Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

Media omission: Personhood ties run deep in Jeffco GOP campaigns

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

I wrote last week about how senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s support for Colorado’s personhood abortion ban was part of his formula for winning the 2010 Republican caucus process, which was a big step to his being elected to Congress.

If you look at the State Senate races in Jefferson County today, you see that the influence of key personhood backers persists, meaning that Cory Gardner would have likely faced the same pressure to embrace personhood positions today as he did then. Gardner, of course, did not run in Jeffco, but similar dynamics play out statewide.

And don’t forget that Jefferson County is the most critical battleground between Democrats and Republicans for control of the state legislature. The swing district could also decide Colorado’s Governor and U.S. Senate races, and the outcome of Colorado’s Senate contest could put the entire U.S. Senate in Democratic or Republican hands.

The latest campaign finance reports reveal that Jeffco Republican candidates Tim Neville (SD-16), Laura Woods (SD-19), and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) all have notorious GOP strategic consultant Jon Hotaling on the payroll via his company, “Liberty Service Corporation.” Liberty Service Corporation was Sanchez’s largest expenditure ($1,750) during the latest campaign-finance-reporting period and the second largest for Woods ($1,000) and Neville ($1,000).

Hotaling’s firm has worked over the years for Rep. Janak Joshi, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, and other personhood supporters, most notably for Colorado For Equal Rights, which ran the pro-personhood campaign, fronted by Kristi Burton, in 2008, according to campaign-finance reports. In 2008, Hotaling collected about $12,000 from Colorado For Equal Rights.

So a major consultant for Personhood is deeply integrated into the campaigns of the three Republican senate candidates in Jeffco. Neville, Sanchez, and Woods all support personhood, as defined by Colorado Right to Life, based on their responses to its candidate survey this year.

Using what Republicans themselves called unethical tactics, Woods and Sanchez hammered their Republican primary opponents on the abortion issue during their primary campaigns against Lang Sias and Mario Nicolais.

In one flyer produced by “Colorado for Family Values,” (see link below), Nicolais was pictured next to openly-gay Democrat Pat Steadman and accused of advancing the “radical agenda of gay marriage” by supporting civil unions.

A search for Colorado for Family Values on the Secretary of State’s website returns, “Decommissioning Colorado for Family Values,” which was previously called “Colorado for Family Values.” Its agent is Mark Hotaling, Jon’s brother. No expenditures are listed, apparently indicating a campaign-finance violation, like the one that prompted a complaint Tuesday by Colorado Ethics Watch against Colorado Campaign for Life and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

The bulk mail permit (#255) used for 2014 mailers against Sias by the Christian Coalition of Colorado, a staunch anti-abortion group previously directed by both Jon and his brother Mark Hotaling, is identical to the bulk mail permit number used by Colorado for Family Values for Gosnell mailers against Nicolais.

(Click here to see the Christian Coalition of Colorado mailer using bulk permit #255 and the Colorado for Family Values mailer using bulk permit #255.)

pile of accusations point to Hotaling as using similar mailers and messaging to destroy his past opponents, Republicans or Democrats.

For example, Hotaling was accused of orchestrating dirty tricks in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary victory in 2006 over talk-show host Jeff Crank and CO Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera. In that race, a mailer linked to Hotaling and his brother accused the ultra-conservative Crank and Rivera, of supporting the “homosexual agenda.” And you can imagine how that was received by Colorado Springs Republicans. On his KVOR radio show, Crank still talks bitterly about the race.

The mailed advertisement against Crank came from the Christian Coalition of Colorado, directed at the time by Jon Hotaling’s brother Mark, who’d just taken over the organization from brother Jon, who’d left to run Lamborn’s campaign.

Hotaling, who was once Marilyn Musgrave’s campaign manager, has been investigated by the Federal Election Commission (See graphic on page 9.).

I didn’t receive a response to phone and/or email messages offering Jon and Mark Hotaling, Sanchez, Woods, and Neville a chance to respond to the issues raised in this blog post.

I’m not saying all personhood backers are anything like Jon Hotaling.

My point in this short blog post, and there’s more where this came from, is that the personhood pressure, in its various forms, faced by Gardner as he worked his way to power, is still very much alive within Colorado’s GOP, even in Jeffco, one of the entire country’s most critical swing counties.

