Post interview spotlights Brauchler falsehood that he was “one vote away” from getting death sentence in Aurora trial

(Comes to light just days after Brauchler bailed out? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Excellent reporting today by The Denver Post’s Jordan Steffen, who breaks the news that three jurors in the Aurora theater trial voted affirmatively for life in prison, according to one of the three jurors, who was previously thought to have been undecided.

Steffen’s interview is beautifully written, giving you a great sense of the juror’s struggles and a journalist’s experience talking to her, but what caught my eye, as someone who listened to prosecutor George Brauchler repeatedly say he was “one vote away” from getting the death penalty, were these three paragraphs:

“There were three,” [the juror] said. “Not one.”

…Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has said he wouldn’t second-guess his decision to pursue the death penalty because of one juror’s position that led to the life sentence.

Last week, he said all of the deliberating jurors he’s spoken with have indicated that Juror 17’s account was accurate. He conceded that he hadn’t met with all of them.

More of an explanation from Brauchler would have been nice, because you have to wonder why a man of his intelligence and intensity would deliver rotten information about the jury count, without at least saying he wasn’t sure or acknowledging, as  juror 17 had clearly said after the trial, that juror 17 was against the death sentence and two jurors were undecided. That’s obviously three, not one, votes away from conviction.

Maybe Brauchler, who subsequently announced he wouldn’t challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, was just trying to make himself look good? But as a veteran prosecutor, he had to know that his misinformation could be hurting real people.

Steffen reported that the juror he interviewed ended “her silence because she could no longer bear to watch the weight of public scrutiny — what she described as a ‘witch hunt’ — fall solely on the shoulders of her fellow juror.”

Brauchler was partly responsible for the witch hunt, as today’s Post piece makes clear.

Adams County GOP chair seethes at “cowardly, traitors known as ‘Republicans'”

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Adams County GOP chair Anil Mathai.

Adams County GOP chair Anil Mathai.

Journalists aren’t reporting the seething anger of Colorado’s Tea Party conservatives at their Republican leaders for allowing the federal government to continue operating and/or for caving on what they see as GOP priniciples.

It’s an important story not only because it offers a tangible angle to explain the rise of The Donald and his ilk, but also because it shows the stress within the Republican Party  here in Colorado, as state party chair Steve House continues to face intense criticism from within.

I write a lot about talk-radio hosts, but but it’s not just the talk-radio hosts who are mad, but also folks like Anil Mathai, Chair of the Adams County Republican Party. He had this to say on Facebook:

MATHAI: The Republican Party in Washington DC has just passed a spending bill – understand they would rather Hussein Obama get everything he wants including funds to kill thousands of unborn children. WE HAVE THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND OBAMA GETS EVERYTHING HE WANTS – WHAT UTTER MADNESS!!!!! The Republican Party has become no different from the Democrat Party! Instead of supporting most of its voters, they decide to support evil and corrupt cronies. If the leadership and direction doesn’t change ASAP, we will have a Communist President in Nov 2016 and the cowardly, traitors known as “Republicans” will have the party collapse because of their arrogance. It is time to primary every RINO right now, it is time to clean house by demanding “republicans” actually support the US Constitution and the Republican platform. Sick and tired of the democrats in our party!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! 3000 more children will die today because there is no Republican party who will help them and follow our written documents of first defending LIFE then LIBERTY then Pursuit of Happiness but instead must avoid a “government shutdown”!! GOVERNMENT over LIFE – TREASONOUS!!!!! Time for pitch forks and removal of “leaders” starting first with Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and every Republican that voted today to fund abortion instead of “shutting down the government” and listen to most Americans on ending the evil Planned Parenthood. CORRUPT COWARDS!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! [BigMedia emphasis.]

Mathai is the Republican leader of one of the most important counties in the state going into next year, in light of its surprise tilt toward Republicans in the last election.


With collapse of Rand Paul, Dudley Brown may be cash cow for Tim Neville

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Journalists have raised doubts about whether State Sen. Tim Neville, who’s expected to announce his campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet today, can raise the $10 million or more required to unseat the well-financed Democratic uncumbant. It’s a reasonable question, for sure, but recent political shifts could be opening bank accounts for Neville that were locked just months ago.

