February 29, 2008

Just a Delay, Not an Outcome Change

The six Bill Ritter appointees to the oil and gas commission will not be voted on immediately, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel:

Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, in an attempt to appease several Republican lawmakers, said the Senate will not take up its final confirmation vote for Grand Junction ecologist Richard Alward and five others until mid-March.

“We had a couple members that felt like they didn’t get their questions answered,” Isgar said. “They felt like we were rushed on time.”

Isgar said delaying the final vote on [ Bill ] Ritter’s six nominees until March 14 will allow the senators to send written questions to the nominees.

This is a matter of form. The Democrats are playing power politics.

Bill Ritter Made To Look A Fool

Two weeks ago, Jim Martin, Bill Ritter's executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment exposed himself in the Denver Post as a part of the Big Blue Lie Machine:

Jim Martin, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and one of the plan's authors, said the carbon dioxide/global warming connection is widely accepted as scientific fact.

"You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth," he said.

This week, Bill Ritter's go to climate guy was called a liar by name in New York climate conference hosted by the Heartland Institute. Joe Bast made the opening statement:

Welcome to the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, the first major international conference devoted to answering questions overlooked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

More than 400 people, including 100 speakers and panelists, have registered for this event. They will be addressing such questions as:

>how reliable are the data used to document the recent warming trend?
>how much of the modern warming is natural, and how much is likely the result of human activities?
>how reliable are the computer models used to forecast future climate conditions?

Obviously, these are important questions. Yet they are given short shrift by the IPCC and in the public debate over global warming.

Jim Martin, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, recently told the Denver Post, “You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth.”

That is a lie that we hope this conference will finally put to rest, for good.

The scientists attending this conference come from a dozen countries, including Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Russia, and Sweden. They have published in every leading scientific journal in the world. They have stood up to political correctness and defended the scientific method at a time when doing so threatens their research grants, tenure, and ability to get published. This conference is their opportunity to be heard.”

Bill Ritter and Colorado are made to look backward and foolish when these kinds of obviously false statements are made by individuals on the public payroll. Jim Martin has provided a quote that might well outlive him.

February 28, 2008

Ritter's Approaching "Health Care Quandary" May Lead to Butt Covering

Yesterday our fellow blogger highlighted Gov. Ritter's "health care quandary," as SB 164, a piece of legislation proposing to raise the amount of legal damages on doctors, moves forward. It is clear that signing this bill into law will certainly "drive the costs of health insurance higher and higher." Yet I don't think lining trial-lawyers' pockets was the kind of health-care reform Coloradans elected Ritter to enact.

Well, today the State Senate passed SB 164 by a single vote, pushing the costly proposal closer to the governor's desk. It still has to pass the House.

So the quandary remains: Will Ritter give in to the lawyers' lobby and sign the bill, or will he hold fast and work toward sensible solutions to hold down the cost of health insurance? Perhaps the governor can find inspiration from an elected member of his own party:
One of the most prominent Senate Democrat voices on health-care issues broke ranks with his party to criticize the measure. Sen. Bob Hagedorn, of Aurora, said the bill's likely effect of raising doctors' liability premiums would be only "the tip of the iceberg." Hagedorn said the bill also would lead to the practice of "defensive medicine"--duplicative tests that are not needed but serve to shield doctors from lawsuits.

"This is not necessarily better medical care, but it sure is more costly medical care," Hagedorn said. "Physicians will look for more ways to cover their butts."
If Ritter ends up signing SB 164, he may be busy covering his, too.

February 27, 2008

Destroying Colorado's Economy and Values One Commissioner Appointment At A Time

Bill Ritter got himself elected by promising to be pro business. He is not.

When it comes to destroying the Colorado economy and Colorado values, Bill Ritter won't be doing his own dirty work. He does it by appointing anti-economy commissioners to the public commissions so that they can work below the radar.

Bill Ritter appointed anti-coal plant activist Matt Baker to the Public Utilities Commission. Baker's not so secret goal is to try to drive up the costs of cheap coal so that his favored means of electrical production can compete.

Bill Ritter appointed a former judge, Federico C. Alvarez to the Commission on Judicial Discipline over the staunch objections of the chairman of that commission. John Holcomb, a University of Denver law professor and 13- year member of the commission, opined that having 5 judges or former judges on the commission would destroy its credibility.

