Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mayor's schedule worth a closer look

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 5:27 PM

A lot has happened since Steve Bach took office as the city's first strong mayor. He's chosen a few key employees, watched a few others leave and pledged to roll up his sleeves to manage a tight budget and work to create more jobs.

Some would argue a person can be judged to a certain extent by the company he keeps, so we asked for Bach's calendar from the time he took office on June 7 through Aug. 25 to get an idea of who has his ear.

Bach: An open calendar doesn't mean hes not busy.
  • Bach: An open calendar doesn't mean he's not busy.

First off, nothing earth-shattering jumped out.

As one might expect, scattered throughout his calendar were various ceremonial appearances, such as providing a welcome to the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals on June 23 at The Broadmoor, a welcome on July 4 for the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament, and a speech at the Broadmoor Rotary Club on Aug. 25.

But otherwise, his calendar is vague, and purposefully so, he says.

For example, several entries for "private appts" might refer to city-related business or might not, he says in an interview.

One such meeting was with the CEO of an employer who was "unhappy with the business climate and wanted to talk one-on-one about problems the company was having," Bach says.

On July 5, he met with defense contractor Booz/Allen/Hamilton under the heading "Economic Vitality." In fact, he's had nine other meetings labeled economic vitality, but no person or company was named.

Oddly missing from his calendar are entries denoting his interviews with candidates for key appointed positions, including director of communications (Cindy Aubrey was ultimately chosen) and Economic Vitality Specialist (Donna Nelson got the job). He says he did interviews with other people.

According to Bach's calendar, he's met with Councilors Lisa Czelatdko, Tim Leigh, Jan Martin and Scott Hente. Bach couldn't say for sure whether he's met with the other Council members individually, saying, "Some of my meetings are not scheduled. Some budget briefings are not on the calendar."

Bach had several meetings for "confidential personnel matters" in July. Former Finance Director Terri Velasquez was fired July 28 after a 30-day paid administrative leave. Velasquez has filed a $1 million claim against the city, alleging wrongful termination.

Here's a rundown of people he's met with who are named on his calendar:

Stephannie Finley, a Chamber of Commerce employee who filled in as communications director until Aubrey came on the scene

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

Chief of Staff Steve Cox

Bach's assistant, Linda Bonewell

City employee Bob Cope, who has worked in the economic development department

Col. Wayne Montief at Schriever Air Force Base

Police Protective Association

Neighborhood activist and former mayoral candidate Dave Munger

Susan Davies with the Trails and Open Space Coalition

Taxpayers for Budget Reform, a group that has lobbied for farming out city work, including snow plowing and street repairs

USOC chief Scott Blackmun

UCCS chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak

Ultra Petroleum, the Houston-based firm who wants to drill for oil and gas on the Banning Lewis Ranch acreage it's trying to buy out of bankruptcy

Mary Lou Makepeace, former Springs mayor who now heads the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado

Assistant city manager Nancy Johnson

Police Chief Rick Myers

Fed Ex 350 Spectrum LP

Regional Leadership Forum (on Aug. 15, three days before he met with Council President Pro-Tem Jan Martin and RLF members about the Memorial Health System task force)

The City Committee (a group of business people giving the city advice on budgetary and operational matters)

U. S. Sen. Mark Udall

But don't let his calendar fool you. While there are entire half-days without a single entry, Bach says that's not indicative of his real schedule.

"I spend a lot of time on the phone, and I spend a lot of time traveling around the city talking to people," he says. "I’ve been meeting with CEOs of major employers. Typically I don’t put those on the calendar. It seems like I’m scheduled 24/7."

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Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM

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If you're looking for something free and fun for the whole family this weekend, the Colorado Balloon Classic has you covered. If you like it hot, you'll definitely want to check out the Chile Chili Festival. Jack Ward has the details in this week's Indy Minute.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.


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UPDATE: Creeping along the fundraising path

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Pete Schuermann plans to show an eight-minute "extended promotion/trailer" for Creep! at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9, at Colorado College's Cornerstone Arts Center.

The filmmaker says many of the actors and crew will be in attendance, and he'll update us on where he currently is in the filming process. Check out the Facebook invite here.

——- UPDATE, 1:13 P.M., JULY 13 ——-

This is totally last-minute notice, but the Creep! crew just called to say that they'll be filming some scenes in Monument Valley Park today until around 4 or 5 p.m.

They've got the carpet monster out and in action, so feel free to stop by for a peek.

COPPeR member and local producer Steve Mack, who's helping on the project, says to look for the set near the baseball fields off of Fontanero Street.

