Sketchy Pro-Fracking Donations Attract Interest in Ft. Collins City Council Race

RayMartinez-HS

Ft. Collins City Council candidate Ray Martinez.

A heated race for a seat on the Fort Collins City Council is attracting lots of attention from outside groups — including some that may not even exist.

Reporter Nick Coltrain of the Coloradoan has been doing a good job in covering the intricacies of the Ft. Collins municipal elections, which are rapidly drawing to a close (mail ballots are due by Tuesday). One of the more interesting races is in District 2, where frequent candidate Ray Martinez continues to be dogged by charges first leveled his direction when he first tried running for City Council 20 years ago (and later during an attempted campaign for the state legislature).

But perhaps the most curious story of the District 2 race was reported by Coltrain in today’s Coloradoan:

A pro-fracking group has spent $20,000 to support Fort Collins city council candidate Ray Martinez, city campaign finance records show.

Larimer Energy Action Project, whose website declares “We can frack safely in Larimer County,” spent the money to canvass and distribute literature in District 2, the east-central district Martinez hopes to represent. Martinez, a former mayor, is facing Poudre School District Board of Education member Nancy Tellez in the contest.

LEAP’s phone number on its website has been disconnected. Representatives from LEAP did not return an e-mail asking for comment Thursday. [Pols emphasis]

Martinez served as a paid consultant for a Colorado Oil and Gas Association-backed group that fought a 2013 ballot measure seeking a five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Fort Collins.

Now, Martinez supporters are quick to point out anti-fracking groups have also spent large sums of money opposing his candidacy or supporting opponent Nancy Tellez, but that’s not the point here. Obviously both candidates are going to have different levels of support on different issues, but thus far, only one of those organizations (LEAP) has all but vanished since spending $20k supporting Martinez.

Perhaps LEAP just spent so much money backing Martinez that it couldn’t afford to pay the phone bill?

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 3)

We’re almost Klingenschmitt-free today. Almost. 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The State Senate has approved a $26 billion budget for Colorado, despite complaints from Democrats that they were largely shut out of the process. The “Long Bill” now heads to the State House, where Republicans will inevitably complain about the process when they don’t have the majority.

A top official at the Veterans Administration has apologized (again) for the long list of problems in building a new hospital in Aurora. But Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson thinks Rep. Mike Coffman’s suggestion to cancel all bonuses until the hospital is complete is a bad idea.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Klingenschmitt Doesn’t Separate Political and Religious Money, either…

Rep. Gordon K. in Da Housse! (from GJK’s Facebook page)

(This is a reader diary promoted to the front page by Colorado Pols)

Representative Gordon Klingenschmitt from Colorado’s House District 15 just cannot remove his foot from his mouth. He also just cannot separate religious and political speech. Using scripture to explain horrible crimes, slandering of colleagues and organizations as terrorists, all stem from this basic conflation.

However, what I’m outlining here is how his campaign finances suffer from the entanglement of religion with politics. I will look at all three organizations Klingenschmitt owns or uses:

  1. GJK, Inc (his for-profit company),
  2. GordonforColorado, (his campaign committee),
  3. The Pray in Jesus Name/Persuade the World Ministries nonprofit. (PIJN/PTWM).

It’s not as gruesome and insensitive as his “God judges America /Ripping Women Open” comments, but just as horrifying if you believe, as our country’s founders did, as I do, in the separation of church and state.

Problem #1: The mysterious GJK, Inc. corporation

GJK as linked from the Pray in Jesus Name to Paypal “Donate to Political Work”
  •  GJK Inc, appears to be Klingenschmitt’s large, unregulated,  unaccountable cash stream from online donation buttons on the PJIN religious pages. This is illegal and unethical. 

 

 

[Lots more after the jump…]

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Acting Together to Solve Colorado’s Climate Crisis – Western Slope Challenge & Solar Fair

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Western Colorado Climate Challenge & Solar Fair May 1-3 Paonia, CO

The Western Slope is rolling up its sleeves and making a difference for Colorado’s climate.  In terms of tangible progress across the region developing alternative and innovative energy solutions.  And the first weekend of May in Paonia.

That Western Colorado is stepping up makes good sense, and not only because we want to help lead in doing our part to solve the Colorado climate crisis. 

Demand for renewable energy, and the jobs that brings, is up across the globe, in the U.S. and right here in Colorado.   And that means renewable energy makes good economic sense too.  

