Woods defends comparing police to Crips and Bloods

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

In a Facebook post Saturday, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada/Westminster) defended her comparison of police to Crips and Bloods.

Woods wrote that when some law enforcement officials confiscate property under Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, it’s a “direct violation of due process,” and she asks, “And what makes that any different than a gang member or a common street thug who takes something from you?” She also emphasized that she supports “law enforcement at every level.”

But she did not explain why the comparison of police to violent and murderous gang members was appropriate, especially for an elected official.

It’s one thing to criticize police appropriately, in an effort to improve things, and clearly asset-forfeiture abuse must be stopped, but Crips and Bloods? How does that comparison benefit Arvada?

Reporters should make an effort to find out why Woods, who doesn’t return my calls, thinks such an extreme comparison is justifiable.

Woods initially made the comparison on a talk radio show, affirmatively agreeing that police and Crips and Bloods are “no different” in some situations involving confiscation of property.

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

Here’s Woods’ statement on Facebook:

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Donald Trump Plummeting in National Polls

"I'm fired!"

“I’m fired!”

Perhaps it might be a good time for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump to start, you know, actually campaigning for a victory in the General Election. As Politico reports:

Donald Trump said last week he hasn’t really started campaigning in the general election. It shows in his poll numbers.

After weeks of blistering news coverage, the latest round of national and battleground-state polling underscores the hole in which Trump now finds himself: trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin with fewer than 100 days remaining until early voting begins in the key swing states of Ohio and Iowa.

Two new, major national polls released Sunday morning — surveys from ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal — differ to some degree, but both are consistent with the broader trend: Clinton holds a reliable lead over Trump, an advantage that occasionally swells to double digits.

Trump now trails Clinton by 6.3 points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, and by 6.6 points in the HuffPost Pollster model. In the key states in the Electoral College, POLITICO’s Battleground States polling average shows Clinton ahead by 4.3 points. And perhaps even more important, Trump is lagging behind on a number of other key indicators, including candidate favorability.

Many Colorado Republicans remain confused about whether or not they can/should support Trump in a General Election, but there’s no question about the disastrous effects Trump could have on down-ticket races in our state. For Colorado Republicans, the only thing worse than Donald Trump as your Presidential nominee is Donald Trump running a terrible campaign for President.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 27)

MoreSmarterLogo-ElectionRemember, friends: If you still have a ballot at home, it is too late to put it in the mail. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado’s Primary Election is tomorrow, which means it is too late to put your ballot in the mail if you haven’t voted already (ballots must be received by your county clerk before 7:00 pm on Tuesday; postmark dates are irrelevant). For ballot drop-off locations and other voter information, go to JustVoteColorado.org.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has updated voting turnout results as of 8:00 am on Monday.

 

► The Supreme Court had a busy morning as it works on finishing up its to-do list before Justices begin their annual summer break. The Washington Post reports on the ruling that captured the most attention:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Texas abortion restrictions that have been widely duplicated in other states, a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 3 decision, which said Texas’s arguments that the clinic restrictions were to protect women’s health were cover for making it more difficult to obtain an abortion.

The challenged Texas provisions required doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and said that clinics must meet hospital-like standards of surgical centers.

Similar restrictions have been passed in other states, and officials say they protect patients. But the court’s majority sided with abortion providers and medical associations who said the rules are unnecessary and so expensive or hard to satisfy that they force clinics to close.

In a separate ruling that was also announced today, the Supreme Court overturned a corruption conviction for former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Critics worry that the court’s decision in the McDonnell case could make it harder to prosecute public officials for criminal wrongdoing.

 

► The five Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate race continue to straddle the fence on their support of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. As John Frank writes for the Denver Post:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn made clear for months that he supported Donald Trump for president. He even called Trump “a patriot.”

But with Ted Cruz in Denver last week, Glenn added an “if” caveat that didn’t go unnoticed in the state that is driving the #DumpTrump effort ahead of the convention.

“Right now, we have a presumptive nominee,” Glenn started. “And if he remains our presumptive nominee, we have a responsibility, a responsibility, to get in line and support that candidate.”

(He also landed Cruz a standing ovation for this line: “If he cannot be our next president of the United States of America, I am personally going to lead the charge to make sure he’s our next Supreme Court justice.” Cruz demurred politely.)

Frank’s entire story is worth a read, as he tries to understand the meaning behind some of Glenn’s more cryptic comments on the GOP Presidential race.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Coors, Shanahan, Mizel Headline Denver Trump Fundraiser

Larry Mizel loves him some Donald Trump.

Larry Mizel loves him some Donald Trump.

As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports:

Pete Coors and Mike Shanahan, a pair of giants in Colorado beer and football, are two of several boldfaced names planning a Friday fundraiser for Donald Trump to coincide with the Republican candidate’s visit to the state that day for the Western Conservative Summit.

While the names on the host committee may suggest a Sunday-tailgate kind of affair — Coors is a longtime beer executive and Shanahan used to coach the Denver Broncos — the entry fee to the presidential fundraiser is decidedly more expensive than what one would find in the parking lot of Mile High stadium…

Longtime Colorado kingmaker and political donor Larry Mizel also is listed as a co-chair.