This post was updated 9/13/2014

Media omission: State Senate candidate Sanchez accuses Kerr of narcissism and abuse

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

About a week after State Rep. Chris Holbert alleged that Gov. John Hickenlooper “treats us like his abused spouse,” State Senate candidate Tony Sanchez said people “feel like they’ve been in an abuse relationship” with lawmakers like Obama and Sanchez’s Democratic opponent Andy Kerr, both of whom Sanchez called “narcissists.”

Even within the mean-world politics that surrounds us, it should be news when one candidate accuses his opponent of narcissism and abuse.

Sanchez did not return my call yesterday asking to discuss the comments, which were made Aug. 12 on KLZ 560-AM’s nooner show Freedom560, and to explain why he thinks the extreme accusations of narcissism and abuse are warranted.

Sanchez: “If we keep talking about those that should not be named, we empower them, their narcissism. We don’t want any more narcissists, whether it’s Obama, whether it’s Andy Kerr. We want people who are there to listen to us and understand that we matter. That’s what people are feeling, like they don’t matter. They feel like they’ve been in an abuse relationship and that we’ve enabled that abuse relationship. Here I am saying, people matter. We matter. And that’s exactly where we need to be going, I think.”

By saying, “we’ve enabled that abuse,” Sanchez shows he agrees with the characterization.

In June, Sanchez prevailed in the GOP primary over attorney Mario Nicolais, in a race marked by comparable extremism, unaddressed by Sanchez.

For example, in one flyer produced by Colorado Campaign for Life, Nicolais was pictured next to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor convicted of murdering babies, above the caption: “Kermit Gosnell and his ‘House of Horrors’ abortion mill operated in secrecy for 17 years before his murderous crimes became infamous. Ask Mario why he won’t publicly defend the unborn? Call Mario…”
A similar flyer targeting GOP state senate candidate Lang Sais was first embraced by Sais’ opponent, Laura Woods, then denounced by Woods, who reportedly wrote that she had “more respect for my opponent than what was implied” in the Gosnell comparison.

But I can’t find any record of Sanchez denouncing the Gosnell flyer targeting Nicolais.

Listen to Sanchez on KLZ Freedom560 8.12.14

See the Colorado Campaign for Life 2014 GOP Primary Mailer Targeting Mario Sanchez Opponent Mario Nicolais.

Media omission: Holbert stands behind statement likening Hick actions to spousal abuse

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

In a Facebook posting yesterday, state Republican Rep. Chris Holbert wrote that Gov. John Hickenlooper “treats us like we are his abused spouse.”

In explaining why he’d vote for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Holbert wrote in response to a Facebook post of one of Holbert’s Facebook friends:

Because Hickenlooper treats us like we are his abused spouse. He smiles and tells us that things will be better, signs bills into law that trample on the freedom and prosperity of the People, apologizes, becomes angry when we don’t forget, swears at us, then promises to abuse us again.

Don’t put Hickenlooper back in office for another four years. That ONE person can cancel out anything that a Republican Senate might accomplish. Don’t allow ONE Governor to cancel out 18 or more Senators who would work to repeal eight years of Democrat control.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Holbert stood behind the comments.

Asked if he thought his comparison to spousal abuse could be offensive to actual abused spouses and others concerned about domestic violence, Holbert said:

Holbert: “I think there are various kinds of abuse, and what I am pointing to is verbal. I’m not comparing it to physical abuse. People would have greater respect for the governor if he would have one story and stick to it.”

“He tells us one thing and tells his supporters another thing,” Holbert said, explaining his Facebook post further. “He suggested to the sheriffs that he didn’t talk to Bloomberg and records show he did. He apologized for signing bills that he claims he didn’t understand were so controversial. And then he talked to Eli Stokols, I believe, and says he’d sign the bills again. So which doe he mean? I feel that’s abusive to the people of Colorado who look to him for leadership.”

Principles left unexamined in Woods’ on-air suggestion that unaffiliated vote as Republicans in GOP Primary

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The day before the Republican primary, in which Republican Laura Woods triumphed over Lang Sias for the right to take on Democratic State Senator Rachel Zenzinger, Woods made the following comment on the KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado:

WOODS: “…tomorrow, if you’re an unaffiliated voter, and you don’t want more of the same, go down to the polling place, change to a Republican for a day or two, fill out a ballot, and then after the primary, if you don’t want to stay a Republican, you don’t have to stay. You can unaffiliate again. But you can be a part of the change right now by electing somebody who is going to stand up for the Constitution.”

