Rural Votes, Fertile Soil

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

My grandfather, a depression-era farmer, knew the value of tending to his seedlings.  For him the seed needed a good beginning: fertile soil, nutrients, good soil tilth and cooperation from from Mother Nature. For the inputs he could control, he was indeed a stubborn steward.  He also had two staunch beliefs: there was no other tractor than a John Deere, and his planter of choice was his red, International Harvester wheat drill. With only an eighth-grade education as his foundation he understood, with great clarity, the value of making prudent investments in labor and inputs. His reward would be a full grainary.

Our children are no different than Granddad's tender wheat sprouts.  Without access to pre-natal care, a stable home, living wages, food security and a solid education there is no amount of money society can invest later in a child's life to successfully fill those voids.  As a fifth-generation Coloradan myself who grew up in the small farming and ranching community of Idalia (pop. 100), I got lucky.  "The Village" made sure we had all that we needed to become productive adults.  In those days our region was aptly-represented by rural titans like Bud Moellenberg and Bev Bledsoe – thoughtful men who not only earned the respect of urban legislators, but understood the important role and contributions of rural Colorado to the state's economy.

They represented the best of the human and political spirit.  

Unfortunately, their style of politics have become extinct.

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Heads Up: James O’Keefe Skulking Around In Colorado

James O'Keefe
GOP provacateur James O'Keefe.

We just got a tip that infamous conservative "gotcha game" artist James O'Keefe is on the ground in Colorado, prowling around left-aligned campaign organizations. O'Keefe reportedly showed up at the Fort Collins office of GOTV group New Era Colorado yesterday, and according to the report we got, "tried to force his way in," necessitating a police call. We can't confirm any of those details, but O'Keefe himself was positively ID'ed. We'll update with any additional information we get about that incident.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, James O'Keefe is one of the right wing's most prolific and controversial provacateurs, but he also played a major role in the partisan destruction of the community group ACORN after posing as a pimp and seeking assistance with a hidden camera. Less known is the fact that he was later forced to pay over $100,000 to one of the ACORN workers he selectively edited. O'Keefe later faced charges for attempting to tamper with the phone lines of a U.S. Senator. Most recently, O'Keefe filmed himself crossing the Mexican border wearing an Osama bin Laden Halloween costume, a stunt that resulted in considerably more ridicule than the intended instilling of xenophobic fear.

Anyway, Democratic and otherwise lefty campaign hands across the state, if you see this guy at your office, be advised that he is not there to make you look good.

What is Proposition 105?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
- What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
- What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?
 


Proposition 105 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Mandatory Labeling of GMOs
ALSO KNOWN AS: Stickers on Genetically Modified Foods

 

Official Ballot Language for Proposition 105:
"Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning labeling of genetically modified food; and, in connection therewith, requiring food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material to be labeled, "Produced With Genetic Engineering" starting on July 1, 2016; exempting some foods including but not limited to food from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs, certain food that is not packaged for retail sale and is intended for immediate human consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals, and medically prescribed food; requiring the Colorado department of public health and environment to regulate the labeling of genetically modified food; and specifying that no private right of action is created for failure to conform to the labeling requirements?”

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Hulu rejects anti-personhood ad featuring rape victim

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

One of the Vote No 67 Campaign advertisements has been rejected by Hulu, the online streaming video service.

“According to our advertising bylaws, we are not able to accept ‘ads that advocate a controversial political or other public position,” wrote a Hulu ad representative to the Vote No on 67 Campaign.

“I was on my daily run when I was attacked, and beaten and raped,” says “Amanda” in the rejected ad. “What I’ve been through is one of the many reasons I oppose Amendment 67. When I was at the hospital, I was offered emergency contraception. Amendment 67 could ban abortion and emergency contraception, even in cases of rape or incest. Of course, we all want to protect pregnant women, but Amendment 67 isn’t the way.”

Trouble is, this ad is factual, and Hulu has been running spots on numerous other political issues.

I contacted Hulu seeking an explanation for why this ad is unacceptable and will update this post when I hear back.

Amendment 67 is the “personhood” amendment on this year’s election ballot.

Fact Check: Gardner voted for the government shutdown

(The con is full-on - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner took his falsehoods about the government shutdown to a new level this week when he told PBS’ Guen Ifill:

Gardner: “I voted for every measure that would have avoided the shutdown. I supported efforts during it to make sure we were finding ways not only to get out of the immediate situation but to make sure that we develop long-term solutions."

