11 January 2011

Colorado Politics Recap

* Governor-Elect Hickenlooper is now Governor Hickenlooper. He's has the near impossible task of balancing the budget ahead of him, but at least the NY Times is writing nice stories about him and even the Republicans haven't gone into attack mode yet with our new Governor. Now we're in for an exciting four months of the legislative session including highlights like the redistricting of Congressional districts, with a partisan split between the State House and State Senate. The party line, shared with President Obama, is that Hickenlooper wants to create jobs. Despite having fewer tools at his disposal to do so, I have more faith that Hickenlooper will be successful than I do that President Obama will. We also have a new Republican State Treasurer and Secretary of State.

* We also have a new Mayor in Denver, Bill Vidal. Unfortunately, he is the guy is charge of the department that recently failed to adequately discipline two corrupt parking enforcement officers, until there was a public outcry over it. The caretaker administration will end this spring when a sucessor is elected in Denver's municipal elections. I'm starting to get calls from candidates' organizations (not personal ones) seeking my support. The last real race was in 2003, in which I supported Penfield Tate in the first round, and John Hickenlooper in the second. Hickenlooper had no serious competition in 2007. Tate is not running this time around.

* The report of a grand jury investigation into lies under oath and attempts to suborn perjury by Denver Police Officer Paul Baca that did not result in an indictment, despite denunciations of him in open court by a judge and recorded court testimony that strongly suggests he was lying, has been sealed by the Denver judge presiding over the case. The Jefferson County special prosecutor appointed to prosecute the officer has appealed the ruling but isn't allowed to comment on the grand jury report or the contents of the order closing it. It isn't that unusual for a prosecutor to ask that a grand jury report be sealed in order to permit the prosecutor to continue an investigation, perhaps with a future grand jury. But, it is quite unusual for a grand jury to write a report of its own, and even more unusual for such a report to be suppressed over the objection of the prosecutor in the case. Perhaps there are good reasons for doing so, but an appearance of impropriety results any time a high profile corruption prosecution is closed without full disclosure of what happened.

* One of the school board members in Greeley, Brett Reese, who is also a pretty difficult character in his role on the school board, is using his low power radio station to broadcast dubious and outrageous conspiracy theories about Martin Luther King, Jr. without even providing authorship for the sentiment, as we head into the holiday named after the Civil Rights leader. It is his free speech right to do so, but it also shows bad judgment on the part of someone who should be a role model for the students in the district. Respecting other people's right to say stupid things is honorable. Using your own resources to say stupid things just shows that you're stupid. Also, while the school board member's official line is that he is simply allowing people to air concerns about a cult of personality, it sure sounds like crackpot conpsiracy theory racism to me. Oh, and he's also decided that the way to respond to the controvery he has created is to carry a gun. Brett Reese looks a lot more like a nutjob who is an embarassment to the Greeley. Fortunately, as just one member of the Board, he can't do much harm by himself and still belongs in the "mostly harmless" and "do not feed the troll" category.

* What sort of jerk steals somebody's else's dead wife's ashes? As this story comes from Colorado Springs, it is hard to know.

* Daily Kos and Colorado Pols both have compelling documentation today and in the past few days of the pattern of Tea Party's incitement of violence with its campaign rhetoric. I don't have the stomache to post about it at the moment, but it is there is you are so inclined.

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