Now, Bill Ritter has appointed six new anti-oil and gas advocates to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Democrat Senator Chris Romer reportedly is concerned with the nominees. The Grand Junction Sentinel reports:

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, said while he will support Ritter’s nominees, it is “with a lot of caution.”

Romer said the worst tax any business can incur is uncertainty.

“I would just ask you to be very, very thoughtful about the level of uncertainty you stir up,” Romer said.

Bill Ritter's Health Care Quandary

We will be more than a little curious to see if Bill Ritter signs the latest gift to the trial lawyers, SB 164.

If Bill Ritter signs this bill, he will be talking out of both sides of his mouth on health care. He decries the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of uninsured in Colorado and then works with lawyers in the legislature to drive the costs of health insurance higher and higher.

What does he expect?

Today's Gazette has an exceptionally good editorial on the subject. They end it profoundly:

It is mathematically impossible for the Legislature to give us more affordable health care, and at the same time give trial lawyers this gift of inflated awards. The causes are diametrically opposed to one another. If politicians tell you we can have it both ways, tell them they’re lying or confused.

February 26, 2008

Global Warming - British Style

We thought we would give Bill Ritter a short and well deserved break to explore global warming in Britian.

Yes, the global warming fanatics are hard at work in the British Isles. And, just like here in the good old US of A, the fear mongering is being fueled by "charities."

Ed Pomfret, of the Woodland Trust, which is one of 11 charities behind the booklet, said: "This is very much a wake-up call to those people who perhaps have not taken the climate change messages seriously - a new approach that we hope will hit home.

Just as in the US, the message is scary and a bit disjointed:

Wetland habitats such as the Pevensey Levels and the Cuckmere Haven river estuary also could dry out, flood or disappear because of rising sea levels.

Bringing this comment from a reader:

Good grief. So it'll get wetter, drier, or cease to exist entirely? Don't tell me... it's also going to get either warmer or colder. With reporting like this it's little surprise that not everyone takes the matter entirely seriously.

Unfortunately, the British Government is taking it seriously:

The booklet, which is being funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs states that any increase in the global average temperature above 2C will be catastrophic.

It argues that the world's wealthiest countries will have to cut their carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050.

This is well beyond the Government's own target.

The Climate Change Bill, now going through Parliament, will commit the Government to cut emissions by only 60 per cent by 2050, although this is under review.

Bill Ritter is obviously a piker!

February 25, 2008

Who Will Be Bill Ritter's Willie Horton

It appears that Bill Ritter has appointed a new parole board whose mandate is to open the prison doors. They claim that there is no mandate, but Bill Ritter has a history of acting in secret against the public interest.

We think that it is not too early to be wondering who Bill Ritter's Willie Horton will be and what he will do.

February 24, 2008

Bill Ritter's Silence

Nice people that the environmentalists are, they have put together four initiatives that hog to themselves the potential billions of dollars of severance taxes that will flow from increased oil and gas prices and Colorado production.

One of their proposals calls for a 10% increase in those taxes in an obvious attempt to stifle production and collect fewer taxes.

The Denver Post wrote a nice editorial that politely said "hands off."

The environmental groups say they are willing to listen to suggestions from higher education advocates. We count ourselves in that category, but we're less interested in proposing new funding formulas than in getting this issue back into the forum it belongs, the legislature. Indeed, some statehouse watchers believe the environmentalists filed their initiatives in part to pressure the legislature to come up with an alternative.

We know that key lawmakers have been thinking hard about a severance tax proposal that would benefit transportation, higher education or possibly both.

Six days ago, the Rocky Mountain News said about the subject:

Just say no, governor. Tell the environmental groups that have filed several initiatives to raise taxes on the oil and gas industry on behalf of their favorite causes that you'll actively campaign against any such measure that makes the ballot.

Better yet, say it publicly - just so they're sure you're not bluffing.

What does Bill Ritter have to say? We quote and underline for emphasis: "___________!"

We are reminded that that paragon of liberal virtue, Colorado Media Matters, castigated the Denver Post when it quoted Bob Beauprez as saying that he would have hit the ground running, more so than Bill Ritter has. Now we see why Bob Beauprez would say that.

February 20, 2008

Bill Ritter: Progressive or Brutally Regressive?

Bill Ritter would like his allies to believe that he is a progressive politician. That isn't the tag he would like to be used to publicly describe his policies because it is associated with far left wing politics. "Progressive" is a dirty word in Colorado politics.