——- UPDATE, 11:22 A.M., APRIL 22 ——-

Another brief update:

You can now view daily video segments that document the creation of Creep!'s carpet monster.

Visit the production blog here to view all of the segments and keep an eye out for an announcement on the crew's shooting of test footage with the beast that will be open to the public.

The tentative date on that remains April 30, and no location has yet been pinned down.

——- UPDATE, 5:04 P.M., MARCH 23 ——-

I caught up with Pete Schuermann last week to check in on his progress with Creep!

We were joined by his associate producer on the film, Kevin Beechwood. Beechwood is a UCCS senior who co-produced The Last Bogatyr, which was a finalist for the 2010 Student Academy Awards.

A side note to this Creep! update: Beechwood and his crew are currently schedule to begin filming a 10-minute short student film called Conditional on April 9. Schuermann describes it as a "tearjerker" — a human drama about an aging guy approaching death, who has unresolved family matters with his son.

It will ideally be edited and ready to view by June, perhaps to be screened at the next Colorado Short Circuit film festival, with an ultimate goal of making it into the big-name film festivals.

Back to Creep!: Schuermann — who is still seeking more investors — says the script is close to being completed, with casting currently set for April 19 and filming tentatively set for late July or early August.

As early as May, he plans to shoot some test footage of the movie's monster (a comical giant rug-looking thingy), which is being built by a Denver artist. He'll likely make that event open to the public in hopes of generating more interest (and maybe a little more $).

And even though Colorado's film incentives remain lacking, Schuermann says he's resolved to shooting here anyway.

He says he's built too much enthusiasm here already, attracting volunteers and talented folks who'll work for cheap and actors who will work for free.

"I know I'm onto something big here," he says. "I'm committed to seeing it through."


——- ORIGINAL POST, 12:35 P.M., OCT. 1, 2010 ——-

Pete Schuermann still needs you.

The Springs filmmaker who is trying to create a locally produced film centered around one of the worst films ever made, 1964's The Creeping Terror, made an appeal for support at Colorado College last night to an audience of friends and potential investors.

... But Im a creep, Im a weirdo/What the hell am I doin here? I dont belong here ...
  • Matthew Schniper
  • " ... But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo / What the hell am I doin' here? / I don't belong here ..."

Indy writer Jill Thomas first told you about the whole Creep project back in June; read her feature here.

Last night, Schuermann explained The Creeping Terror's colorful back story for those unfamiliar, showing key segments of the film that were indeed laughably awful. He then played his promotional trailer (viewable on his website) that's already received a lot of attention from major cult-film media outlets such as Fangoria.

These are some other films from the era which Schuermann seeks to recreat. His goal, he says, is to have fun and make entertaining movies at this point.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • These are some other films from the era thatSchuermann seeks to recreate. His goal, he says, is to have fun and make entertaining movies at this point.

He then went on in the interest of transparency to detail what he intends to do with his film once he raises the funds, as well as to show clips from his previous body of work to reassure potential investors that he's a legit, professional filmmaker who is far from the creep, A.J. Nelson/Vic Savage, who he's documenting.

Having already shot the documentary footage he needs, Schuermann now looks to film a narrative feature component that will make for a "next-stage documentary," something a little different than regular documentary form. "We want to re-create the making of the film," he says. "To tell the entire story in a way not done before."

"The buzz is working," he says, noting that he's been able to assemble a strong production team whose members claim a combined 10 Emmy awards. But it's obviously not working quick enough — hence the need for last night's assembly.

"I'd rather stay here and make the film here and use local filmmakers," says Schuermann, who hopes production will commence in early 2011.

Here's a look at his tentative production schedule:

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  • Matthew Schniper

The projected costs:

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  • Matthew Schniper

And the potential return for a film like this:

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  • Matthew Schniper

Schuermann says he's raised around $50,000 thus far. So there's ample room for new investors to come on board the project.

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MRFF to AFA: Let's try again

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:39 PM

After a dispute over how the Freedom of Information Act should be applied, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is taking another run at getting what it wants out of the Air Force Academy.

Weinstein
  • Weinstein

Last year, the MRFF, run by Mikey Weinstein, sought academy records that had referenced the MRFF or Weinstein. The time period requested went from 2004 until the search was commenced.

When the records were produced last month, Weinstein found the AFA had cut off its search on Nov. 17, 2010 — although the search hadn't gotten underway until sometime in late March 2011.

Anyway, as the academy should know by now, MRFF doesn't give up easily. In fact, all indicators would suggest MRFF doesn't give up, period. So, this week, the MRFF submitted a new request, going much farther than the first.

