Gessler Announces Video Challenge, Starring You
Deadline extended for video submissions
DENVER, October 14, 2014 – As a competitive state, Coloradans are inundated with political ads every other year. This year, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler wants to give voters their shot at producing a political ad focused on voter registration.
“We’re always looking at creative ways to reach Colorado citizens to get them registered or remind them to update their registration,” Gessler said. “Here’s an opportunity for Coloradans to share their story or encourage their friends and peer groups to engage politically.”
Aspiring directors and videographers have until October 24 to submit their 30-second videos to the Secretary of State for posting. The videos must share information about Colorado’s voter registration requirements and include a mention of the state’s online voter registration system at GoVoteColorado.com.
Voters will have a chance to cast their preference for their favorite ads and the winner will be announced after Election Day.
To qualify, your video must:
Be your original work
Be no more than 30 seconds long
Be G-rated (no violence, offensive language, or sexual activity)
Mention that voters must be: over 18 years old, United States citizens and residents of Colorado
Tell voters that they can register, or update their registration, at GoVoteColorado.com
Must not endorse or mention any candidates or issues on the November 2014 ballot
How to enter:
All entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm on October 24, 2014
Post your completed video on YouTube
Send a link to your video to Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next?
If your video meets the criteria, it will be posted on the Secretary of State’s web site. Make sure to send your friends and family to the site to see your work and vote using YouTube’s thumbs up icon. After the election, the votes will be cast and we’ll declare a winner.
The RBA is but one of many influential groups in the region who are backing the measure, which has drawn strident opposition from anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce. Bruce has this to say about all those endorsements: Vote yes on 1B - Let's fix this!
Images of flooded cars at the Citadel, mud cleanups in Manitou, and intersections closed due to flooding have become a familiar sight in the Pikes Peak region. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. After decades of neglect, our community's stormwater and flood-control systems are crumbling. A 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers report card gave the system an overall D- for safety and condition, and we have a $706 million capital project backlog and need $14 million per year in maintenance. To put that in perspective, the City of Colorado Springs typically spends about $3 million per year on stormwater. It's time to take care of our community and invest in safe, reliable infrastructure.
Based on two years of research, analysis and public input, the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force - nearly 200 citizens, engineers, neighborhood leaders, business people and elected officials volunteering thousands of hours - has proposed a comprehensive management plan for voter approval:
A regional stormwater authority that will address a list of stormwater capital projects (55% of funds), emergency needs and master planning (10%) and maintenance (35%).
The capital portion will automatically end after 20 years and the fee will go down.
Work will be funded by a user fee based on impervious surface, capped to avoid economic burden.
Spending on administration will be capped at 1% to minimize overhead, and work will be contracted to local vendors to maximize economic benefit.
The average homeowner would pay $7.70 per month.
The fee is fixed and will NEVER go up. There isn't even an inflation adjustment.
The money can only be spent on stormwater projects, and voters know what they're getting because of the project list, which has been reviewed by an independent engineering company.
A regional authority means all local governments will work together to coordinate efforts and maximize return on investment.
The authority is modeled on the successful, voter-approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).
Addressing stormwater means:
A better local economy
250 new, high-quality jobs each year (University of Colorado Colorado Springs economic analysis)
Lower insurance rates
Well-maintained critical infrastructure - safer roads and bridges
More efficient use of taxpayer dollars because we can prevent problems
Less damage to public and private property
See the "diverse coalition" listed at the tax pushers' website. Apart from politicians (who want more taxes to spend on their campaign donors), nearly all supporters have a financial interest in getting some of the $49 million yearly tax. Look at all the contractors who want to be paid for the drainage work. Look at all the developers who want US to pay for the backlog THEY created. Look at the Gazette, which is in bed with the developers who advertise in that paper. Look at "RBC Dain Raucher," a bond dealer who wants this new layer of government to borrow money (bonds) against the $49 million yearly revenue, so they can get huge commissions (which fix no drainage projects).The proposed fee would raise an estimated $39 million annually, not $49 million, and 55 percent of the fee would sunset in 20 years. The balance would remain in perpetuity to fund maintenance.
Etc. etc. Are you getting the picture? To understand political graft, "follow the money."
Dear Congressman Lamborn,
Congratulations on your victory in the Republican primary. I’m sure you will agree that the general election is about all the voters in our district, and I hope you will join me in a series of meaningful and timely debates to assist them to better know our views and character.
We live in a world of 30 second sound bites that frequently pass for political discourse. This is part of the reason citizens are tuning out of the system and small minorities of voters are deciding the important issues of our time. At a time when the approval of Congress is at record lows, the people of our district deserve to hear an open debate.
