Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican? Crazy. Why don't Republicans brag about that constantly?
It's in the Our Party section of the site that former party vice-chairman Dave Williams has found his chance for outrage.
What Williams said on Facebook:
I'd really like to support the local party, but it becomes more and more difficult when it tries to subtly undermine our platform. Please don't beg me for money if this is what you're selling.
Oh no, what vile thing could the GOP possibly be selling? Two paragraphs noting the rare instances in which Republicans have shown cordiality to gays and lesbians. These two graphs — one of which notes that young Republicans and conservative independents tend to support gay marriage — are tucked into the nearly 7,000-word essay, borrowed from Wikipedia, on the history of the Republican Party.
Groups advocating for LGBT issues inside the party include the Log Cabin Republicans, GOProud, Young Conservatives For The Freedom To Marry, and College Republicans of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. A poll in March 2013 found that 34% of Republicans supported same-sex marriage, with 52% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents between the age of 18-49 years old supporting same-sex marriage.
Notable Republicans who support same-sex marriage include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former first lady Laura Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former GOP national chairman Ken Mehlman, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Rob Portman, Meg Whitman, Tom Ridge, William Weld, Jane Swift, Paul Cellucci, Christine Todd Whitman, and Theodore Olson. The last figure has co-led the legal campaign against Californian anti-gay marriage measure Proposition 8. More than 100 former Republican lawmakers, leaders and governors signed an amicus brief calling for California's ban on same-sex marriage to be overturned.
Williams has a history with homosexuals.
For those of you who don't remember, he first got media attention after he attempted to use his position as student body president to torpedo an LGBT event at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
And last year, he riled many in his own party when he booed a fellow Republican at that party's state convention.
“I did boo,” said Williams, who’s the current Vice Chair of the El Paso Country Republican Party. “I booed because the Log Cabin Republicans were advocating something that was contrary to Republican platform. It had nothing to do with who they are. It had nothing to do with their sexuality.”
When asked about Williams' criticism of the county party's new site, Chairman Jeff Hays responded:
The El Paso County Republican Party is a diverse organization representing a variety of citizens of many viewpoints. Our supporters disagree on some issues, but we recognize and applaud their rights to their opinions and hold dear our common love for individual liberty, constitutional integrity, and limited government.
Once the Waldo Canyon Fire breached Rampart Range Road, there was no hope of stopping the fire from blazing into Colorado Springs, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said today.
That's because the road provided the only access point for firefighters to battle the blaze on that side of the fire, one of several weaknesses identified in Maketa's After Action Report of the fire, which destroyed 347 homes in Colorado Springs and killed two people in June.
Maketa said local officials should try to work with forestry agencies to secure fire breaks near the forest so that firefighters can better access rugged wildlands during fires that threaten population centers.
The sheriff also said people working the fire sometimes didn't communicate resource needs through Incident Command, causing confusion, and emergency operations centers set up by the county, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Fire Department and possibly other agencies proved difficult to manage and staff. There should be fewer EOCs, he said, possibly just one where all agencies work together.
"We have already started these discussions with the fire department, police department and Bret Waters [city chief of emergency operations management] because they realize the same," Maketa said.
Those are but a few findings in the AAR, which officials said would be posted at the sheriff's website, if not today, soon.
El Paso County has finished a draft master plan for its parks, and is seeking the public's input on the document. Interested folks may comment via e-mail or at a meeting coming up on Thursday, April 18.
Read on for more details:
El Paso County staff, consultants and citizens have been working together since mid-2012 to update the Parks Master Plan, a guiding document for improvement and acquisition of parks, trails and open space. Many people took advantage of surveys and meetings last year to express their views on parks and recreation issues and needs.
The draft Master Plan is now available for public review here.
Citizens can see how their concerns have been addressed and to comment on recommended actions and projects.
El Paso County Parks will be holding a Public Open House for the Parks Master Plan Update on Thursday, April 18, 2013, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center, in the Hearing Room on the second floor. The address is 2880 International Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80910. Staff, consultants and Master Plan Committee members will be available to provide information and receive citizen input.