That's the kind of rotten information journalists should correct before it's too late. Everyone who follows this issue at all knows that Gardner voted with fellow Republicans to shut down the government in an effort to kill Obamacare. Gardner was fully behind using the threat of a government shutdown as leverage to try to de-fund the health-care law. As Gardner told KOA Radio's Mike Rosen in August: "I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work." As part of a fact-check of a recent ad, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman explained how Gardner's votes led to the shutdown, just after Colorado's horrific floods:

Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown. That didn't happen by passing a bill to shut it down… Those votes were Republican spending packages, which passed the House. They would have funded the government, but also contained language aimed at curbing Obamacare. For that reason, the president made it clear he wouldn't sign that bill, which had no chance of passing the Senate regardless. Republicans knew they could cause a shutdown by forcing the healthcare issue to be part of the discussion about keeping the government open. However, it takes two to tango, and the Democrats didn't want to mix the ACA into the spending debate. It would have been possible to accept the GOP plan and avoid a shutdown. Whether it was fair to bundle those concepts is the core of the debate.

Against after reading that, even if you're on Gardner's side and you wanted to force Obama to de-fund the health-care law, is there any way you could claim, as Gardner did, that he voted for "every measure that would have avoided the shutdown?" Not.

Republicans Remind You: Walker Stapleton Rarely Shows Up for Work

On Tuesday we discussed the first TV ad from Democrat Betsy Markey in her race to unseat Republican Treasurer Walker Stapleton. The ad, which you can view again after the jump, doesn't waste time in getting to the point: Stapleton doesn't appear to spend much time on the job he was elected to do.

Based on data gleaned from an Open Records request of Stapleton's state-appointed key card (which he needs to enter the State Capitol), there are probably tour guides who spend more time in the building than Stapleton himself. As the script for the ad explains:

At best…it’s inexcusable.

At worst…it’s a scandal. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

Official key-card records from his Denver office confirm…

Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around ten days a month.

Often, skipping the office for weeks at a time.

Or only showing up after three P.M.

This is a pretty straightforward ad that is hard for Stapleton's campaign to fully refute, though Stapleton's spokesperson, Michael Fortney, tried lamely to defend his boss when questioned by Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels. According to Fortney, Stapleton often forgets his key card, and when he does, he just enters the capitol through the public entrance.

But what about the days in which Stapleton's "key card" doesn't show up at the office until after 3:00 pm? Does his wife drop off the key card when he goes out for an afternoon snack? Or was he really just not in the building until the late afternoon?

You can see why this is a tricky problem. Stapleton's campaign is apparently worried about the effect that Markey's ad may be having with voters, because Republicans are spending an inordinate amount of time trying to explain away the mystery of the key card. Why else would you intentionally bring up the same TV ad — exposing its message to more voters — unless you felt the extra exposure was necessary in order to try to refute the message? We wouldn't want to be drawing more attention to a strong attack ad (particularly when Markey doesn't have millions of dollars for an ad buy), but then we're not Republican Rep. Frank McNulty and the Republican group "Reveal Politics."

Take it away, Frank and friends:

So…does McNulty just hang around outside every day waiting for Stapleton to show up for work?

We're joking — we know that's not the point they are trying to make here, but was this really worth bringing up Markey's ad once again? What do you think? You can watch that ad again after the jump:

 

 

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In pivotal election year, Colorado Students Considering Recall of Conservative School Board Members

The bold protest of Jefferson County, Colorado students to the actions of the conservative majority on the Jefferson County School Board in Colorado has already drawn national and international press.

Yet the school board is still proceeding with a curriculum review committee that would not just examine AP History, but would have the ability to review and change many courses, including English, Health, and Science. Organizations funded by the Koch brothers support such candidates, and would benefit from curriculum that not only promotes what the Board is considering ‘American Exceptionalism’ but also avoids questions related to Global Warming or Climate Change.

But this goes deeper — this could threaten critical thinking in the classroom.

This could not only impact Jefferson County students, but could affect all students in the country.

On October 11, 2014 students held a rally at Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado — adjacent to Columbine High School. There, they began collecting names for a potential recall.

Ashlyn Maher, Thomas Sizemore and Mali Holmes

“We are not a political agenda, and we’re not a profit margin; we are students that need to be educated.”

This issue is not just important for Colorado, but the nation. If anything the Koch Brothers have shown us, is that once they have succeeded with a conservative agenda, they will replicate that agenda everywhere they can.

