Won’t Someone Think of the Children?

Evan Young, valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy.

Evan Young, valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy.

Recent controversial incidents between right-leaning administrators at Colorado public schools and students that we’ve covered in this space have not resolved themselves in favor of the rights of the students. Briefly revisiting a story we noted a few weeks ago, the valedictorian of this year’s graduating class at Twin Peaks Charter Academy who was prevented from mentioning in his valedictory address that he is gay, where an inquiry commissioned by the school found no wrongdoing on the part of the school’s principal:

The Longmont charter school has come under fire from advocates and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, for preventing valedictorian Evan Young, 18, from giving a graduation speech in which he planned to out himself as gay.

Additionally, Young and his father have alleged that the man who made that decision, since-departed school principal BJ Buchmann, also outed Young to his parents.

Attorney William Bethke, who was hired by the Twin Peaks board, wrote in his 24-page report that schools can legally “exercise editorial control” over graduation speeches as long as the school’s action is “reasonably related to pedagogical concerns.” Those concerns may include “discipline, courtesy and respect for authority.”

The investigator concedes that the now-ex principal of Twin Peaks Charter Academy was “distinctly uncomfortable” with the student in question coming out as gay during the speech, but claims a larger “communication breakdown” led to the censoring of his speech. We’ve noted previously the role of far-right attorney Barry Arrington with this school, and other anecdotes we’ve heard that suggest Twin Peaks Charter Academy may be a thiny-veiled religious school masquerading as “public” to obtain public funding. The board of the school sent a letter to parent in response to this investigation that blasts outsiders’ attempts “to push their own political agendas.”

But isn’t being “distinctly uncomfortable” with a gay valedictorian a pretty clear expression of a political agenda?

Ken Witt.

Ken Witt.

The second case concerns the investigation of an incident at a Jefferson County school board meeting last May, in which a minor student’s name was displayed on an overhead projector while board chairman Ken Witt attacked the student as “racist” and declared that he would not meet with any group that included said student. Parents and teachers in attendance cried foul and demanded an investigation to determine if laws or district policies were broken. We were forwarded the result:

The discussion on the matter lasted approximately two minutes and during the discussion a public, social media posting of the student was displayed for 25 seconds. From the time Mr. Witt directed Ms. Neal to project the image through the time it was displayed during the meeting, the conversation focused on getting student voices to Board meetings with a suggestion from Ms. Dahlkemper to consider an approach similar to Denver Public Schools’ Board of Education. No discussion or reference was made to the image of the student while the social media posting was displayed. Of the five Board members present, none of them called into question the comments or the appropriateness of the display of the student post during the meeting. Because the posting displayed was from a public social media site and not a school maintained record, FERPA and District Policy JRA/JRC were not violated as FERPA only protects the privacy of student education records.

The complaining parties allege that Mr. Witt’s behavior constituted harassment and/or bullying and therefore Mr. McMinimee and Mr. Hess had an affirmative duty to intervene and stop the harassment and/or bullying. Policy JBB, Harassment of Students, explicitly prohibits “harassment based on an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, or disability.” The investigator concluded Mr. Witt did not violate this policy because there “is no indication that his attention to the issue was in any way related to a protected status of a student.”

In short, the investigation of this incident appears to validate the idea that board members in Jefferson County can say whatever they want to students as long as the students are not a member of a specifically protected class and official academic records aren’t being shared. By all accounts we’ve heard, the singling out of this minor student for baseless allegations of racism was a highly confrontational and inappropriate act by Witt. Critics of the board say the investigation’s scope was tightly controlled to avoid, among other things, the emotional distress Witt’s statements inflicted on the minor student.

In Longmont, the principal responsible for censoring the Twin Peaks Charter Academy valedictorian’s speech has since left the school. In Jefferson County, the alleged bullying of a minor student by Ken Witt has become part of a much longer list of grievances against the school board majority driving the recall election now underway. Without any other apparent remedy, the recall in Jefferson County may be the only check and balance left to protect students from a hostile, even abusive, school board.

