Get More Smarter on Monday (Feb. 23)

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Snowy enough for 'ya? The Colorado Pols Quadruple Doppler (with cheese) predicted snowfall totals somewhere between 2 inches to 17 feet, so we were right on target. 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 Colorado Legislature is out today due to inclement weather and poor road conditions. In Washington D.C., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will push for another budget vote in an attempt to avoid a partial government shutdown that could have broad impacts across the country. As Politico reports:

The Kentucky Republican could cave to Democrats’ demands and abandon the GOP’s attempt to tie the Department of Homeland Security’s funding to an attack on President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. But pushing through a short-term continuing resolution for DHS would bring howls from the right, postpone the immigration showdown for only a couple of weeks or months, and most likely fail in the House. McConnell would gain nothing even if he could pass such a CR, which is far from a sure thing.

Or, as some conservatives outside the Senate want, McConnell could employ the “nuclear option” to abolish the filibuster on legislation, allowing Republicans to pass the $39.7 billion DHS bill with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than 60. But that would mean destroying the Senate traditions he’s vowed so loudly over the years to protect — and Obama would still veto the bill.

► State Governors are also in Washington D.C. today to blame their problems on President Obama. The Associated Press reports on the annual winter gathering of the National Governor's Association (NGA), where a showdown over the $40 billion Department of Homeland Security budget should be the main topic of discussion. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is the Chair of the NGA, and will try to steer conversations at the White House in a positve direction. Says Hickenlooper, "When we go to the president our goal is to try to be more constructive."

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Former GOP State Rep. Jared Wright says he’ll “strive to be fair” as publisher of Colorado Statesman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jared Wright.

Jared Wright.

The Colorado Statesman, which reports the nitty gritty of politics that's loved by junkies and is hard to find these days outside of partisan blogs and radio shows, has appointed  a former Republican politician as publisher: Jared Wright,  former state representative from Mesa County.

In a touching good-bye column Friday that conjured a fading era in local journalism, current publisher Jody Hope Strogoff announced her departure from the newspaper.

Over the weekend, Wright answered a few questions via email regarding his new job.

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Former Olympian Throws Himself into GOP Madness

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bremerx

The mud wresting is so intense in the battle to lead the state GOP that Republicans may now think that candidates with brute strength, rather than intelligence, are needed to put down their opponents and win.

Enter former Pentathlete Eli Bremer. Pointing to his he former Olympic prowess, the former El Paso Republican Chair announced today that he's running for vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Unfortunately, Bremer is probably too weak to overpower current vice chair, Mark Baisley, a tea-party candidate who shocked his talk-radio supporters when he aligned himself with current GOP chair Ryan Call, who's seeking his third term.

But who knows? What we do know is the craziness of the characters involved in the race, no matter who wins, has probably already scared big-time GOP donors to such a great extent that they'll be sending their money to outside 527's, forsaking the state party altogether and relegating it to irrelevancy.

In a letter formally announcing his long-rumored candidacy, Bremer wrote:

I spent 12 years competing at the international level representing the United States around the globe and at the Olympic Games.  One of the greatest lessons I learned is that success takes years of preparation and hard work.  It took me over a decade training at an elite level before I qualified for the Olympics.  It was a difficult journey and required constant dedication and sacrifice.  In the same way, the next five years will be incredibly important for Colorado Republicans; but we will work together to achieve our goal of unifying for conservative governance of our great state and nation….

Four years ago, I was elected GOP Chairman in El Paso County.  My prior political experience was as a grassroots organizer founding a Young Republican club that rapidly grew to one of the largest grassroots clubs in the state.  I was the youngest chairman in the state, and I was tasked with overseeing the largest party in the state, serving roughly 20% of all Republicans in Colorado.  I took over an organization bruised by a difficult election, torn by conflict, and sitting on the verge of collapse.  

 In two short years, I got our party out of debt, standardized and professionalized our operations, overhauled our IT system, and grew our fundraising by nearly 10 fold.  Because of our success, I was asked by and assisted numerous other local county parties with fundraising and organizational development.  When my successor took office, he assumed control of an organization ready to perform and grow which it does to this day….

