EPA’s Board of Scientists Questions EPA Fracking Study

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released findings that the agency found no examples of “widespread and systemic” contamination of groundwater from fracking the news was widely reported.

It was actually often misreported, including by several former professional journalists cum industry spokespeople, as “fracking shown to be safe” and “does not contaminate water.”

It should be noted that the EPA study did not itself make such sweeping claims. Nonetheless these apparently purposeful overstatements were repeated by oil and gas lobby groups like the Colorado Oil and Gas Assoc., Western Energy Alliance, Vital for Colorado, Protect Colorado, CRED.org etc. across the twitterverse, blogosphere, and in media circulars.

Less covered, one might even say nearly missing, from the reportage at least so far is the follow up.

The EPA’s own science advisory board is questioning that study. Here is one article from Power Source (“Energy News In Context” an industry-oriented website sponsored by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from the land of the Marcelleus shale play):


GOP Absurdly Denies Planned Parenthood Terrorism Culpability

UPDATE: As Think Progress reports, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz managed to roll up all of the falsehoods about alleged terrorist Robert Dear into one big steamy package of BS:

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is the latest presidential candidate trying to downplay the role anti-abortion rhetoric may have played in motivating the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs Friday afternoon. When a reporter asked him at an Iowa campaign stop Sunday evening about suspect Robert Lewis Dear saying he was motivated by “no more baby parts,” Cruz countered that he’s also been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist.”

Cruz explained, “We know that he was a man registered to vote as a woman.” This discrepancy on Dear’s voter registration was first reported by The Gateway Pundit, a self-described “right-of-center news website,” under the claim that he “identifies as [a] woman.” Conservatives have since run with the claim that Dear is transgender.


Now that Friday’s domestic terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs has been digesting for a couple of news cycles, we’re seeing the reaction to the attack from Republican politicians and pundits take a major turn–away from vanilla statements of sympathy for the victims, many with no mention of Planned Parenthood at all, to angry denials of even the most peripheral responsibility for alleged terrorist Robert Dear’s actions.

During Friday’s standoff and in the immediate aftermath, wild speculation about the killer on the right sought to put distance between Dear and “normal” pro-life opponents of Planned Parenthood. Early on, some conservative media outlets ran with incorrect information suggesting that Planned Parenthood was not even the target of the attack. This was reinforced by GOP Rep. Kit Roupe of Colorado Springs, who irresponsibly spread this falsehood on social media, doing her constituents a major disservice:


Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

An apparent error in Dear’s voter registration led to widespread breathless claims that Dear “identifies as a female.” Breitbart News ran with it, and dozens of right-wing media outlets picked it up:

He is registered to vote in Park County, Colorado, and The Gazette reports that his voter registration has him listed as an “Unaffiliated female” voter instead of a Democrat or Republican. Dear’s voter registration on Colorado Voters Info lists his gender as “female.”

Now folks, take a look at that photo. Without any attempt at insensitivity, let us just say that we do not see a person who “identifies as a female.” Anyone with voter file experience knows these kinds of mistakes happen. To run with something like this without any checking is…well, it’s ridiculous.

Leading Republican-aligned website The Federalist’s front page as of this writing is dominated by the mug shot you see above, linking to a story titled “Stop Blaming Pro-Lifers For The Colorado Springs Shooting.”

The pro-lifers praying and swaying and holding their placards are as responsible for this shooting as the Beatles were for Charles Manson’s violence…

Got that? Republican accusations that Planned Parenthood “sells baby body parts” are the same thing as the Beatles song Helter Skelter, which Charles Manson “interpreted” to be a prophecy of a coming race war. The only problem with this theory is that in truth, Helter Skelter was about an amusement park ride.

Friday’s shooting, on the other hand, required no creative interpretations.

Headline collage via the Colorado Independent

In the coming days, we’re going to hear more, both fact and speculation, about the motivations of Robert Dear from both sides. We understand that both sides in this debate have an agenda underlying their statements that is bigger than this one tragic mass shooting.

Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood’s devoted GOP antagonists-cum-sympathizers, the facts are not on their side. The connection between the bellicose rhetoric against Planned Parenthood in recent months and Friday’s terrorist attack in Colorado Springs, wishing really hard otherwise notwithstanding, is rationally undeniable.

And if this makes Republicans uncomfortable, that’s because it should.

Talk-radio host falsely claims Hickenlooper wants to shut him up

(Sorry, Dan Caplis, but nobody is actually thinking about you specifically. Ever.  — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dan Caplis.

Dan Caplis.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking heat on talk radio for suggesting that America “tone back the inflammatory rhetoric,” which may drive “emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced” people to “commit these acts of unthinkable violence.”