We're starting to look at the policies that he proposes, and almost all of them have hidden regressive features about them. Some are quite ugly, to the point of being brutal:

If Bill Ritter raises fees on automobiles by $100 per year, that burden falls disproportionately on lower income citizens. A family that can afford three cars can easily afford $300 but a family that is on the edge and needs the single car they own to go to work cannot.

If Bill Ritter forces the young and healthy to purchase health insurance, the costs will fall disproportionately on less educated and thus poorly paid workers just starting out in life. Well educated young people likely already have health insurance through their employment. Only low income, less educated young people feel they can take a chance to duck the costs of health insurance.

Bill Ritter is forcing the utilities to pay much higher costs for coal plants in the hope of forcing them to move to renewables. Who pays a disproportionately higher part of their income for utilities, the poor or the wealthy? Who will disproportionately bear the costs of Bill Ritter's feel good environmental policies?

It seems very likely that Bill Ritter will go down as one of the most agressive regulators, most aggressive taxers, and the most regressive governors in Colorado history.

February 19, 2008

Update on Yesterday's Manure Post

The Gazette is reporting that Saturday's small scale test of a new pollution control device that scrubs out nitrogen oxide, sulfur, and may scrub out carbon dioxide was a success.

“Our first live test Saturday at the Drake Power Plant . . . greatly exceeded expectations in terms of its ability to capture pollutants,” [Inventor David ] Neumann said. “We showed that it could capture approximately 90 percent of the sulfur pollutants from the flue gas using only tap water as a capture fluid."

The invention could revolutionize the power industry because standards for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions will be toughened in coming years. Though control technology exists for nitrogen oxide and particulates, none exists for sulfur.

Read more here.

Recall that Bill Ritter is committed to eliminating coal fired electrical generating plants and has appointed a committed environmentalist foe of coal, Matt Baker, to the PUC for that purpose. Not so fast, please, Governor.

Ritter Avoids Responsibility for Tax Hike Policy, Hides Behind the "Children" Again

From Mike Saccone's Political Notebook in Grand Junction:
Republican state lawmakers plan to have a counter-proposal to Gov. Bill Ritter’s mill levy freeze ready and introduced in the Legislature by the end of the month.

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, said he and Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, plan to introduce their referred measure “soon” to reverse the governor’s property tax, education-funding measure.

(The referred measure should also, even if only for a day, return voters’ attention to one of the more igneous policies of the 2007 legislative session. Republican Greeley Sen. Scott Renfroe’s Senate Bill 137 did the same thing earlier this month.)

“We’re going to be entering the school finance act debate soon,” Gardner said, “and they are going to try and spent $118 million that may not belong to the state of Colorado.”

Gardner said he would love to wait until Mesa County’s lawsuit against the state gets resolved, but the voters cannot “afford that.”

“If we could do a special election on this, we’d do it in a heartbeat,” Gardner said.

Evan Dreyer, spokesman for the governor, said the Legislature already addressed the mill levy freeze last year.

“Gov. Ritter is governing. The Legislature is legislating,” Dreyer said. “We are acting in the best interest of Colorado’s school children.”
[Emphasis added]
Hardly a surprise, when the governor doesn't even want to entertain the possibility that he might have been wrong in raising property taxes without a vote. Instead of taking mature, responsible ownership of a constitutionally questionable (at best) policy, he hides behind the false moral superiority of "acting in the best interest of Colorado’s school children."

Admitting mistakes doesn't seem to be in the Ritter playbook.

February 18, 2008

Bill Ritter & Horse Manure

OK, we admit it. We had fun writing the title to this essay, and yet there is a connection that we wouldn't have thought of but for a Sunday editorial in The Gazette.

Entrepreneurialism, inspired by profit and good will, has long improved environmental conditions. In just the past decade, modern ice melting chemicals have cleaned up the Front Range brown cloud, largely caused by road sand. Before the car, as economist Nobel Laureate Robert Fogel pointed out, horse manure built up on the streets of large American cities. Dried, pulverized manure particulate floated through the air, causing deadly diseases. The invention of the internal-combustion engine, today considered a polluter in its own right, saved us from deadly airborne manure.

Innovation, unlike regulation, typically turns up green — in more ways than one. Neumann’s invention could be the latest proof.

When push comes to shove, and well before that, Bill Ritter is the regulation governor. He is determined to eradicate coal burning electric plants through regulation or he wouldn't have appointed a regulator, Matt Baker, who was determined to do so to the PUC.