There is a saying in Colorado elections, as Jefferson County goes, so goes Colorado.
Jefferson County is the biggest county and usually its voters are the pivotal votes in a statewide election. With Ballots going out as of this week – how will the extreme actions of the School Board impact the races for Governor and the even the US Senate?
And will that also be a referendum on the conservative effort to white wash our History and censor our Public Education curriculum?
Here is the extended rally video — where Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor (who is also an educator), Joe Garcia, dropped by to lend his support for the students.

From Mali Holmes — student from Evergreen High School:

Since our protest began, we’ve been featured in the Huffington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times. We’ve been covered by the Guardian and other International news outlets.

America is listening. We won’t be taken down so easily. Like pawns, the students are on the front lines of this issue. We will stand together and fight until we win this battle.
We will be the ones to call ‘Checkmate‘.

Professor Chad Kautzer of University of Colorado at Denver:

I just have one thing to say to (the Jefferson County Majority)
RESIGN. (Cheers)

I have a feeling if they don’t resign, the people of Jefferson County will push them out.
Because they are an embarrassment to Jefferson County, they are an embarrassment to Colorado, they are an embarrassment to our Country and they need to go.

Everything bad in American History has been coupled with social struggles and these are the people that we need to read about, that we have to learn about, and we need to honor that history.

Rachel Hillbrecht of Golden High School:

We will not cut out History. We will not cut out Science classes. We need to know the truth every single piece of it!

Casey McAndrew:

The Jeffco School Board of Education has failed to do the single most important thing that any elected board has to do – to listen to its people.

We will not be censored. People did not die so that they could be erased. Jefferson County will not be erased. WE will stand together.

Lt. Governor Joe Garcia:

In high school, I had the opportunity to take AP History. In college, I had the opportunity to take Ethnic Studies. Those classes did not make us hate each other. They did not make us hate America. They made us hate oppression and injustice.

The students have given me hope and inspiration. Because these high school students now represent potentially a four-year block of students — from Freshman to Senior — that will associate the most important social education protest of their lives with Republican over-reach.
If you have been so inspired, then I will share with you this message from a parent of one of the students – a request.

“Recalls are expensive, right now, the Students don’t know if there is enough support from the community to go ahead with the effort. But maybe someone who reads your article might know someone like Matt Damon or Diane Ravitch or some other well connected person who would be willing to get behind the students with this effort.”

If you do now someone or feel this effort is worth supporting, please visit Jeffco Students for Change and like their page – let them know that they do have support for this effort.
Thanks also to Redfoxrun and to From Thin Air
who performed live at the event at Clement Park.

Revolt by journalists against Gardner continues

We're seeing a full-scale revolt by journalists against senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's obnoxious denial of the simple fact that the Life at Conception Act, which he co-sponsored  last summer, is federal personhood legislation.

The latest confrontation occurred last night during 9News' senatorial debate between Gardner and Democrat Mark Udall.

9News Anchor Kyle Clark: You continue to deny that the federal Life at Conception Act is a personhood bill, which you've sponsored, is a personhood bill to end abortion. And we're not going to debate that tonight, because it's a fact. Your cosponsors say so. Your opponents say so. And independent fact checkers say so. So let's instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgement, more broadly. It would seem that a more charitable interpretation would mean you have a difficult time admitting when you're wrong. And a less charitable interpretation is that  you're not telling us the truth.Which is  it?

Gardner: Again, I do not support the personhood amendment. The bill that you are referring to is simply a statement that I support life. Let me just repeat the words of Sen. Udall.

Clark: Why does no one else think that. That's what we're getting at.

Gardner: I've answered this question multiple times.

Clark: I'm aware of that.

Gardner: If you look at what The Denver Post said. The Denver Post has called Sen. Udall's campaign on these issues, because he's a social issues warrior, obnoxious, focused on one single issue. The fact is the people of Colorado deserve better. They deserve more than a single issue that Sen. Udall is attempting to give them.

Clark: Believe you me. We're going to talk about that. But what I'm asking you about here is what appears to be willing suspension of the facts. People who agree with you on the issue of life think you're wrong about how you're describing the bill. Everyone seems to have a cohesive idea about what this is with the exception of you. I'm just wondering, what should voters glean from that?

Gardner: There are people who agree with my opinion on life. There are people who don't. I support life. I voted for exceptions. The fact is, the bill that you're talking about is a simply a statement. I've answered this question multiple times, but I'll repeat the words of Sen. Udall who said, when he changed his opinion on the issue of gay marriage, that a good faith change of position should be considered a virtue not a vice. That's not my words. Those are the words from Sen. Udall.

