Saturday, March 25, 2017

Skorman leads in mid-March poll of Council District 3 voters

Posted By on Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 12:19 PM

A poll conducted March 14, 15 and 16 shows Richard Skorman leading in the Colorado Springs City Council District 3 race, but a third of voters polled said they were as yet undecided.
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Skorman says the poll, conducted by Luce Research of 300 likely voters, found 41 percent favor him, 25 percent favor Chuck Fowler and 33 percent were undecided.

Skorman says he participated in the poll and funded his portion of it to find out the impact of negative ads issued by dark-money group Colorado Citizens Protecting Our Constitution and scathing editorials in the Gazette against him. Since the poll was conducted, the Gazette has published at least one additional editorial bashing him.

"It seems like I have a solid lead, even after the negative mailers and negative Gazette editorials," he said.

Skorman also noted the Gazette has agreed to allow him to respond to the editorial that blamed him for the city's stormwater problem, and his letter to the editor will appear in Sunday's issue.

The poll, Skorman said, contained other questions, but he declined to reveal which other candidates participated. The poll had a  margin of error of 5.5 percent and reached voters by land line and cell phone.
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Friday, March 24, 2017

Paul Ryan’s No Good Very Bad Day

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 5:07 PM

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Friday afternoon, after a dramatic capitulation, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan walked out before the press and conceded defeat on what had been his party’s primary concern for the last seven years.

“Obamacare is the law of the land,” Ryan said. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the immediate future.”

It was stunning. Even though the president insisted on Thursday that there would be a vote Friday, he called the Washington Post one minute after the floor debate was scheduled to end and said: “We couldn’t get one Democratic vote, and we were a little bit shy, very little, but it was still a little bit shy, so we pulled it.”

For someone as vain as Trump, who has prided himself on The Art of the Deal, that must have been a blow. But that was nothing compared to what was coming to the Republicans in congress when Speaker Ryan had to tell them that they were moving on from healthcare.

“Now we're going to move on with our agenda because we have big ambitious plans" Ryan told the press.

Hole. Lee. Fuck.

They’ve been talking about this forever. They control the entire government and they back off of repealing Obamacare barely two months in.

“Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains,” Ryan confessed, looking even more like a recently spanked Eddie Munster than normal. But neither he nor the president would publicly cast blame on the other—although neither have achieved anything of legislative significance yet.

“The president gave his all,” Ryan said.

“I don’t blame Paul. He worked very hard on this,” Trump told the Post.

Ryan also said he did not want to blame the Freedom Caucus, but made it clear that they had problems with the bill. The Breitbart, or alt-right wing of the party that supports the president, hates Paul Ryan and called the bill Obamacare 2.0.

But Trump wanted to blame the Democrats.

“We couldn’t get one Democrat vote, not one. So that means they own Obamacare and when that explodes, they will come to us wanting to save whatever is left, and we’ll make a real deal,” Trump said.

The Democratic leadership of the House, who gave a press conference immediately after Ryan’s, were happy to own it.

"We owned it yesterday and the day before and in November," said Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

“Today’s a great day for our country,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “It’s a victory.”

Ryan denied that the defeat would hurt the Republican’s other legislative efforts, but the Democrats, who, only days ago, seemed demoralized and defeated, are certainly feeling the momentum and may be encouraged to actually fight against bills that may have previously seemed inevitable.

When asked if she would have imagined on November 9 that Republicans would have abandoned healthcare by March, Pelosi said: "Quite frankly I thought they might have accomplished something in the first few months. They have absolutely no record of accomplishment."
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A look at Colorado Springs City Council candidates where they live

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 4:16 PM

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As we head into the final week before the April 4 city election, let's take a look at how many millionaires are running for the six district seats up for grabs on the nine-member City Council.

Answer: Not many, according to disclosure forms candidates must file with the City Clerk's Office.

But it's always interesting to review the financial holdings of political candidates. For most, their biggest asset is the roof over their heads.

Here's a rundown of what candidates reported on those forms. An asterisk denotes incumbents.

DISTRICT 1
*Don Knight, retired from the military, reports owning his home with his wife, which is valued at $343,836, according to El Paso County assessor records. He's owned the home since 1990.

Greg Basham owns a home with his wife valued at $200,847 that he purchased in February 2015.

DISTRICT 2
David Geislinger owns a home with his wife valued at $264,205. He's owned it since September 2002.

DISTRICT 3
Here's where Skorman hangs his hat.
  • Here's where Skorman hangs his hat.
Richard Skorman owns a home in the Broadmoor area valued at $494,912. He bought it in 1998 and added his wife as an owner in 2003.
Skorman values his downtown businesses — Richard Skorman Inc., doing business as Poor Richard’s/Little Richard’s/Rico’s, which he owns with his wife — at $850,000. He also owns SoBoProperties LLC with wife, which owns the building that house their businesses, valued at $1.1 million.

Chuck Fowler owns no property in the district or anywhere in the city, according to assessor records. The residential address he gives on his disclosure form is owned by Bon Vivant LLC, which was created on Oct. 15, 2015, by Jennifer Doell. The Bon Vivant home is valued at $249,264.

DISTRICT 4
Deborah Hendrix's house. - PHOTOS FROM EL PASO COUNTY ASSESSOR'S OFFICE
  • Photos from El Paso County Assessor's Office
  • Deborah Hendrix's house.
*Helen Collins has owned a residential property at 632 Lakewood Circle, valued at $132,983, since December 2007.

Yolanda Avila reports owning a home with her mother valued at $126,102. She's owned it since 1997. She also reported owning an investment valued at less than $5,000.

Deborah Hendrix and her husband have owned a home valued $162,455 since Aug. 16, 2016.

Gaebler's home.
  • Gaebler's home.
DISTRICT 5
*Jill Gaebler and her husband own a property in the northeast part of the city valued at $481,924. They also own the home in which they reside in District 5, which is valued at $411,000. They purchased the property in August 2010.

