The trail of evidence that Mizel, Co-Chairs Trump fundraiser today, owns Colorado Statesman

July 1st, 2016

It’s no surprise that Colorado Republican kingmaker Larry Mizel is a co-chair of today’s $10,000-per-couple lunch for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at the home of former Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan.

But it inspired me to check out a tipster’s suggestion that I lay out a public trail of evidence showing that Mizel controls the Colorado Statesman, a political weekly that’s inserted as an ad in The Denver Post on Thursdays.

A search on the Colorado Secretary of State website reveals that the “trade name” of the Colorado Statesman is owned by “Mistro, LLC.”

The registered agent for Mistro is CVentures, Inc., and a simple Google search turns up numerous references to Larry Mizel as a director and chairman of the board of CVentures.

In 2008, Larry Mizel of “CVentures, Inc.,” gave $4,600 to Republican senatorial candidate Bob Schaffer, according to OpenSecrets.org. (So keep a close eye on the Statesman if Schaffer jumps into the U.S. Senate race next time.)

CVentures is located at 4350 S. Monaco St., Fifth Floor, which happens to be the corporate address of the giant homebuilding company, MDC Holdings. which Mizel founded in 1972 and for which he currently serves as director and chairman of the board.  MDC Holdings did not return a call from moi, if you can believe it.

A phone message at a number listed for CVentures on a Bloomberg “Company Overview of CVentures, Inc” was not returned either.

Why does this matter if Mizel owns the Statesman? Unlike me, who admits to a progressive orientation, the Statesman is claiming to be a traditional news outlet without any internal pull one way or the other. Playing it straight.

I trust some of the reporters at the Statesman and want to believe editor (and former GOP state legislator) Jared Wright when he says his goal is fairness, though anti-journalistic incidents, like one fill-in reporter doubling as a conservative political operative, have emerged. As well as other strangeness. And Wright doesn’t talk about Mizel.

So, to lesson concerns about Mizel hosting Trump fundraisers and to honor the journalistic ethics it aspires to reflect, the Statesman should tell its readers that it’s owned by one of the most powerful Republicans in Colorado. Better yet, give Mizel a space to explain his intentions with the Statesman. And let readers take it from there.

Glenn Says His Speech “Wasn’t Me” But “Holy Spirit” Instead

June 30th, 2016

Left out of much of the coverage of Darryl Glenn’s victory Tuesday is the fact that he’s a full-throttle supporter of a personhood abortion ban, according to Colorado Right to Life.

Glenn’s support of personhood apparently stems from his deep religious beliefs, which he spotlights frequently on the campaign trail.

For example, as I reference in a Rewire post today on the implications of Glenn’s personhood stance, Glenn discussed the importance of religion to him and his campaign in an April 11 interview on Colorado Springs radio about his speech at the Republican state convention:

RANDALL:  You were the one who brought it all.  And yours – if they were going to listen to one speech, including Ted Cruz – no offense—yours was the one to listen to.  There’s a lot of passion in you.  Where does the passion come from?

GLENN:Well, that wasn’t me.  That was the Holy Spirit coming through, just speaking the truth.

RANDALL:  Seriously!?

GLENN:  Absolutely.  This campaign has always been about honoring and serving God and stepping up and doing the right thing.

RANDALL:  Then I got to tell you what:  It’s a powerful thing.  I’ve always been baffled at how the Holy Spirit works. […]  but if you are the conduit, and that is what is coming out of you, then it is a powerful, powerful thing!

Based on this, it would be interesting to know what Glenn thinks of the separation between church and state, but it’s clear that he takes his religious beliefs seriously.

Windholz implies pro-choice supporters care less about women than opponents of choice

June 28th, 2016

Colorado State Rep. JoAnn Windholz, who called Planned Parenthood officials the “real culprits” in last year’s clinic massacre in Colorado Springs, took to Facebook yesterday to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision affirming a women’s right to choose.

“The liberal leaning US Supreme Court once again protected the made up right of abortion,” Windholz wrote on Facebook, adding that that it “isn’t enough that the child is killed, now the mother is in danger as well.”

“So who cares about women more?” she asks in the post.

In fact, the Supreme Court based its decision on the fact that the Texas abortion restrictions, which, among other things, required that abortion clinics be equipped like complete surgical units, were not medically necessary.

