No Support of Keyser, not even from Republicans

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Never afraid to withhold his opinion when it comes to U.S. Senate candiate Jon Keyser, Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton) unleashed these Facebook posts this week:

Everett: “Sadly this is classic Keyser, saw this quite a few times in the year we served together in the legislature. Again, this guy is not ready for prime time…

A couple things here:
#1 – Again Keyser is not ready for prime time and his validity as a candidate will dog him for the rest of the campaign
#2 – Clearly the Secretary of State has a flawed review process; I may be working on legislation to address this next year
#3 – Go through the caucus and assembly process. Less expensive and you’ll KNOW if you’ve made the ballot.”

Everett was a supporter of Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), another GOP U.S. Senate candidate who failed to make the Republican GOP primary ballot.

But Everett’s attack highlights the absence of any GOP support for Keyser in the copious media coverage of his refusal to answer questions about forged signatures on his ballot-access petition.

What you do see are Republicans like Everett and Rep. Chris Holbert, who wrote on Facebook of Keyser:

Holbert: “Sweat, shuffle around nervously, evade the question, and blink a lot nervously. Nailed it!”

The GOP response is key, at least for now, because it’s Republicans who will determine whether Keyser faces Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

And the signs, beyond the attacks from Keyser’s expected GOP critics, aren’t looking good–as in there are literally no signs of GOP support for Keyser.

The Republican audience at yesterday’s debate at the Foothills Republican Club didn’t respond well to Keyser’s spin, as reported by The Denver Post’s John Frank:

The debate’s first four questions involved the petition issue, and Keyser refused to answer all of them.

“Here’s the important thing. I’m on the ballot, and I’m going to beat Michael Bennet,” Keyser said in a line he repeated five times in two minutes.

The response drew groans from the crowd and a shot from GOP rival Darryl Glenn who said the issue is important to the candidate’s integrity.

“If you are going to stand for the rule of law, if you are going to raise your hand and support the constitution, then you need to follow the law,” Glenn said to applause. “That’s the issue.”

So for now, it looks like no one is supporting Keyser, not even any of Keyser’s allies. That’s a key point that journalists should document in more detail as we move forward.

Steadman beer & wine reform shows value of legislative process

Elsewhere on this blog, our beloved Blue Cat expresses sympathy for me in the belief that the legislature’s passage of Sen. Pat Steadman’s SB 197 forestalls the far-reaching reform of our antiquated liquor laws I have advocated in numerous posts over the past few weeks.

In fact, my response to the passage of this reform is to flash a “V” — for victory, not for Voyageur.

The bill, after all, does begin to address the problem, albeit at a glacial pace, taking 20 years to fully phase in!  But remember that the cartel system that I abhor has been around for 80 years.   There is a special problem with such government-granted privileges.   They are windfalls — wholly unearned — to the original recipients.  But as time moves on and business are sold and resold, they become capitalized as a cost of doing business to the new owners.

Consider the New York taxicab medallions.  Their only purpose is to limit competition, ergo they are just a license to overcharge customers.  But their value rises over time and if you buy one now to enter the business, it costs more than a million dollars.

Say our own Mama Jama buys one from her Uncle Louie for $1 million.   He retires to Florida with an unearned fortune.   Now along comes Voyageur, the economic rationalist, who simply wants to lower prices and improve service by making medallions free.  Consumers rejoice, but our dear friend is now headed for the poorhouse,  because competitive rates can’t possibly recover the cost of her now-worthless medallion.

From what I read, Lyft and Uber are wreaking just such havoc on established taxi firms, without accepting any of the regulations taxicab drivers operate under, including fair and transparent pricing.

Unquestionably, many, perhaps most, of Colorado’s existing 1700 liquor licensees are too small and inefficient to survive in a competitive market.  Yes, they benefit from being in a cartel, however much that economically accurate term enraged some of the defenders of the status quo when I used it in my posts.  But the unearned  increment of profit provided by the ability of their licenses to shield them from the full pressure of free-market competition, in most cases, doesn’t buy them shiny new Porsches.  It just keeps them in business and maybe pays for an overhaul on that eight year-old Honda Accord they get by with.