Following the Open House, the Master Plan will be refined based on public and committee member comments and will be presented to the El Paso County Park Advisory Board on May 8. A work session with the Board of County Commissioners is also tentatively planned in May. The Park Advisory Board will make a recommendation to the Planning Commission, which has the final approval authority.
Public input is encouraged through April 19 and may also be provided to firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Medical Response might not be running emergency ambulance calls in Colorado Springs for too much longer, so it might be a good time to take a look at how it has served the area for more than a decade under the El Paso County Emergency Services Agency, a multi-jurisdictional group that oversees the AMR contract.
In its "Colorado Springs Community Report," AMR notes the company began serving the local community in 1979 and has contracted through the ESA since 1999. It reports:
AMR’s 250 local caregivers and support staff are proud to provide state-of-the-art medical care and transportation to the citizens of and visitors to El Paso County. We appreciate the confidence shown by the El Paso County Emergency Services Agency in selecting AMR to provide service. AMR Colorado Springs meets the industry “gold standard” by maintaining Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services certification.
The report also talks about its community service and its response time record. This chart goes from the most rural areas covered by the AMR contract, called Frontier, to the most dense (Urban 8), that being Colorado Springs:
And when things got dicey due to the Waldo Canyon Fire last summer, AMR says, it swung into action:
On the evening of June 26th, as the Waldo Canyon fire exploded onto the west side of Colorado Springs, AMR pulled together more than 50 units (AMR units from Denver, Pueblo and Canon City, as well as city busses and other private resources from Colorado Springs and Denver area) to evacuate Mt. St. Francis skilled nursing facility on the west side of town. This facility had 108 residents that were all moved to safety within two-and-a-half hours. As flames approached, this multijurisdictional task force remained in place until all residents and staff were enroute to safety. An AMR Operation Supervisor assumed the transport command role leading two task forces throughout the night assisting three more nursing homes and several assisted care facilities that were in the pre- evacuation areas.
During the week while the fire was most active AMR maintained the multijurisdictional ambulance task force and was also asked to help rehabilitate firefighters and police officers, as well as set up medical triage at the evacuation centers. AMR also maintained extra staff to run the 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls throughout the city and county. Not a single call went without a response; AMR was able to respond to all calls, freeing the Colorado Springs Fire Department to be on modified medical dispatch throughout most of the Waldo Canyon fire, allowing them to focus all resources on the fire.
This is confirmed in the city's Waldo Canyon Fire Final After Action Report, released Wednesday, which states that AMR was asked to take on additional duties the very first day of the fire. "CSFD [Fire Department] District Chiefs conferred and decided to use modified dispatch procedures, diverting several medical calls to American Medical Response (AMR) ntil 0300 the following day [June 24, the second day of the fire]."
Read the entire report here:
But AMR's days in Colorado Springs might be numbered. Mayor Steve Bach has notified the ESA the city will pull out of the regional organization and bid its own contract with an emergency provider. It's unclear if Plan B, turning emergency transport over to firefighters, is still under consideration, because city officials refuse to speak publicly about their plans other than through prepared statements.
Fire Chief Rich Brown's statement to the ESA board:
A Fire Department-based system was rejected several years ago due to the high cost (about $5 million) to capitalize the service, as well as other issues, which we reported here.
My theory is that there is a panhandler for every heartstring.
Maybe you're a veteran who's sensitive to the guy who lost his legs in Vietnam. Maybe you struggled as a young mother, and you're touched by the pregnant teen. Whatever your type, the reaction is generally the same — a sickness in the gut, followed by the strong desire to help.
But experts have long argued that giving money to panhandlers isn't productive. The money, they say, goes to drugs and alcohol, and often keeps people on the streets longer. It's better to save your dollar and give it to an established charity.
Today, the El Paso County commissioners gave their blessing to a plan to encourage good samaritans to do exactly that when they're in No Man's Land (also known as The Avenue), the western part of Colorado Avenue that has been plagued by crime and aggressive panhandling.
