Archive for the 'Grand Junction Sentinel' Category

Multiple news outlets erred in 2010 when they reported on GOP primary-ballot-access rules

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez can try to get on the GOP primary ballot through both petitions and the assembly, despite news reports in 2010 stating that Republican candidates could not pursue both routes simultaneously.

Ditto for Beauprez opponents Tom Tancredo and Owen Hill, who are trying both the assembly and petition avenues.

“Access to the Republican primary ballot by political party assembly or by nominating petitions signed by a sufficient number of registered party members are not mutually exclusive,” GOP Chair Ryan Call emailed me, in response to my request to clarify the rules. “Whether a candidate seeks access to our Republican primary ballot by assembly, by petition, or by both methods, all routes are legal, legitimate, and permissible under state law and the rules of the Colorado Republican Party.”

Media stories produced during the 2010 election, cited below, stated, apparently incorrectly, that a GOP candidate had to choose between the assembly process and the petition route.

When he joined the governor’s race Monday, Beauprez first told reporters he’d petition onto the Republican primary ballot. Then he told KHOW talk-show host Mandy Connell that he might also try to get on the ballot through the vote of Republican activists attending the party’s assembly April 10.

When Jane Norton ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 and bypassed the GOP assembly, she was not allowed to speak at the event. Beauprez could face a similar ban if he decides against submitting his name for nomination at the assembly.

News articles at the time do not cite sources for their assertions that GOP rules forbid candidates from using multiple avenues to get on the primary ballot.

The Pueblo Chieftain, from April 14, 2010, reported:

Under Republican rules, candidates either go to the convention to win a place on a primary ballot or use petition drives, but not both.

A 2010 Grand Junction Sentinel article, referenced in ColoradoPols post states:

…Democratic Party rules allow candidates to go both routes at the same time. Only the Republican Party requires its candidates to choose one over the other.

The Colorado Statesman had the same information:

Party rules allowed Bennet to field a petition while still pursuing nomination through the assembly process, unlike rules forbidding both methods on the Republican side.

Call stated in his email to me:

Call: Ultimately, the choice of who becomes our Republican nominee and candidate for any race will be made by our grassroots Republican voters and by all voters who wish to join our party in order to have their voice heard in our primary process. Interested citizens may register to vote and declare or update their party affiliation by visiting www.govotecolorado.com.

We invite all who share our concerns about the erosion of individual rights and opportunity, who recognize the failures of leadership by Gov. Hickenlooper and Sen. Udall, and who disagree with the hurtful policies and broken promises of the Democrats in Washington and in this state, to join us in voting Republican this year to get Colorado and our nation back on the right course.

Reporter exposes lawmaker for manufacturing a phony war on rural Colorado

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby deserves credit for correcting one of his local lawmakers who claimed a bill mandating a higher renewable energy standard would devastate his constituents when, in fact, it wouldn’t affect them at all.

On Channel 6′s Colorado State of Mind Friday, Ashby told the story of how SB 252, which would increase the renewable energy standard on large Rural Electric Associations, was cited by Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita) as evidence of a war on rural Colorado, even though one of Grand Junction’s REAs supported the increased standard, and the other local REA gets power from Xcel Energy, which isn’t affected by the legislation, which awaits Gov. Hick’s signature.

Ashby: “We already have a 20 percent standard for utilities like Excel. In ’08, I think it was, they imposed a 10 percent standard on the REAs. Then [this session] they wanted to up it to 25 percent, and they ended up doing 20 percent. And that became the ‘war on rural Colorado.’ It’s going to raise rates. It was almost funny because one of my local lawmakers, for example, from Grand Junction, got up there, and he said, this is going to put people out of their houses. Businesses are gong to close. And what’s funny, in Grand Junction, for example, the major REA gets its power from Xcel, so therefore not affected by this bill. The other REA in his district actually passed a resolution in support of raising the standards. So it was more politics than it was policy.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Ashby originally called out Wright in an April 26 Sentinel story.

I think some journalists see fact checking as boring, but I agree with Ashby that it’s fun to point out the misinformation, even if, at least theoretically, it’s part of the blocking-and-tackling grind of journalism.

Once unconcerned, Tipton now sounding the alarm about economic consequences of not raising the debt limit

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Along with throwing his support behind House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt ceiling, Colorado’s freshman Congressman Scott Tipton changed his tune yesterday about the economic consequences not taking action.

