Friday, January 27, 2017

Ballot position set for Council election

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 4:47 PM

City Clerk Sarah Johnson chooses candidate names in the drawing for ballot position today. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • City Clerk Sarah Johnson chooses candidate names in the drawing for ballot position today.

Three of four incumbent Colorado Springs City Council members seeking re-election won top line on the April 4 city election ballot in a drawing earlier today.

Ballot order will be as follows (* indicates incumbent):

District 1:
Don Knight*
Greg Basham

District 2:
David Geislinger

District 3:
Richard Skorman
Chuck Fowler

District 4:
Helen Collins*
Yolanda Avila
Deborah Hendrix

District 5:
Jill Gaebler*
Lynette Crow-Iverson

District 6:
Melanie Bernhardt
Andy Pico*
Robert Burns
Janak Joshi
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Council candidate bows out, handing race to opponent

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Attorney Tim Dietz has withdrawn from the Colorado Springs City Council race, citing his client work load and private considerations.

That means that another attorney, David Geislinger, who now serves as a chaplain in the Penrose-St. Francis Health System, is the only remaining candidate on the ballot for norther District 2. (Incumbent Larry Bagley decided against a run.)

Dietz issued this news release:
He also tells the Indy in an interview, "I've talked with Dave [Geislinger]. I think he's a very nice guy. There's no animosity between the two of us. I don't know where he stands on the issues, but we've had some friendly conversations."

Calling the Council campaign "a full-time job," Dietz says he simply can't just drop his clients to stump for a part-time job on Council that pays a mere $6,250 a year.

Dietz says he's already informed the City Clerk's Office of his decision in time so that his name will not appear on the ballot.

Voters will elect six of the nine members of Council at the April 4 city election. Go here for a list of candidates. Want to learn more? Check out our article on the candidates from earlier this week.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

UPDATE: Alt weeklies hail the new chief

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 2:32 PM

Here's a couple more alt weekly covers to address the election outcome:

This one from the Santa Fe Reporter:

And Mauitime:

—— ORIGINAL POST, 9:46 A.M., FRIDAY, NOV. 11 ——

"I just thought that since City Paper is in the unique position of giving Clinton the biggest margin of victory in the country and having to prepare for the president-elect that I would share our cover this week with all of you. We're proud of it."

That's City Paper editor Liz Garrigan, addressing alt weekly editors around the country on a private platform we share courtesy the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, to which the Indy belongs.

AAN puts together a weekly Cover Show, set to be updated with this week's content sometime today. And we can only assume Garrigan and crew's cover will make the cut this week. Here's the image she's referencing:

Another editor, Katherine Coplen, from NUVO Newsweekly in Indianapolis, shared her team's work:


The Colorado Springs Independent had to go to press Tuesday morning, ahead of election results, so we didn't have time to strategize a thoughtful visual response. Wishing we had come up with our own Trump cover? For what it's worth, I did snap a pic of this sticker posted on a utility box near Palmer Park a couple months back:

  • Matthew Schniper

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Legal weed is here to stay in Pueblo County, museum coming

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 3:15 PM

Pueblo Starbuds manager Peter Mutty shows off some of his star buds. - BROOKE WARREN / HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
  • Brooke Warren / High Country News
  • Pueblo Starbuds manager Peter Mutty shows off some of his star buds.

The marijuana legalization movement forged decisively ahead this election, though under a new shadow of doubt cast by Donald Trump’s victory.

See next week’s CannaBiz for more on what changes at the federal level could mean for the legal cannabis industry. (Spoiler: we really don’t know yet.) Today, however, find solace in the news that our neighbors to the south rejected efforts to roll back retail marijuana sales in both the city and county of Pueblo.

Election Day dragged into the next day, thanks to an overloaded server that caused long lines at polling places and long delays in reporting the results. While the results aren't final, over 70,000 people appear to have cast their votes on Proposition 200 — the Pueblo County measure that would’ve shut down over 160 retail marijuana businesses — according to unofficial results posted on the county clerk’s website. Of those, 57 percent voted "no" — a larger margin than initially passed retail marijuana it four years ago.

