarting mining operations there, have deliberately fought off a Superfund designation for many years. Their fight to “protect” the town’s “reputation” and mining profit center from the EPA has endangered communities downstream along the Animas River that number in the tens of thousands–17,000 in Durango, almost 50,000 in Farmington, New Mexico.

It’s got to end, folks. The political abuse of this spill to attack the EPA on unrelated issues is a massive insult to the intelligence of the voters, and reporters and news outlets who subsidize this attack are grossly disserving the public. The true cause of this disaster, mining companies unwilling to clean up their mess, and local interests too fearful for the future of their almost-ghost town to make waves, is in no way the fault of the EPA. The EPA was up there trying to determine the extent of a problem everyone knew was getting worse. Blaming the EPA is like blaming the paramedic who arrives to treat your injuries.

Protect the jobs of hundreds, or the health and well-being of tens of thousands? That’s the real question at stake here, and it’s the question that opportunistic grandstanding Republican politicians, deep-pocketed polluter mining companies, and a few short-sighted residents of an old Colorado mining town hope you never ask.

Because the answer is obvious.

0 Shares

Beer Wars: Coal, Water, Smelt, and the Great Beer Boycott of 2015

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Forget about buying New Belgium Craft Beer in Craig, Colorado. Most of the liquor stores, and some of the bars, just aren’t selling it anymore. The boycott is a reaction to New Belgium’s support of the work of the Wild Earth Guardians (WEG). WEG has successfully promoted an environmental lawsuit halting expansion of the ColoWyo coal mine in Moffat County near Craig, and some local coal miners fear that their livelihoods will be sacrificed for an environmental cause or an endangered species. In an article in the Craig Daily Press, Lori Gillam, an owner of Stockmen’s Liquor store, said, “We pulled those beers because their support of WildEarth Guardians… who said their ultimate goal is to shut down coal mines. Craig is a coal mine town.”

These fears are being relentlessly inflamed in the right wing blogosphere, and on right wing talk radio. On June 9 and 10, Ken Clark’s Freedom 360 show was all about the so-called “War on Coal” in Craig, Colorado. 

New Belgian Beers on Tap

New Belgium Beers on tap, from National Journal article by Matt Berman. Photo by Quan Ha

 

  

“They’re coming after Colorado!,” Ken Clark breathlessly reported at 8:39 minutes into his 6/9/15 Freedom 560 show. From 5:23 to 8:20, Clark made the following statements about Wild Earth Guardians:

  “These are the same folks that created all this havoc in California. [They] .. are the whack jobs that shut down all of the irrigation to these farmlands in order to protect that smelt, that fish. . . They pretty much killed California and their farm production.  Fresno County – the unemployment rate’s 47%. These are the same guys. . . .They have set their sights on Colorado. They are coming here.  And now they’re coming after us.” 

 

Factually, Clark is just plain wrong here, although he wisely left wiggle room by saying that his “friend told him so”, and he plans to “check it out”. Fresno’s unemployment rate in 2014 was 11%, not 47%. California is obviously suffering from drought, and farmers, tourists, developers, businesses, and wildlife are all struggling and negotiating for the use of the same diminishing pool of potable water. The only reference to environmental regulations and fish in the Fresno Bee article was the mention of how water is being kept in Lake Shasta to keep  salmon and trout alive. 

(more…)

0 Shares

Localvores, Pick Up Your Forks! Oil and Water Don’t Mix.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

By @ColoFarmFood, crossposted at ColoradoFarmFood.org 

Attention has been focused on Denver, as Governor Hickenlooper’s Oil and Gas Task Force finishes its work, mostly avoiding the contentious issues that surround the industrial realities of oil and gas—noise, pollution, traffic, and impacts to land and existing uses—which led to its formation 18 months ago. 

Many of Colorado’s farmers, and the farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, wineries and sundry other businesses along those lines, meanwhile, were thinking instead of the weather.  Glad for snow, and the hope for a decent water year.