Commissioners Endorse Efforts of Avenue Task Force to Support Assistance Agencies
Group Will Promote Best Practices to Help the Homeless and Discourage Panhandling
El Paso County, CO., March 19, 2013 — The Board of El Paso County Commissioners today approved a Resolution endorsing efforts of the Westside Avenue Action Task Force to discourage street corner panhandling by supporting agencies which offer lasting help to those in need. The Westside Avenue Action Task Force is a coalition of Westside Colorado Springs and Manitou residents, business representatives, elected officials and public safety officers working together to reduce crime, improve living conditions and boost economic vitality along the West Colorado Avenue corridor from Old Colorado City into Manitou Springs.
The Resolution notes, “The Avenue Task Force is developing a multimedia information campaign encouraging citizens and businesses to give generously to charities that offer genuine and lasting help to those who are homeless and in need.” It notes that informational materials produced by the group will be made available throughout El Paso County to, “direct the generosity of our citizens toward the agencies and organizations with the experience, skill and resources needed to address the causes of homelessness rather than enabling the continuation of this dangerous and destructive lifestyle.”
Task Force member and Vice President of the Organization of Westside Neighbors Mary Gallivan told Commissioners, “We are working on a solution that doesn’t push the problem to other parts of the community. Our goal is for the people to give to charities that can help the homeless.” Member Bonnie Lapor added, “When you give to charities, they have the funds to help them get their lives turned around.”
El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputies, Colorado Springs Police and Manitou Police are working with the Task Force to develop and distribute the informational materials. El Paso County Sheriff’s Commander Rob King praised the Task Force for being open to suggestions and willing to work. King said, “They really came together as a community in all facets of this process and are likely to succeed in their common goal.”
Commissioner Sallie Clark, whose Commissioner District 3 includes the Westside corridor has been actively involved with Task Force. Clark noted, “This is a positive, pro-active effort to help people in need and to improve conditions through this corridor which is especially important to maintain jobs in our local tourism and visitor industry.”
Task Force informational materials ready for print can be downloaded at: www.westsideneighbors.org Click on the “panhandling” link on the left side of the page.” Informational videos are in production and will be available soon.
County officials are a little upset that the state legislature has passed a host of gun control laws.
Littleton is planning on hosting a meeting to discuss what the laws mean to citizens — or whether El Paso County will simply secede from the Union. (Little joke there ... we hope.) El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who has offered teachers free lessons in hunting down mass shooters, will also be in attendance.
Commissioner Littleton Schedules Town Hall Meeting on Pending State Gun Laws
Sheriff Terry Maketa to Answer Citizens Questions
El Paso County, CO, March 9, 2013 — El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa will join County Commissioner Peggy Littleton for a “town hall” public meeting this Thursday to answer citizens’ questions about legislation under consideration in Denver and Washington which would impose additional regulations on the ownership and sale of firearms and ammunition. Earlier this year the Board of El Paso County Commissioners unanimously adopted a Resolution in support of second amendment rights and urging both federal and state lawmakers to reject new legislation which would seek to limit those rights.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa also issued statement in support of second amendment rights and indicating that the Sheriff’s Office would not support the enforcement of Presidential orders or similar rules of administrative agencies which would be in conflict with second amendment constitutional guarantees.
Commissioner Peggy Littleton says, “There is a lot of talk new gun restrictions in Denver and in Washington and we have been getting questions from El Paso County residents who want to know more about what’s being proposed and what these proposed restrictions would mean here in El Paso County. Sheriff Maketa will be there to answer citizens' questions about local enforcement requirements.”
The public meeting will be held Thursday night, March 14,
20182013 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room at Centennial Hall, 200 South Cascade Avenue. Free parking is available in the El Paso County parking garage on Sawatch Avenue directly west of Centennial Hall.
John Leavitt, who was just hired to represent the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's Office, previously worked for the City of Colorado Springs as a senior communications specialist.
