Trump puts media spotlight on immigration policies of Colorado politicians, like Coffman

July 31st, 2015

Reflecting yesterday on Donald Trump’s recent pledge to deport, cattle-car style, each and every one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America–and then expedite the return of the “good ones”– the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent called on reporters to extract detailed plans from the heard of Republican presidential candidates regarding their positions on immigration.

Indeed, one hopes that the moderators of the upcoming GOP debate will see an opportunity in Trump’s cattle car musings: why not ask all the GOP candidates whether they agree with him? And if not, where dothey stand on the 11 million exactly? Remember, Mitt Romney’s big “self-deportation” moment came at a GOP primary debate…

The point is that eventually, we’ll need to hear from all the GOP candidates as to what they would do about the 11 million — beyond vaguely supporting legal status, but only after some future point at which we’ve attained a Platonic ideal of border security. Trump may have just made it more likely that this moment will come sooner, rather than later. One can hope, anyway.

It’s a good idea and has direct application here in Colorado, where Republicans, like Rep. Mike Coffman, continue to slide by journalists with vague and shifting statements about immigration.

Like Trump, Coffman has said he favors some sort of “legal status” for adult undocumented immigrants, but it’s not clear whether he’d boot out everyone first, and then allow the good apples to return–or if he’d skip the cattle-car phase and grant “legal status” to the immigrants here.

Either way, would he wait for seamless border security? And what’s good enough, when it comes to the border?

And then, assuming the border is sufficiently seamless, and whether he chooses the cattle-car or no cattle-car opition, does Coffman really want t0 create an underclass of millions of noncitizens in America, with no voice in government? Would we be looking at good old fashioned taxation without representation? What rights (voting?) and responsibilities (military service? taxes?) would be denied? Even Helen Krieble, a Colorado native who first proposed the cattle-car option, advocates giving a political voice to undocumented immigrants through citizenship.

Details, details. I wouldn’t want to go there either, if I were Coffman–because he’s get bitten by both progressive and conservative sharks. But that’s not a problem for journalists who should be asking him the questions.

Vice chair of state GOP: Look at all the Hispanics on Los Angeles’ “Most Wanted” list!

July 27th, 2015

It’s widely known that Donald Trump’s angry comments about Mexican immigrants bringing drugs, crime, and rape to America are false. Recent immigrants, including undocumented ones, are actually factually less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

But the facts did not stop Trump, and, closer to him, they didn’t stop Derrick Wilburn, the elected vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party, from polluting his Facebook page with mean bigoted comments about Hispanics.

Earlier this month, Wilburn suggested that his Facebook friends “take a look” at Los Angeles’ “Most Wanted” list, so they can see all the Hispanics.

Wilburn: Ann Coulter and Geraldo just got into it on “The Kelly File.” Ann told Geraldo to look at the LA “Most Wanted” and say illegals don’t commit most of the crimes. Here is the LA “Most Wanted” …take a look for yourself…I had a hard time finding one name that wasn’t Hispanic.

Who cares about real crime data when you can look at the “Most Wanted” list in Los Angeles, find people who appear to be Hispanic, and then apparently agree with Ann Coulter that undocumented immigrants commit most of the crimes in America?

Wilburn’s post continues: Granted we don’t know which if any of those are illegal, but, combine this with the beautiful young woman who was walking along with her family on a pier in San Francisco yesterday when a (Hispanic) man comes up behind her and SHOOTS HER IN THE BACK! In broad daylight. She was with her family, her father desperately tried to revive & save her life but was unsuccessful.
http://abc7news.com/…/sfpd-make-arrest-in-pier-14-f…/824358/

No matter where you are on the Obama supporter/Obama detractor spectrum – why do we want this? How does this president’s determination to reward any & everyone illegally in our nation with full citizenship status (not to mention access to welfare, IRS tax ‘refunds’ [even tho they've paid no income taxes], cell phones, housing credits, medical care, etc., etc.) benefit the American citizens? And if it doesn’t, then why does our chief elected *representative* want to do it so badly?