Debates allow voters to see where we stand on issues, and a glimpse of our personalities and methods of dealing with tough questions. It can give them a sense of the character and competence of a candidate and increase their confidence that we are serious people who can make a positive difference for them.
I was encouraged to see that you debated your primary opponent and have stated to the Independent that you are willing to debate me.
I believe that a series of 3 debates will provide as many Coloradans as possible the opportunity to see firsthand our differing views for our district. These debates should be televised or streamed online so the voters can easily participate.
These debates must also be spread out over the course of the campaign. We need to provide voters with the opportunity to hear us out before making their decision on who will best represent them. Accordingly, I believe we should hold the first debate in August while Congress is in recess, one debate in September, and one in October.
Typically the candidate who is seeking debates is the one lagging in fundraising; however, as you know, my campaign has significantly more resources at this time. However, I believe that the voters of our district deserve to hear us debate a couple times and that the campaign should not devolve to solely a series of 30-second advertisements.
My campaign manager, Ethan Susseles, will be in touch with your campaign team to arrange details. I hope our teams can connect so we can quickly come to an agreement on a debate schedule that supports the voters right to hear us and be heard as we approach this important election.
More Voter Service and Polling Centers Open
Voters Urged Not to Delay Returning Ballot
[Colorado Springs, Colo. – June 16, 2014] The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has opened the three remaining Motor Vehicle Offices as Voter Service and Polling Centers to assist voters ahead of the June 24 Primary Election. All four county Motor Vehicle Offices now offer full voting services without any disruption to regular motor vehicle operations.
Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs) are a new concept to Colorado voting. At a VSPC, voters may return their ballot, get a replacement ballot, vote in person, and register or update their registration. Unaffiliated voters also may affiliate to one of Colorado’s three major political parties (American Constitution, Democratic, or Republican) and vote in that party’s primary.
Though every voter affiliated with a major political party was mailed a ballot, the Voter Service and Polling Centers are offered as an additional service. If any El Paso County resident affiliated with any of Colorado’s three major political parties has not yet received their ballot, they should call (719) 575-VOTE (8683) immediately.
All ballots must be returned to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 7:00 PM on Tuesday, June 24 to be counted. Voters are urged not to delay returning their ballot to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. Voters have a wide assortment of convenient options available for returning their ballot, including by mail, 11 different 24/7 ballot drop boxes, or Voter Service and Polling Centers). If a voter chooses they may return their ballot by mail ($0.70 is likely adequate postage), but it is not suggested that a voter attempt to return a ballot by mail after Thursday, June 19.
The four Voter Service and Polling Centers open in El Paso County are as follows:
Main Office at the Citizens Service Center
1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd, Suite 2202
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Open June 2-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Downtown Centennial Hall Office
200 South Cascade Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Open June 16-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Southeast Powers Office
5650 Industrial Pl
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
Open June 16-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
North Union Town Center Office
8830 N. Union Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Open June 16-June 24; Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday, June 21, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; Election Day 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
The eleven 24/7 ballot drop-off locations are as follows:
1. Main Clerk’s Office at the Citizens Service Center, 1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80907 (drive-up)
2. Downtown Centennial Hall Clerk’s Office, 200 South Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
3. Southeast Powers Clerk’s Office, 5650 Industrial Pl, Colorado Springs, CO 80916
4. North Union Town Center Clerk’s Office, 8830 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
5. East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 (drive-up)
6. Charles C. “Chuck” Brown Transportation Complex, 3275 Akers Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80922
7. Department of Transportation Substation, 1010 Golden St, Calhan, CO 80808
8. Falcon Fire Department, 7030 Old Meridian Rd, Falcon, CO 80831 (drive-up)
9. Fountain Police Department, 222 North Santa Fe Ave, Fountain, CO 80817
10. City of Manitou Springs, 606 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
11. Town of Monument, 645 Beacon Lite Rd, Monument, CO 80132
PROFESSION/WORK - Owned and operated Mark Lowderman & Associates, a real estate and consultation firm, from 1983 to 1995. In 1995, County Assessor John Bass recruited me to assist the Assessor's Office with the then new, VAX conversion project.
LOCAL CONSERVATIVE ACTIVISM - Life-long registered Republican and Colorado Springs native.I've donated to countless conservative Republican groups and organizations, including the local El Paso County GOP.
