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North Suburban Republican Forum

September, 2011

Our next meeting is from 9:45-11:15 am, Saturday, September 10th featuring your city council candidates from Thornton, Northglenn, Westminster, Commerce City, Brighton, and Broomfield. We meet at our new location, the Anythink Huron Street Library community room, 9417 Huron St, Thornton, 80260. If you have a smart phone, use a bar code app for the QR code on the left, it will take you to our web site,

NSRF upcoming calendar in 2011: October 8 What issues are on the November 1st mail-in-ballot with Phil Saner and Frank Wagner November 12 -- Redistricting/Reapportionment with Gary Mikes & Brian Vande Krol and local election results December 10 Don Beezley on upcoming legislative issues January 14 What to do to prepare for the 2012 election season

At first glance: Thornton city council and mayoral candidates finalized

September 1st, 2011

Candidates for City of Thornton mayor - Mack Goodman and Val Vigil. Not safe to recycle.

Politics are about to become very local as the list of those seeking an office at the Thornton civic center is finalized. The list has some notable incumbents, fascinating new comers and some old retreads trying for a new office. Heres a quick look at the candidates in each race: Mayor This is the big prize and the one race in which all Thornton residents need to pay attention and choose carefully. Erik Hansen vacated this seat when he was elected to Adams County Commissioner so it is completely up for grabs. Vying for the seat are two longtime Adams County Democrats with lots of baggage and a relative newcomer with a lot of potential. Mack Goodman is a city council retread having served six years on council in the 80s before starting his latest round two years ago. He has been acting mayor for the past nine months and this has given us a chance to see how he would run the city. After witnessing his performance, Thornton voters need to run away from this choice. Current councilman Val Vigil has only held his current seat on council for two years and is looking to move up. This virtual lifelong politician has not shown much beyond his casting votes that repay his union campaign contributors and his ability to split council rather than work to a consensus. Vigil represents the old guard in Adams County and his ties to the Adams Family make him a very questionable choice that should be avoided. Heidi Williams is a newcomer to city elections but not to the city or to the issues that matter to residents. This Adams 12 Five Star School District school board member appears to have what it takes to lead the city forward. As a small business owner raising a family, she knows firsthand the challenges Thornton residents and businesses face. She is fresh alternative that can provide the new blood that is desperately needed in Thornton.

Ward I City Council Steve Lebsock is term limited so this race is wide open. While we didnt always agree with Lebsock, he was a straight shooter and we appreciated that. Trying to occupy his seat are Jenice (JJ) Dove and Lee Cantu. This is Doves second try at getting a seat having lost to Mack Goodman two years ago. is hard on first blush to see her as accomplishing much beyond continuing Thorntons leftist slide. As for Cantu, quite frankly there isnt much out there on him. Well learn more though between now and election day and see if he is a viable alternative. Ward II City Council This race pits current councilmember Eva Henry against Richard Gianzero. If you are looking to find a liberal on city council, you dont need to look any further than Henry. While a very nice person, her agenda is clearly one that supports the left. During her first term she backed every liberal measure to come before council, whether it was in the best interest of the citizens of Thornton or not. She of course is endorsed by the establishment Adams County Democrats, a warning sign in and of itself. Richard Gianzero presents an interesting alternative. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, has lived in Thornton for 20 years and was a longtime employee of the Department of Energy and Adams 12 Five Star Schools. As a small business owner he would seem to know what it is going to take to get businesses to come to Thornton and he promises a non-partisan approach something that cant be said about Henry. Ward III City Council This may be one of the most interesting races in the city to watch as incumbent Beth Humenik faces a challenge from Sam Nizam. As an incumbent having served four years on council already, we should be able to draw on a great deal of information on which to base an opinion about Humenik. The problem is that she really has not done much to distinguish herself beyond her highly scripted commentary during city council meetings (Zzzzzz). The best thing for her reelection chances Humenik has going for her is her opponent. While Nizam is a small business owner and someone we would consider based on that, a look around shows that he definitely lacks the temperament to work with others on council. He has already proclaimed that he would happily play the role of Mr. No on council. A look through his Facebook postings show someone who is hardcore left of center and full of disdain for anyone who does not agree with his liberal views. He definitely lacks the mentality to serve on council. Ward IV City Council Sadly the citizens of Ward IV have no choice in this contest as no one has filed to run against incumbent Eric Tade. He will get to cruise to another term without any effort. While Tade is relatively moderate despite his left leanings, it would have been nice to see someone challenge him. Her list of endorsements include a lot of the old guard liberal Adams Family and of course the required labor unions. It

About Tonys Rants

So what is Tonys Rants? Well, it is pretty much what the name says the rants of a guy named Tony!

I am Tony Hake, a native of the north Denver metro area, a current resident of Thornton, Colorado, a conservative and a proud veteran of the United States Navy. I am also a rather opinionated person with lots to say and an incessant need to open my mouth, oftentimes when I probably should not. Over the years that Tonys Rants has been online I have learned that I put myself at great personal and professional risk by being so forthcoming about my opinions and having them out there for the world to see. However I also believe that it is our obligation as United States citizens to have our voices heard the Founding Fathers would have us do no less. This site allows me to do that, for better or worse. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid. Those are words that I have made the conscious decision to live by and while I have paid a price for being so open, I accept the risks. I have chosen to step forth rather than sit on the sidelines. The site is not a one-way street though. You are welcome and encouraged to post your thoughts and comments on any of the postings. Having said that, some common sense must be applied to any comments. I will not tolerate bad behavior in the form of profanity, name calling, disrespectful treatment of myself or others or doing anything else I deem inappropriate. Your comments, even those that dissent with me, are welcome but must be on topic and within the realm of responsible, respectful and useful debate. Comments that dont meet standards will be deleted, no questions asked. Do you have a news lead to share or a private comment? Please contact me here. Also be sure to follow Tonys Rants on Twitter and like Tonys Rants on Facebook. Thats it! Tony

Voters to have say on much needed Adams County government reform

September 3rd, 2011

Voters will have their say in an important step toward putting Adams County back on track.

