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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 13, 20172min10480

Conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics weighed in with a note of skepticism the other day about last week’s vote in Castle Rock to let the public pick the city’s mayors from now. Currently, the mayor of the booming Douglas County hub is just another member of the city council who is chosen by fellow council members (every two years) to wield the gavel.

City voters overwhelmingly approved the charter change by a 2-1 margin. The council is scheduled this week to discuss how to implement the ballot proposal.

A few days after the vote, Peak Politics pushed back at one of the talking points for the charter change — that a directly elected mayor could defuse future attempts at recall elections whenever the council does something that turns out to be unpopular. The argument goes that a popularly elected mayor would have to face voters city-wide in each election, and voters would in turn feel the mayor was answerable to them.

Quips Peak’s inimitable, anonymous blogger:

“Folks in Castle Rock will now get to vote for their own mayor during regular elections, instead of trying to vote them out in recall elections whenever an issue doesn’t go the way of a few individuals.”

…”Now instead of just trying to recall a few council members elected by the people, Castle Rock voters will have the option of recalling the mayor the people elected as well.”

From the frying pan into the fire? Perhaps.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 10, 20174min6860

Conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics buttonholed the state’s largest teachers union this week for a tweet after the election that appeared to confirm what its critics had been saying all along: the unions — rather than grass-roots parent groups — were the real prime mover behind the losses of education reformers in key school board races.

The tweet by the Colorado Education Association on Wednesday was in reply to a Colorado Public Radio tweet pointing out how, despite the high profile gains by union-supported candidates, “…most union-backed school board candidates…” lost in assorted races around the state.

Peak weighed in thusly on the a-HA! moment:

Union-led sweeps? Wait, we thought all of these races were led by “parents” and the “community.” How can that be? Is the CEA saying that parents and the community, in fact, did not lead liberal school board members to victory in Republican strongholds like Douglas and Mesa Counties and that it was a special interest group? Of course it was the union.

In Douglas County alone, the union contributed at least $315,000, and likely more, to an independent expenditure committee to elect liberal school board members, completely out of step with the values of the community they represent.

It’s an interesting point though it’s also worth considering whether the CEA as well as the Douglas County Federation and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, had dropped their guard even before Election Day — unlike in previous election cycles. Indeed, the AFT’s big cash dump on the Douglas County races had gotten plenty of press leading up to the election, as had union involvement in board races in other school districts this year. It seemed there was less of an effort overall to conceal the unions’ role, in contrast to their backstage approach during 2015’s Jefferson County school board recall election.

A shift in strategy? Might organized labor now reason it has less to lose and more to gain by openly flexing its muscle in the current, backlash-against-the-right political climate?

To Peak’s point about “union-led sweeps”: It almost sounds as if the CEA is bragging.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 1, 20172min5640

… courtesy of reliably right-of-center Colorado Peak Politics, which isn’t about to cut Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper any slack.

As noted here earlier this week, Hick’s office had announced Sue Birch, executive director of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, will leave to take over the Washington State Health Care Authority. The announcement included accolades for Birch from the governor himself, lauding the former public health nurse’s accomplishments.

The next day, Peak countered with this far less flattering view of Birch’s work:

Doctors and hospitals are still waiting on millions of dollars in late Medicaid payments, and they might have to wait a little longer because the person responsible for writing the checks is fleeing her job and the Hickenlooper administration.

… If Washington’s H.R. department had bothered to Google her work as executive director of the Health Care Policy and Financing Department, they would learn that she contained costs by not making the required payments.

Peak is referring to a major snafu in the implementation of a new computer system by Birch’s department last spring that resulted in the widespread, inadvertent denial of Medicaid claims, hampering reimbursement. AdvocacyDenver, which serves citizens with developmental disabilities, offers an in-depth and balanced recap of that issue on its website; read it here.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 11, 20173min25830
(dcsdk12.org)

Conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics thinks so, based on some tips and evidence that came its way. The evidence includes photos taken surreptitiously inside Douglas County Federation offices by what Peak says was a disgruntled staffer at the union — showing lists of volunteers who will walk precincts, canvass neighborhoods and “talk to voters.”

(ColoradoPeakPolitics.com)

Peak also reports:

“… a loyal reader has assured us that the Douglas County Federation (the teachers union) is canvassing neighborhoods throughout Douglas County.”

Peak says the evidence belies public statements via social media by the supporters of one of two opposing slates of school board candidates in the Douglas County School District November board race: “The registered political committee, Douglas County Parents, continues to deny that the union is involved in supporting the Douglas County Parents-endorsed candidates, Kevin Leung, Krista Holtzmann, Chris Schor, and Anthony Graziano.”

(ColoradoPeakPolitics.com)

That’s the slate that is second-guessing wide-ranging policies — like an as-yet unimplemented school voucher program and an end to collective bargaining with the union — adopted by a previous board several years ago and supported by the current board majority. While most of that majority isn’t seeking re-election, a slate of new candidates that supports that same reformist bent is on the ballot.

