Elections

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Manitou Springs arts and cultural tax edges to victory by three votes

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 4:36 PM

BRYCE CRAWFORD/FILE PHOTO
  • Bryce Crawford/file photo
Natalie Johnson, Manitou Art Center executive director, found out what a difference a couple of days can make, especially with election results.

The day after the election, Nov. 6, early unofficial results showed the Manitou Springs Arts, Culture and Heritage (MACH) sales tax measure had been defeated.

But on Thursday, Nov. 7, El Paso County released the final unofficial results showing the tax, which would raise $400,000 a year, passed by a mere three votes.

"We're feeling very hopeful," Johnson says, noting the county will canvass the vote later this month.

If the vote spread remains tight, within a half a percentage point, an automatic recount will be triggered.

When the results came in on election night, Johnson felt saddened, she says. "You can't help but feel it was a loss for the community. Then there's my personal feelings just knowing I've spent 60 to 80 hours a week working toward these things, and feeling the community didn't think it was important, that all my work didn't matter."

But now, when it looks like the measure was adopted after all, she's eager to show the community why it's a smart move to invest in the Carnegie Building, Miramont Castle, Manitou Art Center, Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Hiawatha Gardens property.

"We're going to have to do our best to make everyone proud and feel it was worth it," she says.

In another reversal, Fran Carrick appeared to have won a Fountain City Council seat on election night by a mere two votes, but the final unofficial results show her losing by 89 votes to Detra Duncan.

Still outstanding, however, are military and overseas ballots that needed to be postmarked by Nov. 5 and received by Nov. 13. So stay tuned.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

State measure CC fails, Colorado Springs tax measures get thumbs up

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2019 at 12:32 PM

Pete Lee: Back to the drawing board on state funding. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Pete Lee: Back to the drawing board on state funding.
The results of the Nov. 5 election in Colorado mean the state won't "start fixing things" any time soon, it appears.

That was the tagline used by backers of Proposition CC, which went down in flames — 55 percent to 45 percent — unlike two local spending measures, which were approved by Colorado Springs voters. More on that later. (El Paso County voters defeated CC by a margin of 62-38.)

CC would have allowed the state to keep money collected in excess of caps imposed by the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). That excess, which could reach billions of dollars over years to come, will continue to be refunded to taxpayers, unless the state seeks voter approval again to retain it.

The CC money, if retained, would have been spent on infrastructure such as transportation, education and higher education.

Sen. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, tells the Indy that so far there's not a fallback plan beyond Gov. Jared Polis' proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which was issued recently and does not include money from the CC retention measure.

"There was optimism [Proposition CC] might pass," he says. "We have not developed an alternative plan. The budget was submitted last week, and it was premised on the idea of existing revenues..., so we are proceeding with a budget that does not include the $300 million that CC would have provided."
Colorado's roads won't get an infusion of cash after voters defeated Proposition CC. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Colorado's roads won't get an infusion of cash after voters defeated Proposition CC.
Given the dire condition of the state's transportation system and the rising $9 billion to $10 billion backlog of projects, Lee says an infusion of cash is needed to fix roads.

"The gas tax hasn't gone up since, what, 1992, which is the primary funding mechanism," he says. "We also are constrained by TABOR and other spending limitations."

The failure of CC, he says, sets up a competition among the state's top priorities: health care, transportation and education. Another demand comes from the criminal justice system, on which the state expects to spend $1 billion next year, he says.

"There's only a limited amount of resources," he says, adding that Democrats will be willing to work with Republicans to find ways to fund those priorities, including discussing a massive bond issue. "I think all options are on the table. I don't think we should preclude anything."

The other state measure, Proposition DD, which directed taxes on sports betting to the state's water plan, edged out a win by the slimmest of margins, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent, according to unofficial results on the Colorado Secretary of State's website. (El Paso County voters defeated it by a 54-46 margin.)