Leavitt lost his job a year ago, along with Bill Beagle, when the city "eliminated two positions" in the communications department. At the time, the city claimed that the move was "part of the organization-wide efforts to pursue efficiencies wherever possible." However, the city quickly hired two new communications specialists to replace Beagle and Leavitt, and many felt their elimination was tied more to ideology than budget concerns.
Among media circles, Leavitt was known as a responsive and professional spokesperson, who strictly adhered to open records laws. In 2011, the Indy named Leavitt and Mary Scott (who has since left her job at the city) as the best public communications officers in its annual Best Of competition.
The city has struggled to meet open records laws since Mayor Steve Bach, a vocal critic of the media, took office. Recently, the city began charging for public records.
John Leavitt Named Public Information Officer for El Paso County Clerk & Recorder Wayne Williams
[March 4, 2013 — Colorado Springs, CO] — El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams today announced his office has hired John Leavitt, APR, as its new public information officer. Leavitt, a local public relations veteran, brings 19 years of government communications experience to the position.
“We are excited John has joined our team,” said Williams. “He will be charged with ensuring two-way communications to provide citizens with vital information from the Clerk and Recorder’s Office and to provide our management team with feedback from citizens for continuous improvement of our processes.”
Leavitt most recently served as a public relations consultant for Junior Achievement USA in Colorado Springs. Before that brief stop, Leavitt served in senior communications positions with The City of Colorado Springs, Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs School District 11, and Colorado Springs Utilities. Leavitt was named the Best Government PIO in 2012 by one media outlet.
Leavitt said, “It is an honor to join a team charged with such important and fundamental tasks as election management, motor vehicle registration, issuing marriage licenses, and recording real estate transactions. Virtually every El Paso County citizen at some point does business with this office. It’s a tremendous responsibility to be charged with communicating for this organization.”
Williams said Leavitt was chosen from a deep and talented pool of applicants. His strong commitment to public access to information, existing relationships with local officials, and professional reputation with local media were among his strengths. “John’s long-time ownership of a small business [a local Sports Clips franchise] means he understands private enterprise and the struggles our citizens face,” noted Williams.
Leavitt lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Susan. They are parents of six children and are expecting their first grandchild. Leavitt has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Brigham Young University and a Masters of Public Administration from UCCS. He is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America and can therefore use the APR designation following his name.
El Paso County is moving forward with an exploration of stormwater funding — with or without Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach's support.
Bach has continually interfered with a process to explore the region's stormwater problem and possible solutions, saying he has his own ideas for funding stormwater — namely asking citizen-owned Colorado Springs Utilities to bear the city's $687 million burden.
But experts have long said stormwater is a regional issue, since water doesn't recognize political bounds. And with the Waldo Canyon burn scar exponentially increasing flooding risks in the region, El Paso County apparently isn't waiting for Bach's blessing to pursue solutions. Today it passed a resolution and announced the formation of a steering committee to look at funding options.
El Paso County commissioners approved a resolution this morning stating an intention to work regionally on a solution to stormwater management and flood control. City Council is expected to consider the same resolution soon.
Commissioners made a few changes to the wording of the resolution, which was recommended by the Regional Stormwater Task Force. The resolution originally addressed only "stormwater" and called for an agreement between Colorado Springs and El Paso County.
Commissioners tacked on the words "community partners" in an effort to get smaller communities like Manitou Springs and Monument to consider passing the resolution as well. And they added the words "flood control" to the title, after agreeing that the term "stormwater" had negative connotations (given the city's unpopular past efforts to fund the problem). Commissioners also agreed that the words "flood control" were more informative to citizens.
Commissioner Amy Lathen said the county is also setting up a steering committee to look at funding options. The county has already compiled a list of over 100 names of people who will be asked to participate. It includes interested citizens, and representatives from organizations such as neighborhood groups, the military, school districts, and special districts.
The county plans to allow the committee to choose how it will structure itself in a kick-off meeting next week.
