Ken Witt, The Dumbest Man In Colorado Politics

Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt mysteriously gave notice last night that he would make a “big announcement” this morning. Since the report aired on CBS4 Denver last night, Jefferson County politicos have been scratching their heads trying to figure out what Witt was about to announce. Would he resign from the school board? Something else equally dramatic, justifying a presser at the Denver West Sheraton and camera crews from all the local networks?

As the Denver Post reports, not so much:

Ken Witt, board president of Jeffco Public Schools, announced at a news conference Thursday that he has file an ethic complaint against himself.

He has asked the Colorado Ethics Commission to investigate whether Witt was involved in breaking any open meetings laws.

Witt, a conservative member of the board, said the decision was in response to a recall effort seeking his ouster.

“I’m just calling their bluff,” Witt said Thursday…

That’s right, folks! Witt just self-inflicted this nigh-on unbelievable headline:


Now, the first problem here is that Witt filed his “complaint” with an entity that has no jurisdiction over school boards. Because it’s not a paid position, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission ruled in 2009 that board members are excluded from the definition of “public officers” under Amendment 41. And if that’s not bad enough, the IEC isn’t even scheduled to meet again until after the election.

In short, this was about the most perfectly-engineered waste of the media’s time Ken Witt could have possibly come up with. If we had been a reporter suckered into showing up to this farce of a press conference, we would actually be very upset about the time and expense of dispatching busy camera crews and journalists to an event way out in the suburbs with absolutely zero news value.

The only thing we can add is that drawing attention to one of the principal allegations leveled by recall proponents against himself, especially in a way that makes him look like a uninformed clown while failing to refute anything regarding the allegation in question, is just laughably bad PR strategy. “Hey, look over here! They’re accusing me of something bad and instead of disproving it, I’m pulling this lame stunt!”

Whoever dispenses this kind of political advice needs to find a new career. Right now.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Oct. 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Back to the Future called it — the Chicago Cubs will win the 2015 World Series. 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).


► The University of Colorado is trying to defend itself against student outrage over a complete lack of access to the Oct. 28 Republican Presidential debate in Boulder. Both the Boulder Daily Camera and the Durango Herald are covering the controversy today.


► Congressman Mike Coffman is facing scrutiny for speaking to an anti-Muslim “hate group” last month. Coffman was a featured speaker in September at a conference for “ACT for America,” which has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

On another note, Coffman’s congressional campaign announced yesterday that it had raised $475,000 in the third quarter of 2015. This is Coffman’s biggest fundraising haul of the year, but it also comes after a Q2 that was his worst fundraising performance in the last four years.


► Conservative Republicans have found their own candidate to challenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker of the House. As the Washington Post reports:

The House Freedom Caucus’s backing of Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) ahead of a crucial internal party vote Thursday deeply complicates Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy’s bid to succeed Boehner. The group counts enough members — about 40 — to deny McCarthy the majority of the whole House he would need to claim the speaker’s chair.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


OF COURSE Coffman Spoke To An Anti-Muslim Hate Group

As the Colorado Independent’s Kyle Harris reports:

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman spoke in September at the conference of an organization that has been profiled repeatedly as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“ACT For America is perhaps the nation’s leading Anti-Muslim hate group … extremely out there in terms of their bigotry and extremism and hate mongering,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The New York Times Magazine described the organization’s president Brigitte Gabriel, who also spoke at the conference, as follows: “She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion.”

Gabriel has described Arabs as “barbarians” and has said, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.” [Pols emphasis]

Now before you make any, you know, presumptions:

Would he speak for this group, which has have given him a 100 percent grade for voting against “radical Islam,” had he been warned?

“With regard to why he spoke to this group (ACT! for America), the Congressman speaks with literally hundreds of groups every year, and very rarely agrees with every aspect of their agenda. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a dialogue,” his spokesperson [Cinamon] Watson wrote.

As Harris recounts, Rep. Mike Coffman has made bashing so-called “radical Islam” a favorite topic in guest opinion columns and at public events. The group that Coffman spoke at, ACT! For America, appears to take it a step further by declaring all Muslims to be “radical” Muslims. It should be noted that this belief has a fair number of adherents in Colorado, as one example the openly anti-Muslim climate that pervades the Western Conservative Summit year after year–even inviting internationally-infamous anti-Muslim demagogues like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands to speak.

