Archive for September, 2012

Contrary to his spokesperson’s implication in Westword article, Coffman “town hall meetings” this summer were apparently private, corporate affairs

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Pretend you’re a Westword reporter, and you’re writing a story about a new website, called “Where’s Mike Coffman,” which accuses the Congressman of being virtually invisible lately (as in, he’s hiding).

You go to the Coffman campaign for a response, and his spokesperson issues you a statement. Here’s part of it:

Congressman Coffman prides himself as being open and available to meet with his constituents and has had dozens of public events over the summer, including forums, meet-and-greets, town halls, parades, roundtables and meetings with civic organization like the Veterans of Foreign Wars across the district, including in his home town of Aurora.

You include this response in your story, along with quotes from people who say it’s bullshit, that Coffman invites the public to see him only if they want to go to a fundraiser, and he’s essentially unavailable to discuss issues.

That’s what Westword’s Sam Levin did a “Latest Word” blog post Sept. 6. He laid out information from both sides.

The question is, should he have dug deeper, and told us more about the “public events” Coffman claims to have attended? Was the public invited? Were issues discussed? How many public events did he sponsor?

I don’t blame Levin for not doing this, because he gave Coffman and his detractors plenty of space to lay out their cases, he pointed to their websites, and he was only writing a blog post, for god’s sake.

Time is short for reporters these days, even at previously long-winded Westword, and sorting out the adequacy and nature of public events on a congressman’s calendar is complicated and filled with gray areas.

So that’s why it’s fortunate I’m around to fill in a little bit of information that was omitted and appears not to have been spotlighted anywhere else.

If you look at the events that Coffman’s spokesman recited to Westword, to show how out-and-about the Congressman is, “town halls,” jumps out as something that should be pretty easy to check out.

I mean, if Coffman had a town hall meeting, there would be an invitation for the public to attend. Maybe there’d be press coverage, even photos.

It took me a while but I eventually went to Coffman’s congressional website and perused a photo gallery on the home page. And sure enough, three “town hall meetings” were pictured. All three took place in August, showing summer action, as alleged in the statement by Coffman’s office above.

One was a “town hall meeting with employees of LabCorp” Aug. 14.

Mike Coffman “town hall meeting with employees of LabCorp” Aug. 14

Then there was a “townhall meeting with Tyco Fire and Security personel” Aug. 17.

Mike Coffman “townhall meeting with Tyco Fire and Security personnel” Aug. 17

And, finally there was an Aug. 24 “town hall with employees at the Aurora Home Depot.”

Mike Coffman “town hall” at Aurora Home Depot Aug. 24 with “employees at the Aurora Home Depot”

When I think of a “town hall meeting,” what does not come to mind is a private gathering for employees at a big corporation.

And my way of thinking was confirmed by a look at wikipedia and the dictionary, which both emphasized the “public” nature of town hall meetings.

But maybe in today’s scripted political world, the phrase “town hall meeting” takes on a different meaning?

I asked Metro State University political science professor Norman Proviser about this:

“The way to look it is, where does the term comes from?” Proviser told me. “It refers back to the notion of Massachusetts town hall meetings with direct democracy and participation in decisions. It was a community coming together in a town hall to make decisions.”

Today, Proviser explained, the term “town meeting” refers to a public event allowing for community input and exchange of ideas.

“By definiton, a private meeting is not a town hall meeting,” Proviser said. “That’s like saying we want to hear from the community and hear their views, and we’ll invite the praticipants.”

So, it turns out, Coffman is apparently re-inventing the term “town hall meeting” as a private, corporate affair.

Or maybe not. Maybe, the public was invited to his “town hall meetings,” but I couldn’t find any evidence of this, and Coffman’s office did not return my call. (If you’re a reporter, and you happen to be one of the three people still reading way down here, maybe you could give Coffman a call?)

And I did not immediately hear back from LabCorp, Tyco Fire and Security, or the Aurora Home Depot, which referred me to corporate HQ. I’ll keep you posted on my progress on that front.

Ryan continues to deliver falsehoods, and reporters continue to correct him, as they should

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

In his speech to yesterday’s “Values Voter Summit,” organized by the conservative Family Research Council, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan continued his pattern of delivering outright falsehoods in his speechifying.

At one point, Ryan said:

“Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion — at any time, under any circumstance and even at taxpayer expense.”

