Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Personhood fails to make ballot

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Planned Parenthood is beaming.

  • Shutterstock / Eggs in a Cup

Colorado's Secretary of State announced this morning that the proponents of the so-called Personhood Amendment failed to raise enough signatures to get it on the fall ballot. According to Denver News 7, advocates came up about 4,000 signatures shy of the threshold.

The amendment sought to prohibit "the intentional killing of any innocent person," even if that "person" was a fetus created through a rape or incest.

From a press release, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ CEO and President Vicki Cowart:

Women across Colorado are sighing with relief. Today is a victory for women’s health.

The fact that Personhood Colorado was not able to qualify their measure on the 2012 ballot demonstrates how out of touch their agenda is with Colorado values.

Health decisions should be left to a woman, her doctor, her family and her faith — not politicians— Coloradans know this.

Let today be a signal to personhood supporters who return to Colorado year after year with anti-woman, anti-family, anti-patient privacy ballot proposals—Coloradans have said ‘no’ to intrusion into our personal, private medical decisions and we mean it.

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Chinese change-up: Bang on the move again

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

To quote The Simpson's Groundskeeper Willie (because, really, what more awesome way could there be to start a blog post?): "I warned you! Didn't I warn you?"

From there, Willie went on to condemn colored chalk as being "forged by Lucifer himself."

Ivys Chinese Cafe David Bang
  • The awesome food hasn't changed, but the location has.

I'm going to take a different path and simply remind you that in November 2010, I reviewed a fantastic Chinese eatery on Stetson Hills Boulevard called Jasmine Cafe, here.

In the introduction of that review, I explained how owner/chef David Bang claimed to simply close down his restaurants when they got too busy for him to handle, rather than take on help in the kitchen. He said he didn't trust anyone else with his food.

I hinted that there may be a limited time to catch Bang's cooking before he did another disappearing act — at the time still questioning whether his story was entirely true or not.

Well, it appears to be more true than fabricated, and here's the latest evidence: Bang recently sold Jasmine Cafe (named after his first daughter) to an interested party, and now he's opened a new spot called Ivy's Chinese Cafe (named after his second daughter) at 11550 Ridgeline Drive (488-8088).

Bang says the menu is virtually the same — that he didn't sell his recipes and sign a non-compete contract or anything.

True, this time he didn't get so busy that he closed his own place, but I'd say the willingness to let go of a successful spot shows the same type of non-attachment and confidence that he can pretty much open up anywhere and make a good go of things, as he's already done in Florence and Monument prior to Colorado Springs.

It's been too long since I've returned to Jasmine Cafe — which we'll have to keep an eye on to see if it remains as good as it was under Bang — so I'm glad to have a pressing reason to now dine at Ivy's and reacquaint myself with Bang's cooking.

You could say that his cooking is equally as racy as colored chalk in a child's hand — Willie's worst fear.

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UPDATE: Voters give Memorial lease big thumbs up

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:35 AM

This from UCH's communications department:

"I think Bruce [Schroffel] misspoke tonight about the MHS signs. New signs went up tonight at both Memorial and Memorial North."

————— ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, AUG. 28, 9:28 P.M. —————

Colorado Springs Memorial Health System
  • The new logo for Memorial UCH after voters gave the nod to lease the city-owned hospital.

Calling the 83-percent "yes" vote to lease city-owned Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health a mandate, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach said today's vote marked a watershed moment in the city's history.

The hospital, purchased by the city in 1943, will become the "southern flagship" in UCH's mega-health care system, UCH CEO Bruch Schroffel said during remarks at City Hall tonight.

Pam Schockley-Zalaback, chancellor at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, which will host a branch medical school as part of the lease, told the Indy, "I think the community really gets it. This moves us forward together with investment in the future. It's good for education. It's good for health care, and I think the community came together."

Kyle Hybl, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, was equally thrilled with the overwhelming support the lease got from 34 percent of the city's 176,556 registered voters.

"I'm truly pleased to know that Colorado Springs voted for a strong academic future, a strong health care future for our community and a strong economic future for our community," Hybl said in an interview.

City officials said 72,205 voters, or 41 percent, cast ballots. The unofficial tally: 59,820 yes; 12,298 no.

During brief remarks outside the City Administration Building, Bach reminded the small crowd on hand that a year ago the City Council was on the verge of turning Memorial over to a management group headed by Dr. Larry McEvoy, who left in May as CEO after the former Memorial board gave him a $1.15 million severance package.