At a Defense Department course on Islam, in 2007, Gabriel said: “If a Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”

Wow! But remember, Coffman doesn’t necessarily agree. He just gave a speech at their conference, right? After all, it’s not like Coffman has ever said anything even remotely close to what this group says, right?

Oops (see photo).

Given the substantial percentage of the Republican base who believe to this day that President Barack Obama, like Coffman said in 2012, “is just not an American,” a belief largely revolving around President Obama’s Muslim father…well, don’t you think that if Coffman meant any of those apologies, he might be a little more careful about appearing before an organization given to all-too-similar generalizations?

All we can say is, he must really be counting on that free ride from the press.

Arvada Prepares for Bigger Ballot in 2015

As Austin Briggs of the Denver Post reports, Arvada voters have a plethora of choices on the ballot for 2015:

Because District 1 Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger was called to serve in the Colorado Senatealmost two years ago and was  replaced by Jerry Marks, residents will have a rare opportunity to select five — instead of three or four — municipal officers.

All five incumbents are running for re-election, with six challengers hoping to replace them for four-year terms in the single at-large and mayor positions and two-year terms in the District 1, 2 and 4 seats.

Read the rest of the Post story to see how urban renewal issues may end up being the top priority for Arvada voters.

Turning Points for Renewable Energy

Turning points.

Turning points.

Whether it comes out of the ground or from the sky, energy production remains a hot topic in Colorado. Each side has its own set of arguments, but we may be reaching a true tipping point in favor of renewable energy.

As Tom Randall writes for Bloomberg Business, the “capacity factor” is making solar and wind energy more economically-viable than other sources of energy:

Wind power is now the cheapest electricity to produce in both Germany and the U.K., even without government subsidies, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). It’s the first time that threshold has been crossed by a G7 economy.

But that’s less interesting than what just happened in the U.S.

To appreciate what’s going on there, you need to understand the capacity factor. That’s the percentage of a power plant’s maximum potential that’s actually achieved over time…

…One of the major strengths of fossil fuel power plants is that they can command very high and predictable capacity factors. The average U.S. natural gas plant, for example, might produce about 70 percent of its potential (falling short of 100 percent because of seasonal demand and maintenance). But that’s what’s changing, and it’s a big deal.

For the first time, widespread adoption of renewables is effectively lowering the capacity factor for fossil fuels. [Pols emphasis] That’s because once a solar or wind project is built, the marginal cost of the electricity it produces is pretty much zero—free electricity—while coal and gas plants require more fuel for every new watt produced. If you’re a power company with a choice, you choose the free stuff every time.

In any political debate, simple economic factors can end up making the strongest argument. All of the saber-rattling and fist-shaking about fossil fuels and renewables will grind to a halt when oil and gas production is no longer economically preferable…and it appears we may be crossing that bridge.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 7)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218The Yankees…don’t win. 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).


► Democrat Morgan Carroll is shaking up the race for CD-6 in more ways than one. Carroll’s straight-talk style seems to be confusing for Republican trackers, and could be the key to defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in 2016.


► Famous rich person Donald Trump remains atop the Republican field for President, and this one’s gotta sting the other candidates: He’s only spent $2 million on his campaign. In total. As the Washington Post reports, Trump appears to have realized that he might actually win this thing, so he’s moving toward creating a more traditional campaign structure. And a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Trump crushing both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida.


►Using polling data to forecast election winners is getting more and more difficult as demographics change and more people drop landlines altogether. Gallup has decided not to track the general election for the first time since predicting Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election in 1936. Gallup’s poor showing in 2012 didn’t help matters, writes Politico:

Gallup’s final survey showed Romney leading Obama by 1 point — 4.9 points off from the final result, in which Obama prevailed by 3.9 points. It also misidentified the winner. That led to a lengthy and expensive effort by Gallup to retool its methodology, a process the pollster described back in 2013 as aimed at the next presidential election.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Morgan Carroll Tells It Like It Is, GOP Helps Spread The Word

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

As one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races heading into 2016, national Republican political media operations are clamoring for the chance to catch Democratic CD-6 candidate Morgan Carroll in a gaffe they can use in a TV spot. America Rising PAC is one of the bigger “independent” message groups working on the GOP side, and they’ve detailed a tracker to keep tabs on Carroll at public events.