Hickenlooper made the comments during a CNN interview Sunday about Friday’s murders at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs.

This morning, KNUS host Dan Caplis said Hickenlooper “just doesn’t want us speaking the truth” about Planned Parenthood.

But Hickenlooper repeatedly said he doesn’t want to limit free speech. Read Hick’s comments for yourself.

Hickenlooper (at 5 minutes here and below): Certainly, it is a form of terrorism. Maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric that we see on so many issues now. There are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to the point of boiling over to intense anger. And I think, maybe it’s time to also look at, how do we tone down some of that rhetoric. Honestly, no one is going to try to reduce free speech in this country. But if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced, that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.

Host: …Are you calling for changes in blogging or video games.

Hickenlooper: No. I am in no way trying to limit free speech. I think our community, the United States of America, ought to begin a discussion looking at, how do you begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric that in some ways might be good for, I don’t know, selling products in advertisements or whatever, but in some way it is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it. And they go out and they lose connection to reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence. I’m not saying we should restrict people’s free speech, nowhere near that. But I think we should have a discussion of at least urging caution when we discuss some of these issues so that we don’t get people to a point of committing senseless violence.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Nov. 30)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Move over, Peyton, and make room for the Brockweiler. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missedsomething important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► Robert Lewis Dear will make his first scheduled court appearance today. Dear is the domestic terrorist accused of killing three people and wounding nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the Planned Parenthood attacks “an act of terrorism” during a media appearance on Sunday, and his call for ending dangerous rhetoric is being widely repeated. From the New York Times:

Several other guests on Sunday talk shows called the shootings domestic terrorism, including Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who is a Republican presidential candidate; the mayor of Colorado Springs; and the head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Many, including Hickenlooper, also suggested that it was time to begin discussing how to tone down rhetoric that “is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it, and they go out and they lose connection with reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence.”…

…Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs, on ABC’s “This Week,” said the Planned Parenthood clinic appeared to be the target of the attack. In comments similar to Hickenlooper’s, Suthers, a Republican, said the country needed to better identify people with “mental health problems and prevent their access to weapons.”


► There’s a new effort to change how Colorado deals with its annual redistricting and reapportionment process, and as Colorado Pols reported last week, the proposed ballot language would probably end up making the process worseMarianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent has more on “Initiative 55,” which critics say could “destroy the Latino vote in Colorado”:

Under the proposed Initiative 55, a commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated members would oversee the General Assembly’s nonpartisan staff in redrawing boundaries for both legislative and congressional districts.

It’s neither the composition of the committee nor the nonpartisan staff assigned to do the redrawing that most concerns critics. It’s that the initiative, as written, would prohibit the staff from mapping districts to augment or dilute the voting strength “of a language or racial minority group.”

Some say the priorities Initiative 55 sets for redrawing districts would violate the Voting Rights Act.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Monday Open Thread

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

–Albert Einstein

Anti-choice activists have wide range of responses to the Planned Parenthood shooting

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

drchapsFor an RH Reality Check post today, I collected comments from anti-choice activists in response to Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs.

The comments ranged from a total rejection of violence to support for the domestic terrorist, who appears to have targeted Planned Parenthood because of his disagreements with the organization. From RH Reality Check:

“Whatever his motives, I condemn the violent actions of the shooter in Co Springs today,” state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs),who once praised a fellow Republican legislator for comparing Planned Parenthood to ISIS, wrote on Facebook. Klingenschmitt once saidthat “left-wing politicians want [women] to kill their babies.”

Meanwhile, a former GOP nominee for a seat in the Colorado legislature supported the gunman.

Nate Marshall, who was nominated by Republicans in 2014 for a state house race, but later dropped out, posted an angry response to the shooting on Facebook. Marshall later deleted the comment.

“My comments on the situation in Colorado Springs is simple and this: this guy is a hero,” wrote Marshall, who was found in 2014 to have ties to white supremacy groups. “Children are not being slaughtered and butchered for profit by left wing scum today.”

“Yesterday three innocent born people were murdered along with an unknown number of preborn children,” wrote Gualberto Garcia Jones, author of Colorado’s 2014 personhood amendment, in an email Saturday. “We are called to personally work against both. As a side note, I would say that the death of the Christian, pro-life police officer is especially tragic since he leaves behind a wife and two young children. My prayers are with all the victims regardless of their personal views.”

Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason, who is based in Colorado,  had similar thoughts, but also criticized the news media’s coverage of the tragedy, writing that “the media is failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.”