Here's the request:

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The other Weinsteins named in the request are Mikey's sons, daughter, daughter-in-law and wife.

The request no doubt will cause some moans and groans at the academy, although in a statement issued Aug. 8, the academy expressed a commitment to abiding by the law. The FOIA request referenced in the statement was the one from last fall submitted by MRFF:

The Air Force Academy takes it obligations under FOIA very
seriously. USAFA processes nearly 100 FOIA requests per year, and this
FOIA request took a significant period of time to complete because it
was coordinated among numerous offices at the Air Force Academy and
resulted in a large volume of information deemed responsive to the
request, which was approximately 2,516 pages of separate and distinct
records.

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Chipotle, sustainability and Willie Nelson

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:55 AM

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Chipotle Mexican Grill has previously come under fire for sourcing issues related to the tomato-farming Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida. But, in general, the company seems to get it right more often than not, and certainly more often than other national chains.

The below video, scheduled to appear in some 5,700 movie theaters, certainly isn't as great as the fact that, locally, the restaurant gets its beef from Ranch Foods Direct, or the announcement that Chipotle will use some 10 million pounds of local produce in 2011.

But throw in some Willie Nelson covering Coldplay's "The Scientist," and a message that anyone of conscience can agree with, and it's pretty close.

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White honey and dark chocolate cake

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 7:41 AM

At a dinner at a French friend's house this past weekend, I encountered two new-to-me food items that I figured I'd share: white honey (Miel de Printemps) and a traditional French cake called Trianon (Le Trianon) or Royal (G√Ęteau Royal).

First up, the white honey: My friend gifted me a small sampler package of different honey flavors (determined by the flowers the bees visit) from Italy, and also let me sample some of her specialty French honey.

Some of the darker flavors like eucalyptus and chestnut were quite strong and a bit off-putting, while the orange, lemon and honeysuckle were easy favorites, as was the acacia honey, similar to Florida's famous Tupelo honey in that it supposedly never crystallizes.

The honey on the left is a chestnut honey. The white honey is a spring honey. And the one on the right is a more typical wildflower honey.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The honey on the left is a chestnut honey. The white honey is a spring honey. And the one on the right is a more typical wildflower honey.

As for the white honey, all my friend could tell me is that it's a spring honey, leading me to guess that whatever the bees happen to be feeding on at that time, in that particular region, has a unique property to give it the marshmallow-like coloring. Its texture is also more like a whipped honey that you'd buy at the grocery store, a little more tacky and solidified than lighter, more syrupy honey.

I can't be positive that there isn't something being done with this honey (like whipping), because of the language barrier and lack of descriptive labeling. But in looking at this list of monofloral honeys (those made from the nectar of one plant), it appears that perhaps this white honey could be a pure alfalfa varietal, or maybe pure clover — but much different than what we see as alfalfa and clover here in our stores.

Now, for the cake: Per how my friend makes hers, it's basically a thick chocolate mousse layer dusted with raw cocoa powder above an equally thick crunchy praline layer and a thin, soft dough layer.

France never looked so good (to me) as it did when captured in chocolate mousse by my friend this past weekend.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • France never looked so good (to me) as when captured in chocolate mousse by my friend this past weekend.

Most of the ingredients she used to make the Trianon, including a primo Belgian cocoa powder, she either bought imported or brought back home on a recent trip. But based on this similar-looking recipe I just found online, it looks like you can use some easy-to-find substitutes like Nutella to compensate for the most authentic ingredients. Though you'd probably have to tinker with making your own version of the Gavottes pictured on the page.

Especially because of the textural contrast between the soft mousse and crunchy praline, it's a fun dessert to eat and feels extra gourmet and delicate. The hazelnut flavor, in particular, stands out. Though it's a far cry flavor-wise, it reminded me of the kremowka I ate in Poland because of the fine layering and overall impact.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Velasquez wants $1 million in claim against city

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Velasquez
  • Velasquez

Fired city finance director Terri Velasquez is on the warpath.

The law firm representing her, Frank and Finger, has filed a claim notifying the city of its intent to file a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages for wrongful termination. We wrote about Velasquez's claims here and here.

Velasquez claims that she was targeted for termination after exposing city financial misdeeds, such as the alleged misuse of grant funds for the U.S. Olympic Committee deal, an overpayment to now-city chief of staff Steve Cox, and alleged attempts to dodge the requirements of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

In the recently filed claim, Velasquez also alleges that Cox, and perhaps the mayor, did not like her because she is a "strong female." The claim also states that Cox lacked the City Charter authority to fire Velasquez, and that the mayor needed to do the deed himself.