Installing solar panels on home rooftops and in giant multi-megawatt utility-scale solar farms is one of the United States’ fastest-growing ways for both residents and power companies to reduce their climate impact in a warming world.

For the solar industry, helping to reduce America’s carbon footprint means inviting those with skilled hands to apply for a job.

The solar sector is growing so quickly as solar panel costs drop that employment in the industry jumped 21.8 percent in 2014, adding 31,000 new jobs in that time for a total of 174,000 solar workers nationwide, Luecke said. Solar employment is expected to jump by another 36,000 workers this year.

Articles like this point to a real future in the pursuit of new energy and power technologies.  Innovative projects are changing not only how Americans generate their own power, but how we generate and share power on the ‘grid.’ 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 2)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Only 364 more days until you can use that April Fool’s Day prank you just thought up last night. 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► They don’t call it “the Long Bill” because they are being ironic. The State Senate gave initial approval to a $25 billion state budget after more than 6 hours of bickering. Republicans insist on continuing to debate the issue of immunizations for children.

► California is drier than a sandpaper sandwich, and Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for mandatory water restrictions for the first time in state history. Ten bucks says water conservation is going to be the issue of the summer.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Dr. Chaps Gets National Slot on FOX News

UPDATE: Say what you will about Dr. Chaps (and we’ve said plenty), but we’ll give the man a little  credit for being able to laugh at himself. Via Facebook:

Chaps-Pols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original April Fool’s Day post follows…

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McInnis County Declares Sovereignty

(Novus ordo seclorum – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Scott McInnis.

Scott McInnis.

From the Grand Junction People’s Sentinel, DeBeque DMZ – 

The duly selected McMinisters of the lands once known as ‘Mesa County’ when under the thumb of the absentee governor on the far side the Colorado Divide have issued the following statement from the Board of Royal McMinisters:

IN CONGRESS, COMMISSION July 4, 1776 April 1, 2015

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen three united States of America McMinisters:

When in the Course of stuff human events, it becomes necessary for one people good old boys and girls to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another accountability, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men some of us at least are created special equal, that they we are endowed by piles of cash bestowed to us by their Creator those the Supremes granted the bestest of certain unalienable Rights, that among these are unlimited piles of cash given to us for our souls and sacred honor, for the public treasures, for the oil and gas, oil shale, uranium, and our very forests in exchange for said copious money, power and more large dams with which to frack more public lands, and  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among backroom pals Men, deriving their just powers from the tacit “consent” of the governed. 

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 31)

March is going “out like a lamb” in Colorado, but April is waiting to kick our ass. 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► State Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt is the gift that keeps on giving…if you like really, really ridiculous gifts. Somehow former Congressman Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin even merits a mention. Is a recall in the works?

► The State House approved legislation (HB-1300) to allow local governments to increase the minimum wage from Colorado’s current level of $8.23 per hour. A separate proposal, HCR-1001, would have placed a minimum wage increase on the 2015 ballot, but failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority needed for ballot measures. 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Cadman promotes bill previously torpedoed by anti-abortion forces in GOP caucus

(Those who don’t learn from history…something, something. — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Republican Senate President Bill Cadman took to the radio yesterday to announce plans to introduce a bill allowing prosecutors to treat a fetus as the victim of a crime but, apparently, with specific language allowing for abortion.

Cadman told KNUS 710-AM that his bill “does provide a protection for a woman to do with her body as she desires.”

Colorado already has a law, passed in 2013, allowing prosecutors to file additional charges, but not murder, in a crime involving the destruction of a fetus.

To ensure that the law does not turn into a back-door abortion ban, the measure specifically identifies the pregnant woman as the victim of the crime and states that nothing “shall be construed to confer the status of ‘person’ upon a human embryo, fetus or unborn child at any state of development prior to live birth.”

This anti-personhood language enraged anti-choice Republicans, like Sen. Scott Renfroe, who during a 2013 committee hearing, called the legislation the “Let’s-Go-on-Killing-Babies” bill.

In 2011, a bipartisan attempt to pass a similar bill was killed over similar objections by abortion foes.

Yet, when asked on the radio yesterday about why these types of measures did not become law, Cadman blamed pro-choice legislators.

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The “New Kind Of Republican?”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Remember last November?

I know, I know, a lot has happened since then — Katy Perry rode into the Super Bowl on a giant mechanical lion, James Inhofe tried to instigate a snowball fight on the U.S. Senate floor, and Peyton Manning turned 39.