With corruption running rampant in Adams County government, citizens will have their chance in November 2012 to implement much needed reforms. On the ballot will be a question asking voters to increase the Board of Commissioners to five members from the current three. Commissioner Erik Hansen forced the Democrat members of the board,Alice Nichol and Skip Fischer, to adopt a series of reforms and proposals. Among the most important is the expansion of the board, a measure that will dilute the power of the few and provide residents with better representation. The scandals that have rocked county government in recent months have brought to light significant problems starting at the top. Three individuals hold power over the county and that has proven to be too much for them to handle. Will there be an added cost to the taxpayer to have two additional board members? Yes but look at what having three has cost us. Millions of dollars in stolen funds, mismanagement of county government and elected officials to whom ethics is a foreign concept. Along with the addition of two commissioners will come increased responsibility for the voters themselves. Citizens simply need to make better choices about who they send to Brighton. We can no longer send people like Alice Nichol and Gil Reyes to represent us. The survey ordered by the commissioners showed that 84% of respondents were concerned about corruption in the county government. Yet the voters are the ones that put those same, corrupt officials in office. County and municipal government in our area has been dominated by Democrats for decades and greed and corruption has followed. Changes need to be made, the Adams Family needs to be sent packing, and new blood in the form of elected officials capable of principled leadership need to be selected. Quotable: Obama Lays a Goose Egg

New jobs: zero. Good thing the stimulus is working! ge_h Quotable: Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa tells President Obama 'We are your army.'

Paving cases go to visiting judge

Decision on special prosecuter pending
by Scott Gilbert

Don Quick, Adams County District Attorney September 02, 2011 | 07:39 AM

The four ongoing criminal cases in the Adams County paving scandal will be heard by a visiting judge, following a decision last week. District Court Judge C. Vincent Phelps, the chief judge of the 17th Judicial District that includes Adams and Broomfield counties, made the decision. Under his order, all judges in the 17th District are disqualified from handling the cases. Senior Judge Steven Shinn, who served in Logan County until leaving the bench in 2007, will hear the cases. The cases involve Jerry Rhea, Dennis Coen and Louie Schimpf, all formerly with Quality Paving or Quality Resurfacing, and Sam Gomez, formerly with the county public works department. The four men are accused of bilking the county out of nearly $1.9 million for road work that wasn't done. The cases had been handled by District Court Judge Chris Melonakis, who recused himself after a hearing the previous week. In the hearing, defense attorney Todd Calvert aired allegations that District Attorney Don Quick had briefly visited the home of County Commissioner Alice Nichol in 2008 and saw Rhea there, and that Rhea had been at the home to give Nichol $10,000 cash after being directed to do so by local businessman Don Ciancio. Quick acknowledged dropping off raffle tickets used in a Democratic Party fundraiser and seeing Rhea there, but said a claim that people went into another room to hand off cash was "ridiculous." Ciancio denied having anything to do with arranging a payment. Rhea's lawyer said his client continues to deny any wrongdoing. Attempts to reach Nichol and other lawyers were unsuccessful. Calvert moved to have Quick's office taken off the case because the prosecutor could be a witness,

and Melonakis said he was considering recusing himself because he had known Ciancio for decades. Shinn will hold a hearing Sept. 8 regarding Calvert's request for a special prosecutor and Quick's response opposing the move. Quick plans to be in court for the hearing, in which the issue could be argued or set for another date.

Aurora's Gaylord Vote Illustrates Politicization of Property

A story from today's Denver Post illustrates the politicization of property in America: "The Aurora City Council on Monday voted unanimously to designate as 'blighted' 125 acres of vacant land near Denver International Airport." The vote paves the way for Gaylord Entertainment to build a hotel without paying the same property taxes as everyone else.

Of course the "blight" designation is a complete fraud. By the same standards, most any property in Colorado could be declared "blighted." And yet the statutes encourage local politicians to flagrantly lie for political gain.

When local politicians may arbitrarily declare property "blighted," that gives them an trump on private property rights. True, all levels of government have substantially eroded property rights in America, but local governments have done perhaps the most damage.

The "blight" designation is tied into a discriminatory tax scheme. Under Colorado law, some taxpayers are more equal that others. If you run a long-established family business, you get screwed with the highest possible tax rates. If you are a flashy out-of-state (or out-of-country) corporation, you can finagle special tax breaks. Not only do discriminatory taxes violate basic standards of fairness and equality under the law, they promote bureaucratic ass-kissing as the standard method of conducting business.

Politicians ought not be in the "business" of violating private property rights or playing tax favorites. Instead, they should protect property rights for everyone, establish low, even taxes for all comers, and then let businesses succeed or fail on a free market.