But watching the weather on the advent of spring does not mean many were not also watching what came out of the Task Force, and paying attention to oil and gas development generally, especially where it impacts or threatens business and operations.  And they always have an eye on their water.

Earlier this month concerned valley residents packed the Paonia High School to learn about and comment on the proposed Bull Mountain natural gas drilling and fracking project planned in the headwaters of the North Fork of the Gunnison River, and the source of most of the area’s irrigation water. 

GRAND JUNCTION SENTINEL 2/11/15

PAONIA — North Fork Valley residents are rallying again to try and stop oil and gas development involving tens of thousands of acres, but in this case face a daunting challenge because the land already is leased.

Some 200 people turned out at a Bureau of Land Management meeting at Paonia High School regarding SG Interests’ plan to drill up to 146 natural gas wells in the upper North Fork Valley, with many in attendance indicating their concern about the project.

…Residents Tuesday voiced concerns including possible air and water impacts, heavy truck traffic on Highway 133, the potential for harm to the Paonia area’s burgeoning organic farm industry, and whether the local economic benefits are enough to justify the risks. 

…“There’s no reason to use clean water for dirty energy extraction,” Jere Lowe, who owns a local organic farming supply company, said Tuesday.

 

The Bull Mountain Master Development Plan proposes almost 150 new natural gas wells.  In addition to their potential impacts on the valley’s water supplies, they would lie along the world-famous West Elk Scenic Byway in the heart of its aspen country.  

From there, public lands—many that could face future oil and gas development—stretch across Clear Fork Divide, Springhouse Park, Mamm Peak, and over into the Battlement Mesa area, where residents are raising similar concerns. 

GRAND JUNCTION SENTINEL 2/24/15

Among those concerned about both her water and the earthquake risk are Williams’ mom and Gardner’s aunt, Alberta Payton. She lives on a ranch that has been in her family since 1892, and uses her well for drinking and domestic uses. It’s also used to provide water for cows on her property.

(more…)

0 Shares

Cory Gardner and Climate Change: What Did You Expect?

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

After campaigning successfully last year as a "different kind of Republican," Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is under fire from conservationists for voting Wednesday against an amendment stating that humans contribute to climate change, something 69 percent of his constituents believe to be a fact.

Fifteen Senate Republicans, including 2016 presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul, joined Democrats in backing the amendment, but not Gardner…

During a competitive U.S. Senate race last year, Gardner ran a TV ad shot in a wind farm touting himself as a next generation conservative who supports clean energy and an all of the above energy plan; however, during debates, he was reluctant to state a clear position on the role of humans in causing climate change.

"During this fall's campaign, Senator Gardner declared himself to be a different kind of Republican," Maysmith said. "Instead, his vote today shows that he is not yet ready to stand up to those in Washington DC who deny that people play a role in climate change.  He ducked this issue during the campaign and now on the floor of the U.S. Senate." [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Cory Gardner's campaigns have long been heavily funded by the oil and gas industry, and Gardner has consistently returned the favor as a reliable vote for the industry's bottom-line interests. What we're talking about here was a token concession to the scientific consensus that humans are contributing to global climate change–nothing that would have changed any policy, as an amendment to a bill President Barack Obama has already promised to veto to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

The vote took place amidst a flurry of amendments to the Republican bill to build the Keystone XL pipeline and were part of an effort by Senate Democrats to bait Republicans into a number of politically risky votes on the subject of climate change.

Meaning that there was absolutely no reason to vote against it, and if Gardner had voted for it, he could have avoided the negative press that comes with voting against something 69% of his constituents believe. It would have been a significant validator of his campaign slogan, "A New Kind of Republican."

So why didn't he? That's simple–he's not up for election for six years, and there's no need for any of that kind of pretense for at least four or five of those years. On abortion, on immigration, and now climate change, the Cory Gardner you always knew was there is shining pearly-white bright.

0 Shares

Bob Beauprez Returns to Face Referendum A

Referendum A

That’s one prickly letter.