Election season wasn’t too long ago, though. When campaign advertisements were absolutely everywhere, canvassers were showing up at your house, and flyers for this or that candidate were overwhelming recycling bins all over the country. It was a hectic time, to be sure, but one advertisement stands out: the now-infamous bit in which Cory Gardner, standing in front of a wind farm, claimed to be a new kind of Republican, one who was concerned with the future, preserving Colorado’s clean energy economy, and safeguarding the next generation.

For a new kind of Republican, he sure votes a lot like the old kind. In a recent series of votes on amendments to the 2016 budget resolution, Gardner voted against a key climate amendment that was sponsored by our other Senator, Michael Bennet. This was an acknowledgment that climate change is human-induced and would prepare federal agencies to prepare for it in a deficit-neutral way. The vote was far from party-line. No fewer than seven of Gardner’s Republican colleagues voted for it. Several of them hail from states that have historically shown less commitment to climate issues than Colorado has, such as South Carolina, Nevada, and Ohio, among others. This makes Gardner’s no vote even more baffling.  

However, it is not time to discredit his election-season promises quite yet. He also voted against an amendment that would enable the sale or transfer of national public lands. He has shown an interest in protecting our natural areas in the past, and these votes are certainly heartening. It’s clear that he has the wisdom to recognize that Colorado’s public lands define us as a state, and threatening them would be a reckless and costly move.

But Gardner’s votes against common sense  climate change issues (i.e., humans cause climate change so let’s do something about it) are a disservice to the millions of Coloradans who care deeply about our clean energy economy and combating climate change. Polls consistently show that Colorado stands firmly in support of action on climate, and Gardner’s votes should reflect that support.

It’s too early to issue a verdict on Senator Gardner’s term in office. He has only been our senator for a few months, but now does seem like a good time to remind him that he is in office in part because of his efforts to show Coloradans that he cares about clean energy and the next generation. Coloradans are still waiting for Cory Gardner to be the new kind of Republican he promised in the fall.

 

Get More Smarter on Monday (March 30)

Your NCAA Tourney bracket is officially worthless. 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The “Long Bill” will begin to suck up all the oxygen out of the State Capitol this week. The Associated Press previews the arguments and decimal points. The Senate is expected to vote on the budget by Thursday before passing it along to the House. John Frank of the Denver Post has more on the budget battle.

► Aurora City Manager Skip Noe needs to make a good impression in a closed-door meeting with the Aurora City Council today.

► Indiana Republicans are working on legislation to clarify previously-approved legislation that would make it easier for businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered people. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill, and he swears he actually read the language first.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Let’s appreciate The Post’s coverage of city council races–while we can

God love The Denver Post for actually factually covering Denver’s city council races with a little bit of breadth and a little bit of depth.

You can find a story here and there by other news entities, including the neighborhood newspapers. But to understand what’s happening  city-wide you have to turn to The Post.

It’s apparently put Jon Murray, one of the paper’s top political reporters on the beat. And he, along with other skilled reporters, are offering real coverage of the election, at the end of which we will have six of 13 new faces on the council. So it’s a big deal.

The Post is running a series spotlighting the major issues and candidates in the races, including, so far, District 1, District 2, and District 3.  The newspaper is dutifully following the money, as well as major developments.

The Post, for example, reported details this week of possible campaign-finance violations by District 10 candidate Wayne New, who admitted to omitting information from his official signs and not reporting in-kind donations .

But Wayne New denies that he is required to report the obvious advertising value of large campaign signs he’s placed in parking lots owned by Buzz Geller, a businessman who supports New.

Luis Toro, director Colorado Ethics Watch, which filed a complaint against Wayne New, says the failure to disclose the value of the use of parking lots is a “real, substantive violation” of Denver’s campaign finance laws. Toro told The Post his group’s action against New has nothing to do with the fact that New has donated to Republican candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain. [Disclosure: I support one of New’s District 10 opponents, Anna Jones, though I live outside the district.]

Anyway, wouldn’t it be great if the media were full of blow-by-blow accounts of low-level political battles like these? The best we have is The Post. And you wonder, who’s gonna do it when/if The Post is gone? It’s something that should not go unappreciated today, while we still have it.

Leaving local TV news for Politico, Stokols looks forward to never being told “that’s too inside baseball”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Eli Stokols.

Eli Stokols.