DEMOCRAT REDISTRICTING SURVIVOR: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast...Your Own Party

by: ColoradoPeakPolitics Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 16:35 23 MDT

Watching the Democrats play redistricting this year has been like watching an episode of Survivor...they all keep voting each other off of the island. With a small revolving cast of lawyers representing Democrats and their liberal special interest backers filing all sorts of maps, the one thing all the various delineations and designs have in common is the screwing of different Democrats. Redistricting is the biennial process of redrawing Colorado's seven Congressional district boundaries to reflect population changes identified in the Census. Originally meant to be resolved by a bipartisan commission who was to submit maps to the State Legislature to approve, the rapacious ambition of Senate President and now CD4 candidate Brandon Shaffer caused Democrats to actually filibuster their own redistricting map, thus forcing the issue to the courts. The case is now set to be heard in October. Throughout the process, the Democrats' machinations have looked more and more like one of the original reality TV shows. Let's take a look at the Democrat Tribal Council and how many of their own they have decided to vote off the electoral island in one iteration of their redistricting map or another: Weve got Democrat maps that throw Ed Perlmutter under the bus, putting him in a sprawling district with Grand Junction and Cortez. Weve got Democrat maps that back the bus over Sal Pace, putting Pueblo in with Colorado Springs. There have been a bunch of maps that screw Brandon Shaffer. Now weve got a map from Pueblo DA Bill Thiebault that takes aim at Diana DeGette by putting her in a district that includes all of Douglas County and western Arapahoe. How do you think that DeGette feels about being in a competitive district overnight? She might make a good witness for the Republicans on keeping Denver whole. The only Democrat who hasnt been targeted by his own party has been Jared Polis of Boulder -- the city that Coloradans across the state begged not to be stuck with. Conspiracy theorists might even postulate that it has something to do with Polis having been a member of the vast left wing conspiracy (i.e. Pat Stryker, Al Yates, et al) who are pulling the puppet strings on redistricting for the Democrats. Democrats haven't just voted off their own party members through their various redistricting maps, they've also tried to play some strategic games. Attentive readers might have noticed this quote from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association's lead attorney to The Denver Post: What we tried to do is not reinvent the wheel, said Gina Rodriguez, one of the attorneys for the two Latino groups. She said their map borrows upon state Senate seats currently being drawn by a bipartisan commission. [Peak emphasis] Interesting she'd mention the state Senate maps, as they were drawn entirely by the Democrats on the Reapportionment Commission, the state legislative cousin to redistricting. Guess who the Chair of the Public Policy Committee at the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association is? Scott Martinez. The same Scott Martinez who is the lead attorney for the Democrats on reapportionment. Scott Martinez is the human conflict of interest in this sordid liberal saga, representing leftist stakeholders near and far. If there is a map being drawn by liberal special interests, Martinez is never far away. Maybe the State House Democrats should have hired him too, instead of relying on Pat Stryker and Al Yates to look out for their interests. Perhaps as the former Executive Director of the Colorado Democrat Party, Martinez had a soft spot for the upper chamber where Democrats have had more electoral luck. The other map that has been submitted was drafted by Pueblo DA Bill Thiebaut. In his email to The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels, Thiebaut calls himself a "citizen lawyer" who is just trying to offer some non-biased information. What he forgets to mention is he was the Democrat Senate Majority Leader last time redistricting occurred 10 years ago, which drew a map that is strikingly similar to the one drafted by Republicans this go-round. He also had a lawyer for his redistricting map court filing: Stan Matsunaka. Matsunaka was a Democrat Senate President and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in CD4 in 2002 and 2004. Who do Democrats think they're fooling? Flooding the zone on redistricting with Democrat proposals in all but name is a pretty obvious and poorly played move. Maybe the Democrats should stick to voting off their own members in Tribal Council -- they're certainly not in the running for Survivor All Stars. Democrat Survivor Colorado. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast...Your Own Party. 8

Health care exchange watch dog growls about the role of the feds

By Peter Marcus


Republican State Rep. Bob Gardner, vice-chairman of a committee charged with keeping watch over Colorados health care insurance exchange board, raised concerns to the board last Monday about federal regulations for the virtual health insurance marketplace in Colorado. Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, criticized more than 240 pages of what he calls restrictions or mandates by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the implementation of a health care insurance exchange. Gardner voted against Senate Bill 200 earlier this year to create such an exchange a component of President Barack Obamas federal health care reform requirements for states. The mandate has bipartisan support in Colorado, as the hope is that it will lower costs for both consumers and small business owners. All funding for the exchange must come from gifts, grants and donations. An independent third party will operate and manage the program, which would work similar to how airlines sell tickets through Expedia and Travelocity. Consumers should have no longer than a 20-minute world-class experience operating the exchange, according to federal guidelines. Short wait times, the use of multiple languages and Americans With Disabilities Act-friendly options are promised under the federal guidelines. While some of Gardners fellow Republicans including House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument believe Colorado would benefit from an exchange despite Obamas health reform law, Gardner advised the board on Monday that it should express concerns to HHS officials about requirements. He believes Colorado should be allowed to operate autonomously of the federal government if an exchange is created in the state. Colorado needs the maximum amount of flexibility to design this health benefit exchange for the good of the people of Colorado, said Gardner. He pointed out that elected officials who have a full understanding of Colorado-specific issues have appointed the members of the nine-member Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Board and the 10-member Health Benefit Exchange Implementation Review Committee. We are closest to the people; we are closest to the problems of Colorado, I think we probably, while not perfect, do have some chance of knowing better what works for Colorado, Gardner said. Steve ErkenBrack, a member of the Health Benefit Exchange Board and president of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, asked Gardner and the review committee to work with the board in order to implement an exchange with a unified voice. He believes it is important for Colorado to be aggressive in dealing with the federal government. One of the things that was discussed right off the bat here is that there is consensus that the regulations should be structured to allow maximum flexibility for Colorado to build its own exchange, said ErkenBrack. I wouldnt want us to be silent on that if we have an opportunity when HHS comes in to speak to that. The board on Monday created a subcommittee to review HHS rules and guidelines in implementing the exchange, with the goal of reporting to federal officials with questions, comments and concerns. Gardner believes the subcommittee is a step in the right direction, but he still has reservations. I dont know that the committee itself alleviates my concerns, the committee will be doing important work, as will the legislative oversight committee, to hopefully bring together a unified document, even perhaps with the governors office, that will address our concerns to the federal department of health and human services, Gardner told The Colorado Statesman following the board meeting. We wont know until they publish their final regulations whether we have been affected. But, Im pleased that the board is being very proactive. Integrating human service programs

