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Moments after Dr. Ben Carson called poverty “a state of mind,” much of the mainstream media and other foes of the Trump administration went hysterical. The director of Housing and Urban Development is callous toward the poor, we were told.

NBC News instantly determined Carson was “under fire.” Lawyer and New York Times writer Zerlina Maxwell tweeted: “Next month, I tell my landlord that I’m going to pay rent with positive thinking?”

“Still in poverty? It’s your own fault for not trying hard enough to get out of it,” said a smarmy article in The Guardian.

That is not what Carson said and not what he meant.

A more objective media culture would try to discern the wisdom of a man who overcame poverty and devoted his life to saving children and helping the poor.

Read more at The Colorado Springs Gazette.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 28, 20178min1371

When it comes to transportation, Donald Trump is much like a casino for a desperate state willing to bet the power bill money to try to win the rent.

While the president was out of the country last week, his advisers rolled out the latest package of ideas for the $1 trillion investment in American infrastructure Trump promised.

Colorado was listening.

Spin doctors here have conditioned us to believe our growing highway needs are like a herd of zombies coming this way. Before they eat us, we might have to take the light rail or ride a bike, because the traffic’s too bad.

Any help from Uncle Sam should feel like a godsend. A jackpot from Washington would be a political bailout Colorado legislators. And when hope runs low, luck is your new best friend. Typical of a casino, Trump reserves the edge.

His transportation plan calls for privatizing government-owned assets to pay for all infrastructure. In exchange for better roads, bridges, pipelines and broadband, we would pay as we go.

Colorado has been there, done that, Mr. President.

The one piece of good news for transportation from the session  was in the omnibus Senate Bill 267. It raises $1.88 billion for transportation — a quarter of it goes to rural counties and 10 percent to transit — over the next 20 years by selling state buildings then paying rent to use them.

With government buildings already off the table, that doesn’t leave Colorado much else of that value to put in Trump’s public-private pot. We have no ports to privatize or a state-owned airport to mortgage. Casa Bonita is already privately owned. State parks and public lands are a whole other kettle of fish.

That leaves highways and that means tolls, Shailen Bhatt, the head of the Colorado Department of Transportation, told me the other day.

“One of the things I’ve heard pretty clearly from the folks in the Springs and Douglas County and other places is that they don’t want a toll on I-25,”  the state highway director told me, referencing some of the most politically conservative parts of the state.

“Well, that’s what the president’s plan pretty much requires.”

The reality check is that this is Trump talking. He would have to pass this plan through Congress, albeit a Republican one.

Imagine paying $20 in tolls each way to drive from Colorado Springs to Denver, or $50 each way to go skiing. Some people could still afford that, but a lot of us would stay home. Poof, traffic jams solved by social engineering.

If we ignore the traffic jams until they get a little worse, it could drive more people onto more mass transit. Poof, traffic jams solved by social engineering.

Transportation is a part of our everyday lives, and one way or another it always gets in our wallets.

In the last session Colorado lawmakers, for the most part, scattered into partisan camps against new taxes on the right versus cuts to existing programs on the left. Toll roads were middle ground. Everybody hated toll roads, right up there with traffic jams.

These weren’t even the soul-sucking institutional toll roads of the Northeast. They were railing on express lanes which run alongside the free lanes.

There are plenty of horror stories about such public-private partnerships, “ill-prepared governments saddling themselves with bad deals,” as the Washington Post called selling public assets for a one-time windfall with long-time payments.

And such deals are not the marvels of the free market that Republicans embrace. They are government-granted monopolies — ya’ know, picking winners and losers.

Trump’s trillion-dollar transportation deal is so laden with these public-private partnership’s that the federal government would put in just $200 billion. Investors and toll-payers cover the rest. He’s playing with the house’s money.

Federal hope equals no hope. Actually, it’s less than no hope.

Trump’s proposed federal budget cuts federal transportation programs by 13 percent. But that’s OK, his people say, because it’s more than offset by his transportation package. Ya’ know, the one with tolls.

For instance, Trump’s budget red-lines the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants that last year dealt $15 million to put an extra lane in each direction of I-25  from Loveland to Fort Collins — toll lanes.

I’m not a gambler, at all. Still, I’ve spent more time in casinos than most people you know. I used to live in a casino town, I covered the national casino industry for awhile and I’m still a regular guest at the $30 buffets in Las Vegas.