Alissa Vander Veen, El Paso County deputy clerk and recorder, is bidding county government adieu to take a job in marketing with Challenger Homes.
Challenger is owned by 2011 mayoral candidate Brian Bahr.
"It was a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it," she says via e-mail. "Don’t worry I will still be around doing some political stuff."
Vander Veen sent this message to media outlets this morning:
I just wanted to let you all know that today is my last day as the Communication Manager for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, as I am leaving for a new job opportunity. Please direct all media inquiries and request to either Clerk Wayne Williams at WayneWilliams@elpasoco.com or 719-439-1870. If you are unable reach him please contact either Dave Rose, PIO for El Paso County at DaveRose@elpasoco.com, or 719-520-6540, or Jennifer Brown PIO for El Paso County Department of Human Services at JenniferBrown@elpasoco.com, or 719-444-5533.
I would like you to know that it has been a pleasure working with all of you and I look forward to crossing paths in the future. Thanks for everything!
Former El Paso County commissioner, hard-core conservative and lawyer Duncan Bremer gave a presentation to the current commissioners today advising them that they may be able to deny their employees access to birth control.
Access is guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, but has been opposed by religious groups and conservative businesses, notably the Catholic Church and Hobby Lobby.
Bremer noted that when he was in office, the county banned using county insurance to pay for elective abortion. Bremer — making the same arguments that "Personhood" proponents have used to advocate full citizenship for fertilized eggs — said that birth control was comparable to abortion.
"There have been in those intervening circles around the sun, some new technology that has developed and become available — drugs, procedures, chemicals, whatever — that have the ability to take a fertilized egg and prevent its implantation or perhaps kill it by other means," he told the Commissioners. "There's obviously a debate about whether that constitutes an elective abortion or not. That's really for you to decide as it applies to your particular policy."
Bremer said Obamacare "mandated the use" of such procedures and chemicals. (Though, actually, it only mandates coverage for birth control.)
Bremer said that assuming the commissioners wanted to avoid covering birth control, they have three options. First, since the county self-insures, he said, it falls under special regulations that could present a loophole. Second, grandfather provisions could protect the county's existing ban. Third, he said, since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act "as a tax," it's possible that the state couldn't be forced to pay penalties for noncompliance because the state cannot be forced to pay a tax to the federal government.
Commissioner Dennis Hisey, smiling widely, called Bremer's presentation "very interesting."
If you're somebody, you've probably been invited to the "ribbon-shooting" ceremony at 11 a.m., Wednesday to mark the opening of the Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex.
The ceremony is invitation only, but the range, a project by Fort Carson and El Paso County, will be open from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
The range idea emerged after the U.S. Forest Service shut down the Rampart Shooting Range in July 2009 after an Aurora man was killed in a shooting accident.
Here's Carson's news release:
The shooting complex, which is the largest outdoor shooting range in the State of Colorado,
is a joint project between Fort Carson, El Paso County, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the National Forest Service and the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. It will be open to the general public with minimal daily rates of $10 per person.
The 400-acre site is located on Fort Carson land near Interstate 25 just off mile marker 132. The entrance is just outside Fort Carson’s Gate 20 security perimeter. Shooters using the range will not have to enter the installation nor register their weapons with Fort Carson to utilize the range.
This marks the completion of the first of a three-phase construction plan. The complex currently consists of seven shooting ranges with approximately 120 covered shooting positions. Three ranges are designated for rifles with distances from 300 to 500 yards. There are also four designated pistol ranges and one multi-position range prioritized for law enforcement and public safety training purposes.
A small archery range will also be on site with plans to expand it as funding becomes available and a five-stand trap range is expected to be available in the spring for shotgun enthusiasts.
The second phase of the project will include the construction of five skeet & trap ranges and a club house. The club house will include a retail store, class rooms and offices. Completion of the project will occur during the third phase with the addition of a restaurant.
One 1,250-yard-long shooting range will be for the exclusive use of law enforcement, Monday through Friday, and open to the public on weekends.