In both cases, we think the highest priority of the adult officials involved–the kids–were tremendously disserved.

Sorry, Walker Stapleton: Price of Gold Plunges

ChartBuilderIn 2010, as the nation was in the grip of a major economic downturn, right-wing candidates capitalized on uncertainty about the economy by seeking to outdo each other with frightening predictions about the future–and what they would do to save us. In the case of then-candidate for Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, he responded to a question in a primary debate about the economy by suggesting the state invest in gold to hedge against what he foresaw as a “hyperinflationary environment.”

STAPLETON: The Treasury’s portfolio has not changed markedly in the last eight or ten years under Treasurer Mike Coffman, under Treasurer Mark Hillman and now under Treasurer Cary Kennedy. And that’s been okay, it’s weathered the storm fairly well. The problem is that we, I believe we are entering a hyper-inflationary environment. We’re going to need to shorten the duration of a lot of the state’s investments, the duration of the portfolio to adjust to a hyper-inflationary environment…

And I think hedging, using using gold to hedge against inflation or another precious metal is something the state needs to investigate. It’s something we haven’t done in the past, and it could be an effective method of dealing with a hyper-inflationary environment.

Fast-forward to today’s news:

“We see further downward pressure on gold prices, possibly stabilising at an eventual rate of US$1,000 a troy ounce,” said Mr Howie Lee, a Phillip Futures investment analyst. “It seems to be an end of an era for the precious metal. Even in a crisis, it has not picked up much appeal.”

Amid the recent turmoil in Chinese markets that spread to bourses across the globe, gold prices have remained weak. According to a Bloomberg survey on Jul 29, traders expect gold prices will drop to US$984 an ounce before January next year. That would be the lowest since 2009.

One factor weighing on the outlook for the yellow metal is a US Federal Reserve rate hike expected later this year that will push the greenback even higher and raise the opportunity cost of holding gold, which carries zero interest.

The traditional sales tactic for gold and other precious metals involves spreading fear about the economy to motivate investors to “hedge” their investments against uncertainty. Since Barack Obama became President in 2009 in the midst of a recession he did not create, a natural alliance has formed between Obama’s political enemies and gold trading companies. Republicans set themselves up for victory in 2010 by making voters believe that the world was about to end, which boosted gold trading companies as rattled Americans bought up gold to survive the coming Obamanation.

But between Stapleton’s dire predictions of “hyperinflation” and today, something else happened: the American economy didn’t collapse after all. In 2010, the U.S. economy was already emerging from the depths of recession, a process that has continued to this day. The economic fears that prevailed in 2010 have slowly dissipated, and as a result the price of gold has plunged by hundreds of dollars in the last few years (see chart above right). There are predictions now that the price of gold could fall even more, below $1,000 per ounce and perhaps much farther.

Safe to say, thank goodness Colorado didn’t fill the state treasury with gold!

Now that the price of gold is dropping like a rock, we’d say the question of what Walker Stapleton was thinking in 2010 is even more relevant. Why did this supposed financial expert make such wildly inaccurate predictions about the economy, and then propose a remedy that now appears absolutely foolhardy? We know there are plenty of theories–we want to hear it from Stapleton personally.

Because as much as everyone rushes to excuse yesterday’s “Tea Party” nuttiness, it happened. He said it.

When it comes to Julie Williams, even conservatives can’t resist harsh criticism

(Ouch – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board.

Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board.

In today’s scripted political environment, you don’t often see one arm of an advocacy organization rip into, say, a school board member, when other arms of the same organization are fighting wildly for the survival of the same school board member.

But that’s what the appendages of the Independence Institute are doing.

On Colorado Public Television July 10, Independence Institute Research Director Dave Kopel criticized Jeffco School Board member Julie Williams.