Listen to Woods suggest unaffiliated voters briefly switch parties to help her win GOP primary 6-23-14

There’s nothing illegal about Woods’ suggestion, but the folks down at KLZ, including host Kristina Cook, are all about “principles.”

How principled is it to try to win a Republican primary with the votes of fake Republicans? It doesn’t appear that Woods’ suggestion made any difference in the election, but if I were running the show at Grassroots Radio Colorado, I would have asked Woods about her idea that unaffiliated voters should join the GOP for “a day or two.” But it’s done now.

Woods’ love of vouchers goes unchallenged, as usual

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

I can tell you I’ve heard plenty of love for vouchers on conservative talk radio. I can also tell you I rarely hear a grain of sand fall in opposition.

Typical of the unchallenged statements is the one below, from State Senate candidate Laura Woods from KLZ 560-AM’s Wake Up with Randy Corporon June 2. Waters is fighting Lang Sias in a State Senate primary Tuesday to take on Democrat Rachel Zenzinger.

State Senate Candidate Laura Woods: I am a believer in empowering teachers. I want teachers to be empowered to use the skills that they’ve been given to teach our kids, and mold and shape creative geniuses to come out of our schools. For that to happen, we need to get Common Core out of our schools. I’m in favor of parental choice where school is concerned. I would be very much in favor of a voucher system for schools. And I would support private school, home school, charter school, public school, across the board, evenly, so that parents have the choice in whatever they choose, their kids get the best education possible.

Listen to Laura Woods on KLZ 6.2.14

Her words flow over the airwaves free from any resistance from critical thought.

Here’s a Politico article that Corporon can save in his pocket and pull out next time he has Woods or another voucher lover on his show. Titled, “Vouchers Don’t Do Much for Students,” the article provides a good national glimpse at the problems with vouchers.

But behind the outrage is an inconvenient truth: Taxpayers across the U.S. will soon be spending $1 billion a year to help families pay private school tuition — and there’s little evidence that the investment yields academic gains.

Talk radio does us a service by offering candidates a comfortable place to talk about religion

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

A candidate’s religious or godless beliefs are too often ignored by the dwindling press, so we should be grateful to the radio hosts on KLZ AM-560 for giving candidates the chance to talk openly about how religion guides their lives and decisions.

I mean, it’s a public service to know that State Senate candidate Laura Woods, who’s running for the seat currently occupied by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger,  will look narrowly to the Constitution and the Bible to guide her if she’s elected. And that God directs Woods in a “real sense.”

Conservative talk radio is apparently seen by candidates as a safe and comfortable place to talk openly about God, and it’s a public service for all of us to hear the religious discussions that bless the airwaves there.

I previously reported on gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo’s belief, as stated on talk radio, that God has a plan for him. Woods offered her thoughts on the topic on two recent shows.

On his nooner show on KLZ 560-AM, called “Freedom 560,” Ken Clark had this discussion with Woods on June 4:

Clark: Yeah. So, let’s talk about your candidacy. What is the platform that you’re running on?

Woods: I’m running on a liberty platform. That’s who I am. I believe in the Constitution, the
Bill of Rights, the declaration of independence. And I will stand with those documents every day I’m in office. The Constitution and the Bible will be the two books that I use to govern me in doing that job. So that’s Constitutional conservative, smaller government, lower taxes, conservative.

Listen to Woods on KLZ’s Freedom 560 with Ken Clark 6.4.14

Two days before talking to Clark, in a conversation with righty Randy Corporon on KLZ’s morning show, Woods (who formerly called herself Laura Waters) revealed more about how religion affects her political life:

Corporon: So, let’s talk about you and why you threw your hat into this ring.

Woods: Well, thank you. I decided to get into this race in December, because I sat down with my primary opponent [Lang Sias] for lunch. And I didn’t feel like he was conservative enough to represent this district and to fight for this seat that we had just opened up. Plus, also, when I asked him the question, “Do you want to be our Senator?”, I couldn’t get a straight answer to that question. So, we left that meeting – my husband and I–not really clear if he wanted the job. It’s December. County assemblies are in March. We just started praying about, you know, somebody has got to be in this seat. And I had had people suggest to me it should be me. It was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. But, as we were looking for closed doors, doors kept opening and it just became clear that I wasn’t stepping out to do this on my own. This was God directing me to do it in a real sense. And so I got into the race in early January. And then my primary opponent got into the race after I did — about ten days, two weeks after I did.

