17 October 2014

Vote For Betsy Markey For Colorado State Treasurer And Toss Incumbent Walker Stapleton

Besty Markey is the Democrat and a former state representative, who is running to replace incumbent Republican state treasurer Walker Stapleton in Colorado.

Why should you vote for for Besty Markey and against Walker Stapleton?

Mostly because in his first four years, Walker Stapleton has done a lousy job as state treasurer.

State treasurer is one of the least partisan elected positions in the state.  It calls for competence, diligence and honesty in managing state funds, while offering very little policy discretion.  It doesn't tip any partisan balances in the legislative or executive branches.

If you are going to cross party lines in your voting on any office, and instead focus merely on the candidate, this is the office where this can make sense.  And, whether you are a Republican, an unaffiliated voter, a Libertarian, or a Democrat, getting incumbent Walker Stapleton out of this job that he has utterly failed in, and replacing him with someone else, is an easy choice.

In practice, the only way to do that is to vote for Democrat Betsy Markey.  She is competent enough, and given the incumbent's performance over the last four years, the choice is an easy one.

1.  Walker Stapleton devotes very little time to this full time public office.

He shows up to work about 10 days a month.  He is gone from the office for weeks at a time.  When he does show up to work, sometimes it is after three p.m. and for short days.

He rarely shows up for PERA meetings, on whose board he serves ex officio, and when he does attend, often leaves early.  Here's his PERA meeting attendance track record:
2012: There were 10 PERA meetings. Stapleton attended 3, but left early at 2 of those. 
2013: There were 7 PERA meetings. Stapleton attended 2, but left both early. *NOTE: From the September 20, 2013 PERA Board Meeting Minutes: “Mr. Stapleton requested the removal of his absence from the June 25, 2013 Board meeting minutes, as his designee Brett Johnson was present.”
2014 (through June): There have been 5 PERA Board meetings. Minutes are not available for the June 24 meeting. Of the other 4 meetings, he has fully attended 1 and left early at another 2 meetings.
These meetings are not just some extracurricular fund activity for Mr. Stapleton.  They are a core responsibility of his full time job that the people of Colorado elected him to do.  He shouldn't have any higher priorities than his duty to the people of the State of Colorado as a statewide elected official.

2.  He has done a poor job carrying out his responsibilities to serve on the board of PERA, the public employees retirement system for Colorado.

He is on the record saying that:
It's time, unfortunately, that everyone that benefits from PERA sufferers. 
His has spent much of his term in contentious litigation with the rest of the PERA Board, which he lost.

3.  He has secured only a dismal 1% annual rate of return on Colorado's investments, during a recovery and financial market boom.

By comparison, the PERA board which manages the state's retirement assets, has had a long run (and recent) rate of return in excess of 8%.  His Democratic predecessor, Cary Kennedy, who served from 2007-2010 during the Financial Crisis and went on to become Denver's very competent CFO, in contrast, outperformed market benchmarks during this very difficult fiscal climate.

In his 2010 primary campaign, he said that the State of Colorado should invest its financial assets heavily in gold, which if he had done so, would have led to massive losses on the state's investments.  This has a lot to do with the fact that Stapleton is a life long realtor, a career to which he still devotes most of his time and efforts, with essentially no experience in finance or accounting.

4. He games Colorado's property tax system.

Walker Stapleton games Colorado's property tax system by pretending to be a gentleman farmer to secure huge property tax breaks for property that can't fairly be described as farming.

This isn't illegal, but it doesn't inspire confidence in someone whose primary responsibility should be to look out of Colorado's fiscal solvency.  Simply put, it doesn't reflect well on his character.

5.  He was arrested for DUI in  a hit and run incident in San Francisco in 1999 after hitting two pedestrians, and acknowledged that he was an alcoholic at the time.

He pleaded no contest to the DUI charge in exchange for having the more serious hit and run felony dropped.  He was sentenced to three years probation, twice a week AA meetings, and community service, in addition to restitution, fines and costs.

It could be that Walker Stapleton is managing his alcoholism better now than he was then.  But, this was no youthful indiscretion, hurt people and property, and he demonstrated irresponsibility when life tested him.

There are worse things in life to be than a recovering alcoholic.  But, why have a recovering alcoholic in a highly responsible statewide political office when we could have someone who isn't in alcoholic in that post.

6.  He is an heir to the KKK wing of the Republican party.

Walker Stapleton is the great-grandson of Denver's Mayor Benjamin Stapleton (from 1921-1931 and 1935-1947) and as Democratic State Auditor from 1933-1935, after which Denver's former airport and current redeveloped neighborhood is named.  This was back when the Democrats were the party of Southern Conservatives and the GOP was still the party of northern liberals in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln.

Mayor Stapleton's key to getting elected was support from the Ku Klux Klan:
Stapleton was the Klan candidate for mayor of Denver in 1923 and won the election with Klan support. When Stapleton declared his candidacy for mayor in March 1923, he was Klan member number 1,128 and a close friend of the Colorado Klan Grand Dragon, John Galen Locke.
After realignment, when conservative Southern Democrats were replaced by Republicans, and liberal northerners joined the Democratic party, most of the political heirs of the KKK wing of the Democratic party became Republicans.

Admittedly, Walker Stapleton is not responsible for things that he great-grandfather did before he was born (and in fairness, his great-grandfather's detestable racism and anti-Semitism didn't prevent him from accomplishing a lot as state auditor and Mayor of Denver).  But, it is hardly a proud legacy either, and is certainly not a legacy that Walker Stapleton is running away from himself.

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