To Wilburn’s credit, he’ll usually discuss his outrageous Facebook posts with me, but this time family obligations understandably prevented him from talking to me. So we have to let his Facebook post speak for itself in this case.

And what it says is, “I’m mad, and I’m going to act like a bigot. And I don’t really care.” If you can find some other way of interpreting Wilburn’s post, please let me know.

As former talk-radio hosts tell all, KLZ set to announce new morning show host Monday

July 26th, 2015

KLZ 560-AM will install a new morning-show host this week, replacing Randy Corporon, who resigned in protest after station owner Don Crawford, Jr, temporarily banned former Rep. Tom Tancredo and (reportedly) GOP Chair Steve House from KLZ’s airwaves.

“Yes, our man, Rush, will announce and introduce him Monday during his show,” Crawford emailed me last week when asked if he’d decided which conservative would fill Corporon’s shoes. (In recent weeks, the station held on-air auditions for the job.)

Meanwhile, Corporon, along with KLZ’s other “liberty lineup” hosts Ken Clark and Kris Cook, who resigned along with Corporon, lit deeply into Crawford at a recent “Liberty Libations” event. Their presentation (below) to the libations folks illuminates not only their version of the events involved in the trio’s decision to resign from the radio station but also the angry divisions within the state GOP.

I’m not saying you need more evidence of serious conservative infighting to know how serious the conservative infighting is in Colorado, but you still might enjoy these videos. They were posted by Marilyn Marks. It’s all interesting, if you’re a junkie and you want to pass some weekend down time in front of your computer, but it gets especially good at about the 22-minute mark. The second video includes Tancredo talking off screen.

https://youtu.be/pnT76d0JEsA

https://youtu.be/aB_VgOXCZZI

Exit interview: Lynn Bartels leaves journalism after 22 years as reporter in Colorado

July 24th, 2015

Lynn Bartels leaves The Denver Post today, ending a 35-year run in journalism, with 22 of those years in Colorado. After starting her career in New Mexico, Bartels joined the Rocky in 1991 as its night cops reporter. In 2000, she started covering the state legislature. The Denver Post hired Bartels in 2009, immediately after the Rocky closed.

This week, Bartels answered some questions via email about the state of journalism in Colorado and her career as a reporter. (See other interviews in this series here.)

Why are you leaving The Post? Would you have stayed on if not for the economic troubles facing the newspaper and the pressure this puts on reporters?

Bartels: Certainly, I wouldn’t be leaving if a buyout hadn’t been offered. In fact, when I went to sign the paperwork, they asked where my package of stuff was, and I said I threw it away because I didn’t think I was going to take the buyout.

I always said, “I can’t leave newspapers. Who would hire me?” It turns out, I had some interesting opportunities. And that made me look at the industry and consider the buyout. I took the offer that made my family the happiest and where my new boss made me laugh during the interview ordeal. I thought, “I could really work for Wayne Williams.” Friends pointed out when I talked about that job I seemed happy. And it’s still politics and elections, which I love.

During the 1960s through mid-1980s, The Denver Post had 11 political reporters dedicated to covering elections and the legislature. In 2010, there were eight. Now that you’re leaving, there will be three, hopefully. No one would say political journalism here is dead, and the transformation of the news media has positive effects too, but what do you think Colorado is losing as The Post’s coverage of state politics shrinks? How bad is the situation? Or are you optimistic?

Quite frankly, the first blow was the loss of the Rocky. It covered politics in a different way. I wish now I had saved all the papers from 2008. We had Mike Littwin’s amazing stories from around the country and the state. M.E. Sprengelmeyer did a lessons learned from previous convention delegates. Burt Hubbard worked his data magic to do stories on how Colorado had voted over the years for president. I think Kevin Vaughan wrote the best lede in the country the night Barack Obama accepted the nomination at Invesco Field.

We had Roll Call and the Stump. When I did a list of things you might not know about Mark Udall, one item was that his youngest sister was an actress who had appeared in Law & Order.