It’s obvious that reporters should set the record straight here, but Associated Press chose not to, reporting Ryan’s comments this way:

[Ryan] also delivered a blistering critique of President Barack Obama’s position on abortion, saying the president stands for an “absolute, unqualified right to abortion.”

In its report, National Public Radio reported Ryan’s full comment about abortion, and corrected it:

That is not the president’s position on abortion rights. The Obama campaign responded that Ryan’s speech contained “over-the-top, dishonest attacks.”

Obama clearly supports a women’s right to choose, with restrictions, as codified under Roe vs. Wade.

To say that Obama supports abortion “under any circumstance and even at taxpayer expense” is so far from the truth, so completely disconnected to the facts, that you wonder why more national reporters didn’t call Ryan out on it, especially given that women are a focus of both campaigns.

Reporters: Who is going to ask Ryan the $30 Million Question?

Friday, September 14th, 2012

by Michael Lund

Brandon Rittiman’s six-and-a-half minute interview with Paul Ryan on 9news’ Your Show last week raised more questions than it answered.  Not that Rittiman didn’t try his hardest.   But reporters who encounter Ryan further on down the campaign trail should press him for more details.

With help from viewers’ submissions, Rittiman posed timely, topical, and well-constructed questions to Ryan.  But the GOP vice-presidential nominee’s responses were scripted and predictable (on Obama’s record), broad (on taxes), simplistic (on limited government), evasive and misleading (on women’s health issues) and even humble (backpedaling on his previously reported extraordinary marathon time).

Ryan began by debunking President Clinton’s assertion during his speech at the Democratic National Convention that in a single term, no president could fix the mess that President Obama inherited.  Ryan called that argument an excuse, and then recited oft-repeated numbers on unemployment and growing poverty.

He finished his statement with,

 “We want growth, we want prosperity, and we have a very specific plan to get jobs created, to get higher take-home pay, to get people back on a path to prosperity – out of poverty.”

Wanting growth, jobs and prosperity doesn’t distinguish Ryan from anyone else in America, including every Democrat.  Thankfully, Rittiman deftly followed up with the obvious question – he asked for specifics on the Romney/Ryan plan on taxes and spending.

Ryan barely complied.  He advocated across-the-board tax cuts of 20%, (paid for by “getting rid of loopholes”) and then proposed a transparent, democratic process (no “backroom deals like they did with Obamacare”) to determine which loopholes to close and who should benefit from write-offs.

“… and who should get the write-offs?  Should we be giving write-offs to specific businesses?  Should Washington – which Republicans and Democrats have both done, pick winners and losers?  Or should high income individuals be able to shelter their money from taxation?  We don’t think so.  By closing these tax shelters, by plugging loopholes that go to specific industries and businesses, that go to higher income people who shelter their money from taxation, you can lower tax rates for everybody.”

Hold the phone.

Was Ryan talking about rich people with tax shelters?  What was that he said about Swiss bank accounts, Bermuda shadow corporations, and $30 million of Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands?

As Newt Gingrich has pointed out, and Vanity Fair has investigated, and American voters like me have observed, the Romney/Ryan plan might cause some consternation for people like Romney.

And what about that call for a transparent process?  If it’s going to be transparent, we may need to know about which presidential candidates have which assets tucked away in which off-shore accounts.   Hmmm.  Releasing tax returns could help in that regard.  Just sayin’…

Rittiman persisted in asking for details, and Ryan reiterated, with no satisfaction to my inquiring mind.

“We’re actually saying, “Don’t lose tax revenue, but don’t have a massive tax increase and restructure the tax code so that it is fairer, simpler, and more internationally competitive to create jobs.”

Does that mean that Ryan and Romney might be down with “a moderate tax increase”?

Rittiman didn’t ask, but the “numbers guy” Ryan did offer that he would not support “higher tax rates on successful small businesses which is where most of our jobs come from.”

But, if we close loopholes, couldn’t some businesses and Republicans spin that as a tax hike?  After all, many take issue with the idea of repealing the Bush tax cuts, saying that restoring previous tax rates would actually amount to a tax hike.

And another question:  does a “fairer, simpler, and internationally competitive” system include sheltering assets in strawman corporations in sunny Caribbean locales?

Ryan insists in the Your Show interview that there is Democratic support for the Romney/Ryan plan.