Pete Coors, and especially Denver Republican kingpin Larry Mizel, hosting a fundraiser for the most controversial Republican presidential nominee since Barry Goldwater are the clearest signs we’ve seen locally of the attempt to make “legitimate” Republican politics safe for Donald Trump. It’s a most debatable question whether the damage widely expected to the Republican brand from Trump’s campaign will “trickle down” to those who put their own names on the line to support him.

Ordinarily we’d say a man of Mizel’s means and influence–influence that results from the means–can get away with anything. But Trump has a way of proving people wrong, often in ways that are damaging to one’s credibility. Hopefully one our state’s most legendary Republican powerbrokers doesn’t get burned.

Of course, Mizel will always have The CELL.

Bob Beauprez Making Dr. Chaps Very Angry

Carly Fiorina (right), with Rep. Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt.

Carly Fiorina (right), with Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Rachel Riley reports, the red-on-red purge campaign masterminded by two-time GOP gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez rolls on–and is provoking an angry backlash from its targets, including SD-12 primary contender  Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt:

Just days before the primary election, state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt is fighting back against a political advocacy group he believes to be responsible for mailing attack ads against him to Republican voters in his district.

Klingenschmitt, who faces Bob Gardner in the state Senate District 12 race Tuesday, submitted a letter to 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Thursday calling for a criminal investigation into former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, founder of nonprofit Colorado Pioneer Action.

In the letter, Klingenschmitt said the mailers contain false information, a misdemeanor under state law. He added that the ads also violate campaign finance law because they do not identify what individual or organization sent them…

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

You’ll recall earlier this month when GOP SD-4 candidate Jess Loban, running hard in a primary against “establishment” Ben Lyng, called out Beauprez via subordinate operative Justin Prendergast for wading into his primary. Loban also claimed that Beauprez’s group was running attacks against a number of conservative incumbent lawmakers in addition to Loban–including Reps. Klingenschmitt, Janak Joshi, and Lori Saine. Lumping himself in with those incumbents is clearly about boosting Loban, since picking favorites in an open primary is much more acceptable behavior than attacking incumbents.

We haven’t heard as much about Saine and her primary against Mead trustee Colleen Whitlow in all of this, but Beauprez’s involvement in these two hot primary races in El Paso County seems quite likely to result in intra-GOP bad blood one way or the other. Despite the widespread loathing for Klingenschmitt in non-crazy Republican circles, we’ve heard that he may indeed be the favorite going into tomorrow’s primary against former Rep. Bob Gardner. We’re less certain about Joshi, whose cut-throat race against Larry Liston may hinge more on personal dislike for Liston.

In all of these races where Beauprez appears to be targeting conservative incumbents, there will be grateful winners and angry losers on Wednesday morning. Having lost two critical gubernatorial races for Colorado Republicans in two attempts, backroom purging and kingmaking may be Beauprez’s last best shot at relevance in our state’s politics.

But it had better work. If it doesn’t, Beauprez has made nothing but enemies.

Ballot Return Numbers Jump Over Weekend

votebuttonUPDATE: The Secretary of State’s Office sent out a corrected version of this morning’s press release, noting that turnout for Republicans is 24% (not 29.41%, as stated in the original release).

—–

We’re continuing to pass along the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary (numbers are accurate as of 8:00 a.m. on Monday):

Democrats

Ballots sent: 990,873;
Ballots returned: 208,572;
Percent: 21%

Republicans

Ballots sent: 997,631;
Ballots returned: 239,483;
Percent: 24%
*(NOTE: the SOS’s office originally listed turnout at 29.41% but has since corrected its release)

Total turnout in the 2014 Primary was 21.84%. According to the Secretary of State’s office, nearly one-fifth of all voters waited until Election Day to cast their ballots in the 2014 Primary.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF).

Weekend Open Thread

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

–John F. Kennedy

Get More Smarter on Friday (June 24)

gmsaustinpowersBrexit, baby! 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► After voters in the United Kingdom unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union yesterday, the entire world is more or less freaking out:

Stocks on Wall Street plunged on Friday after the United Kingdom shocked the world overnight by voting to cut ties to the European Union, a move that many fear could lead to similar votes across the continent and damage a fragile American economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 611 points , or around 3.4 percent, following big drops in Europe and Asia after UK voters defied late polls and voted strongly in favor of Brexit. The price of gold, a safe-haven in times of crisis, surged nearly 5 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond fell 18 basis points, the biggest move since the financial crisis, to 1.57 percent as investors fled to safety. The Nasdaq took the biggest hit, falling over four percent in its worst day in five years. Tech stocks that do a lot of business in Europe got slammed.

The British pound fell to 30-year lows following the Brexit vote while the Japanese Nikkei index fell nearly 8 percent…

Un the upside, vacations in England are about to get much more affordable as the pound plunges! The British may not find that very comforting.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is really excited about Brexit, which should tell you all you need to know.