While supporters contended DD would generate about $27 million toward the state's water plan, Coloradans for Climate Justice said that amount is "tiny" and gives citizens a sense of false security that the state's water needs will be met.

The group said in a statement:
The supporters of Prop DD spent about $2.5 million in this election. We spent zero dollars opposing DD. We opposed DD out of the principle that the public taxpayer should not pay for climate damage to our rivers and water supply caused by fossil fuel corporations. The damage caused to our water supply and economy by climate change will likely be in the billions of dollars. Further, the amount of money DD would raise for the Colorado Water Plan is tiny, and it will likely only replace money that was already allotted for the Colorado Water Plan, not add to it. So let the betting begin, but betting against climate change is a bad bet that only a lousy gambler would make.
The Colorado Sun reports only 36 percent of registered voters in the state cast ballots.

El Paso County voter turnout was the same, but unlike statewide, voters were in a generous mood when it came to Colorado Springs. They handed Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers two victories to continue his undefeated record for several tax and fee measures he's proposed since taking office in 2015.
Mayor Suthers: "Thanks, citizens!" - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Mayor Suthers: "Thanks, citizens!"

Measure 2C, approved 65-35, continues the special tax to fund street improvements, but lowers the tax to .57 percent from .62 percent enacted by voters in 2015 for five years. The new tax takes effect Jan. 2, 2021.

Measure 2B, which allows the city to keep $7 million in TABOR excess money to spend on parks, passed by a lesser margin — 57-43. City officials have previously said the money would be spent on various projects, including overhauls of three downtown parks: Alamo Park, Antlers Park and Acacia Park.

Suthers issued this statement:
On behalf of the Council and myself I want to express our gratitude for the confidence and trust the citizens of Colorado Springs have placed in our efforts to improve critical public infrastructure. In 2015 we had an infrastructure deficit of $1.5B – primarily, our roads and stormwater system. We could not have solved the problem without the cooperation of our citizens, but we have secured the citizens’ support and we are solving the problems. And as we predicted, the public investment in our city is being matched by massive private investment.

Other local balloting results, all of which can be found here:

Manitou Springs
• Only 24 votes kept a sales tax increase measure from passing in Manitou Springs. The new money would have funded improvements to Manitou Art Center, Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Miramont Castle, among other projects.
• But voters overwhelming approved, by a 76-24 margin, allowing the city to spend $182,000 from the public facilities fund on downtown projects.
• John Graham defeated Alan Delwiche in the mayor's race by a 52-48 margin.

Colorado Springs School District 11 voters elected incumbent Mary Coleman, Darleen Daniels, Jason Jorgenson and Parth Melpakam to the school board.

Fountain
• Voters defeated a 10-year road tax by a 58-42 margin.
• Only two votes separate third and fourth place finishers in the race for two at-large City Council seats. Richard Applegate won a seat handily, but neighborhood activist Fran Carrick edged out Detra Duncan by only two votes for the other seat. 

Teller County
In Crippler Creek, 54.3 percent of voters elected to recall Timothy Braun, the Cripple Creek-Victor School District president. Mary Bielz, the founder of a Cripple Creek nonprofit, will replace him.

The recall followed efforts by a group called Hear Us: For Better Schools to unseat three school board members who it claimed had violated state statutes and district policies. The other two targeted school board members, Treasurer Dennis Jones and Secretary Tonya Martin, resigned in June.

Schools and fire
While three school districts — Lewis-Palmer 38, Miami Yoder JT60 and Calhan RJ1 — saw debt measures defeated, Tri-lakes Monument and Stratmoor Hills fire protection districts won approval of their tax measures. Two other fire districts, serving Peyton and Hanover, saw tax measures defeated.

As for various marijuana issues across the state, the Colorado Municipal League reports:
BAYNARD WOODS
  • Baynard Woods
• Mead voters said no to medical marijuana businesses and retail marijuana establishments. Center and Loveland’s questions allowing cultivation, manufacturing and testing in addition to sales were also defeated. Loveland voters also turned down a tax on marijuana sales.