The DougCo union, like teachers unions elsewhere, is no fan of the status quo’s reforms and  doubtless would like to recover its power to collectively bargain a labor contract. So, is the union covertly helping one side in the campaign — despite the campaign’s denial’s?

We have a call in to Douglas County Federation President Kallie Leyba and will let you know what we find out.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 31, 20175min840

As reported the other day via Colorado Peak Politics, Jared Polis — who amassed a fortune as an internet wunderkind almost before he was old enough to shave — has come out in defense of Amazon’s impending acquisition of Whole Foods. Meaning, the reputedly liberal gubernatorial candidate and 2nd Congressional District Democratic representative discounts the possibility that the recently announced deal flouts federal antitrust laws.

Peak Politics had cited a report by CNBC, quoting Polis as well as conservative Republican U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, of California, essentially in support of the deal. For a fire-breathing free-marketeer like Issa, that’s unsurprising, but here’s Polis:

“Of course I think both Democrats and Republicans believe in antitrust, and they also believe with the development of new technologies we should update what antitrust means in a digital era…”

Republican-leaning Peak saw it as an example of Polis blowing hot and cold on the issue because in the same CNBC report, he also is paraphrased saying any congressional antitrust hearings are moot because his Democratic minority doesn’t run the floor show in the U.S. House. Peak also suggests Polis might be singing a different turn if Amazon weren’t helmed by his fellow Net-repreneur and left-leaner (and relatively new Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos.

Let’s defer to the Peak-sters on all that — and instead consider a Fortune.com report quoting another Democratic member of Congress who vents some of his party’s more familiar concerns about the Amazon deal:

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, (Rhode Island Democratic U.S. Rep. David) Cicilline called for a hearing looking into the Amazon-Whole Foods deal.

“Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods raises important questions concerning competition policy, such as how the transaction will affect the future of retail grocery stores,” Cicilline wrote. “Some have also raised concerns that the transaction will also increase Amazon’s online dominance, enabling it to prioritize its products and services over competitors.”

By all indicators, Cicilline’s request will go nowhere, as Polis pointed out. What’s noteworthy for Coloradans, though, is how far outside the Democratic safe space Polis is willing to go on free-market economics — anathema to a significant wing of his party and hardly the hallmark of populist Benie-nomics..

By the lights of his campaign website, Cicilline seems very much a traditional New England Democrat — vowing to recapture old-economy manufacturing jobs. (You do have to question the political value of Cicilline’s target, though: the quintessential virtual vendor buying the quintessential yup-scale grocer — arguably, a big “who cares?” to the blue-collar crowd he’s playing to.)

Polis, in stark contrast, is all about the economy of tomorrow. Here’s more from the CNBC report:

“By really nurturing and helping capital formation and issues around startup companies, we’re encouraging the creation of tomorrow’s great success stories,” Polis said.

Capital formation? Success stories? He could be Rich Uncle Penny Bags (aka the Monopoly man)! OK, that’s unfair. Point is, the congressman is no foe of the free market. He made so much of his own money there, after all.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 27, 20175min701

Conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics shot some snark at Denver Mayor Michael Hancock over his appearance at, and tweets from, this week’s annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Miami.

The confab’s near-consensus on the issue du jour, climate change, was that the nation’s cities should move ahead on their own in tackling the challenge now that the Trump administration has said the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord. Hancock joined a host of big-city mayors in including New York’s Bill de Blasio in committing to their own local climate-action plans to implement at least some of the Paris accord’s goals.

Peak Politics takes note of Hancock’s tweet:

…and then mockingly recaps some of the objectives of the mayors organization, whose most prominent members tend to be Democrats:

What will Hancock and these mayors do to stop global climate change?

Spend taxpayer money to buy new things, It’s how Democrats solve every problem they encounter!

A whole new fleet of cars that run on electricity fueled by coal will be needed for city employees. And brand new green buildings! They want new construction and development of buildings, which will also provide new jobs for their union buddies. — Bonus.

Last, but not least, they will make plans, plans to save the planet.

It won’t exactly fall in line with the Paris Agreement, but that’s not the point. The point is to criticize President Trump.

If Hancock really wanted to cut down on climate change, he could have just signed that silly letter from his desk in Denver and saved taxpayers, and the planet, from the climate-killing fumes spewed from that First Class trip to Miami.

But tell that to the Pueblo City Council, which voted unanimously Monday to follow suit with the mayors meeting in Miami as well as with some other Colorado cities, including Denver and Fort Collins, in affirming support for the Paris accord.

Reported the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper:

District 2 Councilman Larry Atencio had asked for the resolution and noted that council voted earlier this year to have the city become 100 percent reliant on renewable energy by 2035.

 “It makes sense that we should acknowledge that climate change is real and we’re doing our part,” he said.
Yup; right in the heart of Colorado’s new Trump Country, Pueblo County — which went for the president last Nov. 8 when the state as a whole turned away.

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 21, 20173min400

A $4.5 million grant announced this week to help Colorado study good government may have impressed Gov. John Hickenlooper and perhaps a host of others, but it doesn’t sit well with conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics.