Here's where Crow-Iverson calls it a day.
  • Here's where Crow-Iverson calls it a day.
Lynette Crow-Iverson owns a home in the Old North End with her husband valued at $469,233. She also reports owning 51 percent of H & L Drug Compliance Inc., d/b/a Conspire!, which is valued at $1.5 million. She also owns 100 percent of Conspire Franchising LLC, valued at $2 million.

DISTRIFCT 6
Pico is at home here.
  • Pico is at home here.
*Andy Pico, who's retired from the military, owns a home in the Homestead subdivision with his wife that has a value of $210,653. They've owned it since June 1997.

Melanie Bernhardt does not own property anywhere in the city. The place she lives is valued at $166,882. She also reports owning a retirement account valued at about $5,000.

Robert Burns owns a home with his wife valued at $214,668, which they bought in August 2014.

Janak Joshi owns no property, but his wife owns the home in which they live, valued at $316,700, which he deeded to her in March 1997. His wife also owns a realty company and a management company he lists as being valued at $3,000, and commercial and residential property the assessor values at  $1,171,571.


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Southeast Colorado Springs seeing tiny turnout in city election

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 10:32 AM

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Colorado Springs City Council races in the northwest District 1, southwest District 3 and central District 5 are getting the most interest from voters so for.

Of those three, only District 3, which includes the Broadmoor hotel, has an open seat, because Councilor Keith King chose not to seek re-election.

Marketing consultant and HOA manager Chuck Fowler and businessman and open space advocate Richard Skorman are squaring off for the seat.

District 1 pits incumbent Don Knight, a retired Air Force officer, against businessman Greg Basham.

In District 5, incumbent Jill Gaebler, a former nonprofit worker and Air Force member, is being challenged by businesswoman Lynette Crow-Iverson.

The lowest voter turnout is seen in District 4 in the city's southeast where incumbent Helen Collins has two challengers — Yolanda Avila and Deborah Hendrix.

David Geislinger, who's running unopposed in northern District 2, has drawn more votes that all of those cast in the District 6 race, which covers the city's eastern side. Incumbent Andy Pico has three challengers: Melanie Bernhardt, Robert Burns and Janak Joshi.

The election ends on April 4 and will seat a majority on the nine-member council.

The bar chart above was produced using city election data by SpringsUnigroup, comprised of business people and financial experts.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Update: Writers in Gazette have history of political consulting

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 6:10 PM


Update: This blog was revised at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday night to remove some material.

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There's been some buzz lately about Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen's wife being involved with the city election, so let's take a look.

Laugesen's wife, Dede, owns Windhover Creative Partners LLC, which she formed with Wayne and another person, Scott Weiser, in 2003. Windhover is working on behalf of Colorado Citizens Protecting our Constitution, a 527 organization that doesn't have to disclose donor names. CCPOC is backing many of the same candidates that developers and business people have endorsed for the Colorado Springs City Council.

But Wayne Laugesen tells us he left Windhover in 2008 just before taking the Gazette job and is no longer associated with it. Weiser also left.

Wayne Laugesen didn't participate in voting for the Gazette's endorsements, according to a disclaimer that appeared recently in the daily newspaper. But some are under the impression that Laugesen is exerting influence in other ways, such as turning away letters to the editor on behalf of candidates not endorsed by the Gazette.

Here's his emailed explanation: "The Gazette publishes most letters that meet basic guidelines. I seldom involve myself in daily selection or editing of letters. Another member of the editorial board typically removes comments in letters that sound like candidate endorsements or negative campaigning."

Except that, it's worth noting that after the Gazette blasted incumbent District 5 Councilor Jill Gaebler for voting to fund pickleball courts with Lodgers and Automobile Rentals Tax money, but against using LART funds for the Olympic Museum, the pickleball group countered with a letter to the editor. (The Gazette has endorsed Gaebler's opponent.)

Pikes Peak Pickleball Association president Jeff Norton wrote the letter to the editor, but part of it was left out. Here's the section that contains the deletion (which we have put in bold) prior to publication:

From 2012 to 2015, the City spent on average $32,000 yearly to repair the 93 year old “pot holed” asphalt courts at MVP to make them safe for public use. In partnership, PPPA and Parks & Rec developed a more cost-effective approach. Parks & Rec put $100,000 in the 2016 City Budget for the concrete upgrade of the asphalt courts. In parallel, PPPA competed for and was awarded $25,000 in LART funding for the court upgrade. This $125,000 in “local tax funding” referred to in the Editorial was matched by PPPA who raised an additional $81,000 from donations and tournament proceeds and $115,000 in grants. Our public-private partnership pooled these funds to build a public-use world-class “50-year” low-maintenance Pickleball facility at MVP.
In summary, the LART Committee, Don Knight, Jill Gaebler and the rest of City Council who supported the 2016 City Budget for this needed upgrade were not serving some “special interest” but rather supporting a smart, cost-effective, long-term fix of the near Century old high-maintenance asphalt courts at MVP. They should all be commended, not impugned, for such excellent foresight and effective shepherding of taxpayer funds.
PPPA is part of a large and ever-growing Sport that is providing significant health and economic benefits to our City. Our nonprofit organization proudly fits the very definition of LART funding quoted in your article: “to attract visitors to the City and the Pikes Peak Region, provide economic and cultural benefit, enhance the quality of life in the City, engage the community and encourage tourist activity.
Norton then wrote to Council noting this:
In case you did not see how the Gazette "selectively edited" our Pikes Peak Pickleball Association's response to the previous Sunday's Gazette Editorial Board fact-limited opinion piece, here's the original PPPA submission to the Editor including what was cut out of this morning's "Your Viewpoint" op/ed section of the Gazette.

It appears our Association's complete "viewpoint" does not count when it comes to giving City Council, Parks & Rec, and the LART Committee appropriate credit for doing the right thing with taxpayer funding.
Nevertheless, we certainly appreciate your support of our nonprofit's mission to serve and benefit our local community.

So that's that.

Then we learn that another writer whose work appears in the Gazette, Dan Njegomir, has earned his bread and butter via his political firm, NewsSpeak Media LLC.