VOLUNTEERED FOR THE LOCAL PARTY - Active Republican. I've worked with Party chairs when something was needed. I served on Dan May's steering committee when he was a candidate for District Attorney. I have walked precincts, coordinated signage and volunteered on campaigns and importantly, I have donated financially to our Republican Party efforts.
KEY ENDORSER - District Attorney Dan May, Former County Assessor John Bass, Former County Treasurers Ken Kile and Sandra Damron and more...
GRASSROOTS BACKGROUND - Served as a Republican Delegate throughout the years.
PRO GUN - I am the "ONLY" candidate in this race for Treasurer endorsed by the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, and have been endorsed both times when I ran for Assessor. I believe in our Constitutional freedoms including the 2nd Amendment!
PRO LIFE - Yes, and I believe life begins at conception.
WORKED WITH TEA PARTY GROUPS - Yes. Among my many endorsements, I am backed by David Kelly and his group, Liberty First.
VOTED ON RECORD - Yes. I am currently the Vice Chair of the El Paso County Medical Benefits Trust Board.
ADVOCATE FOR PERA SOLVENCY - El Paso County government's retirement system has nothing to do with the State's PERA system, however, I do believe the County's retirement system should provide solid investment options and solvency.
ADVOCATE FOR EL PASO COUNTY RETIREMENT SOLVENCY - Yes.
UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION OF THE OFFICE OF TREASURER - Yes. As the County Assessor I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado. I would continue my commitment to Constitutional values and have the track record to prove it.
PROPERTY TAXES - I feel very passionate about my obligation to the taxpayers by informing you of potential tax breaks for qualified citizens. Read the recent letter regarding the Senior Homestead Property Tax Exemption as your current County Assessor that was sent to senior citizens informing them of their rights to take advantage of this State funded tax exemption which was approved in this legislative session. In addition, In 2002, my opponent was the only commissioner who voted to oppose the elimination of the Business Personal Property Tax which has saved local businesses millions of dollars since it was phased out. In fact, El Paso County is the only county out of 64 counties in the State of Colorado that does not impose the Business Personal Property Tax on local businesses.
Resubmitted Petition to Recall Sheriff Approved
[Colorado Springs, Colo. – June 13, 2014] The committee initiating a recall of El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa resubmitted a draft recall petition to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office for approval today. The recall committee’s new draft met all legal requirements and has been approved. Recall committee members may begin to collect the 44,387 signatures necessary to recall Sheriff Maketa starting tomorrow.
This has been a difficult time for El Paso County. What we need right now from our elected representatives is thoughtful leadership, and not political grandstanding.
On Thursday of last week, the BOCC voted unanimously to ask for Sheriff Terry Maketa's resignation, and they did not take this step lightly.
Four of the five members of the BOCC needed time to investigate the recently published allegations against the sheriff, in order to make a calm, rational decision in the best interests of their constituents.
We need leaders who will take these necessary steps to protect our county without disregarding due process.
For anyone who believes in due process, it was shocking to see Commissioner Peggy Littleton call for Maketa's resignation prior to a proper review.
In one of her many interviews, Littleton told a Denver TV station that she had been "the recipient of a couple of letters that were rather inflated and demeaning and angry and bullying in nature from the sheriff."
“If Commissioner Littleton felt bullied by the sheriff, then why did she not take steps before now?” asks Jariah Walker, candidate for county commissioner in District 5. “How did she think his employees felt working under him all of these years? Her actions are too little, too late.”
What is needed in District 5 is a county commissioner who will do the right thing when nobody is looking — not a politician who seizes the spotlight.
"As a moderate, I don't have to play the games that some of our elected officials think they need to play," says Walker. "There is no line for me to toe. I am a business owner with deep roots in El Paso County. My sole responsibility will be to safeguard our community's interests."
Major General (Ret) Irv Halter: It's time to build Keystone XL Pipeline
Position Puts Him at odds with Obama & Democrats
Colorado Springs, CO - Today Major General (Ret.) Irv Halter called for the Obama Administration to immediately approve plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
"This project will create jobs, spur economic growth, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It has been long-planned and thoroughly reviewed, and it is time to build the pipeline," Halter said.
Halter continued, "I'm disappointed that President Obama has continued to hold up approval of this important project. In my Air Force career, once we had the necessary information, we moved forward and made difficult decisions. After two thorough reviews by the State Department, the President has the information he needs."
The State Department review released in January found that building the northern section of the Keystone XL pipeline will have a negligible impact on the environment. The review noted that regardless of whether the pipeline is built, the oil will still be extracted from the ground. Without the expanded pipeline, this new oil will be transported by rail greatly increasing the risk of accidents.
