Both sides agree it's a question of rights but differ sharply whose rights should prevail under the law in a case argued Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court — whether it's the baker and his religious beliefs or the same-sex couple and their right to be treated like any other customers.
As the divisive case had its day in court — pitting Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips against the married couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins — Colorado politicians hewed mainly along partisan lines assessing the case.
After a more than five-hour hearing, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission Wednesday unanimously dismissed an ethics complaint filed against Republican Rep. Kim Ransom of Lone Tree. The ethics complaint alleged Ransom accepted a “Gold Pass,” valued at $600, to attend the 2016 Western Conservative Summit.
In a stern letter to state lawmakers, the president of Colorado Christian University and the director of the school's conservative think tank on Thursday called on legislators to refuse campaign donations from the marijuana industry, saying the legalized drug "has devastated Colorado by nearly every metric."
It has come to our attention that state legislators are accepting campaign donations from the marijuana industry. As educators and researchers, we hope this is not the case. Marijuana has devastated Colorado by nearly every metric and we are particularly concerned about marijuana’s health impact on youth. Consider the following statistics:
Conservatives believe that the most influential government should be local governments – not bureaucrats thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C. If you’re going to make decisions that affect our lives, you better look us in the eye.
That’s why we take local government so seriously. Because when people are working hard to make their lives better, the difference between success and failure can be a local government’s decision to stand in the way, or get out of the way.
Unfortunately, local government can make bad decisions just like Washington, D.C. bureaucrats can. If conservatives fail to challenge the culture of big government at the local level, these defeats in city halls and county courthouses will send a powerful message to lawmakers and bureaucrats in state legislatures and the nation’s capital. We must first look after our own backyards, even as we champion limited government at the federal and state level.
Therefore, I am opposing the anti-growth ballot measure in Lakewood this fall, and invite other conservatives to join the cause. This measure is bureaucratic in the extreme. It ignores basic economic principles, tramples property rights and promises to drive up taxes and living expenses for working families. It’s more than 4,800 words of red tape that authorizes even more red tape. It’s the opposite of limited government.
Dive into the details and you’ll find the measure caps residential growth at one percent per year. Why one percent? Why not a half percent, or one and a half percent or some other rate? Central planners and social engineers love setting arbitrary goals, but these made-up numbers should ring major alarm bells for everyone else.
Lakewood’s growth is the product of many different factors, including supply and demand for housing, employment opportunities in the region, and case-by-case permitting and zoning decisions by city officials. Imposing top-down, command-and-control limits on residential growth will throw the local economy out of balance, inviting all kinds of unintended consequences.
Consider transportation, for example: If people with jobs in Lakewood can’t afford to live here, how much worse will traffic get when they start commuting longer distances?
Then there’s the matter of enforcement. The one-percent growth cap would be policed with a complex new system of building rights – or “allocations.” Without an allocation, it doesn’t matter if a property owner has a project meeting all the relevant zoning and permitting requirements. Their project, and their right to invest in their own property, will be denied.
In the end, of course, only the biggest property owners and developers can afford the lobbyists and lawyers needed to secure their allocations. Smaller businesses and property owners will be mostly shut out, forced to sell or partner with a handful of large and politically connected players in the real estate market.
This kind of cronyism is inevitable when governments try to ration goods and services. It always results in higher costs for the average consumer. The anti-growth ballot measure in Lakewood is no different.
By artificially restricting residential development, and limiting competition only to firms that can navigate the new allocation system, the ballot measure guarantees supply won’t keep pace with demand. This pressure will drive up property taxes, rents and mortgages to levels that many Lakewood families cannot afford.
As conservatives, we have a responsibility to defeat this ballot measure. But I also see an opportunity to show how the principles of limited government can help working families, seniors and other residents in Lakewood who may be forced out if the ballot measure passes.
Finally, we should recognize this ballot measure for what it really is: A throwback to the discredited “limits to growth” philosophy of the 1970s. That philosophy lives on today in elitist liberal enclaves like San Francisco and Boulder, but it’s wrong for the country. It certainly has no place in Lakewood.
