GOP activist claims to have letter listing legal issues facing the state Republican Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Here is the letter referenced below, without any deletions, as provided via the Secretary of State’s Office. It’s from Richard Westfall, not Ryan Call, as alleged below. A couple items of note are 1) a matter under investigation by the Federal Election Commission and 2) a matter involving the notorious Jaxine Bubis, who appears to have turned against the state party.

——–

Kathryn Porter, who wrote a lengthy Politichicks post yesterday illuminating Republican efforts to protect GOP Chair Steve House, appeared on a Denver radio station this morning claiming that the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is refusing to release a letter allegedly outlining ten legal issues possibly faced by state party.

Porter told Boyles that the letter was sent to Steve House from Ryan Call, whose law firm, Hale Westfall, had apparently been representing the state Republican Party. When House defeated Call, Call allegedly sent the letter to House, informing him that Hale Westfall would no longer be representing the state party, according to Porter.

For some strange reason, the letter was sent to the Secretary of State’s office, and it was heavily redacted and released, under CORA, to Porter, as she explained it to Boyles below.

Among other things, Porter questions the grounds on which the SOS redacts the alleged letter from Call to House.

Porter (@10:15): I did a CORA with the Secretary of State’s office on Steve House, regarding election issues, and a letter came back. It was a letter from Ryan Call to the Secretary of State’s office. And you know, Ryan Call is our former state chair. It was a letter to Steve, not the Secretary of State, saying that we inform you that we are immediately no longer representing you, basically, is what it says. So it’s a very interesting letter. And, of course, all the contents were redacted. And there were 10 legal issues that Hale Westfall listed that they were representing the state party in or that they were aware of. So I found that very interesting. And what I found even more interesting is that the Secretary of State’s office refuses to give me the unredacted version…We have basically the first two sentences and the closing sentence. And the number of how many things they redacted.

Boyles: They treat this like Watergate or something. Like an atomic secret.

Porter: It raises so many more questions. It makes me wonder, is the Secretary of State hiding something? Or covering something up for the Colorado Republican Party? They claim deliberative process and they claim attorney-client privilege. And we know Hale Westfall was not sending this letter to the Secretary of State’s office. There is no attorney-client privilege between Hale Westfall and the Secretary of State. So the only leg they have to stand on is deliberative process. And in order to not give me that information, they need to show me that irreparable harm would occur if they share that information with me. Is there some type of legal issue involving the Secretary of State’s office and the Colorado Republican Party? This opens up a whole new can of worms, a whole new set of questions.

I have yet to see a copy of this alleged letter, so we need to take this odd allegation with some serious grains of salt. But I’ll stay on this. Maybe The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels can help us out, when she starts over there.

Perry Haney is Everywhere, and Nowhere

Perry Haney

Perry Haney

Late last week, a Pols commenter wrote a post titled, “Who’s Perry Haney, Again?” The question is particular valid because you’d have to be a super-seasoned Colorado politico to recognize the name “Perry Haney.”

But to truly understand Perry Haney, you need to ask a second question: Where is Perry Haney?

Before we get to the “WHERE,” let’s tackle the “WHO.” Perry Haney is a wealthy chiropractor/doctor who earned some media recognition last week when he decided to run for Congress as a Democrat in CD-6, joining state Senator Morgan Carroll on the Democratic ballot. The real reason he got any attention at all is because Haney put his marker down with a $1 million loan to his campaign. The seven-figure campaign loan certainly raised eyebrows in Colorado and Washington D.C.; for those familiar with Haney, the news generated more eye-rolling than anything else.

Why would anyone roll their eyes at a candidate announcing a run for office with a $1 million loan? That question, dear readers, leads us back to “WHERE.” Here’s an excerpt from a Colorado Pols post in July 2011 (almost four years to the day, in fact) titled, “And That’s Why I’m Running for Congress…Somewhere in Colorado“:

One of the quirks that come in a redistricting year is that the Federal Election Commission is a bit lax on requiring candidates seeking a Congressional office to actually state which office they plan to run for. Take, for example, the case of Democrat Perry Haney, a wealthy Greenwood Village chiropractor who wants to run for Congress…somewhere.