Yesterday, Tipton sounded extremely worried about the economic impacts of not raising the debt limit, but two days previously not so much.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel reported today:

“I don’t think I can overstate” the economic dislocation that would take place if the debt limit isn’t increased, Tipton said.

A reduction in the nation’s credit rating would affect all Americans because no individual can have a higher credit rating than the nation. Mortgage, credit-card rates and other forms of borrowing would immediately become more expensive, he said. 

Contrast this with what Tipton told the Durango Herald Tuesday:

Tipton, however, argued that Obama overstated the consequences and that enough revenue would be coming in so that most of the United States’ bills, including to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be paid. “We do have the ability to meet those obligations,” he said.

Tipton also told KVOR-AM 760′s Jeff Crank July 16 that the U.S. could meet its financial obligations, even if the debt limit was not raised. Listen to the audio here.

Crank: Let’s hope we can hold the line much like was done on health care, where really every Republican stayed firm and solid on that point and that we don’t have people getting nervous. This President and the media is very complicit in this, trying to equate a vote on the debt limit increase to the defaulting—the US government defaulting. Those are two very different things and we need, I think as conservatives to do a better job at education that those are different things. Just because the debt limit isn’t raised does not mean that the United States government automatically defaults on its obligations.

 TiptonNo it doesn’t. The revenue that’s going to be coming in just over the balance of this month not only has the ability to cover the other areas we talked about just earlier but also be able to pay all of our interest payments as well. We have numerous economists, and I think maybe the most telling thing that ought to drive a lot of our decisions finally came out of S & P and Moody’s, the rating organizations. It isn’t a matter of just increasing the debt ceiling. They say that there has to be real reform, cuts up to $4 trillion, so that they can give a AAA credit rating to the United States. They understand, finally, at these credit rating agencies that if we don’t get our fiscal house in order we are in the pathway of Greece.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Tipton appears to be the only Member of Congress who’s flipped his views on if extending the debt limit matters, and reporters should find out what changed his mind on this.

McInnis cleared of dishonest lawyer conduct, but slimy, mean politician conduct still a problem

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Back in November, Scott McInnis told The Denver Post that he’d clear his name within a few short months. It wasn’t clear what he meant, but you had to assume something would show that he didn’t deserve the harsh treatment he got as he ran for governor in the last election.

He couldn’t show that he really did not commit plagiarism, could he? I mean, the exact words in McInnis’ water articles, written for the Hasan Family Foundation for $300,000, were lifted from another writer’s work. This was clear and irrefutable, right?

McInnis couldn’t blame the media? Or Dick Wadhams? Or even The Tea Party.

What could clear his name?

I waited impatiently, and no name-clearing happened. I was getting real desperate to know WTF was in McInnis’ mind, and today rolled around.

It turns out that an attorney connected to the Colorado Supreme Court conducted an investigation, at the behest of Colorado Ethics Watch, on whether McInnis’ behavior meets the lawyerly snuff test.

His investigation, indeed, cleans up McInnis a bit, but it doesn’t clear his name, unless you believe throwing people under buses is a good idea.

John Gleason, who conducted the investigation, aired his conclusion in documents quoted by the Grand Junction Sentinel (posted previously here)  this morning:

“Based on the sworn testimony of Mr. Fischer and his contemporaneous emails, personal notes and other documents produced by him, it is clear that in 2005, Mr. McInnis both disclosed to Mr. Fischer that his draft articles may be published by the Hasan Family Foundation and instructed Mr. Fischer (a water law expert but inexperienced author) that he must not plagiarize anyone’s work. …”

So Gleason clears McInnis of dishonest lawyerly conduct.

But does it clear him of slimy, squeezy, mean politican conduct? Does it make his conduct look, ah, gubernatorial, if I can use that word there.

No way.

No one but a lawyer would believe it means much, in the political name clearing business, if emails stated that Rollie Fischer was told not to plagiarize. And he apparently forgot or didn’t read the fine print.

That’s no reason for McInnis to go on TV and blame the plagiarism on Fischer. He should have taken responsibility himself. His name was on it. Fischer was confused, and so were the Hasans, according to the story in the Grand Junction Sentinel today.

Still, we don’t know if today’s news was, in fact, the name-clearing event that McInnis was referring to in November. You have to guess that it was, or at least that he had found correspondence with Fischer and the Hasans that put the blame for the water plagiarism on Fischer.

If so, if McInnis thought this would Shyne up his image, McInnis still doesn’t get it.

His mistake was throwing his research assistant under the bus. He could have survived the plagiarism, probably. But his handling of it sunk his campaign.

