Ari Armstrong's Web Log (Main) | Archives | Terms of Use

Colorado News Miner 100

January 6, Congressional chaos, education, legislative regulations, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
January 9, 2024

Colorado and January 6: John Frank reports, "At least 23 people with Colorado ties now have been arrested and charged with roughly 100 federal crimes related to their roles in the 2021 attack." One case: "Robert Gieswein of Woodland Park received a four-year prison sentence for pushing into the Capitol with a group of Proud Boys and assaulting officers at multiple points."

Williams: Here's a shocker: GOP chair Dave "Let's Go Brandon" Williams will run for Doug Lamborn's Congressional seat. Williams is best known for his election conspiracy mongering and for predicting violence if Trumpists do not accept election results.

Meanwhile in the 4th: Erik Maulbetsch: "Election denialism and January 6 revisionist history were hot topics with Lauren Boebert and the other congressional hopefuls trying to out-Trump one another." Boebert referred to the criminals who violently assaulted the U.S. Capitol as "political prisoners." Another candidate, Trent Leisy, said, "I believe the election was stolen in 2020."

Congressional Map: Quick refresher: Republicans control the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Congressional seats in Colorado, forming a large "U" that takes up most of the (lower-population) geography of the state. Astonishingly, all three of Colorado's members of Congress now have stepped down from their seats. Ken Buck dropped out of the 4th, Lauren Boebert dropped out of the 3rd to run in the 4th, and Doug Lamborn dropped out of the 5th. It's a crazy situation. The 3rd is probably the only seat that might flip to the Democrats; last time Adam Frisch nearly beat Boebert (which is one reason Boebert left). All of the Democrats in the House are running for reelection, and neither of the Senators is up for reelection this time.

Approval Voting: Marshall Zelinger: "Boebert is one of seven announced Republican candidates in that district. If they all make the primary ballot, it will not require 50% or more of the vote to win the election. It could require just 20% or 30%. That means whoever primary voters pick to be the next Republican nominee may be opposed by three-quarters of the voters." However, Zelinger considers only ranked choice voting as an alternative. Approval voting—vote for as many candidates as you want—is much better.

Ganahl's Plans: Heidi Beedle has some news about Heidi Ganahl, who ran one of the most incompetent high-level campaigns for governor in Colorado history: "Ganahl . . . has a new project in the works, one that aims to help Republicans regain control in Colorado. The former CU regent has already secured significant funding from prominent GOP donors, including Walter 'Buz' Koelbel, chairman of the Common Sense Institute's board of directors, and fellow developer, former state senate candidate Tim Walsh. In a leaked Zoom video, Koelbel joined Ganahl as she pitched her 'Road to Red' to a wider group of conservative supporters." I'm skeptical that anyone who donates to a Ganahl-led project has common sense.

Wage Theft: Various people interviewed for a Denver7 article claim that wage theft in the construction industry is a serious problem. If it is, certainly government should do something about that. We should ask about proposed legislation: Does it well-address the problem at hand, and does it do so in a way that does not generate substantial side-problems?

Education: House Speaker Julie McCluskie said, "This session we will deliver a historic investment in K-12 education. . . .Schools could see an average of $15,000 more per classroom, which we hope they will use to increase pay for teachers and improve education outcomes for our students." She "hopes"? It seems like maybe the legislature should, you know, actually care about academic achievement for the dollars spent. If the new spending does not result in improved academic achievement, will McCluskie then demand to roll back the spending? (The question answers itself.)

Innovation Schools: I know this will come as a shock to you, but just calling a school an "innovation school" does not necessarily make it more innovative. Jenny Brundin reports that "innovation schools" largely aren't performing well. However, the relevant metric is not how these schools are doing compared to other schools, but how their students are doing relative to how those students would be doing otherwise. Maybe these schools are attracting struggling students. The Keystone report on which Brundin relies offers some indication that perhaps the many of the schools themselves aren't doing so well: "A smaller proportion of innovation schools met growth expectations . . . than other governance types in ELA [English language arts] and math." But that's still not too persuasive. Again, the question is how those students would have done otherwise. Maybe we should think more about how to create schools that are actually innovative?

Charter Schools: Wow, what a surprise that someone who makes his living "coaching" public school insiders doesn't much like charter schools. "Coach" Mike DeGuire demands more "transparency and accountability for the public funding of charter schools." Deguire particularly wants more "transparency" about private donors. It seems to me that what Deguire is after is more public hounding of charter schools and their donors. Still, charter schools are public schools, mostly funded by government, so taxpayers do have a right to know how their money is being spent. I can't speak to DeGuire's specific proposals—maybe some of all of them are a good idea—but I suspect that DeGuire's motive is to increase the regulatory hoops through which charter schools have to jump.

Preschool: Ann Schimke: "Colorado officials leading the state's new universal preschool program originally planned to ban religious lessons and activities during state-funded class time. Not anymore. In the latest round of proposed state rules posted publicly on Wednesday, they have removed an explicit ban on religious instruction during universal preschool hours." It is morally wrong to force people to finance, through their tax dollars, religious instruction. On the other hand, it is also morally wrong to force people who want such instruction to finance non-religious instruction. If only there were some solution to this conundrum.

OpenSci: The Colorado Springs nonprofit "will use a five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's innovation and research program to study and improve" its "OpenSciEd Middle School Science program," the Gazette reports.