Please, join the fight against the forces of big government in our own backyard and defeat the anti-growth ballot measure in Lakewood.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner kept his cool even as hundreds of constituents lost theirs time and again Tuesday afternoon at a town hall meeting in Lakewood.
After going more than a year without holding a traditional town hall —Gardner has held several tele-town halls and numerous roundtable discussions with small groups —the Colorado Republican held three in one day, starting in Colorado Springs and finishing in Lakewood, with a stop in Greeley in between.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson — revered by the religious right, reviled by the secular left and influential for years in national politics — will be recognized by the Centennial Institute for his advocacy of bedrock conservative stands on some of the country’s most hotly debated issues.
The institute, based at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, announced today it will honor Dobson with its William L. Armstrong Award on July 22 during Centennial’s annual Western Conservative Summit. The late Armstrong, who died in 2916, was a Colorado U.S. senator and heavyweight in Colorado Republican circles. He later served as Colorado Christian’s president.
Dobson founded the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family and led it for years as president and board chairman; he stepped down from the presidency in 2003 and from the board chairmanship in 2009. During his many years at the helm, his unflinching stands on issues like gay rights and abortion — projected through his regular radio broadcasts — resonated with many Republicans and conservative Christians while drawing rebukes from many Democrats and social liberals.
Centennial Director Jeff Hunt said in a press release:
“Dr. James Dobson has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to the values that William L. Armstrong enshrined at Colorado Christian University. His passionate promotion of traditional family values, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and the original intent of the Constitution has made our nation a better place.”
This is the Armstrong award’s second year; last year, it was given to conservative radio talk-show host and author Dennis Prager.
The Centennial Institute — the conservative advocacy arm of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood — scored a coup last year with its campaign to lure then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to its annual Western Conservative Summit. #GetTrumptotheSummit was the rallying cry on Twitter, and it succeeded in getting Trump to make his first campaign speech in the state when he addressed the summit last July.
As this year’s summit approaches, Centennial and its Director Jeff Hunt are at it again. This time, they’ve kicked off a campaign to get the whole Trump team — or, at least, its most prominent members — to put in a showing at the July 21-23 event at the Colorado Convention Center.
An email from Hunt this week announces the effort and once again calls on supporters to take action using Twitter:
For the first time in Western Conservative Summit history, conservatives have control of the White House and the executive branch of our government. From our very first summit in 2010, progressive liberals in the White House, disregarding separation of powers, have rammed through their aggressive agenda. This year, however, Summit attendees want to hear from leaders in our government advancing conservative public policy.
While we have sent invitations to Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Dr. Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke, we need your help by showing your support on social media. Please click on the tweets below and demonstrate your wish to see the Trump Administration at the 2017 Western Conservative Summit!
And this year’s hashtag, fittingly, is #GetTrumpTeamToTheSummit. As Hunt notes on Twitter, it’s part of a multimedia campaign:
Of course, getting Trump the candidate to show while he was on the campaign trail is one thing; luring back Trump the president — along with his VP, top advisers and key Cabinet members — is quite another matter. (Also, isn’t there some sort of national security protocol about all these folks being in the same room? Or is that just on TV?)
By the way, plenty of Trump Cabinet members and influential advisers evidently weren’t on Centennial’s RSVP list in the first place. No Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner or Sean Spicer; no Nikki Haley, Elaine Chao or Wilbur Ross. (Chao is transportation secretary; Ross heads commerce. Admit it: You drew a blank on them.) Not even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — the dean of the Cabinet.
We just received breaking news that Denver Parks and Recreation and the City and County of Denver have banned the 4/20 rally for the next three years and are fining the organizers over $12,000.
City leaders agreed with us, the 4/20 rally was out of control.
Marijuana was smoked openly and publicly, flagrantly violating both state and federal law, all while in the presence of children and infants. Civic Center Park, a national historic landmark, was left covered in trash, costing taxpayer money to help clean up. Furthermore, organizers did not provide adequate security for attendees, event staff, or the citizens of Denver. …
The Mayor and the City of Denver listened and terminated future 4/20 rallies for the next three years. We thank Mayor Hancock and Denver Parks and Recreation leadership for protecting the interests of Denver citizens.