This outfit has worked for various political causes, including opposing oil and gas regulations in 2014. (Note: this article originally incorrectly stated the group was involved in a cigarette tax issue.) NewsSpeak was paid $20,000 for that. More recently, NewsSpeak was paid more than $20,000 by Colorado Pioneer Action, a politically active organization run by former gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, according to Matt Arnold, who runs Campaign Integrity Watchdog website.

Arnold, who combs through campaign finance reports and files complaints when he finds even the tiniest of infractions, isn't liked much in certain political quarters, you might say. Detested might be a more appropriate word.

Here's a column Njegomir posted Tuesday about Arnold and his complaint against Colorado Pioneer Action for acting like a political committee but not filing any campaign finance reports. That case goes to trial March 29-30.

An earlier version of this blog contained more allegations from Arnold, but the Indy decided to retract them.

We asked Njegomir whether he's disclosed his former involvement in NewsSpeak after his work started to appear in the Gazette last year (he previously was an editorial writer there some years ago) and, if so, under what circumstances does he find it appropriate to disclose.

He responded Tuesday by writing:

Since joining Colorado Politics (it's distinct from The Gazette), I haven't written on any former client until today. So, there has been nothing to disclose. In fact, I only learned of Matt Arnold's complaint against Pioneer — and then decided to write about it — after he made a vague reference to it in response to my request for a comment for a previous blog post on him and his tactics.

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Klingenschmitt lawsuit dismissed

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 5:36 PM

Weinstein and MRFF have won dismissal of a lawsuit against them. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Weinstein and MRFF have won dismissal of a lawsuit against them.
We've reported in the past about the face-off between Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Colorado House member and ex-Navy chaplain who goes by "Mr. Chaps," and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

At one point, Klingenschmitt — about whom we've written this and this — sued Weinstein for defamation.

Today, we learn the case has been dismissed. Here's the letter to MRFF announcing the judge's decision.
03.21.17_Ltr_to_M._Weinstein_re_order.pdf
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Dispute in Council District 5 race over false campaign claims

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:16 PM

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Colorado Springs City Councilor Jill Gaebler has reported her opponent's false statements in campaign materials to the District Attorney's Office, though she hasn't taken the next step in filing a complaint.

The mailer in question says that Gaebler, who represents the city's central District 5, voted as a member of the Colorado Municipal League board to oppose a State House bill that would have made local officials liable for harm caused to a citizen by an undocumented person if those officials had acted to declare a city or county as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, failed.

But Lynette Crow-Iverson's campaign issued a mailer trying to link Gaebler to the CML vote, saying she voted to oppose the bill.
Crow-Iverson: Might have been mistaken. - COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Courtesy of the candidate
  • Crow-Iverson: Might have been mistaken.
In fact, Gaebler wasn't at the CML meeting where a vote took place.

A state law prohibits campaigns from making false or reckless statements against political candidates or about ballot measures. It's a Class 1 misdemeanor to do so. It's a Class 2 misdemeanor to do so unintentionally.

We asked Crow-Iverson's campaign manager Sarah Jack about this last week. She responded via email, saying, "If you read the email ... from CML to Rep. Williams she said that yes the Vote was unanimous in opposition. Since she [Gaebler] is a member of that committee and the vote was unanimous she would have had to cast a vote right? or the vote would have been recorded and included her absence."

Turns out, well, no, that's not right.

So we asked Jack about it again today. Her email response:
Your continued threat of a Blog is so tiresome ...

We relied on a report from the CML ... from Megan Dollar at CML to be exact that this was a unanimous vote by the Executive Board. They also testified in Committee on this Bill that the Board had voted unanimously. In no documentation that was available to us or Rep. Williams was it indicated that there was one absence. We have the email trail between Rep. Williams and CML's Ms. Dollar. The fact that they came out later and said it was an unfortunate mistake is a little too little ... too late.
Gaebler: "I wasn't even at the meeting." - COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Courtesy of the candidate
  • Gaebler: "I wasn't even at the meeting."

Nevertheless, Jack accuses Gaebler of intending to join the CML board majority, although she adds, "I do acknowledge this is second hand information."

Gaebler says she's talked to the DA's office about the incorrect mailer but hasn't decided whether to file a complaint. Meantime, she calls the mailer a "desperate" move by her opponent.

The mailer was labeled as being from Crow-Iverson's campaign, not a separate campaign committee. (The return logo for the mailer piece, at right, means the candidate is responsible, as compared to a 527 group, which operates without coordinating with a candidate's campaign.)
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In related news, Colorado Citizens Protecting Our Constitution, a dark money organization we wrote about in this blog, sent out a release calling for Gaebler to renounce an endorsement by the Sierra Club, which CCPOC says "costs taxpayers money and threatens jobs" by demanding immediate closure of the downtown Drake Power Plant, entangling the city in lawsuits, insisting Pikes Peak Highway harmed the environment (actually, the contention was the dirt and gravel that constantly sloughed off into woodlands and streams harmed fish and wildlife) and that the group wants local residents to pay "for expensive new solar, wind" and other renewable energy.

Gaebler's comeback: "Interesting how she only mentions me and not the other candidates who have received the Sierra Club’s endorsement. This is the epitome of fake news."

Crow-Iverson is the chosen candidate of a prominent group of developers and business people, including the business political activism group Colorado Springs Forward, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, the Gazette, El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller, and CCPOC donors who remain unnamed.

Gaebler has gained backing from the firefighters, Together for Colorado Springs (a progressive activism group in which Independent Chairman of the Board John Weiss is involved), the Independent, former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, former Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin, and former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, among others.

If you have an item of interest about the city election, please send it my way to zubeck@csindy.com

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Springs Equality starts search for board members

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 1:18 PM

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On May 21, Springs Equality, our local LGBTQ resource hub, will elect a new board of trustees, and they’re looking for members of the community to fill open positions.

These positions include president, vice president, CEO, secretary, treasurer, chamber director and another six to 10 board of trustee members.

“We are looking for dedicated, passionate, self-starters who want to be more active in their community and affect change at the local level,” Springs Equality says.

For those unfamiliar, Springs Equality is a virtual resource center, which includes a LGBT Chamber of Commerce, monthly volunteer/service projects (in conjunction with nonprofits such as Care and Share, National Mill Dog Rescue and more), and regular social events to connect folks to the rest of the LGBTQ community.