Kopel said, Williams is “by far the least capable member of that group, and the one who has gotten the rest of the board into trouble with a lot of  foolish, barely thought-out ideas she has expressed inappropriately.”

At the same time, down the figurative hall, the Executive Vice President of the  libertarian/conservative outfit, Amy Oliver, has been slaving to save Williams, defending her and the jeffco board in a relentless string of tweets and sporadic media appearances. Oliver, who keeps any criticism she might have of Williams to herself, was the spokesperson for her organization’s website set up to battle alleged mean-girl tweets directed at the Jeffco board and staff.

(On Twitter, someone wondered whether Kopel was masquerading as a mean girl.)

Meanwhile, another tentacle of the Indy Institute churns out articles favorable to the board–with nary a word of criticism of Williams.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having a sometimes schizo organization, and it’s actually refreshing. Plus, Kopel speaks for himself. But his criticism of Williams, in the midst of his organization’s agenda, is noteworthy, and may reflect the polarizing effect Williams, in particular, has had on her Jeffco school community.

Gardner’s Planned Parenthood Vote: Well, Pundit Class?

Sen. Cory Gardner (left).

Sen. Cory Gardner (left).

Denver Post reporter Joey Bunch contributes the local angle to the AP’s national wire story about yesterday’s failed attempt by U.S. Senate Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood, as the brouhaha over thinly-supported allegations of the organization “selling baby body parts” continue to provoke the usual reaction from the anti-choice crowd’s usual suspects.

Including Colorado’s junior Sen. Cory Gardner, for whom the issue of voting to defund Planned Parenthood is stickier than most, after successfully outflanking attacks on his anti-choice record in last year’s elections:

Planned Parenthood Colorado Votes called out Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Yuma for voting to defund the organization, which provides many other women’s health services besides abortions. Cathy Alderman, the organization’s vice president, said Gardner “should be ashamed of himself.”

Gardner wasn’t.

“This bill would redirect funding for women’s health care away from the scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood and toward responsible community health clinics that operate without a political agenda,” he said in response. “Funding for women’s health care must actually go to fund women’s health care, not to line the coffers of an organization under increased scrutiny for reprehensible, inhumane behavior.”

Like we said last Friday discussing this vote, there’s nothing in the videos released by abortion opponents so far that points to any actual wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. Clinics are allowed a reasonable repayment for handling tissue donations under federal law, and the medical research carried out using donated fetal issue is both vital and (until now) relatively uncontroversial.

But in rushing to vote to defund Planned Parenthood, even before the various GOP-led and presumably biased inquiries are complete, Gardner and friends have proven that these videos are just a pretext–to do what this organization’s longstanding enemies would do anyway and have repeatedly voted to do. This vote is a validation of the “War on Women” theme that Republicans have desperately tried to discredit in recent years. The political advantage gained by firing up the conservative base is undone, and then some, by demonstrating to independents and Democrats that their fears about the GOP’s true agenda on this issue are justified.

In the absence of evidence that any law was broken, and with over a year until the next election to allow cooler heads to prevail, we believe Republicans are seriously harming themselves politically–reversing gains they had made in appealing to women voters last year.

And we’ll say it again: every time Gardner votes to attack women’s reproductive rights–and this won’t be the last before 2020–he is discrediting the entire local pundit class who pompously told women voters that concerns about Gardner’s record on the issue were overblown. From the Denver Post’s editorial board who claimed Gardner’s election “would pose no threat to abortion rights” to local talking heads like Floyd Ciruli and Eric Sondermann who helped manufacture the negative impression of Democrats’ “one issue campaign” against Gardner, there are lots of people today who should be embarrassed to show their face.

Then again, Dick Morris still gets face time for some reason.

Tuesday Open Thread

“The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.

–Francis Bacon

Jeffco School Board “Vindicated?” Far From It

Jefferson County school board protests.

Jefferson County school board protesters.