Colorado’s own Dudley Brown has had close ties to the collapsing presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (See joint photo.). Paul has signed fundraising appeals for Brown, which so pissed off the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the NRA didn’t even invite Paul to an NRA Leadership Forum, which was attended by 12 GOP presidential hopeufls in April.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Brown may now be looking for a new gun-loving federal candidate prop up with millions of dollars. And that lucky candidate could be Neville, whose close ties to Dudley are not in dispute as you can read below if you need to.

But does Dudley have that kind of money? Well, he’s president of the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), which raised over $16 million in 501c4 political-attack funds, according to its lastest-available federal filing. It’s impossible to know how much of that dark money could be diverted to Colorado’s Senate race, but the money is big. And for what it’s worth, back in 2013, Dudley said his organization would spend at least $1 million on campaigns.


Republican chair’s praise for stem cell research puts him at odds with Coffman

(Oh really? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

houseforgopchairOn a couple of ocassions, Colorado GOP Chair Steve House has stated publicly that Rep. Gorden Klingenschmitt doesn’t speak for the Republican Party. Last week, for example, after Rep. Gorden Klingenschmitt called Allah a “false god,” House told 9News:

 “House: Representative Klingenschmitt has a Constitutional right to free speech,” House wrote in a statement. “However, as I’ve said several times in the past, Gordon does not speak on behalf of our Party, and his hurtful words do not represent our values.”

Last week on KNUS 710-AM’s “Rush to Reason,” House addressed a number of topics, and he came out in support of stem cell research, a view that’s also not shared by all in the GOP.

Stem cells are obtained from zygotes, or fertilized human eggs. Some Republicans, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, want to ban stem cell research because they consider zygotes to be a human life, even if the zygotes are obtained from fertizilization clinics that would otherwise dispose of them. (Even “pluripotent stem cells,” which are sometimes used in research and are derived from adult stem cells, are grown using embryonic stem cells for comparison purposes.)

As 9News reported in 2013: “This year, Congressman Coffman was asked point blank by Colorado Right to Life, ‘Will you oppose any research or practice that would intentionally destroy the tiniest living humans, embryonic stem cell research?’ With a pen he wrote, ‘Yes.’”

On the radio Sept. 22, House included stem-cell research as part of an “optimistic view of technology” that should be part of the “GOP message.”


House answers reasonable questions on talk radio

After all he’s been through, you wouldn’t think Colorado GOP Chair Steve House would ever again breathe into a talk-radio microphone. But, lo, he’s made three recent appearances, taking questions from hosts and callers about topics ranging from the weedy (party finances) and the salacious (his alleged affair) to the elite (GOP debate at CU) and the ridiculous (Trump).

And, despite the hits he took recently from talk radio hosts, House even gives a shout out to radio itself, saying he “absolutely” thinks it’s a good medium (KNUS at 12:20).

Let me write about the alleged affair first, because why not? He denied it again, and, in fact, there’s still no proof he had one, and so what anyway? Edgar Antillon, who joined House during one interview, also discussed old rumors that Antillon had multiple wives, and Antillon and House said these private issues shouldn’t matter (KFKA, part 2, at 11 min).

Discussing the weedy, as in party finance issues, House claimed that things are getting better, with bills being paid down and a previously unsecured loan now secured (KFKA part 2 at 34:35). (GOP activists continue to distrust House on on financial and other matters, as you can read here.)

With respect to the CU debate, House said there’s a great after party planned, and the limited ticket offerings are due to the networks concerns about an unruly cowd (KFKA part 2 at 29:30)

OnTrump, House promised to support him if he wins the primary, though he sounds like he doesn’t support him.

House remains in the middle of a Republican brawl in Colorado, and, yet, he’s on the radio. I give him credit for that, and the hosts credit for conducting reasonable interviews. I’m looking forward to more.

Listen to Steve House on KNUS’ Rush to Reason and on KFKA’s Stacy Petty Show here.