The Gazette's editorial was about a new invention to scrub pollutants from coal fired plants, apparently including carbon emmissions. It was a waste of ink. For those who recall what happened to nuclear energy, once it was demonized, it was never again acceptable to the environmentalists, no matter how safe it could be. The same thing is happening to coal.

More Ethanol, Less Alcohol

The next time you drink to Bill Ritter's ill-advised attempt to convert Colorado to an ethanol society, make it a Bud.

So much land is being converted to corn production for corn ethanol that the more mundane crops are being ignored. One of those crops is Hops, used in great quantities to make specialty beers.

The Colorado Springs Gazette is reporting that your favorite specialty beer will cost you a dollar more a six pack and 50 cents more a pint because of the Hops shortage.

It turns out that cheaper, mass produced beers don't use many Hops, so their prices won't be going up. Switch to Bud or pay more.

As long as we are covering price dislocations, expect to pay more for beef and pork for the same reason.

February 17, 2008

Trip Report

Paul Chesser will obviously be keeping his eye on Colorado as well he should. He points out that Bill Ritter's unaccountable cabinet level climate czar, Heidi Van Genderen, was once in the CU Wirth Chair in environmental and community development policy.

She has been replaced in that position by former Senator Gary Hart. Old left wing politicians never die, they just find a well paid position and laugh at the public as they rake in six figure salaries.

Most politicians have career photos on their office walls. We wonder if Hart has the guts to keep the iconic Monkey Business photo of Donna Rice on the wall behind his desk:

We had to chuckle at the first three comments on Chesser's post. Speechless!

February 16, 2008

Arrogant Ritter and Democrats Set to Spend Your Money Before Courts Rule

The Denver Post reports that legislative Democrats killed a bill that would have set up a rainy day fund from the dollars generated by Gov. Bill Ritter's legally challenged property tax hike:
Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, said the state needs to set aside the money in case it loses a lawsuit backed by a conservative group that argues the freeze is unconstitutional.

"If that happens, local school districts will probably have to repay the taxpayers for money the state collected on their behalf," Renfroe said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. "And they don't have that money. Which means the state is going to have to help them do that."

Ritter pushed a plan through the legislature last year that kept mill levies — the rate at which businesses and homeowners are assessed property tax — from falling when property values rose, as they normally would have under state law.

Initial estimates were that the freeze would generate $1.74 billion, but the latest figures put the amount at nearly double, $3.8 billion.

Ritter has said the additional money should be used to fund preschool and full-day kindergarten programs.

"We're moving ahead," said Evan Dreyer, the governor's spokesman. "We're confident that we will prevail in court if the lawsuit proceeds."

A group of taxpayers, organized by the conservative Independence Institute, filed suit in December, claiming the freeze violated state law requiring voters to approve tax increases. [emphasis added]
A little arrogant? Ritter raises your property taxes without asking your permission first, gets called on it - then when a proposal is introduced to set the money aside until the courts can clarify whether the move was constitutional, the Governor and his buddies shoot it down.

Clearly Ritter and Colorado Democrats believe your money belongs to them. They may also believe the Democrat-friendly Colorado Supreme Court will ignore the constitution and bail them out:
[Legal analyst Jason] Dunn believes the plaintiffs’ case is strong, but believes the results are less certain if the case reaches the state’s highest judicial body.

“The Supreme Court has shown great distaste for TABOR,” he said. “It’s hard to predict what will happen at that level.”
It's sure easy for Ritter and Company to be cocky, as long as they think not enough Coloradans are paying attention. When people do wake up to what's happening, it will not be pretty for the current Democratic administration.

February 15, 2008

Doing Yourself a GIANT Favor

If you want to inform yourself as to the sleazy and frightening way that Bill Ritter's Climate Plan came into being, invest 30 minutes of your time to watch tonight's Independent Thinking rerun at 5:30 on KBDI.

Paul Chesser is Jon Caldera's guest.

It is scary when an agenda driven non-profit can come into Colorado and hijack the process to the point that our climate plan is a close cookie cutter version of the plans produced in 20 other states by this same non-profit. How does it serve the public when they produce a list of mandates that they want imposed without any requirement for cost-benefit analysis or any proof that their draconian mandates impact the climate in any way?

Is Bill Ritter so corrupted by the environmentalist extremists and so inept a manager that he sees no need for a cost benefit analysis on any of these proposals?