Drugs: Denver saw "522 fatal drug overdoses last year, a 15% increase from 2022," reports Esteban Hernandez. Most of those deaths were due to fentanyl. A major problem is that the black market is filled with drugs that are tainted and of unknown potency, so users of illegal drugs typically do not know exactly what they're using.

Regulations: Ed Sealover writes of the "seemingly unrelenting stream of proposed regulations, limits on fossil-fuel production and added costs to employers as the 2023 legislative session began." He writes, "Loren Furman, president/CEO of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, said that business advocates will point to a slew of numbers showing that legislators must tread carefully to avoid repelling the employers who create and sustain the jobs that produce the state's tax base. Colorado is now ranked 36th worse in cost of doing business, 36th in cost of living (meaning only 14 states are more expensive) and 45th in housing affordability."

Natural Gas: Sam Brasch: "The state's fossil fuel industry appears more serious than ever about mounting a campaign to ask voters to protect gas stoves and furnaces this November." Government ought not be micromanaging such things. Of course various activists want "ambitious" controls.

Anonymous Legislative Action: Jeffrey Roberts: "Colorado lawmakers' use of an anonymous private survey to prioritize bills impacting the state budget 'thwarts the entire purpose' of the Colorado Open Meetings Law because it shields the public 'from knowledge that it would otherwise be entitled to know,' a judge found." I have mixed feelings about this. At some point, there's a trade-off between transparency and the legislature getting stuff done. In this case, we can reasonably expect transparency to result in more time spent prioritizing bills, or else the legislature not prioritizing bills as well, leading to less-efficient committee hearings.

News Media: Courthouse News: Many news publications are struggling. "Journalists and others in Colorado have begun organizing efforts that offer hope to communities elsewhere in the country."

Anderson: Kyle Clark: "Former Denver school board member Auon'tai Anderson ends his campaign for the Colorado House. Anderson’s announcement solicited donations for his new non-profit project: The Center for Black Excellence in Education." I hope never to read or write about Anderson again.

Drama Queen: Here's the Colorado Politics headline: "Colorado state Rep. Elisabeth Epps claims she has been expelled from Capitol office." Here is Rep. Brianna Titone's comment: "Here's the real non-click-bait story: 9 offices were switched around at the Capitol mainly because we did some work getting space freed up. We had several senior members sharing offices. Nobody was 'evicted.'" In related news, here's a recent Sun headline: "Colorado House speaker formally reprimands Elisabeth Epps for disrupting chamber during special session."

Ped Patrol: The YouTuber "Tommy Fellows [lured] would-be pedophiles through an online interaction into a sting that he livestreams," Rob Low reports. "But the Weld County Sheriff’s Office told the FOX31 Problem Solvers it will no longer work with" Fellows," Fellows faces misdemeanor charges for allegedly kicking "his two children out of the home" and "punching a former supporter," and he's being "sued by an Aurora man whose lawsuit claimed Fellows falsely accused him of child exploitation during a live-stream."

Racism: Heidi Beedle reminds us: "The Ku Klux Klan wielded immense power and influence at all levels of government [in the 1920s], and sundown towns—all-white municipalities or neighborhoods prevalent before the mid-20th century, which practiced a form of racial segregation by excluding non-whites via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation or violence, named for signs that directed people of color to leave town by sundown—existed across the state."

Transgender: Matt Bloom interviewed three families that moved to Colorado specifically so that a child could get transgender care here. Those who seek to ban transgender care for minors should at least stop pretending that they care about parental control.

Ghost Guns: Megan Varlee explains: "[A] new law makes it illegal to possess or transfer a gun that doesn't have a serial number on it. It also restricts the manufacturing of guns and gun parts within Colorado to only federally licensed firearms manufacturers." The law, under judicial challenge, probably is okay insofar as it requires serial numbers. But in restricting who may manufacture a gun the law surely overreaches. Why not just say that anyone who manufactures a gun must acquire a serial number for the gun?

In Politicians We Trust: Heidi Beedle reports: "The District 49 Board of Education in Colorado Springs . . . approved a resolution to encourage the display in schools and other public buildings of the national motto 'In God We Trust.'" This is so stupid. Legally, government schools that display "In God We Trust" also must display comparable signage from other religions, such as "Satan Rules," "In Allah We Trust," and "In Zeus We Trust." If he existed, God would not need the "help" of politicians.

Anti-Semitism: Saira Rao wrote: "Realizing how many American doctors and nurses are Zionists and genuinely terrified for Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Black parients." Scott Wasserman replied, "I've spent a lot of time over the past couple weeks thinking about the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-semitism. I've concluded that much of what is being called anti-semitism is, in fact, not. This [Rao's comment], however, is disgusting, unadulterated Jew hatred."

The DEI Con: 5280 has quite the story from Chris Walker. A man whose company "offered diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings" in Colorado did not reliably pay his contractors or deliver promised services. See also Sam Tabachnik's 2022 story.

Vacancies: Trish Zornio suggests perhaps making the "second-place finisher" the alternate or "mandat[ing] that the appointee is ineligible to run for another term immediately after." Those are good ideas if I did say so myself. But I still think my best idea is to establish vacancy committees consisting of local elected officials.

Unintended Consequences: Here's the headline atop a Sara Wilson article: "Allstate to ban Spanish-language insurance sales after lawmakers pass translation requirement; Sponsor says insurer's move is the opposite of what the law was designed to do." "Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, a Glenwood Springs Democrat and the architect of the legislation" finds the situation "infuriating." If only there had been some way for her not to cause that problem.

Ari Armstrong's Web Log (Main) | Archives | Terms of Use