CU tops CSU when it comes to responding to pressure from GOP Congressman

(Credit where due – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CSU President Tony Frank.

CSU President Tony Frank.

Reporters should take note of the different responses, one by Colorado State University and the other by two University of Colorado campuses, to Rep. Doug Lamborn’s pressure to halt the acquisition of fetal tissue by two companies–as well as to the GOP Congressman’s demand that all NIH-funded research using fetal tissue be stopped.

Back in July, under pressure from Lamborn, Colorado State University President Tony Frank embarrassed his institution by suspending the purchase of fetal-tissue from two suppliers until vague “congressional investigations are concluded.” Never mind that such investigations rarely have anything to do with guilt or innocence–and everything to do with politics. And no evidence of wrongdoing had been produced.

In Aug., Lamborn turned his attention to the University of Colorado at Denver, demanding information on whether it also uses two fetal-tissue suppliers, StemExpress and Advanced Bioscience Resources, both of which are under attack by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress for obtaining tissue from Planned Parenthood.

In response, the University of Colorado Medical School and the University of Colorado at Denver, in a joint response, stated that they did not obtain fetal tissue from those the two companies.

And if they did, they wouldn’t stop without evidence of wrongdoing. As Richard Traystman, the University of Colorado Medical School’s Director of Research, told me, for an RH Reality Check Post:

“At this moment we’re not [using those companies], but we will if we need to. We do have other sources, as I’ve said, but those are the two major companies that many investigators order from.”

Both CSU and the CU campuses told Lamborn they would not halt NIH funded fetal research. As Traystman put it:

“It’s not acceptable to stop research using cells from fetal tissues. In my letter, I gave examples of where these sorts of fetal cells are used in research on certain diseases. They are very often used in research on diseases of the central nervous system, the brain, the spinal cord, a variety of diseases that involve brain abnormalities and diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, for example. They are also used in research on the heart and cardiac tissue and to create vaccines. I could go on.”

Please (Anonymously) Bash Muslims On my Radio Show, Begs Host

(Classy — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On the national infotainment stage, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is standing by his comment that a Muslim should not be president.

And deep in the bottom-feeding waters of Colorado Springs talk radio, it gets worse.

Apparently inspired by Carson, KVOR radio host Richard Randall launched into a tirade against Muslims yesterday. He begged listeners to send him questions to read on air and join him in his bigotry, saying:

Randall: “It’s a sensitive topic. You can always do it anonymously. You’re afraid that some Muslim is gong to find you or your kids and do something evil to you. That’s not abstract. Feel free to call in anonymously. Or you can text it in.”

If you’re trying to explain the awfulness of Carson, listen to Randall. The two are directly connected, and we should all take a moment to call it out, as The Denver Post did today. Tell your kid about it. Tell someone you hate this and why, in the same way we would if Randall and Carson used “Christian” or “Jew” instead of “Muslim.”

Brauchler Ducks Reporter Questions, But Speaks Freely on Talk Radio

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Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Asked by Associated Press reporter Nicholas Riccardi in September to answer questions about Colorado political issues, Brauchler said: “I’d be happy to answer those things if I got into the Senate” contest.

But over the weekend, Brauchler jumped on conservative talk radio and openly talked about Colorado politics, attacking Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet repeatedly on multiple issues.

Appearing on KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger show Sept. 19, Brauchler said it was “infuriating” that Bennet supported the “ridiculous” Iran nuclear deal. On the radio, Brauchler equated peopole who urged him to accept a plea deal with Holmes to those who favored  the Iran deal.

Brauchler criticized Obamacare as hurting small business, and he also said the Dodd-Frank law was an “horrific compromise that took place during the economic downturn.”

Calling himself a “simple kid from Lakewood” and sounding like a candidate, Brauchler said the federal government has gotten to big too fast during the years that Bennet has been in office.

The lessen for reporters: when Brauchler says he’ll talk politics later, ask him the questions again, but do it on conservative talk radio.