• Craig voters approved three marijuana questions: to allow retail sales; to allow cultivation, manufacturing, testing and storage; and a tax on marijuana sales.

• An initiated ordinance passed in Alamosa banning the outdoor growing of personal marijuana and overturning outdoor growing regulations previously adopted by the city council.

• Louisville voters opted to permit retail marijuana cultivation facilities within the city’s industrial zones, as well as the corresponding retail marijuana cultivation facility excise tax.

• A retail marijuana sales tax also passed in Las Animas.
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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Efforts to recall Lee, Pettersen fail

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 11:52 AM

Sen. Pete Lee - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Sen. Pete Lee
The recall efforts against Colorado Sens. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, have ended in failure, after organizers told the Colorado Secretary of State's Office they will not turn in signatures seeking special elections.

Neither senator — each of whom won a 2018 election by a large margin — faced allegations of ethical or legal violations; instead, organizers said they disagreed with their votes on key bills.

Gov. Jared Polis welcomed news that the recalls had failed, saying in a press release:

Coloradans are tired of political games and I am pleased to see these sideshows have failed. Senator Pettersen and Senator Lee are dedicated public servants who work hard every single day for their constituents and their communities. They have served as thoughtful and strong partners in our administration’s efforts to address the opioid crisis and reform our broken criminal justice system. This announcement simply reiterates that Coloradans are not interested in divisive politics and distractions that take away from the pressing needs of our state like improving education, solving traffic problems and saving money on health care. Coloradans want real results and that is what I believe — regardless of political affiliation — we can continue to deliver, together.
Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll was more cutting in her statement:

Considering that both Senators Lee and Pettersen won their 2018 elections overwhelmingly by double digits, it is hardly surprising the sore losers running these sham recalls are throwing in the towel. As has been the case with the previous failed recalls, this was never about their votes. These were far-right activists who are upset they lost so badly in 2018 and were desperate for a redo through these ridiculous recalls. The people of SD11 and SD22 saw through this sham, which is exactly why they rejected this cynical effort to overthrow their 2018 votes.

The announcements are the latest in a string of failures by conservative activists, some with strong ties to the state's Republican Party, against Democratic officials. Activists failed to collect the 631,266 signatures needed to force a special election recalling Polis by the Sept. 6 deadline. Organizers likewise withdrew earlier efforts to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, and Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, the latter after she resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.

The recall effort against Lee needed 11,304 valid signatures by Sept. 10, and Pettersen's needed 18,376 by Sept. 16. Technically, the Pettersen recall effort is still active, but the Secretary of State's Office says recall organizers have said they will not turn in signatures.

Notably, no signatures have been turned in for any recall effort.

Only state Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, still faces a recall effort. Organizers need 13,506 valid signatures by Oct. 18 to force a recall election.
Sen. Brittany Pettersen - BRITTANY PETTERSEN CAMPAIGN
  • Brittany Pettersen Campaign
  • Sen. Brittany Pettersen
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Friday, September 6, 2019

Gov. Polis survives recall attempt

Posted By on Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 1:09 PM

Gov. Jared Polis says he wants to build a Colordo for all. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Gov. Jared Polis says he wants to build a Colordo for all.
Gov. Jared Polis survived a recall effort on Sept. 6 when those pushing the recall admitted they had  fallen short of the required 631,266 signatures needed to force a recall election, media outlets reported.

The group had 60 days to gather the signatures and brought in more than 300,000, a recall effort spokesperson said, though that was not independently verifiable, as the Colorado Sun reported.

The Democrat, who took office in January and led a progressive effort during the legislative session regarding all-day kindergarten, adoption of a red flag law and a national popular vote law, issued a statement through his campaign saying, "The voters have spoken; no do-overs."

The Independent endorsed Polis in his run for the governorship.

Polis' statement:
At the very beginning of my campaign, I made a straight-forward promise: To build a Colorado for all.

