A Few Words on HD13 and Levy’s Resignation

First of all, term limits are a horrible idea. But that's not what I'm here to discuss, so I one start to dig into all the reasons why. But I will address one of them. Term limits result in lawmakers going job-hunting before their time in office is over. 

The case in point is Rep. Claire Levy (D-HD13) who is leaving her seat in the State House at the end of October to take a position with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. 

If she had stayed, the 2014 session would have been her last, so some might have trouble seeing the difference. 

But I think there is a big difference. And lawmakers who leave their post the year before they are term limited is one of the worst and most damaging elements of our state's system. 

And here is why:

Before Levy had announced she would be resigning, the race to replace her in the 2014 election had already begun. Two Dem candidates, Tad Kline (http://www.tadklineforhd13.org/) and KC Becker (http://kcbecker.org/) had already announced their intention to run for the seat next year. But that race, which would have been a spirited and interesting primary, decided by the voters in HD13, will now be decided by a couple dozen Dems on October 19th. If either of them is chosen by the vacancy committee, they will now be the incumbent when caucuses roll around and are unlikely to be challenged. And that isn't right. 

The person who serves in this seat for the next 8 years should be chosen during an election, not a back-room coronation. 

There is hope, though. Two additional candidates, George Clark and Zane Laubham, have expressed interest in filling the vacancy for the remaining 15 months of Levy's term, but have not declared candidacy for the 2014 race. The vacancy committee has the opportunity, here, to appoint someone who has no interest in keeping the seat for 2015, so that a legitimate election can still be held. 

I don't know anything about the candidates (another one of the down-sides of the vacancy process is a low amount of information), but if either Clark or Laubham are willing to commit to not running and they are reasonably qualified for the spot, I would encourage the vacancy committee to select that person and give the voters of HD13 an opportunity to choose their own representative through the normal election process. 

IndyNinja

About IndyNinja

I support People, not Parties. I support Ideas, not Ideologies. I am an independent voter.

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. IndyNinjaIndyNinja says:

    For what it's worth, Tad Kline was Levy's campaign manager, so it will be interesting to see if she gives her endorsement during the vacacy committee meetings. If so, my worst fears will be confirmed, that she resigned as a means of undermining the election process and naming her successor, something that happens all too often in Colorado. 

  2. Craig says:

    You just don't know Claire Levy.  She is an honorable, decent public servant and always has been.  I'm guessing she hasn't made a ton of money in her life.  I'm also guessing that the new political reality has somewhat discouraged her.  She's also one fine attorney and could have made much more in the private sector.  We owe her, not the other way around.  Sometimes an opportunity comes around that you simply can't refuse.  I suspect that's what happened to Claire.  The reality is that sometimes in one-party districts like hers, it's better to have a small group of folks who know the process and who have seen lots of good and bad legislators to make the decision.  The Republicans in this state have learned this the hard way and it's one of the big reasons that they're now in the minority.  And, it's a death spiral.  They elect these absolute idiots who then continue to shoot off their big mouth with the nonsense and bigotry and it affects other candidates.  Get over it.  This doesn't happen all that often.  In addition, someone can still challenge in the primary.  Ask Peggy Noonan or a host of other interim appointments what has happened to them.

  3. IndyNinjaIndyNinja says:

    From what I know of Rep. Levy, I would agree with you that she is a fine legislator and I am sure she will serve the CCLP well. 

    This is about the process. And while it may be good for the party to get to hand pick a replacement, it is not fair to the voters who would like the chance to weigh in before the deck is stacked in favor of a particular person. 

    I think it's even worse when this happens in a competitive district, giving the incumbency advantage to someone who has not been elected, but it has a greater dampening effect within a lopsided district where primary challengers will be looked at as disloyal (See Andrew Romanoff's treatment in '10). 

    Furthermore, I do not agree with your assesment that vacancy committee of HD13 have any particular knowledge of the legislature or who is best for it. They aren't party leadership, they are just random people who volunteered at the last caucuses to be a PCP, usually without any intention or expectation of ever having to do anything. 

    As someone who is not part of the political party fan base, I am distrustful of these backroom selection processes. They stand opposed to the concept of representative government. But the folks in HD13 have a chance to do the right thing here by picking someone who will serve well, but won't seek re-election. 

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Have to disagree with you Ninja.  They should pick the best person to serve period.  There is important legislation that needs to be addressed in 2014 and a caretaker legislator isn't necessarily the best way to go.  I want the most qualified person to take over and if it happens to be one of the existing candidates than so be it.  I think it is a garbage argument to say that only caretaker candidates can be considered.  Pick the best person and let them get to work.