Politics are also about results, and it is important to always see if actions lead to results. Despite nationally abysmal showings by Republicans in 2012, El Paso delivered strong numbers for all our Republican candidates. The true organizational strength was demonstrated the following year when we successfully recalled State Senator John Morse. In a carefully choreographed effort, El Paso County Republican Party played an enormous role in electing Bernie Herpin to replace John Morse and showed that the campaign machine my staff and I created was working as designed. In recognition for our efforts in the recall and the turnaround I conducted in El Paso that helped breed a culture of success, Bernie Herpin has enthusiastically endorsed me.

 

Colorado PERA: Forcing Retirees to Eat 90 Percent of Pension Reform Costs was “Sensitive” and “Equitable.”

Yes dear reader, in 2010, a juggernaut of 27 Colorado statehouse lobbyists "sensitively" forced the PERA reform bill (SB10-001) through the legislative process.

The propaganda produced by our Colorado state pension administrative agency, Colorado PERA, simply boggles the mind. It is boundless . . . and unconstrained by normal human decency.

Allow me to translate this recent Colorado PERA propaganda piece: Colorado PERA officials recently argued, on their website, that using PERA trust funds (in part, the property of PERA retirees) to pay for public relations, lobbying, and legal campaigns to take the retirees' accrued statutory PERA benefits (benefits that PERA officials have, in legislative testimony, confirmed as PERA contractual obligations) and thus push 90 percent of the cost of the 2010 PERA reform bill onto the backs of these elderly PERA retirees, was "sensitive," and an "equitable distribution of costs."

Elderly PERA retirees eat 90 percent, PERA employers and taxpayers, who actually owe the debt, bear ten percent of the burden. This is the Colorado PERA definition of "equitable"?

In my opinion, Colorado PERA officials are now capable of writing anything, even the most outrageous lies, without compunction. No other Colorado state agency can approach the Colorado PERA talent for propaganda.

http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out

A few days ago this statement was posted on Colorado PERA's website:

"The goal of the General Assembly’s reforms enacted in 2010 was for PERA to achieve fully funded status – thus ensuring retirement security – WITH SENSITIVITY TO THE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF COSTS AND BURDENS ASSOCIATED WITH THE REFORMS." (My emphasis in caps.)

https://www.copera.org/about/pera-on-the-issues/conversations-about-colorado%E2%80%99s-public-employee-retirement-system-should

Implicit in this Colorado PERA statement is a belief that accrued Colorado PERA ABI (COLA) benefits ARE NOT a Colorado PERA contractual obligation. Surely, Colorado PERA officials do not believe that the breach of a public pension contract can be "equitable," or "sensitive."

But, if Colorado PERA officials believe that the statutory PERA ABI benefit is not a Colorado PERA contractual obligation, then why did they provide this perfectly contradictory legislative testimony in 2009?

December 16, 2009

Colorado PERA officials in written testimony to the Joint Budget Committee: “The General Assembly cannot decrease the COLA (absent actuarial necessity) because it is part of the contractual obligations that accrue under a pension plan protected under the Colorado Constitution Article II, Section 11 and the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 10 for vested contractual rights.”

http://www.kentlambert.com/Files/PERA_JBC_Hearing_Responses-12-16-2009_Final.pdf

COLORADO PERA OFFICIALS AND SB10-001 SPONSORS: PERA RETIREES WILL EAT 90 PERCENT OF THE COSTS OF THE 2010 REFORM:

January 22, 2010

SB10-001 co-prime sponsor Senator Josh Penry and bill sponsor Senator Greg Brophy: “Fully 90 percent of the PERA fix comes from benefit cuts to current and future retirees.”

http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_14242354

January 26, 2010

"The difference between the past approach and SB1, Penry said, is that the new plan boldly tackles benefit reductions, which he said will constitute 90 percent of the PERA fund's recovery and generate plenty of opposition along the way."

http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/legislators-pera-changes-will-be-painful/article_b82cee28-328f-59ba-91c0-a480e5f719c8.html

October 26, 2011

Colorado PERA Executive Director Greg Smith, at the “Fall 2011 PERA Shareholder’s Meeting,” (thirty-six minutes into the video):"‘Only ten percent of the fix” of the [SB10-001] reforms in 2010 came from additional employer contributions."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8LB7t5HMBo

April 17, 2011

Senator Brandon Shaffer, co-prime sponsor, SB10-001, Denver Post: “I sponsored last year's legislation, known as Senate Bill 1, to protect PERA. The bill required shared sacrifice, but frankly most of it — 90 percent of the burden — falls on the shoulders of PERA's current and future members and retirees.”

