Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Morgan Carroll's Volunteer Rally Notes

(Photo: Marc A. Piscotty © Rocky Mountain News)

Morgan Carroll has ambitions.

The majority of the voters in her district are Republicans, and her message is quite progressive, yet last time she walked across it she was able to coax out 55% of the vote.

She is walking State House District 36 again this summer, and she doesn't just want to take it again, she wants to win by a large enough margin to keep challengers away from Aurora for years.

How large a margin? Campaign Director Bill Wolf is shooting for 60%. Staffer John Beckman is aiming even higher, quoting numbers in the stratosphere of 80%.

As for me, I think that given enough time she could get them all, but with the fast ticking clock of the election year, who knows?

Morgan herself isn't spending a lot of time talking about the numbers. If she has her eyes on a number, I am sure it is one from a different November. Sometime down the road there will be other elections where all 25,000 votes cast in Aurora will just be a fraction of the ones she needs.

For now, she is having fun reaching out to her neighbors, and finding the common ground that extends beyond the labels of party affiliation.

The people of her District all want more affordable health care. They all want their children to be educated. They all want a less wasteful government. She can speak sincerely to those issues, and she can listen. As it turns out, she lives in a fairly sensible community that would rather listen to her positions than look at her voter registration card.

She even gains a few converts by telling them what she believes rather than what they want to hear. She is for reproductive choice. Many of her constituents are against it. But they appreciate her being forthright, willing to explain her positions and willing to listen to theirs.

Montana Gov. Schweitzer once said that "issues divide, values unite." You can see how that is playing out in HD-36. She doesn't always match up to the voters on every issue, but she stands firmly with them in their shared values.

She was speaking in a church and someone asked a litmus test question about a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. She knew what position they wanted her to take, but she said what she felt in her heart. She spoke of how the Constitution should protect our rights, not restrict them. She spoke of how it was a matter of equal protection under the law. She spoke of how marriage was not a threat to marriage, but that things like infidelity were. By the time she was done speaking the congregation was on their feet. She got a standing ovation in a church for speaking in favor of gay marriage.

Tonight Morgan, her key staffers, and a number of volunteers, met at the Arapahoe Democratic Party HQ to discuss the coming election and what they will need to do to make sure they get some number above 50% + 1.

Joe Miklosi of Progressive Majority came and spoke to a room of about thirty people and gave them a quick background on field work, and how to be effective knocking on doors.

I won't talk too much about specific strategies. Republican infiltrators will just have to do their own research.

I will share a tangental, but interesting fact I learned: the backers of the immigration ballot initiative have been getting funding from the Michigan Millitia.

Miklosi was informative, and did a good job of speaking to a mixed crowd of novices and pros. The meeting lasted a short while, and then it was a flurry of sign up sheets, postcards, and mailing labels.

I wandered around the room, checked in with Lyn Mayo and her bodygaurd Colin, spoke to Pam Bennet and her mysterious friend Alexis, speculated with Rep. Carroll about the fate of the Lobby Reform Bill (HB-1149), and saw a press clipping that featured the fantastic photo you see on this page.

I also snuck a peek at one of the postcards.

They announce the Campaign Kick-Off Party on June 10th from 2-4 PM.

The party will be at the Lighthouse Clubhouse, 1011 S. Valentia St, Denver

If you would like to join the ice cream social and pool party, drop a RSVP to

I'll make sure to get all the details into the Soapblox Calendar.

Until then, everybody chant with me:



Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bill Winter

One of my favorite parts of having gotten involved in politics is having had the opportunity to get to know Congressional candidate Bill Winter.

Go read the diary he posted tonight at DailyKos, and you will see why.

I want to quote it here, but I am not going to. I want you to go over there and see it for yourself.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Andy Kerr campaign kick-off party

"In his short time, he has already proved to be one of the brightest, most thoughtful and compassionate people in an assembly that is short of each one of those qualities.

He is such a decent human being, it is unclear why he would want to be running for the Colorado House of Represntatives."