But Bach and his cronies stepped in and demanded a competitive process, which yielded the 40-year lease agreement with UCH.

"There are few times when we have defining turning points," he said. "We're on the doorstep now of a wonderful future."

Bach used the moment to call for similar types of analysis be applied to "all the city's enterprises," and said the overwhelming vote indicates that voters trust the city.

Asked how the dispute with the Public Employees Retirement Association over Memorial employees' pensions will affect the transfer to UCH, Bach dodged the question, reiterating the city's position that the city owes PERA nothing. PERA, of course, disagrees, and a lawsuit will decide the question, as we reported here.

At a news conference a block away at City Hall, Schroffel said he was "ecstatic" at the outcome and said the historic vote will assure Memorial serves Springs residents for generations to come.

UCH President Rulon Stacey said UCH will leverage the strength of community health care and academic medicine to bring higher quality care to the region. He predicted the cost of care throughout the UCH system will go down because of the health care powerhouse's ability to collaborate and cooperate.

"We will waste no time to earn your trust and prove you have made a truly great decision," he said.

City Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin
, who managed a contentious task force to a unanimous recommendation to City Council to choose UCH, credited everyone involved, saying, "We are here tonight because we all worked together. I'm really pleased to be standing here with our new partners in Memorial Hospital."

Colorado Springs Memorial Health System
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Jan Martin, left, with Schroffel and Stacey, right.

Asked what the first visible effect will be of today's vote, Schroffel said, "The first thing we want to do is build morale, build a team of physicians and staff at Memorial, and rebuild the place, which is already a strong hospital, raise the bar for quality of health care."

He said new signs won't be mounted at Memorial until the lease becomes effective Oct. 1.

The deal gives the city a $74 million upfront payment, plus $5.6 million per year for 30 years, along with $3 million a year for 40 years to UCCS for the med school. In addition, UCH will provide $185 million for the city to settle with PERA. If it takes less than that, the city keeps the difference; if it costs more, the city will have to dip into its other payments to make it up.

One reporter asked about whether people will be laid off after the six-month guarantee stated in the lease, a matter covered in our story reported weeks ago, which can be found here.

He noted UCH has added 800 jobs in the last five years, and Poudre Valley Health System has added about 1,200; there are no plans for layoffs, he said.

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Choosing sides on the marijuana amendment

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM


The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol continues its push for Amendment 64, this time lining up support from the academic community in the form of a letter signed by some 100, or so, professors of various things. Four come from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and one from Colorado State University-Pueblo.

"The State of Colorado, as well as our nation, have successfully walked the path from prohibition to regulation in the past: Eighty years ago, Colorado voters approved a ballot initiative to repeal alcohol prohibition at the state level, which was followed by repeal at the federal level," the unified voice of academia declares in a press release. "This year, we have the opportunity to do the same thing with marijuana and once again lead the nation toward more sensible, evidence-based laws and policies."

Dr. Dale DeBoer, chair of the economics department at UCCS, says his support for decriminalization is based on the ineffectiveness of prohibition, combined with evidence showing marijuana's no more harmful than the stuff you can legally buy today. As well: "To the extent that marijuana has health consequences," he writes in an e-mail, "these are better treated via health care (like with alcohol abuse) than through criminalization."

We asked the good professor if he agreed with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy's assessment that the passage of Amendment 64 could result in a $100 million windfall for the state of Colorado within five years.

"I am personally always suspicious of numerical estimates that I did not generate," he replied. "While these estimates are possible — and I have no reason to doubt them — I have not recreated these studies. As such, I take these numbers as possible but reserve some healthy caution in regards to them.

"That said, there must be some budgetary savings from narrowing the scope of the law and some revenue enhancement from taxation of a now illegal substance. Given my stance on your initial question, any financial gain should be welcome — but is not my main reason for supporting the movement."

As far as sounding out the amendment's chances of passage, well, all you have to do is hop on Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights' Facebook page to witness that, as usual, there's division even among those in the MMJ community. Those against the amendment have even, almost uniformly, changed their profile picture to a negative version of the "Yes on 64" logo — a move that equates to "the 21st-century lawn sign," as Vermont journalist Tyler Machado put it on Twitter.