The board on Monday also grappled with how to integrate the exchange with human service programs. Federal law requires that individuals be screened and enrolled in Medicaid, the Childrens Health Insurance Program, or new federal health insurance subsidy programs when visiting the virtual exchange. The exchange must be interoperable, but it does not have to be integrated with human service programs. That leaves states with a good deal of flexibility in determining how to integrate human service programs. Jim Jones, a health insurance consultant from Wisconsin hired to advise on eligibility enrollment, explained that the board essentially has four choices of integration: a fully integrated model; an interoperable model; keeping systems separate; or using multiple doors to integrate human services. He said a fully integrated system would cost the most and may take the longest to implement, while separate systems would cost the least to develop, but cost the most to maintain. An interoperable system may be the exchanges best option, as it uses existing functionality and could be implemented on schedule. The exchange must be completely self-sufficient by 2015. State Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, raised concerns over integrating the systems all at once. She pointed out that in 1995, the legislature required that the state coordinate human services eligibility as a one-stop-shop. The system took nine years to implement and cost more than $320 million for a system that is only 63 percent accurate, she said. What youre trying to do is solve a problem in one shot, and what Ive learned serving the state is that the state doesnt do very good with that, said Gerou, the chair of the House Appropriations committee and member of the Joint Budget Committee. Jennifer Corrigan Politi, a policy analyst with the Colorado Human Services Directors Association, spoke in favor of an integrated services delivery model that she says creates the best outcomes for low-income families.Colorado has the opportunity to break down silos that exist between departments and programs and to develop an efficient, streamlined health and human services system, said Politi. Together, we can develop a vision for how to best serve all families in Colorado.

WEEKEND READING: Great Look Into Rick Perry's Campaign in Colorado By Colorado Statesman
by: ColoradoPeakPolitics Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 07:04 00 MDT If you missed the great scoop by the Colorado Statesman's Jody Strogoff on Rick Perry's gargantuan fundraising haul in Aspen, it's a must read for this weekend. The detailed and lengthy look into Perry's fundraiser in the liberal sanctuary provides some key insight into Perry's budding Colorado campaign. We asked Strogoff how she got in, but she declined to answer. Fair enough -- we wouldn't divulge our trade secrets either. Perry is currently racing around the country, trying to play catch up on fundraising. Where he's digging for dollars in Colorado shines some light on the early stages of Perry's effort to build a campaign infrastructure in the Centennial State. The fundraiser was hosted by two former Gubernatorial candidates, Marc Holtzman and Scott McInnis, though he's surely hoping for better luck in the election than his two hosts have had. The story strongly hints at the fact that McInnis and Holtzman, and ostensibly their supporters and teams, will play a central role in Perry's Colorado operation. In the case of Perry and McInnis, their friendship goes back almost three decades. The article provides some colorful detail on their friendship: Before Perry addressed his supporters, former Congressman Scott McInnis, a Republican from Grand Junction, provided a couple personal anecdotes about his longtime friend. He and Gov. Perry have known each other for the last 25 or 30 years. It was one of those good news/bad news stories, McInnis said as he began his tale by mentioning his wife Lori, a fifth generation cattle rancher from Meeker on whose family ranch the story played out. McInnis recalled his frequent invites to Perry to elk hunt on the ranch, an activity the two enjoyed doing together over the years. The most eye-popping part of the story is the size of the fundraising haul. Perry's Aspen fundraiser pulled in a whopping $175,000 in less than two hours. As Strogoff notes, that is the largest in GOP Aspen fundraising history. Not bad for a


candidate in the race barely two weeks. The size of the haul hints at a significant split in the Colorado GOP establishment. While many of the big names and former elected officals have lined up behind Mitt Romney, it appears a sizeable cavalry of big-dollar donors are looking elsewhere. For more on the fundraiser, and the full detail of the Perry/McInnis relationship, you can read about in the Colorado Statesman here.

GEORGE WILL: Conservative Columnist Misses The Mark On Hickenlooper

by: ColoradoPeakPolitics Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 14:05 10 MDT OUR VIEW: Will's praise of Hick for his willingness to "avoid the big fights" is not a hallmark of leadership, and most definitely not something for anyone to brag about. --------We are inclined as anyone to want to drive a wedge between state and local Democrats and their errant Emperors in Washington, DC who are on the ballot next November. However, George Will's gushing column about John Hickenlooper, where our Guv is implicitly shown as the moderate to Obama's liberal, goes beyond the illustrious domain of the believable. Hickenlooper, if you are to buy the Will column and same-same reporting from Politico earlier this week, has been busy courting the Washington press in hopes of gussying up his moderate street credand distancing himself from the Electoral Titanic that is Barack Obama in particular and progressivism in the broader. Before we unload on his Highness Mr. Will (and we mean thatwe love George Will) it is important to point out that Obama and liberals must be exactly outraged that a swing state Governor is out undermining the standing of their left wing crusade. That a "finger in the wind" politician like Governor Hickenlooper is tip-toeing away from Sirota and Soros is more than a little telling. Hick is good at pandering to the masses, and he clearly senses that the country is fleeing Big Government Leftism. Still, in heaping praise on Hick as a Manifest Destiny libertarian who can do no wrong, Will triggers the gag reflexes of everyone who knows better. Yes, Hick is a likable guy. What kind of politician isn't that jumps out of planes for campaign commercials? Yes, he is a quirky and savvy politician who understands the business cycle better than most Democrats in Colorado -though that is not a high bar to cross. But let's remember he cruised to victory last November without having a single moment of concern over his electoral prospects after about the first week in July. Never having to take any risks, or positions for that matter, in order to secure the top spot in Colorado government has made Hick spoiled. He's the electoral version of a trust fund baby. That sense of not needing to risk much to succeed has spilled over into his Gubernatorial tenure. First, by simply hiding from a tax increase, Hick makes clear that he enjoys counting his political capital more than he does expending it. [Hick] says, "We are such a purple state" -- Colorado is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third unaffiliated -- "we can avoid the big fights." Last we checked a balanced voter registration did not excuse the Governor from having to engage in substantive areas of disagreement among political parties. Prop 103 will be asking voters if they want to hike taxes by $3 Billion and kill nearly 120,000 jobs in Colorado. As the state's CEO, voters might want to hear his opinion when weighing their options. Prop 103 also speaks to Hick's moderate street cred. He avoided backing a tax increase early in his mayoral tenure, only to save that capital to spend on hiking taxes later on. Will Prop 103 merely become a foil for Hick to gin up great press about his moderate leanings, only to support a larger and longer tax increase later? If so, it's important to hear his reasons for opposing Prop 103 now. Secondly, he has brought virtually none of his renowned business savvy to bear in actual and substantive regulatory reform. Despite teasing a desire to propose a major regulatory overhaul during his first legislative session, when his political capital was primed at the pump, he balked at throwing down the gauntlet.