In short, for most cartel members, their license is the difference between profit and loss.  It may even have helped pay the tuition payment for their daughter Suzie to attend CU Denver where she can — or could have a few years ago, anyway — hear me lecture about why economist Joseph Schumpater called the bankruptcy her parents face in a free market  part of the “creative destruction” of capitalism.

Yes, it’s indisputable that such destruction ultimately frees capital and labor for more efficient uses.   But if you’ve ever been through a bankruptcy — a real one, not a Trumpian defrauding of your investors —  you know it can inflict life-long trauma.

This fact was well understood by the Great Adam Smith, who wrote the “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”  a decade before his classic “The Wealth of Nations.”   Smith didn’t even use the term “economics.”  He was so aware of the social consequences of economic change that he used the term “political economy.”  And that means that fine old English gentleman was cool with using the political system to smooth out some of the rougher edges of of the free-market forces unleashed by capitalism.

Yes, this compromise delays a free market for 20 years.   But we get free-er markets in 2019 when some chains, like Soopers and Safeway and probably (ugh) Union-Buster Mart can start buying licenses from existing license owners.  The inefficient booze store katy-corner from Queen Soopers — as my gay friends jocularly call the market that anchors our diverse Capitol Hill neighborhood — might sell its license for, say $100,000.

The owners may be in their 60’s and just decide to retire, or maybe use the cash to remodel their building (they only sold the license, not their other assets) into a pet store like the one immediately west of Queen Soopers or open a law office specializing, as I once considered doing, in gay marriage and divorce.

(This is a coming field.  Gays and Lesbians now have  the right to marry but, sadly, some will run into the same problems so many opposite sex couples do and the heterosexual marriage dissolution template doesn’t always fit their needs.  In the event, a family disability forced me to abandon what I think could have been a successful field.)

Such successful transitions are what Pat Steadman, an old friend I have long admired, tried to midwife with his bill.  I will probably not live to see the 20-year phase-in completed.  But while Schumpater may grumble that an immediate reform would make us all richer “in the long run” I think my friend Pat’s approach would satisfy John Maynard Keynes, who wisely noted: “In the long run we are all dead.”

Of course, the supermarkets can still run their initiative. and push for immediate deregulation of the market.  If they do, I might yet vote for it.  But I doubt it.

Initiatives are an old populist idea designed to let the people bypass legislatures dominated by special interests.  In this case — and many others — we see a wealthy special interest funding an initiative to bypass a legislature that paid perhaps too much attention to those portions of the public that would lose in the reform.  But while the  legislature may have given too much solace to the many now economically obsolete liquor stores, the initiative as drafted gives them none at all.

Initiatives are best used as a two-by-four to get the legislature to act — and use its ability to craft worthwhile, albeit imperfect, compromises among competing interests.  If after being banged on the head by that two-by-four, the politicians still ignore  the public will — as they did with marijuana reform — then by all means bypass them and reform our corrupt and inhumane  “war on (people who use) drugs.”

But in the case of sales of beer and wine in grocery stores, the legislature did act — and there will be a chance in future sessions to further refine the reform if that proves necessary.  The consuming public has won a significant victory, albeit one whose benefits will be gradually phased in over two decades.

In politics, my great hero is Abraham Lincoln.   He was often called a moderate.  In fact, he was radical in his goals, especially his undying hatred for slavery.   But he was moderate in his means, seeking where possible to dull the pain of the radical changes he was seeking and working for a society characterized by malice toward none and charity toward all — even the former slave owners.

Obviously, the Cause Lincoln championed was far greater than that of consumer choice and convenience in the buying of wine and beer.  But in all things — including  the great passions that now threaten to rip the social fabric of America and turn us into a land chacterized by mass deportation, trampling on the rights of social and racial minorities, and aching economic inequality — we can benefit by emulating the patience and vision of the Great Emancipator.


Will Jon Keyser Finally Re-Appear at GOP Debates Today?

Have you seen this candidate?

Have you seen this candidate?

UPDATE: KDVR is live-streaming this morning’s GOP Senate debate. Guess who showed up?