Of course, that might just be the price you have to pay for progress, according to DeBoer: "Any change of this nature is difficult (witness the earlier political machinations surrounding prohibition)," he writes. "As such, I won't be surprised if this has to be tried again at another election."

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When an 'e' means you've f'ed up

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 7:30 AM

On the cover of today's Independent, you'll find the journalistic equivalent of keys locked in a car, a garden hose left running, a parent's birthday remembered too late. An inexplicable, yet completely irreversible, snafu that has the capacity to ruin a day and convince you that anyone who's looking in your direction, from your barista to your beagle, is saying to themselves, "What a blockhead."

It's "yeear's." As in, "Meet this yeear's winners and performers." This is how we introduce Bill Forman's feature on the 2012 Indy Music Awards, and it didn't come to our attention until after all our papers were printed.

I'd say this proves we're all too human and make goofy mistakes, but I don't think anyone's had much doubt on those counts. At least not since we decided this would be a good idea for a cover image during my first Earth Day at the Indy:


So all I'll say is, please read Bill's short profiles of 15 excellent local bands, and think about dropping into the Indy Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6. The show's free, at Stargazers, and promises some moments and performances that you'll be talking about for weeks to come.

No doubt, wee'll be doing the samee.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Sheriff Maketa's calling for a tax hike

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Voters will get a chance to decide whether to give the El Paso County Sheriff's Office an additional $16 million annually to hire more jailers and patrol deputies; fund jail repairs; answer growing jail medical and food requirements; and meet other law enforcement needs.

El Paso County sheriff
  • Maketa: Stretched too thin?

After a three-hour discussion today, county commissioners told staff to prepare a ballot question for the Nov. 6 ballot to raise the county's sales tax by just under a quarter of 1 percent.

The tax hike request comes from Sheriff Terry Maketa. Meanwhile, voters will also mull whether to extend the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax first enacted in 2004. It expires in 2014.

Maketa painted a dire picture of his department, noting he expects his medical contract for the jail to increase by up to $800,000 next year. Besides that, since 2007, gasoline has gone up 37 percent, ammunition 30 percent, and crime lab costs, 18 percent, according to his presentation to the county's Citizens Budget Oversight Committee last week.

Issues that have been ignored for years have come to a head, Maketa told commissioners, such as the need for a new industrial-sized dishwasher at the jail and a kettle and ovens to assure utensils are sanitized properly and that food is cooked properly.

"It's been repaired and repaired and repaired for years," he said of the dishwasher. "It's just worn out."

The number of patrol deputies has been the same for 20 years, leaving deputies without backup.

"We're staffed for a time when we almost had no calls for service in the eastern part of the county," he said. "Those days are gone."

But hiring to fill one position means adding six people to cover shifts and for sickness and vacations. Maketa's tax proposal would enable the addition of 120 positions, he said. Those are:

40 patrol deputies
7 records clerks
7 emergency services dispatchers
1 mechanic
1 finance clerk
1 HR tech
1 administrative employee
42 detention deputies
8 security techs
2 inmate classification counselors
2 intake release specialists
2 bookkeepers
2 wildland fire managers
1 hazardous materials tech
1 arson investigator
2 emergency services planners

"I'm asking for your support to work with me to find a way to address what I've been talking about for 10 years," Maketa said.

Commissioners acknowledged they've known for years about the sheriff's needs, but simply haven't had the money to fund them. A ballot measure in 2008 that would have raised $75 million annually failed as the recession was setting in.

Maketa said he's tried to be creative through the years, even adding a citizens patrol using volunteers. But volunteers have limitations. Days into the Waldo Canyon Fire, for example, there were wildland fire trucks available but no volunteers to take them out; having already lent much time to the firefighting effort, those volunteers had been called back to their paying jobs.

Part of the sheriff's woes stem from recession-caused budget cuts from 2006 to 2009, when commissioners reduced spending by $45.2 million, finance director Nicola Sapp said.

Several members of the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee spoke in support of Maketa's proposal, but District Attorney Dan May expressed reservations, saying there are mountains of regional law enforcement needs that will go unmet if the tax increase is directed only to the Sheriff's Office.

El Paso County sheriff
  • Dan May: It's a regional problem.

He noted his office must wait from nine to 12 months to get DNA lab results back from the state, and that there's no lab in southern Colorado. He says officials in Pueblo and Canon City have expressed a desire to work together on that need.