There are two things locals tell you over a cocktail in Sin City at 3 a.m. The games were more on-the-level when they were run by the mob instead of Wall Street, and don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose.


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The Washington PostMay 28, 201710min1435

As the Trump administration’s war on “sanctuary cities” heats up, cities have come up with increasingly creative ways to fight back. The latest example comes from Denver, which just passed a law aimed at protecting legal immigrants from being deported for committing relatively petty crimes, those carrying maximum sentences of 365 days — the federal government’s tripwire for kicking people out.

The city’s solution? Simply take a bunch of those relatively petty offenses and reduce the maximum penalty to less than 365 days. Just like that, the move takes the crimes (and their perpetrators) off the radar of immigration authorities.

It’s not a novel approach to protecting immigrants, but coming as a direct response to President Trump’s crackdown, it’s particularly timely.

The action does not affect more serious crimes and does not protect undocumented immigrants. Under federal law, an immigrant living in the United States legally can be deported for committing a low-level crime, like shoplifting or trespassing, as long as that offense carries a potential sentence of one year.

This means that even someone living in the country with a green card or student visa can be flagged to immigration officials — and deported — for such misdemeanors.

Tens of thousands of legal residents have been deported for relatively minor offenses in recent decades. But under previous administrations, immigration authorities have often let low-level offenders off the hook. Now, under Trump, immigrants feel the threat of deportation more than ever, advocates say, whether they are residing here legally or not.

The proposal passed Denver’s city council Monday night. In making the change, Denver is sending a clear message to the federal government that it will not “bend to a broken immigration system,” said the city’s mayor, Michael Hancock, who proposed the sentencing revisions. They will help “keep families together by ensuring low level offenses, like park curfew, are not a deportation tool,” he said.

Previously, nearly all municipal crimes in Denver carried a maximum sentence of 365 days. But under the new approach, that maximum year-long sentence is only reserved for seven of the most serious offenses, including violent assaults and repeated domestic violence.

Crimes including shoplifting, trespassing, the first or second instance of domestic violence, and simple assault will now be eligible for a maximum 300 days in jail. Even pettier offenses, such as public urination, and curfew violations would merit up to 60 days.

“Over the past four months, the White House has issued a series of executive orders that have exacerbated our broken immigration system and have had a real impact on our community,” Hancock said in a statement. “I have heard from many who are rightfully concerned. Denver is committed to taking actions that will protect our people’s rights and keep our city safe, welcoming and open.”

Denver is just one of dozens of cities and states across the country doing battle with Trump administration executive orders aimed at cracking down on immigration and travel. Suits brought by cities and states against the orders have tied them up in courts for the time being.

In response to a court order blocking the administration’s attempt to strip funding from “sanctuary cities,” a memo released by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday offered the government’s first official definition: Sessions said sanctuary cities are those that violate a federal law requiring local and state governments to share information with federal officials about immigrants’ citizenship or legal status.

Sessions has taken steps to revoke federal funding from nine jurisdictions, each of which contends that it has complied with the law, The Washington Post reported.

As a part of its budget proposal released Tuesday, the Justice Department is pushing to change federal law so that local jurisdictions can be forced to detain suspected illegal immigrants upon request. The law would block cities from enacting policies that stop compliance with legal Department of Homeland Security requests, including “any request to maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours,” The Post reported.

Although Denver notifies Immigration and Customs Enforcement of impending releases of immigrants from jail upon request, it is one of many cities across the country that has declined to hold inmates for ICE if they otherwise are eligible for release.

Yet despite Hancock’s efforts to push policies that protect immigrants, the mayor has refrained from calling Denver a “sanctuary city.”

“The mayor has literally said you can call us whatever you want,” Amber Miller, communications director for the mayor’s office, told The Post. The term has “no legal meaning,” she said.

“We are operating in a very vague environment right now,” Miller said. The mayor is “focusing on taking real actions that will actually impact people’s safety,” she said. “Labels don’t get you that.”

The mayor acknowledged that many will hear about the changes and feel that he is advocating for illegal behavior. But he said, “it is the right and the duty of any individual in this city to report crime without fear of being punished. We want and need Denver residents to trust local law enforcement.”

“This is not about shielding violent people,” Hancock said. “I will not play political games with the safety of our community.”