Windholz: Who could find fault with a law that improves health and safety standards in order to protect women inside abortion clinics? You would think that the pro-abortion side would want to have additional safety measures in place for women. That is not the case. The liberal leaning US Supreme Court once again protected the made up right of abortion in a 5-3 decision (against 2013 Texas law) to not make it a necessary for abortion doctors to have admitting privilege at a local hospital. Why – because it would mean something went seriously wrong with an abortion. It isn’t enough that the child is killed, now the mother is in danger as well. So who cares about women more?

The court found that real intent of the Texas legislature was, in fact, to unconstitutionally limit a women’s right to an abortion by requiring clinic doctors to have, for example, admitting privileges, when the health benefit of such privileges is minimal.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer  wrote in the majority opinion, “Nationwide, childbirth is 14 times more likely than abortion to result in death… but Texas law allows a midwife to oversee childbirth in the patient’s own home.”

It’s unclear what Windholz means when she wrote, “So who cares about women more?”

And Windholz did not immediately return a call seeking an explanation.

But it appears Windholz does not believe that people or even Supreme Court Justices care about women if they support a women’s right to choose.

Shortly after the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last year, Windholz wrote on Facebook, as first reported by The Colorado Independent:

Windholz: Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”

Reporters should find out why Woods thinks her extreme comparison of police to Crips and Bloods is justifiable

June 27th, 2016

In a Facebook post Saturday, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada/Westminster) defended her comparison of police to Crips and Bloods.

Woods wrote that when some law enforcement officials confiscate property under Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, it’s a “direct violation of due process,” and she asks, “And what makes that any different than a gang member or a common street thug who takes something from you?” She also emphasized that she supports “law enforcement at every level.”

But she did not explain why the comparison of police to violent and murderous gang members was appropriate, especially for an elected official.

It’s one thing to criticize police appropriately, in an effort to improve things, and clearly asset-forfeiture abuse must be stopped, but Crips and Bloods? How does that comparison benefit Arvada?

Reporters should make an effort to find out why Woods, who doesn’t return my calls, thinks such an extreme comparison is justifiable.

Woods initially made the comparison on a talk radio show, affirmatively agreeing that police and Crips and Bloods are “no different” in some situations involving confiscation of property.

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

Here’s Woods’ statement on Facebook:

To be clear …
There is a facebook site titled “Citizens for a Better Arvada (CBA)” which posted an article about me that needs some clarification. I’ve asked to join that group, and if they refuse to let me join, I can neither comment or post on that page.
To be clear …
The interview they are referring to was about Civil Asset Forfeiture, which, under Federal Law allows law enforcement to take your stuff … your cars, your home, your cash, anything of value … without first filing charges and getting a conviction. It’s a direct violation of due process.
To be clear ….
In the interview I indicated that a lot of local law enforcement agencies doing asset forfeiture the right way .. they get the conviction, and THEN they take the assets that were acquired with ill-gotten gains of criminal activity.
To be clear …
If there is no due process, if you haven’t been charged or convicted of a crime, why is it okay for law enforcement to take something from you? And what makes that any different than a gang member or a common street thug who takes something from you?
Listen to the entire interview. You’ll hear it was the host who brought up the Crips and the Bloods, but you’ll also hear that we were talking about WHEN NO CONVICTION HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN AND NO DUE PROCESS HAS BEEN MET.
TO BE CLEAR …
I do support law enforcement at every level, and I always have.

Thanks to journalists who refuse to take the same non-answer for an answer

June 24th, 2016

Journalists take a lot of hits these days, but we’re all glad they’re out there asking questions.

The final days of the Republican senatorial primary give us an opportunity to thank journalists for asking candidates a question multipile times when the question isn’t answered.

This primary season, we added interviews with former State Rep. Jon Keyser to BigMedia’s video of reporters who refuse to take the same non-answer for a real answer. (The video also includes interviews with Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner. Tip of the hat to, among others, 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman, former Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, and New7’s Marshall Zelinger and Marc Stewart.)

Media should take note when elected official says feds have taken away “virtually all citizens rights” and compares police to Crips and Bloods

June 24th, 2016

“We’re in a spot in our country where, at the federal level, they have taken away a bunch of states’ rights and virtually all citizens rights.”

Who said that? And what country are they talking about?

You’re right! It’s Westminster Republican State Sen. Laura Woods talking about the United States.

She’s agreeing with a KLZ 560-AM radio host who said, “I’m beginning to think that there is not a sector of government that doesn’t think they’re above everybody else.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good assessment, right now,” Woods replied, apparently forgetting that someday she may need the help of firefighters, first responders, military personnel, or countless other public servants who sacrifice their lives for ours.