Denver7 and the Denver Post both had new stories Wednesday on the ongoing ballot fraud scandal involving the Senate campaign of Republican Jon Keyser, and we don’t expect the coverage of this continually-breaking news to stop anytime soon.

Keyser has been silent and invisible since this story started breaking last week, and reporters are getting a little bit irritated at his disappearing act, as you can see from some of the Tweets below. Keyser’s campaign has clearly decided to go radio silent as long as possible, but that approach will be tested today.

The five candidates running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination are scheduled to participate in two different debates today. The first debate, sponsored by the Foothills Republicans, takes place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Pinehurst Country Club in Southwest Denver. The second debate is tonight in Centennial (7pm at the Whipplewood CPAs Conference Center) hosted by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. Keyser’s campaign confirmed his participation in both debates…but that was before the fraud story exploded.

If Keyser is a no-show at today’s debates out of concern that he will be cornered by reporters seeking his side of the story, you can go ahead and drop that last shovel of dirt on his campaign. You can’t declare yourself ready to be a U.S. Senator if you can’t even stand up for your own campaign problems.

Keyser said he’d “double- and triple-checked” his petition signatures and “everything”

(Um, oops! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

liarliarkeyserWith Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser still not talking to reporters about multiple forged signatures on his ballot-access petitions, I had no choice but to look back at previous statements Keyser made about the signature-gathering process. And reporters should be interested in what I found.

Recall that he claimed, on conservative talk radio May 2, to have “double- and triple-checked our petition signatures.”  Listen below.

In fact, in one interview on KOA 850-AM, he twice said he the phrase “double- and triple-checked,” indicating he’d put some thought into it. He said his campaign checked “everything” related to the petition process, which you’d think would include forgeries and signature gatherers with criminal histories of forgery.

This leads to the question for Keyser, if he ever talks to reporters about this: How could he possibly have double- and triple- checked his signatures if at least 10, according to 7News, are forgeries?

Why did Keyser say he double- and triple-checked the signature, as well as the entire “petition process and everything?” Did someone mislead him? Was he making this up? Why didn’t he verify what he was saying before he said it?

Keyser told KOA’s Mandy Connell on May 2:

Keyser: “It was an interesting week. It wasn’t too dramatic for us. We had double- and triple-checked our petition process and everything. And actually, I’m a reservist still in the United States Air Force, and I was gone on reserve duty. And I knew that we had double- and triple-checked our petition signatures. But we had a secretary of state that said we had a problem. We were a few signatures short in one of the congressional districts. But we knew we were okay. We were very confident about that. It took a couple days, but I’m on the ballot now and ready to beat Michael Bennet.” [needless to say, BigMedia emphasis]


The EPA Acts on Climate – Issues Historic Methane Rule

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Animated GIF shows the global temperature “spiraling upward” since the advent of the Industrial Age.

Today the Environmental Protection Agency is issuing its long-anticipated methane rules to crack down on oil and gas activity leaking copious amounts of this super-potent greenhouse gas.

U.S. News & World Report’s article notes that this is an historic accomplishment in the Obama administration’s fight to address the looming climate catastrophe.

The first federal rules specifically limiting methane emissions from oil and natural gas sites are expected to be finalized Thursday by the Obama administration.

The regulations would require oil and gas companies to improve how they detect and plug leaks at new and modified wells, pipelines, compressor stations and other industrial sites.

The subscription-based news service ClimateWire has a more detailed story up today:

The Obama administration today is finalizing a suite of regulations targeting emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds from new oil and gas industry operations, according to multiple sources.

U.S. EPA’s final rules are a key part of the Obama administration’s goal of lowering methane emissions from the oil and gas industry between 40 and 45 percent by 2025 compared with 2012 levels. The rules also represent the first time that EPA has directly regulated methane from a source.

Environmentalists believe that reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is a key part of addressing climate change.

“The Obama administration’s new national standard to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities is an important step to protect our climate and the health of nearby communities,” said environmental watchdog Earthworks’ policy director, Lauren Pagel, in a statement last night.

Methane, according to EPA, is a greenhouse gas that’s more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide. EPA’s recent inventory of greenhouse gases found that the oil and gas sector was the No. 1 source of methane emissions in the United States in 2014.