The range complex will be staffed by Department of Defense Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation civilian personnel. Although on-duty Soldiers will not train on this range, the complex will be open to off-duty military personnel shooting their personal firearms, DoD civilians, retired military and all civilians.
Profits from the range will be used to fund the Fort Carson FMWR program, which supports Soldiers and their Families.
El Paso County has established a nonprofit organization called the Soldier’s Friend Foundation to raise funds for the next two phases of the complex. A web site under construction will allow for donations to help fund the two additional phases of the project.
With the Waldo Canyon Fire having wiped out 345 homes last summer, it appears Colorado Springs and El Paso County are working on ways to help homeowners figure out how to work with their insurance companies and prepare for the next disaster.
First, the latter. Last night, roughly 300 people packed Cheyenne Mountain High School auditorium to hear the city lay out suggestions for preparing for evacuations and how to mitigate flammable materials around homes to retard fire spread in the future.
Tips for evacuations:
— Put together a 72-hour kit containing everything you need to live outside your home, such as phones, clothing, medicine, and other essentials.
— Take important documents with you, including birth certificates, passports, insurance policies and bank statements. Also, constantly review your policies for adequate coverage, including replacement value.
— Make an inventory of your possessions and video your home if possible.
— Home businesses should back up data at an off-site area.
— Share your cell phone number with your homeowner association or neighbors so you can be reached quickly.
— Back the car into the garage for a quick departure, but make sure you know how to open your garage door if the power goes out.
— Depart in one car, not multiple cars so your family stays together.
— Those with disabilities should call 211 to get on a list of those needing assistance in evacuations.
— Sign up your cell phone for reverse 911 calls by going to http://www.elpasoteller911.org/
It's important to be ready, says city Emergency Operations Manager Bret Waters, because, "Pre-evacuation notices may not always be issued prior to mandatory evacuations."
Christina Randall, who oversees wildland fire mitigation programs for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, says it costs $900 to $2,400 per acre to mitigate against fire threat. With 28,800 acres in the city in the wildland-urban interface, the city needs all the help it can get. Randall urged residents to do their own mitigation. She reminded the crowd the city has 36,485 addresses and 91,200 people in the threat area.
But the city can help. She said if a dozen neighbors get together to mitigate, they can schedule the city's chipper to come by and take away the slash. For information, call her at 385-7368.
The county also is lining up help for homeowners.
“Many Mountain Shadows residents got their claim checks and have started to rebuild or repair their homes but others, especially those with homes that were damaged but not destroyed, are getting little help and a lot of red tape from their insurance carriers,” Commissioner Sallie Clark says in a news release.
“They have warped windows that don’t open and close properly. They are living with soot in the attic and smoke and heat damage throughout their homes and they are having a difficult time trying to get their property back to the way it was before the fire.”
Clark says anyone experiencing trouble with insurance claims can turn to United Policyholders, an organization that received grant funding from the Colorado 2012 Fire Relief Fund specifically to help victims of Colorado’s Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.
The agency offers information and advocacy services to insurance consumers in all 50 states and does not accept funding from insurance companies. To begin, fill out an online questionnaire at: www.uphelp.org/survey
In addition to claims assistance services, United Policyholders can also help homeowners to review policies and better understand the coverage available through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Freshman State Sen. Owen Hill, who swept into the Legislature on a wave of local grassroots support, has made his choice known for the upcoming party elections.
In February, the El Paso County Republican Party will be electing its officials, including the chair, vice chair and secretary. Running for the chair position is the current vice chair, Dave Williams, and Hill has endorsed Williams' bid.
In his letter of support, Hill wrote in part:
As someone who came up through the grassroots myself, I know that at least one thing for sure . . . with Democrats controlling both Legislative Chambers and the Governor’s office, our best chance to retake the majority will begin and end with the largest Republican County in Colorado, El Paso County.