~Andrew Romanoff, Speaker of the House

Colorado State House District 26 Representative, Andy Kerr, hosted a kick-off tonight of his campaign to retain the seat vacated in March by Sen. Betty Boyd.

At the begining of the year Sen. Hanna, and Rep. Boyd both held their seats by comfortable margins. Hanna's resignation shuffled the cards, and vacancy committees moved Boyd and Kerr into their new offices. Both seats are now in play, and while the Democrats still should have the incumbency edge, the district is nearly evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters.

  This session, Andy lived up to the Denver Post headline, and Hit the House Running both in the electoral sense, and as a legislator.

  Tonight he announced his most recent success, the signing by Gov. Owens of HB-1392, which created a law regulating publicly funded drug treatment facillities.

The former teacher is a warm and engaging candidate, and the event was well attended and convivial.

Many of the party faithful turned out to support the Representative, including Hanna, Boyd, Romanoff, Gwen Green, Stan Davis, and veteran's advocate Bill Holen.

  CD-7 candidate Herb Rubenstein was circulating his petition, and I spoke to him about his 'unbreakable pledge' mailing. He estimated the cost of the plastic infused paper as being around 45 cents a page plus postage, and said he sent out 14,650 pages. I asked if they were sent out with any sort of return envelope for donations, and he said that he was not attempting to raise money at this time. He explained that for the last six weeks he has just been building support and getting out information, and will begin fundraising in earnest after Thursday when he officially submits his petitions.

I congratulated Lynette Mayo on navigating the campaign of CU Regent candidate Steve Ludwig safely onto the ballot without a primary. There is still a possibility that Milt Rogers could circulate petitions, but in a statewide race, Rogers would need to collect a large number from every district, and that would be very difficult for a mostly self-funded campaign.

Mayo also shared good news from D.C. where she said that CD-6 candidate Bill Winter was well recieved and managed to secure many pledges of support and funds.

I spoke to Pam Feely, who was once a front runner for the HD-26 seat before removing herself from consideration. I asked her if she had an interest in running for office down the road. She assured me she was, but it might be some time from now because she valued the people we currently had in place.

EPA enforcement attorney, Karen Kellen and I spoke about her run last year for Lakewood City Council and about her boss, EPA Admin. Stephen Johnson.

Johnson, who likes to use copies of the Hatch Act as drink coasters while at illegal Rick O'Donnell fundraisers, seems to be even more unconscionable when he actually stays in Washington to work.

Ms. Kellen told me about the Jacksonville Florida, "Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study."

The study, which paid low income residents for their participation provided they could demonstrate that their children were routinely exposed to toxins in the home, was put on hold a year ago so the EPA could further review the project and shore up their public relations effort. The horrific project, that goes by the Orwellian acronym (CHEERS), is due to be back up for consideration in June.

June 29, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate today put brakes on government-sponsored testing of pesticides on babies by approving an amendment to a spending bill that would bar such research for at least one year. The measure to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from conducting human pesticide experiments passed by a 60 to 37 margin

In case the emphasis I inserted did not emphasize it enough, let me quote again,


It takes more and more to shock me these days, but O'Donnell's friends really kick it up a notch.

It didn't take many stories like that to convince me that we needed to do something about the leadership in this country. If we can take the Governor's mansion, and keep our majorities in the Assembly, then we can at least pass the bill Owen killed that would have permitted State environmental standards to exceed the Federal ones.

That is why I am helping Andy Kerr's campaign in any way I can, lending him my skills, opening my wallet and sending him back to the House. This seat needs to be held by someone who will get the right bills onto the desk of Governor Ritter, and Andy Kerr has already proven to me that I can trust him to do be the one to do it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Perlmutter endorses Winter for Netroots Page

I got a chance to be a bit of a bridge between my two favorite candidates today when Ed Perlmuuter's campaign asked me to pass along a letter to Daily Kos about Bill Winter.


I want to take a brief moment to recommend my good friend Bill Winter for the Netroots Act Blue Candidate endorsement.  Bill would probably be embarrassed to know that I am doing this for him but at the end of the day I feel that there is not a more deserving candidate running for public office today.  