How to be a successful sitting duck. By Cory Gardner

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Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

It’s after Labor Day, and the thin lineup of Republicans even thinking about challenging Sen. Michael Bennet would make you believe they’re scared of Michael Bennet and his war chest.

But Cory Gardner, on KNUS radio Wed., sees it this way: Republicans are actually scared of “taking fire.”

Gardner: I think getting into a race in July, you know, the year before was probably too early, or August. So, I think sometime between now and that March date — actually probably sometime between now and January is that sweet spot.

Look, any candidate knows when they announce, that there opening up to start taking incoming fire. And by waiting, getting the team in place, by getting the structure in place, they can really hit the ground running and avoid unnecessarily time being left as a sitting duck, so to speak, and taking fire.

A sitting duck? hmm.

Sounds like Gardner is talking about himself going into last year’s election. If ever there was a duck, glued down, stuck, and waiting, it was Gardner, with his far-right record across the board from global warming and immigration to abortion and even journalism. And beyond.

Gardner got in the race against Udall in March, your recall, of last year, very late by conventional standards. And there he was, a sitting duck, but also an oily one, whose feathers got ruffled at times but remained greasy enough to withstand the “fire.” And he spat back.

It makes you wonder, if Gardner had gotten in the race earlier, would he have won? If he were a sitting duck longer, would it have mattered?

One one hand, Udall’s trajectory was downward. But you also had the sense that Gardner’s reconstruction of himself from right-wing to moderate teetered toward the end, as reporters and others were frustrated but starting to cut through the grease and spit.

On balance, I think Gardner would have lost if he’d gotten in the race much earlier. And it appears he agrees.

Will Woods and Neville attaboy fellow anti-vaxxer Trump?

(A good question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

The Denver Post made a good point today about Donald Trump’s idiocy on vaccines:

It may have gotten lost in the welter of headline-grabbing moments in Wednesday’s Republican debate, but Donald Trump managed to add to his list of idiotic claims.

It seems he suspects vaccines cause autism and at the very least ought to be spaced out over a longer time period. As it is, he claims, the syringe of vaccine is so big that it “looks just like it is meant for a horse, not for a child.”

The idea that vaccines cause autism has been thoroughly debunked, but why should Trump care when his rhetoric on everything is so sloppy?

The serious question for us here in Colorado is, will some of our important local politicians attaboy Trump?

You’ve got, for example, Sen. Tim Neville, who’s considering a U.S. Senate run, and Sen. Laura Woods, a top target of Democrats. Both have sponsored legislation affirming that parents can opt their children out of getting recommended vaccinations.

Are Woods and Neville worried that kids might get autism from vaccines? Maybe, for them and Donald Trump, the threat of autism outweighs the risk posed by the fact that Colorado ranks last in the U.S. for measles vaccinations among kindergartners?

Donald Trump’s media magnetism, along with his real popularity and out-there beliefs, continues to offer an opportunity for us to educate ourselves about what our local politicians think. Trump makes talking about vaccines and autism fun, especially because he’s not in power. Let’s air out his ideas here in Colorado.

Jeffco School Board Member Apparently Thinks Baseless Whining Will Help Him

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Jeffco school board member John Newkirk.

Jeffco school board member John Newkirk.

From the beginning of the uprising by Jeffco parents and students, conservative Jeffco school board members and their allies (like failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez) have said directly or implied that community members are pawns of teachers’ unions.

Even now, facing a recall election and massive criticism that again demonstrates the power of the grassroots movement opposing him, board member John Newkirk continues to whine about unions and outsiders–and their foul play–without coughing up evidence of such nefariousness.

On KNUS 710-AM Monday, Newkirk spewed out a list of grievances, vilifying unions and others, and, in the process, demeaning the community.

Take a look below. It’s hard to feel sorry for Newkirk when he says stuff like, “I’ve had numerous constituents call me up saying, you know, there’s folks in the schools that are really crossing the line, now.” Hmm.

He provides none of the specifics you’d hope to hear from a responsible person who makes such accusations. This leaves listeners, even ones who are sympathetic to Newkirk, with no choice to but to conclude that Newkirk is mean, desperate, or worse.