  4. BetterBoulderDems says:

    Boulder County's Democrats and the Specter of Adverse Possession.

    A few years have passed, but the case is still fresh in my memory.  Two married (former) Chairs of the Boulder County Democratic Party (one a former Mayor of Boulder) attracted national attention.

    Denver Post, November 21, 2007:

    "For years, the judge and his attorney wife eyed a vacant lot next door to their Boulder home. They regularly trespassed on it, created paths and even held parties on the land.  You might think this high-powered couple would have gotten in some sort of trouble for this.  You would be wrong.

    In fact, Richard McLean, a former Boulder mayor and RTD board member, and his wife, Edith Stevens, were rewarded for their actions.  Invoking a little-known legal doctrine called 'adverse possession,' they convinced a judge to give them a big chunk of the million-dollar property next door.  For free.

    If that weren't outrageous enough, it gets worse: They've asked the court to force the owners to pay their legal fees."

    "The Kirlins decided, finally, that they were going to build a dream house on the land.  That's when McLean and Stevens got a restraining order, preventing the Kirlins from building a fence. They reportedly got the restraining order in just a few hours.  Who says the wheels of justice move slowly?"

    http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_7517681

    Rocky Mountain News, November 27, 2007:

    "McLean and Stevens have long been involved in local politics: he as a judge, city councilman and mayor; she as a political activist and chairwoman of the Boulder County Democratic Party."

    "Richard 'Dick' McLean and Edith 'Edie' Stevens are household names to longtime observers of the Boulder political scene, but in recent weeks the couple have gained an entirely different kind of attention."

    "McLean was elected chairman of the Boulder County Democrats in October 1966.  He would serve as its chairman for two years."

    " . . . Edith Stevens was elected chairwoman of the Boulder County Democrats.  Stevens said she would 'reorganize the party into a clean, strong and effective machine,' according to Camera archives."

    "Stevens was serving as campaign treasurer for state Rep. Claire Levy and on the board of directors of Friends of Boulder Open Space – a group she helped found in 2006 – when the land case generated outcry this month.  She has since resigned from both groups."

    Boulder's Representative Levy defends Edie Stevens in the RMN:

    "Levy, D-Boulder, said Stevens has faced undue personal attacks.  'I don't really think it's fair for perfect strangers to draw conclusions about another person's character based on reports in the media about a lawsuit,' Levy told the Camera this month."

    http://m.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/nov/27/boulders-bitter-land-dispute/

    "Levy stood behind Stevens and her husband under pressure to disassociate them from her campaign, but Stevens ultimately resigned from her position as Levy's campaign treasurer."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Levy

    “'It’s cost me over $400,000 to fight the lawsuit', Don Kirlin said, 'and after spending it, I only get to lose 12 percent of my property that I already owned.'”

    http://www.landgrabber.org/

    "The results show there was not a single reasonable presumption made in favor of the true owner."

    http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_13092122

    Recently, Representative Claire Levy decided to resign her state legislative seat in order to run a Colorado public policy think tank.

    http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2013/09/12/rep-claire-levy-to-leave-colorado-house-to-head-denver-based-advocacy/100427/

    Representative Levy is supporting her legislative aide, Tad Kline, to replace her as State Representative for House District 13: "She has endorsed Tad Kline, who's running for the House District 13 seat in the 2014 election.  Kline worked with Levy as her campaign manager and legislative aide."

    http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_24078072/boulder-rep-claire-levy-resigning-from-legislature-take

    But, before we appoint Tad Kline to represent House District 13, let's have full disclosure relating to his involvement in Boulder's adverse possession case.

    "15.  The Court finds that the testimony of Edith Stevens, Richard McLean, Steve Brett, Tad Kline, William Wright, Janet Mitchell, and Joan McLean Braun is credible and persuasive."

    https://webspace.utexas.edu/jm59399/www/357L/P3/BDC_Kirlin%20Appeal_011008.pdf

    Should a lawyer be allowed to use an obscure legal doctrine to take a neighbor's property?  If an action can be deemed "legal" by a court, is that action necessarily "moral"?

    "11.  Tad Kline testified that he recalled using what he described as a 'clear path' off of Hardscrabble Drive to access Plaintiff's garden area in the back around the left side of their house on the forty (40) to fifty (50) times that he had visited Plaintiffs' home."

    https://webspace.utexas.edu/jm59399/www/357L/P3/06CV982%20-%20McLean%20&%20Stevens%20v%20Kirlin%20(adverse%20possession%20order).pdf

    Representative Claire Levy has served admirably in the Colorado Legislature, and her aide, Tad Kline, may very well be the best person to represent the sprawling House District 13.  But, before he is appointed to fill the seat we should have answers to the following questions: What was Tad Kline's relationship with Edie Stevens prior to the adverse possession case?  Was Tad Kline's testimony at the adverse possession trial voluntary or compelled?  If Tad was not compelled to testify in the case what was his motivation for volunteering testimony favorable to McLean and Stevens?  What is Tad Kline's current position on this adverse possession case?  In Tad's opinion is this type of behavior appropriate for a member of the Bar or an elected official?