Some immigrant advocates say the proposed sentencing restructuring doesn’t go far enough, and suggested lessening even higher-level misdemeanor sentences to 364 days in jail to help keep offenders off the federal radar, the Denver Post reported.

This would remove Denver from the “business of immigration enforcement,” Julie Gonzales, the policy director for the Meyer Law Office, a Denver firm that specializes in immigration cases, told the newspaper.

The sentencing revisions, the mayor said, go “hand in hand” with a new system established in recent weeks allowing people to resolve traffic tickets by mail. Undocumented immigrants, particularly in recent months, have grown hesitant about interacting with public safety officials and going into courthouses.

Their fears are justified, Miller said. “We are seeing ICE at our courts more and more looking to pick up undocumented immigrants,” he said. As a result, many people aren’t taking care of their traffic infractions, which only get worse over time.

“We know many hard-working immigrants are afraid to come to the courthouse right now,” Hancock said. “But avoiding court dates or failing to resolve tickets is not the answer.”

This is not the first time local officials and immigration advocates nationwide have pushed for such sentencing changes.

But according to Daniel Kanstroom, a law professor and co-director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, most U.S. citizens remain unaware of the “terrible toll,” of the harsh deportation mandates that affect legally residing immigrants, he wrote in an opinion articlein the New York Times in September.

In the 1990s, new laws mandated deportation for any long-term legal immigrant for a vast array of crimes — including minor drug offenses — without the possibility of judges’ discretion, Kanstroom wrote.

“Since then, we have experienced a deportation frenzy,” Kanstroom wrote. In addition to millions of undocumented deportees, tens of thousands of legal residents have been deported as “aggravated felons” for state misdemeanors like shoplifting or for minor drug offenses, he added.

So for many advocates, Kyle Huelsman, the policy manager for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Denver has taken a positive step, he told the Denver Post.

“Creating automatic deportation as punishment is not a punishment we want to endorse,” he said.


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The Associated PressMay 28, 20176min900

ATLANTA — Democrats hope to enlist military veterans in another type of fight — for majority control of the House.

Looking ahead to next year’s elections, Democrats are trying to recruit at least two dozen military veterans to challenge Republican incumbents, arguing that candidates with military on their resumes appeals to independent voters and can help the party break the GOP grip on Washington.

“Veterans have had the experience of putting the country first, before personal politics” and party dictates, said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass, who did four tours of duty in Iraq, left the Marines as a captain and was elected to Congress in 2014. That tends “to attract the kind of independent voters who are looking for a good leader,” Moulton added.

Several veterans already have announced their bids in some of the 79 Republican-held House districts that national Democratic Party leaders have identified as top targets.

Decades ago, veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam were mainstays in Congress. In 1969-71, 398 veterans served in the House and 69 in the Senate, according to the Congressional Research Service. But the change to an all-volunteer force in 1973 sent those numbers plummeting.

The extended post-Sept. 11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq helped reverse the trend, and now there are 80 veterans in the 435-seat House and 20 veterans in the 100-member Senate.

For Democrats, struggling to return to the majority, military veterans provide potential candidates as the party deals with an elective wipeout during Barack Obama’s presidency with the loss of more than 1,030 seats in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress.

Moulton and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq, have spoken to veterans in districts ranging from obvious Democratic targets to places where the path to victory isn’t as obvious.

The party needs to pick up 24 seats to reclaim a House majority next November.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, former Air Force officer Chrissy Houlahan is challenging two-term Republican Rep. Ryan Costello in one of 23 districts where Democrat Hillary Clinton topped Trump in November. Outside Denver, former Army Ranger and combat veteran Jason Crow, a onetime campaign adviser to Obama, is running for the seat held by another veteran, five-term GOP Rep. Mike Coffman.

Both mentioned President Donald Trump as factors in their campaign.

“All the bravado and the wailing and gnashing of teeth isn’t the way we conduct ourselves as professional service members,” Houlahan said of Trump’s rhetoric.

Said Crow: “I’m deeply troubled by President Trump and what he’s trying to do to country and our democracy.”

Dan McCready, a former Marine who attended Harvard Business School alongside Moulton, steered clear of Trump as he announced his bid in the more Republican-leaning North Carolina district of three-term Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger.

But all three candidates, along with Moulton, agreed that veterans offer voters an approach rarely taken on Capitol Hill.