According to the claim, Velasquez won't seek as much money if the city gives her her job back.

The city has yet to issue a response to the claims, which can be read here: Claim-Velasquez__amended-redacted_.pdf

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UPDATE: Lamborn scolded by anglers, hunters

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM

UPDATE: Rep. Doug Lamborn's office provide the following response:

“The billboard has it all wrong.

“We are drowning in debt, and we have to draw the line somewhere. The federal government already owns more than a third of all land in Colorado. The people of Colorado enjoy tremendous opportunities to hunt and fish. Our priority must be on protecting and preserving the lands we already have.

“At a time when Washington is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, there is simply no money for buying new land. My common sense amendment would have saved taxpayers about $51 million.” — Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

BACKGROUND:

The billboard is referring to an amendment Congressman Lamborn introduced in July to H.R 2584, an appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. The amendment failed on a voice vote.

The amendment would have zeroed out funding for land acquisition in the FY 2012 budget for the following:

· Bureau of Land Management - $4,880,000
· Fish and Wildlife Service - $15,047,000
· National Park Service - $18,294,000
· Forest Service - $12,500,000

————ORIGINAL POST, 12:17 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30————-

Tim Mauck, left, and Gaspar Perricone want people to know where Lamborn stands on the environment.
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Tim Mauck, left, and Gaspar Perricone want people to know where Lamborn stands on the environment.

A couple of guys from Denver were in Colorado Springs today to call attention to a billboard at Platte Avenue and Chelton Drive that blasts Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, for directing money that used to go to land and water conservation to other uses.

Gaspar Perricon and Tim Mauck, co-directors of the Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance, had the sign put up because they're upset that Lamborn wasn't standing up for conservation, which is a key thing for the nation's 32 million hunters and anglers, half of whom rely on public lands for their activities.

In case you can't read it, the sign says: "Congressman Lamborn voted to gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund, limiting access to future hunting and angling across Colorado. The sign sits across the street from Sportsman's Warehouse, which caters to outdoor sports such as fishing, hunting and camping."

Those anglers and hunters, they say, contribute $192 billion to the economy and support 1.6 million jobs. In Colorado, the numbers are $2 billion and 22,000 jobs, Mauck says. There are roughly 500,000 fishing and hunting licenses issued in Colorado annually.

"Loss of wildlife habitat is the number one threat to hunting and angling," he says.

Both said they understand the country is in a budget crisis, but the country shouldn't sacrifice the environment in the process.

Here's the group's press release:

DENVER — The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance is hosting a media event to unveil a billboard expressing disappointment in Congressman Lamborn’s opposition of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities in Colorado.

During the U.S. House of Representatives debate of the FY 2012 Interior funding bill, Congressman Lamborn sponsored and introduced an amendment to H.R. 2584 with the stated purpose of zeroing out any Land and Water Conservation Fund monies available to the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service to protect wildlife habitat and clean water.

In a time where lack of access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities is a reason for declining participation, Rep. Lamborn has proven his willingness to further degrade a unique American legacy of wildlife management and conservation prized by hunters and anglers throughout the nation. According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, nearly half of the nation’s 32 million hunters and anglers conduct a portion of their hunting activity on public lands.

The Land and Water Conservation fund has provided funding for projects and conservation efforts in Congressman Lamborn's district including the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge and Ramah Reservoir.

Established by Congress in 1965, LWCF is funded by royalty payments paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in public waters. It is not funded by taxpayers. However, Congress has failed to fully fund the program since its inception and has continuously redirected funds intended to protect and enhance public lands. Recent polling shows 9 in 10 Americans oppose any diversion of funding from the LWCF.

“We must be sure that we are not leveraging our national heritage of hunting and angling against short term gains,” said Gaspar Perricone of the Colorado-based Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Sportsmen and women across Colorado need our elected officials to stand up to special interests and honor our American sporting traditions and the resources that support them.”

We've asked Lamborn's office for a comment and will post when and if we hear something.

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Wagyū beef and booze at The Broadmoor

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Some things I learned about high-end beef at last night's Wine & Wagyu dinner at the Summit at The Broadmoor:

• The wagyū beef industry in Colorado is only about four years old, said Tom Waldeck of Colorado-based Emma Farms Cattle Company. He owns roughly 200 purebred (98 percent or higher wagyū genetics) cattle, of which there's only some 5,000 in the country. Everything else, he said, is of lower quality — Japanese wagyū bred with American Angus cows, resulting in "American-style Kobe beef" or the like.