Colorado Right to Life spokesman and Denver talk-radio host Bob Enyart alleged that violence by pro-choice activists goes unreported.


BREAKING: Multiple Casualties in Terrorist Attack at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood

Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD

SUNDAY UPDATE: The Hill reports that Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former state attorney general, considers Friday’s mass shooting an act of “domestic terrorism.” As you know, we agree:

Colorado Springs, Colo., Mayor John Suthers said in an interview Sunday that the fatal shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic in his town appears to be an act of domestic terrorism.

“We have, Martha, something that occurs quite a bit. We have a person that’s pretty much off the grid and acting for whatever motivation, very hard to ferret out those folks,” Suthers told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”

From President Barack Obama’s statement yesterday:

We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.

This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.

An updated statement from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains acknowledges the terrorist’s motives as they are now understood:

“Today, we are learning that eyewitnesses confirm that the man who will be charged with the tragic and senseless shooting that resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to nine others at Planned Parenthood’s health center in Colorado Springs was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion. This is an appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals.

“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We have strong security measures in place and work closely with law enforcement agencies, and we also ensure that our doors are open to all people who need high-quality, compassionate health care. We believe the safety procedures we have in place helped reduce the number of lives lost and injuries during yesterday’s events.

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months. That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet-proof glass.

“We have a saying at Planned Parenthood: ‘These doors stay open.’ It means we don’t back down because of protestors, violent extremists, or anyone else. It means we are a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for all people who need high quality reproductive health care. Today, in Colorado and across the country, Planned Parenthood’s doors are open and we will continue to provide compassionate health care to people who have trusted us and relied on us for generations.”

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a blistering release of her own, hammering the GOP’s latest Planned Parenthood witch hunt and connecting that campaign to Friday’s shooting:

The details that have emerged on Friday’s shootings in Colorado Springs make it clear that the attack on civilians and law enforcement there was an act of terrorism. Tragically, this horrific attack against Planned Parenthood is not isolated to this instance. Since 1993, at least eight people– four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort – have been murdered in the United States in incidents of anti-choice violence, including a doctor shot to death in 2009 while serving as an usher at a church. Since the politically-motivated campaign to defund Planned Parenthood began this summer with the release of a series of misleading and debunked videos, there have been four attacks on Planned Parenthood centers in the U.S. according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Those running for president and those of us in leadership roles in our country’s major political parties have an obligation to denounce these attacks and clearly say that violence and intimidation in the pursuit of ideology are not acceptable in America. Politicians who peddle lies, whether about Planned Parenthood or immigrants, and those who encourage roughing up Americans who have different opinions have a particular obligation and responsibility to denounce these acts of terror. In addition to the attacks on Planned Parenthood we’ve seen assaults on Hispanics, the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters, and ugly shouts at campaign rallies that have gone unchallenged. No political gain is worth what this reckless, dangerous rhetoric is doing to our country, and it must come to an end.

In the Planned Parenthood case it’s especially troubling that there has been no meaningful reaction from Republican candidates and political leaders. This shameful silence is becoming a theme for Republicans, who are all too ready to denounce a three year old refugee but not acts committed by a domestic terrorist like what we saw Friday.


SATURDAY UPDATE #3: NBC News reports, the motive you expected beginning to emerge:

Robert Lewis Dear, a North Carolina native who was living in a trailer in Colorado, made statements to police Friday at the scene of the Colorado Springs clinic and in interviews that law enforcement sources described as rantings.

In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said “no more baby parts” in reference to Planned Parenthood, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case. [Pols emphasis]

But the sources stressed that Dear said many things to law enforcement and the extent to which the “baby parts” remark played into any decision to target the Planned Parenthood office was not yet clear. He also mentioned President Barack Obama in statements.

They’re being awfully careful not to, you know, speculate down there in the conservative bastion of Colorado Springs aren’t they?


SATURDAY UPDATE #2: 9NEWS reports the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood building has been cleared by police with no additional victims found. Thank goodness.

Editor’s Note: Defining Terrorism and Terrorists

As news unfolded in Colorado Springs on Friday involving a gunman shooting civilians and police officers, it led to a separate conversation on social media about the proper use of the words “terrorism,” “terrorist,” and “terror.”

After considering the definitions of these words (via Merriam-Webster, below), Colorado Pols has decided to enact an editorial change on this website. Any criminal act in the United States that meets the definition of “terrorism” will henceforth be discussed on this site as a “terrorist act” perpetrated by one or more “terrorists.” 