“We know what it’s like to serve the country in non-political ways, and we’re standing up to say that the system is broken,” said Crow. He added that any military unit brings together “Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated, every different background, every part of the country, urban rural, every rung of the economic ladder, and they have to come together very quickly … or the mission fails.”

Democratic veterans have run notable campaigns in recent years.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a West Point graduate and former Ranger, emphasized his record to attract enough voters in a conservative state. In Missouri last year, former Army intelligence officer Jason Kander drew national attention for his U.S. Senate campaign ad in which he assembled an AR-15 rifle while blindfolded. He lost by 3 percentage points, but got 230,000 more votes than Clinton, who lost the state by 18 points.

Seth Lynn, who runs the nonpartisan Veterans Campaign, an organization that trains veterans running for office, says research suggests veterans running against a non-veteran get “about a 2-point bump” on average.

Lynn isn’t yet tracking exact numbers of veteran candidates, but says he’s seen a “noticeable uptick” among Democrats.

Some of that, Lynn says, is the usual clamoring by the party out of power: Republican veterans arose in 2010, the first midterm under Obama, and Democrats’ boasted a large slate in 2006, amid opposition to the Iraq war during President George W. Bush’s second term.

Those veteran candidates did not all win, of course. But those midterm years marked the last two times voters tossed out the House majority in favor of the other party.


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The Associated PressMay 27, 20177min880

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As U.S. children flock to virtual charter schools, states are struggling to catch up and develop rules to make sure the students get a real education and schools get the right funding.

The future of virtual schools is part of the larger school-choice debate seeing renewed attention since the installation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an online charter investor and advocate who sees them as a valuable option for students.

While some perform well, the sector has been plagued by accounts of low standards, mismanagement, and inflated participation counts at schools that are reimbursed based on the number of enrolled students. Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, this month lost the latest round of its battle over $60 million the state says is owed for enrollment that cannot be justified.

Findings of underperformance at e-schools have been so prevalent that even supporters have called for policymakers to intervene.

“There’s overwhelming consensus that these schools are performing terribly poor and yet, you know, nothing’s happening,” said Gary Miron, a Western Michigan University professor who researches online charters for the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado and believes such schools can work, but not under the current model.

Nationwide, enrollment in virtual schools has tripled over the past decade, and some 278,000 students as young as kindergarteners were enrolled in 58 full-time online schools across 34 states for the 2015-16 school year, according to data from the policy center. Other groups’ estimates put virtual enrollment even higher. Half the virtual schools are charters and the rest are district-run, but charters have most of the students.

The schools’ supporters say they fill a gap by meeting the needs of nontraditional students — those with challenging schedules, severe health issues, troubles with focus or bullying, or who are working or traveling or parenting children of their own.

Ninth-grader Celiah Aker, 14, is an honors student who has attended the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow since the fifth grade.

“I wanted the flexibility to do other things, instead of just school,” Aker said. “I have a lot of friends who are in regular public school, and they always get bombarded with so many hours of homework. I get to hang with my family and go to sports events and go and do my dance classes.”

Nowhere have regulators’ struggles been on display more than Ohio, which ranks among the states with the most students enrolled in virtual charters. The state had broader charter-school rules but didn’t outline many specific e-school standards or enrollment limits for them until more than a decade after ECOT opened.

Now the school is locked in a protracted legal battle with the state over how it tracks students’ hours, a dispute that traces to before the state had any online charter regulations on the books. A hearing officer recently recommended the state education board take action to collect millions from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow due to undocumented enrollment.

Jeremy Aker, Celiah’s dad, said implications that ECOT students are chronically absent and the school is undeserving of state assistance are discouraging for his daughter.

“You were a 4.0 student during the 2015-2016 school year, in the National Honor Society, and because you didn’t sit logged into a screen for 5 hours a day, we’re actually going to call you truant and we want our money back,” he said.

Finding the balance has also tripped up other states.

In Colorado, where an Education Week investigation found only a quarter of the students at one online school were using the software on a typical day, recent Democratic legislative proposals to have the state certify authorizers of cyber schools and study data have fizzled without a full vote.

A lack of uniform attendance tracking also muddied the development of virtual schools in Oklahoma earlier this decade. One charter school, Epic, was referred to state fraud investigators for issues including how it counted students — though nothing came of the review. In 2015, legislators overhauled the law requiring closure of poor-performing charters, instituting a more rigorous application process and stepping up requirements for sponsors. Epic’s performance rankings are now high. Republican Gov. Frank Keating is speaking at Epic’s graduation next month.