“The Simpson-Bowles Commission proposed a similar process of lowering tax rates and plugging loopholes even more that what the Romney/Ryan plan does.”

One might wonder, how did House Budget Committee member Ryan vote on the Simpson-Bowles recommendation?  I’ll save future interviewers some trouble here.

He voted against it.



Radio host’s questions about whether Mitt Romney belted his kids were reasonable

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

On KNUS’ morning talk-radio show Thursday, Steve Kelley played an audio clip of Obama criticizing Romney’s response to the Libya attack, saying Romney has a “tendency to shoot first and aim later.”

Steve Kelley, the host of the show, had Mitt Romney’s son Josh on the phone, and, it’s only natural to try to personalize things a bit. Plus, they say international relations isn’t so different than what goes on within families, on the playground, between neighbors, or what have you.

So Kelley asked Josh Romney if his father shot first and aimed later, when it came to disciplining Josh!

It was a fair question to ask a grown man stumping for his father, but Josh dodged it rather ominously, saying “We don’t talk about that much.”

“He was tough but fair,” Josh told Kelley, after some awkward banter.

I’m not saying Mitt shouldn’t have spanked his kids, or Obama shouldn’t have spanked Sasha and Malia, if he did. (I never spanked my kids, but I’m a deeply wimpy progressive weenie.)

But you’d think Josh would have laid it out on the table. I mean, seriously, did Mitt belt his kids?

Why don’t the Romneys talk about this much? What’s the big deal? I wish Kelley would have finished the conversation.

Kelley: Shoot first and aim later. Critical of your dad. Hey when your dad disciplined you, and how did he discipline you, did dad shoot first and aim later with you?

Josh Romney: My dad was very good with discipline. They really allowed us to understand and reap the benefits of making bad decisions on our own.

Kelley: Did he spank ya? Come on, Josh.

Josh Romney: We don’t talk about that much but he, ah, was tough. Tough but fair, we’ll say that.

Kelley: I remember one time my brother and I were playing with bullets. And you know, my dad heard about it. That’s the only time, first, last, that I received the belt. Can you relate at all to that, Josh?

Josh Romney [laughing]: The dreaded belt. The dreaded belt.

Kelley: Ah, that tells me right there. The dreaded belt.

Josh Romney: I’m joking. He was tough but fair. You know, tough but fair.

Listen to the audio here:
On KNUS radio 9-13, Josh Romney is asked whether Mitt Romney spanked him

Talk-radio host sinks low in predicting riots if Obama is defeated

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Big swaths of the conservative talk-radio world are seething with anger against Muslims this morning, getting away with saying stuff that could easily get them fired if they said it about any other major religion.

But one conservative talk-radio host in Colorado Springs sees the mob mentality in a group of Americans here at home: Obama supporters.

“If  Barack Obama is defeated, I fully expect for there to be riots in American cities,” KVOR talk-radio host Richard Randall said Saturday on the Jeff Crank Show, substituting for regular host Jeff Crank. “I fully expect it.”

As for Randall’s side of the political fence:

“If [Obama] is re-elected, you’re not going to see riots, but you’re going to see people who are very close to their rights and hang on to them closely… I’m not big on armed revolution.  I hope, in our country, there is never, ever again any form of government that would  require the American public to do what many of us are prepared to do, and that is, we own guns—

I own guns. People ask me, ‘why do you  own guns?’  Because they’re cool, and  I like them, Um, they’re fun to shoot.  And I own them primarily for protection.  My number one job as a parent is to keep my family safe and that is one of the mechanisms for doing it.  […] I hope I never have to use those weapons.  And some of them are military,  you know.  […]  I don’t hope that we ever have to have armed conflict.  But it’s going to be dicey, no matter who wins this election.

I would hate to be in Chicago or Detroit, some of those areas when President Barak Obama is defeated, because I think there has been this mentality that they are entitled to him to be president.  And somehow if he’s not, it would have been rigged against him, or something.

So Obama is an entitlement? And his loss of will bring riots? Like bread riots?

Maybe Randall has said the word “entitlement” so many times, so mindlessly, that he can’t keep it in his mouth. Now would be a good time for him to do so, because how much more disrespectful can you get?

Well, ask a Muslim who listened to many a conservative talk show this morning.