The oil and gas industry, never having ever seen a regulation of which it approves – despite how quickly its PR teams embrace them after they are implemented as indication how much it truly cares about not cooking the planet, or poisoning water supplies, or upsetting neighbors with noise, fumes, fugitive dust, flaring and spills—opposes the new rules.

Methane leakage from oil and gas fields is a major source of this pollutant, a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and human-caused climate change.

Indeed, in Colorado we already have methane capture rules in place, which industry has admitted they can comply with without much cost or trouble; but those too were fought by trade associations that, just a few short years ago, predicted mass calamity should oil and gas drillers be required to clean up their act.

Methane, as the articles note above, is a major contributor to the reality of human-driven climate change now threatening all aspects of our planet’s systems—from the spread of deadly disease, to declining ocean health, to the threat of massive wildfire in drying forests especially across the northern tier, even to the unravelling of the very Web of Life.

2015 was the hottest year on record. 2016 is on pace to break it.

The Obama administration has pledged to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas, both with this rule making and with another underway in the Interior Department to prevent methane leakage from energy development on public lands.

It has also put in place the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal effort to limit carbon pollution from power plants, with which Colorado is moving forward despite a temporary stay on the federal implementation of the plan.  That impasse led to one of several petulant parlays by Colorado Senate Republicans – which thankfully failed. The United States also helped lead the effort to complete the Paris Accords, an international agreement to limit temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

As we head into the political season it is not only our planetary home heating up. The rhetoric will also be topping the charts. Elections matter.

Like the GOP foes he vanquished in becoming the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump denies the established science supporting the reality of human-driven climate change.

And while there may be many accurate charges to level that the Obama administration is taking one step back for each step-and-a-half it takes forward, that it waited so late to get started on these important rule-makings, that these efforts are but half-measures when we need to be doubling down on ending our fossil fuel addiction if we are serious about addressing this global crisis.

Make no mistake that the consequences of our selections this fall matter in a real and tangible way. One major party alone – almost in all the world – still denies the science that shows us the nature and veracity of this threat.

If you care about your future, and that of those who are coming up into it, weigh your vote carefully. If you support climate action, then support these rule-makings even if you also demand that the time to Act on Climate is past due, and that these are but tepid steps toward a sustainable world. They are steps forward all the same, and we cannot afford to take even one step back at this critical moment.

Best Reporting on the the State Legislature in 2016

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here’s my list of the best reporting on the state legislature this session, from a progressive perspective. The press corps is threatened and depleted but continues to crank out quality journalism. Let’s hope we can say that next year.

o In a detailed analysis of votes on numerous issues, The Denver Post’s John Frank illuminated beautifully that the split among Republicans in our state senate reflects divisions in the Republican Party nationally. His list of eight hard-right state senators, later dubbed the “Hateful Eight” by liberals, includes two in possible swing districts: Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs and Laura Woods of Westminster.

o The Denver Post’s John Frank broke a story exposing the tactics of Americans for Prosperity in pressuring state lawmakers to sign a pledge not to “undermine the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by creating a special exemption for the Hospital Provider Fee.” The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins filled out the picture of AFP with an illuminating piece about the organization’s field work—as well as another story featuring the angry response of Republican Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) to AFP’s apparent pressure on Crowder. The pressure from AFP appeared to have ratcheted up after Hutchins had matter-of-factly reported Crowder’s views in support of turning the provider fee into an enterprise.

o The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins also banged out an excellent explainer of the hospital provider fee (and related issues), just as the legislative session was cranking up and few people understood what the fee was and what was going on.

o Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland offers a daily drumbeat of short interviews that often prove illuminating or provide a springboard more in-depth analysis (e.g., Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ position on election modernization or Sen. Larry Crowder’s stance on Syrian refugees).

o The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus asked why J. Paul Brown (R-Ignacio) had voted last year for a program offering contraception to low-income women and teens, but this year voted against it.  It’s basic journalism, of course, but often forgotten in onslaught of other news.

o The Colorado Independent’s Marrianne Goodland provided in-depth coverage on, among other legislation, a predatory-lending bill that was defeated by state house Democrats.