This promise is on my mind every single day I head into work and serve as your Governor. It’s what has driven my administration and our legislature to fight day and night for an agenda that represents everyone — no matter who you are or where you come from. It's what drives me to work hard to represent our entire state: today I’m in Rifle, Last week Durango and Ignacio, next week Trinidad and Lamar. And it’s why, nine months after I was sworn in, we have passed legislation that saves Coloradans money on healthcare and ensures that every child can go to full-day kindergarten free of charge.

I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished to make the lives of Coloradans easier, and I hope you’re proud too because we couldn’t have gotten this far without you. However, while we fought hard for this progress, we must fight just as hard to protect it.

As you may have heard, a small group of activists has been working to undo the will of the voters and trigger a recall against me and some of our elected Democrats in the state legislature. The good news is that, as of yesterday, they have failed to submit the required number of signatures against me. But the bad news is that they are still trying to recall several state senators and have left a foundation that other groups can use to try to subvert the will of the people again, so we need to stay ready to fight back.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Electoral College: Court sides with faithless electors

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 8:00 PM

Robert Nemanich - COURTESY ALLEN TIAN
  • Courtesy Allen Tian
  • Robert Nemanich
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that three members of the Electoral College should not have been forced to vote for Hillary Clinton after she won Colorado’s popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.

Micheal Baca, Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich, all Democratic party electors, had planned to vote for Republican John Kasich as part of a failed national attempt to deprive Donald Trump of enough votes to gain the presidency. Only Baca actually did vote for Kasich, and he was promptly replaced as an elector by the office of then-Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The court ruled it was unconstitutional for Baca to be removed.

The ruling is in conflict with a recent Washington state Supreme Court decision which found faithless electors can be fined.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Road tax and TABOR question likely to appear on city ballot

Posted By on Wed, Aug 21, 2019 at 12:10 AM

Voter-approved sales tax 2C funded removal of a median on North Carefree Circle. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Voter-approved sales tax 2C funded removal of a median on North Carefree Circle.

City voters will be consulted on two tax measures in the Nov. 5 election.

Referred unanimously by City Council on Aug. 13, one issue seeks extension of the city’s 2015 voter-approved sales tax for roadwork for another five years, at .57 percent — lower than the current .62 percent.

Mayor John Suthers has vowed to tackle residential roads with the tax, if approved. The current tax raises about $50 million per year.

Voters also will be asked to allow the city to keep $7 million in 2018 excess revenue to spend on parks. The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights requires revenue collected above a certain cap to be refunded unless voters allow the government to keep it. In this case, the measure’s failure translates to $30 per household refunded on utility bills. Council referred the measure 7-2, with Councilors Andy Pico and Don Knight opposed.
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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cripple Creek-Victor school board recall election date set, for president only

Posted By on Thu, Aug 15, 2019 at 12:29 PM

Board President Tim Braun. - STACIE GONZALEZ
  • Stacie Gonzalez
  • Board President Tim Braun.
After the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the Cripple Creek-Victor School District board president, a recall election is moving forward and slotted for Nov. 5, the same day as the towns' general election.

Hear Us: For Better Schools, the group seeking to overhaul the school board, originally set out to recall School Board President Tim Braun, Treasurer Dennis Jones and Secretary Tonya Martin. But Jones and Martin both resigned in June.

Braun, on the other hand, petitioned the Supreme Court to review an earlier case in 4th Judicial District Court, in which targeted school board members had asked the judge to invalidate the recall election.

According to the Mountain Jackpot News, Braun and Jones had argued in that case that the Teller County Clerk & Recorder's office shouldn't have allowed Hear Us extra time to collect signatures for the recall election, after they initially fell short of having enough valid signatures. Judge Scott Sells ruled against the school board members.