Eli Stokols, who came to Denver as a general assignment reporter in 2005, is leaving KDVR-TV Fox 31 Tuesday as one of the state’s top political reporters. He also became a Fox 31 anchor, launched his own public-policy TV show, and wrote nonstop on multiple platforms.

I had coffee with Stokols, and we talked about his ten-year run in Denver and his future job at Politico in Washington DC. Here’s an edited version of our conversation:

Why Politico?

Stokols: I’ve been looking for an opportunity to report on politics from a national platform. I don’t think that’s any secret. And, frankly, part of that is because in Colorado you get a taste of doing that, because every campaign here is nationalized. There is no shortage of great political stories to cover here, which helped me to broaden my work. You come to a point in your professional career when you need a different challenge. On some level, because I’d been here for so long and was considered one of the veterans, a lot of people come to you with information, and it gets easier. And you can find yourself not working as hard because stuff comes to you. Or you find yourself not as excited when the campaign cycle comes around because you’ve done a ton of them.

And what are you going to do there?

I’m going to cover 2016, mostly write about it. I imagine I’ll cover a lot of the presidential candidates early on.

On the trail?

Yeah. I’ll be traveling a lot. That’s going to be exciting. I’ve been joking with people. It’s about time someone gives up statehouse reporting and goes and covers the presidential race, because what America really needs is more reporters covering the presidential race. You understand going into it that it’s going be hard to come up with stories and angles, but it’s exciting. It’s probably a cliche, but if you’re a political reporter, and that’s what you’re interested in, the opportunity to cover a presidential race and be on the trail is a bucket list thing.

Speaking of the state legislature, will Fox 31 replace you?

The upshot is, this was never a position we had because management said we had to cover politics. I don’t know what they will do. [See CJR’s Corey Hutchins’ take on this here.] It’s disappointing. You get this opportunity, and then you leave. And you look at what you built. And I know [9News political reporter Adam Schrager] felt the same way when he left. You want it to continue. And so it’s bittersweet.

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Dr. Chaps calls attack on pregnant woman a “curse of God upon America”

(A new low for Dr. Chaps – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE 3/27: Denver media offered near saturation coverage Thursday of the Klingenschmitt controversy, including multiple interviews with Klingenschmitt, who refused to apologize. On KOA radio’s morning news today, the state representative from Colorado Springs said:

“If you were offended because I quoted the Bible in church, I ask you to forgive me. But I will not apologize for quoting the Bible in church.”

Klingenschmitt was interviewed in the Capitol basement by Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, who reported that the Republican lawmaker was “adamant that what he says as a preacher on his Sunday morning program should be viewed separately from his work as an elected official.”

“I’ve said many times that I wear two hats; and on Sundays, I’m an ordained minister and I preach the gospel and I quote the bible,” [Klingenschmitt] said.

Klingenschmitt directed his own outrage at Hullinghorst and Democrats at the Capitol who have blocked personhood measures that, he argues, would afford adequate justice to Wilkins for the death of her unborn baby.

POLS UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports on bipartisan outrage over Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt’s latest ugly remarks–but no calls from fellow Republicans to resign.

Several leading Colorado Republicans lashed out Thursday against state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, saying his act-of-God comments about an attack on a pregnant woman whose baby was cut from her stomach were “disgusting” and “reprehensible.”

The lawmaker, who also is a minister, quoted the Bible in his “Pray In Jesus Name” program Wednesday and tried to link the crime to abortion…

“Gordon does not speak for his caucus,” said [Rep. Polly] Lawrence, the House assistant minority leader.

Steve House, the new chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said Klingenschmitt under the First Amendment has the right to say what he wants but “he does not represent the Colorado Republican Party.”

Original post follows.

—–

You had the feeling it was just a matter of time until Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt said something, in his position as a lawmaker, that was so grotesque that it should be widely reported and thoroughly condemned. That time arrived today.

The progressive organization Right Wing Watch reported that Klingenschmitt said in an online video that the horrific attack on a pregnant woman March 18 in Longmont is a “curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb.”

It’s a statement along the lines of Pat Robertson blaming abortion and gays for 9/11, and it has the effect of casting Republicans–not just Klingenschmitt–as being completely heartless and cold-hearted mean–unless they thoroughly denounce it. But will they?

Right Wing Watch reported this morning:

On his “Pray In Jesus Name” program today, Klingenschmitt discussed the story and tied it to a passage from Hosea in which God curses the people of Samaria for their rebellion by declaring that “their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.”

“I wonder if there is prophetic significance to America today in that scripture,” he said. “This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open”