o Fox 31 Denver’s Amanda Zitzman put a human face on a bill aimed at informing citizens about the cost of free-standing emergency rooms versus urgent care.

o The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch is trying to do something different at the newspaper with his “Joey ‘Splains” series. He’s on the right track.

o On the legislative campaign trail, we owe thanks to the reporters who covered the caucuses and county assemblies, allowing us not to rely solely on reports by party activists. The Colorado Statesman’s coverage, especially Ernest Luning’s, on social media and in articles stands out.

o The Boulder Weekly’s Caitlin Rockett found holes in the assertion that a bill targeting tax havens was bad for small business.

o The Colorado Statesman’s Hot Sheet is a welcome infusion of legislative news. (In the advocacy world, ProgressNow Colorado’s Daily News Digest is a userful compilation of political news coverage.)

o The Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland was the only journalist to write about the crazy irony of Rep. Kevin Priola missing a vote on a parental-leave bill, which he opposed, because he had to take his kid to the doctor.

Statement by Your Choice Colorado Campaign Mgr Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa on Failure at the Colorado Legislature



“The session has ended and the Legislature has failed Coloradans yet again. They had a chance to make real changes to benefit Colorado consumers and give them the choices they want and deserve: real beer AND wine in grocery stores. But instead of fixing an antiquated law, the Legislature failed Colorado consumers, jamming together a last minute bill that masquerades as a compromise.

The reality: this bill only protects a handful of big liquor stores and doesn’t guarantee Coloradans a better way to buy both beer and wine; it only promises them full-strength beer in 2019. To sell wine, the bill requires a lengthy, multi-year permitting process that automatically excludes many grocery stores from the start.  To top it off, liquor store lobbyists included a provision that attempts to preempt your vote to buy beer and wine at grocery stores near you. That’s not a compromise; it’s a ruse and voters won’t fall for it.

Over the past decade, the legislative process has failed voters on this issue, delivering victory after victory to liquor store lobbyists rather than listening to what consumers want. Voters are ready for a change as is evident in YCC collecting nearly 60,000 petition signatures in a little over two weeks. Your Choice Colorado will continue to give voters the ability to make their voices heard amidst this broken system—whether through a legal challenge to this sloppy bill or as planned, taking it to the ballot in 2016.”


42 states sell Colorado beer and wine. Why can't Colorado?

Keyser’s promise to “always” answer questions is out the window

(That was before the forgeries – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jon Keyser's "two ballots."

Jon Keyser’s “two ballots.”

Reporters should note that earlier this month, former Rep. Jon Keyser said what some politicians will say, and promised to always answer questions.

The context of May 2 discussion on KOA 850-AM was social issues, but you wouldn’t expect Keyser to have one standard about answering questions on social issues and another standard for other topics, like possible illegal campaign activities.

Keyser’s promise with respect to answering questions was clear (Listen below.):

Keyser: These are all issues that we have to talk about, if it’s a social issue. If it’s a question, I always answer the question. [BigMedia emphasis]

But now, Keyser’s campaign is refusing to answer questions from 7News reporter Marshall Zelinger about signatures that were apparently forged on Keyser’s petition to put his name on the June 28 GOP primary ballot.

Zelinger reported: We reached out to the Keyser campaign with a phone call and text to the spokesman, but as of Tuesday night at 11:45 p.m., he had not returned our call, text or tweets.

It’s not as if Zelinger’s questions are out-of-bounds or anything. He’s found 10 signatures that are clearly forged from people who leave in Congressional District One, where Keyser’s campaign needed to gather 1,500 signatures to make the ballot. He got 1,520 signatures. If you subtract the 10 forged signatures, Keyser is down to 1,510, and all of his signatures from CD 1 haven’t been analyzed yet.

Bottom line, reporters should point out that Keyser has promised in the past to always answer questions. In the wake of this story, he’s not doing so.


Jon Keyser’s U.S. Senate Campaign is Basically Finished

liarliarkeyserIf you haven’t been following one of the biggest political stories in recent Colorado history, click here to get caught up. We’re talking, of course, about allegations of ballot fraud and forgery connected to the Jon Keyser for Senate campaign revealed in an an absolutely devastating series of reports from Marshall Zelinger of Denver7.