Will praises the possibility of John Hickenlooper, based mostly on his personal narrative, but we think it's important to look at the reality of Governor Hickenlooper. He's a quirky, successful businessman and savvy political operator who has accomplished pretty much jack and squat so far. Statewide listening tours are smart politics, but if they yield little more than photo ops and generic policy statements, rather than specific policy reforms, they don't mean much in real terms. John Hickenlooper is a good guy, with a great story, but what kind of Governor is he? Since he hasn't risked much do we really even know what kind of politician he is? Liberalism may be on the outs with the American people, but is Hickenlooper's inner liberal merely lying in wait?

Aurora mayoral candidates run gamut at first debate


By Ernest Luning

Should Aurora aggressively court major developments, or have city officials devoted too much energy to hitting elusive jackpots at the expense of smaller retailers and other businesses? Is it the mayors job to bring together potential employers and institutions to train workers, or would the next mayor more effectively help create jobs by getting out of the way? Do voters want someone who shows up for the first candidates debate in an expensive suit and well-shined shoes, or do they prefer a more casual approach, down to a comfy pair of Crocs on their next mayors feet?

City Councilman Ryan Frazier, standing, talks about his plans to stimulate job growth in Aurora during a mayoral debate sponsored by the Aurora Association of Realtors on Aug. 26. Fellow candidates, from left, are Sheilah Davis, Steve Hogan, Jude Sandvall, Debbie Stafford and Barbara Yamrick. The election is Nov. 1.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Candidates for mayor of Aurora portrayed sometimes starkly different visions of the city Colorados third largest and their potential roles at its helm during a friendly debate over breakfast on Aug. 26 in front of the Aurora Association of Realtors. Compared with this years Denver mayoral contest, which hinged mostly on the candidates personalities and a few finely shaded issues, the Aurora race finds mayoral candidates inhabiting nearly every imaginable ideological slot and wearing a range of leadership styles from Tea Party conservative to bleeding heart liberal, from establishment fixture to inexperienced rookie for an election early polling has shown could be entirely up for grabs. The six candidates three Republicans, two Democrats and a Libertarian are on the ballot for the November election, which is officially nonpartisan agreed at last weeks forum that Aurora is a great place to raise a family but differed sharply on particulars as the city prepares to elect its first mayor not named Tauer in nearly a quarter of a century. (Former Mayor Paul Tauer served for 16 years and was followed in office by his son, Ed, who is term-limited after eight years in office.)


Aurora mayoral candidates Steve Hogan, left, and Jude Sandvall keep the discussion going following a debate on Aug. 26 before a group of real estate professionals.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Its time Aurora took on its place in our region and our state as an economic driver, declared City Councilman Ryan Frazier, a Republican who ran for Congress last year following a short-lived campaign for the U.S. Senate. He pointed to what he termed the citys opportunity triangle, defined by the approach to Denver International Airport, the bioscience and hospital hub growing at Fitzsimons and the high-tech corridors surrounding a bustling Buckley Air Force Base. Id like to see Aurora do more to leverage those centers of economic growth to create the kind of jobs we want right here in our backyard, he said.

Aurora City Councilwoman Marsha Berzins, right, talks politics with Sally Mounier, who ran last year for the state House seat held by state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, after a mayoral debate on Aug. 26 at the Aurora Association of Realtors headquarters.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Noting that Auroras slogan depicts a city that aspires to be the best place to live, work and play, former City Councilman Steve Hogan said the city has dropped the ball. The problem is, the city doesnt do anything to help people work in Aurora, he said. Were happy to talk to developers, were happy to talk to shopping center developers people who will develop more than 500,000 square feet at a time but we wont talk to the small business person, we wont talk to the retailer, until after theyve somehow figured out how to get their business started and decided to relocate to Aurora. I think thats wrong. I think thats got to change. Hogan, a Republican, has logged two dozen years at city hall but began his political career as a young state legislator elected in the wake of Watergate as a Democrat. He also ran for Congress in the early 1980s as the nominee of his former party. This is his second run for mayor.