“Springs Equality's mission statement is to Connect, Enrich, and Inspire the lives of the LGBT and Allied community," Springs Equality says. "What does that mean? We are a virtual resource center for all things LGBT-related in Colorado Springs. Our unique position as the "first pit stop" allows us to be that one umbrella organization people need when first moving to a new town.”

Interested applicants should fill out the trustee application and send it to flora@springsequality.org by May 9, at the latest.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

New female AFA commandant moving here soon, with her wife

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:43 PM

COURTESY MRFF
  • Courtesy MRFF
Brig. Gen. Select Kristin Goodwin will be moving to Colorado Springs soon to be installed as the commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy. And she'll be moving here with her wife and two children.

The Academy announced Goodwin's assignment to staff last Thursday, but there has yet to be an announcement of the move to the public.

Read more about Goodwin and her stellar record, including commanding a storied bomb wing, in this outsmartmagazine.com piece.

Here's AFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson's message to staff, provided to the Independent by Mikey Weinstein. Weinstein is founder and CEO of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which represents 16 LGBT cadets at the Academy.


From: USAFA/DSEA (Taskers)
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 02:17 PM
To: USAFA_All_EDU
Cc: 10 ABW (Taskers)
Subject: USAFA's New Commandant / Brig Gen (S) Kristin Goodwin

Team USAFA

I am proud to announce that our Secretary of the Air Force has nominated Brig Gen (S) Kristin Goodwin (USAFA class of '93) as our next USAFA  Commandant!

Brig Gen (S) Goodwin will be joining us from Washington DC where she is currently serving as the Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force. Brig Gen (S) Goodwin will bring a wealth of experience from her time as the Vice-Commander of the 59th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Wing Commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, and most recently, the Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington DC. A highly accomplished aviator, Brig Gen (S) Goodwin has flown the B-2, EC-130, C-130,T-38, T-1 & T-37.

As USAFA continues on a strong upward trajectory, we are looking forward to Brig Gen (S) Goodwin's arrival and Assumption of Command. I am confident that Brig Gen (S) Goodwin will strengthen our drive for excellence!

I'm proud of the hard work being done by all of our Team. We are, without a doubt, an Academy on the move!

Lt Gen Johnson

MICHELLE D. JOHNSON, Lt Gen, USAF
Superintendent, U.S. Air Force Academy

Weinstein is asking why the Academy hasn't shouted this news from the rooftops.
Via email, he says:
MRFF has a burning question for USAFA and the USAF leadership; why are they not publicly acknowledging this groundbreaking selection of a gay, female new Commandant? This question HAS to be asked. There’s just total silence out thereabout this? Why? (I wonder what USAFA’s Michael Rosebush, the gay 'reparative therapy enthusiast', is thinking about this new selection as well?) Should not USAFA and Senior Air Force leadership be touting this action as an historic milestone of jovian magnitude as well?
Those concerns aside, he heralded the news in a statement:
“After more than 13 years of entrenched civil rights, church-state separation warfare against my [alma] mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), it is extremely difficult to find words of praise for ANYthing it does, but I guess that hell hath frozen over as something truly AMAZING has now just happened.

MRFF received confirmation earlier today from one of our 16 LGBT clients at USAFA that the next Commandant of Cadets will be Brigadier General Select Kristin Goodwin who is a 1993 academy graduate who is gay and married to her wife, Kelly. Together, they have 2 children as well.

MRFF is thrilled at this marvelous selection and on behalf of our 414 USAFA faculty, cadet and staff clients, we offer our most profound congratulations to those who selected Goodwin and to Goodwin herself, of course. Just 4 years ago this month, MRFF engaged in the very first gay rights public protest, near the Academy’s South Gate entrance, in support of over 20 LGB faculty, cadets and staff at USAFA who were MRFF clients. And now, some 4 years later, the Air Force has chosen a gay female officer to be its next USAFA Commandant!

Goodwin had NO “choice” in embracing her sexual orientation because THAT is NOT a matter of choice. In direct contrast, the Air Force choosing her [as] the Academy’s next Commandant WAS such a “choice" and the right one indeed! MRFF could not be more pleased!"
It appears this story is appearing first here, reported by the Independent. Given the importance of Goodwin's appointment, we wanted to break the story as soon as possible.
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UPDATE: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, county issue fire bans ... in March

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 4:23 PM

Fountain now has Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in place:

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——- LAST UPDATE, 1:08 P.M., MARCH 17 ——-
The city of Colorado Springs issued its own ban:

BURN RESTRICTIONS FOR COLORADO SPRINGS [TOOK] EFFECT AT NOON TODAY

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Based upon increased fire activity, very high fire danger, current fire weather conditions and consultation and coordination of federal, state and local fire agencies, it is determined that Burn Restrictions are warranted in the City of Colorado Springs.

Pursuant of the 2009 International Fire Code the Fire Marshal has implemented Burn Restrictions for the City of Colorado Springs that shall prohibit the following activities:

1. Recreational fires are not allowed. A recreational fire is an outdoor fire for cooking, warmth, religious, or other special purposes that is not contained in a permanent fixture (incinerator, manufactured outdoor fireplace or pit, BBQ grill).

2. Bonfires are not allowed.

3. No smoking in any city parks/open spaces while burn restrictions are in place.

4. Blasting, welding, and torches by permit only.

5. Model rockets by permit only.

6. Open or prescribed burning is not allowed (ditch burning, fires for silviculture, range or wildfire management).


Burn Restriction and Burn Ban Penalties - Person(s) failing to comply with a Burn Restriction or Burn Ban shall be punished in accordance with the Code of the City of Colorado Springs as amended (1.1.201). A careless fire that threatens or damages property is fourth degree arson and shall be prosecuted as such. For more information on burn restriction: https://csfd.coloradosprings.gov/sites/csfd.coloradosprings.gov/files/outdoor_burning14jul16.pdf


The Burn Restrictions shall take effect immediately upon the issuance of this order and shall remain in effect until such time the restrictions are modified.