Post should have called its “clarification” of Andrews’ column a “correction”

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The opinion articles in a newspaper like The Denver Post aren’t an anything-goes zone when it comes to facts.

Professional editors over there do their best to keep the facts real, even if the opinions are bogus. So you’re more likely to read factual information in a Post op-ed than in a random blog like this one (though I do my best).

So this means, if an error slips through the editors, they’ll correct it (as  I will).

That’s what happened last week as it became clear that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan did not climb 40 Colorado peaks, as written by conservative columnist John Andrews Aug. 26.

Andrews wrote in an opinion article boldly titled “Paul Ryan, Mountain Man:”

“[Andrews] has climbed 40 of the state’s 54 peaks over 14,000 feet.”

Turns out, as The Post wrote in a “clarification” Friday, Ryan climbed 28 peaks, but he climbed these 28 mountains a total of 38 times, if you believe what he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

I don’t get why The Post calls it a “clarification” when Andrews writes, completely inaccurately, that Ryan climbed 40 Colorado peaks.

It was an error on Aug. 11 (2 peaks off the mark, because he failed to write “nearly 40”), and now now it’s clear the error is worse (14 peaks off).

Here’s the item The Post ran on the matter Friday:

• CLARIFICATION: An Aug. 11 Denver Post story and an Aug. 26 column by John Andrews relied on comments from state Republican Party chairman Ryan Call that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has climbed nearly 40 of the state’s peaks over 14,000 feet. In a 2009 interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ryan addressed the number of individual fourteeners he had summited directly. “I think I’ve climbed like 28 (peaks), and I’ve done it 38 times,” he said of his Colorado fourteener experiences.
And here’s the original unattributed information in  the Aug. 11 Post. This was not as flat-out  wrong as  Andrews’ column, but it was definitely was in need of clarification.
Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is a man well acquainted with Colorado, having hiked nearly 40 of the state’s highest peaks
I’m hoping, for the sake of those of us who like to think facts in the opinion section are accurate and details matter, The Post corrects its “clarification,” and calls it a full-throttled “correction,” for the Aug. 26 John Andrews column.

Fact checking the TV fact checkers: It’s true, not “debatable” that personhood would ban abortion for rape and incest

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Update: In my haste to leave my office on Friday afternoon, I didn’t give 9News’ Brandon Rittiman sufficient time to respond to some points I raised after he responded to my intial questions. I pomised to include any additional thoughts from him, if he had any, and I should have waited longer to receive them. So, I’m including more thoughts from Rittiman here:

I’d add that I’m not taking a side on the issue itself.

It’s not my place to tell people what to think of the idea. It’s pretty clear where the electorate stands, regardless.

This a matter of what the supporters say their initiative would do (which we can prove) versus what it will actually do (which we don’t know for certain.)

If I could go back in time to August 7, I’d have added attribution to what I said on camera: “The sponsors say it would ban abortions in cases of rape or incest.”

I take your point about other ballot questions needing to survive court tests, however, with this initiative, I think it goes beyond merely surviving a court challenge.

The language itself requires court interpretation. It’s incomplete, which is why we have so much room for interpretation of its various effects.

It doesn’t spell out any method for enforcement of its provisions or penalties for violating its provisions.

I’m no lawyer, but I suspect that this vagueness of wording is intentional to force the courts to codify some form of law more restrictive of abortion, to the maximum amount possible.

All we can say would happen for certain is that if this passed the courts would have to decide what to do with it.

Since state law doesn’t trump an existing SCOTUS decision, I don’t know that we can say with certainty that this initiative “would” ban abortions in all cases, even if that’s the intent of its sponsors.

I think the Truth Test piece accurately represents that idea.


Many journalists in Denver and beyond (e.g, Washington Post, Denver Post, 7News) write, as a factual matter, that the 2012 personhood amendment would have banned all abortions.

Among them is 9News’ Political Reporter Brandon Rittiman, who reported Aug. 7 that personhood “would ban abortions, including in cases of rape and incest.” (Watch the video to see the quote, as it’s not included in the text version.)

So on Wednesday, I was surprised to see Rittiman, in a Truth Test of an anti-Joe-Coors-Jr. ad, call the following statement “debatable:”

“The ‘personhood’ initiative backed by [Joe] Coors would have banned abortion even in cases of rape and incest.”

Via email, I asked Rittiman about the apparent contradiction between his two stories, and he responded as follows:

The short answer is because the wording of the ballot question has changed over time.