Former state Rep. Debbie Stafford, D-Aurora, right, a candidate for mayor, visits with former Aurora City Councilman Bob LeGare, who is running for his old atlarge seat in this falls election, following a mayoral debate on Aug. 26 before the Aurora Association of Realtors.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Although he acknowledged his decades on the Aurora City Council spread out over several nonconsecutive terms gave him some ownership of the citys direction, Hogan faulted city officials for slighting bread-and-butter businesses while chasing after big prizes. Small business and retail has not been a priority of past administrations, whether it was the past city manager or past mayors, he said, adding that big developers, big businesses can take care of themselves. After calling the citys unemployment rate absolutely unacceptable, Hogan went on to say, The city doesnt create jobs, but the city attitude can help get jobs created, and the attitudes been wrong. He wasnt the only candidate to take shots at city policies, with particular criticism aimed at a pending $300 million deal to land a massive Gaylord Entertainment hotel and convention center on the approach to DIA. Former state Rep. Debbie Stafford a Democrat, she was elected to the Legislature four times as a Republican but switched parties four years ago near the end of her last term said she was skeptical whether the city was paying too much for a risky return on the Gaylord project. I think the concept is wonderful, but Im very concerned, have we put all our eggs in one big basket, and if that basket topples over, what have we really done to strengthen other small businesses, to strengthen other opportunities in Aurora? Stafford said. She added that other cities have proposed spending far less to land Gaylord complexes and wondered whether significantly smaller incentives could yield more jobs at other Aurora employers, such as defense contractor Raytheon. A few days before the debate, the city council including Frazier voted unanimously to declare an expanse of undeveloped prairie land within Aurora city limits near DIA blighted, a crucial step in the citys plans to give the resorts developers up to $300 million in tax incentives over the next three decades. Its part of a package of government financing assembled to lure the $800 million complex, which also includes nearly $100 million in state funds and money that might be approved by Denver voters to relocate the National Western Stock Show near the site. The third Republican in the race has been unequivocal in his opposition to the Gaylord deal, calling it a bad deal a bad business decision for the city. Real estate agent and mortgage broker Jude Sandvall he kept an eye on the clock throughout the debate because he had a closing scheduled that morning said that Auroras practice of competing with other cities to offer the biggest incentives to large employers is the wrong approach. Instead, he said, the city needs to foster a friendlier environment for businesses of all sizes. By cutting bureaucratic red tape and peeling back the layers of regulation, he said, the city can start to helping businesses to start, not hindering them. He added, This is going to create a broad tax base that will allow us to


reopen libraries, reopen pools, and rebuild our city. It will also bring back businesses that will be attracted to our city and help existing businesses to thrive. Sandvall touted a plan hes devised to slim down Aurora government based on tracking performance and points to savings achieved in Arapahoe County and in other jurisdictions nationwide using the approach. Weve had to learn to live within our means, he said. Our city government has not. Libertarian candidate and novice politician Sheilah Davis, a practicing hypnotherapist and member of the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens for Responsible Aurora Government, sought to dispel preconceptions about her approach to government. For a Libertarian, she said, its about making a personal choice, trying to decide how much government control you want over your life. Its a constant struggle for balance between personal liberty and security we get from the government. She added that she agrees with voters who have told her they dont want to eliminate government. Instead, she said, They want transparency, want to see where their money is going, want to know if theyre getting a good value for their taxes and want accountability. Above all, people want to be heard. The races other Democrat, former RTD and Aurora Public Schools board member Barbara Yamrick shes the one who wore the Crocs said her campaign is all about building community rather than expansionism. Speaking directly to the real estate agents in the room, she made a plea to keep the broader economy in focus. Without the development of the middle class, most of us would not have the economic stability we have today. Unless you have the workers and unless you pay them the prevailing wage, they cant afford the sales tax because they cant buy anything, and they cant afford your houses because they cant afford to live in them, or to pay Public Service for their energy and their electricity, Yamrick said. According to initial campaign finance reports filed at the beginning of last month, Hogan and Frazier should have the race to themselves, with each posting roughly $125,000 in contributions during the reporting period. (Hogan had about $25,000 more in the bank from earlier donations.) They outpaced their nearest competitors, Sandvall and Stafford, by six figures, and Yamrick and Davis brought up the rear with nominal fundraising during the period. But since the election culminates in a single, winner-take-all vote, unlike Denvers runoff arrangement, and every candidate has the potential to split votes with other candidates, observers contend the outcome is far from predictable. The only publicly released polling so far shows Frazier with a comfortable lead over Hogan, with Stafford and Sandvall also registering, but the survey also showed nearly 40 percent of likely voters are still undecided. The Frazier campaign last month released results of an automated telephone survey conducted by Louisville-based Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies. Frazier had 27 percent support, followed by Hogan at 14 percent and Stafford with 11 percent. At 4 percent support, Sandvall polled just above the surveys margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.84 percent. Yamrick registered 3 percent and Davis had 2 percent in the survey. After the debate, Hogan discounted his opponents lead in the poll and said the results only show that voters havent made up their minds and that Frazier was likely benefiting from getting his name out there during last falls run for Congress. (The survey showed Frazier has the highest name recognition, at 71 percent, followed by Hogans 57 percent and Staffords 28 percent.) I think its accurate showing Ryan has larger name recognition, undoubtedly. He just ran a congressional campaign, Hogan said. But when a poll shows 40 percent undecided, thats a meaningless poll to me. What ever poll have you ever heard of that someone touted that showed 40 percent undecided? he asked, though he added that he thinks thats probably an accurate measure. Its early, Hogan said. This is literally the first event where all six candidates showed up, and there isnt another one until after Labor Day. Things havent heated up yet, the traditional things havent started yet.