When I arrived in Denver in 1993, both papers had political teams and legislative teams. It’s hard to imagine that now because it’s one and the same. Both papers had two reporters each covering Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and each paper had a full-time DIA reporter. The Rocky had three folks on education: higher ed, Denver Public Schools and suburban schools.

There was just lots more coverage of government.

Diminished resources aside, what are your biggest concerns about how political journalism is practiced in Colorado today? What do you admire most?

I think the coverage of education by Chalkbeat is outstanding.

I worry about the constant pressure to get things in first and fastest and there’s not the proper vetting.

What’s the worst error you made as a Colorado journalist? Can you name a story or two you’re most proud of?

I’ve made some doozies and actually would rather not go through the walk of shame again. The biggest mistake I’ve made overall in journalism, I believe, was too often letting my weight stand in the way of TV appearances. I turned most of them down just because I “felt fat.” Rocky editor John Temple basically had to force me to do the Denver mayoral debates in 2003. Yes, I went on Rachel Maddow twice but I turned her down more times than that. Ask Dominic Dezzutti at Colorado Public Television about my saying “no.”

I’ve had a front-row seat to some of the biggest stories in the state — the Oklahoma City bombing trials, Columbine — and along the way I’ve met some amazing people. Randy and Judy Brown, Rosemary and Wayne Wicks, the Flemings, I count them all as friends.

I loved it when former Rocky reporter Jeff Kass put on Facebook that most people now are talking about politics, my career was much more than that, including Columbine.

Favorite story? Maybe it was when a series of homeless men turned up dead, the Rocky assigned me to write about who these men were. I fought it (a common theme!) but in the end that might be one of my favorite stories. It turns out these people had friends and family, but for a variety of reasons, including addiction and mental illness, they just didn’t’ go home. I was working that Sunday when people called the Rocky about the piece. One woman was crying and said, “He hung outside our building and I never thought of him as a person until now.”

And I remember one night I had my coat on and I was getting ready to leave when I heard assistant city editor Luke Clarke say the pizza will be here in a few minutes. “Food! Free food! What’s going on?” I asked. The Denver Post today had depositions in the case involving the football recruiting scandal at CU, and we need to go through them. “Want some help?” I asked. And that was my life for the next five months. The Rocky won all kinds of awards for our reporting — yes, I have some sports-writing awards on my resume. The best ever was getting the investigative report a day early. We were all over national TV. I heard it was a very unhappy day at The Denver Post.

Colorado’s 2014 Senate race between Mark Udall and Cory Gardner was amazing, and I can never thank the Post enough for assigning me the race and letting me do my thing. I thank the Post for hiring me in the first place. Forever grateful.

I loved the story Tim Hoover and I wrote after the unbelievable civil unions blowup on the second to last night of the 2012 session. And then there was the front page “Has Hickenlooper lost his mojo?” piece that generated lots of e-mails and calls.

It would be so easy to leave the Post if I were miserable there, but I’m really happy right now with our team. That’s what makes leaving so hard.

What would you say to a young person considering a career in Journalism?

Find someone to teach you shorthand. Learn Spanish. Be as technologically advanced as you can be. Read. Read newspapers and not just online.

What will you miss most about your job at The Post?

I loved talking political intrigue with Editor Greg Moore. But I think what I will miss most of all was saying, “with The Denver Post.” That kind of says it all. People weren’t sure what the Rocky was. People in Colorado did. They loved it. Others? Well, they weren’t sure what it was. West Wing did a funny take on that once.

Other comments?

Here are some odds and ends.

In 2007, I won the Public Service Award from the Colorado Press Association for my stories on ethics issues at the Colorado Legislature. I think I was the first reporter in light years to win that award based on breaking news. There was no project editor, no graphics designer, no photographer assigned to the project, no one manipulating reams of data. It was old fashioned beat reporting and I was thrilled to see it honored.