He can’t clear his name of those mistakes. That was his problem then, and that’s what he’s going to have to live with.

Media right to scrutinize Buck positions before/after primary

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Ken Buck is having second thoughts on yet another issue, The Denver Post reports today.

This time, it’s the consumption tax, which Buck called “great” during the GOP primary but now says was “never my alternative,” according to The Post.

The Post reports:

“Buck’s stance Wednesday on the consumption tax is the latest instance in which he has offered a different position from in the primary.”

We all like a person, especially if she is your wife but even if he is a political candidate, who’s willing to change his or her opinion.

But the key phrase in The Post’s sentence above is “different position from in the primary.”

It’s one thing to consider new information and make a change. It’s another to take a position to appeal to one group of people (right-wing GOP primary voters) and change it to appeal to another group of people (average everyday angry voters).

In this case, whether you’re the angry right winger or the average angry voter, you’re wondering whether Buck will say anything to get elected.

That’s why Buck’s recent changes are important, and why media outlets like The Post deserve credit for spotlighting them for us.

In today’s article, The Post reviewed three other issues, on which Buck has flipped since the primary:

Personhood. He supported it during the primary, briefly came out against it, and now says he’s neutral, but is still in favor of personhood “as a concept.”

Pro-choice judges. During the primary, Buck said he wouldn’t confirm “pro-abortion” candidates for any federal job, including judges. Now Buck will confirm pro-choice nominees.

Anti-abortion legislation. During the primary, Buck promised to sponsor anti-abortion legislation. Now he won’t.

Now that Buck is establishing a record of backtracking, The Post and other media outlets should offer readers a wider view of his before/after primary positions. The expansive list includes:

Social Security and Medicare. During the primary, Buck says “the private sector runs programs like [health care and retirement] far better” than the federal government.  Now the Buck campaign says, “Ken is not in favor of privatizing Social Security,” and we have to keep a “promise” to seniors and maintain the program, with tweaks including privatization and a higher retirement age for younger people.

Constitutionality of Social Security. During the primary, Buck said he was “not sure” about the constitutionality of major federal programs passed over the past 70 or 80 years. Now he says he’s “never had doubts” about the constitutionality of Social Security.

Privatization of Medicare. During a primary debate (Mike Rosen 7-19-10), Buck said he supports “privatizing as many of the areas of health care as possible, including the decisions of folks that are on Medicare.” Now he tells the New York Times that he hasn’t “decided whether some form of vouchers would work or not.”

Department of Education. During the primary, to select audiences, Buck advocated shutting it down immediately. Now he consistently says it should be cut back.

Common forms of birth control. Consistent with his position during the primary, the Buck campaign told 9News that he’s against common forms of birth control that prevent implantation, such as IUDs as well as some forms of the Pill. Now he says he is “not in favor of banning any common forms of birth control in Colorado.” (But still opposes killing fertilized eggs, which are killed by common forms of birth control.)

Social Issues. (See above.)

Consumption tax. (See above.)

News outlets like The Post, Associated Press, Grand Junction Sentinel, and others have covered Buck’s before/after primary stances on a case-by-case basis, but I’d like to see more reporting that brings all these issues together, a bit like Buck’s interview with New York Time reporter John Harwood here, and delves more deeply into why Buck staked out the positions he did initially and why he is changing his views post-primary on some issues and not others.

Ari Armstrong’s media analysis sparks response by Norton

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Ari Armstrong’s media analysis has apparently led Jane Norton to completely and unequivocally endorse Amendment 62, the Personhood measure, which would grant zygotes the legal rights of U.S. citizens.

The Grand Junction Sentinel reported May 10 that “all of the top-named GOP candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate” support the ballot question. 

You’d certainly think from reading Norton’s website that she’d endorse Amendment 62, but her campaign had never officially confirmed this to GJ Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby, despite his request to do so over a week ago, Ashby told me. (The campaign lapse could be explained by staff changes, however, Ashby points out.)

During the last two days, Norton’s campaign would not provide confirmation of her support for Amendment 62 for Ari, either.

And, as Ari pointed out in his blog, there were small but serious differences (and political ramifications) between Norton’s website statement on abortion and the text of Amendment 62.

Today, Norton’s Campaign confirmed that Ashby’s article was correct. She supports Amendment 62.

In any case, as Ashby told me, the major point of Ashby’s article was never in question, namely that in 2008 none of the GOP candidates would touch the personhood amendment and today they’re running toward it.