For example, the man who killed and wounded several civilians and police officers in Colorado Springs will be classified as a “terrorist” rather than the generic “gunman” or “shooter” label. Terrorism is a very real and tragic form of violence that is undertaken for a specific political or intimidation purpose. Terrorism is not defined by skin color, nationality, race, or gender. It is a disservice to the victims of these particular crimes to continue to describe the act as something other than terrorism, just as it would be wrong to falsely classify a “murder” as a “suicide.”

Merriam-Webster definitions:

TERRORISM (noun):  the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.

TERRORIST: (adjective or noun)

TERROR (noun): 

1.  a state of intense fear


a : one that inspires fear : scourge
b : a frightening aspect
c : a cause of anxiety : worry
d : an appalling person or thing; especially : brat

3. reign of terror

4. violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Nov. 25)

MoreSmarter-ThanksgivingIf you can make it to the break room and back without seeing another person, you have our permission to go home (after you read this). It’s time to 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).


► State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County) has been fairly quiet since he began campaigning for U.S. Senate a few months ago. Yesterday, Neville took time off from dialing for dollars to join the fear-mongering parade on Syrian refugees with a scary fundraising email. Perhaps Neville is taking a cue from Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who said over the weekend that the Paris terrorist attacks were a “positive development.” Sure, a lot of innocent people were killed, but it’s not all bad if it helps you raise money for your campaign!

BTW, if you had any concerns that Neville might get squishy on his fervent anti-choice beliefs…well, you need not worry. Nobody is going to be flanking Neville on the right when it comes to abortion.


► You may have heard of the (cough-cough) “bipartisan” group of former Colorado lawmakers pushing for changes in Colorado’s reapportionment/redistricting process. What you haven’t been hearing from some of the cheerleading media outlets in Colorado is that Initiative 55 is a jumbled mess of a policy proposal. Colorado voters shouldn’t be asked to vote on a crayon drawing.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Neville Gleefully Stokes The Fear on Syrian Refugees


A fundraising email appeal from 2016 U.S. Senate candidate and Colorado Sen. Tim Neville yesterday pulls out all the proverbial stops, invoking the prospect of Syrian refugees coming to Colorado as an invitation to an attack on Mile High Stadium (see photo above)–now with an angry President Barack Obama Photoshopped in leading the ISIS terrorists on! Argumentum in terrorem is the order of the day:

Governor Hickenlooper refuses to back down from his plans to bring Barack Obama’s potentially dangerous Syrian “refugees” to Colorado.

An unsecured border and unvetted Syrian “refugees” threaten the safety and security of Colorado’s families…

I’m under fire for daring to stand up to Barack Obama and Governor Hickenlooper.

In fact, ProgressNow — one of the largest left-wing organizations in Colorado — called me the “most dangerous politician in America” because I represent the “no-compromise, take-no-prisoners wing of the Republican Party.”

But the real reason they’re attacking me is because I’ve taken on an entrenched Democrat in a purple district before — and won.

They know I’m the Republican with the best chance to DEFEAT Michael Bennet in November 2016.

They fear me the most.

That last part is a bit confusing, since we were under the impression it was the refugees–excuse us, “refugees”–we were supposed to be afraid of? However you may feel about this message qualitatively, and we know many readers will find it thoroughly contemptible, certainly it would be a mistake to underestimate it in the context of the Republican U.S. Senate primary Tim Neville is running in today.

By most estimates the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris has been very good for Republican presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign. Marco Rubio actually said Sunday before sort-of-but-not-really backpedaling Monday that the Paris attacks were a “positive development” if they placed Americans in an appropriately fearful psychological condition. Last year on the campaign trail, now-Sen. Cory Gardner freely exploited xenophobic fears and ignorance from ISIS to Ebola.

So yes, love it or hate it, Tim Neville knows exactly what he’s doing.

Neville Not “Buckpedaling” on Abortion

(Tim Neville aims to dominate Thanksgiving table talk – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Tim Neville.

State Sen. Tim Neville.

“My name is Tim Neville, and I’m THE pro-Life candidate running for the nomination to take on and defeat Democrat Michael Bennet in November 2016.”

That’s how Neville, who’s considered the frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary, describes himself in a recent fundraising email.

And judging from the email (excerpt below), it’s hard to imagine there’s a more anti-choice candidate anywhere on the planet.

Neville even confirms that the Live at Conception Act is a personhood bill, something Sen. Cory Gardner was willfully confused about.

In contrast to Gardner, who was obviously worried women would revolt against his history of Neville-like positions on abortion, Neville brags that “politicians in both parties” opposed his bill that would have “forced abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound, saving thousands of babies in the process.” (Translation: women would be required to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.)