Residents are encouraged to “Share the Responsibility” and reduce their wildfire risk by implementing wildfire mitigation concepts into their landscaping. https://csfd.coloradosprings.gov/page/wildfire-mitigation
——- FIRST UPDATE, TODAY, 10:34 A.M. ——-
El Paso County has also implemented Stage 1 Burn Restrictions.

Here are the details:

Sheriff's Office Implementing Stage 1 Burn Restrictions

March 16, 2017
Pursuant to the authority vested in the Deputy Fire Warden through the Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, by El Paso County Ordinance No. 15-001, and C.R.S. § 30-10-512, he El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, hereby issues this Order pertaining to the declaration of Stage 1 Burn Restrictions.

Based upon monitoring of fire danger weather conditions, increased fire activity in the area, the fire danger class in the very high and/or extreme levels and through consultation and coordination of federal, state and local fire agencies, it is determined that implementation of Stage 1 Burn Restrictions are warranted in El Paso County.

These Restrictions shall prohibit the following activities:

1. Open fire and open burning except fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, or private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.

2. The sale or use of fireworks.

3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren of and cleared of all flammable materials.

The Stage 1 Restrictions shall take effect immediately upon the issuance of this Order and shall remain in effect until such time as the restrictions are modified pursuant to El Paso County Ordinance No. 15-001.

The full text of Ordinance No. 15-001 can be found at http://car.elpasoco.com/clerktotheboard/Documents/15-001%20Open%20Burnin...
——- ORIGINAL POST, THURSDAY, 11:04 A.M. ——-
Waldo Canyon came very close to Manitou Springs. - PHOTO BY CSFD, COURTESY NIST
  • PHOTO BY CSFD, COURTESY NIST
  • Waldo Canyon came very close to Manitou Springs.


If you lived in Manitou Springs during the Waldo Canyon Fire, then you know how fresh the memories of that time feel.

Back in the summer of 2012, Waldo was named the most destructive fire in Colorado history (our own Black Forest Fire a year later, would surpass it). For Manitou, Waldo was a close call. The town's residents were evacuated the first night of the fire, as the blaze advanced down Williams Canyon.

Then, mercifully, the wind shot the fire the other way. Manitou was spared. The same couldn't be said for Mountain Shadows, where homes were left in ruins and two people lost their lives.

If you're a Manitoid that lived through Waldo, then you know how powerless we are to stop a raging wildfire. And you've probably been observing this balmy March weather with a measure of caution.  Apparently, so has Manitou's fire chief, John Forsett.

Yesterday, Forsett ordered a fire ban. That's right. A fire ban in March. And this isn't just for campfires — it also bans smoking outside.

While inconvenient, the hope here is that a ban can prevent the next Waldo. Here's what the chief had to say:

15-March-2017
Madam Mayor and Members of City Council,

Effective immediately, I am ordering the following Fire Restrictions for the City of Manitou Springs:

1. Open Burning Ban, defined as the prohibited use of any outside fire, including camp fires and warming fires.

This current ban excludes fires in permanently constructed fire rings within the city’s RV and Camping Parks; and charcoal grills, and wood burning fire places, (chiminia) or fire pits with proper fitting screen covers and with a minimum of 15’ separation from structures or other combustible material at private residences. None of these exclusions permit a total fuel area greater than 3 feet in diameter, and all must have a flame height of less than 2 feet.

2. Outdoor Smoking Ban, defined as the prohibited use of any tobacco product or similar material in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes outdoors. This excludes smoking in enclosed buildings or structures, and along Manitou Avenue. Discarding of a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe tobacco products is strictly prohibited.

These restrictions do not apply to gas-fueled grills used out-of-doors, or to fires within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves. Additionally, compliant fireplaces and wood-burning stoves within private residences are not included in the ban.

Current Wildland Fire predictive services for our area indicate continuing warm, dry and breezy conditions. I have attached the Predictive Services Fire Weather/Danger Update from March 13th for your reference, and you can monitor these outlooks at;
http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/predictive/outl... .

While we can only control our city limits, it is my hope that these restrictions will enhance awareness of our citizens and visitors, and the message will carry far outside of our boundaries. It is also my hope that El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will also soon imposed fire restrictions for all areas of unincorporated El Paso County in some similar manner. Should the county impose a fire ban while this ban is in place, this ban may be adjusted to allow for consistency in management and compliance.

If weather patterns change the local outlook significantly one way or the other, Fire Restrictions will be adjusted accordingly.

Respectfully Submitted,

John K. Forsett, Fire Chief, City of Manitou Springs

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Enough with the "alt" already

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 2:53 PM

ANDREW KLEINDOLPH WWW.EXTRASLEEPY.COM
  • Andrew Kleindolph www.extrasleepy.com

Editor's Note: This blog was written by Baynard Woods. It originally showed up under a different author's name due to a technical glitch.

It’s a shitty time to have any kind of identification with the prefix “alt.” Richard Spencer and other Nazi-types started using “alt-right” in 2010 to refer to their racist, misogynist bullshit. And instead of ignoring their hate, it became apotheosized in the election of Donald Trump and we were subjected to endless features about Spencer and the alt-right.

Now there’s been a spate of stories talking about the “alt-left” and even the “alt-center.”

Though some right-wing trolls have been trying to use “alt-left” as an online insult for a while now, it was James Wolcott’s Vanity Fair story “Why the Alt-Left is a Problem, Too” that made the term stick.

Wolcott’s piece lumped a wide variety of Twitter-types as “alt left” in a way that felt somewhat refreshing—who hasn’t been super-annoyed by Michael Tracy and Glenn Greenwald being hyper skeptical about Russia but almost nothing else.

But it was also annoying. "Trump Tracker" runs in a number of papers that have been called “alt-weeklies” or the “alternative press” for decades. I was the arts editor and then managing editor (and now editor at large) at the Baltimore City Paper, an alt that was founded in 1977.

Wolcott knows all of this. A great writer, he got his start when he left Baltimore in 1972—the year I was born—to try to turn a letter from Norman Mailer into a job. When the Village Voice finally hired Wolcott—he just hung around the office for a long time—he did a lot to invent the kind of cultural criticism that would come to define alts.