The Supreme Court denied to hear Braun's appeal of that case Aug. 8. As of Aug. 22, the recall election was still moving forward for Nov. 5, with Braun's name alone on the ballot, Teller County Chief Deputy Clerk Stephanie Kees confirmed.

Hear Us, the group behind the recall, claims the targeted school board members violated state statutes and district policies. Braun, Jones and Martin have all denied wrongdoing.
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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

New campaign finance laws take effect in Colorado

Posted By on Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 10:30 PM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
Three new campaign finance laws, meant to improve transparency in Colorado’s elections, took effect Aug. 1.

• House Bill 1318 — dubbed “The Clean Campaign Act of 2019” — prohibits foreign governments and corporations, as well as any person who is not an American citizen, from contributing to election campaigns. It also requires “Paid for by” disclosures on campaign communications, and tightens rules related to independent expenditure committees, including so-called super PACs, that raise money for political candidates before they officially declare an intent to run for office.

• House Bill 1007 sets contribution limits for county offices. Individuals can donate $1,250 to a candidate committee for each county primary and general election; small donor committees can contribute up to $12,500; and political parties may donate no more than $22,125 for each.

• Senate Bill 68 requires campaign communications sent to voters between the primary and general elections to also include “Paid for by” disclosures, closing a loophole in transparency law.
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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Manitou Springs mayoral election, city administrator selections get going

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2019 at 12:01 AM

Manitou Springs Mayor Ken Jaray doesn't plan to run for a second term. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Manitou Springs Mayor Ken Jaray doesn't plan to run for a second term.

Manitou Springs city government is continuing its ill-fated quest to hire a city administrator, which began in January 2018. Multiple candidates have refused the job and the search has been plagued with infighting among councilors and Mayor Ken Jaray.

Now Council has narrowed its search to three candidates, the Pikes Peak Bulletin reports. They are: Denise Howell, a customer service manager/consultant with the utilities department in Fountain; Kathleen “Katie” Ann Sickles, the former city administrator of Ouray; and Roy Chaney, longtime city pool director and now acting city administrator. A final decision is expected soon.

Meanwhile, since Jaray’s announcement that he would not run for a second term as mayor, longtime Manitoid Alan Delwiche has announced he’s running for the job. Delwiche has served on the city’s Planning Commission for nearly 25 years, and as chair for 12 years. He has also served on several other city boards. A new mayor and three councilors will be elected in November.
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Friday, July 5, 2019

Deputy DA Michael Allen announcing candidacy July 11

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2019 at 2:58 PM

Michael Allen: All the murder trials he handled ended in convictions. - COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Courtesy of the candidate
  • Michael Allen: All the murder trials he handled ended in convictions.
District attorney candidate Micheal Allen filed his candidacy on July 3, after the Independent reported his opponent, El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller, expressed outrage over several early endorsements for Allen.

"This is a very important job and requires somebody to have strong background in public safety and prosecution, and I'm that person," Allen tells the Indy.

Allen, who's a Republican, will officially kick off his campaign at 11:30 a.m. on July 11 at the Alamo Square Park at Pioneers Museum. Those who will be on hand and who have (or will) endorsed him include Colorado Springs Mayor and former DA John Suthers, District Attorney Dan May, former District Attorney Jeanne Smith, Detective Joe Somosky (who's president of the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association), the CSPPA's executive director Sherryl Dillon.

After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in political science, Allen, 47, earned his law degree from the University of Kansas. He then worked as a prosecutor in Johnson and Douglas counties and in the Kansas Attorney General's Office before joining the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office in 2011.

As a senior deputy district attorney, Allen supervises a team of prosecutors and prosecutes cases himself.

"The vast majority of my caseload is homicide cases," he says. Allen has tried eight murder cases since joining the DA's Office. "Each one of those defendants has been convicted and is in prison," he says.

Asked why he's running to succeed May, who's term-limited from seeking a fourth term, Allen says, "I'm committed to public safety and doing this job well. That's the biggest thing that motivated me to do this."