You’ll recall ColoradoPolitics.com’s Joey Bunch reported on the windfall Tuesday:

The grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation will launch the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the still new Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at the University of Denver.

“The lab is the first program of its kind in Colorado,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. “We owe it to the citizens of our state to ensure that the programs we undertake deliver on what they set out to do.”

The government research partnership will help state official more fully evaluate policies and come up with ways to improve existing programs, as well as other new ways to benefit Coloradans, according to the governor’s office.

Peak Politics, in a blog post Tuesday, questions the motives behind the grant and smells a rat:

…if the Arnolds are involved, there must be a liberal campaign angle.

Over the past few years, Arnold and his wife have given over $500,000 to liberal causes here, which includes $300,000 to the pro-Amendment 66 campaign and $150,000 given to the despicable Mainstream Colorado, which reached a new low by using the murder of Jessica Ridgeway to score political points. Nationally, the Arnolds have funded some exceptionally liberal projects …

Peak goes on to name them. Whether the Arnolds’ philanthropy is a good or bad thing depends on your political stripe. Always interesting to follow the money, though.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 15, 20173min392

The correct answer is: The other side!

Pro-GOP blog Colorado Peak Politics points a finger at “Safe Campus Colorado, founded by Congressional District Two candidate Ken Toltz,” who Peak says posted a tweet “politicizing the terrible shooting” of Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others at a congressional baseball practice near Washington, D.C.

Peak adds:

It’s unclear whether Toltz is in charge of his group’s Twitter account, but is the leader of the organization and, as such, is held responsible for the group’s actions. Nonetheless, he’s shown that he’s unfit to run for office since the tweet is still up.

At the very least, Toltz needs to apologize to the victims of today’s shooting.

Democratic-friendly blog Colorado Pols meanwhile points to, “a fundraising email sent earlier today from GOP Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, invoking today’s shooting…”

The letter opens:

Unruly protesters trashing Civic Center Park and clashing with cops in the streets.

Mock beheadings of President Trump by Kathy Griffin.

And now an ASSASSINATION attempt on Republican lawmakers!

The hate-inspired violent rhetoric against conservatives and Republicans was already at an all-time fever pitch before today, but now it just got very real.

The left is out of control. Their violent actions are un-American, and it needs to stop!

Pols observes:

Neville and Republicans he supports via the Colorado Liberty PAC have ceded the high ground. They have politicized this man’s horrific actions in exactly the way they refused to accept with countervailing examples — like the man who walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in November of 2015 and started shooting. …

And that rank hypocrisy still wasn’t enough. They tried to make money off it.

Clear enough?


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 12, 20176min580
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis addresses Colorado Democrats at the state party's biennial reorganization meeting on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Marriott City Center in Denver. Polis plans to announce he's running for governor on Monday, June 12, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

For his fellow Democrats, 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder represents a political game-changer with his announcement over the weekend he intends to run for Colorado governor in 2018. He’s super-smart, super-rich and enough of a nonconformist to capture the imagination of voters.

For Republicans, Polis is a game-changer, too, but of a different sort: He’s a standing spoof of every GOP stereotype of the political left: supercilious, super-silly and enough of a nonconformist to be too zany for prime-time politics.

Democrats will point out Polis — a wunderkind who turned his folks’ greeting-card biz into a digital phenomenon and made himself a fortune — has managed to get himself elected to Congress five times. Republicans will say, yeah, but that’s representing Boulder. Democrats will point out Polis’s first run for office was in a statewide race that landed him an at-large seat on the State Board of Education (a post subsequently eliminated). Republicans will say, yeah, but nobody knew him then. Or paid attention to the race.

And so it goes.

That Colorado’s two major political parties harbor starkly different views about the politics of any candidate is of course only natural. But about a candidate’s viability? Probably has something to do with Polis’s persona and image; it might also signify how polarized our political culture has become nationally, with Colorado representing a microcosm.

In any event, consider this snapshot of those sharply contrasting views, enunciated by leftwardly tilted Colorado Pols and Colorado Peak Politics over on the right.

Here’s a snippet from Pols:

…Polis’ bold campaign theme of 100% renewable energy could resonate with a segment of the Democratic base that’s been discontented for a number of years in Colorado as the battles over oil and gas development along the urbanizing Front Range have escalated. Polis has been a leader in that complicated and fractious battle, and if he retains the trust of the environmental left going into this race it could be a crucial edge.

Obviously, Polis’ entry into the 2018 gubernatorial race forces all of us to reset our calculations here. But the biggest takeaway for today is the fact that Democrats are feeling very good about 2018, and there’s going to be healthy competition for what could be the fruits of an historic victory. Between Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, Democrats have a choice of two of the biggest names in Colorado politics–and that’s got to feel better than a primary between a district attorney and a couple of unknown rich guys.

…And from Peak:

… (H)e will focus on moving the state to 100 percent renewable energy 20 years after his term ends, provide free, all day preschool for toddlers and kindergarten for kids, and encourage companies to give employees stock options.

Here’s how that will work.

via GIPHY

… On the bright side, we won’t have to be embarrassed by his presence in Congress anymore. He’ll step down after his term finishes this year.