Here’s an exchange from KNUS Sept. 14:

HOST KRISTA KAFER: It’s been a difficult couple of years as a board member pushing for reform. Of course, they have a right to do the recall. That’s the law, and they’re doing it. Or trying it, I should say. But some of the things they’re doing to raise support for it, I have concerns, are not legal and certainly not ethical. What are you hearing?

NEWKIRK: Well, I think some of them have crossed the line. There are a lot of c4 groups, and I think by law, only 40% of c4 activity can be political. Which of course doesn’t have any place in our schools, and of course electioneering doesn’t – so I’ve had numerous constituents call me up saying, you know, there’s folks in the schools that are really crossing the line, now. You know, at back-to-school nights – they’ll have aggressive people there, some of them from out of the district, actually pursuing parents down the halls as they’re going to their conferences or back-to-school nights, pushing literature on them that they don’t want. I’ve also heard constituents complain that they’ve actually had people showing up at local high schools trying to register 16-or-17-year-olds to register to vote and even to the point where if they check that they’re conservative, then they’ll belittle them in certain ways. So, you know, that’s not part of our educational goals here, to embroil our children in partisan politics. I’ve also heard reports that teachers are wearing their pro-union signs—uh, t-shirts and buttons and even sticking signs up in their classrooms. So, no, that’s not appropriate.

Kafer didn’t ask what in the world Newkirk was talking about. Where’s the backup for these rumors and strange utterances, or fpr any specific info about these alleged activities. This leaves Newkirk sounding like a gossipy teenager with Kafer lapping it up.


This time, a writer’s personal perspective made for a compelling column

(A must-read – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jeremy Meyer of the Denver Post.

Jeremy Meyer of the Denver Post.

More often than not, I find myself cringing at opinion pieces that get too personal. Sometimes they seem forced or dishonest. Or self important.

But The Denver Post’s Jeremy Meyer offered some really compelling writing over the weekend, with his personal perspective on an Ohio bill that would prohibit doctors from performing abortions for women who don’t want to have a child with Down Syndrome.

The proposed law, which is expected to pass this fall, is getting a lot of attention, because it’s in the presidential battleground state of Ohio, and Gov. John Kasich is one of the countless Republican presidential candidates.

Meyer’s gutsy commentary speaks for itself, and please read it in its entirety, but here are a few paragraphs:

Meyer: The issue creates a conundrum for people like me, a fierce supporter of reproductive rights for women. But I am also the father of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with Down syndrome. I fear that as prenatal testing becomes more effective and less invasive, people like my daughter could disappear from society…

Nevertheless, I don’t believe a law should forbid people from choosing to abort if they don’t think they can raise a child with a disability. No politician can know what is happening in that person’s life to lead them to the heart-wrenching consideration of abortion…

That said, I do fear that many decisions to end a pregnancy after a Down syndrome diagnosis are being made without good information in hand…

Meyer suggested that politicians should help make the world “outside the womb” better for people with disabilities.

Lawmakers should “fund programs for families with children with disabilities, push schools to be inclusive, and support businesses that hire adults with disabilities and provide them better lives.”

But, he wrote, “Those, unfortunately, are not the kind of wedge issues that ever will become fiery topics in a presidential campaign.”

Senate candidate Blaha expects attacks from “permanent political class”

(Bla-hahaha! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

Appearing on a Colorado Springs radio station over the weekend, Robert Blaha, a Republican, said he expects the “permanent political class” to fire attacks and lies at him during his campaign for U.S. Senate, as it did when he ran for office previously.

Blaha (at 6 min 10 sec below): When I ran [for Congress] in 2012, Tron, it was a painful process because the lie machine gets ginned up, and then those things are exposed. And those things are cleaned up. That’s really the problem with the process itself. If it was just two candidates, man-and woman, man-and-man, whoever, one-on-one, one-on-three, duking it out, talking about the issues, it would be great. But we’ve allowed this political process to get to the place where the permanent political class has controlled the mantra, has controlled the messaging, and they have attack machines everywhere. But, hey, I’ve been through it. It’s not fun. But, you know, if you come out the other side kind of unscathed, it’s a good thing.