Beyond contributing minor amounts to some candidates, Allen has served as a precinct leader and a delegate and has helped with others' campaigns. He's never run for public office, however.
Asked about Waller's objections to his securing endorsements prior to becoming an official candidate, Allen says, "I'm honored to have an organization like the PPA supporting my candidacy, an important voice in public safety. I'm not going to get into negative campaigning, although he's choosing to do so right out of gate."

An Illinois native, Waller, also a Republican, earned a degree in political science at Southern Illinois University, a master's degree in space studies at the University of North Dakota and graduated from University of Denver law school.

He served in the Air Force on active duty from 1993 to 2000 and in the Air Force Reserves from 2001 to 2009. He deployed to Iraq in 2006.

Waller worked as a prosecutor in the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Pueblo, and served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2009 to 2014.

He was appointed to the El Paso County Board of Commissioners in July 2016 to replace Amy Lathen, who resigned, and was elected to a four-year term in November 2016.
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Friday, May 10, 2019

Stand for Colorado plans rallies statewide to protest "radical" legislation

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2019 at 11:24 AM

COURTESY OF STAND FOR COLORADO
  • Courtesy of Stand for Colorado
Democrats were able to push through more legislative priorities this session in the state Assembly than they have in many years. Some predicted after the November election that Coloradans would see overreach from lawmakers who wouldn't need to prioritize bipartisanship with a trifecta of power in the state House, Senate and governor's office.

Whether you believe that overreach did in fact occur probably depends, at least in part, on your political beliefs. But Kim Monson, host of radio talk show Americhicks, says the "Stand for Colorado" rally she's planning goes beyond simple party divides.

"Most people across the spectrum... JFK Democrats, unaffiliated libertarians and conservatives, generally they want to be left alone to live their lives," Monson says. "When you look at all these issues that we'll be talking about, what you see is the heavy hand of force. And that is something that is antithetical to the rugged western Colorado spirit."

The goal of the rally is to raise awareness around legislation passed this session, which Monson believes demonstrates overreach by lawmakers.

A Facebook event promoting the rally — scheduled from 4 to 5:30 p.m. May 10, on the steps of the state Capitol in Denver — had 154 people "Going" and another 840 "Interested" as of the morning of May 10.

A long list of speakers will discuss several pieces of legislation, including the National Popular Vote law, oil and gas law, red-flag law, sex-ed law, vaccination bill (which failed) and more.

Stand for Colorado supporters will also hold concurrent rallies in Grand Junction, Gunnison, Alamosa, Woodland Park and Montrose. People hoping to refer the National Popular Vote issue to the November ballot will be at all locations collecting signatures.

Brita Horn, former Routt County treasurer, will address House Bill 1322, Expand Supply Affordable Housing. The bipartisan bill, which takes $30 million a year from the state's unclaimed property trust fund for affordable housing initiatives, amounts to "raiding the piggy bank," Horn says.

According to the Great Colorado Payback website (which you can search to see if you have any unclaimed property), the fund includes "abandoned financial assets such as stocks and dividends, mutual funds, checking and savings accounts, unpaid wages, securities, life insurance payouts, uncashed checks that are without activity for a certain period of time, as well as the contents of safe deposit boxes for which the rent has been expired for at least five (5) years."

House Bill 1322 passed the House on a vote of 45-18, and the Senate 23-12. Its sponsors included Reps. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, and Perry Will, R-New Castle, along with Sens. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and Don Coram, R-Montrose.

“I am thrilled this bill has now passed both chambers with bipartisan support," said Roberts, who was quoted in a May 3 statement from House Democrats. "This a responsible way to support affordable housing without raising taxes."

The Colorado Apartment Association, which opposed a bill that would have allowed local rent-control measures, also endorsed HB1322.

But Horn thinks the bill is a bad idea.

In the event of another Recession, Horn says, "people are going to start looking in [the unclaimed property trust fund], looking for their money to get back — and with interest — and we're going to be so depleted it's going to be an unfunded liability... When that happens, it's going to be on the backs of the taxpayers to backfill it."