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17858107

May 29, 2011

Colorado PERA Executive Director Meredith Williams, Pueblo Chieftain:

“In fact, about 90 percent of the changes enacted by Senate Bill 1 are falling on the shoulders of current and future PERA members and retirees — not other taxpayers.”

http://www.chieftain.com/opinion/ideas/legislative-changes-have-put-pera-fund-on-a-solid-footing/article_3080a01c-88cd-11e0-ad01-001cc4c03286.html

We see above that Colorado PERA officials have testified that the PERA statutory ABI (COLA) benefit is a Colorado PERA contractual obligation. (For the record, this evidence was conveniently ignored by the Colorado Supreme Court in its 2014 Decision in the case, Justus v. State.) In 2014, Colorado state government CONVENIENTLY forgave Colorado state government debt (violating federal case law, US Trust.)

"The Colorado Supreme Court: Politicians in Black Robes."

http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out

It is critical to the proper functioning of a democratic republic that truth be widely disseminated. "Friend" Save Pera Cola on Facebook.

Political Trivia – Presidential Last Names

Ok, here's another for you. Name all presidents that shared a last name. And for each pair, their relation, if any. Memory only – no searching!

Extra credit – name the first American born president (the first several were British citizens when they were first born).

Get More Smarter on Friday (Feb. 20)

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The Colorado Pols Quadruple Doppler (with cheese) predicts anywhere from 2 inches to 17 feet of snow this weekend. 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 Denver Post editorial board thinks that Colorado Republican legislators are playing "a dangerous game that must stop" by using the budget process in an attempt to derail legislation they don't like but don't have the votes to defeat outright:

Republicans should keep in mind that history has a way of turning the tables, particularly when it comes to political power.

The tactics they are using to thwart policies they disagree with could well come back to haunt them.

Jefferson County students are not convinced that the conservative school board is really retreating on their attempts at rewriting history curriculums.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Colorado Week in Review: February 20th, 2015

Colorado Week in Review

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Feb. 19)

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Don't answer your phone before 3:00 pm (EST) today; the Denver Nuggets can't trade you if they can't find you, right? 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…

► Colorado Republicans continue to take their cue from Washington D.C. in using the state budget process to muddle legislation that they don't have the votes to actually defeat. As John Frank of the Denver Post explains, funding for necessary public safety issues is now being held hostage by Senate Republicans:

The party-line Senate vote against a bill that won unanimous approval in the House puts in jeopardy more than $2 million for the Colorado Department of Public Safety and escalates a political tension at the General Assembly that is drawing comparisons to a gridlocked Washington.

► Legislation to allow Coloradans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit gained approval in the State Senate yesterday. Senator Vicki "Lost" Marble, the sponsor of SB-032, needs some better talking points, which is clear after reading this story by Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press:

The requirements, passed in 2003, also bar concealed-carry permits to anyone who “chronically and habitually uses alcoholic beverages to the extent that the applicant’s normal facilities are impaired.”

“I think it’s insulting to the people of Colorado,” said Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins and sponsor of the bill.

In related news, Marble is a lock to receive the endorsement of the fictitious group "Alcoholics with Guns."

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Feb. 18)

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Um, sorry to interrupt, but you have something on your forehead. 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…

► Republicans in the State Senate gave initial approval to Sen. Vicki "Lost" Marble's bill (SB15-032) to eliminate the permitting process for anyone who wants to carry a concealed weapon. Said Sen. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver), "The permitting process allows us to know that Coloradans carrying loaded firearms have shot a gun before, are trained, aren’t domestic violence offenders, don’t have a criminal record, or aren’t drunk drivers." Colorado is currently one of 46 states that require a permit for concealed carry.  

► Former Sen. Mark Udall will see work on one of his pet issues finally come to fruition this week. President Obama plans to designate Brown's Canyon as a National Monument.

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Mad Mike Coffman Still Mad That Someone Dare Challenge Him

Coffman Hillman Wedgie

This about sums up what Mike Coffman did to Mark Hillman in 2005-06.

Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) made national news last week after he picked a fight with Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald during testimony in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Mad Mike's antics were called out by the hometown Aurora Sentinel, saying "blasting the incoming secretary 6 months into his job and turning the argument into a petty political platform is bunk."

If the Sentinel thought Mad Mike's actions last week were "bunk," we can only imagine the response to Coffman's fundraising email yesterday. Coffman's campaign brazenly keeps the story alive and tries to make McDonald look like the bad guy while encouraging donors to give money to his campaign. Before we delve into that fundraising email, however, let's return to the scene of the crime to recap the order of events from last Thursday:

Rep. Coffman: This is a department mired in beaurocratic incompetence and corruption. And I've gotta tell you, I think the pubic relations is great today. But there's no substance. There is…no…substance…

Sec. McDonald: I'm highly offended by your comments, Mr. Coffman…

Rep. Coffman: [Holds up a hand and says, "Let me finish..."] I fundamentally believe, that as unfortunate as it is, that at the end of the day — at the end of this President's term — that you will not have made a difference in changing the culture of this organization [Pols emphasis]…by virtue of the fact that you continue to gloss over its problems.

Sec. McDonald: I am offended by your comment. Actually, I've been here 6 months. You've been here longer than I have. If there's a problem in Denver, I think you own it more than I do.

(Click here to see the video or read the rest of the transcript)

As you can plainly see above, Mad Mike picked this fight by telling the VA Secretary that he "will not have made a difference" in changing the culture at the VA. McDonald was a guest on "Meet the Press" over the weekend, where he declined to swipe at Coffman, while Mad Mike's campaign was busy trying to spin this spat into dollars. The message coming out of Coffman's campaign continues to be that Mad Mike is a military veteran and therefore you can't attack him for anything, ever.

This doesn't make sense for a lot of reasons, including the fact that McDonald himself is a former Army Ranger, but the message also illustrates Coffman's erratic nature and his willingness to step on anybody in order to get ahead politically. Ironically enough, Coffman's fundraising plea only exaggerates that point by playing off the McDonald line, "I've run a large company, sir. What have you done?" Take a look at this section from a fundraising email sent by Coffman's Congressional campaign and signed by "Mort Marks, WWII Veteran."

What has Mike Coffman done? 

Besides being the only Member of Congress to serve in both Iraq wars, Mike has been a national leader on veterans issues, fighting to fix the broken VA long before the national media woke up to the VA's troubles.

He has served our nation in uniform, even resigning the Treasurer's office to serve in Iraq in 2005 [Pols emphasis], and he has continued that fight back home for the men and women who have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedom.

To hear Secretary McDonald ask Mike Coffman "What have you done?" is enough to make my blood boil.

[INSERT SOUND OF BRAKES SQUEALING]

Hold on, there — are you sure that you want to bring up 2005? Do you really want to use this as an example of "What Mike Coffman Has Done"?

See, Mike Coffman did not exactly "resign the Treasurer's office" to serve in Iraq. Mad Mike took a leave of absence from his job as State Treasurer and continued that job when he returned to Colorado in March 2006 (Team Coffman called it "an unpaid military leave of absence" in Aug. 2005 while seeking to make it clear that Coffman would run for Secretary of State in 2006). Senate Minority Leader Mark Hillman was appointed "Acting State Treasurer," but he had to resign from the State Senate in order to accept the post. This sequence of events also moved Greg Brophy into Hillman's Senate seat and saw a GOP vacancy committee select Cory Gardner to replace Brophy in the State House.

When Coffman returned to Colorado in March 2006, Acting Treasurer Hillman was forced to resign (though Coffman hired Hillman for a part-time job in the Treasurer's office. Yay!). More importantly, Hillman could no longer campaign for his own term as State Treasurer with the benefit of being the current office holder. Many Republicans still believe that Coffman's re-appearing act probably cost Hillman the Treasurer's race in 2006 (Democrat Cary Kennedy was elected instead). For his part, Coffman went on to defeat Democrat Ken Gordon for Secretary of State; two years later, Coffman resigned as SOS after winning his current Congressional seat in CD-6.

Volunteering to serve in Iraq is certainly laudable, but as we said before, being a military veteran does not give Coffman carte blanche to be an asshole. There is no honor in Coffman's bullying treatment of VA Secretary McDonald, but Mad Mike just makes things worse by using his political stunt to raise money while also stretching the truth about "resigning" as State Treasurer in order to serve in Iraq. The only person who ever seems to benefit from Mad Mike's hot temper is the Congressman himself.