May said the Colorado Springs Police Department also has severe shortages. For example, when two murders happened simultaneously some months ago, the CSPD had to send a sex crimes unit to one of them, because a second major crimes unit wasn't available. And then the CSPD asked Maketa's force to cover calls that night because police lacked personnel to handle it.

Agencies might save money by working together, instead of independently, on training academies, dispatch and evidence storage.

He also noted that budget cuts have caused the city and county to pull out of the District Attorney's Office's economic crime unit, resulting in a sharp downturn in prosecution of economic crime and minor identity theft cases, because "nobody can do it because of budget constraints."

May also noted that if the sheriff's office gains personnel, he will gain more cases. But will he have sufficient budget dollars to handle the caseload? Perhaps not.

"The No. 1 purpose of government is public safety," he said. "There are needs throughout the region in law enforcement."

El Paso County sheriff
  • Bruce: No taxes, period.

Anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce spoke against any tax increase, saying "that's an awful lot of money to suck out of the economy in a recession."

He also said the measure, which would sunset in eight years unless voters renewed it, is "just a foot in the door," similar to the PPRTA road and bridge tax.

To which Commissioner Sallie Clark said, "Are you suggesting this should be an ongoing tax?"

Bruce: "If I'm asked if I want to be poisoned or strangled, my answer is neither." He also questioned if 10 weeks is enough time to mount a campaign.

"I think you've made a good case," Clark said.

Commissioner Amy Lathen called for the ballot measure to contain "very specific items" identified for funding, and told Maketa, "You've been elected three times, and you're asking for access to the people."

Commissioners indicated they will provide him with that access by placing a measure on the ballot on Thursday during their 9 a.m. meeting at Centennial Hall. Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who opposes putting the issue on the ballot, was doing a ride-along with the Black Forest Fire Department this morning and didn't attend the meeting.

If commissioners vote Thursday to place the tax hike on the ballot, a second reading and vote would take place Sept. 4.

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Springs forecast: A dozen touring acts worth catching

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Aesop Rock
  • Aesop Rock
We've been paying so much attention to our Indy Music Awards issue — which comes out tomorrow, watch for it — that there hasn't been enough time to check out what touring acts are coming to town in the weeks ahead.

So let's do that right now, beginning with tomorrow (Wednesday), when none other than Merle Haggard will be playing the Colorado State Fair. You'll find an interview with the country legend in tomorrow's Indy, as well as a chat with Cracker, who'll be at the Silver Tongue Devil Saloon on Sunday.

Later in September, look for the B-52s at the Pikes Peak Center on the 13th, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood — Chris being the singer of the Black Crowes — at the Black Sheep on the 14th (with Tab Benoit playing Armstrong Hall that same day), Michael Dean Damron at the Triple Nickel on Sept. 21, and Buckethead at the Black Sheep on Sept. 27.

The following month, be sure to save Oct. 6 when ultra-talented Americana purveyor Corb Lund — whose newly released Cabin Fever album debuted at No. 1 in his native Canada — plays Chico Basin Ranch.

Fans of melodic pop-rock that falls somewhere between Coldplay and U2, meanwhile, will be glad to know that the Triple Nickel has scored Morning Parade for the 10th. Oct. 11 finds Aesop Rock at the Black Sheep and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound at Armstrong Quad, while former Glass Harp frontman Phil Keaggy comes to Stargazers on Oct. 20.

And there you have it, the world at your doorstep and your next two months all planned out for you. So here's a video, complete with yodeling and Rocky Mountains, just to whet your appetite.

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Panhandling ban considered ... but only for downtown

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 12:08 PM

No panhandling sign
  • Francis Storr
  • Appearing in your downtown soon?

City Council got its first look at an ordinance that would ban all solicitation from the core downtown area at Monday’s informal City Council meeting.

The ordinance was drafted by City Attorney Chris Melcher after research into what limits could be placed on panhandling, which is a protected First Amendment form of speech. Based on other laws around the country that have passed legal scrutiny, Melcher proposed instituting the ban in the core downtown area, but excluding traditional places of public gathering like Acacia Park, City Hall, the courthouse, the Pioneers Museum, and the Penrose Library. To the dismay of west-side activists, Melcher has recommended against banning panhandling in the area west of 31st Street known as “No Man’s Land” because he believes extending the ban to other parts of the city would make the law vulnerable.

