The poll is transparent, anonymous and offers real-time results to anyone who wants to look. While I'm certain it's not completely scientific, I'm hoping the poll will give me a picture into citizens' thoughts on the proposal. I'll share the results of the poll, as well as the optional comments (minus identities of those who choose to comment) with the rest of Council. If you have a means to encourage your readers to participate, I welcome all participation. The poll is set up so that each person can vote only once.This is refreshing, the transparency part, considering the fact that the results of Bach's poll, presumably funded at least in part with tax dollars, remain a deep dark secret.
An original Tea Party candidate, Buck is against a woman’s right to choose — even in cases of incest and rape. And despite members of his own party across the country calling for marriage equality, Buck believes being gay is a choice and compared homosexuality to alcoholism.
Buck will join two more Republican challengers in a race to the extreme right — each more outside the mainstream than the other.
And all three of them have already begun to compete for the Tea Party endorsement. In fact, The Tea Party Express chairwoman came to Colorado yesterday to weigh in on the race. Undoubtedly, this group — and the host of other Tea Party groups — are poised to play kingmaker in the Republican primary and will do their part to fund their anointed Tea Party extremist.
President John Kennedy once said, "We cannot allow our fears to hold us back from pursuing our hopes." That's the kind of thinking that landed the first man on the moon. And ladies and gentlemen, that is the kind of thinking that will propel this city forward. This is our time to follow in the footsteps of Palmer, Stratton, Penrose, those community leaders who brought the U.S. Air Force Academy here and all of those who assured our water resources decades ago. This is our time to make the same kind of difference.The mayor received a standing ovation.
Remember our heritage. We are "Pikes Peak or Bust" people. Nothing can stop us. Nothing can hold us back, just like those pioneers. We can do this. We can get this done. Let's make things happen for our city. Let's do it now.
UPDATE: Today, the Chieftain's editorial board — made up of Bob Rawlings, his accused daughter Jane, Charles Campbell and Tom McAvoy — fired back at its critics, sort of.
"While Sen. Giron apparently believes she’s been treated poorly by The Chieftain, we maintain our news coverage of her has been fair and balanced," reads the piece, adding later: "As far as Chieftain executives signing recall petitions, that’s another freedom guaranteed ALL Americans in the Bill of Rights."
The actual complaint — that some of the paper's executives were involved in these causes, and that this was not disclosed to the daily's readers — remains unaddressed.
------ORIGINAL POST: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 4:23 p.m.------
How the über-conservative Pueblo Chieftain does so well in a county where 55.4 percent of 2012 voters colored in the oval for Barack Obama is anybody's guess. But it does, with managing editor Steve Henson telling the Indy back in September that the paper enjoys "awful good penetration."
Henson also weighed in on a problem common to any newspaper with a perceivable political slant: the question of newsroom neutrality. Said the editor: "The news coverage is just about as balanced as [it] could be," and people "really work hard on that."
That sentiment took a blow in March, though, when the paper's general manager, Ray Stafford, used his work e-mail account to write Pueblo Sen. Angela Giron — Senate President John Morse's companion in recall — with the hope that she not support several contentious gun bills being considered at the time.
"We met on one occasion when you visited The Chieftain in the fall of last year, " he wrote, according to a good report from KRDO. "I am the General Manager and responsible for the entire newspaper, including the newsroom."
And of course the last part, along with his signature of "General Manager, The Pueblo Chieftain, And gun owner," came off as a threat to use his position at the paper to influence coverage of the senator. However, by way of explanation, assistant publisher Jane Rawlings (daughter of publisher Bob) told KRDO: "As a way of identification, as he still is fairly new to the area, Ray Stafford told Senator Giron that he is the general manager of The Chieftain and in charge of its operation, including the newsroom."
If you look at Stafford's LinkedIn page, it seems that's true. In fact, it seems like he might well have wound up with a similarly gun-pimping organization: Stafford apparently worked for Freedom Communications, former owner of the Gazette, for over a decade.
Either way, Stafford fell from the news until Sunday, when ProgressNow Colorado — a Denver-based organization whose mission "is to build and empower a permanent progressive majority" — said it had "clear evidence" that Rawlings, Stafford and production director Dave Dammann signed recall petitions against Giron.