So I was interested if he thought about that history as he wrote this piece for the far-slicker pages of Vanity Fair. I wrote him on Twitter and then tracked down his address and sent him a couple emails. Eventually, he responded to my questions.

"’Alt’ is shorthand for alternative, and has become a euphemistic prefix—’alt-right’ sounds a lot more innocuous than a white supremacist misogynist dudebro movement, and takes up way less space and breath. The ‘alt-left’ is more of a hodge-podge of die-hard socialists, embittered Berniebros, Occupy nostalgists, and grad-school Guevaras. What links them is a loathing of liberals in general, Hillary in particular, and a mystic dread of the Deep State.”

There is a lot to unpack in that and I’ll come back to it in a minute. But I was curious if he saw any connection between what he and Mailer did at the Voice with his use of “alt” in this piece. Like, one of the reasons people started papers like that was a sort of hatred of the liberal establishment.

“Mailer was keeping his hand in and blowing off steam in his White Negro phase and I was writing about pop culture, which I had grown up and Mailer hadn't,” Wolcott responded.

Ok, so I wasn’t gonna get anywhere with that.

I should say I also tried to contact Richard Spencer numerous times. I told him I did not subscribe to the view of journalism that required me to hide my feelings and I would be honest and tell him I despise everything he stands for and he will despise me. But I also had to admit he had taken this prefix that I’d had some attachment to and highjacked, if not destroyed, it.

But he didn’t respond. Still, in what I got from Wolcott, there is something that illuminates the alt-right as well. When he defines the alt-left through an aversion to the establishment liberals and the “Deep State” he hits on the thing that defines “alt” at the moment. And it fits in with the thinking of Aleksander Dugin, the arch-nationalist, ultra-right philosopher sometimes called “Putin’s Rasputin”—think Steve Bannon with a beard, if Bannon actually wrote books.

In his writings, Dugin argues that liberalism is the first political theory of modernism. Communism was the second political theory and fascism the third. But once fascism and communism fell, liberalism changed, becoming not only one ideology but the only ideology, the “end of history” as Francis Fukuyama put it, postliberalism as Dugin has it, and neoliberalism to the rest of us.

“It is impossible to determine where the Right and the Left are located in relation to postliberalism," he writes. "There are only two positions: compliance (the centre) and dissent (the periphery).”

Dude is scary as fuck but that does offer a pretty good explanation of what is meant right now by “alt” whether on the right or the left (as well as the crossover between Bernie Bros and Trump Trolls).

And there, in this idea of dissent, we also have the “alt” of the alt-weeklies.

“Since our origin as the underground press, alt-weeklies have been just that—the dissidents that would feel right at home in the Island of Misfit Toys; the truth seekers that never treat a press release as gospel; and the story tellers that perpetually go against the grain and are never afraid to pull back the curtain and hold those pulling the strings accountable,” says Enrique Limon, editor of Salt Lake City Weekly.

But the fact that neither Wolcott nor Spencer or any of the other people talking about alts of any sort don’t acknowledge the existence of the alternative press is part of the problem—they are all still simply striving to be at the center, away from the periphery, as Wolcott did when he moved from Baltimore to New York.

After the election, pundits lamented the fact that reporters for the mainstream media are located in three or four cities and missed everything happening in what they allegedly term “flyover country.” Like these pundits, I too lament the death of the small daily. But I also acknowledge that those papers, like the mainstream media in general, have a lot of fucking problems. We have always been an alternative to what is now dubbed the MSM (mainstream media).

I decided to write to some of my colleagues in the alternative press and see how they defined alt.

“As an alternative weekly, the Chicago Reader has always positioned itself as an antidote to the daily papers, one that questions the accepted narratives around all manner of issues, whether it be police shootings or public housing,” said editor Jake Malooley.

It’s not using “alternative facts,” like Kellyanne Conway, but rather digging up facts that the mainstream might ignore. Or thinking about them differently. “Topics the dailies don’t touch; takes and perspectives the dailies don’t have,” Kevin Allman, of New Orleans’ Gambit, replied.

Chris Faraone, of Dig Boston, writes alt media means “covering stuff that no one is covering and/or covering stuff correctly that other people are covering wrong.”

For Judy Davidoff, editor of Isthmus in Madison, part of what others get wrong is in the very framing of the debate in terms competing opinions, “he said/ she said,” instead of looking for what is actually true. “If sources on either side of an issue offer two versions of events, we try to figure out what is true. So I think what we are seeing in mainstream media now — i.e. reporters calling out false statements as false—is something we've tried to do for a while.

Katherine Coplen, editor of Nuvo in Indianapolis, agrees. “For us, an alt-weekly represents an alternative way of annotating the status quo—the truest way, the shine-a-light way, the way that speaks truth to power,” she said.

“I often tell people being an alternative news journalist means I strive to report the truth – not ‘balance’ – with no concern about what might impact my economic and popularity status,” Mark Sabbatini, editor of Icepeople, wrote.

But James Allen of Random Length News, spells out the problem for the alts. We’ve always been going against the dailies and the cable news—now, since they are under attack by Trump, we are in the tricky position of defending them.

“It's hard to argue that the MSM doesn't have a bias in reporting, as we in the alternative press have maintained for decades, and now defend them as being the trusted purveyors of the real news,” he wrote.

For Matthew Steele, of Iowa City’s Little Village, it is a willingness to take a stand—and be transparent about it, that defines alt-media, which, he says, is “not just recording what's happening in our community, but actively working to change it— to move the moral center forward in accordance with the values we transparently espouse and advocate for.”

The transparency is important. Writers at alt-weeklies often reject the “view from nowhere,” instead choosing to connect with their cities. When Baltimore City Paper was bought by the daily a couple years ago, I noted: “An alt-weekly has a staff of paid reporters and editors whose jobs are not only to know the city, but to love it, to hate it, and to be an integral part of it, cajoling, ridiculing, praising and skewering city officials, artists and entrepreneurs alike.”