The panhandling ban was first proposed by the mayor’s Downtown Solutions Team. Council of Neighbors and Organizations president Dave Munger spoke on behalf of the Solutions Team, saying that even though the city already bans aggressive panhandling, shoppers and tourists are bothered by “persistent panhandling” and that downtown needs a “more comfortable” environment in order to thrive.

Councilors seemed largely satisfied with the ordinance, though several, including a vocal Bernie Herpin, wished the zone was larger. Many Councilors were especially concerned that the ban didn’t extend to Acacia Park.

Others, like Angela Dougan and Brandy Williams, questioned the need for a ban, saying aggressive panhandling was the real problem. And many pointed to what is seen as a root of the problem: People who give to panhandlers.

Commenting on that issue, Council President Scott Hente said, “If we really wanted to end it [panhandling], we could end it today.”

The public will have a chance to comment on the ordinance at the September 11 City Council meeting.

In the meantime, the people of No Man's Land are taking to the Web to record their displeasure with panhandlers and lawbreakers in their community. The complaints are being posted to

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Broadmoor moves on without Moore

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Derin Moore Broadmoor
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Since arriving on property in May, chef Moore mandated that all culinarians wear the formal chef toque, pictured here.

After being named the fifth executive chef in The Broadmoor's history last May, Derin Moore parted ways with the hotel last Friday, according to Food & Beverage marketing and PR manager Lindsey Hafemeister.

The split was due to "philosophical differences," she says.

Replacing Moore for the time being, while a search commences for a permanent executive chef, is senior executive sous chef David Codney, who came with Moore from his former post at the Ritz-Carlton Naples in Naples, Fla.

Former executive chef of the Penrose Room and Summit Bertrand Bouquin for now will keep the title of executive sous chef of restaurants, given to him as a promotion by Moore.

At a recent Neyers Vineyards wine dinner at the Summit that I attended, Moore spoke of many changes that would be taking place in the next couple of years on property, while saying that he, Codney and Bouquin were focusing on "diversity of concepts" across The Broadmoor's restaurants as well as "nutrition and balanced menus."

Moore said they also were looking at different price points, and wanting to create family-friendly opportunities for guest that would allow them to dine on property more (even exclusively) during a stay.

All that will continue in his absence, and in this week's Side Dish print column, I'll give you specifics on the renovations of the Golden Bee and Tavern, as well as what will replace Charles Court by spring 2014.

I'll also tell you about the new Play at the Broadmoor, which will add bowling lanes and another food venue to the hotel's offerings.

In case you never heard much of Moore's incoming, here's his brief bio provided by the Broadmoor:

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9/11 Memorial stops in the Springs

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Dawn Siebel knew she had a big project on her hands when she decided to undertake painting 343 individual portraits of the New York City firefighters who died on Sept. 11. Each tiny portrait begins with a block of burned wood that Seibel then adorns with the firefighter's bust as well as name and ladder company. She dubbed the project better angels: the firefighters of 9/11.

According to Siebel's website, it took over 3,000 hours and six years to create the works. She's actually still working on them, refining certain faces and updating ladder information as she gets it. But the pieces will be pretty much complete when better angels comes to Colorado Springs this Friday. The exhibit will hang from Aug. 31 through Sept. 11 at the Colorado Springs Fire Department Headquarters and Museum, 375 Printers Pkwy. Friday's opening reception, beginning at 11 a.m., will include Gov. John Hickenlooper, Mayor Steve Bach, CSFD Chief Rich Brown and Siebel herself.

Siebel was living in Colorado on 9/11, after residing in Manhattan for 22 years. Her connections with firefighters go deeper, though. After she moved away from Colorado, her old neighborhood in Boulder caught fire in 2010, destroying "about 90 percent" of her former neighbors' homes. That fire, the Fourmile Canyon Fire, held the record for most homes lost in a Colorado blaze, until the Waldo Canyon Fire this summer. The connection is not lost on Siebel, who goes on to write:

I often say that Colorado is where I learned about fire. It’s easy living in America’s cities to not have fire high in your awareness. Unless your own house burns, it’s not really on your radar. In America’s West, that’s not possible. Fire danger — and fire mitigation — is something everyone must consider.

Here are some samples from better angels. You can see all the portraits on Seibel's website:

better angels
  • Dawn Seibel

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Term limit issue returns with new twists for November ballot

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM

El Paso County election
  • Clark: Perpetual terms, if she had her way?