The overall topic was asset forfeiture, and Woods was angry about its abuse by police. But does this mean the police act like Cripps and Bloods?

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

I have my problems with asset forfeiture, which has resulted in unfair confiscation of property by police. But are the problems on par with what we see from Crips and Bloods.

Here’s Wikipedia (sorry) on Crips:

The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States, with an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members. It has been involved in murders, robberies and drug dealing, among other crimes.

On Bloods:

There is no known national leader of the Bloods but individual Bloods sets have a hierarchical leadership structure with identifiable levels of membership. These levels of membership indicate status within a gang. A leader, typically an older member with a more extensive criminal background, runs each set. A set leader is not elected but rather asserts himself by developing and managing the gang’s criminal enterprises through his reputation for violence and ruthlessness and through his personal charisma. The majority of set members are called “soldiers”, who are typically between the ages of 16 and 22. Soldiers have a strong sense of commitment to their set and are extremely dangerous because of their willingness to use violence both to obtain the respect of gang members and to respond to any person who “disrespects” the set. “Associates” are not full members, but they identify with the gang and take part in various criminal activities.

Maybe you don’t like using Wikipedia as a source, but you get my point about Woods, who’s not returning my calls and whose fate in November’s race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger will likely determine control of state government. (Republicans hold the state Senate by a one-seat margin.)

When an elected official, even one like Woods who likes Trump, compares police officers to Crips and Bloods, it shouldn’t fly under the media radar, like this May 26 statement of Woods did.

Graham deserves media attention for being the only pro-choice Republican in Senate primary race

June 24th, 2016

A huge frustration of Personhood USA folks is the familiar pattern of Colorado Republicans winning primary elections with the help of hard-working anti-choice activists and then buckpedaling away from the “pro-life” loyalists once they face the frowns of general-election voters.

See, for example, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in 2014 and Republican senatorial candidate Ken Buck in 2010. Buck lost anyway, but Gardner (and Rep. Mike Coffman) buckpedaled their way to victory in general elections.

But now Republicans have a candidate who’s breaking free and saying he’s pro-choice from the get-go.

That’s former Colorado State University athletics director Jack Graham, whose website states:

Graham: Although I would never personally support an abortion as a way to deal with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, I do not believe I have the right to impose my choices on others. I support and I believe in a woman’s right to choose; and that our government does not belong in this decision.

It’s hard to imagine Graham buckbedaling on that pro-choice stance if he miraculously wins the GOP primary Tuesday. Why would he? A huge majority of Coloradans support abortion rights.

But Graham’s problem is, can he survive the GOP primary, where anti-choice activists join forces with Tea Partiers and actually win primaries. (See Buck and Maes.)

Graham’s competitors won’t be worrying about losing votes from anti-choice GOP voters because, as I outlined in a post for Rewire today, they’re all pro-life in varying degrees, with Darryl Glenn on top of the heap with the official approval of Colorado Right to Life, meaning he opposes all abortion, even for rape and incest. And he’d give legal rights to fertilized eggs (zygotes).

“I am an unapologetic pro-life American,” Glenn said during a recent televised debate.  “I don’t agree with the decision of Roe v. Wade.”

Graham and his campaign manager, long-time friend Dick Wadhams (See them them together here.), are probably hoping that the “pro-life” vote fragments among Glenn, Robert BlahaRyan Frazier (Listen to Frazier here.), and former state  Rep. Jon Kyser, leaving Graham to snare the three GOP primary voters who are pro-choice.

But, unfortunately for Graham, he already won over the three pro-choice Republicans with his other stands, like his support of gay marriage. And if choice is so important Republicans and determined who they’d vote for, they’d be Democrats! Or marginalized Republicans who aren’t voting in the primary.

So it’s hard to see how Graham wins politically with his pro-choice stance. But if he does, it will be great not to have to see the Buckpedal again. It’s such an ugly dance.

Conservative African American set to address Delta County GOP

June 23rd, 2016

Derrick Wilburn, founder of Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, will deliver a keynote address Saturday at the annual Lincoln Day dinner of the Delta County Republican Party, whose leader, Linda Sorenson, found herself in the national spotlight this month for sharing a Facebook Post comparing Obama to a chimpanzee.

After Sorenson’s promotion of the racist meme came to light, the local NAACP and Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDMA) called for her resignation,

But while state GOP leaders, like Rep. Scott Tipton, denounced racism in general, they did not join in asking Sorenson to go. After meeting with Sorenson, GOP State Chair Steve House promised racial sensitivity training.