"The Pueblo Chieftain faces a major credibility problem reporting on the recall election in Senate District 3," said Amy Runyon-Harms, the group's executive director, in the statement, "with upper management at the paper clearly biased against Sen. Angela Giron — without disclosing that bias to their readers."
It's tough to check that claim because of the newspaper's paywall, but if Rawlings, Dammann and Stafford are involved in news-gathering — as Stafford said he is — the least the paper could do is disclose. Certainly, we encounter this issue often enough, and endeavor to keep participating parties away from all news involvement; when that's not possible, we try to let readers know.
We've reached out to Henson for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Daniel Cole has been named executive director of the El Paso County Republican Party, replacing the relatively new Cherish Schaffer.
Cole steps up to the position from his role as director of operations since May, the party said in a release.
From the release:
Cole brings the organization broad journalistic and political experience. Republicans began getting to know Cole in 2008 through his op-ed columns for The Gazette, and his résumé includes the successful management of both issue and candidate campaigns, most recently Keith King’s bid for City Council. The Gazette Editorial Page has called Cole “a genuine limited-government conservative” and a reporter for the Colorado Springs Business Journal has called him “a masterful partisan political operator.”
Cole attended the University of Kansas on a National Merit Scholarship. He began working at the age of 16 in an unfinished furniture store. His past experience also includes two years teaching high school English and contract work with the publishing industry, where he reviewed French texts for Zaccheus Press and translated a 400-page biography from Italian.
Cole also attended Columbia University for a year and a half before returning to Colorado Springs. He ran Council President Keith King's campaign earlier this year, and has had a role in other political campaigns and activities.
Sean Paige with AFP's Colorado chapter got back this morning and had plenty to say. Besides distributing door hangers, AFP has been working phone banks against Morse for two weeks.
Declining to say how much AFP is spending on its anti-Morse campaign, Paige says, "We're willing to invest some significant money in it.
"We see the situation as a good opportunity to broaden the discussion and inform constituents of his entire record. We routinely do public education on these sorts of things. John Morse has a long history in the Legislature and a voting record that in our view is very liberal and out of sync with his constituents."
AFP, he notes, isn't the only one pumping money into the election or trying to influence it. "Clearly the outside money flowing in on the Morse side has national implications." He didn't elaborate.
But he did note that the New York Times recently editorialized in favor of Morse. "I think the fact that the New York Times weighed in on it says there are outside influences that want to be involved."
Paige also says he worked the phone banks himself and was struck by how many voters "don't like this guy," because they find him "arrogant and out of touch."
——————————ORIGINAL POST: THURSDAY, JULY 25, 6:29 P.M.——————————————
The Koch brothers, the biggest funder of Americans for Prosperity, are hard at work in Senate District 11 in Colorado Springs, trying to unseat State Senate president Democrat John Morse.
There's not be an actual sighting of the Koch brothers, themselves, but their minions are running from door to door leaving behind door-hanger campaign materials likening Morse to another dastardly fellow, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The fliers look like this:
They really get down on Morse, blaming him for making sure all Americans get a fair shot at health care, for supporting adequate funding for public education and for seeing to it that our highways are in good enough repair that our vehicles don't require a front-end realignment every other week. What an ogre! What a jerk!
We asked Morse about this campaign tactic, and he said this in a statement:
The Tea Party points out that I passed legislation that brought in billions of dollars of economic development to Colorado. I am proud of the work I have done to expand the availability of healthcare for the citizens of my district and all of Colorado. If that is a rubber stamp for failure, then I am guilty as charged.
And El Paso County Democratic Party executive Christy Le Lait said this: "This is propaganda at it's most cynical. The Koch brothers are spending untold sums of money to mislead Colorado Springs voters."
We've tried to reach Sean Paige, who works for the Koch boys, but haven't heard back. If and when we do, we'll circle back. Keep watching.
A retired Air Force major general will take on Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 2014 race in the 5th Congressional District.
Irv Halter, an Air Force Academy grad, will announce his candidacy at 10 a.m. Wednesday in America the Beautiful Park. He's lived in the Pikes Peak region since he retired from 32 years in the service in 2009.
Since then, he has served as vice president and general manager for Air Force and Missile Defense Agency programs with a large information technology company. He's a board member and former vice chair of the Military Affairs Committee of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
The votes are in among state Senate District 11's Republican heavyweights, and former Colorado Springs City Councilor Bernie Herpin is their choice to fight Senate President John Morse in a recall election.