• Waldeck's beef — which he only distributes to 11 restaurants in the country, including three at The Broadmoor — isn't designed to compete with Japanese imports; apparently the Japanese, unlike Americans, prefer their steaks to be 75 percent creamy fat.

• Ranching is the second-largest industry in the state, said rancher Robbie LeValley. State Sen. Gail Schwartz confirmed it's a $16 billion industry, and that half of Colorado is used for ranching.

As for the dinner itself: "Maybe it's a French thing," said Summit chef Bertrand Bouquin, "but [the beef] smells like butter, and tastes like it, too."

Bouquin went with braised short ribs and grilled ribeye to show off the beef, as well as a few pre-meal canapés — tartare, short ribs brochette and Stilton sliders. As I wasn't there in a review capacity, I'll save my critical notes, other than to say I found the tartare the best way to sample the wagyū, not covered in other flavors as the others were.

Braised short ribs and grilled ribeye, with a shallot confit, garlic mashed potatoes and baby carrots.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Braised short ribs and grilled ribeye, with a shallot confit, garlic mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

The wine seemed the true highlight: Blanc de Blanc, Rosé and Chardonnay from Iron Horse Vineyards, and a trio of gorgeous Pinot Noirs from Emeritus Vineyards, both of California's Russian River Valley.

Emeritus' Brice Cutrer Jones was a lot of fun to sit next to. First — great name. Second, he says he was part of the United States Air Force Academy's first graduating class (later founding the 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron, apparently). Third, he knows wine inside and out.

He started Sonoma-Cutrer Wines before selling it in 1999 to buyers he now calls "Jack Daniels people." (Having been fired from the company, he says they're running it into the ground.) He said Oregon has the best Pinot growing conditions, but that the soil's all wrong for the grape. He dismissively called Napa Valley growers "muffler people," saying folks in California's wine-growing community aren't exactly friendly to each other, though Russian River producers tend to stick together.

And if you're brand new to wine, and are looking for reference points, here's some for the difference between Cabernet and Pinot Noir, according to Jones.

"Cabernets are about varietal flavor and intensity; being hit beside the head with a two-by-four," he said. "Pinots are about balance and elegance."

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Anderson and Bremer at it again

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 1:34 PM

After having released a number of private e-mails, El Paso County GOP party secretary Sarah Anderson has sent out another: a call for a meeting of the party's executive committee.

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The meeting is supposed to occur on Sept. 12. Eli Bremer, the party's chairman and a pentathlete, is scheduled to be competing in Moscow on Sept. 8, and there is question as to whether he will be back in time to attend. If not, the meeting would be run by the party's vice-chair, David Williams.

As is very clear in the emails we posted yesterday, Williams and Bremer don't exactly get along.

A couple agenda items will jump out instantly, including the discussions on the local GOP's donor-directed fund and the notorious July 7 executive session. Seeing as how Bremer might not be in town for the meeting, we asked him if the meeting would actually be held, and if so, whether he would hightail it back. These questions led to a back-and-forth between him and Anderson — facilitated by us, the "liberal media." It appears that the two have yet to discuss the issue directly.

Bremer:

The meeting notification was sent out in error and never should have gone out in the first place. The meeting is not taking taking place. We will likely have an EC meeting in late September or early October to discuss the State Central Committee Meeting and some of the ramifications of that upon our local operations. We will need to make some bylaw changes following that State CC meeting as well as determine how we will comply with the new timelines set for the upcoming elections.

Anderson:

1) Bylaw changes are made at Central Committee Meetings, not Executive Committee Meetings. In following the Chairman's clear direction back in February, I can't imagine why we would even discuss by-law changes at an ExecComm Meeting.

2) It was scheduled back in May at the last regularly scheduled Executive Committee Meeting and on my calendar to send out the notice. I'm confused as to why the Chairman would depart from normal procedure and attempt to cancel a regularly scheduled ExecComm Meeting.

3) My understanding, after consulting with a parliamentarian and others more knowledgeable about Robert's Rules and the by-laws is that there is no precedent anywhere to allow for a meeting once called to be officially cancelled.

Bremer:

Members of the Executive Committee wanted to discuss the bylaw and changes that will be necessary for us to incorporate in the next CC meeting. By discussing it and figuring out wordings and such, the EC members felt we could move forward with a clear and unified front. While the EC does not change the bylaws, having a vote on record (I would assume it will be unanimous) for a bylaw change will make it a much simpler process at the CC meeting.