Tron Simpson, a guest host on KVOR radio’s Jeff Crank Show, didn’t ask Blaha, who will officially announce his candidacy when Sen. Michael Bennet votes for the Iran nuclear deal, what attacks he was referring to.

Asked to clarify, Blaha’s campaign pointed me to attacks leveled during Blaha’s primary loss to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO Springs) in 2012.

One ad by Lamborn attacked Blaha’s bank, claiming, among other things, that it ranked “among the worst in the region.” In an analysis of the ad, The Denver Post reported that it “leans deceptive.

Other attacks during the vicious primary contest were hurled by Lamborn himself. “Everything [Blaha] says has to be taken with a grain of salt. Voters are often disappointed in people who talk big and don’t perform once in office,” Lamborn told The Denver Post at the time.

Blaha, who’s deflected his share of attacks as a conservative talk-radio host, said in response during the 2012 campaign, “Doug Lamborn will say anything to protect his government job, including slandering a local business.”


I’m not racist, but I want to know how many of “those New Black Panthers” are on welfare

(Another of life’s winners – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sandra Bland.

Sandra Bland.

Last month, the Houston Chronicle reported that “about 25 members of the Black Panthers marched in front of the Waller County Jail in Hempstead Wednesday to protest the arrest of Sandra Bland and other cases they characterized as ‘crimes against black people.'”

Bland, you recall, apparently hanged herself after being pulled over and mistreated by a police officer.

Last week, Colorado Springs talk-radio host Richard Randall had this comment about the New Black Panther rally:

Randall: “I wish we could have profiled all those New Black Panthers. Hey, tell me a little bit about yourself. Are you in Section 8 housing. What welfare programs are you on? What’s your income? What do you do for a living? Got any felony arrests? Just curious.”

Randall, who has a morning show on KVOR, was upset at the protesters’ chants and the fact that some were carrying guns, apparently legally.

No, he told callers, he’s not a racist. He’s got good friends who are black. And, he told his radio audience, he keeps a list of his callers. If anyone goes after him, he said, police should investigate the people calling his show and saying he’s a racist.


Facing pot holes and dilapidation in CO Springs, Suthers campaigns against TABOR refund

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Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs.

Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs.

John Suthers is rocking the GOP boat in pot-hole ridden Colorado Springs.

The Republican mayor is calling for a sales tax to fix pot holes, but more significantly, he’s backing a ballot initiative allowing the city to keep funds that otherwise would have been returned to taxpayers under TABOR.

Suthers sounded the alarm yesterday, saying in his state of the city speech, as reported by KKTV:

Suthers: “When companies are looking around, they’re looking for the level of investment the community is making for infrastructure and we need to show them that investment.”

Suthers says the sales tax would cost the average household about $100 per year.

And on KVOR radio over the weekend, here’s how Suthers explained his support for the TABOR ballot initiative:

Suthers: Now, as to the issue that is on the ballot, let me explain what that is. In 2014, the city, as total revenue, took in $2.1 million more than it was allowed to take in under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights—the cap. Well, how did that happen? It happened because in 2014 the city got a number of state grants to deal with fire and flood disasters that occurred in the previous couple of years. And that revenue has to be counted against your TABOR cap. And that —those grants — took us over the TABOR cap for 2014. So the question is: Do we refund it to the voters at approximately $11 per household, or do we retain it?

Listen here to Suthers on KVOR 9.9.15

Sounds a lot like the argument Hickenlooper has been making for changing the definition of the “hospital provider fee” under TABOR, a move that would free up over $150 million for transportation and other projects.

Suthers wants to keep taxes for stuff people want, like trails and parks! He’s touting a poll showing he’s got the support of the people–even if Americans for Prosperity is pissed.

Like the Republicans who backed Referendum C, Suthers is showing, however faintly, that anti-tax ideology doesn’t work when you have to govern. Maybe it’s a sign that our state’s tax crisis can actually be solved through a combination of compromise and necessity.