One of the major grievances against the right-wing Jefferson County school board majority driving the recall election now underway was an abortive proposal last fall by board member Julie Williams to set up a board-appointed “review” of recently revised AP U.S. History curriculum. Readers will recall the specific language of Williams’ proposal, which touched off huge student protests in Jefferson County:

Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. [Pols emphasis] Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.

Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board.

Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board.

After the protests against Williams’ proposal became literally international news, the Jeffco board quietly shelved the idea, announcing through their contracted public relations staff a few months later that the proposal was dead. Politically, it was a huge disaster for the board and their Republican backers in Jefferson County, dramatically raising the profile of the conflict over the school district’s new direction since conservative board candidates rode opposition to a failed tax increase measure to victory in 2013. Today, the attempt to “censor” Jeffco’s AP History curriculum is perhaps the best-known reason among the public justifying the recall–frequently cited by petition signers as their reason for doing so without any prompting.

Today, however, right-wing defenders of the Jeffco school board majority are claiming “vindication” of Williams after the College Board released another round of revisions to AP U.S. History framework intended to mollify conservative critics. From Newsweek’s latest issue:

The new framework significantly pares down last year’s framework, simplifying and condensing the course’s Thematic Learning Objectives from 50 to 19, according to an official at the College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers AP exams. In the process, a new section on the concept of “American exceptionalism” has been added. Some names that were omitted from last year’s framework, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, have been added—a key sticking point for critics of the prior document, who objected to Founding Fathers being omitted and negative aspects in American history being more emphasized, they claimed, than positive periods. Ben Carson, a GOP presidential candidate, said the curriculum was so anti-American that students who complete it would be “ready to sign up for ISIS.”

…In October, the College Board began accepting comment from teachers and the general public on the standards. In April, Trevor Packer, College Board’s head of AP, announced that revisions would be published in July based on the feedback.

Teachers Newsweek spoke with, who sat on a committee to draft the framework, stressed that the document was never meant to be a description of the totality of what an AP U.S. history teacher must teach, but rather a simplified outline that guides the course toward certain themes. [Pols emphasis] The impetus for the original revision, published last year, was to redirect the course away from rote memorization of facts and more toward “historical thinking skills,” according to Ted Dickson, a teacher at Providence Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina…

“The amount of press it got was entirely ridiculous because I don’t think they understood what it was meant to be. It was a framework that meant to let teachers understand the limits of what would be tested. You add examples, you teach it how you want to teach it, just make sure you teach these important concepts,” Hastings said. But critics saw it as excluding, among other things, favorite Founding Fathers and historical events that contribute to America’s legacy, such as its role in winning World War I and World War II. In the new framework, America’s military achievements are given a greater emphasis than in the last document.

Bottom line: the changes made by the College Board to the AP U.S. History curriculum are not anything like the sweeping and highly politicized review of history Williams sought last year. Making a few changes to specifically invoke certain names and events–the “rote memorization of facts” noted above–do not come close to Williams’ test of a history curriculum that “promotes patriotism, the free enterprise system, and respect for authority,” while avoiding “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Because Williams’ proposal did tremendous damage to the credibility of the Jefferson County school board’s conservative majority, it makes sense that they would loudly declare any concession on the matter as “vindication.” If anything, these small concessions only cast Williams’ over-the-top proposal for a sweeping and politically slanted review of U.S. History into harsher relief. If throwing empty bromides like “American exceptionalism” and the name Benjamin Franklin into the framework is really enough to placate Williams, her criticisms were baseless to begin with.

But the truth is, Williams wanted much more than that. And this small concession won’t save her from an outraged and tuned-in Jeffco electorate.

Aurora Theater Shooting Trial Moves to Phase 3

From the Aurora Sentinel:

After just a few hours of deliberation, jurors in the Aurora theater shooting trial unanimously decided that the trial of James Holmes will proceed to a third and final sentencing phase — where an ultimate decision on the death penalty will be made.