Haney has been meeting with Democrats in Colorado and in Washington D.C., telling them that he plans to run for Congress, but he won’t say where he plans to kickoff his campaign. Is it against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (and Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi) in CD-6? Is it to take on Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in CD-3, where Democrat Sal Pace has been running full-steam ahead for months?

Haney is not shy about the fact that he would like to be elected to Congress, no matter the district. We’re talking about a guy who once explored running for Congress in CD-3 and CD-6 at essentially the same time. In 2012, Haney was briefly an official candidate in CD-6 — he also loaned his campaign several hundred thousand dollars — before he pulled out of the race under a campaign finance challenge from Republicans.

Unlike election laws for offices such as State House and State Senate, candidates for the U.S. House don’t actually need to live within the boundaries of their targeted district — or even maintain an address in-district — which would allow Haney to run for any Colorado Congressional seat without getting off the couch (in 2002, Republican Bob Beauprez was elected in the newly-formed CD-7, which stretched from Jefferson County to northern Adams County, despite the fact that he never moved out of his home in Louisville).

Unlike Beauprez, Haney wants to keep up appearances, so he has always made sure to adjust his voter registration to reflect his current Congressional interest (see chart below).

So, is Perry Haney a serious candidate for Congress in CD-6? As serious as someone could be when they change their voter registration every few years. Perhaps he should wait to run for Secretary of State since he is so familiar with the voter registration process. 

Voter registration history for Perry Haney

Voter registration history for Perry Haney

 

 

 

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 21)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Do not be alarmed — it’s supposed to look like that. Let’s 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 Coffmangate Scandal rages on as infighting in the State Republican Party continues to escalate. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has an odd media strategy, which includes ignoring the Washington Post but giving an exclusive interview to the right-wing Politichicks blog.

► Vice President Joe Biden is in Denver today to give a speech about college education and the Obama Administration’s overall economic policy.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 20)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Depending on where you stand on conspiracy theories, today is the anniversary of the day that the U.S. government released footage from the first pretend moon landing in human history. Let’s 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…

► There’s a lot of buzz today about State Sen. Morgan Carroll (R-Aurora) after her appearance on the 9News show “Balance of Power” on Sunday, where she provided a preview of her campaign for Congress in CD-6 against incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.

Today is inauguration day in Denver. Mayor Michael Hancock will be sworn-in for a second term, and many new city council members will also mark the official beginning to their first term in office.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

(more…)

Cynthia Coffman Has Yet to Air All of Her Grievances about Steve House?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

harveyhocDuring her June 26 testimony before a Republican committee, which was investigating numerous allegations against Colorado’s GOP chair, State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was unable to present “significant facts” because of time restrictions.

That’s the allegation in a post today on the conservative Politichicks blog. In the post, Kathryn Porter claims to have had an exclusive interview with Coffman, during which the Attorney General reportedly said she was unable to lay out all her concerns about Steve House, the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party. Porter reported:

“I galloped through my prepared chronology of events but was not able to finish in five minutes. I felt I had to leave out significant facts,” Coffman said.

But Porter, who is a Republican activist and blogger, did not disclose the facts that Coffman omitted or whether the facts might have swayed the Republican executive committee, which ended up supporting House by a 22-1 vote, to denounce the state chair.

“Coffman broke her silence and exposed a stunning disregard for decorum in its treatment of both elected officials and party activists by the executive committee,” wrote Porter.

Porter’s post, titled “Behind Closed Doors in the CO GOP: From Bedrooms to Boardrooms,” outlined the chaotic atmosphere at the June 26 meeting, which was conducted under adverse conditions and unclear guidelines.

As reported previously, former Congressman Tom Tancredo and former Pueblo GOP Chair Becky Mizel were allegedly prevented from distributing a lengthy list of grievances against House, but it’s not clear who wrote Tancredo’s document.

And it’s also not known whether all of Coffman’s “significant facts” were included on the document.

Who’s Perry Haney, Again?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Perry Haney, running again to be a “career politician”.

So who is this Perry Haney guy who’s going to challenge Morgan Carroll for the CD6 Democratic nomination?

1. A Chiropractor, who has had his medical license restricted in two different states (IA and CO) because of unnecessary massage therapy, and overcharging patients. Pols, 12/13/1, quoting from the IA board findings.