    Tad Kline happens to serve on the vacancy committee that will choose Representative Levy's successor in a few weeks.  Boulder Weekly:

    "Candidate serving on own appointing committee raises ethical questions."

    "When asked whether, as a member of the vacancy committee, he would vote on his own appointment, Kline said, 'Well, I think so, yeah. I mean, this is pretty standard.'”

    "If nothing else, some say, the situation provides a glimpse into the inner workings of Boulder County’s Democratic elite, and the perpetuation of a relatively small group’s power in the community."

    "So a group of 35, assuming they all show up to the October meeting naming Levy’s replacement, could well be deciding who replaces Boulder County’s House representative for the next nine years, assuming re-election and barring any Democratic challengers or major performance flaws."

    "Kline may have the inside track anyway, since Levy has endorsed him, and her opinion will likely carry weight with the members of the vacancy committee. (She has a seat on the group as well.)"

    "Levy acknowledges that some members have told her they will vote the way that she does."

    “'From who I know on the committee, I think a lot of them have indicated that they would follow my lead, and the fact that I’ve endorsed Tad would be influential in their decision,' she told BW."

    "She (Levy) also says her decision to bow out early had nothing to do with helping her former campaign manager and legislative aide land her position."

    "'I am so staying out of that,' (Boulder County Commissioner) Gardner says.  'It’s a minefield waiting to happen, so I don’t want to go there.'”

    "Leggere-Hickey, the vacancy committee chair, says the group has not yet decided on a meeting date to make the appointment, but it needs to be done in a 20-day window before Levy’s last day at the end of October, and the earlier the better, because if the meeting doesn’t attract a quorum, the group should reserve enough time to try again.  If the vacancy committee doesn’t appoint someone before Levy’s last day, Gov. John Hickenlooper can make the call."

    http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-11685-inside-baseball.html

    Freerepublic.com:

    "Judge Klein ignored that testimony and ruled M/S had more 'attachment' to the land than the people paying taxes and HOA fees on it.  When the Kirlins tried to put up a fence to stop any claim of adverse possession, which was well within their rights to do so, an emergency restraining order signed by Judge Morris Sandstead at 5:20 p.m. on a Friday stopped them…after the court was closed."

    "There was a path that Edie Stevens testified was there the whole 18 years, but the satellite maps as recent as one year ago show there were no paths at all, anywhere."

    "You might be interested in knowing: Tad Kline is a former City Council member.  Tad Kline endorsed Claire Levy.  Claire Levy supports McLean and Stevens."

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1924861/posts?page=101

    "Kirlin said he discovered there was a problem when a neighbor told his wife at a high school football game McLean was planning a legal action to take some of the parcel, which is only about 60 feet by 80 feet.  He said the family discussed the situation, but seeing no evidence that such a claim could be substantiated, decided to go ahead with a fencing project on the parcel. McLean, however, told the contractor when he arrived to stop the work on Kirlin’s property, and within a little over two hours on a Friday evening had a court order to that effect, Kirlin said."

    http://www.wnd.com/2007/11/44533

    "1/6/2008 7:47:40 PM  Evidently, Sonny Flowers not only works for the husband of landgrabbing Judge Marsha Yeager, but served on the board of KGNU where Tad Kline works. Tad testified on behalf of Dick and Edie."

    http://www.dailycamera.com/ongoing-coverage/adverse-possesion-case/ci_13130162

    "Do you remember Richard McLean, the retired judge and former Boulder, Colorado mayor, and his wife Edith Stevens, an attorney and political operative, who used their knowledge of the obscure (to anybody who isn't an attorney) doctrine of 'adverse possession' to legally steal one-third of their neighbors' parcel of land?  They've been ostracized and vilified in their town for their actions, as has Judge James C. Klein, who issued the ruling in the case.

    But they still have supporters.

    Boulder County Bar Association president Sonny Flowers wrote a column for the Boulder County Bar Newsletter in which he described opponents of the land-grab as 'dumb, short-sighted, lacking in perspective or just plain wrong.'"

    http://www.tuccille.com/blog/2008/01/cry-me-river.html

    "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's house . . . or anything that is thy neighbor's."