Voters also rejected Proposition 300, the city’s equivalent of Prop 200.

The results further validate arguments made by opponents of the measure during campaign season that Pueblo voters have already demonstrated they’re cool with recreational marijuana, despite insistence on the other side that they’re having second thoughts. Spokesman for the pro-pot campaign, Growing Pueblo’s Future, and owner of Mesa Organics, Jim Parco called the vote a clear message.

“[Citizens] have seen the positive impacts that the regulated, retail marijuana industry has had in Pueblo County,” he said of the results. “We were the first [state] to legalize, regulate and tax adult-use retail marijuana, and now, the first [county] to decisively defeat prohibitionists in a do-over vote.”

In celebrating the victory, Parco also announced plans to create the first ever National Marijuana Museum in Pueblo. Owner of Legacy Homes in Pueblo Branson Haney will chair the community-based steering committee.

“With now more than 30 states having legalized marijuana, we have entered a new era where society is finally acknowledging that the benefits of legalized cannabis far outweigh the costs,” he said on election night. “With Pueblo County as the leader in the national legalization effort, it is now time to lead the effort on improving education and knowledge of marijuana’s rich history — scientifically, socially and culturally. And we’re going to do it right here in Pueblo, Colorado.”

To stay up-to-the-minute with the museum’s progress, follow their Facebook page for updates.

And from here on out, Pueblo citizens who prize their freedom to buy legal weed and all the economic benefit it brings can rest easy that it may well be here to stay. Unless, of course, the Department of Justice under the incoming Trump administration decides to bring down the ax…

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Local students protest Trump

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 2:11 PM

  • Nat Stein

A large group of protesters marched from Colorado College to Palmer High School to Acacia Park and finally City Hall today.

Reporter Nat Stein was on the scene and says the protest against Donald Trump's election win was planned by a former Bernie Sanders organizer and appeared to be a mix of high school and college students.  The students, many carrying signs, chanted "radical love will rise above," "you are loved," "not my president," and "shut it down."

Hecklers were heard yelling back, "get a job" and "why don't you leave, then?"

  • Nat Stein
  • Nat Stein

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton making visits to Colorado

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 3:03 PM

click image Bernie Sanders will speak in the Springs on Saturday. - AFGE
  • AFGE
  • Bernie Sanders will speak in the Springs on Saturday.

New polls are showing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied in Colorado
. Which is probably why Bernie Sanders and Bill Clinton will be in the state in the next two days.

If you were hoping to see Sanders or the former president, you will need to plan ahead. The public is encouraged to RSVP for the Bernie event. The Bill Clinton event also requires RSVPs, which are linked to below, by event (since he's appearing in three cities).

Here's the Bernie information:
Bernie Sanders to Campaign for Hillary Clinton in Colorado

On Saturday November 5, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont will campaign in Colorado for Hillary Clinton. At an afternoon Get Out the Vote rally in Colorado Springs, he will contrast Clinton's plan to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, with Donald Trump's plans, which would benefit himself and millionaires and billionaires like him.

At the rally, Sanders will also talk about Clinton's plans to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, combat climate change and move to sustainable energy, make public colleges and universities tuition free, and end a broken criminal justice system. Most importantly, he will emphasize the need to defeat Trump and make Clinton our next president.

More voters have voted in Colorado than at this point in 2012, and Senator Sanders will urge Coloradans to continue that trend and return their ballots early. So far in the state, more Democrats have returned their ballots early than Republicans, in contrast to the 2012 election.