Perhaps we need to take the formula of these papers—there are more than 100 in the Association of Alternative Newsmedia—and apply it not just to the city, but to the country.

If we're really looking for an alternative to the mainstream media, we’d do a hell of a lot better if we listened more to alt-weekly reporters and less to people like Richard Spencer and even James Wolcott.
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CSPD defends its police academy driving program

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 7:35 AM

The CSPD academy has lost eight recruits this time around due to failing the driving test. - JOHN ROMAN IMAGES/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • John Roman Images/Shutterstock.com
  • The CSPD academy has lost eight recruits this time around due to failing the driving test.
In the March 8 edition, we ran a story about the Colorado Springs Police Department firing eight recruits from its current police academy for failing the driving test.

You can read that story here. ("CSPD's academy flunks eight due to failing the driving test," News, March 8, 2017)

We were required to submit an open records request to the CSPD for information and didn't hear back in time to include that information.

On Wednesday, March 15, we received an email from CSPD spokesman Lt. Howard Black in response to the records request.

In it, the CSPD produced a boilerplate document that all recruits are required to sign that acknowledges the stringent requirements necessary to pass the driving test, including the ban on striking even one cone. Here's that document:
66th_Recruit_Class_Testing_Procedures.pdf
Also, Black states:
The recruits received their driving lecture on Friday, February 3, 2017. At that time the recruits took their written driving test. Additionally each recruit was given the 66th Recruit Class Driver Training Testing Procedures handout. The handout as explained to the recruits and each recruit was provided a copy of the procedures to review. Each recruit signed the testing procedures paperwork that acknowledged the testing protocols and what factors would result in a test failure. This included the information that striking a cone was an action which would result in a test failure. The handout also explained the procedures for remedial driving training and the retest process. 
He also says the department currently has an authorized strength of 684 sworn officers and has 670 on duty, which includes 37 recruits. The academy, which started with 48 and now has 36, graduates the new class on April 14. (He didn't explain why there are 37 recruits counted in the ranks when only 36 remain in the academy.)

Black also provided this letter from the Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training office praising the CSPD's academy.
2015_POST_Driving_Inspection_for_CSPD_Academy.pdf
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spotlight on dark money in Colorado Springs city election

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 5:16 PM

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"Dark money" flowing into the Colorado Springs City Council election comes at least in part from a group first formed to fight gun-control legislation, which is dominated by Republican heavyweights outside of Colorado Springs.

Colorado Citizens Protecting Our Constitution isn't new to local politics. Its Independent Expenditure Committee spent $76,000 in the 2015 election, canvassing, issuing mailers and buying phone banks in support of Mayor John Suthers and the candidacies of Council members Tom Strand and Larry Bagley and Council President Merv Bennett.

It didn't disclose where the money came from; hence, the "dark money" label.

Here's an ad that CCPOC sponsored in that election.

This year, it's spent $72,000 so far to support management consultant Chuck Fowler, who's running in District 3 against businessman and former vice mayor Richard Skorman, and also to help District 6 incumbent Andy Pico, who has three opponents. (Those are the candidates for whom CCPOC has funded mailers — so far.) The City Council races are nonpartisan.

While CCPOC hasn't divulged where its money comes from in this election, past associations suggest that local developers have helped fund its efforts in local elections. More on that later.

For all those who are not political junkies, you can stop reading now. We're about to get down in the weeds on the CCPOC. In short, CCPOC involves mostly, if not exclusively, Republican operatives who have been heavy hitters either by holding office or working behind the scenes. And those figures appear to have an intense interest in our local political scene as well as at least indirect connections within the local business and development community.

CCPOC was formed in 2013 by Andy Nickel, who the Denver Post reported a while back led state House GOP campaign efforts in 2012.  Nickel, a lawyer in Denver, interned for the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, who's nominated to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

An organizer for CCPOC told the Post the group formed to advocate for responsible gun owners. After that, Republicans recalled several Democrats who had voted to adopt stricter gun-control measures, including Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs.

Since then, Gwendolyn Benevento, at attorney in the Denver office of Holland & Hart, has filed paperwork on CCPOC's behalf. The firm's website says she:

represents clients on state and local ballot measures and advises federal and state candidates and elected officials. She advises corporate clients on various matters, including corporate compliance. She was former Chief Legal Counsel to Colorado Governor Bill Owens, having served as Legislative Assistant to United States Senator Wayne Allard.

In November, Katie Kennedy took over CCPOC. The Colorado Secretary of State's Office lists more than 60 politically oriented groups for which Kennedy is listed as registered agent. She gives two addresses on various filings, one a townhome and the other an apartment in Denver. Among those groups, which appear to be largely conservative and Republican causes, are Conservative Leadership PAC, Colorado Liberty Fund, Senate Republican Caucus, Reagan Justice for Colorado, Colorado Republican Leadership Fund, Conservatives for a Better Colorado and Western Republican Values.

Others involved in CCPOC include:

• Dede Laugesen, wife of Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen. Her firm, Windover Media, is handling the 2017 city election efforts on behalf of CCPOC.

• Josh Penry, former Senate minority leader and Republican gubernatorial candidate. He's employed by EIS Solutions, a Denver-based firm that works in legislative affairs, public and media relations, government affairs, and grassroots mobilization, according to its website.

(Penry's wife, Kristin Strohm, is a managing partner of Starboard Group. Starboard's Kitt Smith was Suthers' campaign manager in 2015. Suthers says Smith was overseen by Starboard's other managing partner, Katie Behnke. He also says there was no coordination between his campaign and CCPOC. It's illegal for a 527 organization such as CCPOC to coordinate with candidates' campaigns. Penry says via email, "We employ legal counsel to ensure strict compliance with Colorado’s campaign finance laws. There was no coordination." And Strohm says in an email she did not work on Suthers' campaign.)

In 2015, CCPOC conducted voter canvassing, robo calls and mailers advocating for the election of Strand, Bagley, Bennett and Suthers.

According to emails obtained by the Independent, it appears Doug Stimple and Ralph Braden, Colorado Springs developers associated with Classic Homes and Nor'wood Development Group respectively (two of the biggest donors to city elections over the years and including this year), were in touch (at least indirectly) with CCPOC amid the 2015 election cycle.