2. A “moderate Democrat” who has donated $16,000,mostly to Democratic legislators or committees since 2009. He contributed to Scott McInnnis’ run for Governor in ’09. TRACER, contribution search.

3. Someone with no facebook presence at all, as Nancy Cronk noted in the #1 post. He seems to get around to Democratic fundraisers, and is mentioned by others, but has no social media presence of his own. This always raises a red flag for me; I interpret it as the track of someone who doesn’t want to be bound by past history. Facebook search

4. A perennial candidate for CD6,  Perry ran in 2012, and loaned himself $370,000 to do so. Pols, 2/2012 article

5. Haney flirted with the idea of running in CD3 in 2012. He ended up running, then dropping out of the running for CD6 , after he received a campaign finance complaint from Call’s CRCC . Haney had  raised substantial monies without committing himself as a candidate. Pols, Legal briefs on file with FEC.

6. A guy with good credit, apparently, as he took out a $1 million loan to self-finance the CD6 campaign. FEC page for Perry Haney. Morgan Carroll has no finances on file with the FEC as of July 17, 2015.

7. A candidate that Colorado Republicans love to write about (because otherwise, you see, they would have to write about Morgan Carroll). Colorado Peak Politics.

8. A candidate with no identifiable issues or positions, except that he’s “tired of career politicians in Washington”, and “thinks CD6 deserves better”. I agree.  To start with, we need a real Democrat, not just a Republican Lite contender like Perry Haney.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 17)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Hey, it beats Getting More Dumber. Let’s 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 Aurora Theater Shooting trial lasted 49 days. The jury deliberated for less than 13 hours before returning with a “GUILTY” verdict on all charges (and there were a lot of charges — 165 in total). Next week, jurors return to the courtroom for the sentencing phase of the trial, as the Aurora Sentinel and the Associated Press report:

The verdict came after 2 1/2 years of legal skirmishing between prosecutors and Holmes’ public defenders and 11 weeks of grueling testimony. The upcoming sentencing phase could easily take another month.

“I’m glad we’re at this point, but at the same time, we have a long way to go,” said Marcus Weaver, who was injured in the attack and whose friend Rebecca Wingo was killed.

Experts say the sentencing phase could prove even more emotionally wrenching as survivors describe the impact of the shooting on their daily lives. It will be a harder decision for jurors, who will have fewer instructions to guide them, said defense attorney Karen Steinhauser, who is not involved in the Holmes case. That jurors swiftly rejected Holmes’ insanity defense doesn’t mean they’ll come to a speedy conclusion about his punishment.

All 12 jurors must agree on the death penalty for James Holmes; if there is even one dissenting juror, Holmes will instead be sentenced to life in prison.

► The Coffmangate Scandal is making waves nationally after a front-page feature story in the Washington Post on Thursday. Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman turned in his worst fundraising quarter in nearly four years in reports filed on July 15.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

(more…)

After briefly wrapping himself in the Planned Parenthood logo, Coffman back to hating the organization

(Naturally – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman came out swinging against Planned Parenthood yesterday, telling KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, “It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood.”

Then why did Coffman feature a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad just last year, Caplis should have asked Coffman. Coffman’s 2014 ad stated that Coffman “was praised for protecting women from violence” and showed the Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo on the screen.

Judging from yesterday’s radio interview, Coffman has a list of longstanding grievances against Planned Parenthood, and Caplis would have done his listeners a favor by asking Coffman what they are. What was Coffman thinking of when he said Planned Parenthood has done “one thing after another?”

When Coffman’s ad ran last year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains responded by pointing out that Coffman “voted many times to de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide many important health services to women including birth control, family planning services, and lifesaving cancer screenings.”

In 2011, Coffman voted against Planned Parenthood funding, as part of a House resolution to the federal budget billHR 36, which prohibited  making funds available  “for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.”

For most of his political career, Coffman maintained his ardent opposition to abortion,even in the cases of rape and incest, as well as his support for personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010, which would have outlawed all abortion and some forms of birth control.

However, in 2013, Coffman flipped, and his office stated that the Congressman supported giving rape victims the option of having an abortion. Coffman has never explained what motivated this change, leaving everyone to conclude that he was trying to shine himself up for women voters in his swing district. Hence, his unauthorized use of the Planned Parenthood logo in the ad.