More details about this trip will be released soon. Members of the public interested in attending this event can RSVP here.
And here's the Bill Clinton information:
Days Before Election Day, President Bill Clinton to Campaign for Hillary Clinton in Colorado

On Friday, November 4, just days before Election Day, President Bill Clinton will campaign for Hillary Clinton with a morning event in Pueblo and afternoon events in Denver and Fort Collins. While in Colorado, President Clinton will lay out the stakes of November's election and discuss his wife’s vision of an America that is stronger together, with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.

More voters have voted in Colorado than at this point in 2012, and President Clinton will urge Coloradans to continue that trend and return their ballots early. So far in the state, more Democrats have returned their ballots early than Republicans, in contrast to the 2012 election.

Get Out The Vote With President Clinton in Pueblo
WHEN: Friday, November 4, 2016 at 10:00AM MDT, Doors Open at 8:30AM MDT
WHERE: Pueblo Union Depot, 132 W B St, Pueblo, CO 81003
Public RSVP.

Get Out The Vote With President Clinton in Denver
WHEN: Friday, November 4, 2016 at 1:15PM MDT, Doors Open at 11:30AM MDT
WHERE: Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th St, Denver, CO 80205
Public RSVP.

Get Out The Vote With President Clinton in Fort Collins
WHEN: Friday, November 4, 2016 at 3:45PM MDT, Doors Open at 2:30PM
WHERE: New Belgium Brewery, 500 Linden St, Fort Collins, CO 80524
Public RSVP.

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It's too late to mail your ballot

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Stop. Don't drop your ballot in the mail.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office wants voters to know that it is now too late to send your ballot in the mail. In order to ensure your ballot is counted, you need to put it in a drop box. The good news is, there is one located near you.

The Clerk's Office sent this message yesterday:
Clerk Urges Voters Not to Return Ballots by Mail after Today

[Colorado Springs, Colo. – November 2, 2016] With no guarantee a mailed ballot will be received by the deadline for voting, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office urges voters to use ballot drop-off boxes to return their ballot after today.

Voters are reminded that ballots must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 8. Ballots that are postmarked but not received by 7:00 p.m. will not be counted. Mailing a ballot after November 2 may not be adequate time to meet the election deadline.

“Filling out their ballot is just the first step; voters have to be sure their vote counts by getting their ballot back to our office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day,” said Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman. “We are committed to ensuring citizens have every opportunity to vote and we have 15 secure, 24/7 ballot drop-off boxes throughout the county. That includes six drive-up boxes for even greater convenience.”

An interactive map with the locations of 24/7 ballot drop-off boxes and the Voter Service and Polling Centers is available at www.EPCVotes.com under the tab Return My Ballot.

Voters also are encouraged not to wait until Election Day to return their ballot. This is a highly anticipated Presidential Election with voter turnout expected to be substantially more than in other elections (upward of 80% compared to an average of 70%). The sooner voters return their ballots, the sooner the Clerk’s Office will be able to release results on Election Night.

For more information or to have questions answered, voters may contact the Elections Department at 575-VOTE (8683) or elections@elpasoco.com.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

At Springs rally, proud 'deplorables' confident in their losing candidate's prospects

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:50 AM

Usually we’re the tellers of stories, not the subjects of them. But the notebook-toters and camera-slingers in the press pen weathered some uncomfortable attention as Donald Trump directed his followers to howl at “the dishonest media” at his Tuesday rally in Colorado Springs at the Norris Penrose Event Center.

“They’re liars,” the Republican nominee declared as the riled up crowd turned around to boo and jeer at the fenced off section of journalists, local and traveling. The media — which, for the record, is not a singular, unified entity — is “rigging the election,” Trump told his supporters, by “telling totally false stories.” In particular, he bemoaned coverage of the recently surfaced hot-mic tape that unwittingly captured the then-59-year-old reality TV star bragging about “grabbing women by the pussy.” Multiple women have since come forward with allegations of sexual assault which Trump has threatened to sue the New York Times for publishing.

“I have been under constant attack” a blustering Trump exclaimed, adding that “they even want to try to rig the election at the polling booth where so many cities are corrupt. So corrupt.”