We had penciled in a meeting for September for our third of four required meetings given that the third meeting actually took place on July 7th, this superseded the previous scheduling for the third meeting. Furthermore, there were discussions at the last EC meeting regarding the scheduling of the fourth meeting, and we did not set a date. A number of EC members were contacted by a group trying to push for the meeting and gave resounding support to waiting until after the State CC meeting.

The meeting has not been called and can not be called by anyone but me. There will be no meeting on September 12th because our rules state the I must call the meeting, and I am waiting until after the state CC meeting to do so. I'm surprised that anyone would contest this because it is clearly stated in our bylaws.

Anderson:

Interesting that the Chairman so blithely disregards his clear statements to the contrary in February. I guess it's closer to the Central Committee Meeting now, so it's not a waste of time?

In addition, the by-laws make a clear delineation between regularly scheduled Executive Committee Meetings (Article 7, Section 01(c)(1) ) and emergency meetings (Article 7, Section 01(c)(2) ). Emergency meetings do not, and cannot, supersede regularly scheduled meetings. Additionally, as the chief clerical officer of the Executive Committee, and keeper of the notes, I have no where in my notes, nor on the recording proceeding the closed session for the meeting, any discussion of the next meeting date. As far as I was concerned, and I think it likely many Executive Committee Members, the next meeting would be the regularly scheduled meeting decided upon at the 2 May meeting—thus, 12 September. It strikes me as odd that the Chairman, after clearly violating standard practice and procedure for the emergency meeting (and disregard for Robert's Rules of Order, which, by consequence, also clearly disregards Article 14 of our by-laws, giving deference to Robert's Rules of Order when not in conflict with or addressed in the by-laws), would then try to assert that there is no difference between the types of meetings, when there clearly is.

While the Chairman "issues" the call, it is the duty of the Secretary, per many years of precedent, to send the call out. I put it in my calendar to do that two weeks ahead of time to make sure that all by-law requirements are fulfilled. Under standard practice and procedure for the running of meetings per Robert's Rules of Order, once a regularly scheduled meeting is schedule, unless the Chairman clearly cancels the meeting in advance of the call, the meeting goes on as scheduled—as mentioned previously, to disregard this would be in violation of Article 14 of our by-laws. To comply with Article 7, Section 01(c)(1) of the by-laws, and ensure we have four REGULARLY SCHEDULED Meetings this year, I think it likely a 12 September meeting will need to occur.

And, finally, Bremer:

I'm sorry the secretary is confused and does not understand the rules and has not talked to our attorney for clarification. I'd suggest she talk to our county party attorney if she has further questions. There is no meeting on the 12th. We will issue a press release when we schedule our next meeting.

Here is the call for a meeting:

EL PASO COUNTY REPUBLICAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICIAL CALL

The El Paso County Republican Executive Committee will meet for a regularly scheduled meeting at Party Headquarters, 205 Sutton Lane, Colorado Springs on Monday, 12 September, 2011 at 5:30 PM, as scheduled during the Executive Committee Meeting on Monday, 2 May, 2011.

The Agenda will include the following items (but is not limited to):
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance
Minutes from the 2 May and 7 July Meetings
Discussion on a letter addressed to the Chairman and the Executive Committee
Discussion on Budget
Discussion on Donor Directed (Advised) Fund
Proposal by Brad Collins
Proposal by Clem Borkowski
Discussion of the 7/7/2011 Executive Session

Any additional items for the agenda must be submitted to the Chairman in writing at least ten days prior to the meeting (no later than 2 September, 2011)
. The final agenda will be sent out for review by or on 5 September, 2011.

Respectfully,
Sarah Anderson, Secretary
Dated 29 August 2011 in Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Colorado Springs' offerings to the GABF gods

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 6:48 AM

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In case you haven't heard, the Great American Beer Festival is coming up at the end of September, and Colorado Springs will be represented by Bristol Brewing Co., Black Fox Brewing Co. (via Bristol's entry), Trinity Brewing Co., Rocky Mountain Brewery and Colorado Mountain Brewery.

We spoke with everybody except Rocky Mountain (those guys are pretty busy, I guess) to get an idea of what they're bringing to the festival.

Bristol Brewing Company: Red Rocket Pale Ale, Laughing Lab Scottish Ale, Oktoberfest, Old No. 23 Barley Wine, Cheyenne Cañon Pinon Nut Ale, B-6000 Dubbel (judging only, meaning it won't be available to taste on the floor) and Bristol Wit (judging only).