Here we go with more term limit shenanigans.

After concerns bubbled up from voters some weeks ago about how the term limits ballot issue was worded, it was changed. We explained the problem in this story, which essentially stemmed from wording that called for an action to take place from a "no" vote. State law prevents a "no" vote from having any impact whatsoever.

Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams urged commissioners to do the right thing and change the language. Apparently they have and here's the proposed measure that's due for referral to the ballot this Thursday buy commissioners, two of whom (Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey) are hoping to capture a third term in the same election:


We couldn't help but boldface that one phrase to underscore that these commissioners seem to be completely self-involved to write such a thing. "Boo hoo," the voters wail, according to them. "We won't get to have Dennis Hisey anymore. Woe is us. No more Sallie Clark. Goodness me, what will ever become of us without them leading the way?"

This whole deal started in 2010 when county commissioners Clark, Hisey, Amy Lathen and Wayne Williams voted to submit a question to voters entitling them to run for a third term. Commissioner Jim Bensberg opposed the measure.

Problem is, the measure, and two others for other county elected officials, asked if their terms should be restricted to three, four-year terms, instead of extended.

Get it? Use tricky language to get what you want. It worked. Voters fell for it, but later many complained they felt manipulated. (Then County Attorney Bill Louis acknowledged the language was intentionally deceptive to elicit a "yes" vote; now he's gone, having resigned to go into private practice.)

Glenn: Still opposed to extended terms.
  • Glenn: Still opposed to extended terms.

Anyway, Commissioner Darryl Glenn is still not happy. He says he'll make a last stand to impose a requirement that no currently serving official can serve three consecutive terms, but he predicts it will be a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner Peggy Littleton siding with him.

"In no way would the community expect a couple of people would be exempt" from the limit of two, four-year terms, he says. Notice the ballot language has been manipulated to allow Clark and Hisey a third term.

"We're going to go 3-2 on this one, but I'm going to make the argument," Glenn says.

He also notes the new ballot measure lumps all elected officials in together, unlike the vote in 2010 that started the whole fiasco when voters could extend the limit by one term for the commissioners in one measure while voting separately on the term limit matter for the treasurer, clerk and recorder and assessor. The district attorney was yet another separate vote. That position isn't included in the new measure, because the DA is elected by voters in El Paso and Teller counties, and Teller County commissioners refused to put it on that ballot.

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Republicans are coming for your porn

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM


Showing once again that it values nothing so much as getting government out of your life — except for the gay-marriage thing, and drug-war thing, and prostitution thing, and abortion thing — the Republican Party's leadership has updated the language in its platform regarding the illegal exhibition of naked peoples, and some folks just couldn't be more excited.

“Distribution of obscene or hardcore pornography on the Internet is a violation of current federal law,” says Patrick Trueman, president of Morality In Media, in a statement. "We are most grateful to Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who led the effort to get the tough new language into the platform. Without enforcement of federal obscenity laws, pornographers have had a green light to target our children and families."

The new language replaces previous platform wording, which only opposed child pornography. It will now read, "Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced." Trueman noted that current federal obscenity laws not only prohibit distribution of hardcore pornography on the Internet but also on hotel/motel TV, on cable/satellite TV, and in retail shops.

Beyond the fact that I'm sure most people appreciate Trueman and Co. looking out for the sanctity of their genitals — check out this particular stat: "Girls consuming pornography are several times more likely to engage in group sex than those who do not" — it's a funny move for a couple reasons.

• First, because a March piece in the Atlantic looked at the backlash against Rick Santorum and his bizarro statement that "America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography," and concluded that it could only hurt the Republicans to make it a bigger issue (which the party did, against the writer's prediction).

The Pennsylvania senator's position hasn't changed much over the years. But the United States has. We've seen an unprecedented normalization of pornography, thanks largely to changes in technology. The explosion of pornographic material also has coincided with falling crime, including rape, so it is increasingly difficult to persuade any empirically-minded person that one drives the other. And even people who find the ubiquity of pornography demeaning or harmful generally accept that a society cannot be free, hooked up to the Internet, and stop pornography. There are, finally, more voters than ever who would rebel if anyone made the attempt. That's why I predict that the language in the next GOP platform won't go beyond child pornography. And if it does, it'll turn out to be the last gasp of an anti-porn movement that cannot win.