For the younger amongst us, this election will be the benchmark. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • For the younger amongst us, this election will be the benchmark.

Worth noting is that general elections, like this one, are administered on the state, not municipal, level. Also worth noting is that the two elected officials who oversee the election here — El Paso County’s Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman, whose office gathers votes, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams, whose office processes them — have both adamantly rejected the notion that funny business of any consequence is remotely possible. They’re both Republicans.

Trump encouraged his followers to trust neither members of their own party who say “everything is just peachy-dory” nor independent polls that show him down by double digit percentage points in some cases. “I hear we’re doing great in Colorado,” Trump noted with smug defiance. “So it doesn’t matter what they’re saying. My people say we’re going to win Colorado.”

These rally-goers asked if this reporter would vote for Trump. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • These rally-goers asked if this reporter would vote for Trump.

Many attendees shared these seemingly contradictory sentiments — that the election is “rigged” against their candidate, but that he’s surely headed toward victory.

Christine Chapman, who travelled from Rocky Ford and wore head-to-toe American flag garb, told the Indy she’s concerned about voter fraud, like dead people on the rolls and “illegals” who don’t have to show ID. Nonetheless, she believes Trump will come out on top. “I can’t understand why he wouldn’t ... I mean, look at the reception he gets,” Chapman said gesturing behind her to all the other fans waiting to get in the door on the windy fall afternoon.

An employee of Trump’s casino in Cripple Creek, James Sober, who donned a t-shirt that read “Hillary for Prison” from the conspiracy theorist website, infowars.com, showed an even more cynical attitude. “Oh, I know my vote won’t count,” he said, “I’m just here to show my support.” And when, as he anticipates, Clinton takes office and “goes after our guns,” Sober added, “things will get ugly.”

This rally-goer brought his homemade "Crooked Hillary" ventriloquist dummy. It was a hit. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • This rally-goer brought his homemade "Crooked Hillary" ventriloquist dummy. It was a hit.

Trump’s professed skepticism of the democratic process stole headlines after he wouldn’t commit to accepting the result of the election on the debate stage Wednesday night. “I will keep you in suspense,” he declared ominously — a statement that elicited horror from all those who believe in the peaceful transfer of power according to voters’ will as a constitutionally enshrined pillar of the American system of government.

But at the rally Tuesday, attendees readily admitted this is an election like no other.

“I work for a company that’s closing, moving all our jobs offshore. And if we get Hillary, that’s going to keep happening,” said Joe Hutchcraft, an independent who registered as Republican this year to support Trump’s candidacy. “If I live in a country where they try to take all our jobs, our rights, our guns, own my house, my car and give me rations for what I can eat, then yeah, I believe there would be a revolution.”

(For the record, seizing private property is not one of Clinton’s stated policy proposals. Similar fears about the Obama administration have not come to pass either.)

And whether “revolution” means an armed insurrection Hutchcraft did not specify, but the idea that this election is a kind of last stand against globalist neoliberalism seemed well accepted at the rally.

“If we lose, it’s over,” predicted Jonathan Reed, a Trump campaign volunteer. “The country will slide into socialism forever because of immigration.” Repeating the incorrect assertion that Clinton wants to “blow open the border completely,” he commented that “all you need is 10 million more third worlders — and I know that’s a pejorative — but all you need it 10-15 million more people with no stake in the game other than they want a check from the government to swing the elections forever in this country.”

Meanwhile, ballots have dropped and voting has begun in Colorado, where Clinton is clocking a healthy lead in the polls. Other swing states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa and Nevada are also leaning her way according to nearly every poll.

Nonetheless, rally-goers spilled back out into the crisp autumn afternoon Tuesday, excited for impending victory.
The wind blew presciently. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • The wind blew presciently.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

UPDATE: LGBTQ group endorses both candidates in HD17

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, was nice enough to give me a call this morning and offer a deeper explanation for the dual endorsements in House District 17.