There are plenty of questions swirling around Keyser today, but here’s the important one: Whether or not his name remains on the GOP Primary ballot for U.S. Senate, does Jon Keyser have any chance at winning this election?

Here’s the real answer: Nope. Jon Keyser’s campaign for U.S. Senate is essentially finished.

There are 26 days until ballots start going out in the mail to Primary voters, and the only thing an average voter would know about Keyser from the last month of media coverage is that he has been on and off the ballot and faces serious accusations of fraud and forgery. Keyser’s fundraising in the first quarter of 2016 was awful, and unless he somehow received a major infusion of cash, it is likely that the campaign is paying bills on a check-by-check basis.

On top of all that, Keyser’s campaign has spent most of the last month making legal arguments about ballot access instead of talking to voters. Republican opponents Darryl Glenn and Jack Graham have spent the last month hitting the stump and raising money, and even Robert Blaha now has a big head start on Keyser entering the final stretch of the campaign.

We’re sure you have more questions, and so do we. Below, we also provide some answers:



Elbert Country Commissioner: “If I catch one of the sick bastards following my granddaughter into the bathroom, I will be in jail.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a Facebook post last month, Elbert County (Colorado) Commissioner Robert Rowland wrote that he would end up “in jail” if he saw a transgender person enter a bathroom that was also being used by his granddaughter.

Rowland was commenting on an article, posted April 14 on Facebook, which quoted former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz as saying, “Men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls.”

In the comment section, Rowland wrote,  “If I catch one of the sick bastards following my granddaughter into the bathroom, I will be in jail.”

Rowland, whose Elbert County district is southeast of Denver, said Tuesday his Facebook comment was not a threat of violence.

“I’m a Christian man,” Rowland said. “I’m not a violent man. I would certainly do one of two things. I would retrieve my granddaughter quickly or ask the person to refrain until she’s finished.”

With respect to going to jail, Rowland said, “Maybe somebody would get angry if I tried to delay them going in, while my granddaughter had a chance to get out. But that’s about it.”

“I’m an ex-cop,” Rowland, a Republican, said. “I’ve put enough people in jail. I don’t want to be on the other side.”

“It is an emotional issue for everybody,” he said.


State Employees Honored on Public Service Recognition Week

The first week of May is Public Service Recognition Week and here at Colorado WINS there’s no shortage of members we’re proud of.

Read a few profiles of the dedicated public servants who work hard each day to make Colorado the best state in the nation. They devote their lives to helping others, whether it’s through ensuring that former foster care youth have a home or that mentally ill patients get the right treatment. Each one of them performs a vital function as public employees.


Ricardo Matthias, Youth Engagement Specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Welfare


Ricardo Matthias, Youth Engagement Specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Welfare











Working with young people has been Ricardo’s passion and calling since he graduated from college with a degree in psychology. He’s been working as a public servant for the past 22 years, helping young men and women with little family support to make the best of their lives.

“It’s important to make sure that when people are thinking about policies that impact young people they don’t forget about the young persons they are trying to help,” he said. “That’s why we need to have a young person sitting at that table who can say, ‘From my experience of going through foster care, this is what I think and this is what we need.’”

Read more here.


Jessica Flermoen, Licensed Psychologist, Centennial Correctional Facility

Jessica Flermoen, Licensed Psychologist, Centennial Correctional Facility

Jessica Flermoen, Licensed Psychologist, Centennial Correctional Facility

Jessica is a licensed psychologist and has worked for the state for nearly 4 years at the Centennial Correctional Facility. She offers individual and group therapy to the male offender population that suffer from severe mental illness or character pathology.

“I’ve wanted to be a psychologist since I was really young and I chose to work in corrections primarily to give voice to the people who don’t have one,” Jessica said.

As a public servant, Jessica goes above and beyond what her job description calls for. She works long hours, manages an intense caseload and does extra research into programs that deal with self-injury and can help offenders. She puts extra care in making sure her clients transition from incarceration into the community by helping them ensure that care is appropriate and maintained during that transition.