States have been slow to respond to red flags, in part because lobbying by for-profit operators and other supporters hampered legislative proposals aimed at improving accountability, Miron said.

DeVos was herself a major donor to those efforts before becoming education secretary. What influence her appointment will have on states’ efforts to regulate charter schools is not yet clear. The department didn’t respond to interview requests.

In Ohio, state records show ECOT founder William Lager has donated about $765,000 to state-level campaigns. Nationwide, charter school owners, operators and advocacy groups have donated almost $89 million to state-level campaigns over the past decade, according to data collected by the nonprofit Institute for Money in State Politics.

A report last summer from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the nonprofit 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now called for policymakers and school authorizers to intervene to address problems with online charters.

“Left unchecked, these problems have the potential to overshadow the positive impacts this model currently has for some students,” the report said.


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Rachel EstabrookMay 27, 20173min751

DENVER (AP) — Significantly more immigrants were arrested and deported from Colorado and Wyoming in the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency than during the same period in 2016.

The biggest surge was in arrests of immigrants suspected of residing illegally in the country without a criminal record.

One hundred thirty-four individuals were detained between President Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20 and the end of his first 100 days in office, April 29.

That figure is more than four times the number a year ago, when 28 non-criminal immigrants were arrested.

Arrests of immigrants suspected of residing illegally in the country with criminal histories were up just slightly, from 678 in 2017 compared with 642 in the same period last year.

One of those arrests included one of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “most wanted” fugitives: an Aurora man convicted of sexual assault and other felonies.

Deportations more than doubled for both criminals and non-criminals in Colorado and Wyoming, according to ICE.

ICE didn’t provide data by state but rather by an “area of responsibility” that encompasses Colorado and Wyoming.

The figures reflect national data ICE released to mark the first 100 days of the administration. President Trump has targeted more immigrants who simply come in contact with federal authorities, or who previously got a final deportation order but were allowed to stay under the Barack Obama administration.

In a news release, ICE acting director Thomas Homan said that “agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens.

“However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law,” Homan said.

According to ICE:

—Between Jan. 20 and April 29, 812 people were arrested, 678 with criminal histories and 134 without.

—For the same period in 2016, 670 people were arrested — 642 with criminal histories and 28 without.

—For the 2017 period, 793 people were deported — 494 with criminal histories, 299 without.

—For the same period in 2016, 323 people were deported — 202 with criminal histories, 121 without.


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U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to drop a lawsuit against Colorado Springs over contaminated runoff that affects Pueblo County and downstream agriculture.

Lamborn has spoken twice with EPA chief Scott Pruitt about the suit, which was filed in 2016 by the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Denver Post reported.

Pueblo County joined the suit this year, despite having reached a deal in 2016 that calls Colorado Springs to spend $460 million over 20 years on stormwater projects to alleviate runoff problems for downstream communities. In April, Colorado Springs voters approved a ballot measure that will allow the city to keep $12 million in excess tax revenue over two years that will be spent on neighborhood stormwater projects.

Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, said he waited until President Donald Trump’s administration before approaching the EPA because Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator under President Barack Obama, was “a lost cause.”

The EPA declined to comment.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said Saturday he knew Lamborn had approached the EPA’s Pruitt and that he appreciates the congressman’s efforts.

Even so, Suthers said he doesn’t know if Lamborn’s prodding will do any good because of the EPA’s refusal to acknowledge the city’s efforts to deal with its stormwater issues. Suthers said last month that he’d ask the City Council to put a stormwater fee before voters if the EPA was willing to settle the lawsuit. The city previously had a stormwater fee, but voters repealed it in 2009.

“The fact of the matter is that Colorado Springs has made an incredible investment in developing a stormwater program over the next 20 years, which I think is probably one of the best in the country,” Suthers said.

“It’s frustrating to me that the EPA and the Colorado Department of (Public) Health and Environment appear to be in a litigation mode and don’t seem to be willing to come down or actually closely examine what we’re doing, to let us know if there’s something that they want us to do that we’re not doing and try and resolve this thing.”

The resistance by the EPA and state officials to negotiating an end to the lawsuit is unproductive for everyone, Suthers added. The city might be spending as much as $100,000 a month just in the discovery phase of the lawsuit, he said.