• Second, because Republicans effing love strip clubs, reports the New York Times, and just happen to be holding their convention in the unofficial strip-club capital of America.

Angelina Spencer, the executive director of the Association of Club Executives, which serves as a trade association for strip clubs, said an informal survey of convention business in New York and Denver had determined that Republicans dropped more money at clubs, by far.

“Hands down, it was Republicans,” she said. “The average was $150 for Republicans and $50 for Democrats.”

Coupled with the party's geriatric approach to women's rights — along with pretty much every other issue under the sun — and the whole right might as well be screaming, "Four more years! Four more years!"

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Friday, August 24, 2012

USA Pro Cycling Challenge hits the Springs

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 6:20 PM

A number of Indy staff headed out today to shoot the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as it hit downtown Colorado Springs as the cyclists crossed the finish line and the winners took the podium.

Tyler Farrar, USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Here's a slideshow of shots from Kirsten Akens, Matthew Schniper and Fran Zankowski.

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Anderson supporters: Could Akin be Lamborn's BFF?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, Republican, El Paso County, 5th Congressional District
  • U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin wowed the nation this week with his incredible ignorance of the human reproductive system. And while he may be a "nauseating slug of a human being," he is not alone.

Plenty of conservatives believe in his ill-informed "legitimate rape" theory.

While the Right struggles with how to deal with Akin, the Left has delighted in pointing out that Akin is far from an aberration among Republicans.

From the Huffington Post:

Lost in the national outrage and politics following an inflammatory statement made Sunday by GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin in Missouri is the reality that, on a fundamental level, there is no policy difference between Akin's comments and the mainstream GOP platform.

In a press release, supporters of independent congressional candidate Dave Anderson point out that his opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, has been a legislative ally of Akin:

Together, Congressmen Lamborn and Akin wrote legislation that would take away a rape survivor’s access to health services. They’ve blocked efforts that would provide care for female military personnel who have been raped. These two even co-sponsored a bill that would subject women to humiliating, invasive medical procedures.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new for Doug Lamborn. In fact, there’s very little difference between Lamborn and Todd Akin’s narrow world view towards the treatment of women.

Let’s just consider Doug Lamborn’s record when it comes to violence against women:

• He opposed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA — H.R. 4271)

• He opposed the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act — H.R. 2016)

• He opposed the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victim’s Support Act (H.R. 5575)

How can an elected representative — in good conscience — side with perpetrators of violent crimes rather than the victims of such crimes? It goes beyond comprehension.

We reached out to Lamborn's office for comment, and will update here if we hear back.

You can read the full press statement after the jump.

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Man claims kangaroo wandering Academy Boulevard

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM

kangaroo eating
  • travellingtamas
  • Kangaroos, native to Australia, new to Academy Boulevard.

At 4:37 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Colorado Springs Police Department fielded a rather unusual animal complaint.

Trucker George Bender dialed 911 after he says he spotted a mid-sized grey kangaroo hopping around behind the Red Lobster where he was delivering furniture — near 4900 Academy Boulevard.

“For some reason, they thought I was crazy because it was [4] o'clock in the morning and I was calling about a kangaroo,” Bender told the Indy.

According to police spokesperson Barbara Miller, CSPD did respond to the call (and is the correct place to contact should anyone see the animal). Unfortunately, the marsupial was GOA — that's "gone on arrival" for non-police types.

Bender was worried enough about the kangaroo to call the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Zoo vice president Tracey Gazibara says the zoo doesn't keep kangaroos and isn't missing any of its wallabies.

“We've had this happen before where people think they see a kangaroo, but it’s maybe a deer,” she says.

Gazibara said she thought it would be "pretty crazy" if there were an actual kangaroo on the loose, but said it could happen since people have been known to keep illegal exotic pets.

Bender, who lives in North Carolina, says he's convinced that what he saw was "a kangaroo or a kangaroo thingy.” He notes that he was within 100 to 110 feet of the creature, and was struck by the way it moved. Bender says he thinks it's an escaped pet.

“I've heard of escaped kangaroos before," he says. "... To me, it struck me as not being terrified of humans but cautious maybe. I followed it for maybe a block.”

Bender says he hopes someone will find and capture the kangaroo, noting that according to the Internet, a kangaroo wouldn't likely survive a cold winter in the wild.

It's probably a safe bet that in addition to the cold, most kangaroos aren't adapted to "street life" on a major urban boulevard either.

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