Black Fox Brewing Company: Faust Part 2, and Wild in the Streets (both sour ales)

Trinity Brewing Company: Pappy Legba Imperial Saison, Soul Scottish Ale, Double Rainbow, The Flavor Sour Ale, Provisional Farmhouse (brett-laced saison), Brain of the Turtle (sour), Slap Your Mammy Imperial IPA and Old Growth Belgian Sour Ale.

Colorado Mountain Brewery: Ole 59er Amber Ale, Panther IPA, UniBrau Hefeweissen and 7258 Blonde Ale.

CMB brewer Andrew Bradley says that while he'd like to medal at the competition, he's looking for something else.

"This is going to be our first GABF. I’ve attended tons of them over the years at my other brewery, but this will be the first time that CMB’s representing," he says. "And the reason we’re kind of sending up our more traditionals is, I want to see how they stack. If I medal, that would be delightful, but really I’m just wanting to get the judges' replies back, see what’s going on."

Bristol's Laura Long says the brewery's as excited as ever for the GABF, but there's always a little ambivalence about the judging process — even for the brewery whose Laughing Lab has become the most decorated microbrew in the state.

"Well, we win about half the time, [and] the fact that it only wins half the time, really, I think, speaks to the inherent subjectivity of that process — ’cause it’s people, with taste buds," she says. "So they’re trying to determine how well it fits into a style category, but clearly they’re bringing, at times, they’re own bias or particular taste to it."

Each brewer spoke about the rigidity of the festival's style rules; for instance, Bristol's Beehive Honey Wheat can't compete in the American-style wheat beer category, because the honey addition disqualifies it.

That puts a brewery such as Trinity at something of a competitive disadvantage.

"Most of the categories we do enter are 'catch-all' categories," writes brewer Jason Yester in an e-mail. "We don't like brewing our beers by a set of rules and we rather brew from inspiration and passion. Therefore, a lot of our beers don't fall into traditional definition."

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Finally! A condom revolution!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Um kids, you forgot something ...
Comedian David Cross once blamed the phenomenon on a modern-day Johnny Appleseed — some guy filling a bucket with used condoms, then driving around randomly sprinkling them all over the streets of New York.

But seriously. It does make you wonder. Given the places used condoms show up, you can't help but wonder: Did someone really do it right there? And did they have to leave the evidence on the street, for some incredibly unfortunate person to step in?

I bring this up because there's a condom bus currently traveling the country, promoting its wares. I know that the fact that the bus is plaid, that it's filled with people hawking rubbers, and that it's a socially conscious project that gives condoms to developing countries, should be what interests me.

It isn't.

Actually, what interests me is the fact that these particular condoms are biodegradable. That just makes me happy. Let's face it: Teenagers and perverts aren't going to start responsibly disposing of their old rubbers when they decide to do it in a bush on the side of a nature trail. And people like myself — who actually do pick up litter sometimes — sure as hell aren't cleaning that up for them.

Biodegradable. What a lovely solution. Bravo, Sir Richard's condoms, bravo.

Read about the tour here: http://bit.ly/p8x4DP

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Let me be the last to share my Craft Lager photos

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Damn. Even the Focus on the Beer guy got his Craft Lager Festival blog up before me.

The most notable edition to this years festival was of course Colorado micro distilleries.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The most notable edition to this year's festival was, of course, Colorado micro distilleries.

What can I say ... it's been a long hangover, since Aug. 13.

Not really, but I did actually wait to hear from festival president Julian Heron for some post-event attendance numbers and the like.

The sad news is that for the first time in nine years, not only did the festival fail to grow by around 40 percent, it actually shrunk by around 25 percent.

According to Heron's calculations, the festival saw around 3,000 attendees, down from last year's high of around 4,100. It's about enough to break even.

Heron says the economy could be a culprit behind the drop, but he also blames himself for perhaps not marketing enough this year. Ticket prices did also increase by $5 for Saturday's session, so some sticker shock could be involved.

When asked if he'd consider scaling back to a single day, Heron says the option is on the table — the brewers actually prefer it, he says. He's also considering launching a brewer's breakfast or some other type of special event for those willing to pay for a VIP experience.

"I like the feel of two days, myself," he says, adding, "We try to do the things that nobody else does."

So, back to my belated blog here. Here's a quick slideshow of the event through my lens. Cheers.

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Hunger Games movie moving along

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:42 PM

When I got in to work this morning, I had a release about the in-production Hunger Games film. In case you haven't heard, The Hunger Games was chosen as one of this year's All Pikes Peak Reads books.

I hadn't read Suzanne Collins' run-away young adult novel, nor the other two in the trilogy at the time of the APPR announcement, but I have now, and I have to say I haven't had such a good read in a long time. (Perhaps since Harry Potter, actually ...) I can't wait to reread the entire series before the movie comes out in March 2012.