The report found that construction of the pipeline would create 42,000 jobs, both direct and indirect, over a two-year period. And the project would contribute an additional $3.4 billion to the economy.
Waller Withdraws from Attorney General's Race
Promotes Unity Behind Republican Ticket
State Representative Mark Waller announced today that he is withdrawing from the race for Attorney General to unify the Republican Party and keep the office in Republican hands.
“After much thought and prayer, Jennifer and I believe the best decision moving forward is to step aside and clear the way for Cynthia Coffman. I've enjoyed the opportunity to promote the need for a Constitutional conservative to serve as our next Attorney General," said State Representative Mark Waller.
"I am now confident that Cynthia, as the last line of defense against an overreaching Federal government, is committed to promoting our conservative values and protecting our Western Way of Life," stated Waller.
Representative Waller will continue his focus on promoting effective public policy for the citizens of the state.
"I am looking forward to finishing my term representing the people of Colorado Springs by making our streets safer while defending our Constitutional rights," concluded Mark Waller.
Mark Waller lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Jennifer and two kids Truman and Camille.
From ProgressNow on Feb. 17:
Democrats Sling Mud at Gessler
While Democrats demand respect at the Capitol, today they descended into petty insults, at one point equating Secretary of State Scott Gessler to a pig.
During a briefing by the legislature’s non-partisan budget staff, Democrats questioned why Gessler wouldn’t raise fees on Colorado businesses to offset the legislature’s spending appetite. JBC Vice-Chair Pat Steadman (D-Denver) went so far as to say that the JBC should file a lawsuit to force Gessler to increase fees on non-profits, charities and small businesses.
“As Colorado small businesses claw their way out of this recession, the Democrats’ answer is to raise fees to pay for their partisan election bill and pet projects,” Gessler said. “My office submitted a fiscally responsible budget that meets the spending obligations of the legislature without raising fees on our businesses and non-profits. If the Democrats want to spend taxpayer money to get a judge to force fee increases on Colorado charities and businesses, I will fight it tooth and nail.”
Democrats rejected the non-partisan staff’s recommendation and instead chose to insult Gessler, who wasn’t in the room. When asked about collecting more information from the Secretary of State’s office, some members requested Gessler explain in-person at their next meeting. But Vice-Chair Steadman disinvited him and referred to Gessler as a pig saying “When you wrestle with a pig, you get dirty.”
“While the Democrats on the committee pat themselves on their backs for their partisan performance in the people’s house, Coloradans are left wondering, ‘These are the people we elected?’” Gessler said. “I would be more than happy to explain how our reduced fees have benefitted Colorado businesses and charities while keeping our fees the lowest in the country. It’s a sad state of affairs when our majority party is insulting individuals, broadcasting those insults and denying any chance of responding.”
Gessler’s written response is due to the committee on February 17.
# # #
So much for the “party of fiscal responsibility.”
Colorado’s Secretary of State Scott Gessler has never been one to play by the rules. Since taking office in 2011, Gessler has faced scandal after scandal over his own efforts to tilt the playing field to his and his party’s advantage. Gessler is the only statewide politician in office today in Colorado who has been found by the state’s Independent Ethics Commission to have “violated the public trust for private gain.”
Now we learn Gessler can’t even manage his own department’s budget. After slashing fees on business registrations and other services performed by his office, news reports have revealed that the Secretary of State’s office is millions of dollars in the red. Gessler blames political opponents, but these were his decisions. Cutting fees on business is a great way to pander while running for higher office, but taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for it ...
Don’t take my word for it. Even the conservative Grand Junction Sentinel  says Gessler is wrong to blame others for his own mismanagement:
"Unfortunately for the [Joint Budget Committee], Gessler loves an audience and he will undoubtedly use the grandstand the budget committee is providing him to loudly proclaim his victimhood. But the JBC holds the higher moral ground in this dispute. Gessler got himself into this predicament by sharply cutting business fees for his cash-funded office, when his office had a large surplus several years ago, refusing to put a portion of the surplus into the state general fund as lawmakers demanded."
Over the past three years, Scott Gessler has caused more controversy, and been hit with more ethics scandals, than any politician in this state. By simple yardsticks of scandal and mismanagement, he’s the worst Secretary of State Colorado has seen in decades—maybe ever. Enough is enough: tell Scott Gessler to withdraw his request for millions more taxpayer dollars to cover his office’s avoidable shortfall. He’ll receive your message instantly, and we’ll share your comments with the media and other public officials.