The Nov. 1 election will be conducted entirely by mail ballots for the portions of Aurora within Adams and Douglas counties. The citys neighborhoods within Arapahoe County will also have the opportunity to cast ballots at vote centers during October. Candidates are required to file additional fundraising reports before the election on Oct. 11 and 28. Aurora has an ordinance that prohibits political yard signs from going up before Sept. 16 and requires candidates to take them down within a week after the election.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER JOHN MORSE: Raise Taxes To Help The "Government Economy"
by: ColoradoPeakPolitics Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 15:20 40 MDT

We've long covered the struggles state Senate Majority Leader John "Per Diem" Morse has with government dollars, but a moment yesterday from the Legislative Council Committee meeting really takes the cake. When the committee, which acts in place of the Legislature outside the legislative session, was meeting to discuss the language of the $3 Billion Prop 103 tax hike initiative, Senator Morse exposed his blinding ignorance of basic Econ 101.

Senator Morse: Raising taxes will slow the Colorado economy. And we heard public testimony that whether it's Keynesian or monetary, or whatever, taking tax dollars out of the private economy slows the private economy. Okay. What about the government economy? The government economy!?! Since when did the government become its own economy? We know Senator Morse sees government coffers as his own private expense account, so it's not surprising he now thinks the government is its own economy. Beyond the nonsensical rantings of a man who likes to threaten the homes of his detractors, Morse admits a key fact in the Prop 103 debate: raising taxes will kill jobs. He's okay with killing private sector jobs because they increase the government "economy." Morse's per diem parties need to be funded somehow. What do you think is more important to voters: their jobs or the government "economy"?

Website gives Coloradans input on health insurance rate hikes

Date: Thursday, September 1, 2011, 12:38pm MDT - Last Modified: Thursday, September 1, 2011, 11:59pm MDT


A screen shot of Colorado's health insurance website.

Ed Sealover Reporter - Denver Business Journal

Colorado businesses and residents will now be able to look at -- and comment on -- their proposed health insurance rate hikes on a website set up by the state Division of Insurance. The website, unveiled Thursday, lists new rate filings for major medical insurance plans and updates users on their status as they go through the division's approval process. Division leaders have listed rate filings on their site before, but never in a way that was easy to access or understand, they said. "The bottom line is insurance is complicated, and the expectations for consumers have increased," said Jo Donlin, director of external affairs for the insurance division. "Insurance isn't very sexy, so we're at least trying to make it consumer-friendly." The division developed the website (click here) with a portion of a $1 million federal grant it received last year. The grant program, part of the federal health care reform bill, was aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of insurance costs and requires states to make available for public viewing insurers' justification for any rate hike of at least 10 percent. Business leaders have complained for many years that annual rate hikes averaging more than 10 percent are one of the most frustrating costs of running their companies. Insurance brokers report that an increasing amount of small businesses have dropped coverage for employees due to the escalation in recent years. Colorado already requires insurance companies to seek prior approval for any change in health insurance rates, but the companies' justification for such costs -- medical inflation, new mandates, etc. -- typically has been considered only by division leaders. Through the new website, health plan members affected by rate hikes or decreases can submit comments that will be considered by division leaders in deciding whether to approve the changes. Under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, insurers also are required to post notice and justification of all rate hikes of 10 percent or more on their own websites. "The whole thing we are trying to do is explain our role in regulating insurance companies and also engage consumers in saying: 'You need to learn a little more about this,'" Donlin said. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services distributed a total of $48 million in grants to states to strengthen and improve the transparency of their rate-review processes. "For far too long, families and small employers have been at the mercy of insurance rate increases that often put coverage out of their reach. Rate review will shed a bright light on the industry's behavior and drive market competition to lower costs," said Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, in a news release Thursday. "We are pleased to team with states to bring this important new protection to consumers and employers."


Heaths $3 billion tax increase: Open for business?

Posted by Kelly Maher on August 23rd, 2011 Share|

Colorado state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, argues that a $3 billion tax increase for education would send the message that Colorado is Open for business. I think its more like putting up a Closed sign. Heres what Heath said at his Aug. 1 press conference, marking the delivery of more than 142,000 petition signatures for a November ballot issue that would raise income and sales tax rates for five years. So now let me ask you for a moment, just to think ahead with me to Nov. 2 and this initiative has just passed, Heath said. I truly believe that the headlines across the country will be, Colorado votes to break with the packand to reinvest in education and jobs. Can there be, can there be, a better message to send to the rest of this country, and to the world that Colorado, is truly open for business? I dont think so. Open for business? Is a tax increase the way to convey that Colorado is truly open for business? The Common Sense Policy Roundtable released a report in April that the higher taxes would be a job killer: The reduction in growth rates over time indicate that the Heath Measures will reduce employment by 30,500 by 2017, according to the analysis by Eric Fruits, Ph.D., of Economics International Corp. Heath said at a committee hearing in April that in recruiting companies, They dont ask you about taxes. They ask us about your education, they ask you about your infrastructure. You dont get asked taxes til way down the line. With Coloradans facing an 8.5% unemployment rate and a tough economy, this may be the worst time to enact tax-and-spend policies. To say now that a tax hike is the best way to send a message that Colorado is open for business is not only disputed by economic analysis, it sounds like nothing but a sales job. Are you buying?


On September 17th, 2011, we will celebrate the anniversary of the signing of our Constitution. It is one of the greatest political documents in history, and has provided us with a roadmap to become the most prosperous and free nation the world has ever seen. But in 2011, the principles of limited government and individual freedom are in question, and we are at a crossroads. For us to turn this country around, and have leadership that believes and promotes the ideas of limited government, free enterprise and fiscal responsibility, the citizens must be equipped with the tools to bring about real change, and then spurred into action. The time to sit and think, or vent, has passed. The time for real action has come. On Constitution Day, American Majority will be conducting simultaneous training sessions across America to educate and mobilize fiscally conservative activists and future leaders. This is not a rally and its not a summit. This Training Bomb is a massive effort to equip concerned citizens with the tools necessary to bring about change, from how to run for office, to how to be effectively engaged as an activist online, to how to work precincts.