The One Colorado PAC, he says, really just looked at candidates' positions on two issues, which are One Colorado's legislative priorities. The first is the ongoing effort to ban gay conversion therapy — or therapy that seeks to convince people to change their sexual preference or gender identity. The second is the effort to pass a law that allows transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates.

Ramos says that both Roupe and Exum support those bills. Roupe, who has been in the state legislature for the past two years, has voted in favor of the birth certificate bill, Ramos says, but was absent during the vote on conversion therapy.

The endorsements, Ramos says, offer a way for voters to make "sure that the candidates support One Colorado’s legislative priorities, and both candidates do.”

——- ORIGINAL POST, Sept. 22, 3:28 P.M. ——-
Rep. Kit Roupe - FILE PHOTO
  • Rep. Kit Roupe
One Colorado, an LGBTQ advocacy group, has released endorsements for the 2016 election in Colorado. The 50 candidates for the Colorado legislature were deemed to be "pro-equality."

But if you're hoping that list might help you decide who to vote for in House District 17, well, don't. One Colorado has oddly endorsed both the Democrat, Tony Exum, and the Republican, Rep. Kit Roupe, in that race. 

So how did that happen? Well, apparently, both candidates have supported the legislation and issues that One Colorado has monitored. (Exum is a former representative in the district, which tends to see-saw between political parties every election.)

Daniel Ramos, Executive Director of One Colorado, has this to say in a press release:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families know how important elections are — and we've seen firsthand the difference a pro-equality majority can make in the Colorado legislature. For the past two years, we've watched every bill that would improve the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans get voted down in our state legislature. We are happy to endorse a bipartisan group of pro-equality candidates and look forward to working with them on their campaigns.

Every candidate we have endorsed will be a champion for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families in the legislature. It is important we keep working to move our state forward — by removing everyday barriers transgender Coloradans face, banning the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and making sure religious exemption bills don't become law — so that no part of our community is left behind.
Here are the endorsements:


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Seven initiatives make state ballot, two fail

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 3:39 PM

  • Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious Follow
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has disqualified two proposed November ballot initiatives aimed at reining in the oil and gas industry.

In addition to not having enough valid signatures to qualify, one of the measures, Initiative 78, contained several “potentially forged signatures,” according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The questionable petitions have been sent to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.

All of this year’s citizen-driven ballot measures need 98,492 valid signatures from voters to qualify for the ballot.

Initiative 75 aimed to give local governments the authority to regulate oil and gas development, a power largely reserved to the state currently. Initiative 78 would have created mandatory setbacks for oil and gas development of 2,500 feet from occupied structures or “areas of special concern.”

The backers of the two failed initiatives have 30 days from the date of rejection of their petitions to appeal the decision in Denver District Court.

The other seven citizen-driven initiatives that turned in petitions were approved for the November ballot. They are:

Amendment 69/ColoradoCare - ColoradoCare would amend the state Constitution to bring a tax-funded health insurance system to Colorado. Everyone not already covered under federal insurance like Medicare would be eligible for coverage, which would include copays for certain services but no deductibles. ColoradoCare would replace private insurance for Coloradans, though those who still want to purchase private insurance (while also paying the tax), would be free to do so.

An independent analysis by Colorado Health Institute estimates that ColoradoCare would bring in $36 billion in its first year and cover 4.4 million people. It would be run by a board of directors and would likely go into effect in 2019, after a preliminary period where it would charge a tax of .09 percent. When running, it would be funded mainly by a 10 percent income tax, two-thirds of which would be paid by employers, and one-third of which would be paid by employees. The self-employed would pay the full 10 percent tax.

Additionally, ColoradoCare would seek waivers to gain access to federal and state funds that currently flow into the health care system, including Medicaid dollars. There has been widespread bickering over the impacts of Amendment 69, with conservative leaders — and many liberals as well — opposing the ballot question.

