Category Archives: Colorado Politics

Secession Proposed by Weld County

June 15, 2013

With a slim majority, Democrats pass some modest gun registration and rural electric energy mix laws and it’s time to form a new state? Seriously? An absence of moderates has few from either party problem-solving together in our current state capitol; how does forming a new one meaningfully bridge this divide?
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Water Shortages in 2013

April 6, 2013

Shortly after the first settlers arrived in Colorado, water started flowing towards money. In many ways, it was a brilliant scheme for a region west of the 100th meridian, where long periods of drought are to be expected. The people who contributed their sweat and toil to divert water that would otherwise rush unimpeded to the Arkansas, Colorado and Missouri rivers, derived profit from their labor. 150 years later, we struggle with the monetization of this critical human resource, but the concept of “highest and best use,” coupled with capital markets that flex enough to reward efficiency, may yet save the day.
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Colorado Legislative Priorities

January 12, 2013

First, do no harm. Second, starve the trivial, feed the significant. Third,. the enemy of good is perfect. Fourth, water flows towards money. Fifth, government must know its limitations. For Colorado governance, that about sums it up. We don’t need to starve our beast, it’s already on life support. No one wants to pay more taxes, but should we consider doing so to secure our own future? To avoid squandering our children’s?
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TABOR – Our Republic Destroyed by Republicans

August 4, 2012

Douglas Bruce’s anti-government efforts have hogtied the legislature, embarrassed the Republican Party and landed him in jail. He may be the first “Tea Party” philosopher, long before that group even settled on its name. The harm he has caused to our republican form of government has slowly been reversed by communities in Colorado, both counties and cities, that have opted out of – de-Bruced –some of TABOR’s more insidious provisions. The most devastating of them relate not to the “ceiling” (spending caps), but to the “floor” (revenue caps lowered by down economic years),– a poorly-timed automatic austerity plan only a public vote can reverse.
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Aurora Theater Slaughter by Holmes

July 28, 2012

6,000 rounds of ammunition. 2 Glock handguns. 1 pump-action shotgun. An AR-15 (M-16) with a 100-round drum capable of firing 50-60 rounds per minute. All acquired within the past two months. Is there no division at Homeland Security in a position to connect these dots?
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Lundgren v. Weissmann, 2nd CD (Republican Primary)

June 16, 2012

I don’t have a dog in this fight. I was surprised to learn that Eric Weissman only needed 1,000 valid signatures to petition his way onto the Republican primary ballot for the 2nd CD. He was able to get 1,456 signatures. 614 of them were deemed invalid by the (Republican) Secretary of State. Democrats filed suit. The Denver District Court determined that enough of the signatures were valid for Weissman to make the ballot. By curious comparison, Rich Lopez needed 4,037 petition signatures to make the Democratic Party’s County Commissioner primary ballot in Boulder County alone. What’s up with that?
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Guns on CU’s Campus

March 10, 2012

In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I, with 5 other people, were held hostage for two very frightening hours in 1981 by a man holding a snub-nosed .38 and wearing a silk stocking over his head. From my perspective at the time, the odds of disarming the guy were not good (about ½-inch of the barrel extended beyond the palm of his hand). We made no foolish mistakes and all of us survived unharmed, but I hate guns, particularly hand guns.
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Senator Heath’s Tax Increase Initiative

March 5, 2011

Thanks, Rollie, for pointing out the elephant in the room. There is no free lunch (or police and fire protection, education [K-12 or college], indigent or elderly healthcare, transportation infrastructure, or other governmental service). Colorado has been hoisted on Douglas Bruce’s petard: TABOR limits the relief our budget might receive in good times, and ratchets downward, making it more difficult to recover from bad times.

During Colorado’s 1990’s boom years, legislators voted to lower income taxes from 5% to 4.63% and sales taxes from 3% to 2.9% to avoid the need to write annual tax refund checks to every Colorado taxpayer. Senator Heath’s proposal would simply return the rates to where they were before one of TABOR’s ratchet quirks got in the way. Now, to restore our state income and sales taxes to whole numbers, 70,000 voters will have to sign a petition to place an initiative on the November ballot, and then we will all have to pass it. Thanks, Doug.

State Democrats are wary about seeking voter support of this TABOR induced tax “increase.” Republicans are gleeful. Where are the adults in the room? Anyone who witnessed the past four years of painful budget cuts by Governor Ritter should wonder whether we’ve yet reached bone – surely, the lion’s share of fat has been excised? We’re stealing our children’s future by cutting the programs, already funded at minimum levels, that provide them with some hope for better days. We should be ashamed, and we should support Rollie’s initiative.

Hickenlooper’s Inaugural Challenge

January 15, 2011

Governor Ritter chose to step down instead of running for a second term. Who can blame him? Has any prior governor of Colorado had to make tougher choices among lousier options than he faced, simply because our state’s current system of governance requires the fiscal balancing of irreconcilable constitutional mandates? Would you rather spend more time with your family, or with Colorado’s divided state legislature?

Governor Hickenlooper must be asking himself the same question that surely occurred to President Obama in November of 2008, “tell me again why I worked so hard to win this job?” I like Hick’s early observation in his inaugural speech, “We (Coloradans) don’t shrink from high passes or hard work.” Plenty of both lie ahead.

We are blessed with talented residents who share a passion for, as our new Governor put it, “the natural beauty that helps define Colorado.” We can also care for one another as individuals, while we reset our economy’s job-creating foundations, but the need for government to be both “effective and efficient” cannot be understated. Governor Hickenlooper has challenged his bi-partisan Cabinet to deliver on this promise.

Only time will tell whether Colorado can beat the odds in this regard. Can we learn to get along? No one has a firm grip on the Absolute Truth, but each of us experiences moments when we catch a glimpse of It. Why don’t we compare notes? To his credit, at the Governor’s “kitchen table,” all such perspectives are apparently welcome. Chime in!

Fourmile Fire Rapid Response

September 11, 2010

Wisdom? Common sense? Compassion? Boulder County’s regulations should be imbued with all three of these values. Time will tell. The Fourmile Fire has claimed 139 homes. The innocent victims can not be made whole, but we need not add to their pain. Many carefully followed the County’s wildfire mitigation requirements, believing it would protect their homes. Which requirements helped? Made no difference? Made matters worse? We must learn from this tragedy by studying the homes saved and lost – this wisdom has come at a high price, but our friends have already paid it.

Common sense and practicality demand that the procedures typically required to obtain a building permit to replace an existing home must quickly be adjusted. Many insurance company policies require replacement within 12 months – delays beyond that deadline can cause coverage to lapse. More homes were destroyed in two days than have been processed, inspected and approved by Boulder County in the past two years. New homes proposed to replace the old ones that are approximately the same size and are more energy efficient and fire resistant than their predecessors should be fast-tracked.

Architects, contractors, banks and other consultants will soon be in great demand. In today’s moribund construction market, bargains can and must be found. Compassion requires that the development community work together with Boulder County to minimize costs and delays in providing what the victims need to return home sooner than later. We deserve to be judged by the quality of our response.