But unless we elect new leadership that can credibly reach out to the new voters we need to win, Colorado will continue to be governed by liberals from Boulder and Denver rather than by genuine conservatives here in Colorado Springs.
That’s why I’m writing to you personally to make a sincere and urgent appeal for you to please join me in voting for David Williams to be our new Republican Party Chairman.
That's all well and good, but Hill's letter also included a more critical eye:
In just a few days, I will be sworn in as El Paso County’s newest Republican State Senator.
But in order for me and other Republicans to succeed at the Capitol, I need your help back here at home to rebuild our County Party that has been discredited by ineffective, out-of-touch, and even corrupt leadership.
Unfortunately, failed leaders chose to go their own foolish route and, as a result; we have seen staggering election losses. Thankfully, many of us who ran our own campaigns saw the impending train wreck and avoided the staggering losses that the failed GOP leadership produced for folks like State Rep. Mark Barker and Jennifer George.
If only they listened to Dave Williams, we might still have the Colorado State House in Republican control to offer at least some resistance to the Democrats in the Senate and to Hickenlooper.
Blistering under this criticism of party leadership, the current chairman, Eli Bremer, responded with his own email, stating in part:
As Chairman, one of my responsibilities is to defend the Party against false denunciations.
This week some of you received a letter from newly-elected State Senator Owen Hill accusing the Republican Party of everything from corruption to gross incompetence. His accusations are baseless and unjustified, and Senator Hill is well aware of this. His slanderous and deceitful statements are harmful to the efforts of grassroots Republicans who are working to win elections in El Paso County and in the State of Colorado.
As a former military officer, Senator Hill took an oath requiring honesty and integrity. It’s disappointing that Senator Hill has chosen a path of deception, and we encourage him to be more honest with Republicans in the future. Senator Hill could be a powerful force for conservative principles in our state if he changes course and embraces integrity and truth instead of dishonesty and political posturing. We encourage the Republicans of El Paso County to hold Senator Hill and all our Republican elected officials to the highest ethical standards as we fight to preserve our freedom and liberty from those who would take those rights from us.
We've reached out to Hill to ask him about all this; if we hear back, we'll update this post.
In the meantime, though, it's worth noting that the response from Bremer irritated Colorado Springs' state Sen. Kent Lambert, who tells the Indy: "I think that this was a step over the line."
"This was a public attack on Owen Hill on his first day of the Senate," he says. "If nothing else, it was stupid."
Lambert says that he forwarded on Bremer's email to the party's state chairman, Ryan Call. He adds that Call said what Bremer did was "inappropriate."
Reached by the Indy, Call won't discuss the matter, stating: "It is my policy not to discuss the nature of any private conversations I have with Republican candidates or elected officials."
However, according to Lambert, Call considers dealing with this internal feud a "top priority."
"A party chairman at the county level is supposed to be neutral," says Lambert. "Eli's consistently not done that, and has used the same kind of statements against anybody who differs with his opinion. ... this is unacceptable and there is a consistent track record of Eli Bremer doing this."
In an email to the Indy, Bremer responded:
It is surprising that Senator Lambert has taken offense to this. He has continually taken the position that the Party should stand on principle. Integrity, honesty, and being a person of your word should be something we all agree upon as the basic standard of behavior for Republicans and Democrats alike. Weather it is properly representing one's resume or speaking only substantiated truth in political campaigns, the Republican Party believes that truth and character are universals values that all voters, should expect to receive from their elected officials. No one is perfect, but Republicans should always strive to set the example of integrity and truthfulness in our political engagement. It is unrealistic to expect voters to support our policies if they do not view the Republican Party and our Republican candidates and office holders as upholding the truth ahead of political considerations.
You can read all of these emails after the jump.
A coalition of public officials and others from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs is pushing Colorado's congressional delegation to secure funding for help with watershed protection and mitigation after wildfires in Colorado claimed more than 600 homes and 100,000 acres of forest land last year.