The jury’s quick deliberation and verdict found they did not deem the defense’s mitigation evidence to outweigh the four aggravating factors proven during the first phase of sentencing. Jurors deliberated for about an hour last week and 90 minutes this morning before reaching their verdict…

…The court now prepares to enter the third phase of sentencing, during which prosecutors are expected to call several of the victims’ relatives to testify.

What the Hell is Wrong with Mike Coffman?

Check out this bizarre video posted to Rep. Mike Coffman’s Facebook page on July 30 as a “tribute” to “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.”

No, really, you need to watch this:

Look, nobody is going to confuse Coffman as one of the better orators of his generation, but this is incredibly weird even by his relatively-low standards.

When we first saw this video, our initial reaction was that it was a joke (though we’re not aware of Coffman ever having made a joke before). But the longer you watch Coffman ramble and stumble along, the more uncomfortable you become. Why can’t he keep his eyes open? Did somebody shoot him with a tranquilizer dart before he sat down in front of the camera? Did a staffer offer him a sketchy brownie? Is he drunk?

When you compare this video to other on-air appearances from Coffman — such as this CNN interview from late 2014 (below) — it’s obvious that something is off with the Aurora Congressman:

We’ve taken plenty of shots at Coffman over the years, but we sincerely hope that nothing is wrong with him physically.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Aug. 3)

Get More SmarterHappy “Civic Holiday” to our friends in Canada; don’t gorge yourselves on that big traditional Canadian meal. Let’s Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Fox News has long scheduled the first major debate among Republican Presidential candidates for Thursday, Aug. 6, but they might get leapfrogged in the history books. From The Hill:

C-SPAN is partnering with a handful of regional newspapers in early-voting states for a nationally televised forum with the Republican presidential candidates just days before Fox News Channel’s first scheduled debate.

The network has invited all 17 of the GOP presidential hopefuls to the Aug. 3 Voters First Forum in New Hampshire.

Publishers at the New Hampshire Union Leader, The Post and Courier of South Carolina, and Iowa’s The Gazette say the forum was  prompted in part by Fox’s controversial decision to cap the number of candidates in its Aug. 6 debate at 10.

“Fox says only the ‘top’ 10 candidates, as judged solely by national polling, will be allowed on its stage,” the publishers said in a joint statement. “That may be understandable later, but the first votes are half a year away and there are a lot more than 10 viable candidates.”

Governor John Hickenlooper is promoting a change to TABOR — the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights — that would allow Colorado to retain funds from the “hospital provider fee” that would free up millions of dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

(more…)

Ken Buck: Iran Wants To Nuke Julesburg, Colorado

A remarkable message from freshman Rep. Ken Buck posted to Youtube today, warning in the scariest terms he can muster against the proposed treaty between the “P5+1″ group of nations–China, France, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States–and Islamic Republic of Iran to prevent the latter nation from obtaining nuclear weapons:

Julesburg, Colorado.

Julesburg, Colorado.

For those unfamiliar with rural Colorado geography, the town of Julesburg, population 1,225, is located in the northeast corner of the state near the Nebraska border about 185 miles from Denver. Julesburg’s chief claims to fame were a former Pony Express stop and serving as the seat of Sedgwick County (population 2,380), before becoming known since last year as the most convenient location for Nebraskans to buy weed.

Needless to say, we have trouble imagining Julesburg on a list of targets for an Iranian nuclear attack.

With that said, ginning up opposition to the Iran treaty appears to be a significant goal of Republican political strategists for the August recess just now getting underway. The most recent round of public opinion polls on the proposal suggest that weeks of shrill scare tactics like Rep. Buck’s above have significantly hurt support for the treaty with the voting public. These latest polls are a major departure from polling earlier this year, which showed Americans overwhelmingly in support of the same treaty.