The first General Election debate for Governor (and U.S. Senate) will be held tomorrow at the Club 20 annual event in Grand Junction. For Republican Bob Beauprez, it will also mean a return to the question of (eek!) Referendum A.

Referendum A is a 2003 ballot measure, endorsed by Beauprez, that aimed to divert a sizable chunk of Western Colorado water supplies to the Front Range of Colorado at a massive cost of $2 billion (the equivalent of $2 billion in 2003 would be…probably a lot in 2014. We're not going to look that up.) Now, there are couple of things for the uninitiated to understand about Referendum A before we proceed:

First of all, Referendum A was a stupid idea. Anyone who tells you otherwise is someone you don't need to be having conversations with any longer. Referendum A sought a ridiculous amount of money in order to maybe build some unspecified water projects that would take water from the Western Slope and pipe it to the Denver Metro area. Voters thought it was stupid, too. Referendum A was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin; there wasn't a county in Colorado that approved of Referendum A.

That such a bad idea would be so soundly rejected by Colorado voters created a lot of questions for politicians who supported the measure and campaigned for its passage. Several years later, in 2010, longtime Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen wondered if there was a Referendum A curse taking down Republican politicians who once supported the idea. Beauprez didn't lose the race for Governor in 2006 because of his prior support for Ref. A, but it didn't help his case with rural Colorado voters who will forever be angry at anyone who supported the water measure.

Which leads us back to Saturday's Club 20 debate. The anti-Beauprez group Making Colorado Great sent out a press release today (full text after the jump) as a reminder that Beauprez was a supporter of Ref. A. Ordinarily it wouldn't seem particularly important to bring up a 2003 ballot measure at a debate for Governor, but Beauprez's presence as the GOP nominee makes it relevant again; he is one of the few remaining Ref. A supporters who is still kicking around public office, and this debate is in the heart of the Western Slope community that fought against Ref. A more than a decade ago.

Like it or not, the question still matters for Beauprez because water rights are such a critical issue in most of Colorado.

(more…)

0 Shares

Oppo Dump: Cory Gardner Co-Wrote “Disastrous” Amendment 52

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

A lengthy press release and “research dump” this week from Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign highlights an issue that could prove damaging to GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner with otherwise conservative-leaning constituencies–his co-authorship of 2008’s failed Amendment 52, which would have diverted mineral severance tax funding revenues away from water projects to road construction.

Amendment 52 was described by co-author Josh Penry as a retaliatory ballot measure, intended to complicate the implementation of Amendment 58–a measure from then Gov. Bill Ritter to increase mineral severance taxes to fund education. As the Denver Post’s Mark Jaffe reported then:

“This is all about politics,” said Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, a sponsor of Amendment 52. [Pols emphasis]

Penry said that when Gov. Bill Ritter chose to seek the severance-tax change through the ballot rather than the legislature, those seeking more money for highways “were forced to put our own proposal to the voters.”

Amendment 52, which would become part of the state constitution, would cap tax revenues for water projects and could provide $90 million next year for highway projects and $1 billion over the next decade, supporters say.

While Amendment 58 failed at the polls in 2008, Gardner and Penry’s Amendment 52 went down by a much wider margin. Just about every local government representation group, the state’s Department of Natural Resources, conservationists, and most importantly, water rights stakeholders from across the state came out against Amendment 52.

“We know that we are facing a growing population and a need for water projects,” said Chris Treese, a spokesman for the Colorado River District. “This just hurts.”

We’ve reprinted the Udall campaign’s detailed press release on this subject after the jump. This is just one of a number of stories from Gardner’s long career in politics that warrants close scrutiny by the press between now and Election Day. The negative takeaways for Gardner from the Amendment 52 story are significant: from inappropriate tit-for-tat using our state’s constitution as his chessboard to a callous disregard for vital stakeholders in Colorado’s economy, for the purpose of protecting a couple of percentage points for his benefactors in oil and gas industry.

And there’s absolutely nothing about this story that makes Cory Gardner look good.

(more…)

0 Shares