A letter dated today, Jan. 9, was sent by leaders in El Paso and Larimer counties, the cities of Colorado Springs and Greeley, Pikes Peak Council of Governments, Colorado Springs Utilties, Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, Colorado Municipal League, and Colorado Counties Inc.
The money would come from a bill for disaster help for Hurricane Sandy, which the House of Representatives failed to act on last week.
In the Pikes Peak region, the Waldo Canyon Fire ignited June 23 and destroyed 345 homes and charred more than 18,000 acres. The High Park fire, which started June 9 in Larimer County, claimed 259 homes and some 87,000 acres. The Waldo killed two people in the city, and the High Park, one.
Here's the letter:
We are writing to urge you to support the inclusion of $19.8 million for Colorado Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) funding in the Supplemental Appropriation for Disaster Assistance. The EWP program is a critically important tool in assisting our communities by implementing emergency recovery measures for restoring our watersheds, and protecting life safety and critical infrastructure damaged by this summer’s devastating Waldo Canyon and High Park wildfires. Both El Paso and Larimer counties believe that EWP is needed to allow the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to fund critical wildfire restoration and mitigation projects.
Waldo Canyon Projects
The City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities need additional funding to reduce flooding, sedimentation and debris flow impacts on facilities critical to collecting, storing and conveying raw drinking water to approximately 70% of city residents.
El Paso County is working with private landowners, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), School District 14 and others to protect the City of Manitou Springs and Highway 24 West from significant erosion and flooding issues which also threaten lives and property in the Ute Pass areas of Chipita Park and Cascade. Additionally, the Navigators and Flying W Ranch need additional funds to protect public and private facilities, including significant historic structures such as Glen Eyrie Castle.
High Park Projects
High Park fire area water providers (City of Fort Collins, City of Greeley and the Tri- Districts) use the Cache La Poudre River to supply drinking water to over 300,000 residents as well as many water-dependent industries that support the economic viability of the region. Watershed restoration funding is critical to reducing sediment loads and infrastructure damage, and therefore maintaining a safe, economical drinking water supply in the region.
Over 200 miles of roads exist within the High Park fire burn area in Larimer County. This includes 42 miles of Larimer County roads, 25 miles of State Highway, 40 miles of US Forest Service Roads, and 98 miles of private roads. These roads provide customary and emergency access to the residential and traveling public, as well as access to fire fighters. Emergency watershed restoration funding would assist in protecting or restoring the integrity of these roads by reducing peak runoff flows and preventing debris hazards and damage.
The distribution of power in the county was decided in a board meeting yesterday.
The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 to make Dennis Hisey chair, Amy Lathen vice chair and Sallie Clark third chair.
The arrangement was opposed by Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton, who have often formed a minority voting bloc since pushing for a second vote on term limits.
In 2010, county commissioners successfully asked voters for the ability to serve three terms instead of two, but many voters afterward said they felt tricked by misleading language. Littleton and Glenn pushed for the an item on the ballot revisiting the change in 2011, but the item was not added until 2012, giving Hisey and Clark a chance to run for third terms.
In 2012, voters reduced term limits to two terms, while simultaneously re-electing Hisey and Clark to third terms.
The term limits debate clearly is still affecting county politics — both Glenn and Littleton said they opposed Hisey as chair because of that issue. "I've looked at this a variety of different ways, and the big issue is term limits," Glenn noted.
Both commissioners, however, said they would respect Hisey's authority following the vote.
Aside from leadership roles, the commissioners also addressed rules and procedures yesterday. Littleton and Glenn scored a victory when commissioners agreed to revert to old language on a rule that Hisey had proposed changing.
The rule allows two commissioners to refer an item to the agenda, but Hisey wanted to change it to allow three commissioners to remove an item from the agenda. Littleton argued that such an arrangement constituted a de facto vote on measures before they were brought before the public.
"This is an end-run around public process," she said.
Glenn noted that if Hisey's recommendations were in place in 2011, the term limits issue never would have been brought to the ballot again. Several citizens sided with Glenn and Littleton, prompting the other commissioners to agree to revert to the old rule.