Coffman made his comments about Planned Parenthood in response to Caplis’ question about recent allegations by conservatives against the organization, which it has denied.

Kopel shows independence in praising Morgan Carroll

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last week on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out, Dave Kopel showed real independence, not allegiance to the ideology of the Independence Institute, where he works, when he called Democrat Morgan Carroll  “formidable” and a “really excellent” candidate to take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman next year.

Kopel, who also praised Coffman, has a reputation as an arch conservative, but he also has an admirable independent streak. And it was good to see him calling the Aurora congressional race like he sees it, rather than caving to the Coffman backers who undoubtedly swarm around Kopel’s office.

Kopel (Watch at 7:35 here): She is a formidable candidate. Her political skills are not only the ones she’s developed in her own life, but her political DNA is about as powerful as you can have in Colorado… The Carroll family has been involved, usually as winning candidates, in Colorado politics since the 1930s. So she is going to be very strong. And Mike Coffman works very hard. So I think you can look at this as a national A plus versus A plus marquis match up of really excellent candidates on both sides.

Kopel, who’s a regular guest on the Channel 12 public affairs show, is best known nationally as a fierce opponent of gun control measures. He’s been involved in Second-Amendment cases across the country, and even before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s an expert on a wide range of topics, including the Virgin Mary.

Carroll formally announced her run against Coffman earlier this month.

Kopel shows shows independence in praising Morgan Carroll

Last week on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out, Dave Kopel showed real independence, not allegiance to the ideology of the right-leaning Independence Institute, where he works, when he called Democrat Morgan Carroll  “formidable” and a “really excellent” candidate to take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman next year.

Kopel, who also praised Coffman, has a reputation as an arch conservative, but he also has an admirable independent streak. And it was good to see him calling the Aurora congressional race like he sees it, rather than caving to the Coffman backers who undoubtedly swarm around Kopel’s office.

Kopel (Watch at 7:35 here): She is a formidable candidate. Her political skills are not only the ones she’s developed in her own life, but her political DNA is about as powerful as you can have in Colorado… The Carroll family has been involved, usually as winning candidates, in Colorado politics since the 1930s. So she is going to be very strong. And Mike Coffman works very hard. So I think you can look at this as a national A plus versus A plus marquis match up of really excellent candidates on both sides.

Kopel, who’s a regular guest on the Channel 12 public affairs show, is best known nationally as a fierce opponent of gun control measures. He’s been involved in Second-Amendment cases across the country, and even before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s an expert on a wide range of topics, including the Virgin Mary.

Carroll formally announced her run against Coffman earlier this month.

Mike Coffman Has Worst Fundraising Quarter in Four Years

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Fundraising reports from the second quarter of 2015 are now becoming available publicly, and the most surprising figure we’ve seen thus far comes from the campaign of Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

From April through June, Coffman’s re-election campaign raised just $271,163, the worst quarterly fundraising amount from Coffman since Q3 in 2011.

In fact, Coffman has raised a total of just $615,065 in all of 2015. These are not terrible numbers for a Member of Congress, but Coffman hasn’t performed this poorly in fundraising since the boundaries of CD-6 were re-drawn in advance of the 2012 election. The numbers are particularly striking when you compare Coffman’s fundraising to that of Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver); Coffman was thought to be the GOP’s top challenger for the 2016 Senate race, yet Bennet has now raised $2 million in successive quarters. Heck, Coffman had a highly-publicized breakfast meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell back in May — you would think he would have picked up some big checks just because of that meeting.

It’s possible that the Coffmangate Scandal is really starting to impact Mike Coffman’s ability to raise money, or perhaps Coffman’s grandstanding on the Aurora VA Hospital is having an adverse effect on his public profile. Whatever the reason, it would seem that Coffman’s campaign was not exaggerating when it sent a fundraising email on July 8 that said “Mike is in trouble”:

Yesterday, Mike told you about our Democratic challenger, Morgan Carroll. And now, political analysts have changed this race to a “Toss Up” due to Carroll’s connections with big-spending liberal groups. That means Mike is in trouble — and we have to fight back now.