Unfortunately for America Rising, their first “scoop” on Carroll is likely to help her more than it hurts:

During a September 2015 “Listening Tour” in Douglas County, Colorado, Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Morgan Carroll attacked what she called the “mainstream media,” specifically calling out The Denver Post and two of its top journalists.

When discussing the need for strong grassroots support for her congressional bid, Carroll claimed that she and her supporters “can’t count on the mainstream media to do real reporting.” Carroll then launched a diatribe against The Denver Post Editorial Board and two of the paper’s top journalists – Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett and Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll…

Oh noes! You mean the same Denver Post that has seen its reputation on the left collapse in a heap after their perfidious endorsement of Cory Gardner? The same Chuck Plunkett who made an unfavorable story about Rep. Mike Coffman vanish completely after deciding he “hadn’t heard” something everybody else knew?

It seems there are some circumstances on the ground here in Colorado that America Rising would do well to bone up on–starting with the fact that Democrats in Colorado agree with Morgan Carroll. Here’s the heart of Carroll’s recorded remarks:

CARROLL: “See they get to reinvent themselves and when we don’t point it out, the problem is is that it’s almost being complicit in letting it stand as true. And we’re going to need help on social media so it’s not just ‘oh candidate said this and that,’ but part of what we’re going to have to do because TV is so expensive in buying is have folks that are willing to ‘friend,’ ‘like,’ ‘share,’ so when we need to do rapid response on fact check that we have a grassroots army of people that are willing to ‘like,’ ‘share,’ ‘forward,’ call it out. And eventually at this point the media, if anything might wag, and decide to pick it up. But we can’t count on the mainstream media to do real reporting.”

There’s no nice way to say it: the sum of our experience with the local Colorado political media, especially since the closure of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009 and the steady contraction of political reporting at the Denver Post and other local outlets, strongly agrees with Sen. Carroll’s assessment that the mainstream media can’t be counted on to reliably report the full story. In recent years, the traditional journalism dynamic has been turned on its head by blogs and social media, to the point where news routinely breaks first without any help from the mainstream media–which is often days late to the story now if they cover it at all.

Too often, the decision of what mainstream outlets cover is not made based on news value. But social media still can’t transcend social networks like a news story. In short, if this is what Carroll is telling her core supporters, she’s exactly right, and she needs to keep saying it. There’s not a single constituency this hurts her with, except for a couple of named Denver Post employees who most Democrats we know agree need shaming.

Besides, aren’t Republicans usually the ones harping on the “lamestream media?” Not in this town, we guess.

Ben Carson Says Some Ridiculous Stuff About the Oregon Shootings

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson.

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson. More guns, less gravity!

Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson has a pretty large following in Colorado, where conservative Republicans have regularly voted him #1 on straw polls in advance of the 2016 Presidential election. We won’t go into detail here about why Carson is so popular among Colorado Republicans, but we do wonder why anyone could support a Presidential candidate who is this obtuse. From the New York Times:

Ben Carson defended his position on Tuesday that tougher gun control measures would not curb violence and said that he would have been more aggressive in the face of a shooter than the victims of last week’s attack in Oregon.

The remarks on Fox News came a week after a gunman entered a community college classroom in Oregon and opened fire on students after asking them to say if they were Christians. Mr. Carson, a Republican presidential candidate who has been rising in recent polls, said that if he were in the classroom he would have handled things differently.

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Mr. Carson said, explaining that he would defend his faith at any cost. “I would say: ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all.’”

Uh, yeah. It’s easy to play Monday Morning Quarterback about a mass shooting when you aren’t the one standing in front of someone with a gun.


Preview Your Ballot at

County clerks across the state will begin mailing out ballots for the November election sometime next week. To make sure you are registered to vote and receive a mail ballot, visit

This year, you can also see a preview of what your ballot will look like as well. So go to and…practice voting, or something. Here’s how to do it, courtesy of the Secretary of State’s office:

Once you are on the page, click on “Manage my registration” and underneath that click on “Find my registration.” Type in your name, ZIP code and date of birth. Your voter information should come up on the screen. Go to the link that says “View my sample ballot.”

Candidates are always listed before ballot measures and a number of school districts are holding school board elections and cities are holding municipal elections. In addition, there could be local issues on your ballot, including tax proposals.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 6)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Today is National [FILL IN THE BLANKS] Day! 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).