  5. BetterBoulderDems says:

    Boulder County's Democrats and the Specter of Adverse Possession.

    A few years have passed, but the case is still fresh in my memory.  Two married (former) Chairs of the Boulder County Democratic Party (one a former Mayor of Boulder) attracted national attention.

    Denver Post, November 21, 2007:

    "For years, the judge and his attorney wife eyed a vacant lot next door to their Boulder home. They regularly trespassed on it, created paths and even held parties on the land.  You might think this high-powered couple would have gotten in some sort of trouble for this.  You would be wrong.

    In fact, Richard McLean, a former Boulder mayor and RTD board member, and his wife, Edith Stevens, were rewarded for their actions.  Invoking a little-known legal doctrine called 'adverse possession,' they convinced a judge to give them a big chunk of the million-dollar property next door.  For free.

    If that weren't outrageous enough, it gets worse: They've asked the court to force the owners to pay their legal fees."

    "The Kirlins decided, finally, that they were going to build a dream house on the land.  That's when McLean and Stevens got a restraining order, preventing the Kirlins from building a fence. They reportedly got the restraining order in just a few hours.  Who says the wheels of justice move slowly?"

    http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_7517681

    Rocky Mountain News, November 27, 2007:

    "McLean and Stevens have long been involved in local politics: he as a judge, city councilman and mayor; she as a political activist and chairwoman of the Boulder County Democratic Party."

    "Richard 'Dick' McLean and Edith 'Edie' Stevens are household names to longtime observers of the Boulder political scene, but in recent weeks the couple have gained an entirely different kind of attention."

    "McLean was elected chairman of the Boulder County Democrats in October 1966.  He would serve as its chairman for two years."

    " . . . Edith Stevens was elected chairwoman of the Boulder County Democrats.  Stevens said she would 'reorganize the party into a clean, strong and effective machine,' according to Camera archives."

    "Stevens was serving as campaign treasurer for state Rep. Claire Levy and on the board of directors of Friends of Boulder Open Space – a group she helped found in 2006 – when the land case generated outcry this month.  She has since resigned from both groups."

    Boulder's Representative Levy defends Edie Stevens in the RMN:

    "Levy, D-Boulder, said Stevens has faced undue personal attacks.  'I don't really think it's fair for perfect strangers to draw conclusions about another person's character based on reports in the media about a lawsuit,' Levy told the Camera this month."

    http://m.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/nov/27/boulders-bitter-land-dispute/

    "Levy stood behind Stevens and her husband under pressure to disassociate them from her campaign, but Stevens ultimately resigned from her position as Levy's campaign treasurer."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Levy

    “'It’s cost me over $400,000 to fight the lawsuit', Don Kirlin said, 'and after spending it, I only get to lose 12 percent of my property that I already owned.'”

    http://www.landgrabber.org/

    "The results show there was not a single reasonable presumption made in favor of the true owner."

    http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_13092122

    Recently, Representative Claire Levy decided to resign her state legislative seat in order to run a Colorado public policy think tank.

    http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2013/09/12/rep-claire-levy-to-leave-colorado-house-to-head-denver-based-advocacy/100427/

    Representative Levy is supporting her legislative aide, Tad Kline, to replace her as State Representative for House District 13: "She has endorsed Tad Kline, who's running for the House District 13 seat in the 2014 election.  Kline worked with Levy as her campaign manager and legislative aide."

    http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_24078072/boulder-rep-claire-levy-resigning-from-legislature-take

    But, before we appoint Tad Kline to represent House District 13, let's have full disclosure relating to his involvement in Boulder's adverse possession case.

    "15.  The Court finds that the testimony of Edith Stevens, Richard McLean, Steve Brett, Tad Kline, William Wright, Janet Mitchell, and Joan McLean Braun is credible and persuasive."

    https://webspace.utexas.edu/jm59399/www/357L/P3/BDC_Kirlin%20Appeal_011008.pdf

    Should a lawyer be allowed to use an obscure legal doctrine to take a neighbor's property?  If an action can be deemed "legal" by a court, is that action necessarily "moral"?

    "11.  Tad Kline testified that he recalled using what he described as a 'clear path' off of Hardscrabble Drive to access Plaintiff's garden area in the back around the left side of their house on the forty (40) to fifty (50) times that he had visited Plaintiffs' home."

    https://webspace.utexas.edu/jm59399/www/357L/P3/06CV982%20-%20McLean%20&%20Stevens%20v%20Kirlin%20(adverse%20possession%20order).pdf

    Representative Claire Levy has served admirably in the Colorado Legislature, and her aide, Tad Kline, may very well be the best person to represent the sprawling House District 13.  But, before he is appointed to fill the seat we should have answers to the following questions: What was Tad Kline's relationship with Edie Stevens prior to the adverse possession case?  Was Tad Kline's testimony at the adverse possession trial voluntary or compelled?  If Tad was not compelled to testify in the case what was his motivation for volunteering testimony favorable to McLean and Stevens?  What is Tad Kline's current position on this adverse possession case?  In Tad's opinion is this type of behavior appropriate for a member of the Bar or an elected official?