No matter your position on the political spectrum, this could be the most important 30 minutes you spend in 2008.

February 14, 2008

Doing Some Thinking About Climate Change

We've written elsewhere about Paul Chesser coming to town and awakening us to what the environmentalist extremists like Bill Ritter and Mark Udall have in store for us, our children, and our grandchildren.

Imagine a world without energy. It's not hard to do. Man survived at a subsistence level for centuries without energy. Oh, there was the occasional wind or water powered grist mill, but candles lit the night. Even kerosene lamps didn't come into wide use until the late 1800's. Trains weren't really a part of our transportation world until the mid 1800's and if one wanted to travel very far off the tracks, he walked or relied on real horsepower.

All of the modern conveniences that we take for granted require power.

Not many years ago, PBS had several series that illustrated how hard it is to live a life without the conveniences that power brings us. They included one on an 1870's Texas ranch and a 1900's London household. The women had servants in both because it wasn't possible to live well without help. Even with servants, it is hard to describe what they were doing as living well.

What does this have to do with Bill Ritter and Mark Udall? With few exceptions, the generation of power also generates greenhouse gases. If one ignores that water vapor is a greenhouse gas, the exceptions are hydroelectric, but environmentalists want to dismantle dams, and nuclear, which the environmentalists won't abide.

Every other form of renewable energy produces at least some greenhouse gasses, either directly as with biofuels, or when its components are being manufactured and assembled. Bill Ritter and Mark Udall have bought into the extremist goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gasses from current levels by 2050.

When one considers that the US and Colorado population will double by that time, Bill Ritter and Mark Udall are advocating that power and transportation be rationed at a rate of about 10% of the rate we use today, per capita.

For some reason, the Al Gore's, the Bill Ritter's, and the Mark Udall's of the world have a great nostalgia for 19th century living standards. They want shove the majority of the nation's population back to that era. They would have a special place in this hellhole for themselves. Like the Russian commissars of the 20th century, they expect their wealth and political power to help them avoid the consequences of their own propaganda.

Ask Al Gore, who lives in a house that consumes ten times as much power as the average household. There will be the Al Gores in 2050, too. Some of them will be named Ritter and Udall.

Paul Chesser has more.

February 13, 2008

Fighting A Rear Guard Action, Weakly

With much fanfare, Bill Ritter assembled a coalition to fight bark beetles. It is too little, too late as Ritter, himself admitted:

Ritter said there is no way to stop the beetle infestation, which has destroyed more than 1.5 million acres of lodge pole pines over the past decade and could wipe them out in three to five years.

At no time did Bill Ritter acknowledge that the devestation was caused in large part by the obstinate refusal of the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club to allow the forest service to be proactive. He also was careful not to admit that those two organizations and their bought and paid for Boulder Congressman, Mark Udall, will stand in the way of preparing fire breaks in the dead forests that would keep a fire from burning more than a few thousand acres.

When Mark Udall and Bill Ritter talk about fire breaks, they mean localized fire breaks near mountain towns, and nothing else.

Even if Mark Udall refuses to walk the walk, he can certainly talk the talk, and he managed to get a quote into the paper:

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he would work with the task force to iron out any federal issues.

"We need to work together at the federal, state, local and private level to address the potential impacts of bark beetles, vegetative overgrowth, fire threats, tourist impacts, energy production and creating future healthy forest conditions on our forested landscapes," Udall said

February 11, 2008

Hillman: An End Run on Taxpayers

Former acting treasurer Mark Hillman writes about the end run around the taxpayers being run by Bill Ritter:

Republicans wouldn’t have dreamed of this storyline, but for the second time in less than a year, Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter is proposing a major tax increase.

And just like last time, he doesn’t want to let you vote on it.

Taxpayers who have just received their property tax bill could be forgiven for mistaking last year’s tax "freeze" for a tax hike. After all, when the legislature and the governor pass a new law that causes you to pay more than you would have otherwise, most people understandably think their taxes have been raised.

But since your taxes were "frozen," you don’t get to vote – even though the Taxpayers Bill of Rights in the state constitution says you should. (If only you had a law degree or a union membership, it would all make perfect sense.)

Now the governor [ Bill Ritter ] wants to pull a similar legal slight of hand on the cost of renewing license plates on your vehicle.