I think former Post reporter Jessica Fender once summed me up better than most when she said something like, “Bartels will never be the kind of reporter who can go through stacks of documents and find the needle, but she’s the kind of reporter who people will pull aside and point her to this box of documents and say. ‘There’s a needle. Don’t tell anybody I told you.’”

Change has always frightened me. When I was first assigned to “the ledge” in 2000, I was miserable the first few weeks. There were many tears that Rocky editor Tonia Twichell and then Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Michele Ames had to deal with. And in 2014 I can remember crying in the women’s restroom in the Post, talking on the phone to Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano and saying, “Why did they put me on this race? I don’t know federal issues. I don’t know about LMN.” And he said, “It’s LNG, liquified natural gas. I will walk you through it.” In both cases, I ended up loving the assignment.

In other words when you call me at Wayne’s World next month and ask how it’s going, I will say in a tiny voice, “It’s OK.” But later down the road, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear the famous Lynn Laugh, the one where interns used to ask, “Should we call 911?”

No matter who Julie Williams is comparing to Nazis, it’s gross

July 23rd, 2015

Embattled Jeffco School Board member Julie Williams hopped on her Facebook page July 14 and shared a link titled, “How did the Nazis control education?”

“Controlling education was a way of taking over the minds of children from kindergarten to university,” reads the article, published by Yad Vesham The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. “Education was a major tool by which the Nazis’ racial policies were promoted and implemented. “In Nazi Germany, no one was allowed to think for themselves,” states the piece.

The post is shocking and confusing, which might explain why no one commented on it.

I tried calling Williams so she could explain why she posted it, and to confirm, but I haven’t heard back yet.

Is Williams trying to say that the teachers, students, and others who’ve opposed the Jeffco School Board’s reforms are Nazis, because they’re getting involved and expressing their views about education?

Is Williams implying that the folks trying to remove her from the Jeffco School Board are Nazis, or at least acting like them, because they want different education policies than the ones Williams has backed?

Is Williams trying to say that the Common Core curriculum is backed by Nazis or leading somehow to Fascism?

No matter what she’s trying to say by posting the Nazi article, it’s deep-sigh inappropriate and gross. You don’t accuse your opponents of acting like Nazis unless, well, they’re actually factually acting like Nazis. And obviously no none is doing so on either side of this debate.

Media omission: Conservative Jeffco education group has anti-gay lawyer

July 22nd, 2015

Failed state senate candidate Tony Sanchez, who lost the SD-22 Jeffco race last year to Democrat Andy Kerr, is now directing an organization whose registered agent, Barry Arrington, has a history of making anti-LGBT comments and working for extremist groups.

Sanchez’s organization, Freedom for Education, was formed in May to “strive for greater transparency in the policy process and empower local parents/communities.”

Since then, according to its Facebook page, Sanchez has been representing the organization at Tea Party and Republican events, offering conservative perspectives on Jeffco education issues.

Arrington, the registered agent for Sanchez’s organization, surfaced earlier this year after Twin Peaks Charter Academy blocked its valedictorian from giving his graduation speech, in which the valedictorian planned to announce he was gay.

During the ensuing controversy, the school hired Arrington, who heads the Arrington Law Firm, to represent them in the matter, and Rep. Jared Polis asked that Arrington be fired because, “…some political agenda that I don’t understand might be clouding the quality of your advice to the Twin Peaks board.”

The “political agenda” was presumably Arrington’s history of anti-LGBT comments, such as his blog post last year in which he wrote:

“A man’s body is designed to be complementary with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.”

Sanchez did not return a call seeking comment on whether his organization would be promoting Arrington’s views, given that the group’s name, Freedom for Education, is a bit of a head scratcher.

Asked by phone whether he would be promoting anti-LGBT ideas to Sanchez’s 501c4 organization, Arrington told me, “I don’t have a substantive role with that organization. I’m just a lawyer, helping them get their paperwork done.”

Arrington has served as a lawyer for a string of right-wing groups.

Arrington represented Dudley Brown’s Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an extremist anti-gun control group, when it faced charges for inserting a gay couple’s photo in a political ad without permission.