Joining Horn at the state Capitol will be Monson, Monument Mayor Don Wilson, Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and more than a dozen others. Visit standforcolorado.com for a full list of Denver speakers, and locations for the other rallies.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Cripple Creek-Victor School District board recall effort will move forward

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 3:35 PM

STACIE GONZALEZ
  • Stacie Gonzalez
An effort to recall three members of the Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 board has turned in enough valid signatures for a special election, Teller County Chief Deputy Clerk Stephanie Kees confirmed April 17.

The recall effort, led by the group Hear Us (See Cover, Feb. 27), faced a hurdle when the Teller County Clerk and Recorder's office identified a shortfall of more than 200 valid petition signatures. The recall petitions required at least 400 signatures per school board member, but many of those originally submitted in March were rejected for various reasons. The clerk's office gave Hear Us until April 10 to gather the remaining signatures.

The three targeted school board members — Board President Tim Braun, Treasurer Dennis Jones and Secretary Tonya Martin — have until May 2 to protest the election, Kees says. But they can only protest on the grounds that Hear Us does not have enough valid signatures or that the ballot summary language is more than 200 words. (Kees says the clerk's office has confirmed that the signatures are valid and the summary adheres to word limits. However, a hearing would be held in the case that the board members choose to protest anyway.)

Barring a successful protest, the recall election must be held within 60 days after the protest period has passed, Kees says. 
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

State bills aim to increase transparency in campaign fundraising

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 11:15 AM

This 2014 attack ad was paid for by a 527 ("dark money") political group.
  • This 2014 attack ad was paid for by a 527 ("dark money") political group.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold is championing two bills she developed with state lawmakers to change Colorado's system for enforcing fair campaign practices.

After all, she "ran for office to reform money in politics," notes a release from her office announcing the introduction of both bills.

The first, House Bill 1318 — dubbed "The Clean Campaign Act of 2019" — would prohibit foreign governments and corporations, as well as any person who is not an American citizen, from contributing to state election campaigns. It also requires "Paid for by" disclosures on campaign communications, and tightens rules related to independent expenditure committees, or IECs, that raise money for political candidates before they officially declare an intent to run for office. It's sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, along with Sens. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, and Mike Foote, D-Lafayette.

More than $82 million was donated to IECs — which Griswold calls "Colorado's version of a SuperPAC" — during the 2018 election cycle in Colorado, the release says. Of that $82 million, 75 percent came in donations of $100,000 or more, and over 80 percent came from corporations or sources that are "hard to trace."

“Too often, Coloradans feel that their politicians are beholden to big money special interests, and that the rich and powerful are allowed to side-step the rules,” Griswold is quoted as saying. “Right now in Colorado, a $50 contribution to a candidate is more transparent than a $50,000 contribution to Colorado’s version of a SuperPAC. It’s time to put democracy back in the hands of everyday Coloradans."

The second piece of legislation, Senate Bill 232, is titled "Campaign Finance Enforcement" and is also sponsored by Foote and Weissman. It codifies the rules put in place after a U.S. District Court judge determined in 2018 that Colorado's campaign finance enforcement system was unconstitutional. The rules include procedures for filing, reviewing and investigating complaints of unfair campaign practices.

Interestingly, the system ruled unconstitutional was created through a ballot initiative. It mandated that every complaint of a campaign finance violation get a hearing, and did not include a mechanism for filtering out bad complaints, according to the National Law Review.
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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

City election happing today!

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 2:37 PM

2019cityelectionbug-01.png
Vote. Today.

But don't mail your ballot today. Now, you'll have to deliver it. Go here to find out more about drop-off sites for today's election.

The Colorado Springs city election wraps up today at 7 p.m.

As of the morning of April 2, only 74,067 ballots had been counted so far of nearly 268,000 mailed.

