March 5, 2010Page 2
Opinion and Comment
Romanoff the Colorado Choice for United States Senate
In a couple of weeks, it will be cau-cus time, the somewhat antiquated but beloved process political parties use tonominate their candidates for publicoffice. The marquee race is the UnitedStates Senate, and both Republicansand Democrats will begin the processof choosing a nominee caucus night.
We believe the best choice forColorado on the Democratic sideis Andrew Romanoff, the formerSpeaker of the House in Colorado’sGeneral Assembly.
For the North Denver News, this ispersonal. I’ve known Andrew almost adecade and a half. I first met Andrewwhen he was a young guy running forelection to the Democratic NationalCommittee. I was working as a con-sultant for Gene Nichol, who was run-ning for the United States Senate, andmy wife and I were driving Nicholall over the state, hitting rural countyconvention after rural county conven-tion. Andrew was there, working everylocation, too, with an unusual abil-ity to connect with people of all back-grounds and positions. And, unlike alot of hacks who seek party leadershippositions, he was motivated to createchange to benefit people. Andrew wasa standout, and you could tell he wasgoing to make waves. He was passion-ate, committed, genuine. Those werethe same qualities that made him thefirst Democratic Speaker of the Housein a generation just a few years later.And that is the reason that the DenverPost, and papers all over the state edi-torialized that Andrew was the bestchoice for the Senate vacancy a yearago. So strong was his record as HouseSpeaker,
namedAndrew the national Public Official of the Year in 2008.Not long ago, I took to the tenniscourt against Andrew. I believe thatcompetition reveals character. Andrewis not the most gifted athlete. His back-hand would be charitably described asugly. But he is tenacious. Persistent. Hehustles after every ball. He doesn’t hanghis head when an opponent smokesa winner crosscourt, and he doesn’tgloat when his opponent can’t reach hisdropshot. He is willing to outwork anopponent, regardless of the odds. Hedoesn’t give up. It’s a matter of steel inthe spine.That’s why Andrew Romanoff is the best choice for Colorado in the UnitedStates Senate. He knows Colorado andits people, and accomplished more asSpeaker than almost any other publicservant than I can recall. He savedthe state from fiscal catastrophe bytirelessly championing ReferendumC. He saved schools across the statefrom literally falling apart. And he wasa passionate fighter against the com-placency that allows genocide to gounpunished.———————————————One of my oldest friends and mydaughter’s godfather is chief legalcounsel for Governor Ritter. I believeI understand, at least in part, why theGovernor appointed Michael Bennetto the United States Senate, choos-ing Bennet over Romanoff and DenverMayor John Hickenlooper. And whileI can sympathize with that choice, I believe, that in 2010, it was not the bestdecision for Colorado.Michael Bennet made strides torationalize Denver Public Schools asSuperintendent, making some realprogress while making some terri- ble errors, like the decision to closeManual precipitously, and the decisionto fire the whole staff at North HighSchool. He also politicized the positionof Superintendent, getting involved inSchool Board elections, setting a prec-edent that haunts the district today, andundercutting the connection betweenour schools and our people.Bennet is a tremendously smart guy,with a ready and accessible intelligence,one of the our brightest political figuressince Tim Wirth. On a recent conferencecall with reporters on a bill he is carry-ing to use returned bailout funds, hedemonstrated a thorough-going mas-tery of issues and he his ruffling feath-ers left and right with a new reformproposal. Several years ago, I inter-viewed him at length and I was struck,not just by his intelligence, but by hisintellectual curiosity— a rare qualityin official Washington. That interviewliterally transformed my thinking onsome education issues, pushed me innew directions. Politically, he is a pro-lific fundraiser and has won some sub-stantive laurels. But he hasn’t walkeda mile in the shoes of the averageColorado family. I wonder if he reallyhas a clue what that is about. I knowAndrew does— I have seen his empa-thy, understanding and endurance firsthand.While Bennet has made strides,most notably in a bold effort to cham-pion the public option in health carereform, he has taken votes, notably onmortgage bankruptcy relief and on theFCC, which shows a tendency to sidewith giant corporations over regularfolk. Bennet has very thin Coloradoroots, and it gives me pause, that whenthe issue turns to water, or the chal-lenges of a family farmer, or the trialsof a small business owner. Will hethink first of the billionaires he knows,and their corporate interests, or thosereal people, the same real people thatI watched Andrew meet those longyears ago?Michael Bennet may make a fineUnited States Senator, if he is notshown the door by Colorado votersthis year. But the choice, given thetrack record, and history, is clear, if narrow.
Andrew Romanoff should bethe next Senator from Colorado.***
—Guerin Lee GreenPublisher, North Denver News
Romanoff the best choice for Senate
Opinion and Comment
Point of personal privilege...Want an insight into the difficultiesplaguing Denver Public Schools?Look no farther than how they sourceprincipals.While DPS administrators focus theirmegaphones upon unionized teachers—the whole brouhaha over direct place-ment— processes they wholly control(without the intervention of state statuteor collective bargaining) are fairly wellscrewed up.Some illustrative cases: GreenleeElementary was targeted for “trans-formation” at the end of November.According to the DPS Job Board, asof this date, the Greenlee position isstill open. That means, despite havinga gigantic, loud and costly process totransform the school, it is still leaderlessthree months later. This means chaosfor the potential parents (not to mentioncurrent ones) at the school, as choicedeadlines have come and gone, and stillno resolution.DPS has operated in recent yearswithin the cult of the principal.Principals, under the original DenverPlan, are supposed to be “instructionalleaders,” spending 75% of their time oninstruction and forging the educationalculture of the school. There is much to becredulous about in this approach, but letus stipulate to this version of reality.So when Edison Elementary’s prin-cipal announced her resignation earlyin February, you would think that therewould be a plan in place, an orderlytransition anchored by a broad and thor-oughgoing search for a new leader. Afterall, Edison is one of a few schools in theentire northwest quadrant of the citythat is at capacity, and has the highestachieving students. But, of course, thatisn’t the case.To date, DPS has communicatednothing to parents, not even a single notesent home. Janice Spearman, the DPSAssistant Superintendent with respon-sibility for Edison, is slow to returnphone calls from parents. And the onlyevidence of a search is a boilerplate joblisting on line, with no description of theunique facets of the Edision community.In short, nothing approaching what youwould assume to be the case, give therhetoric of district officials on the valueof principaldom.
And that Greenlee position may befilled after all, according to letter weobtained for a applicant for that job.It reads, in part, “I received an emailfrom Ana Tilton stating the following,“There has recently been a decisionin regards to the Greenlee principal.It turned out that there were severalinternal applicants. I will let you knowwhen we are able to announce it publi-cally. I do hope you are still interestedin a principalship. This completelyadded to my disbelief and disenchant-ment with the district process.“My concerns continue to be whatI stated previously; the need for anInstructional Leader that reflects thecommunity, is vested in the commu-nity and can appropriately commu-nicate with the community. There isan additional concern that a personinvolved in the interview process asthe INTERVIEWER ended up beingplaced into that position, and now is being called an “internal candidate”.It is important to understand that pro-cess affects the public as a whole. Theway this process was handled and theultimate decision can tarnish the pub-lic perspective of the District.”“I felt that I needed to express myfrustration with the process as well aslet my concerns be known. I believethe Board of Education needs to reviewthis practice as it appears to be quiteunfair and may have a negative impacton community trust.”
—Guerin Lee Green
Denver Public Schools value principals?
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