► The decision yesterday by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down President Barack Obama’s immigration plan for undocumented children isn’t sitting well with local Democrats:

“Every one of those Supreme Court justices are here by virtue of immigration,” said state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, who is co-chair of the Colorado Democratic Latin Legislative Caucus “Their families came to this country seeking a better life or fleeing oppression. It is an utter hypocrisy that four members of the court stand against immigrant families.

“Our government, from the Congress to the United States Supreme Court, needs to grow up and recognize the value, economically and culturally, immigrant families are to our nation.”

► The GOP U.S. Senate primary is everyone’s most-watched race going into next Tuesday’s elections. Two wealthy candidates, Robert Blaha and Jack Graham, are spending big to break out of the pack. If you haven’t already, vote in our highly informal poll for who you think will win.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Poll: Who Will Win The GOP U.S. Senate Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now just days away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. This year’s Republican U.S. Senate primary to determine a challenger to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is the most wide-open such contest in recent memory. Five Republicans are competing for this nomination: Darryl Glenn, Robert Blaha, Jack Graham, Ryan Frazier, and Jon Keyser.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the GOP U.S. Senate primary?
Darryl Glenn
Robert Blaha
Jack Graham
Ryan Frazier
Jon Keyser
View Result

NARAL Hits Brakes on ColoradoCare

Sen. Irene Aguilar (right) delivers petitions for Amendment 69.

Sen. Irene Aguilar (right) delivers petitions for Amendment 69.

A press release yesterday from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado announces the decision by that organization’s board of directors to formally oppose Amendment 69, the ColoradoCare single-payer health care initiative headed for the November ballot:

As the political arm of the pro-choice movement, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s mission is to protect abortion access and to oppose any and all attempts to limit it. It is our basic principle that abortion is a critical part of reproductive health care and any measure that would diminish it from overall women’s health cannot be supported.

With Colorado’s state’s constitutional ban on public funding for abortion, Amendment 69 would expand access to common healthcare services, but it would be at the expense of access to abortion care.

Article V, section 50, of the Colorado Constitution – passed by initiative in 1984 – states that “No public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions, to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion [except when necessary to prevent the death of the woman or unborn child where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each].”

This has been repeatedly held not to apply to federal funds such as Medicaid. However, because Colorado Care would be subject to Section 50 as a political subdivision of the state, Colorado Care would be prohibited from providing any abortion services to women not eligible for Medicaid except when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman.

This means that presently insured women who have access to abortion services as part of their contracted benefits today, other than when the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother, would lose access to abortion coverage benefits under Amendment 69.

Speaking to the Colorado Independent, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado director Karen Middleton explains further:

“I think everybody supports the goal of improved healthcare for all Coloradans. But because Amendment 69 can’t provide guarantees to affordable abortion access, it isn’t truly universal health care,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s director, Karen Middleton. [Pols emphasis]

Amendment 69 has become a bit of a political hot potato for Democrats, even many who share the general goal of a single-payer health care system. Passage of such a sweeping change to health care in the state is a huge political lift in the most favorable political climate. In 2016, with the “Overton Window” skewed heavily rightward, it verges on an exercise in futility. What’s more, conservative opponents are hard at work terrorizing the public with their low-information spin on the plan, and gleefully daring Democrats to take a stand on it one way or the other–either to divorce them from moderates or the progressive base depending on what they choose.

The conflict that NARAL has identified between Amendment 69 and a state constitutional prohibition on public funding for abortion is of course very problematic in unspun terms for ColoradoCare proponents, and may be just the out needed to extricate Democrats from this dicey political predicament in a highly unpredictable election year.

Hopefully that happens in a way that acknowledges the sincere, good-faith intentions of ColoradoCare’s proponents. After all, someday down the road, the rest of the state (and for that matter, the nation) may well be ready for them.

Woods says feds have taken away “virtually all citizens rights” and compares police to Crips and Bloods

(What the hell? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

“We’re in a spot in our country where, at the federal level, they have taken away a bunch of states’ rights and virtually all citizens rights.”

Who said that? And what country are they talking about?

You’re right! It’s Westminster Republican State Sen. Laura Woods talking about the United States.

She’s agreeing with a KLZ 560-AM radio host who said, “I’m beginning to think that there is not a sector of government that doesn’t think they’re above everybody else.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good assessment, right now,” Woods replied, apparently forgetting that someday she may need the help of firefighters, first responders, military personnel, or countless other public servants who sacrifice their lives for ours.

The overall topic was asset forfeiture, and Woods was angry about its abuse by police. But does this mean the police act like Cripps and Bloods?

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

I have my problems with asset forfeiture, which has resulted in unfair confiscation of property by police. But are the problems on par with what we see from Crips and Bloods.

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Friday Open Thread

“If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.”

–Robert Anthony

The Get More Smarter Show: June 23, 2016

This week on Get More Smarter: Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk Donald Trump, followed by a deep dive on next week’s primary elections! Then stay tuned for more great discussion on the primary as we interview Ernest Luning–that’s LUH-ning for those of you pronouncing it wrong like we have for years–of the Colorado Statesman.

To skip directly to Luning’s interview, jump to 11:22 in the video above or click here.

Thanks for watching! If you missed last week’s episode, click here. Also, don’t miss episodes 1 and 2.