From 2007 through 2011, he was the registered agent for Colorado for Family Values, Inc., an organization long known for its right-wing social agenda.

Last year, Colorado for Family Values produced an ugly advertisement attacking state senate candidate Mario Nicolais, who was running against Sanchez in the Republican primary in Jeffco (SD-22) last year.

In the ad (here), Nicolais was pictured next to openly-gay Democrat Pat Steadman and accused of advancing the “radical agenda of gay marriage” by supporting civil unions. The intent was obviously to turn anti-gay GOP primary voters against Nicolais.

After 2011, the registered agent for Colorado family Values became Mark Hotaling, who, along with his brother Jon, has been accused of orchestrating numerous shocking political tricks, including an anti-gay attack in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn in 2006. The organization also played a prominent role in running the initial 2008 personhood initiative in Colorado.

 

Media omission: GOP activist claims to have letter listing legal issues facing the state Republican Party

July 21st, 2015

UPDATE: Here is the letter, without any deletions, as provided via the Secretary of State’s Office. It’s from Richard Westfall, not Ryan Call, as alleged below. A couple items of note are 1) a matter under investigation by the Federal Election Commission and 2) a matter involving the notorious Jaxine Bubis, who appears to have turned against the state party.

——-

Kathryn Porter, who wrote a lengthy Politichicks post yesterday illuminating Republican efforts to protect GOP Chair Steve House, appeared on a Denver radio station this morning claiming that the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is refusing to release a letter allegedly outlining ten legal issues possibly faced by state party.

Porter told Boyles that the letter was sent to Steve House from Ryan Call, whose law firm, Hale Westfall, had apparently been representing the state Republican Party. When House defeated Call, Call allegedly sent the letter to House, informing him that Hale Westfall would no longer be representing the state party, according to Porter.

For some strange reason, the letter was sent to the Secretary of State’s office, and it was heavily redacted and released, under CORA, to Porter, as she explained it to Boyles below.

Among other things, Porter questions the grounds on which the SOS redacts the alleged letter from Call to House.

Porter (@10:15): I did a CORA with the Secretary of State’s office on Steve House, regarding election issues, and a letter came back. It was a letter from Ryan Call to the Secretary of State’s office. And you know, Ryan Call is our former state chair. It was a letter to Steve, not the Secretary of State, saying that we inform you that we are immediately no longer representing you, basically, is what it says. So it’s a very interesting letter. And, of course, all the contents were redacted. And there were 10 legal issues that Hale Westfall listed that they were representing the state party in or that they were aware of. So I found that very interesting. And what I found even more interesting is that the Secretary of State’s office refuses to give me the unredacted version…We have basically the first two sentences and the closing sentence. And the number of how many things they redacted.

Boyles: They treat this like Watergate or something. Like an atomic secret.

Porter: It raises so many more questions. It makes me wonder, is the Secretary of State hiding something? Or covering something up for the Colorado Republican Party? They claim deliberative process and they claim attorney-client privilege. And we know Hale Westfall was not sending this letter to the Secretary of State’s office. There is no attorney-client privilege between Hale Westfall and the Secretary of State. So the only leg they have to stand on is deliberative process. And in order to not give me that information, they need to show me that irreparable harm would occur if they share that information with me. Is there some type of legal issue involving the Secretary of State’s office and the Colorado Republican Party? This opens up a whole new can of worms, a whole new set of questions.

I have yet to see a copy of this alleged letter, so we need to take this allegation with some grains of salt. But I’ll stay on this. Maybe The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels can help us out whenever she starts over there.

Has Cynthia Coffman aired all her grievances about Colorado’s Republican Chair?

July 20th, 2015

During her June 26 testimony before a Republican committee, which was investigating numerous allegations against Colorado’s GOP chair, State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was unable to present “significant facts” because of time restrictions.