Wilburn, who’s African American and also the vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party, told me his keynote address to Delta Republicans was planned long ago, and he will not push for Sorenson’s resignation. He pointed me to his June 8 Facebook post addressing Sorenson’s situation:

Wilburn: Typical procedure in these situations is to fire the person or request they resign, let the dust settle & smoke clear and then, having added another body to the scrap heap, move on. And what have we really accomplished?

Is Ms. Sorenson “a racist?” I don’t know her but I tend to doubt it. But can a person who is not a racist be guilty of saying or doing something racially insensitive or offensive? Absolutely.

This time rather than demanding a head, how about we say, “This has been going on for too long, let’s use this as an opportunity to teach, edify, grow.”
We can get her canned, everyone’s happy, we move on. But then what’s really changed? What have we affected? Then the next time someone does something similar get rid of them too. As concerned as I am with what happened last week, I’m more concerned with next. And the one after that, and after that… How do we affect those??

Outside of the understandable hurt and justifiable anger -which I do feel, I don’t like the President’s POLICIES but he nor any black man should EVER be compared to a chimp-perhaps we have an opportunity here. We can send one (who may be deserving) to the gallows, or we can use this as an opportunity for advancement. I vote for the latter.

Wilburn’s post promises more information “very soon” about what he’s going to do, but his Facebook page states that he’s talked with the GMDMA and Denver Urban League officials about it.

As for his presentation Saturday in Delta County, at Zack’s BBQ in Hotchkiss, Wilburn does not plan to make the Chimp-meme issue a “focal point” of the presentation, but he does plan to “communicate to the people in Delta County that there are very real disconnects in America, and you have to learn to be sensitive to those,” Wilburn said.

“If you do something that is insensitive or offensive, you have to own it,” Wilburn told me. “You can’t just sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t exist and hope it goes away.”

Wilburn’s approach may be greeted with  hostility from some Delta Republicans themselves Saturday night.

Here’s what one Delta Republican, Tom Huerkamp, had to say in a letter-to-the-editor of the Delta County Independent:

As a 76-year-old lifelong registered Republican and fiscal conservative, I am totally mortified to think that Linda Sorenson is speaking for me. I, too, am very unhappy with our current U.S. administration. However, she not only needs to step down, our elected county officials need to publicly and collectively disavow what has taken place. Furthermore, those members of the Central Committee who will not vote to replace Linda also need to step down and make room for a more responsible representation of our party.

Another letter writer, Delores Wilson, opined:

The fact that Linda Sorenson is “stunned” at the vitriol and hatred directed at her for posting a racist meme on Facebook points to her obvious need to educate herself on the history of civil rights in America. Her suggestion that she is somehow the victim in this incident would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetically sad. The fact that she resorted to using Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous quote in defense of herself is appalling under the circumstances.

While Ms. Sorenson may call racist imagery “silly” it is anything but “silly.” Imagery has the power to promote fear, prejudice, discrimination and hate. There is a long history in this country of blacks being depicted in art, advertising, greeting cards, sheet music, cartoons, etc., with extremely grotesque exaggerated features. Printed material depicting them as intellectually inferior, lazy, ugly, etc., was the accepted norm. Depicting a black person as a primate is nothing new; it is a part of historical imagery suggesting that they are less than human. It is an insidious form of racism that perpetuates more racism. When such material is accepted as the norm it bolsters the lie that the viewer is superior to the caricature they are viewing. Unless, of course, the viewer is black and then it bolsters feelings of humiliation, denigration, shame and more.

Also in the Delta County Independent Bruce Hovde, Chairman of Delta County Commissioners wrote:

Rhetoric that concerns the elected officials of Delta County is the stereotyping of our county as “racist.” The people of Delta County, the elected officials, and the Republicans as a whole are by no means racist. It is not who we are, nor how we conduct business.

We’ll see what comes of Wilburn’s speech on Saturday at Zach’s BBQ.

Plunkett to replace Carroll as editorial page editor at The Denver Post

June 22nd, 2016

Rumors are swirling about which Denver Post reporters are accepting a buyout offer from the newspaper, which seeks 26 editorial staffers to volunteer to leave, even though, according to sources cited by Michael Roberts at Westword, The Post made $25 million last fiscal year.

One confirmed departure is Vincent Carroll, editorial page editor, who will be replaced by Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett.

Here’s an announcement of the move from The Post:

Politics editor Chuck Plunkett has been named The Denver Post
editorial page editor, effective July 2, where he will oversee print
and online content for the daily opinion page and the Sunday
Perspective section.