Read more

February 7, 2008

Cory Voorhis Going to Trial

There is an exceedingly interesting but very long set of comments at the bottom of a Denver Post article on the outcome of the Voorhis pre-trial hearing. The quotes are more informative than the article. We bring part of them here in the hope that others will read all of them:

I'm not classifying Bill Ritter as the "victim". The CBI did that on their own. He is officially listed in their investigative reports as the victim.

I'm not Cory's father, brother, son, or any other relative. I realize that these defenses will be used at trial. And the reality is that it is my opinion, and my opinion only, that it will be difficult, if not impossible for the US Attorney to obtain a conviction.

FACT: There have been in excess of 5,000 pages of discovery turned over to the defense. Do you have any idea of how much investigative effort has been put forth to generate that much paper? And at what cost to the taxpayer? This is a MISDEMEANOR charge and not a felony. It could have easily been handled by ICE administratively as a disciplinary action or adverse action. But instead, it's been made into a, pardon the pun. "Federal Case".

FACT: Judge Kane stated from the bench that he believed Voorhis did not access NCIC or CCIC for an authorized purpose. I didn't make this up. The judge said it in open court. That is tantamount to the judge saying that Cory Voorhis is guilty before he's had a trial and before the jury of his peers has gotten to make that determination on their own. The Constitution guarantees a presumption of innocence. For a District Court Judge to pronounce prior to the commencement of a trial that he believes that the defendant who stands before him is guilty runs contrary to that presumption

February 5, 2008

Bill Ritter: Doing The Right Thing, Maybe

We're often critical of Bill Ritter because there is much to be critical of. When he does something right, we need to recognize and applaud his action.

The Coloradoan reports that he is seeking to see if Tim Masters can be compensated if he is fully exonerated. It is the right thing to do.

If he forced Masters to sue for compensation, a large verdict would discourage prosecutors from ensuring justice was done when new evidence was uncovered. They would attempt to keep the innocent in jail to save their jurisdictions from paying damages.

The Fort Collins police department is very likely liable for its actions in the Masters case, which means the taxpayers are liable. That is very likely one of the reasons that the prosecutor has refused to clear him, probably unjustly.

For a lawyer, Bill Ritter is pretty messed up. Not this one time.

Bill Ritter - For Gun Control or Against?

We like to tell the story of two Republicans who live about ten miles apart. We met them while we were knocking on doors and making phone calls for Bob Beauprez.

One voted for Bill Ritter because he thought Ritter would protect hunter's rights better than Bob Beauprez. The other voted for Bill Ritter because he was certain that Ritter would work for gun control.

This last guy was a gun control nut. When informed that this author had purchased a shotgun after finding a burglar in the house one night, he said "he didn't kill you, did he?" That's the gold standard among gun control nuts. Of course, they have no compassion for those who do die or are raped when their gun is beyond their reach, or they have no gun.

Today, the GJ Sentinel reports that our two Republicans will find out which was the greater fool:

A panel of state lawmakers gave initial approval Monday afternoon to a bill that could criminalize the careless storage of firearms.

Sen. Sue Windels, D-Arvada, said the ready availability of firearms in some households has fueled teen suicides and school violence, and lawmakers should discourage the negligent storage of weapons.

Senate Bill 49 would make it a misdemeanor offense for an adult to fail to safely and securely store a firearm, which a 16-year-old or 17-year-old child could then use to harm someone or take the gun to school.

February 4, 2008

Harassing Union Tactics Unleashed by Ritter's Executive Order

From the University of Colorado newspaper comes a story about union organizers accused of harassing state employees:
Last week, human resource directors from many state agencies met with leaders from several unions to voice their concerns about union organizers' tactics, which some called over-aggressive. One union organizer, employed by Colorado WINS, was arrested in downtown Denver in November for allegedly trespassing on Regional Transportation District property after attempting to distribute leaflets in an adjacent private building where a state agency is located. In a more recent incident, a union organizer who visited a Department of Corrections (DOC) employee at home, found himself on the business end of a gun. (The DOC could not confirm the incident, but S&GR learned about the incident from two union leaders, both of whom volunteered the information.)

The response from union leaders at the Jan. 25 meeting was that if unions are denied access to state employees in the workplace, home visits and home phone calls may be their chief way to get petitions signed for employee partnerships....