Colorado AFL-CIO releases Prosperity Agenda

COLORADO AFL-CIO RELEASES PROSPERITY AGENDA 

  

Agenda focuses on working families and keeping jobs in Colorado

 

Denver- Colorado possesses many great assets as a state: natural beauty, abundant resources, and many great institutions. But no asset is as great as it's people- the people who teach our children, care for the elderly, build and maintain our infrastructure. The Colorado workforce is filled with ingenuity and pride. 

 

However, while we have made positive strides to keep our economy strong and keep jobs in Colorado, many Colorado families are struggling. Today the Colorado AFL-CIO released their Prosperity Agenda (http://bit.ly/1Bm3xh3) for the 2015 legislative session.  The agenda outlines the core principles of the Colorado AFL-CIO:

 

  • Building a strong middle class and protecting good paying jobs. 
  • Investing in Colorado's workforce and infrastructure. 
  • Protecting Colorado families.
  • Building community partnerships. 

 

"Colorado has always had a tradition of supporting strong families that strive for generations", said Mike Cerbo, Executive Director of the Colorado AFL-CIO. "It is now more important than ever that we enact policies that lift up workers into the middle class and provide livable wages and sustainable benefits."

 

One glaring example where the economic system is not working for everyone is pay equity. Recently the Pay Equity Commission was dissolved by the Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology. The Commission regulated pay disparity in Colorado. In a state where women earn 79 cents to the dollar earned by Colorado men, the Colorado AFL-CIO will be working to enact policies that close the income gap and growing economic disparity that threatens our unique, Colorado way of life. 

Energy Resources and Global Politics

For nearly a century, Energy Security, the relationship between national security and access to natural resources that can be used for energy consumption, has played a critical role in diplomatic relations between Western and developing countries. Since the 1970s, the availability of oil in particular has been a large driver in U.S. foreign policy as it relates to oil-producing countries. However, as technology has evolved and led to the discovery of new oil reserves around the world, the global politics of securing energy resources have begun to change. One of the largest recent technological advances has been development of the ability to utilize "tight oil," which is derived in large supply from oil sands in Canada and Brazil's offshore.

U.S. Role in Caribbean Energy Summit

As the oil market rebalances, the U.S. is increasingly focusing on the security of oil supplies in the Western Hemisphere. The Obama administration announced that it would be hosting a summit in Washington, D.C. to help Caribbean countries lower their energy costs and increase their use of renewable power sources. Many of the island countries rely on diesel fuel imports from Venezuela. The meeting's aim is to diversify the sources of energy that are available to the island countries. Discussions will focus on encouraging investment in the island countries by improving their regulatory framework and creating financing mechanisms. Canada, Mexico, and Spain may offer technical assistance to encourage new renewable energy sources in the island countries. Countries that are expected to attend include Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and Dominican Republic.

Energy and Politics in Europe and Central Asia

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to cancel the South Stream gas pipeline that would extend from Russia to Western Europe may present a golden opportunity for Central Asian country Turkmenistan. With the world's second-largest gas field, Turkmenistan holds 10 percent of the world's gas reserves. The country has shown renewed interest in potentially supplying Europe with gas as it has agreed with Turkey that it would supply gas for the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline project. One potential hurdle to moving forward with the project is the Caspian Sea, which is the subject of a dispute between Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Iran. The pipeline would travel through the Caspian Sea and into Azerbaijan. Although critics question whether Turkmenistan, whose main buyer of gas is China, would even need to supply gas to the European market. However, it is within Turkmenistan's interest to diversify and avoid dependence on China as its key customer especially in light of Russia's agreement to build the "Power of Siberia" pipeline to supply gas from Eastern Siberia to China.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, access to energy resources has very quickly risen to become a major geopolitical issue. In the past few decades, Western countries have found themselves shifting from policy formed within the context of a heavy dependence on Middle Eastern countries to supply oil to policies that seek to protect newly accessible oil supplies that do not require reliance on the Mid-East and other governments with which relations have historically been strained. The economic rise of China and political developments in Eastern Europe are new issues global leaders must consider as they seek to maintain stable, affordable access to the energy resources they need.