Much like Obamacare, the “failed stimulus” that didn’t actually fail, and so many other objectively good things that Republicans have managed to demagogue into undeserved unpopularity, this erosion of support for the Iran treaty is the direct result of agenda-driven partisans placing political goals above the nation’s best interests. The sheer repetition of talking points gives them validity, to the point in this case where Americans appear willing to reject a treaty negotiated not just by President Obama, but a group of the most powerful nations in the world. Although Republicans want to lay this treaty solely at the feet of Obama, they’re really telling Americans to give the rest of the world the finger to placate one faction of Israeli politics.

And as Ken Buck demonstrates better than we ever could, it’s getting ridiculous.

Recalling Coffman’s proposal for English-only ballots, as the Voting Rights Act turns 50

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmantrump3Over the weekend, I enjoyed reading Jim Rutenberg’s piece in the New York Times magazine on how conservatives have methodically dismantled the Voting Rights Act, which turns 50 on Thursday, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision gutting major provisions of the law.

Here at home, one conservative who’s thrown his congressional spear at the Voting Rights Act, widely credited for finally giving African-Americans actual factual access to the voting booth, is Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora.

Coffman, you recall, introduced legislation in 2011 repealing the law’s requirement that bilingual ballots be provided in areas with large numbers of voters don’t speak English very well.

In other words, Coffman wanted to leave the decision about whether to provide bilingual ballots to local authorities, and if you take the time to read Rutenberg’s article, you’ll see that, as much as we’d all like to believe otherwise, local politicians are apparently still trying to keep black Americans from voting. That’s why we need federal requirements for stuff like bilingual ballots–to make sure everyone can participate in democracy, such as it is.

But Coffman, who once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot, doesn’t see it that way.

Coffman: “Since proficiency in English is already a requirement for U.S. citizenship, forcing cash-strapped local governments to provide ballots in a language other than English makes no sense at all,” Coffman told the Denver Post in 2011.

Last year, Coffman doubled down on his support for English-only ballots, saying during a Univision debate that he still opposes the Voting Rights Act’s requirements for mailing Spanish-language ballots, because it’s expensive.

But Coffman said it in a more friendly way, “I would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

Again, most of us have to share Coffman’s hope, but there’s also reality lurking out there, embodied in politicians who care more about self-preservation than democracy. And you can read about it in the New York Times.

Monday Open Thread

“The government should not be guided by Temporary Excitement, but by Sober Second Thought.”

–Martin Van Buren

Hickenlooper Steps Up To Sell TABOR “Baby Step”

UPDATE: Although the Denver Post story this weekend represents this proposal as a “revamp” or “fix” to the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, commenters note correctly that this is merely a proposed exemption of revenues from the 2009 hospital provider fee from TABOR. The proposal would prevent the fee from busting TABOR’s revenue caps, allowing the state to keep the money.

Not that TABOR’s zealous defenders will like it any better, of course.

—–

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As the Denver Post’s John Frank reports, Gov. John Hickenlooper is putting his money where his mouth his–or is it putting his mouth where he wants your money to be?–by proposing a small “tweak” to the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) that would allow the state to retain several hundred million dollars to fund needed projects:

On the first day of a new statewide tour, Gov. John Hickenlooper found an appropriate venue in this high mountain town for his push to revamp how the state spends money.

The Democrat stood on stage at the historic Tabor Opera House in Leadville and made a lengthy pitch for an overhaul to TABOR — the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Hickenlooper wants to exempt the hospital provider fee from state revenue collections under TABOR because it pushes Colorado over the constitutional cap, prompting taxpayer refunds next year even as the state struggles to adequately fund priority areas.

If the fee were removed from TABOR, Colorado’s revenues would fall under the cap and the state would have $200 million more to spend on road projects and classrooms, the governor said.

To be clear, this is not the “grand bargain” that would undo the fiscal chokehold of the combination of TABOR with other constitutional spending caps and mandates to let our elected officials do their jobs as prescribed by the same state (not to mention federal) constitution. The hospital provider fee was passed in 2009 under Gov. Bill Ritter in order to qualify for additional federal matching funds for Medicaid. The program has been very successful, but that success has come with the side effect of pushing the state beyond TABOR’s dreaded revenue caps.