Minimum wage — This Constitutional amendment would raise the minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 by 2020.

click image VICTOR
  • Victor
Medical aid in dying — As the title suggests, this change to the Colorado Revised Statutes would allow a terminally ill, mentally-competent adult to obtain a life-ending prescription. The patient would need to be within six months of death, and would self-administer the lethal dose. There are protections written into the law to ensure the patient is mentally sound, and is freely choosing to die.

Amending the Constitution — Interestingly, this Constitutional amendment aims to make it harder to amend the Constitution in the future. First, it would require more signatures to place a measure on the ballot, setting that figure at “at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot.”
Once on the ballot, the amendment would need to be approved by 55 percent of the votes cast rather than a simple majority.

Primary/Presidential primary elections— Try not to get confused by these two initiatives aimed at changing the Colorado Revised Statutes. Initiative 98 would allow unaffiliated voters to vote in a primary without joining a political party. However, the initiative gives political parties a loophole that would still allow them to exclude unaffiliated voters. The parties would be able to forgo a primary election and select all their candidates through an assembly or convention, so long as 75 percent of the party’s state central committee agreed to the move.

Initiative 140, on the other hand, would create a primary election for presidential candidates in Colorado, to be held before the end of March. Unaffiliated voters could participate in the election. 
click image CIGARETTE
  • cigarette

Tobacco tax— Initiative 143 would amend the state Constitution to triple the taxes on a pack of cigarettes (taxes would go from 84 cents per pack to $2.59 per pack). Taxes on other tobacco would increase 22 percent. The money collected by the taxes would be used for a variety of programs including smoking cessation, medical research, mental health funding and other causes.
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trump event at UCCS stirs controversy

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 2:14 PM

click image GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Gage Skidmore
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will speak at 2 p.m. Friday at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' Gallogly Event Center.

Not everyone is happy about it.

In a letter released to the public, Chancellor Pam Shockley- Zalaback noted that, "Many faculty, staff, and students have expressed disappointment and anger at Mr. Trump's appearance on our campus." 

 It should be noted that UCCS, as a public university, cannot refuse to host a political event on the basis of preference for (or distaste for) a candidate. But many faculty at the university have signed on to a protest letter in advance of Trump's event. Both the faculty protest letter and a letter from the Chancellor explaining the decision to host the event are posted below after the jump:

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

UPDATE: Recount of District 4 race completed. Results unchanged.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 2:44 PM

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has completed the recount paid for by the campaign of El Paso County Board of County Commissioners District 4 candidate Scott Turner. The results of the race remained unchanged, meaning Turner lost the race by 34 votes.

In a press release, Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman said he was proud that the results held.

“We’re always happy to complete our work on behalf of our citizens, and the recount requested by Mr. Turner is no different,” he stated. “It’s important for voters to have confidence in election results, especially in close races. I’m proud of the work my staff did in completing this recount—including a retesting of the counting machines to ensure accuracy—a day and a half earlier than allotted by law.”

Turner, likewise, emailed a press release about the results, stating:

I would like to thank the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office for their time and effort in validating the primary election results. They hold themselves to the highest standards and perform with efficiency and professionalism.

I would like to formally congratulate Mr. Gonzalez on his primary victory and wish him good fortune in the general election. I’m sure he will serve the people of our district well.

——- ORIGINAL POST, JULY 19, 2:15 P.M. ——-
Scott Turner - FILE
  • FILE
  • Scott Turner

El Paso County Board of County Commissioners
District 4 candidate Scott Turner will pay for  a recount of the Republican primary election votes in his race, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has announced.

Turner lost the race to Longinos Gonzalez Jr. by just 34 votes. An automatic recount would have been triggered only if the difference in vote totals had been 18 or fewer votes. Because an automatic recount was not triggered, Turner will pay for the cost of the recount.
Longinos Gonzalez - FILE
  • FILE
  • Longinos Gonzalez
"We were very close to just walking away from it," Turner says over the phone. 