He will replace Vincent Carroll, who joined The Post in 2009 and
became editorial page editor in 2013. Carroll also spent 27 years at
the Rocky Mountain News, including 19 years as the editorial page
editor. His last day will be July 1. He plans to remain in Denver.

“It’s been my pleasure to work with Vincent Carroll over the past
couple of years. We appreciate the contribution he has made to The
Denver Post and wish him good fortune in his future endeavors,” said
chief executive and publisher Mac Tully. “And I look forward to
working with Chuck as Vincent’s successor. Chuck has a long and rich
history in journalism.”

A professional journalist for more than 20 years, Plunkett joined The
Post in 2003 after reporting for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the
Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He became editor of the politics desk in
2011.

“I am humbled — and also enormously thrilled — to be trusted with
this chance to continue The Post’s contribution to the Colorado
conversation,” Plunkett said.

Racism not intended in Facebook posts referring to the “black population” as “hatred filled beings” and more

June 21st, 2016

Otero County Republican chair Judy Rydberg Reyher says there’s no intended racism in her Facebook posts that appear to make sweeping unfavorable comments about African Americans, including, among other things, that African Americans are “hatred-filled beings” who are kept full of  “hate and resentment” by people like author Toni Morrison.

In one of the ten posts (see below and right), Reyher shared a National Review article last April about Toni Morrison:

Reyher’s comment: “And this woman is supposed to be respected around the country. This is exactly why the black population for the most part have not been able to move forward. They have people like her keeping them full of hate and resentment. And if any black person is successful and/or moves away from their hate, he/she is vilified and destroyed if possible. This picture is looking into the eyes of what might be one of the worst problems the black population must get past. Pass this on because these riots are showing the true ‘color’ of these hatred filled beings.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Asked whether she thinks African Americans are hatred-filled beings, Reyher said, “Some are. Some whites are hatred-filled beings. Some Muslims are hate-filled beings. Some Hispanics are hate-filled beings.  No one should be blanketed.”

Reyher said: “There’s a lot of white people that have that same, I don’t know what you’d call it, victimhood embedded into them. ‘It’s not my fault I’m this way. It’s because a teacher was mean to me or they didn’t like me when I was in school.’ And I get really tired of it. And with blacks, it’s become an industry keeping them stirred up, keeping them angry.

“I meant that as a slam on any color group that plays the victim card.”

Another Facebook meme shared by Reyher last June shows an African American family living in poverty and states, “Poor people have been voting Democrat for FIFTY YEARS and they’re STILL poor.”

Reyher wrote: “Yet these same people refuse to believe it is the Democrats keeping them in this cycle of poverty!!!!! We tell them, they just won’t listen.”

One Facebook commenter wrote, “So sad but true….could it be a comfort zone? Hope not.”

Reyher replied, “I am afraid it is just that.”

Another commenter wrote that Reyher’s post is “too racist for me.”

“This is NOT racist. It is the truth and goes for every single person who believes in the Democrat Party and what they are.”

Asked about the post, Reyher said:

Reyher: “I believe that to the core. If I offended somebody, I hope to hell I offended them to the point where they say, ‘Maybe so,’ because they have to be offended into reality somehow.”

But she doesn’t see this as a specific problem of African Americans.

“I don’t think there is a single race that can be singled out,” she told me.

Reyher: “Nothing has been more destructive to the human population and human ambition than the war on poverty, because what it does is it makes those people think—In New Orleans, when they had the darn hurricane, instead of them helping themselves, they waited. Some of them sat. A year later, they took a film crew around, and some of them still had the same debris in their yard, and they were waiting for somebody to help them, because some Democrat told them they would. It has nothing to do with race. This victimhood has nothing to do with race. Look at the women who feel like victims, and there’s nothing they can do. The victim card is easy to play. It’s hard to win with a victim card.”

Reyher told me she no longer agrees with a Facebook post she shared indicating that Obama favors African Americans.

“I don’t know that he dislikes whites any more than anybody else,” she said.

Asked about a post depicting Obama as a “Muslim brother,” Reyher said she does not think Obama is a Christian but is not sure he’s Muslim.

In another post, Reyher calls Michelle Obama “evil personified” and “one of the biggest racists ever to live.”

“This ‘woe is me’ drives me nuts,” she said.

Last month, Delta County GOP Chair Linda Sorenson told me she didn’t care if people were offended by her shared Facebook post depicting Obama as a chimpanzee. Later, she apologized if her post offended people.