Here's a Feb. 23, 2015, email from Stimple to Braden and William Mutch, who then served as political consultant for Colorado Springs Forward, and copied to Nor'wood Development Group's Chris Jenkins:
We should pound Joel and Helen for not voting for the airport zone that attracted Sierra Nevada. Especially since that is in Helens district and will benefit that area and schools etc. just shows they are out of touch.
Joel Miller had resigned his Council seat to run for mayor during that election. City Councilor Helen Collins, representing the southeast District 4, was facing a recall vote in that election.

The message was then sent by Mutch to Penry — remember he's associated with CCPOC  — and Jake Zambrano, who also works for EIS Solutions and specializes in state government relations, public affairs, grassroots advocacy, and political campaign management, the EIS website says.

Zambrano then forwards the message to Jia Meeks, who's described on a communications firm's website as specializing in policy research and evaluation, media relations, and grassroots mobilization. Zambrano wrote to Meeks, saying, "Please find associated votes for the research binder."
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(Stimple, Braden and Jenkins have donated to a slate of candidates in this year's City Council race who are also backed by the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Forward.)

We've contacted Stimple, Braden, Jenkins, Mutch and Colorado Springs Forward for a comment and will update when and if we hear back.

CCPOC's canvassing numbers were reported by Black Diamond Outreach, a Denver area firm, to Zambrano and Mutch on March 24, 2015. One of those copied on the message was James Rankin, with Black Diamond at that time and now project manager at Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach. Rankin has supervised canvass offices across Colorado, including in Colorado Springs, and led petition collections, ballot issue campaigns, "message crafting" and data analysis.
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Campaign money, Skorman endorsements, and voter turnout in the City Election

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 4:20 PM

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Looks like Richard Skorman in District 3 has overtaken the lead fundraising in the Colorado Springs City Council races, tallying more than $56,700, according to an analysis of the most recent round of campaign finance reports by SpringsUnigroup, a coalition of business people.

He's followed close behind by Lynette Crow-Iverson, who's challenging incumbent Jill Gaebler, with $55,257.

The SpringsUnigroup made this chart to demonstrate the cash flow. Green indicates independent donation, while gray signifies developers and builders and their affiliated organizations.

screen_shot_2017-03-16_at_2.18.23_pm.png

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Richard Skorman, running in District 3, says he's landed some endorsements that he wants voters to know about. They include the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Local 5, the local branch of the Sierra Club, Colorado Springs Utilities employee group and political activist group Together for Colorado Springs.

Skorman also is endorsed by former Councilman Randy Purvis, former Vice Mayor Larry Small, former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, former Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin and former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, who sought the District 3 seat in 2013 when Keith King prevailed. King is not seeking another term.

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Nearly 3,000 voters had returned their city election ballots as of yesterday, Wednesday, the fifth day after the City Clerk's Office began mailing ballots. The exact number was 2,937, which is 1.15 percent of the 261,251 ballots mailed.

In the April 2015 city election, 39 percent of voters cast ballots.

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If you have an item of interest for our campaign coverage, send me at email at zubeck@csindy.com.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Reorganizing the executive branch and the deconstruction of the administrative state

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 5:47 PM

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On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order christened a "comprehensive plan for reorganizing the executive branch." The order directs the "Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs."

That's right, to get rid of federal agencies. And we can guess which ones they will be. When Trump's budget is released tomorrow, it will likely become even more painfully clear what the regime's chief strategist Steve Bannon meant when he talked about the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

But we've got a pretty good sense of how this is going to go, with The Washington Post reporting that Trump's budget proposal "would shake the federal government to its core," which is precisely what Bannon hopes to do.

“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said at the ultra-right CPAC conference.

It seems he is using the fancy word "deconstruction" to add intellectual heft—and perhaps to troll leftist professors—when the Executive Order made it clear he really just means "destruction." And the Executive Order calls on the heads of all of the agencies to look for ways to eliminate them.

Most of the agencies are still wildly understaffed, allowing the administration to bemoan a lack of Democratic cooperation while also achieving their goals by means of “beachhead” teams, which, as a Pro Publica investigation showed, are stocked with the kinds of outcast Trump loyalists that sound more at home in a James Ellroy book than a federal agency.

But two other appointments also highlight this desire to deconstruct the administrative state beyond cabinet positions. Both Neil Gorsuch, whose Supreme Court confirmation hearings are set to begin next week, and Noel Francisco recently named Solicitor General have questioned the legal framework of the administrative state.

Francisco, who was appointed last Wednesday, explains the issue in a written statement to a House committee in 2011:

Every student of high school civics understands the basic contours of our system of separated powers: The Legislative Branch makes the law. The Executive Branch enforces the law. And the Judicial Branch interprets the law. But consider how this often plays out in the modern administrative state: Congress passes a broad and open-ended law, leaving it to an Executive Branch administrative agency to '‘fill in the gaps’ through administrative regulation.The agency then promulgates regulations interpreting and implementing that open-ended law. And when the issue gets to the judiciary, the courts, as a general matter, defer to Congress’s decision to delegate to the agency the policy-making functions in the first place.

Francisco also argued, by the way, on behalf of now Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ coal company when Congress investigated the Sago Mine disaster, for which it was responsible. It's not easy to see this disaster as a template for what to expect as regulations are "left to" the states.

Fransisco has been acting Solicitor General and argued for the disastrous Trump travel ban. And of course, in the scenario above, he is right in line with the administration’s desire to change the way Washington works.

Gorsuch, whose confirmation hearings begin March 20, is also on record as opposing the Chevron doctrine which rules that courts will defer to agencies when it comes to the interpretation of statutes or provisions under their control.

Gorsuch argued (in a concurring opinion) that the doctrine allows “executive bureaucracies to swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power and concentrate federal power in a way that seems more than a little difficult to square with the Constitution.”

While this might seem like a check to the president’s attempt to consolidate power, it actually enables the administration to take power away from the agencies, while strengthening the hand of the chief executive and his hand-picked coterie of radicals.
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