Sage Grouse Efforts Get Steamboat Boost

Steamboat Springs.  My first Colorado ski trip — loaded in a bus full of college kids from Kentucky — it was a sleepier town then.  

But it still is a place set apart — up there mostly on its own, home to 12,000 which makes it almost a small city by western Colorado standards — it's really not on the way to anywhere.  

Home to iconic ranges like the Flat Tops, Mount Zirkel, and the Rabbit Ears Range, Routt County of which Steamboat Springs is the County Seat, is also sagebrush country.  And it includes quite a bit of quality greater sage grouse habitat. This makes Routt, and Steamboat Springs, important players in Colorado's greater sage grouse efforts.

Colorado is currently needing to complete a strong conservation plan to show the federal government that it, along with the other ten states that have greater sage grouse habitat, is serious enough about protecting the grouse that it can avoid a listing under the Endangered Species Act.  That decision could come in September unless the states are successful in making their case. 

Routt County definitely has its own skin in the game–especially to the south, upstream on the Yampa (centered around the town with that namesake), and west, downstream, toward Hayden and Moffat County–there is both lots of potential habitat and a substantial amount of occupied habitat in the county.  

And as a 'city' in a sparsely populated part of the state, even by Western Slope standards, Steamboat's influence stretches beyond just Routt County. So it was quite a boost that came from this ranching town turned ski destination, turned Northwest Colorado economic hub, when over a dozen area businesses sent a  letter to be hand delivered to Governor Hickenlooper: 

“We want to make sure that Governor Hicklenlooper knows how important the iconic greater sage grouse is to our local business community in Routt County,” [Kent Vertrees, co-owner Steamboat Powdercats]  said in a news release. “It’s an important part of our Western heritage and our economy. We want to see the bird protected, but we don’t want to see it listed under the Endangered Species Act.” 

Protecting sage grouse habitat happens to protect habitat important to a number of species as well as the public lands that contain much of it, and that is good for the bottom line of many Colorado businesses.  But there is also cause to protect the sage grouse for its intrinsic worth and I count myself among those that want to see this bird protected for its own sake, tales of which are told of when they use to darken the sky with their flocks and put sustenance on pioneer tables.  

The particulars of how that happens are less important to me than that it does. But if avoiding a listing under the ESA makes it easier on area businesses and other stakeholders then that is good for them and can encourage the state and others to act cooperatively and promptly.    

Let's just get the job done.  We need to get meaningful and enduring protections for the greater sage grouse in place now.  

And that means Colorado, and Governor Hickenlooper, need to come up with a strong conservation plan soon.  That is the message that business from Routt County sent to Denver last week, and like them I hope the governor took it to heart.  

 

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Feb. 17)

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Still hung over from celebrating the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington? 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…

► Consumer groups are worried that Colorado's Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) may not be reauthorized for the first time since its founding in 1984. The OCC was created to represent consumers in front of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) whenever rate hikes are sought by energy and telecommunications companies.

► Following on the heels of one of the least effective sessions of Congress in history, Republicans continue to struggle to get anything done on Capitol Hill. As the Los Angeles Times explains:

After six weeks in session and 139 roll call votes in a House and Senate that feature some of the largest Republican majorities in generations, one of the most telling statistics from the new Congress is this: President Obama's veto threats outnumber the bills Congress has been able to send him.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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An interview with Nancy Lofholm, the latest veteran reporter to leave The Denver Post

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Nancy Lofholm.

Nancy Lofholm.

Another in a string of highly regarded journalists to leave The Denver Post in the last few years, Nancy Lofholm walked away from the newspaper Feb. 6, after The Post closed its Western Slope bureau, which Lofholm directed.

Before coming to The Post 17 years ago, Lofholm worked for several Colorado newspapers, including the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the Montrose Daily Press. She's freelanced for, among other publications, the New York Times, USA Today, and the LA Times.

"At the risk of sounding like a news Neanderthal," Lofholm told me via email, "I will reveal that my life in journalism really began in 1968. I was the editor of my high school newspaper and was invited to ride through Nebraska on Bobby Kennedy's campaign train. It was a smoke-filled, highball-sloshed, bloodshot-eyed scene. I was utterly hooked. My life's mission became peeking behind curtains and describing for readers what I saw. "

Here are Lofholm's answers to questions I emailed her.

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