I encourage you to pick up the novel and join in on APPR. The official kick-off date is Sept. 10 at the What IF! festival, but there's no reason to wait.

And in the meantime, here's the very first movie trailer, released on MTV's Video Music Awards last night, to give you a taste of what's to come.

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Anderson pulls back the curtain on local GOP

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:00 PM

UPDATE: El Paso County Republican Party Chairman Eli Bremer's comments have now been included.

Sarah Anderson

El Paso County Republican Party Secretary Sarah Anderson has released nearly 8,000 words of private e-mails exchanged within the local GOP party leadership. The e-mails, which are dated between February and May 2011, were exchanged between Anderson, chairman Eli Bremer, vice-chair David Williams, then-party attorney John Buckley, and others such as executive committee bonus member (and El Paso County Treasurer) Bob Balink.

They offer a glimpse at an immediately antagonistic relationship between the party officers that would eventually blow up and wind up on the cover of this paper.

This isn't the first time an officer of the local GOP has released private e-mails; Bremer did so back on July 19, when he forwarded us a conversation that took place between himself, Buckley and Anderson. At the time, Bremer said that he released the e-mails because "they are of direct importance and contradict [Anderson's] statements."

When asked why she chose to release the e-mails, Anderson says, "The reason that they should be released is that it shows a pattern that started just a few weeks after we were elected, and that pattern is power first, and ignore other people. I think that you can see that particularly in some of the earlier e-mails where the chairman is very dismissive of the executive committee and their ability to do things or not do things, but then he tries to rely heavily on them later on. It's a contradiction that he uses only to suit his purposes."

We have reached out to Bremer, Williams, Buckley and Balink. Buckley has yet to respond.

Balink states that it is Anderson's prerogative to release the e-mails, stating, "I have only tried to help everyone devote their energies toward productive outcomes. We have lots of talent across the board and by working together we can all make a difference."

"It is disappointing," writes Bremer in an e-mail, "that we have members of the Republican Party who turn to liberal media outlets with their complaints when they fail in accomplishing their agendas within the Party. The Central Committee elected me to run our organization to the highest professional standards and set up top-notch election support for the purpose of defeating Barack Obama in November 2012. In the past six months, we have made tremendous strides forward. We have paid off our substantial debt and have now have nearly a year’s worth of cash on hand for our core business operations. We have formed a Strategic Plan that was approved with resounding support from our Executive Committee. We secured our databases, protecting the private information of hundreds of thousands of voters in El Paso County. And we have brought our organization into compliance with the best practices for fundraising with our new Donor Advised Fund. Most importantly, we are making tremendous strides forward toward efficient and effective election operations for our Republican candidates in the 2012 election. I encourage all Republicans who truly want to see Barack Obama defeated in 2012 join with us as one team to achieve victory!"

Williams states:

I have been directed by Chairman Eli Bremer not to speak to members of the press under penalty of a resignation request by the Chairman. However, I do feel that such a directive is not within the Chairman's authority to issue. With that stated, my hope is that State Party Chairman Ryan Call, despite his perceived close association with Eli or Eli's opinions, can successfully and neutrally conduct a mediation meeting with the three officers. From day one it has been apparent that Sarah and I have not been welcome to participate in any decisions regarding the direction of our party. Regardless of the mistreatment that Sarah and I have received, I know that the both of us are committed to moving forward and bringing a positive end to this situation.

Anderson says that her hope in releasing these private conversations is "that people see that there is a huge disconnect between what is said publicly and what is said privately. And that there are some people who have been very consistent and some people who haven't been. And have to get that straightened out before anything can move forward with this party, and winning in 2012, which is what we have to do."

She hopes to expedite the process.

"I think that this is going to get worse before it gets better," she says. "I think that the best thing we can do now is just realize what we have to work with, what we've been working with from the beginning, and figure out how to take that and move forward. This is going to require, unfortunately, a fundamental change, a shift, in the way the chairman handles his duties, and his understanding of what his position is. This isn't the military, a top-down hierarchical structure. I've spoken to many chairmen, vice-chairmen and secretaries of other parties, and they understand the division of labor. They understand that this is much closer to the governor, the secretary of state and the lieutenant governor than it is between commander and subordinates.

"My hope is that people will start to act like adults, but this has felt like high school to me, and I've been through that once," she says. "Let's stop with the back-stabbing and the lying."

For readability, the Indy adjusted formatting elements of the e-mails that follow, but not content.

Continue reading »

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