American Majority is working with Right Turn Colorado, Liberty Watch, and the Northern Colorado Tea Party to bring one of the September 17th Training Bomb events to Loveland, Colorado. The event will be held at the Larimer County Conference Center, from 9:00AM-12:30PM. Information about the event and registration can be found here. The list of additional event locations can be found at American Majoritys Training Bomb on September 17th will not only be the biggest one-day training of conservative activists ever, but American Majority is going to be introducing new lectures, new manuals, and new projects. Help us make the day a success by signing up and spreading the word. Together we can, and will, make the right change happen in this country. We hope to see you there! The Team at American Majority

Bananas and Broken Windows

By Brian Vande Krol


A guy walks into his local grocery. Noting the price of bananas is 89 cents per pound, he complains that the grocery across the street sells bananas for 69 cents per pound. The grocer asks him why he didnt buy bananas from the other grocery. They are all out of bananas. The grocer tells him, When were all out, we sell them for 49 cents per pound. It makes sense, doesnt it? When Grocer A runs out of bananas, Grocer B can charge more. As the supply dwindles and he continues to raise his price, some customers will switch to oranges. Meanwhile, banana growers, realizing more profit, will produce more bananas. But now there are fewer customers because some converted to oranges, so grocers will lower the price to sell their bananas before they go bad. This shows that profits motivate sellers to adjust prices to meet changing supply and demand. This is common sense economics, understood since people first began to trade. An education in basic economics just gives you the ability to draw graphs about prices, supply and demand. Advanced economics gives certain economists like Paul Krugman the ability to baffle the masses with more complicated graphs. We are led to believe that government intervention by politicians, justified by graph-makers, will cause more employment, abundant goods, stable prices, and a chicken in every pot. Common sense flies out the window. The economy is so complex that its impossible to determine all the effects of government intervention. A 19 century economist, Frederic Bastiat wrote, There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen. Bastiat went on to describe the Broken Window Fallacy to illustrate the point. Lets go back to the grocery. While the grocer and customer haggle over bananas, a hoodlum throws a rock through the front window. A crowd gathers and begins to discuss the misfortune of the grocer who will have to pay $500 to have his window repaired. Eventually someone points out that the window repairman will have more money to buy bananas for his family. Hell also buy a pane of glass, providing income for the glass manufacturer. The glass manufacturer will buy raw materials. Truck drivers will deliver these materials. This stimulus will ripple through the economy. When you consider these benefits, isnt the hoodlum a hero? The broken window and the economic activity it will create are easily seen. What is not seen is what would have transpired had the window never been broken. Prior to the act of vandalism the grocer had a good window and $500. After the repair he only has a good window, but not the $500. What would he have done with the $500? Perhaps Christmas bonuses for his staff, a vacation for his family, a new credit card machine to improve service at the checkout register? The very grocer who earned that $500 gets none of the benefit of it! Five hundred dollars of his wealth has been destroyed. If this were truly an effective economic stimulus, the government could hire hoodlums to break windows everywhere! The Broken Window Fallacy has been thriving ever since people first began asking government to improve their lives. Its all the rage today. A tax levied on one group of people to benefit another group has the same effect as throwing rocks through windows. Here are some examples of the Broken Window Fallacy: Economic development subsidies (see Gaylord Entertainment) Stimulus programs War-on-Poverty programs Government jobs programs No economist or politician can tell you what would have been created if the tax was never collected. But you know what you would have bought with the money. Even if you just buy bananas, its best left to the wisdom of individuals who own the money instead of government.

To check your voter status or register to vote, go to: You have until Monday, October 3rd to register to vote in the November 1st local school board and city council election. It will be conducted via mail-in ballots.


GUEST COLUMN: How To Evaluate Obama's Upcoming Jobs Speech

by: ColoradoPeakPolitics Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 13:13 53 MDT By Dave Diepenbrock Colorado government released a report this summer that may help us evaluate the upcoming Obama jobs speech. First, some background. Anthony Mirhaydari from MSN Money said: "Obama also selected Alan Krueger, a Princeton labor economist and one of the architects of the Cash for Clunkers auto rebate program, as the new head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. An expert on the problem of long-term unemployment, Krueger may push worker training subsidies as a solution to the problem of long-term unemployment, something I discussed in a recent column." If job training appears in Obama's speech, we may be able to wager on such a program's effectiveness or ineffectiveness based on a green jobs report prepared by the Colorado Department of Labor and CU's Business Research Division. It's available here (H/T: Peoples Press Collective). On page 19 of the report, 15.6% of survey respondents ranked "training programs" for their workers as factoring into business expansion plans. Only "public marketing" scored lower! So, at least for green jobs, government-sponsored training


programs don't seem to matter all that much. (I admit that's too bad. Germany in recent years has used its apprenticeship programs to boost global competitiveness and retain jobs in this world wide economic slowdown. But it just may be that our educational system and Germany's are enough different that worker training isn't a broad factor in our country.) So, what we have is a new economic advisor for Obama who pushed "cash for clunkers" which did zip for the long term auto industry in America and, as USA Today reported, measurably raised the cost of used cars for ordinary American families who can't afford to buy a brand-new car. And now, perhaps, Obama will follow this same pied piper down the road of government spending for job training that isn't much valued by American businesses. Just what we need: billions spent on programs that don't solve our jobs problems. And, remember, this evaluation of one possible component of an Obama jobs plan isn't being bashed by some right-wing crazies; it's a business evaluation of this idea researched and publicized by a Democratic Governor's people here in Colorado.

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