Corporon: Oh, very, very interesting. So, when he realized that there was going to be competition, somehow, he decided to step up and jump in.

Listen to Woods on KLZ Wake Up with Randy Corporon! show 6.2.14

I’ve got nothing against anyone who turns to religion or God to guide their lives. And I’ve got nothing against people who turn to godless reason. But regardless, media figures like the hosts at KLZ are doing us a favor when they provide a platform for discussion of how candidates make decisions. Voters should know.

Journalists should note that Archbishop believes “godlessness” in Colorado is comparable to Nazi Germany

Monday, April 21st, 2014

In a recent radio interview, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila compared Colorado’s “godlessness” to Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia and said it portends a government that will “eventually fall.”

Citing the growing number of atheists and agnostics here, Aquila also said godlessness in Colorado engenders a “lack of respect for the goodness of the human person.”

Soon after making this bigoted comment against atheists like me, Aquila became the face of opposition to a bill, killed last week, that would have barred state and local governments from interfering with reproductive healthcare decisions.

An April 15 rally, led by Aquila, galvanized opposition to the bill and got saturation local media coverage.

Reporters cited a letter, signed by Aquila, which called on Catholics to “pray for the conversion of the heart and mind of those who support such irrational, unscientific, and a denial of conscience legislation.”

Fair enough. His opinion. But if Aquila is going to jump up and down about science, journalists should cover Aquila’s unscientific views, including his anger at the media for failing to cover Satan, who is “real.”

KNUS’ Dan Caplis asked Aquila on April 3 what’s surprised him here in Denver, since he took over as Denver Archbishop in 2012.

Aquila responded that the “godlessness that is present here [in Colorado]” has been a “very real challenge.”

AQUILA: [Godlessness] opens up all sorts of opportunities for evangelization, for helping people and reaching out to them, but it’s also a real challenge in terms of seeing the lack of respect for the dignity of human life, the lack of respect for the goodness of the human person.

CAPLIS: What forms do you see this godlessness – this secular godlessness taking?

AQUILA: I think in terms of, first of all, the numbers that claim to be atheist today, or agnostic, certainly are up in percentage of people. Also is the almost just total pushing of God from the public square. And we know that was not true 50 years ago. That God was, and certainly in the founding in this — of our democracy and all, God was very much a part of that. And very much — it was religious beliefs that this country was founded upon. And when you look at history, when you read the founding fathers’ statements, even when you read the Declaration of Independence, there is the recognition of a creator. And when you look at the buildings that were built a hundred years ago – a hundred and fifty years ago, whether it be the Supreme Court or other buildings in Washington D.C., they have the Ten Commandments on them.

CAPLIS: Right.

AQUILA: And people did not blink an eye at that. And when one studies history, whether it be salvation history or whether it be history – even in the last hundred years, we can see when a country or a people remove God from the equation, they eventually fall.

CAPLIS: Right.

AQUILA: And whether it was Nazi Germany, whether it was Stalin, whether it was other governments.

Caplis concluded his Aquila interview with a great suggestion for a future show that might help fill in the media gap left open after last week’s one-dimensional coverage of Aquila:

AQUILA: Well, you are known as a man of action, and very much appreciate your time. I’m hoping we can get together on a regular basis. I’d love to – for example, I’d love to do one show just on the devil – heaven, hell, the devil. And get your take on that. As you say, it’s something we don’t talk about a lot. Probably, people like me don’t want to think about it a lot. But it would be one of those things that would really be great to dig into as we head into the political season. You know, just talk about – and I’ve heard you speak so eloquently and bravely on this before, — you know, the obligation of people to carry their faith in all aspects of their life, including the political process. [I] would love to do a show just on that.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/archbishop-says-godlessness-in-co-is-comparable-to-nazi-germany-4314

Tancredo, Woods, etc., remain talk-radio heroes, no matter what’s happening in the real world

Friday, March 7th, 2014

In the alternative reality constructed each morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, they’re busy reliving the glory days of the recall campaigns.

Recall spokespeople Laura Woods and Jennifer Kerns have been on the show re-telling stories about how “grassroots” Republicans fought off establishment Republicans and won.