Despite a backlog of funding priorities and money cover them, it’s necessary to hold a statewide vote to simply allow those funds to be retained and used by the state. For citizens who don’t understand TABOR, there’s a widespread assumption that our better economy means more revenue that the state can then use to pay for all the stuff we depend on every day–roads, schools, health care.

But in Colorado, that’s just not the way it works.

“I think giving people the real facts is half the battle,” he said after the first events. “To make sure they understand that … it’s going to crowd out, over the next few years, hundreds of millions of dollars from the things all these people want from their state government.”

We’ve heard some grumbling that Hickenlooper “squandering” an opportunity for a much more comprehensive solution for a smaller-scale proposal like this might make it harder down the road for such a “big fix” to pass muster. But we honestly think that the battle to unwind TABOR’s deviously complex restrictions on raising revenue in our state is a longer-term problem than Hickenlooper or anyone else can solve by 2016. The political backing doesn’t yet exist to make a wholesale repeal viable, and the projections of looming and persistent shortfalls in the future aren’t close enough yet to be real to voters. There is more work to be done educating the public, and more harm that needs to be seen with voters’ own eyes.

In the meantime, Gov. Hickenlooper is doing what he can. The arguments that he’s making for this small-scale proposal apply to the big questions as well–and either Hick or his successor will benefit from his touring of the state to tell this story when TABOR’s judgment day finally arrives.

Worse And Worse For “Dr. Chaps”

chapsdorty
Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt with Dwight David Dorty, a twice-convicted sex offender.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader reports, GOP Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, facing calls for his resignation once again after stating on his Youtube video program that it would be “better” for gay Boy Scout leaders “if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea,” has a rather ironic problem:

A few weeks before Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt found himself in hot water for saying Jesus said child molesters should be drowned, he interviewed a man on his show who has been convicted twice of sexual assault on a child and called him a “new friend.”

David Dorty, who is active in El Paso County politics and is with the American Conservatives of Color, appeared on Klingenschmittt’s video ministry Pray in Jesus’ Name (PIJN) News on July 16.

Dorty, as The Gazette reported in March, has twice been convicted of sexually assaulting a child, once by a person in a position of trust. [Pols emphasis]

You can watch Rep. Klingenschmitt’s interview here: the relevant portion begins about 17:55 in. Here’s what the Gazette reported about Dwight David Dorty back in March, after he was escorted out of the Colorado Republican Party’s annual meeting on orders from then-GOP chairman Ryan Call:

A twice-convicted sex offender from El Paso County caused a stir Saturday at the Colorado Republicans’ annual organization meeting by attending the event at Douglas County High School in support of the party’s new vice chairman Derrick Wilburn.

Ryan Call, who presided over the assembly as chair of the Colorado GOP, said he requested the sergeant of arms ask the individual to leave.

“I did not think it was appropriate to have him there, certainly on school grounds, or involved in connection with our meeting,” Call said.

According to the Gazette, Dorty was convicted twice of the crime of sexual assault on a child: once in 1986 and again in 1995. The second conviction added the aggravator of being a person in a position of trust over the child in question.

Kind of like a scoutmaster would be.

Now obviously, there are a number of takeaways from this latest revelation, and some might be mitigated by the time since Dorty’s conviction, and the contention by his supporters that he has been rehabilitated. We have no interest in further denigrating a person who has paid their debt to society to the crimes they’ve committed, though we certainly understand Ryan Call’s preference that a convicted sex offender not come on to the grounds of a public high school for an official Republican Party function.

As for “Dr. Chaps,” whose wishing of death on child molesters didn’t appear to make any exceptions for, you know, rehabilitation?

“I hope that Dr. Chaps has a good supply of millstones,” said Amy Runyon-Harms, executive director of Progress Now Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Not much we can add to that, folks. The circle of utter hypocrisy appears closed.