Kara MasonKara MasonApril 17, 20183min769

Aurora city leaders fear that a census citizenship question could have negative impacts on the city. They’re sending a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross urging against it.

The Aurora Sentinel reports that the Aurora City Council members are requesting the questionnaire leave out the inquiry because of the number of immigrants and refugees that call the city home — nearly one in five residents is foreign born.

The letter says “that a citizenship question will unduly burden respondents and lower participation by immigrants who fear the government’s use of such private information.”

The Sentinel reported that councilman Charlie Richardson, also the former Aurora city attorney, said the question could have significant impacts on the city if residents are scared out of responding because of the question.

Of course not all government leaders in Colorado are on the same page with Aurora’s council members. State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, in her elected capacity, announced she’s in favor of the question.

“The goal of the census is to produce as accurate a picture as possible of the makeup of our vast and diverse country so that all people that live within our borders can be appropriately represented,” she said in a released statement.

“Colorado’s next redistricting and reapportionment will be based on its 2020 Census data. We need the most complete information possible to assure fair political representation of the entire state. In fact, it is so important to be able to obtain this information that federal law provides strong privacy protections for the information that is collected, which should help overcome any reluctance to participate.”

Aurora leaders disagreed on asking a question about a resident’s LGBQT status. Nicole Johnston, elected in 2017 after being recruited by Emerge Colorado, said it could be important information for local nonprofit organizations, according to the Sentinel.

Those members in favor were told they could send a letter on their own, so long as it states they are doing so in an individual capacity.


Kara MasonKara MasonApril 16, 20183min202

Las Animas County Sheriff and one-time Senate District 35 hopeful Jim Casias is calling it a career. The Trinidad native is retiring in coordination with his 70th birthday, according to a local news report.

Journalist Steve Blocks reports for the Chronicle News that Casias is taking leave later this week and officially retiring May 2:

“It is with great emotion and gratitude that I inform you of my decision to retire as the Sheriff of Las Animas County. I will be taking medical leave on the 19th of April and my official date of retirement is May 2, 2018,” (Casias wrote in an email.)

Casias went on to say, “It is fitting that on this date of May 2, I will be celebrating my 70th birthday and it is fitting to retire. I will truly miss you all and am ever so humbled in serving you as your sheriff for four terms. I have enjoyed being in Law Enforcement for 35 years. I will await what the LORD has planned for me. Thank you all. God bless and watch over all of us. Thank you ever so much.”

There’s so far no word what Casias will take up next, if anything. He had unsuccessfully challenged Republican state Sen. Larry Crowder in 2016 for his seat in the legislature.

Casias, a Democrat, was one of the 55 Colorado sheriffs who backed a lawsuit against Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2013 for signing what was considered “extreme gun legislation” among some.

He lost to Crowder in 2016 with 36 percent of the vote. During his campaign, Casias told the Chronicle News that water, broadband and jobs were issues he would have addressed at the Capitol.

Prior to being elected to sheriff in 2002, Casias held a variety of jobs in southeastern Colorado, which has served him well.

“Being a coal miner, a construction worker, a police officer, a deputy and evolving to become the sheriff of this county — I’ve always had dedication to public service,” he told the newspaper. “I’ve never called myself a politician, because I work for a living. I go out with my men, I do the job, I go to court with them, whatever comes up I work with them. I’m the sheriff, but I’m your deputy. You pay me to do what I have to do.”


Kara MasonKara MasonApril 10, 20184min544

Pueblo County Republicans will feature political pundit, best-selling author, filmmaker and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza as its headline speaker at its annual Lincoln Dinner next month.

D’Souza, no stranger to raising eyebrows, most recently caught criticism from across the web and the political spectrum for a tweet following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

“Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs,” he said referencing the reaction of several students after the Florida legislature voted down a measure to ban so-called assault weapons.

The Conservative Political Action Conference called the tweet “indefensible.” They have hosted D’Souza as a speaker in the past. Meghan McCain also slammed the tweet.

“Is the fact that you’re a felon voluntary or involuntary? Just want to alas, double check,” she wrote.

Later, D’Souza tweeted that he was “truly sorry” for the tweet and that it was aimed at “media manipulation.”

D’Souza was slapped with a felony conviction in 2014 for using straw donors to make $20,000 in campaign contributions to Senate candidate Wendy Long in 2012. He was sentenced to eight months in a California halfway house and five years of probation.

Daily Beast writer Andrew Kirell wrote in February that D’Souza has become “more and more unhinged” over the past year:

“Over the past year, D’Souza has: suggested the Charlottesville white-supremacist rally (which led to the murder of an anti-racism protester) was a “staged event” designed to make the right look bad; shared a meme calling former President Barack Obama a “gay Muslim” and suggesting Michelle Obama is a man; started a conspiracy theory that the media covered up Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s background as an anti-Trump activist (he wasn’t); used a photo of a grieving military widow—despite her protests—to attack football players kneeling during the national anthem; and defended Adolf Hitler, who sent thousands of gay people to death camps, as being ‘NOT anti-gay.’”

D’Souza has appeared at Republican events in Colorado before, including an address he gave to a state GOP fund-rasier in 2011.

“This is an incredible opportunity to talk with one of this country’s great truth-tellers,” Pueblo County Republicans wrote of its upcoming event, which is running attendees between $75 and $100.

Sponsoring a table costs $1,250.

Last year’s speakers at the dinner were Americhicks Kim Monson and Molly Vogt, of KDMT 1690 AM radio.