“That’s totally unproductive dollars,” Suthers said. “To the extent that they’re seeking fines and penalties, that’s totally unproductive dollars and we ought to be … spending, every cent to resolve the issues.

“And I think we’re really moving in the right direction and I’m just a bit frustrated by the fact that they don’t seem to want to. We asked for mediation as one of the first things in the suit, and they didn’t want to do that. That was very frustrating to me. We’d like a fast-track resolution of it. They don’t’ seem inclined to do that.”

Runoff in Colorado Springs flows into Fountain Creek and south to Pueblo, where it joins the Arkansas River. The Arkansas is heavily used by agriculture in southeast Colorado.

The EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment filed suit in 2016, alleging water quality violations.

Lamborn said he’d like to get the Colorado state agency to abandon the suit. But Dr. Larry Wolk, the department’s executive director and chief medical officer, said the agency believes “these significant violations need to be corrected in order to protect the state’s water quality.”

“It’s not just the EPA, but it’s also the state of Colorado that filed the lawsuit,” said Jane Ard-Smith, chair of the Sierra Club’s Pikes Peak chapter. “The EPA doesn’t go around suing willy-nilly. We’ve seen a history of stormwater violations, so I would hope that the congressman would see the value of enforcing clean water laws.”

The Gazette’s Rich Laden contributed to this report.



ColoradoPolitics.comMay 27, 20172min580

Democrats and environmentalists are fond of talking about “inconvenient truths,” so here’s one they ought to chew on during this pause in the 71st General Assembly.

Colorado’s Energy Office met its demise in the waning hours of the just-closed legislative session not because of Republicans, who made a good-faith effort to reauthorize and re-energize what has become a listless and ineffectual bureaucratic backwater. Reauthorization failed because of an our-way-or-the-highway mindset among many Democrats, who would rather have the office go away than see it evolve into something better.

The episode deserves detailed review not just because the governor and Statehouse Democrats are frantic to skirt blame for their mishandling of the situation, by hurriedly rewriting history. It also highlights the narrow, dogmatic, disconnected-from-reality way Democrats view energy issues, which has much larger state and national implications.

A number of state programs periodically come up for review at the Statehouse. This year it was the Energy Office’s turn. The fact that most Coloradans don’t even know the state has an energy office and can’t tell you what it does speaks volumes about how badly it’s languished over the years. It was reinvented as a tool for touting the “new energy economy” during the Ritter years, but has hardly been heard from since, except when an audit found that millions of dollars handled by the office couldn’t be accounted for.

Read more at the Glenwood Springs Post Independent



The Greeley TribuneMay 27, 20172min600

Welcome to the start of a wonderful three-day weekend.

We hope you enjoy days full of sun and fun, spend some time with family and maybe eat something that’s been cooked on an outdoor grill. While you’re doing all of that, however, we hope you’ll take at least a moment to remember why we’ve all got the day off on the last Monday in May.

What we call Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in 1868 as a way to remember the recent dead from the American Civil War, which ended in 1865. That conflict cost the lives of nearly 500,000 Americans.

At that time, the day was commemorated May 30. The date was chosen, at least in part, because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle in the Civil War. Residents were asked to spend the day decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers — from the Union and Confederacy — with flowers. In the years since, of course, the day has expanded to include all soldiers who gave their lives defending our country. It’s also changed names, slowly becoming Memorial Day through the decades, and took up its place on the last Monday in May, officially becoming a federal holiday in 1971.

Read more at the Greeley Tribune



The Denver PostMay 27, 20172min680

President Donald Trump’s claim that his administration would focus its massive deportation efforts on removing criminals isn’t proving all that reliable.

The decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials early this month to rein in a little-used congressional privilege exposes the hardliner ideology behind statistics that show many of those being trucked out of the county aren’t bad actors.

ICE’s policy change also complicates celebration of the agency’s sensible agreement to stop deportation orders on Denver’s Jeanette Vizguerra and Arturo Hernandez Garcia. The stayed deportations suggested the agency meant to mute its chilling message in its arrest and plan for the deportation of Hernandez Garcia last month. (How else to interpret seizing a well-known sanctuary seeker who in July 2015 left a Denver church basement with a letter from federal officials informing him he was good to go?)

Similarly, the agency’s crackdown led Vizguerra into sanctuary. Her story made her one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Read more at The Denver Post