That’s the allegation in a post today on the conservative Politichicks blog. In the post, Kathryn Porter claims to have had an exclusive interview with Coffman, during which the Attorney General reportedly said she was unable to lay out all her concerns about Steve House, the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party. Porter reported:

“I galloped through my prepared chronology of events but was not able to finish in five minutes. I felt I had to leave out significant facts,” Coffman said.

But Porter, who is a Republican activist and blogger, did not disclose the facts that Coffman omitted or whether the facts might have swayed the Republican executive committee, which ended up supporting House by a 22-1 vote, to denounce the state chair.

“Coffman broke her silence and exposed a stunning disregard for decorum in its treatment of both elected officials and party activists by the executive committee,” wrote Porter.

Porter’s post, titled “Behind Closed Doors in the CO GOP: From Bedrooms to Boardrooms,” outlined the chaotic atmosphere at the June 26 meeting, which was conducted under adverse conditions and unclear guidelines.

As reported previously, former Congressman Tom Tancredo and former Pueblo GOP Chair Becky Mizel were allegedly prevented from distributing a lengthy list of grievances against House, but it’s not clear who wrote Tancredo’s document.

And it’s also not known whether all of Coffman’s “significant facts” were included on the document.

Those are questions worth investigation by reporters.

Radio host should have asked Coffman why he featured a Planned Parenthood logo in an ad last year, given that he sounds now like he’s never liked the organization

July 17th, 2015

Rep. Mike Coffman came out swinging against Planned Parenthood yesterday, telling KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, “It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood.”

Then why did Coffman feature a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad just last year, Caplis should have asked Coffman. Coffman’s 2014 ad stated that Coffman “was praised for protecting women from violence” and showed the Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo on the screen.

Judging from yesterday’s radio interview, Coffman has a list of longstanding grievances against Planned Parenthood, and Caplis would have done his listeners a favor by asking Coffman what they are. What was Coffman thinking of when he said Planned Parenthood has done “one thing after another?”

When Coffman’s ad ran last year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains responded by pointing out that Coffman “voted many times to de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide many important health services to women including birth control, family planning services, and lifesaving cancer screenings.”

In 2011, Coffman voted against Planned Parenthood funding, as part of a House resolution to the federal budget billHR 36, which prohibited  making funds available  “for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.”

For most of his political career, Coffman maintained his ardent opposition to abortion,even in the cases of rape and incest, as well as his support for personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010, which would have outlawed all abortion and some forms of birth control.

However, in 2013, Coffman flipped, and his office stated that the Congressman supported giving rape victims the option of having an abortion. Coffman has never explained what motivated this change, leaving everyone to conclude that he was trying to shine himself up for women voters in his swing district. Hence, his unauthorized use of the Planned Parenthood logo in the ad.

Coffman made his comments about Planned Parenthood in response to Caplis’ question about recent allegations by conservatives against the organization, which it has denied.

 

As pundit, Kopel shows independence in praising Morgan Carroll

July 16th, 2015

Last week on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out, Dave Kopel showed real independence, not allegiance to the ideology of the Independence Institute, where he works, when he called Democrat Morgan Carroll  “formidable” and a “really excellent” candidate to take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman next year.

Kopel, who also praised Coffman, has a reputation as an arch conservative, but he also has an admirable independent streak. And it was good to see him calling the Aurora congressional race like he sees it, rather than caving to Coffman’s backers, who undoubtedly swarm around Kopel’s office.

Kopel (Watch at 7:35 here): She is a formidable candidate. Her political skills are not only the ones she’s developed in her own life, but her political DNA is about as powerful as you can have in Colorado… The Carroll family has been involved, usually as winning candidates, in Colorado politics since the 1930s. So she is going to be very strong. And Mike Coffman works very hard. So I think you can look at this as a national A plus versus A plus marquis match up of really excellent candidates on both sides.

Kopel, who’s a regular guest on the Channel 12 public affairs show, is best known nationally as a fierce opponent of gun control measures. He’s been involved in Second-Amendment cases across the country, and even before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s an expert on a wide range of topics, including the Virgin Mary.

Carroll formally announced her run against Coffman earlier this month.