This little piggy goes to market 

This little piggy goes to market This is how it's going so far. "As a childless, 50-something, never-before-married bachelor, we can understand why Marc Holtzman cares nothing about our schools and our kids."

That was Katy Atkinson, spokeswoman of the campaign to pass Referenda C and D, in a press release last week. Atkinson was criticizing the wealthy Holtzman, a fellow Republican who wants to run Colorado beginning in 2007. Holtzman, apparently, is pinning his hopes for the Governor's Mansion on C and D going down Nov. 1.

Atkinson wasn't done.

"As someone whose largest home is in New Zealand, we can understand why [Holtzman's] not concerned about problems facing ordinary Colorado taxpayers. But, when he attacks middle-class Coloradans, calling them 'pork,' and tries to bolster his failing gubernatorial campaign with lies, his ignorance goes too far."

Upon hearing Atkinson's blistering attack, this was Colorado Springs City Councilman Jerry Heimlicher, also a fellow Republican: "Good for Katy. I like that lady."

And to think that only two months ago, we were pulling each others' hair out here in the newsroom, trying to figure out how to get readers to slog through stories about the proposals to raise $3.7 billion for roads, health care and higher education. This is, inarguably, the make-or-break moment for Colorado. Can the saying still go, "'Tis a privilege to live in Colorado"?

Really, all we have to do is watch as mostly wealthy Republican wonkers play fast and loose with TABOR and tax refunds -- and, yes, even lie about state-funded dildos.

Move aside, TABOR author Douglas Bruce. Your foul mouth has run its course. Everybody is sick of you. To borrow a phrase, you're a wealthy, childless, 50-something, never-before-married bachelor.

Now we have Jon Caldara, executive director of the Independence Institute, who last week made one swine-sized tactical error. As colorfully reported in the Rocky Mountain News, Caldara, the main man against C and D, trotted out "a huge pink pig made from a propane tank and papier-mache," designed to illustrate his claim that government is one big pig. The prop played upon a Holtzman TV commercial that likens the referenda to government pork.

Unfortunately for Caldara, his event also featured children in wheelchairs and parents of developmentally disabled people, whose programs have been axed in recent years. As Charley Shimanski of the Colorado Nonprofit Association was quoted by the Rocky, "These are badly needed services for real people. Shame on the opposition for comparing them to pigs."

And shame on Caldara for continuing to lie -- as also has been pointed out by the Rocky -- claiming the state spent $5,000 on a piece of artwork featuring 12 dildos swinging from hooks.

Meanwhile Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez, who is running against Holtzman for governor and thus is trying to appear even more conservative, lately has been out of action. Beauprez is recovering from an operation to fix a herniated disc. Otherwise, he might have some 'splaining to do.

At an August gathering of the party's faithful in Pioneers Park in downtown Colorado Springs, the congressman, looking straight at TABOR author Bruce, promised that he is undeniably, unwaveringly, emphatically opposed to C and D, which Beauprez called a "tax increase."

Technically, that's also a lie. C and D would keep the tax rate the same for five years, not increase taxes. That means people wouldn't get government "refunds." The bottom line: no new taxes, just the same taxes paying for education and roads and health care, which sane people like City Councilman Heimlicher consider essential services.

Heimlicher tells the following story about an inane e-mail he recently received from an opponent. The argument went something like this: "If I get a big pay raise at work, then I have to pay more taxes."

Heimlicher can't understand the problem with this. You get a pay raise. You have to pay more taxes. Does that mean you say no to a big pay raise? He can only imagine personally going home and informing his wife of this decision.

Some people call this feeding at the trough.

Most of us call this matrimonial suicide.

For unbiased analysis on Referenda C and D, conducted by Colorado College political science Professor Robert Loevy, check out our online extra at csindy.com. A public debate on Referenda C and D also is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the City Auditorium (221 E. Kiowa St.).


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