Heather Perdue, DOC human resources manager, told S&GR that her employees view the home visits as an invasion of privacy. Other HR directors said some employees have complained about multiple phone calls at home in the evenings. Hudson replied that there are at least three organizations trying to recruit and it's possible that employees are getting calls from three organizations in one night.
Remember, it was Gov. Bill Ritter's November 2 executive order that set these events rapidly in motion. In the past three months, we've been told these are harmless and constructive "partnerships" designed to make state government more "efficient."

And now what do we read about: Trespassing? Visits and repeated phone calls (maybe they should organize a telemarketers' union) to employee homes? The unions seem really eager to get employees on board to take part in these "partnerships." Except what they're telling their targeted future members is something different than what the governor has said to try to reassure citizens of the state:
[Colorado Association of Public Employees spokesman Miller] Hudson also addressed the issue of what messages are being communicated to state employees. He said his organization is talking about negotiating for better wages and benefits in recruiting messages, in spite of the Ritter administration's statements that those issues are non-negotiable due to existing statutory and budget limitations.
The question remains: Is Ritter being manipulated by the unions, or is he a willing collaborator? Whichever is the case, he shares some accountability for opening his employees' doors to coercive union tactics and the government's doors to inevitable rising costs.

At least one official is trying to do something about the problem on both fronts:
Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) said he also had heard stories, including ones from friends who are state employees and say they are being harassed. He said he suspects that a master list of state employees' home phone numbers and addresses may have been illegally provided to the unions, and that he is looking into the matter. The union tactics are "outrageous," Mitchell said, "but not surprising." He said the Ritter executive order is more about "throwing open the door to coercive recruiting tactics, not about creating a collegial partnership with state employees." Mitchell is a sponsor of SB 86, which would overturn the Ritter order. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Feb. 6.

Hudson and [Communications Workers of America organizer Al] Kogler told the human resource managers that those lists were purchased from information brokers who are "tracking down" state employees.
Purchasing lists for the privilege of "tracking down" state employees in their homes? That's a lot of time, effort, and brain damage to spend just to make government more "efficient." Either Gov. Ritter has been insulting our intelligence, or letting his own intelligence be insulted. Neither is a flattering compliment for this great state of Colorado.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

February 3, 2008

Where is Bill Ritter on Nuclear Power?

One of the more interesting aspects of this election cycle has been the willingness of major Colorado politicians to undercut each other.

They may all be reading from the same environmentalist extremist playbook, but some seem to have started from the back of the book, some in the middle, and some at the beginning.

Take Roan drilling, for example. Neither Ken Salazar nor Mark Udall could seem to anticipate that the lure of billions of tax dollars would cause Bill Ritter to cave on the issue. Once Ritter caved, the position folded up like a house of cards. Now, Salazar and Udall favor drilling on the top of the Roan plateau.

It never was a defensable position because the Roan is not pristine back country. Any one who questioned that need only call up Google Earth to discover that is is scrub land.

Now comes the issue of nuclear power. Mark Udall pulled his finger out of the anti nuclear dam when he told the Denver Post after the State of the Union address:

"I believe we've got to take another look at nuclear power because of the carbon footprint it doesn't have," said [ Mark ] Udall. "But we do it taking into account the challenges that nuclear power presents, cost-wise and environmentally."

So, now it is time to find out which part of the environmentalist extremist playbook Bill Ritter is playing on nuclear power. Where do you stand Governor? Your campaign contributors want to know.

February 1, 2008

Picking My Pocket

Some years ago, I voted for TABOR. I was a late convert. I wasn't eleigible to vote in Colorado until 1990, and that year, I voted against it along with a majority of Colorado citizens.

The legislature responded by immediately raising taxes, as they had done immediately after the first TABOR loss in 1988. They couldn't seem to realize that they were rubbing the voter's faces in the TABOR losses and that eventually, voters would get angry.

In 1992, I was ready to vote for TABOR, and did so, again with a majority of Colorado citizens.

Now comes Bill Ritter who wants to get rid of TABOR. If he can't get rid of TABOR, he wants to emasculate it. Meanwhile, he can't seem to follow the constitution. He wants to raise taxes, so he calls them fees.

He has put out the word that he will be putting a bill before the legislature to raise $500,000,000. That is a lot of zeroes. He doesn't seem to have learned anything. If this legislature and governor were turned loose from TABOR the level of taxation imposed on Colorado citizens would make Californians and Taxachuttes citizens blush.

Fool me once...

The Denver Post article we linked to now has 227 comments. Usually, they are lucky to get five. Bill Ritter will be a one term governor, but he can do a lot of damage in that one term.