Rittiman: And you remain on the bill, and the idea of personhood is conferring rights of normal human beings on the unborn. That's what the bill says.

Gardner: Again, I support life. And that's a statement that I support life.

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Cynthia Coffman plans anti-corruption unit

This is an interesting idea coming form Cynthia Coffman.  She hasn't been seen in the AG's Office in months, but she is still receiving a salary and getting benefits.  Will she investigate herself?

Fact Check: Gardner opposes Dream Act and blocked immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Rep. Cory Gardner continues to misrepresent his record on immigration, and reporters have failed to call him out on it.

During an Oct. 6 debate, Gardner was asked if he'd vote for the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Instead of answering the question, Gardner used the dodge tactic of stating his opinion on what will happen to the DREAM Act.

"Ultimately, I think the Dream Act will be part of the solution of immigration reform," Gardner said. "It has to be. Look, I believe in immigration reform."

If Gardner had answered the question, instead of predicting the future, he'd have said that he's long opposed the Dream Act.

Gardner: "I think if you pass the DREAM Act today, you’re still not fixing the problem,’ Gardner told the Boulder Daily Camera last year. "I want to create a fair system so people who want to be here legally can be here legally.”

Last year, Gardner even opposed a proposed state law, so-called ASSET, to grant in-state tuition for young immigrants in Colorado.

Gardner: "But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country," Gardner told KNUS' Steve Kelly last year." And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security."

On this very day, as I type this blog post, Gardner's website states that the Congressman opposes "giving those people [who are here illegally] benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration."

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Joe Neguse Sets Fundraising Record for SOS Candidates

Joe Neguse

Joe Neguse, Democrat for Secretary of State

According to a press release sent out yesterday by the campaign of Democrat Joe Neguse:

Today Joe Neguse for Secretary of State announced raising $461,380 in contributions. Neguse surpassed the total amount raised by any candidate running for Secretary of State in the history of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Mike Coffman previously held the record with $446,660 total raised in his 2006 run for the office. Neguse has already bougth $280,000 in TV ads. Neguse's Republican opponent, on the other hand, appears to have raised the least amount  of any candidate (Republican or Democrat) running for statewide office in Colorado.

Republican Wayne Williams has raised a total of $225,522, which isn't even half of the total raised by Neguse. We're actually kind of surprised Williams has even raised that much given his numerous problems with fundraising.

Neguse has run a very strong campaign for Secretary of State, which gives him the best odds in our view of the three Democrats running for down ballot statewide races (Attorney General, Treasurer, SOS). As we've said many times in the past, it is tough for any candidates running for these seats to really make a mark in an election year where tens of millions of dollars are being spent on three races alone (Governor, U.S. Senate, CO-6), particularly given the fact that Colorado voters tend to split their votes for these second-tier seats. But the combination of Neguse's strong campaign and Williams' general ineptitude — not to mention a poisonous four years from current SOS Scott Gessler – may just put Neguse over the top in November.

 

What is Amendment 68?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
- What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
- What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
- What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?
 


Amendment 68 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Horsetrack Limited Gaming Proceeds for K-12 Education
ALSO KNOWN AS: That Gambling/ School Funding Thing

 

Official Ballot Language for Amendment 68:
"Shall state taxes be increased $114,500,000 annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter, by imposing a new tax on authorized horse racetracks' adjusted gross proceeds from limited gaming to increase statewide funding for K-12 education, and, in connection therewith, amending the Colorado Constitution to permit limited gaming in addition to pre-existing pari-mutuel wagering at one qualified horse racetrack in each of the counties of Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo; authorizing host communities to impose impact fees on horse racetracks authorized to conduct limited gaming; allowing all resulting revenue to be collected and spent notwithstanding any limitations provided by law; and allocating the resulting tax revenues to a fund to be distributed to school districts and the charter school institute for K-12 education?"


…In Other Words:
Should we build a casino at a horse track in just one county in Colorado, and somehow use the tax revenue to give money to schools across the state? And by the way, can we also allow gambling in Mesa and Pueblo counties? It’s for the schools, or something!

Amendment 68 is difficult to fully understand, probably by design. It sounds alright at first glance – tax gambling to raise money for schools – but critics say it contains more holes than the Colorado Rockies’ lineup (for example, who pays for infrastructure and safety costs that would follow construction of a giant casino in Arapahoe County?). Similar broadly written measures have been handily defeated by Colorado voters in the past, including Amendment 33 in 2003, and opposition to Amendment 68 has come from both sides of the political aisle.