The candidate says he discussed pursuing a recount with family, friends and supporters. He says he's received many phone calls urging him to pursue the recount. While he believes that the clerk's office is very capable, he says the count was so close that it "seemed like a recount was appropriate."

 "I didn't want to go to sleep for the rest of my life thinking I coulda, woulda, shoulda," Turner says.
A friend offered to foot the bill for the recount, and Turner agreed. Turner says if he is not the victor after the recount, he will likely focus his energy on supporting other candidates, including Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn

Here is the release from the clerk's office:
Clerk to Conduct Candidate Requested Recount for County Commissioner District 4

[Colorado Springs, Colo. – July 19, 2016] The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has received a formal request from candidate Scott Turner to recount the ballots for the County Commissioner District 4 race in the Republican Party Primary Election. The final results for this race did not meet the threshold set in Colorado law to trigger an automatic recount. The cost to conduct the recount will not be at taxpayers’ expense, therefore, but will be paid by the candidate who requested the recount.

The final official election results as certified by the bipartisan Canvass Board show 34 votes separating the two candidates for the Commissioner District 4 race. That vote margin is nearly twice the amount required by statute (C.R.S. 1-10.5-106) for an automatic recount in that race, which would have been 18 votes.

“This request for a paid recount by a candidate is the first in our recent institutional memory,” said Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman. “Our Elections staff will conduct the recount for the candidate, with their skilled expertise and resolve.”

The machines used for the election processing will be tested again prior to conducting the recount. The election equipment undergoes extensive testing before and after every election and passes with 100% accuracy.

After the equipment testing is complete, the ballot recount will begin on Friday, July 22, and should be concluded within a few days. It is not anticipated that the recount will change the results.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Noam Chomsky endorses ColoradoCare

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 1:44 PM

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/culturaargentina
  • Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky, famous political activist, author, and linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has endorsed ColoradoCare.

Voters will decide this November whether to approve ColoradoCare, which would act like near-universal Medicaid in Colorado. The proposal hasn't received a lot of support from business organizations, but many activists for health care support it. To learn more, check out our list of answers to common questions about ColoradoCare  or read my cover story to learn more about why Colorado has become the test market for universal health care this November

Here is the ColoradoCare press release on Chomsky's endorsement:

World Renowned Noam Chomsky Gives Enthusiastic Endorsement of ColoradoCare
Influential Author, Speaker, Political and Social Activist Joins Supporters of Amendment 69

DENVER — Noam Chomsky, widely considered one of the great minds of our time and a man the New York Times called "the most important intellectual alive today," came out as a strong supporter of ColoradoCare Monday, calling Colorado's "Medicare-for-All" type health care plan "a great idea, which should be extended to the whole country."

Chomsky is one of the most influential figures of the past half century, inspiring generations of people around the world to emulate his political and social activism. He has a long record of standing up for universal health care, and the need for a solution to America's health care crisis is familiar territory for Chomsky.

"The US health care system has about twice the per capita spending of other developed societies and relatively poor outcomes," Chomsky said in endorsing Amendment 69 Monday. "There is ample evidence that this unfortunate state of affairs is related to the fact that the US is alone among these societies in lacking some form of universal health care."

Citing years of national polling that have shown Americans "favor a universal health care system of the kind found elsewhere," Chomsky gave a hearty endorsement of Colorado's trailblazing efforts to establish universal health care.

"Quite often, significant progress has been initiated at the state level, then extending beyond," Chomsky noted. "For such reasons the ColoradoCare initiative is very much to be welcomed. It will not only be of great benefit to the people of Colorado, but may also be an opening wedge to substantial progress for the country as a whole."

Chomsky joins an impressive roster of thousands of endorsers of ColoradoCare, including small business owners, the self-employed, physicians, nurses, and organizations ranging from The League of Women Voters of Colorado to Together Colorado, from the Public Health Nurse Association of Colorado to being supported by name in the party platform of the Colorado Democratic Party.