Rep. Mike Coffman's lowest quarterly fundraising totals since 2011, the year before CD-6 boundaries officially changed.

Rep. Mike Coffman’s lowest quarterly fundraising totals since 2011, the year before CD-6 boundaries officially changed.

 

 

 

Talk-radio roundup: education

Education is a favorite issue on talk radio. Over the next few months, I’ll be providing occasional summaries of appearances by public officials on the radio airwaves in Colorado. My goal is to shine some sun on the talk-radio discourse about education, so those who want can peer in. I will not be doing much fact checking or analysis myself, just offering the raw material to those who are interested. This summary covers the past three weeks.

Derec Schuller, founder and Principal of Golden View Classic Academy, appeared on Kelley & Company, KNUS 710-AM, July 14 to talk about opposition from Feldman and Dahlkemper on the Jeffco Board, the affiliation of his school with a conservative university and allegations of religious affiliations.  He also gave his view on the Jeffco School Board turmoil.

Julie Williams and Sherrie Peif appeared on Rush to Reason, KLZ 560-AM, July 9 to talk about Peif’s series in CompleteColorado.com regarding the claims made by Jeffco School Board recall proponents in their petitions.  Her first installment addresses the superintendent’s salary, which she says is misrepresented in the petition as well as by The Denver Post. Williams appears only briefly at the end of the interview.

Meghann Silverthorn, from the Douglas County School Board, appeared on Rush to Reason, KLZ 560-AM, June 30. Listen here and here, saying that her district will pursue partnerships with non-religious schools in the wake of the CO Supreme Court ruling, in order to keep the voucher program alive.

Doug Benevento, vice-president of Douglas County School Board, appeared on Kelley & Company with Krista Kafer, KNUS 710-AM, June 30, to discuss the same ruling. Benevuto offers advice to the Thompson School District in their efforts to replicate Douglas County’s policy initiative to advance choice.

Kevin Larsen and Craig Richardson of the DougCo School Board discussed the same topic on the Dan Caplis Show, KNUS 710-AM, June 30Larsen and Richardson believe that the CO Supreme Court ruling is positive and encouraging development in the choice movement, albeit a delayed gratification, because it will force the US Supreme Court to address the inconsistency with the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 15)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Bartels!!! Let’s 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…

► Veteran political reporter Lynn Bartels is taking a buyout offer and leaving the Denver Post and journalism after 35 years. Colorado is better off because of her dedication to political reporting.

► The Aurora Theater Shooting Trial concluded on Tuesday after 49 days. The 12-person jury begins deliberations today on whether or not they agree with the defense’s argument that alleged killer James Holmes should be declared not guilty be reason of insanity. If the jury agrees with the insanity plea, then Holmes will be remanded to a state mental hospital; if the jury finds Holmes to be guilty, the case moves to a sentencing phase where jurors will discuss the death penalty.

Colorado’s Republican Congressional delegation is going bananas over a foreign policy deal between the U.S., Iran and five other nations. Many, many Republicans immediately jumped to condemn the Iran deal — even if they admittedly hadn’t even read it yet.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

(more…)

Lynn Bartels’ good-bye note to the Denver Post

A message from departing Denver Post journalist Lynn Bartels, distributed to Denver Post staff this morning:

Dear Denver Post:

Folks, I am taking the buyout, coming two days short of a 35-year career in journalism. The decision wasn’t easy and I have to thank you for providing me a home after the Rocky Mountain News closed.

I appreciate your putting up with my many eccentricities: bloodcurdling screams when moths come near my desk, an almost pathological fear of driving in the snow or at night and turning in stories that say -ffect because I still can’t figure out when to use “affect” or “effect.”

When I leave, I’m going to need a 12-step program in order to break my addiction to writing for The Spot. I appreciate all the encouragement on that front, especially from Dan Petty, the wonderkid we all owe so much to.

I’ll miss e-mailing Paul Soriano late at night and Dan Boniface early in the morning, waking up Vikki Migoya on her day off to help me with Methode at the Capitol, relying on Dale Ulland to catch those grammar mistakes and calling Jim Bates at night or on Saturday about a tip.

Kevin Simpson, thanks for teaching me about the negative factor and for being a podmate for a while. Getting to know you better — after reading you all these years — was a treat.