The only thing Scott Gessler is better at than getting into trouble is making excuses. If Gessler can’t manage the finances of a single department, how could anyone even consider entrusting him with more responsibility? It just doesn’t make sense. Let Gessler know you’re not buying it, and that you expect better.
Secretary of State filers deserve the truth on budget
By now, many of you have heard wild accusations, insults and downright fabrications about the Secretary of State’s office budget. I want to assure you my budget is sound, and while tighter than in previous years, I’m committed to maximizing and preserving your low filing fees.
When I became Secretary of State, one of my goals was to bring the department’s budget into compliance with state law. No department can maintain a surplus exceeding 16.5% of its spending. Beginning July 1, 2012, my office accumulated a $7 million surplus when state law only allowed $2.2 million in excess.
To reduce the excess surplus, I dropped filing fees across the board to chip away at those excess funds. I’m proud to say many of our filers took advantage of the reduction. Our fees are already among the lowest in the country, so reducing them may seem like a small deal, but we ultimately returned $3.5 million back to our filers. That’s $3.5 million that businesses can use to grow, or nonprofits can use to better serve their communities.
We coupled those fee holidays with long-term planning aimed at prolonging our federal election grant funds by bringing some of those costs in-house. In total, we absorbed $1.6 million from the declining federal funds and moved that responsibility to our cash fund.
Through both of these efforts, we brought our budget in line with state law, leaving $1.9 million in our surplus account. Unfortunately, the legislature sprung an election re-write bill near the end of the fiscal year that wiped out those surplus dollars, challenging our budget. Since a full 25% of our filing fees pay for elections in Colorado, this will have an impact on our ability to serve our paying customers.
As many of you know, the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee governs my department’s spending level, while I set the revenues through fees. Recently, through cooperation with the non-partisan committee staff, I revised my budget request to include less spending. Shockingly, the committee members rejected this reasonable approach and granted a higher spending amount wanting to force my hand to raise fees. One member even went so far as to threaten to sue my office to force me to raise fees.
To be clear, our office is operating within our budget. I will not be raising fees.
I want to reiterate my commitment to keep our fees the lowest in the country. My office will not have a shortfall and we’re going to meet our obligations to my customers and stakeholders. That means delivering top-notch customer service while charging as little as possible in fees.
My frustration is that more of the office’s resources will be devoted to my elections division than to supporting the department’s filers. We have exciting initiatives underway focused on increasing the efficiencies for our filers. These projects will be delayed because of resources necessary to meet the deadlines in the legislature’s election re-write.
That said, I’ve submitted a fiscally responsible budget that’s been endorsed by the non-partisan committee staff.
I will vigorously fight any attempts to force fee increases for businesses, nonprofits, charities, notaries public or bingo and raffle filers.
My aim is to provide clarity for my filers, so thank you for reviewing this and please contact my office with any additional questions or concerns you might have.
Today, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that several changes to campaign finance disclosure regulations made by Secretary of State Scott Gessler were invalid as exceeding his authority. The Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that struck down Secretary Gessler’s 2012 rules that reduced or eliminated disclosure requirements for issue committees, political committees, and 527 political organizations, and capped penalties for failure to file major contributor reports in the days before an election.
The Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of Colorado Ethics Watch and Colorado Common Cause on their cross-appeal asking the court to strike down Secretary Gessler’s 2012 rule that narrowed the definition of “electioneering communications,” ads that mention a candidate during the last weeks before a primary or general election without necessarily urging a vote for or against that candidate.
“The Court of Appeals affirmed that the people at the ballot box, and not the Secretary of State through a bureaucratic procedure, make campaign finance policy in Colorado.” said Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro. “Secretary Gessler has consistently attempted to rewrite the law to make it easier to hide political spending from public view, contrary to the wishes of the people. We hope this decision will finally put an end to his overreaching.”
“The Court of Appeals rejected Secretary Gessler’s ongoing attempts to reduce transparency in elections,” commented Elena Nunez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause. “Today’s ruling is a big victory for the people of Colorado, who have made it clear that they want to know who is spending to influence elections.”
Ethics Watch and Common Cause filed a lawsuit challenging the rule changes in April 2012. The case was consolidated with a second lawsuit filed by a group headed by David Paladino. Both sets of challengers argued that Gessler exceeded his authority by enacting rules that effectively amended the Colorado constitution or campaign finance laws passed by the General Assembly. Denver District Judge J. Eric Elliff overturned all of the challenged rules except the one narrowing the definition of “electioneering communications.” That decision in favor of Secretary Gessler’s rule was the only portion of Judge Elliff’s order that was reversed by the Colorado Court of Appeals.