Our country takes a giant step in the wrong direction when we refuse to stand up to the Tom Tancredo's of the world.  Sadly, in politics today, there is an overabundance of weak-kneed opportunists who lack the courage and conviction to take on a challenge like Colorado's conservative 6th Congressional District.  But I tell you what, adversity and Bill Winter are longtime foes, and more often than not Bill comes out on top.  His story is that of an orphan born with a hole in his heart who overcame the long odds to become a Marine, Naval Officer, a U.S. Senate Staffer, a lawyer, a high school science teacher and a football coach.  Time and time again, Bill has proven his love for our county with his genuine commitment to public service.

This is a race we can and will win with the Netroots help.  If Bill can get the financing he needs to get his message out, it will resonate with Coloradans.  The people of 6th District are ready for a Congressman who would rather talk about bringing our troops home safely and providing affordable and accessible healthcare to all Americans.  I could go on but I will sum it up by saying, Tom Tancredo's constituents are hungry for change and the man who can bring about that change is Bill Winter.  

Honesty and integrity are core values I hold dear, I know that Bill will never let me down in those regards when he is elected to Congress.  He will serve the 6th Congressional District with honor and dignity.  I ask the Netroots to join me in actively supporting Bill Winter for U.S. Congress!  



Ed Perlmutter

Candidate for Congress in Colorado's 7th Congressional District

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Political Buzz : Drinking Liberally with Mason Tvert

Early Wednesday, Congressional Candidate Herb Rubenstein was at a PTA meeting in Green Mountain. He listened as the principal crowed about how five canine units made a surprise visit to the High School. They locked down the classrooms while the dogs swept the school for the scent of marijuana. None was found, but that was never really the plan. "The goal was to scare the kids," said the proud administrator, and by all accounts they achieved that goal.

If you are a student in Colorado who smokes marijuana, there is a list of reasons you should be afraid. Mason Tvert came to Denver's Drinking Liberally to give us the facts on what things really were on that list, and what things never really have been.
For a full accounting on the medical benefits and legal hazards of marijuana, I will simply link to NORML, but in short, the damage done to our society by criminalizing the reasonable behavior of half our citizens far outweighs the negative effects of a drug that is far less damaging than alcohol or tobacco.

Mike Krause of the Independence Institute is concerned about the 85% of our drug task force money that is spent to enforce marijuana laws instead of targeting Meth, and Harvard Professor Jeffrey Miron shows that the state of Colorado could be drawing $85,000,000 dollars a year in tax revenue if we decided to legalize and regulate the sales.

Tvert also sited the danger of having a system where people ignore and disrespect an unrealistic law, and are forced to buy a product from vendors who have an interest in pushing truly damaging substances on the consumer. The real 'gateway' problem is not that doing one drug leads to harder ones, it is that breaking one law leads to breaking others. By creating a situation where 47% of the people have already crossed the line into illegality, you push them farther down that road. Use it as a reason to deny them a job, or rob them of educational funding, and you carve the damage deeper.

The ridiculous extent of our wasted resources can be seen at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Recently, as frequent readers of this blog know, the school took steps against drug reform protesters by closing a park where rallies were expected. When the rally occurred despite their attempts, undercover police officers walked through the crowd photographing students. These students, who had yet to be charged of anything, subsequently had their pictures posted on the internet with bounties offered for their identities. The chilling effect that this has had on political speech and the damage this has done to the education and careers of these students remains to be seen, but it pleased me to hear that a suit on behalf of a few of the students has been lodged against the State. Actually, it almost pleased me. As a Colorado taxpayer and a parent of a student at that university I was outraged that they would waste my money trying to harm his classmates for such a hypocritical reason. It is a mixed blessing to hear that more of my money will be wasted to defend my government from actions I would never have approved.