The photo staff, wow. You guys have been so good to me from the start. Thank you.

I am forever grateful to Greg Moore for taking me on board and sharing my love of political intrigue; Curtis Hubbard and his note after the 2010 election; Chuck Plunkett’s humanity as an editor; Monica Brewer’s help doing payroll and expenses; Dana Coffield, for being able to answers questions about, oh, everything; and Lee Ann Colacioppo, for telling me to take as much time as I needed when my dad was sick.

Linda Shapley, my family loves you. Vince Carroll, I hold you in awe.

Our current political team is so much fun: thank you Joey Bunch, John Frank, Jon Murray and  Mark Matthews for all that dark humor, fixing the typos in my blogs and the technological help (Did you know you can set an alarm on your iPhone? Yes, everyone knows, but you Lynn) .

And a huge shoutout to former Posties Tim Hoover and Jessica Fender, who probably should have felt the most threatened by my joining The Post but were among the most welcoming.

There are so many more people to list, but then I would violate our new rule about shorter stories. Just know I will miss the place.

Here are the comments of Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett, which he sent to the newsroom, along with Bartels’ note this morning.

I’m sorry to announce — I am heartbroken to announce — that Lynn Bartels, long the face of politics coverage in Colorado, has decided to take the buyout and start a new career at the secretary of state’s office.

Just trying to imagine working in this important swing state without Lynn Bartels seems impossible. Her reporting on both the daily grind and the big picture stories is always inspiring. Her ability to consistently break major news is well known. From the first day she joined The Post after the Rocky’s demise, Lynn has been an important, dominant force in our offerings. People who care about politics and policy in Colorado, from the big names to the workers in the trenches to readers whose names we may never know, will miss her. Lynn’s ability to humanize the stories and people she writes about represents one of the finest examples of the importance of the work we are fortunate enough to be doing.

Her encyclopedic knowledge of even the most obscure aspects of Colorado politics is something all of us have relied on for so long now we’ll probably need counseling to recover. Her list of contacts and sources in all the right places alone is priceless. Her many eccentricities helped keep us real in the face of daunting challenges.

And there is the overwhelming fact of her character. Lynn Bartels is one of the finest people I have ever known.

Please let her know how much she has meant to us.

Stop shrugging or laughing at the collapse of The Denver Post and Colorado journalism

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: As if to drive the point home, word spread today that veteran political reporter Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post will take the buy-out offer. Bartels is taking a new job as spokesperson for Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

—–

I listen to a lot of conservatives and progressives, and, the overwhelming response by both to the troubles of The Denver Post has been either a shrug or a snicker. (After years of devastating staff cuts, the newspaper is laying off another 10 percent of its newsroom staff and shrinking the print even more.)

The shrug comes from people who see the newspaper as useless, even though it still serves as the primary information source for political and other news in the Colorado. And it’s the primary driver of local news that you see on TV and on social media.

I’m floored by how frequently people trash The Post as irrelevant in one breath and then spend an entire meeting or radio show discussing an article that just appeared in the paper–or, even more ironically, talking about stories that have been left out of the newspaper. If only the irrelevant Denver Post would cover [fill in the blank].

The newspaper is so small and weak already, they say, it doesn’t matter if 20 journalists or more are cut, as planned on July 20 or so, joining about 20,000 journalists laid off nationally.

The thing is, even now after all the cuts already made, if you read the print edition of The Denver Post, or just a fraction of its online content, you’ll still get the information you need to function as a citizen in Colorado–to understand the state legislature, to keep up on elections, to follow civic and cultural life. What other media source could possibly make that claim?

The snicker about The Post’s ongoing decline comes from the folks who feel the newspaper gets in their way, unfairly shifting public debate against them and their causes. Conservatives are more likely to feel this way than progressives, because they’re deeply attached to the notion of “liberal bias,” as if The Denver Post has been undermining their agenda, as well as that of the Republican Party, for decades and its disappearance will give them an opening to win over public opinion. This is so outrageous, and unsupported by evidence, that it needs no response.

And it’s not just the people crusading against gay marriage and abortion who feel this way. It’s the fiscal conservatives, too, who repeatedly say how much The Post’s news coverage is biased toward big government and social support networks.

(more…)