An unfair and off-balanced look at Colorado politics.

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Udall gets new press officer

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mike Saccone, who left the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in 2009 as its political reporter to take a job as communications director for Republican Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, is leaving that post to be the press officer for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat.

Saccone replaces Tara Trujillo, who is switching jobs in Udall's office to become his new outreach and strategy coordinator.

"I have had the privilege and honor of serving the people of the state of Colorado for the past several years under Attorney General John Suthers," Saccone said today. "I look forward to continuing that service working for U.S, Sen. Mark Udall."

Trujillo, former communications director for the Colorado House Democrats, said her new job will allow her to remain in Colorado and work with a variety of constituencies around the state. Suthers' office has already posted an advertisement to replace Saccone.


Fact Check: Tipton on Pace and homestead break

By Charles Ashby
Thursday, March 29, 2012

UPDATE: Seems some folks don't believe Tipton voted against funding for the homestead exemption.

To understand what happened, readers must do more than just trust what House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, writes on Twitter. Rather, it's best to go actually look at the debate on the last day and second-to-last day of the 2010 session, when lawmakers last voted on this issue.

Here's what happened:

The bill came forward on second reading the day before the last day of the 2010 session. At that moment the bill was to suspend the entire exemption, $94 million a year for two years.

The Rep. Jim Reisberg, D-Greeley, offered an amendment to fund half of the exemption. Along with him, Republicans spoke in favor of it, some Democrats spoke against it. Then Rep. Kathlene Curry, D-Gunnison, was in the chair, and approved it on an overwhelming "division" vote of legislators. That vote required supporters of the amendment to stand and be counted. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle did so.

Moments later, even though the bill at that point funded half of the exemption, Republicans spoke out and then voted against it.

The following day, the last day of the session when it came up for thirds, Reisberg offered a third-reading amendment that corrected a drafting mistake in the second reading amendment from the day before. The amendment was essentially the same thing. It passed unanimously, 65-0, with Tipton and McNulty and everyone voting for it.

Moments later, Tipton and the Republicans voted against the bill, a bill that, at the time of that vote, funded half of the exemption for seniors.

Ultimately, the Senate rejected the House version and voted to adhere to the original bill ... a two year delay of the exemption. It being late in the session, the House agreed, on a partisan vote with Republicans voting no.

Not funding the exemption has been supported by both sides over the years because of economic conditions.


In a campaign email today, GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton chastises state Rep.Sal Pace, D-Pueblo and his 3rd Congressional Distirct challenger, for "consistently" voting to end the state's senior property tax exemption.

In that email, Tipton's campaign says, "Unlike in previous years, a valuable property tax exemption for seniors will remain in tact (sic), thanks to an unexpected surplus. That also means that, unlike in previous years, our opponent will not be able to raise taxes on seniors. Sorry Sal."

While Pace did vote along with other lawmakers in 2009 and 2010 not to fund the property tax break during those years because of the recession, so did Tipton, at least in 2010.

That year, when Cortez Republican still served in the Colorado Legislature, he voted along with all 65 members of the House to approve SB190. Unlike the 2009 measure that suspended the break for one year, the 2010 bill did so for two years.

The Tipton camp also makes the mistake of calling not funding a tax break an increase in taxes, and they say the state has a "surplus." According to Websters New World Dictionary, a surplus is something over what is needed. State revenues are still far below what they were before the recession began.


Dem to challenge for HD59

By Charles Ashby
Thursday, February 9, 2012

Former La Plata County Attorney and state solicitor general, Michael McLachlan, has announced his bid for House District 59 in southwest Colorado.

The Democrat, now in private practice in Durango, once served in the No. 3 spot in the Colorado Attorney General's Office under Ken Salazar, who now is secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. He will challenge Rep. J.Paul Brown, R-Ignacio, for the newly redrawn district, which includes Archuleta, La Plata, Ouray, Hinsdale, San Juan and parts of Gunnison counties.

A Marine and veteran of the Vietnam War, McLachlan has lived in Durango for 38 years. McLachlan has been twice named one of "The Best Lawyers In America."

“I’ve worked locally and all over this region for years. I know the issues we’re facing, and I know how to solve problems and get things done,” McLachlan said. “I’m tired of seeing government gridlocked by partisanship and extremism. That’s why our mountain communities deserve new representation.”


Guv helps Romanoff retire debt

By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gov. John Hickenlooper has sent out an email blast asking Colordans to help retire a debt former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff's incurred in his failed 2010 bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

The Denver Democrat sold his Washington Park home to finance last-minute ads in his bid against U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, and still owes about $250,000.

In the email, Hickenlooper is asking folks for $2,400 per person. Here's his plea:

I’ve known Andrew Romanoff for more than a decade and can think of few Coloradans who have given more of themselves — literally — to public service.

Andrew won national acclaim as one of the most effective legislative leaders in America. As the Speaker of the House, he forged consensus among Democrats and Republicans on issues that had long seemed intractable. When our state faced a deep recession, some people told me to jump in a lake for Referenda C and D, but Andrew convinced me to jump out of a plane!

Andrew has championed causes we care about, including affordable housing, early childhood education, and mental health care. And he is still at it, turning his considerable talent to the battle against global poverty.

Bipartisan leaders like Andrew don’t come around very often. We should let him know we appreciate all that he has done, and all he is doing, to make our world a better place.

As you may know, Andrew sold his house to finance his last campaign. That left him $250,000 in debt. Please join me in helping retire Andrew’s debt.

The maximum contribution is $2,400 per person. I am pleased to make that investment. I know Andrew will appreciate any amount you can afford.

Please click here to make a donation -

Andrew Romanoff has been a great friend whose public service has benefited all Coloradans.


State senator publishes book

By Charles Ashby
Monday, January 23, 2012

From her press release:

Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, has published her first book, "Take Back Your Government: A Citizen's Guide to Grassroots Change" through Fulcrum Publishing and is now available online and in bookstores across the country.

This book is a practical, non-partisan, practical "how-to" guide for citizen's to know how to most effectively participate to make and change laws and public policy at the state level and includes, tips, checklists, resources, samples and stories from actual citizens who have changed laws.

"I wrote this book because despite studying political science and getting a law degree at no point did I feel like I was ever taught the basic real-world tools about how to actually impact the system. I realized that most other people were in the same position. This book is written with inside information I have learned to help de-mystify the legislative process and given citizens their birthright keys to the capitol to make sure government is working for them," Carroll said.

"After seven years in the legislature it is painfully clear to me that the only real check-and-balance to the influence of lobbyists and special interests in the legislature is when people participate and everyone has a right to know how to be effective in shaping their own government and their own state."

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