The long answer gets into a lot of layers of this story, but here goes:

This year, the supporters of “personhood” decided to use stronger language and publicly stated that the goal was to ban abortions with no exceptions.

In the version that Joe Coors supported in 2010, the supporters did not make that claim, though opponents argued that it could have the effect of banning abortions without exception for cases of rape and incest.

The struggle here is that the proposed personhood amendments are worded in such a way as to practically guarantee the need for court interpretation of the extent and effect of the law.

This story would be a lot easier for all to understand if it were a clearly worded ban on abortion that contained language specific to the exceptions.

Otherwise we are all just trying to determine the effect of a law that has not been vetted by the third branch yet. That is what I had hoped to communicate in the Truth Test.

Rittiman is right that, in this year’s version of personhood, there’s an explicit statement prohibiting exceptions for rape and incest. And there was none in 2010.

Still, both give legal rights to a “person” at early stages of development.

In 2010, personhood gave general legal rights, including “equality of justice, and due process of law, to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.” The Bluebook, interpreted this as meaning, in part: “If a person’s legal rights are violated, this section guarantees that a judicial remedy is available.”

How could the state of Colorado protect one “person” (conceived under happy circumstances), while another “person” (conceived after rape) would not be protected?

Rittiman might say, that’s debatable, and, look, here we are debating it! Fair enough.

But I’d say that, even though you can debate the point, it’s most fair, when you look at the personhood text and interpretations, to say that all abortions would be banned under personhood, even abortions for rape and incest.

The fact, pointed out by Rittiman in his online piece, that Coors, Jr, says he believes in exceptions for rape and incest, does not make the ad’s statement any more “debatable,” given that Coors indeed supported personhood previously.

Neither does this information, which Rittiman included in his Sept. 5 piece:

A spokesperson for Coors says he would encourage women who are pregnant from instances of rape or incest not to terminate their pregnancies. But he does not believe the law should “criminalize” abortion in such traumatic circumstances.

As to Rittiman’s other point, that there would be a court case if personhood had passed, any initiative faces likely court challenges.

Regardless, journalists still have to talk about what it would do, without always adding that it might get tossed by the courts.

In any case, it’s hard to argue that the “rape-and-incest” line in the 2012 version personhood makes it more court-proof than the 2010 version. They both are equally vulnerable.

But for the purposes of fact checking, it’s fair for a political ad to assert that the personhood initiative, if passed, would have banned abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest, even if the courts might have nixed it

Former GOP candidate Blaha to co-host radio show

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

I’m a bit late posting this news, via the Colorado Springs Gazette, that Robert Blaha, who lost to Rep. Doug Lamborn in a bitter GOP primary race this year, has started a radio show that promises to “name names and call out people.”

That’s always fun, and some conservative talk shows, like the Steamboat-Springs based Cari and Rob Show, which is defunct, actually follow through and do it.

The Gazette’s John Schroyer reported last week:

Starting at 7 a.m.Saturday, Blaha will co-host an hour-long program on KZNT, 1460 AM [in Colorado Springs], with Derrick Wilburn, who founded the Rocky Mountain Black Tea Party. Their show is called “Black, White and Right.”

…The pair will go back and forth on political issues, Blaha said, and he promised they won’t discriminate based on party.

“If there’s stuff that’s being swept under the rug in either party, we’ll talk about that,” Blaha said. “We’re going to call out issues, name names and call out people.”

Blaha’s show is a happy local addition to the KZNT political lineup, which is waaaaay right wing, and syndicated.


CBS4 reports that Romney speaker at Hispanic event isn’t “much of a policy expert” but fails to report Romney’s policies on immigration

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Mitt Romney’s son, Craig Romney, was in town Tuesday to meet “with some Latino leaders in the Republican Party, talking about Hispanic support and small business,” as reported by CBS4.

Romney has a “daunting task,” Channel 4 told us, to “pick up votes from the Hispanic community which, in most polls, is vastly in favor of President Obama.”

You wonder whether Craig Romney is up for the job, because, even though he speaks Spanish, he “admits he’s not much of a policy expert.”

“The youngest Romney says it’s his job to hear from voters and take their concerns back to his father,” Jeff Todd reported for Channel 4.