We know Republicans in Colorado like to modify their positions once they face a general-election audience. See, for example, Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman, Bob Beauprez, Rep. Ken “Buckpedal” Buck.

But unlike those guys, you get the feeling that Neville really  believes he can win over both primary and general election voters by being himself, regardless of the issue. That will set him apart from recent state-wide Republican candidates. That would make things interesting.


Wednesday Open Thread

“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.”

–John Locke

Slow Down! Initiative 55 (Redistricting) Is a Rough Draft, Not a Real Policy Fix

Pump the brakes!

Pump the brakes!

Redistricting. Reapportionment. Gerrymandering. Big words that create big problems.

There is no political or policy issue that is not affected by the re-drawing of legislative and congressional districts every 10 years. A truly representative democracy requires that we regularly adjust local “boundaries” in an effort to create a responsive and responsible government that reflects our ever-changing demographics.

In an ideal world, these boundaries would always be drawn in a competitively-balanced manner so as not to give an unfair advantage to any particular community, interest group, or political party. In the real world, this is akin to trying to take “politics” out of politics.

A new group of current and former lawmakers is pushing for a change to Colorado’s political map-making process. The proposal – known already as Initiative 55 – has some bipartisan support but is largely backed by Republicans such as former Governor Bill Owens (R), former Secretaries of State Donetta Davidson (R) and Gigi Dennis (R), and former House Speaker Frank McNulty (R). In fact, Initiative 55 should look pretty familiar to partisan Republicans: Much of the map-drawing requirements in Initiative 55 is comparable to a Republican redistricting attempt in 2004 that was ultimately repealed in 2010.

The primary talking point for the Initiative 55 group is that their proposal will hand over the map-making process to “nonpartisan experts,” which (in theory) would put a stop to gerrymandering. This smells like a good idea that has gained traction in other parts of the country, but what are the other ingredients that make up this political sausage? We don’t disagree that our current map-making process needs to be adjusted, but as we read through the draft language for “Initiative 55,” we found ourselves pumping the policy brakes on numerous occasions. For example:

♦ Initiative 55 would essentially make it impossible for minority groups to increase their voting power. In fact, the language specifically prohibits crafting district boundaries “for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group.” This is one of several sections that would appear to be unconstitutional from the start.

Initiative 55 upends some critical redistricting criteria in a way that actually makes it more difficult to craft competitive boundaries. The draft language outlines a few specific redistricting factors in a very specific order; the result is that “competitiveness” and “communities of interest” would become the least important considerations in redistricting. Initiative 55 supporters say that map makers would be “required” to draw competitive seats under this plan, but it would appear that they missed their own fine print.

♦ Metropolitan counties with large populations will still be carved up into several districts, but under Initiative 55, counties can be split even if they divide minority communities or other communities of interest.

♦ One of the stranger quirks in the language of Initiative 55 is related to the tie-breaking process for the Redistricting Commission. If the Commission cannot agree on a particular map and becomes deadlocked, the default solution is to go back to the first map presented by Commission staff – no matter how flawed or misguided it may have been. If the Commission can’t agree on later versions of a redistricting map, the law would require that they formally submit the first draft to the Colorado Supreme Court for approval.

♦ Here’s another weird quirk: In the event that staff “is unable to present initial plans to the commission,” Initiative 55 would allow the staff to draw district lines and directly present them to the Supreme Court for approval (Initiative 55 doesn’t explain what kind of “event” would prohibit staff from meeting with the Commission). In other words, a handful of unnamed “staff members” could somehow skip this entire process and do the map-drawing by themselves. 

Colorado could certainly benefit from a change to its reapportionment and redistricting process, and there may be some seeds of thought in the draft language of Initiative 55 that should be examined further. As it stands currently, however, Initiative 55 is more of a rough first draft than a carefully-considered policy proposal. When you skip the details and rush past the fine print, you risk enacting a policy that ends up doing the opposite of whatever was intended.

Colorado can absolutely lead the way and show the rest of the country how best to deal with re-drawing legislative boundaries…but let’s slow down and get this right, first.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Nov. 24)

MoreSmarter-ThanksgivingWe’re planning out our tryptophan coma dreams early this year. It’s time to 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).


► Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in Colorado today, making stops in Denver and Boulder as part of a trip that involves both raising money and “mobilizing” Colorado Democrats.

► But if you attend a Donald Trump rally, you may be taking your life into your own hands.

► Speaking of Trump, he may be in danger of losing his so-far lead in the upcoming Iowa caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz. Might Iowa change the course of Cruz’s also-ran campaign, or make itself irrelevant? Cruz says it’s the former, with feeling.

Get even more smarter after the jump…