Voters are electing a mayor and three at-large City Council members for the nine-member panel, and deciding Issue 1, which would authorize collective bargaining, but not a strike, for firefighters.

More than $1 million has been pumped into the election of various candidates and campaigns for and against Issue 1.
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Friday, March 29, 2019

Final campaign finance reports filed before April 2 city election

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 5:21 PM

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UPDATE:

Money has poured into the Firefighters for a Safer Colorado Springs coffers to fund support of Issue 1, which would give local firefighters collective bargaining authority, though not authority to strike.

The election is Tuesday, April 2, and ballots must be returned to the City Clerk's Office by 7 p.m.

The firefighter committee has raised $639,123, according to its March 29 campaign finance report, more than twice as much as the vote "no" effort, Citizens Against Public Employee Unions, which reported raising $303,967.

That makes the issue campaign valued at $1 million in contributions to the two committees.

The firefighter group received donations from firefighter groups in Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Cal Fire in California; from Miami and Jacksonville, Fla.; Portland, Oregon; Buffalo, New York; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pa.; Fairfax, Virginia; Chicago; West Metro in the Denver area; New York state firefighters, and the International Fire Fighters Association.

To update other candidates' filings:

Council candidates and the amounts raised — Randy Tuck, $11,570; Regina English, $600; Tom incumbent Strand, $39,351; Tony Gioia, $27,457; and Val Snider, $12,787. Dennis Spiker hasn't filed a report in the last cycle.

Mayoral candidate Juliette Parker has raised $17,250, of which $8,000 came from loans from herself to the campaign.

Mayor John Suthers has raised a total of $228,211, and spent all but $87,081. In the latest reporting period, the largest donor was The Broadmoor with $5,000.

————-ORIGINAL POST 5:21 P.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 29, 2019—————————————

Not all candidates had filed their campaign finance reports on time for this round of filings for the April 2 city election where voters will elect a mayor, three at-large City Council members and decide Issue 1, which would give firefighters the right to collectively bargain but not to strike. Reports were due March 29.

Here's what we know.

• Citizens Against Public Employee Unions, which opposes Issue 1, has raised a total of $345,516. It's spent $303,967.

• Firefighters for a Safer Colorado Springs did not file a report, but previously reported raising $537,025.

Other organizations' reports:

• Community Leaders of America pumped $5,000 into Mayor John Suthers' reelection campaign and $1,000 in the coffers of Wayne Williams, who's seeking an at-large City Council seat. The organization is the national caucus of Republican mayors and city council members and was formed, according to the group, "in response to the lack of a national strategy to elect and support Republicans to the offices of mayor and city council." City elections here are nonpartisan.

• Sierra Club has raised $66,000 and spent $12,500 on canvassing and $44,233 on "voter mail education" but did not disclose which candidates it supports.

• The same is true of Americans for Prosperity, which reported it raised no funds but provided values of $24,042 each for mailers and door hangers and canvassing for unidentified candidates.

• Together for Colorado Springs raised $4,140 from John Weiss, owner of the Independent and other newspapers, for ads that appeared in the Indy. The report doesn't say who the ads supported, but T4CS ads endorsed Bill Murray and Terry Martinez.

Mayoral candidates:

• John Pitchford has raised $105,424 and has $82,624 on hand.

• Suthers, Juliette Parker and Lawrence Martinez did not file reports by 5 p.m. on March 29.

Council candidates:

• Incumbent Bill Murray has raised $3,100.

• Wayne Williams, former Colorado Secretary of State, has raised $55,652.

• Gordon Klingenschmitt, former state representative, has raised $12,387.

• Terry Martinez has raised $33,947.

• Athena Roe has raised $825.

Candidates who had not filed a report include Regina English, Randy Tuck, incumbent Tom Strand, Dennis Spiker, Val Snider and Tony Gioia.

The election is four days away. It's being handled by mail. You must return you ballot by 7 p.m. on April 2. For information, go here.
 
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