Read more here.


Ron Price, Correctional Officer, Limon Correctional Facility

Ron Price, Correctional Officer, Limon Correctional Facility

Ron Price, Correctional Officer, Limon Correctional Facility

Law enforcement has always been part of Ron’s life, but it wasn’t until he began to work as a Corrections Officer that he finally found a career, not just a job. He’s worked at Limon Correctional Facility for just over 2 years.

“My job is not easy,” Ron said. “Some days are amazing but some days are just non-stop go, go, go. You have to deal with all kinds of stuff, but facing it head on is part of the job. You have no idea what your day is until you walk through the door. You always hope that it’s going to be a good day, but you never really know until you get there.”

Read more here.


Miguel Musacchia, Registered Nurse, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan

Miguel Musacchia, Registered Nurse, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan

Miguel Musacchia, Registered Nurse, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan

Miguel has had a few careers in his life, including time as a Marine and as a chef in New Orleans. But public service was his calling and it was part of the reason he decided to become a registered nurse.

For the past three years he’s been a nurse, working with mentally ill patients at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan.

“At Ft. Logan we work with a challenging clientele,” Miguel said. “You can easily just write our patients off, clock in and out just to get paid, but for me this kind of job is more than just a job. It’s something you really have to believe in.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 10)

Get More SmarterToday is the final full day of the 2016 Colorado legislative session. 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).


► With the Colorado legislative session nearing its end (Wednesday is scheduled to be the final official day), lobbyists and lawmakers alike are scrambling to get some key bills completed while end-of-session wrap-ups are starting to pop up. Legislation that would move Colorado to a Presidential Primary system, abandoning the caucus process, is still alive but almost out of time; the same is true of a compromise measure to allow grocery stores to sell full-strength alcoholic beverages. Rural school districts are also making a last-gasp effort to fight budget cuts.

The biggest outstanding question for the legislature — the “Hospital Provider Fee” (HPF) issue — appears likely to fizzle as Senate President Bill Cadman tries to run out the clock on the 2016 session instead. As John Frank of the Denver Post reports via Twitter:

To keep the issue alive, the legislation must make it through two Senate committees and pass the floor on second reading before midnight tonight.


► State Senator Tim Neville just oozes class. Well, maybe not class, but he’s oozing something.


 President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, Japan later this month. Obama will deliver a speech on May 27th about nonproliferation of nuclear weapons at the site of the world’s first atomic bombing.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Coincidence or collusion or what?

In the Sunday Daily Sentinel, dated May 8, 2016, Christian Reece, Executive Director of Club 20, was published as a guest editorial. The title was “Supreme Court ruling a victory for property rights, jobs.”
Today I found an “opinion” editorial by Kelly Brough, President and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, published in the “Denver Post Opinion” area on May 6, 2016, titled “Yes, Supreme Court Ruled correctly on local fracking bans.” Subtitled “Private Property rights matter in the state of Colorado.”

These two “independent” editorials, though do not follow each other word for word, they are so similar in their content that it boggles the mind that these two women aren’t telepathically connected somehow. I maybe wrong, and I have no way of really testing my theory, but this appears to me to be a concerted effort to disseminate like messages to give the Colorado Supreme Court kudos? on a ruling that is flawed to its very core. In neither of these “editorials” was the “private property rights” of the surface owner taken into consideration, nor was there any discussion by the Colorado Supreme Court (CSC) in regards to surface private property.

Essentially dismissing surface rights by the CSC, the process of the “split estate” has been the most ludicrously entangled piece of ruling ever perpetrated on “surface” private property owners. Common sense alone would have predicted such an idea that forces access to hidden below-ground resources is NOT COMPATIBLE with surface living organism including humans.

The CSC ruled against the right of citizens to pursue their happiness by planning for and deciding the path of their lives and business priorities by voting in a democratically held vote. The communities determined by their vote, that their communities should support their priorities for a “healthy” and vigorous community set to move on into the future with a population not mired in respiratory illnesses, cancers, and a dead environment. For where the oil and gas companies goes to frack, there too goes all else precious to humanity. Just look to Alberta tar sands…North America’s first rout of Environmental Refugees. Picture that for the future of your kids and grandchildren.