"We couldn't be prouder to have Noam Chomsky's ringing endorsement of ColoradoCare," said Owen Perkins, Director of Communications for the ColoradoCareYES campaign. "If anyone can recognize a good idea, it is Professor Chomsky, and we couldn't ask for a more meaningful stamp of approval than his."

Chomsky has been on the faculty at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, and is now Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT. He distinguished himself as a game-changer in the field of linguistics and cognitive science early in his career, and he rose to widespread prominence through his opposition to the Vietnam War. He is the author of over 100 books, reflecting his groundbreaking work in linguistics, politics, media, analytic philosophy, and cognitive science. His most recent work includes the 2016 book Who Rules the World? and the 2015 documentary Requiem for the American Dream. He continues to actively publish articles on politics, the 2016 presidential campaigns, nuclear weapons, climate change, class warfare, the refugee crisis, and much more.

ColoradoCare, Amendment 69 on the November ballot, covers every Colorado resident — picking up hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who are not covered under the current corporate insurance system — with enhanced benefits and reduced costs, saving Colorado families and firms over $4.5 billion a year. There are no insurance premiums, no deductibles, and no co-pays on primary and preventive care. The system is primarily paid for through a 3.33% payroll deduction for employees and 6.67% of payroll for employers, representing savings of thousands of dollars annually for over 80% of Colorado residents.

For more information on Amendment 69, please visit www.ColoradoCare.org.

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Waller is new District 2 county commissioner

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Mark Waller was sworn in this morning. - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Mark Waller was sworn in this morning.

The fight is over for Mark Waller.

The District 2 El Paso County Commissioner candidate won the primary for his seat in June, and didn't face an opponent in the November election. Then, this morning, he was sworn into the position early after being selected by a Republican vacancy committee to fill the seat that Amy Lathen exited early. Lathen is now leading Colorado Springs Forward. 

Waller, an attorney, previously served as a state representative in House District 15 from 2009-2014. He served as both Assistant House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader during his tenure. 
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Longinos Gonzalez has won the District 4 primary

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:03 AM

  • Courrtesy Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
  • Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
Longinos Gonzalez Jr. is the Republican nominee for the District 4 El Paso County Commissioner seat, according to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

The announcement came Thursday, following a squeaker of a race in the June 28 primary. Final vote tallies show that Gonzalez prevailed over his rival, Scott Turner, 3,450 votes to 3,416 votes. The gap was too large to require an automatic recount. (The gap would have had to be 18 votes or less to require that move.)

Via an email to the Independent, Gonzalez says he's glad the race is finally over.

"It was a long nervous week, but I just wanted to again thank the grassroots effort, especially those that supported me, helped me campaign, and prayed for me," he writes. "I am tremendously grateful for their efforts. Our race showed how important every person's vote is, and I hope that will motivate even more people to participate in our election process in the years to come."

Turner, meanwhile, told the Indy via email that he was disappointed:

Yes this is difficult but it is also part of our process and as such must be respected. All votes matter, as you never know what the results will be until they are counted. I’m more disappointed that only 6866 people out of a registered voting population of 22,573 took the time to vote for the one office that directly affects each and every one of them. What that really means is that 15.3% of the registered republican voters actually voted for the winner, and only 50 people out of 22,573, (.0022%) actually made the decision for the rest of the population. Every vote counts in every race, our country was founded on principals of representative government, to let the people have a say in our republic and our communities. It is unfortunate that we have reached such a high level of apathy.

I would like to congratulate my opponent and do wish him well. He has a big job ahead of him and the people are looking to him to do the right thing for them and their community. He needs to remember that the people of District 4 did the voting, and it is those people he has a responsibility to serve.
 You can read more about the two candidates here.

Gonzalez will face Democrat Elizabeth Rosenbaum in November for the District 4 seat, which pays over $113,000 a year. The office is currently held by the term-limited Dennis Hisey, who endorsed Turner in the primary.
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