One of Boyles’ favorite things to do is to point out that most of the Republicans who’ve risen up in recent weeks weren’t the ones getting down and dirty during the recall effort.

On Tuesday, for example, Boyles asks Woods for the names of specific Republican candidates and elected officials who were with her:

Woods: Well, I just want to preface by saying, as a candidate [for SD 19] now, I’m not endorsing these guys, but I’ll put on my recall hat and I’ll talk to you about who was out there on the lines with us. We clearly had Victor Head. He wasn’t a candidate then, but he is now. And then we had senator candidates Tim Neville and Tony Sanchez walking the streets, knocking doors, gathering petition signatures. Tom Tancredo was out there, as was Greg Brophy. We had the sheriff candidates, Jim Shires, Jeff Schrader, John Berry, all out there at times. Ken Buck was in the office at times. And Owen Hill was sitting in our office making phone calls. So, there were a lot of candidates, none of whom were involved in this back room deal—other than Ken Buck to move, you know, from the Senate race to the House race.

The good old recall days are gone, and the good old folks are threatened, in Boyle’s mind, by back-room-dealing evil-doers, like Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Ryan Call.

But on Boyles’ radio show, regardless of what’s happening in the real world, the heroes are still Woods and Tancredo, and the like, and nothing can change that, unless the show is abruptly canceled by Salem Communications Inc., which is as inevitable as a gaffe from you know who. Or someone flipping the bird at you.

Recall organizer, “Waters,” abandons radio name to run for State Senate as “Woods”

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

One of the leaders and spokespeople of the campaign to recall State Sen. Evie Hudak was a woman allegedly named Laura Waters.

During the height of the Hudak recall campaign, “Waters” was on 710 KNUS Peter Boyles show almost daily, attacking Hudak and whipping up the radio crowd to join the recall fight.

Now “Waters” is running for Hudak’s former Colorado Senate seat, SD 19. In current the GOP primary, she’s battling Lang Sias, who lost to Hudak in 2012, for the right to take on Democratic State Sen. Rachel Zenzinger.

But she’s no longer calling herself “Laura Waters.” She’s referring to herself as “Laura Woods.”

Regular Boyles listeners like me were confused, and Boyles didn’t explain things. So to fill in the media gap, I called Waters/Woods to find out what’s up.

“There’s no secret to it,” Woods told me last week. “It’s just protection of family because of what went on down in Pueblo with those recalls. And I didn’t want to put my family at risk then. But you can’t run for office under a different name.”

Woods didn’t offer specifics on what happened, security-wise, in Pueblo that frightened her.

Woods has the endorsement, over her primary opponent Sias, of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which worked closely with Hudak recall organizers last year.

Herpin thanks Boyles for being “fair and balanced,” and then Boyles calls Stokols a “Butt Boy”

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Minutes after State Sen. Bernie Herpin thanked KNUS talk-radio host Peter Boyles for being “fair and balanced,” Boyles called Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols a “Butt Boy.”

Herpin and Boyles were angry over Fox 31 Denver coverage of Herpin’s statement that it was “maybe a good thing” that the Aurora m0vie-theater shooter had a 100-round magazine.

Asked by Boyles’ about Stokols’ coverage, Herpin said this morning, “As a media person you know it’s their job to sensationalize the news to attract readers and viewers and followers on their blogs.”

“Fortunately, we have people like you that stand up for us, that provide both sides of the story in a fair-and-balanced way,” Herpin told Boyles. “And I thank you for that.”

“Well, you’re kind,” responded Boyles, who really truly expressed his “love” Herpin earlier in the interview.

Listen to Herpin says Boyles is fair and balanced 02-13-14

After I tweeted Boyles’ conversation with Herpin, “Missing Pundit” responded with “Live from Kenya,” referring to Boyles’ birther obsessions.

Herpin stopped short of apologizing for his comment about the 100-round magazine, telling Boyles, “I certainly meant no disrespect to people.”

Boyles’ substantive criticism of Stokols’ reporting was that Stokols didn’t include the full context of Herpin’s quote until the lower portion of Stokols’ post. There, Stokols wrote: “Herpin was trying to say that larger magazines are less reliable, more prone to jamming up.” And then he provided Herpin’s full comment with video.

That doesn’t sound like reporting from a Butt Boy, whatever that means.