It’s important to note that Amendment 68, if passed, would override current laws that give local voters the ultimate say on whether or not to allow casinos in their communities. Some revenue would likely be generated for public and charter schools, but it is unclear how much money, or how it would be distributed.


Who Supports Amendment 68?
People who want to see more casinos and gambling in Colorado but aren’t really concerned about the rest of the details. Colorado Horse Associations (whatever that means). Also, some dude who runs a casino in Rhode Island.


Who Opposes Amendment 68?
Most 2014 candidates are opposed, as is a diverse collection of groups such as the Colorado Municipal League, the Homebuilders’ Association and the Colorado PTA. 
 

The Horse Race* (Will Amendment 68 Pass or Fail?)
There’s a saying about ballot measures that goes something like this: If you don’t know, vote No. Public opposition seems to be growing for Amendment 68, and we’d guess low-information voters will follow suit by voting against an unclear measure (even if it says it will provide money for education).

*No pun intended, we swear.


Links
No on 68 campaign site

Yes on 68 campaign site
 

Gary Hart Slams Post’s Idiotic Gardner Endorsement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Still having great respect for former Senator Gary Hart, and having zero respect for the Denver Post's Editorial Board (that is somehow considered "left-leaning", paging Dan Haley) and their inane endorsement of Cory Gardner over sitting Senator Udall, it was good to see the highly intelligent and respectable former senator make his views known about the Post's public puke.

The Post wouldn't print it, nor any of the other condemnations of their judgment, so I'm posting Gary Hart's response to that Post endorsement

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Breaking Down The Vote For The Environment

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 

(From our Executive Director, Pete Maysmith) 

 

 

Why Do Politics?

    

Fifteen year ago Colorado Conservation Voters (CCV) started running smart, targeted electoral campaigns to elect pro-conservation candidates to Colorado’s legislature. The reason? Who we elect matters. Fast forward to present day and that fact forms the core of Conservation Colorado’s political work.

 

Really, it’s simple: the job of protecting our state’s clean air, water, and public lands gets a lot harder when we don’t have conservation champions voting to protect our environment under the Capitol’s gold dome.

 

Ask almost anyone and they’ll say that they don’t like politics and that they don’t trust politicians; given the deadlock in Washington DC, that’s an understandable position. But that’s not how we do things in Colorado’s state legislature. In just the last two years we have succeeded in passing legislation to increase Colorado’s renewable energy standard, place higher fines on oil and gas companies when they violate the law, create a paint recycling program, and promote innovative water conservation efforts. Without our state conservation champions, none of that would have been accomplished. 

 

That’s why we support pro-environment candidates. We endorse them and then work like crazy to make sure they win. We educate and turn out voters. When we do that, the environment wins.

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Romanoff Releases Internal Poll Showing Race as Dead Heat

As we wrote in this space over the weekend, rumors that national Democrats were pulling up stakes in CD-6 and abandoning Andrew Romanoff were, well, not so accurate. Reporter Jon Murray tried to clear up some of the rumor mess in a story for the Denver Post, as did The Colorado Independent. Here's the key part of Murray's story:

Here’s more about what happened: The DCCC in May reserved $1.4 million in ad time for late October/early November. But since Colorado’s voters overwhelmingly vote by mail, and ballots go out to them next week, the DCCC also sunk $1.8 million in the past couple weeks on two ads attacking Coffman.

Now, the group is moving the original $1.4 million committed to ad reservations in the Coffman/Romanoff race to rescue Democratic incumbents elsewhere.

Today, Romanoff's campaign took the extra step of releasing internal poll numbers to Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols. As Stokols reports, the race between Romanoff and incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is pretty much where everyone thought it was:

Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff released an internal poll Tuesday showing him trailing Congressman Mike Coffman by just a point, an effort to dispel the notion that the race is trending toward Coffman.

Coffman leads Romanoff by a margin of 44-43 percent in the survey by Chris Keating, a Colorado-based pollster who typically works for Democratic candidates and whose surveys are regarded to be fairly accurate.

In the poll, 13 percent of voters remain undecided.

As for the response from Coffman's campaign? You could probably guess they'd say this: Coffman spokesperson Tyler Sandeberg called the Romanoff poll "garbage." Of course, Coffman's campaign could just as easily have produced their own poll results showing something different, but they probably aren't seeing much difference in their own numbers. The bigger question — whether any polling numbers are relevant anymore — will continue to be discussed long after November 4th. But as far as CD-6 in concerned, we'll repeat our earlier line that this race remains a true toss-up.