Herpin took 62.5 percent of the vote, leaving political newcomer Jaxine Bubis with just 37.5 percent.
Here's the release from El Paso County GOP director of operations Daniel Cole:
Today, Senate District 11 officers and precinct leaders selected Bernie Herpin as the El Paso County Republican Party’s nominee in the Senate District 11 recall election.
By the terms of the agreement both candidates signed on June 28, Jaxine Bubis is expected to withdraw from the race.
51 individuals were eligible to vote in this process. 30 voted for Bernie Herpin and 18 for Jaxine Bubis, for a total of 48 votes cast. The process was administered by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder at the expense of the El Paso County Republican Party. Electors voted in person at El Paso County Republican Party Headquarters between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM today, July 9.
Chairman Jeff Hays stated, “Bernie Herpin and Jaxine Bubis ran against each other for the Republican nomination, but each agreed the other would be a huge improvement over Sen. John Morse. They were both willing to put their campaigns on the line in order to maximize our opportunity to make the recall effort successful.
“Congratulations to Bernie Herpin for winning the Republican nomination. The El Paso County Republican Party looks forward to supporting his campaign.
“We owe Jaxine Bubis respect and a debt of gratitude. She was willing to subordinate her personal goals to the imperative of removing John Morse from office and replacing him with a senator more attentive to his constituents. You’re taking one for the team, Jaxine. Thank you.
“As we move forward, I urge El Paso County Republicans to band together and focus on recalling John Morse. We’re talking about a legislator so extreme, so out-of-touch, that Rep. Ed Vigil, a Democrat from Fort Garland, called one of Morse’s bills this session ‘crazy’ and ‘absolutely nuts.’ Recalling John Morse is not a question of Democrat vs. Republican. It’s a question of sanity vs. insanity.”
For more on both Herpin and Bubis, see Wednesday's Independent.
Christy Le Lait says her campaign has examined about 500 of the 10,137 validated signatures to recall Morse. (Secretary of State Scott Gessler already threw out 6,061 signatures found to be invalid).
If the campaign's claims are true, that means 10 percent of examined petition signatures were forged. Le Lait says the forgeries — confirmed by contacting the supposed "signer" — were found in multiple petitions, meaning more than one gatherer may have engaged in the illegal practice.
In addition, Le Lait says around 200 signers have retracted their signatures, saying they weren't aware the petition was for a recall election.
Despite the revelations, Le Lait says her campaign would need to prove that about 3,000 signatures were forged or have been retracted in order to prevent a recall election. Though volunteers are reviewing the remaining petitions, the work is labor-intensive and it will likely be difficult for the campaign to meet that goal by the Wednesday deadline.
The Morse campaign is also challenging the petition because it says the wording does not meet the state Constitution's requirements.
(The Independent has contacted the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, which spearheaded the recall, about the forgery allegations. We'll update this blog if and when a representative responds.)
A Lot of People for John Morse today revealed that the group behind the petition to recall Senate President John Morse, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, has forged numerous signatures on their petitions, calling into question the legitimacy of their operation and the validity of the rest of their signatures.
Statement from Christy LeLait, Campaign Manager, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse
Rick Alberston — doesn’t live in Colorado, has not been here in over a year.
Mary — who is 91 years old, clealy remembers the circulator coming to her yard and then telling him to leave her property — her name has been added.
Mary Beth — the circulator came to her home 3 times. Her husband signed. She and her son did not, but their names are on the petition.
Alan — Didn’t sign, his name is even spelled wrong.
Karen — “I did not sign this petition. I am a gun owner and I support Sen. Morse. I am appalled by my signature being forged.”
But, to me, the saddest one of all, is the gentleman whose door we knocked on last week. He couldn’t understand why we would think that his wife’s signature was on the petition because she passed away 2 years ago.
As of right now, we have identified 50 forgeries but over multiple packets. Hundreds are implicated now and we are inching our way into the thousands.
Again and again the recall effort has come under fire for using illegal and fraudulent practices to obtain signatures. Now, recall circulators have been caught forging the names of Colorado Springs residents on recall petitions.
Several of these circulators, many of whom were paid workers from out-of-state, were found to have criminal backgrounds. Others have been accused of similar fraudulent activities in other states. Their efforts in Colorado Springs were so bad that over 6,000 of their signatures have already been tossed out as invalid.