If Tvert and SAFER Colorado are successful in collecting the signatures they need to put marijuana regulation reform on the November ballot, our approval might finally be sought on this subject. Mason talked with us at length not only about the medical and legal questions, but gave us some insight into the politics of the issue as well. The topic is not fully partisan. It has strong Libertarian aspects, fiscal conservative and small government hooks, and from the other side a certain amount of resistance amongst Democratic leadership. Still, it may be an ideal mobilizing tool for young Democrats. Tvert posited that the referendum would energize young liberal voters in far greater numbers than it was likely to draw prohibitionists.

He argued that it could be a wedge in much the same way the Republicans use the gay marriage issue. But while showing how it favored the Dems, he made it clear that helping everyone with a (D) after their names was not his intention. He spoke approvingly of figures like Barney Frank, and acknowledged the vocal support of Rubenstein, but Tvert had no remorse about going after Democrats, like Gubenatorial Candidate Bill Ritter, who have opposed reform. When talking about the Mayor of Denver, Tvert stated, "We did use him as a foil," but went on to say that they would have left Hickenlooper alone if he had taken a more neutral position than the directly anti-reform stance he had chosen.

Much of Tvert's presentation was guided by good questions from Congressional Candidate Bill Winter. Winter, who like myself is one of those rare people who have never smoked marijuana, did not voice a position on the referendum tonight, but he did express a skepticism about the motives and consequences of our country's substance enforcement policies. He was concerned about how enforcement disproportionately burdens people of color. Most of his questions, however, were more about probing Tvert than anything about Winter. Bill asked about Mason's history, which included being a target in a multi-jurisdictional witch hunt back in college, and he tested Mason with, "what do you say about this argument..." queries.

One of my favorite answers;

Marijuana is illegal. We get that all the time. "But marijuana is illegal!"

Well, what the hell is an 18 year old drinking?

For a good laugh, look up the new ad campaign to discourage underage boozing at CU. I am told it recommends only monthly binge drinking.

Many of the questions evoked comparisons between marijuana and tobacco, or marijuana and drinking. Mason had arguments for why pot was the better option on everything from automobile accidents to military stress reduction. I think there are limits to the, 'it is not as bad as...' line of reasoning, but perhaps not so fully as Attorney General Suthers, who apparently spoke approvingly of prohibition of both pot and liquor in an April 19th interview. 

Overall, the evening was enjoyable and informative. Tvert held the attention from the moderately sized crowd far longer than many of our visitors have, and gave no sign of flagging energy for as long as people had questions. It will be interesting to see how the referendum plays out, and if the Democrats are indeed able to capitalize on its presence to turn out the youth vote both statewide, and in districts with high collegiate populations like Angie Paccione's CD-4.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In your face, Latvia!

According to CNN the US is way better than Latvia when it comes to our infant mortality rate.

We have only 5 deaths per thousand compared to Latvia's 6 deaths per thousand.

And guess who is better than us?...

Every other industrialized nation in the world.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bill Winter for Congress

Here is our chance to land the big fish. Help our candidates out.

I have put them name of Bill Winter into consideration.

  I love Angie, Jay, and obviously more than anything I think Ed Perlmutter deserves the slot, but Markos' criteria looked to me like they were designed for Bill.

Go read the post and then search or scroll to the comment "Bill Winter and Colorado".

Lets all hit this one hard enough so they know that Winter deserves consideration on a dozen levels.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Poking Fun at Tenderfoot Beauprez

Congressman Beauprez in Iraq

I was looking at the front page of Bob Beauprez' official website.
When I moused over the photo I saw that the 'alt text' read "Congressman Beauprez in Iraq".
(Right click it if you are using Firefox.)

Now, I am no expert on uniforms, but is it possible that Flight Suit Beauprez is once again trying to pull a fast one on us? The two marines are dressed in desert gear, but what is that other soldier wearing? Is he Airforce or Navy? Maybe with his years of military service defferments, Bob can help identify the uniforms for us.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Steve Ludwig for CU Regent

Steve Ludwig kicked off his campaign for CU Regent at Large yesterday at Denver's Forest Room 5. The campaign to sit on the guiding board of Colorado's third largest employer is an interesting challenge. He will have to appeal to all the voters and constituencies that a statewide race requires, but will have to take it on with the limited dollars and resources of a 'down ticket' campaign.