    Tad Kline happens to serve on the vacancy committee that will choose Representative Levy's successor in a few weeks.  Boulder Weekly:

    "Candidate serving on own appointing committee raises ethical questions."

    "When asked whether, as a member of the vacancy committee, he would vote on his own appointment, Kline said, 'Well, I think so, yeah. I mean, this is pretty standard.'”

    "If nothing else, some say, the situation provides a glimpse into the inner workings of Boulder County’s Democratic elite, and the perpetuation of a relatively small group’s power in the community."

    "So a group of 35, assuming they all show up to the October meeting naming Levy’s replacement, could well be deciding who replaces Boulder County’s House representative for the next nine years, assuming re-election and barring any Democratic challengers or major performance flaws."

    "Kline may have the inside track anyway, since Levy has endorsed him, and her opinion will likely carry weight with the members of the vacancy committee. (She has a seat on the group as well.)"

    "Levy acknowledges that some members have told her they will vote the way that she does."

    “'From who I know on the committee, I think a lot of them have indicated that they would follow my lead, and the fact that I’ve endorsed Tad would be influential in their decision,' she told BW."

    "She (Levy) also says her decision to bow out early had nothing to do with helping her former campaign manager and legislative aide land her position."

    "'I am so staying out of that,' (Boulder County Commissioner) Gardner says.  'It’s a minefield waiting to happen, so I don’t want to go there.'”

    "Leggere-Hickey, the vacancy committee chair, says the group has not yet decided on a meeting date to make the appointment, but it needs to be done in a 20-day window before Levy’s last day at the end of October, and the earlier the better, because if the meeting doesn’t attract a quorum, the group should reserve enough time to try again.  If the vacancy committee doesn’t appoint someone before Levy’s last day, Gov. John Hickenlooper can make the call."

    http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-11685-inside-baseball.html

    Freerepublic.com:

    "Judge Klein ignored that testimony and ruled M/S had more 'attachment' to the land than the people paying taxes and HOA fees on it.  When the Kirlins tried to put up a fence to stop any claim of adverse possession, which was well within their rights to do so, an emergency restraining order signed by Judge Morris Sandstead at 5:20 p.m. on a Friday stopped them…after the court was closed."

    "There was a path that Edie Stevens testified was there the whole 18 years, but the satellite maps as recent as one year ago show there were no paths at all, anywhere."

    "You might be interested in knowing: Tad Kline is a former City Council member.  Tad Kline endorsed Claire Levy.  Claire Levy supports McLean and Stevens."

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1924861/posts?page=101

    "Kirlin said he discovered there was a problem when a neighbor told his wife at a high school football game McLean was planning a legal action to take some of the parcel, which is only about 60 feet by 80 feet.  He said the family discussed the situation, but seeing no evidence that such a claim could be substantiated, decided to go ahead with a fencing project on the parcel. McLean, however, told the contractor when he arrived to stop the work on Kirlin’s property, and within a little over two hours on a Friday evening had a court order to that effect, Kirlin said."

    http://www.wnd.com/2007/11/44533

    "1/6/2008 7:47:40 PM  Evidently, Sonny Flowers not only works for the husband of landgrabbing Judge Marsha Yeager, but served on the board of KGNU where Tad Kline works. Tad testified on behalf of Dick and Edie."

    http://www.dailycamera.com/ongoing-coverage/adverse-possesion-case/ci_13130162

    "Do you remember Richard McLean, the retired judge and former Boulder, Colorado mayor, and his wife Edith Stevens, an attorney and political operative, who used their knowledge of the obscure (to anybody who isn't an attorney) doctrine of 'adverse possession' to legally steal one-third of their neighbors' parcel of land?  They've been ostracized and vilified in their town for their actions, as has Judge James C. Klein, who issued the ruling in the case.

    But they still have supporters.

    Boulder County Bar Association president Sonny Flowers wrote a column for the Boulder County Bar Newsletter in which he described opponents of the land-grab as 'dumb, short-sighted, lacking in perspective or just plain wrong.'"

    http://www.tuccille.com/blog/2008/01/cry-me-river.html

     

    "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's house . . . or anything that is thy neighbor's."

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