Does embattled GOP candidate Frazier regret not going through assembly, like Darryl Glenn?

(Down goes Frazier – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ryan Frazier.

Ryan Frazier.

Denver talk-radio host Craig Silverman challenged GOP U.S. Senate canidate Ryan Frazier’s assertion May 6 that the petition path to the primary ballot is a grassroots route, and Silverman asked, after Frazier was off air, whether donations to Frazier’s campaign would “go directly to Scott Gessler and his legal fees.”

The exchange started with Frazier, who’s waiting for the Colorado Supreme Court to decide whether he’ll qualify for the primary ballot, telling Silverman that the “system is broken and the process [of ballot access] is stuck in the last century.”

Silverman responded by asking if Frazier regretted not going “through the assembly process like Darryl Glenn.”

Frazier (at 1:45): No!  Look, we got over 18,000 people to sign our petitions. You can’t tell me that’s not a grassroots approach.  That’s why we chose to go the petition route, is that we felt it was a grassroots approach to getting out to talk to tenss of thousands of voters.  We’re very, very much committed to the process we took.  But quite frankly, guys, sometimes you don’t realize how flawed the system is until you’re in the middle of it.  And that’s what we’re realizing now.  But here’s what we know –nand it’s not in question, Craig – is that the voters – these are valid Republican voters.  There’s no question about that.  And we believe that they should be counted.  So that’s what we’re fighting for.  And we believe that – or at least, we hope – that a logic will prevail in this case.

Silverman responded by saying, “I don’t understand how that’s grassroots, to pay over $100,000 to get some stranger to hold the petition outside the various courthouses where I go.  ’ve seen the petitioners. It doesn’t feel like I’m meeting Ryan Frazier or really participating on a grassroots level, if I decided to sign that.”

Frazier said he and his team are out there, too, and it’s a grassroots process.

At the end of the show, after Frazier solicited donations from listeners and then departed, Silverman wondered out loud whether Frazier’s donations would go directly to the pocket of Frazier’s lawyer, Scott Gessler, who’s representing Frazier’s cause in the courts.

Frazier (6:36):  I just want to encourage your listeners to go to We could use every donation, every contribution some can make — no matter how small – to help us as we fight to fix this broken system….

Silverman: Does that money go directly to Scott Gessler and his legal fees?

Dan Caplis: You know, it’s the nature of the business.

Silverman: I don’t begrudge it! I like lawyers to get paid

Caplis: Yeah. No, the nature. Of. The. Business.

El Paso Country Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former CSU athletic director Jack Graham easily made the Republican primary ballot, while businessman Robert Blaha and former State Rep. Jon Keyser both required a judge to add them to the ballot.

Republican’s attack on anti-vaxxer Neville richochets into anti-vaxxer Woods

(Oops – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

GOP operative Tyler Sandberg took a Twitter shot at State Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton) last month, just after Neville lost his bid to take on Michael Bennet in this fall’s Colorado Senate race.

Responding to an article quoting Neville as graciously saying “the people” had spoken, Sandberg snapped, “And the people support vaccinations.”

Sandberg is correct. Neville supported an unpopular bill in the state legislature last year (SB15-077) that would have made it even easier for parents to opt-out of getting their kids vaccinated in Colorado. Progressives have called Neville and others “anti-vaxxers” for supporting the efforts last year (and opposing sensible vaccination reporting this year) given that Colorado has some of the most lax vaccination policies in the country.

The funny part is, Neville is far from alone in the anti-vaxxer crusade. He’s joined by, among others, Republican State Sen. Laura Woods, whose Westminster race in November will likely determine whether Republicans retain control of the state senate and thus stop the Democrats, who have the governor’s office and state house, from taking control of state government.

So Sandberg’s shot at Neville inadvertently ricocheted into Woods. Or was the salvo intentional?

You don’t often see a muckety-muck flack like Sandberg, who’s been a mouthpiece for Rep. Mike Coffman, throwing shade at a candidate who’s got control of state government riding on her shoulders. And such an attack should have been spotlighted by reporters.