He will have to navigate his way through a primary and a general election for this open seat, and he will have to both get out the vote and motivate voters to mark complete ballots. In off term elections voters often stop after declaring a preference on Governor and the referenda, and never get to the seemingly less important races.

This is not an unimportant race. The university is not only a large employer, and a two billion dollar organization, but a magnet for high technology buisness in Colorado, and with the growth of the Fitzsimmons Health Clinic it is a key research facillity for Alzheimer's, HIV, cancer, and diabetes. Steve Ludwig also envisions that it could be a hub of co-operation between UNC, CSU and the CU system in tackling issues surrounding improving K-12 education.

Ludwig sees a danger in a current administration that focuses too heavily on athletics, and that lets other nations take the lead in teaching the academics. He indicated that the Chinese are building a university that will educate 500,000 people, their graduates will dwarf the 50,000 total students of CU. Likewise, Indian universities will produce 300,000 high tech graduates this year, a number six times larger than what American schools will produce.

I asked the candidate if a diminished focus on athletics would draw revenues away from the school and impact tuition rates. He said that it was not, "a zero sum game." He felt that if the board hired a competent athletic director, then the athletic program would stay strong. The board could then put its focus on the larger academic picture. Under current leadership, the board, the media, and the athletics department all have a single topic of conversation. He felt that you could still have those conversations led by people empowered to do so, and rather than be an either-or situation, "this can be 'both-and'."

Mr. Ludwig is a man of obvious intelligence, and has a solid background with the University. He is a graduate of CU - Colorado Springs with a degree in Philosophy. He was the student Chair of the CU Intercampus Student Forum, and then later worked in the CU President's office. He was accessible and friendly and struck me as being very much qualified for the job.

The other declared Democrat in this race is former CU Buffalo football player and student athlete mentor, Milt Rogers. Mr. Rodgers, an IT consultant from Boulder who is running on a platform focused on cleaning up the athletic program and restoring pride in CU. I will write more on him if I have the chance to meet him, but at this point I find that Mr. Ludwig's message ressonates more with me. As a techie and political wonk, I find there is more possibility in a future where Colorado is as invested in laboratories as we are in stadiums.

The Republican in this race is Juli Steinhauer wife of CU Regent Pete Steinhauer.

The event was very upbeat, and there were a number of familiar faces in the room.

Rep. Mike Merrifield (D - El Paso) and I talked about the legislative session that is almost closed. He was disappointed that his bill to ban disruptive protests from millitary funerals failed in a 3-3 committee vote over first ammendment concerns. It was still possible for Joan Fitz-Gerald to call it back, but with so few days left in the session and so much left to cover, it most likely will not make it back on today.

Regent Michael Carrigan gave an introduction of the candidate that reflected a long friendship that included their time ten years ago in the Young Dems. Like the others I spoke to, he was certain that Ludwig would be a strong candidate and a solid Regent.

Other notables in the crowd were Tamara Ward from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Bill Wolf from Morgan Carrol's campaign, State Board of Education member Karen Middleton, and Soapblox contributor and Ludwig campaign honcho Lynette Mayo.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Being set-up by the man today

The Feds sent a white van with a lot of antennae out to my house a couple of days ago.
My housemate has had a cell phone amplifier on the roof for about seven months, and this week the Lakewood police have decided that it was interfering with their radio calls on a couple of channels.

We shut it off, and I am told the problem is solved. Nonetheless, the FCC wants to send a couple of agents over to the house today to take a look at our equipment and see who the manufacturer is, test our wifi nodes, and who knows what else.

Clearly the real intention is to try to sabotage my tin foil hat collection.

I am planning on going to Forest Room 5 at 2532 15th Street tonight to help kick off Steve Ludwig's race for CU Regent. Lyn, our favorite DL artist, is playing a key role in his campaign and I want to see why getting Ludwig elected was important enough to have her sign another lease in Denver. Unless I am hauled before a Kafkaesque secret tribunal, I will be there between 5:30 - 7:30 for some good local politics and happy hour.

If I disappear off the map someone please take care of my cat.