► Whose down with TPP? Negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement have reached a conclusion, as Aldo Svaldi reports for the Denver Post:

The conclusion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership early Monday brought out both supporters and detractors of the largest trade pact since the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The trade agreement among the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile and eight Pacific Rim countries is expected to boost Colorado exports and increase foreign direct investment in the state, supporters argue…

…But manufacturers, along with labor and environmental groups, have been among the most vocal critics of the proposed partnership.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has publicly supported the TPP, while Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) has been largely noncommittal.


► Wind up the rhetoric machine! Two more members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation are up in arms about a proposal to transfer some prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to federal prisons in Colorado. Congressmen Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) and Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) are upset about the possibility that “terrorists” could be transferred to Colorado prisons. From Rebecca Kheel at The Hill:

“The people of Colorado do not want the world’s worst terrorists housed in our own backyard, and we will not stand for this,” Rep. Doug Lamborn said in a written statement. “I will do everything in my power to resist these unlawful terrorist transfers from taking place.”

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that in the next few weeks it will visit two Colorado prisons to assess possibly transferring Guantanamo detainees. The prisons are Colorado State Penitentiary near Canon City and the Federal Correctional Institute in Florence.

President Obama has been working to close the military facility at Guantanamo Bay to keep a promise from his first campaign for president. But the administration has struggled to find a place to house those who are considered too dangerous to be transferred to other countries…


Congressman Coffman says that he will do “everything I can to stop” a potential transfer, which should be comforting to those who support President Obama’s idea; whenever Coffman starts getting all fiery about something, a long period of inaction usually follows.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Americans Die, @ColoSenGOP Yucks It Up

SS El Faro, American cargo ship believed sunk.

SS El Faro, American cargo ship believed sunk by Hurricane Joaquin.

NBC News reports on the increasingly desperate search for the SS El Faro, an American-flagged cargo ship lost at sea during Hurricane Joaquin somewhere between Florida and the coast of Puerto Rico:

A cargo ship missing since Thursday with 33 crew members board was believed to have sunk 15,000 feet in the teeth of Hurricane Joaquin, which began strengthening and moving closer to its path almost as soon as it set to sea…

The Coast Guard planned to focus on findng “people in the water,” Fedor said. “We are not looking for the vessel any longer.”

The 790-foot ship, the El Faro, was likely swallowed by the Category 4 hurricane two days after it left Jacksonville, Florida for San Juan, Puerto Rico. When it set off on Tuesday, Sept. 29, Joaquin was just a tropical storm with wave swells of 7.5 feet and sustained winds of 65 mph.

Hurricane Joaquin.

Hurricane Joaquin.

The Chicago Tribune reports on damage assessments just beginning to take place in South Carolina, after moisture from Hurricane Joaquin collided with a cold front headed southeast across the United States to create a “1,000-year flood event.”

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said he’s never seen flooding as bad in his 40 years as mayor.

“This was a record storm,” he said. “You know the amount of rainfall that we have experienced is unprecedented. I feel very fortunate that we were able to get through this as well as we have.”

At least seven weather-related deaths have been reported since rains began spreading over the Eastern Seaboard, which appeared to dodge the full brunt of Hurricane Joaquin as it veered out to sea.

It’s an horrific situation for the families of American merchant sailors awaiting word on the fate of the El Faro, and the citizens of East Coast states who have lost their lives in this massive storm. Coloradans still recovering from 2013’s devastating floods along the Front Range have some idea of what folks down there are going through today.

But unfortunately, the Colorado Senate GOP Majority Office is rather short on empathy.

While most of America, especially official America is expressing condolences to the families of the dead, the official Twitter account for the Colorado Senate Republican Majority is laughing it up–about a supposed “hurricane fizzle” that they think discredits those darned “climate alarmists.” Never mind that the storm appears to have killed several dozen Americans, on the El Faro and on the East Coast. To the Colorado Senate GOP, that the hurricane’s most damaging winds have moved away from the coast after sinking an American ship and killing Americans in South Carolina “rains on [the] parade of ‘extreme weather’ hucksters.”

In short, the Colorado Senate GOP’s desire to score political points via Twitter has now trumped common decency at a very basic level. Does Senate President Bill Cadman approve of this? Because it surer than hell reflects on him.

And in an objective, nonpartisan sense, it’s really disgusting.