This is fraud. This is identity theft. The people and groups responsible for bringing this type of fraud and deception into our neighborhoods should be held accountable.
It’s time to put an end to the deceit. Voters of CS deserve a full investigation before anyone demands an election. Imaginary signatures does not a recall make.
Pueblo Freedom and Rights is already declaring victory in its attempt to force a recall election of Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron.
It would seem to be a bit early, given that all the 501(c)(4) has done is hand over about 13,570 signatures to Secretary of State Scott Gessler; Gessler's office still has to verify the legitimacy of 11,285 of those. By contrast, in the case of Colorado Springs Sen. John Morse — who, of course, led Dems like Giron down the "anti-freedom," gun-regulation path — petitioners turned in more than 16,000 signatures early last week, when they only needed 7,178 valid ones for a recall.
But according to Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the ones they've gathered are "known to be carefully gathered highly-reliable signatures." So there's that.
Recall of anti-2nd Amendment Colorado State Senator Angela Giron Succeeds
Pueblo Grass Roots Group Makes More State History* With Successful Recall Effort
Pueblo, CO, June 10, 2013— Pueblo Freedom and Rights, www.pueblofreedomandrights.org is a 501(C) (4) Colorado grassroots group heading the recall of anti-2nd Amendment Colorado state senator Angela Giron (D - Pueblo Colorado). The group submitted over 13,570 District 3 voter recall petition signatures to the Colorado Secretary of States' Office exceeding the 11,285 signatures necessary. Additionally these are known to be carefully gathered highly-reliable signatures.
The submitted petition signatures and addresses will be submitted to and verified by the Secretary of State. It is expected that Democrats will further challenge the petitions and signatures to include court challenges to draw out the process. If the count still exceeds 11,285 Giron will be given five working days from that time to decide whether or not to resign her office.
If Giron resigns within the five-day period, state Democrats can appoint a replacement from their ranks. If she does not resign, a date for the special election is set. It is expected that that the Governor and Democrat Party including Bloomberg money may try to extend any election so as to prepare a campaign to try to save Giron should she try to run to stay in office.
"Giron's disregard for the majority of her constituents to vote no on anti-2nd Amendment issues and her general disregard of our Constitution and the rights of the citizens of Colorado demonstrates she must be removed from the senate." — Victor Head, President of Pueblo Freedom and Rights (PFR).
More information about PFR is available at the PFR website,
Pueblo Freedom and Rights
P.O. Box 11891
Pueblo, CO 81001
*Before the Morse and this recall effort no Colorado state legislator has ever been successfully recalled.With the filing against state senator Giron and the massive recall count against Colorado Senate President Morse concerned Colorado citizens have made state history twice in eight days.
Danny Cole, campaign manager for Colorado Springs City Council President Keith King, has been hired as director of operations for the El Paso County Republican Party.
The hiring of Cole ostensibly means he won't be replacing Council Administrator Aimee Cox, who’s been hired by Mayor Steve Bach in the economic vitality department. Cole had been discussed as a possibility for that job.
Cole has been active in party politics for years and most recently worked on King’s campaign against four other candidates in the city’s District 3, which covers the west and southwest portions of the city, including downtown.
Here's the announcement from the party:
Daniel Cole, 29, is the newest addition to the El Paso County Republican Party leadership team. He has accepted the position of Director of Operations working for Executive Director Cherish Schaffer. Cole comes aboard with broad journalistic and political experience. His columns for The Gazette Op-Ed Page have wowed Republican audiences since 2008, and his résumé includes the successful management of both issue and candidate campaigns, most recently Keith King’s bid for City Council. The Gazette has called Cole “a genuine limited-government conservative,” and a reporter for the Colorado Springs Business Journal has called him “a masterful partisan political operator.” Cole will focus his considerable talents on connecting and coordinating with volunteers.
In his new role, Cole undoubtedly will try to help the GOP recapture several state legislative seats from Democrats, including those held by Rep. Pete Lee in House District 18, Tony Exum Sr. in House District 17, and John Morse in Senate District 11, who of course is the subject of a recall petition.
The party reported $33,497 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, 2012. The next campaign finance report is due at year’s end. The party’s biggest event of the year, the Lincoln Day Dinner, which usually is held in February, is slated for June 29 at the Antlers Hilton Hotel. Keynote speaker is Herman Cain, the former presidential candidate.