Channel 4 should have asked Craig Romney why his ability to speak Spanish qualifies him to be his father’s “kind-of ambassador,” even though he has little policy expertise. (And it does make you wonder about the criteria his father would use in appointing real ambassadors, if Romney is elected prez.)

But, anyway, Channel 4 did the right thing journalistically and reported the thoughts of someone in the crowd, effectively bypassing the messenger pigeon and finding someone to articulate a concern directly to papa Romney.

Channel 4 reported:

“We talked to a Latino community member at today’s event, and he said he has been contacted by the Romney camp to try to drum up support, but he said what he wants to hear first is true solutions from the candidate about real issues, like true comprehensive immigration reform.”

You can’t blame this guy for wanting to hear directly from the candidate, since the Spanish-speaking ambassador doesn’t know policy.

Media outlets can fill the void by questioning Romney on immigration next time he swings by Colorado.

Meanwhile, to answer the gentleman who spoke to CBS4, the most impartial observer could not call Romney’s immigration position “comprehensive.”

Nicely summarized here, it’s rooted in border enforcement, opposition to the Dream Act, and in a concept known as “self deportation,” which Romney has described as:

Romney: “The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here.”

One Spanish-language outlet in town, KBNO radio, has been trying to get an interview with Romney, during which comprehensive immigration reform would certainly be discussed.

But unlike Obama, who was interviewed by KBNO’s Fernando Sergio, Romney has yet to appear on the show, despite Colorado GOP chair Ryan Call’s pledge to do his best to land him for Sergio.

With Romney in hiding, at least partially, CBS4 made the right move in covering his son, who, did I mention, speaks Spanish.

Talk-show host should clarify what “things” merit a tax increase, in candidate’s mind

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

In a run-of-the-mill interview Friday on KFKA radio’s “AM Colorado,” State House candidate Skip Carlson made this off-hand comment to hosts Devon Lentz and Tom Lucero:

“Do we need additional taxes? Unlike a lot of Republicans, I think we do on some things,” Carlson told Lucero, as an aside. “We just have to be careful. First of all, let’s make sure we are spending our taxes correctly. Then, let’s fix the infrastructure that needs to be fixed now, so that our children don’t have to pay for it later.”

Some Republican talk show hosts, like Lucero, would have simply ignored Carlson’s comment on the taboo topic of favoring a tax increase.

Other GOP hosts would have tried to talk Carlson out of it, saying something like, “Are you crazy? My entire audience and my Republican co-host will hate you if you really mean that.”

But Lucero, a former CU Regent, took the gentler approach of trying to clarify things. He just wanted to make sure the facts were on the table.

So he asked Carlson, whose running for House District 50, a clarifying question:

LUCERO: So the state legislature is required to prioritize on spending. Your number one priority is to figure out how we prioritize, how we get the [in]efficiencies out of government. And at that point, after you’re done going through it, you’re unsatisfied that we have the resources necessary, you would support raising taxes?

CARLSON: Oh, yeah! I mean, this is — that’s business. I’m in business.


CARLSON: I ran my business, you’ve run a business. You get up to a certain point and you say, “Okay, business has gone so far with this. Do I have to increase my investment for my business to go even higher, to become even better?” And you say, “I can spend this now, and it will cost me a lot less than spending it later.” We have to, however, be very, very careful about that—very diligent about it and see to it that we don’t have the waste before, to start with.

I appreciate Lucero’s approach. He didn’t jump all over Carlson. He didn’t hyperventilate. He didn’t even let his own opinion be known. He tried to get it straight.

But, still, Lucero didn’t clarify the situation well enough for me.

Lucero should have asked, specifically, what “things” Carlson thinks we need to raise taxes on. Carlson stated that there are, right now, unnamed things that need funding through new taxes. At least that’s how I hear his statement.

[Listen here: Skip Carlson discusses taxes on KFKA AM Colorado 8-31-2012]

It sounds like bridge and highway repairs are two of those things, since Carlson’s comment about taxes came up in the context of the FASTER bill, which raised vehicle registration fees to pay for highway and bridge repair.

Asked by Lentz if he’d repeal FASTER, Carlson said, “Absolutely! I mean, if it’s going to be a tax, let’s make it a tax!”

So for Carlson, you’d guess that basic safety upgrades on roads and bridges might merit a tax increase. But what else?

This would make for a good conversation next time Carlson is on AM Colorado.