On Tuesday, political circles were abuzz with Steve Laffey, a former mayor in Rhode Island who moved to Colorado three years ago, announcing that he was running for governor on the Republican ticket.
Today, Laffey backed out calling another newly announced candidate, Tom Tancredo, a "good and honorable man" who has "a great background for the job."
So what planet did Laffey move here from?
Tancredo, a former Republican U.S. representative, said during his 2008 presidential run that, "If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. Because that’s the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they otherwise might do." He later dropped out and endorsed Mitt Romney.
What he said amid debate of an immigration bill:
We're not just talking about the number of jobs that we may be losing or the number of kids that are in our schools and impacting our school system or the number of people that are abusing our hospital system and taking advantage of the welfare system in this country. We're not just talking about that. We're talking about something that goes to the very heart of this nation: whether or not we will actually survive as a nation.And here's what I mean by that. What we're doing here in this immigration battle is testing our willingness to actually hold together as a nation or split apart into a lot of balkanized pieces.We are testing our willingness to actually hold on to something called the English language, something that is the glue that is supposed to hold us together as a nation. We are becoming a bilingual nation. And that is not good. And that is the fearful part of this. The ramifications are much, much more significant than any that we've been discussing so far. And so, yes, I have said dramatic things. And, yes, I am willing to do whatever is necessary to try to stop this piece of legislation. And that includes go after any Republican that votes for it, because the Republicans can stop this.
According to the Huffington Post:
An April poll by Public Policy Polling however may foreshadow an uphill race for Tancredo.
The poll shows [Gov. John] Hickenlooper with a 53 percent approval rating, though his disapproval rating has also spiked in recent months to 44 percent. Still, the PPP poll claims to have tested Hickenlooper's numbers against "every major GOP figure in the state," including Tom Tancredo, and concluded that "Not a single one of the Republicans we tested has a positive statewide favorability rating."
And now, the letter from Laffey:
From the desk of Steve Laffey
Press Release, May 24th, 2013
After Tom’s entrance into the Governor’s race yesterday, I consulted with my wife and close friends. After discussion and prayer I have decided to withdraw from the 2014 Governor’s race in Colorado.
I have been in two contentious primaries, against people with whom I disagreed immensely and were leading us in the wrong direction. When I entered this race there was no one else who had the capability to bring the case for Limited Government, Freedom and Jobs to the people of Colorado. In this case, Tom and I agree on much, plus he is a good and honorable man, has a great background for the job, and will work towards producing more freedom for the people of Colorado.
That would leave us with a divisive primary, arguing over mostly non-issues, splitting the fundraising in Colorado so that little is left for the general election (given Colorado’s restrictive campaign laws), and dividing the Republican Party—- ending with, for different reasons, the same disastrous results in 2014. Tom stepped in in 2010 on strong principled reasons; this will give a Republican the best chance to win in November.
This decision is best for Colorado.
Yours in Freedom,
Gov. John Hickenlooper kicked butt in the last election, after the GOP nominated a relative unknown, Dan Maes, and right-wing loon Tom Tancredo split the vote for Republicans. (U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn endorsed Tancredo, who ran on the Constitution Party ticket.)
In 2014, the same thing might happen, as several candidates appear to be considering taking a run at Hickenlooper, a Democrat whose strong advocacy for business and industry has made him a popular political figure.
Fox31 Denver's Eli Stokols reports that "Steve Laffey, a former mayor and GOP Senate candidate who moved to Colorado just three years ago, has filed papers to run for governor in 2014."
From the story:
Laffey’s campaign manager, Patrick Davis, began dropping hints on Facebook Monday night. Laffey is expected to officially announce his campaign Tuesday morning on the Amy Oliver Show.
Able to self-fund his campaign early, Laffey is the first serious candidate to enter what could be a crowded primary field, with GOP Chairman Ryan Call telling FOX31 Denver Monday that he expects at least five candidates to vie for the party’s nomination next year.
For more, read Stokols' full story here.
As the effort to recall John Morse continues — and attracts big money on both sides — the El Paso County Democratic Party is holding an event where supporters of the Senate president can thank him and fellow local Democratic lawmakers for their "hard work and bravery."
Here are the details:
Morse, of course, has been a target since shepherding through a spate of gun-control measures during the 2013 legislative session. Signature-gatherers have until June 3 to collect 7,000-plus signatures in their effort to get a recall election OK'd.