Talk radio host laps up rumors from Jeffco school board member

September 17th, 2015

From the beginning of the uprising by Jeffco parents and students, conservative Jeffco school board members and their allies (like failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez) have said directly or implied that community members are pawns of teachers’ unions.

Even now, facing a recall election and massive criticism that again proves the existence and power of the grassroots movement opposing him, board member John Newkirk continues to whine about unions and outsiders–and their foul play–without coughing up evidence of such nefariousness.

For example, on KNUS 710-AM Monday, Newkirk spewed out a list of grievances, vilifying unions and others, and, in the process, demeaning the community. He provides none of the specifics you’d hope to hear from a responsible person who makes such accusations. This leaves listeners, even ones who are sympathetic to Newkirk, with no choice to but to conclude that Newkirk is desperate or worse.

Here’s an exchange from KNUS Sept. 14:

HOST KRISTA KAFER: It’s been a difficult couple of years as a board member pushing for reform. Of course, they have a right to do the recall. That’s the law, and they’re doing it. Or trying it, I should say. But some of the things they’re doing to raise support for it, I have concerns, are not legal and certainly not ethical. What are you hearing?

NEWKIRK: Well, I think some of them have crossed the line. There are a lot of c4 groups, and I think by law, only 40% of c4 activity can be political. Which of course doesn’t have any place in our schools, and of course electioneering doesn’t – so I’ve had numerous constituents call me up saying, you know, there’s folks in the schools that are really crossing the line, now. You know, at back-to-school nights – they’ll have aggressive people there, some of them from our of the district, actually pursuing parents down the halls as they’re going to their conferences or back-to-school nights, pushing literature on them that they don’t want. I’ve also heard constituents complain that they’ve actually had people showing up at local high schools trying to register 16-or-17-year-olds to register to vote and even to the point where if they check that they’re conservative, then they’ll belittle them in certain ways. So, you know, that’s not part of our educational goals here, to embroil our children in partisan politics. I’ve also heard reports that teachers are wearing their pro-union signs—uh, t-shirts and buttons and even sticking signs up in their classrooms. So, no, that’s not appropriate.

Kafer didn’t ask what in the world Newkirk was talking about. Where’s the backup for these rumors and strange utterances, or fpr any specific info about these alleged activities. This leaves Newkirk sounding like a gossipy teenager with Kafer lapping it up.

Listen to KNUS 710-AM’s Kelley and Kafer show Sept. 14, 2014:

This time, a writer’s personal touch made for a compelling column

September 16th, 2015

More often than not, I find myself cringing at opinion pieces that get too personal. Sometimes they seem forced or dishonest. Or self important.

But The Denver Post’s Jeremy Meyer offered some really compelling writing over the weekend, with his personal perspective on an Ohio bill that would prohibit doctors from performing abortions for woman who don’t want to have a child with Down Syndrome.

The proposed law, which is expected to pass this fall, is getting a lot of attention, because it’s in the presidential battleground state of Ohio, and Gov. John Kasich is one of the countless Republican presidential candidates.

Meyer’s commentary speaks for itself, and please read it in its entirety, but here are a few paragraphs:

Meyer: The issue creates a conundrum for people like me, a fierce supporter of reproductive rights for women. But I am also the father of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with Down syndrome. I fear that as prenatal testing becomes more effective and less invasive, people like my daughter could disappear from society…

Nevertheless, I don’t believe a law should forbid people from choosing to abort if they don’t think they can raise a child with a disability. No politician can know what is happening in that person’s life to lead them to the heart-wrenching consideration of abortion…

That said, I do fear that many decisions to end a pregnancy after a Down syndrome diagnosis are being made without good information in hand…

Meyer suggested that politicians should help make the world “outside the womb” better for people with disabilities. Lawmakers should “fund programs for families with children with disabilities, push schools to be inclusive, and support businesses that hire adults with disabilities and provide them better lives.”

But, he wrote, “Those, unfortunately, are not the kind of wedge issues that ever will become fiery topics in a presidential campaign.”

On radio, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blaha expects attacks from “permanent political class”

September 15th, 2015

Appearing on a Colorado Springs radio station over the weekend, Robert Blaha, a Republican, said he expects the “permanent political class” to fire attacks and lies at him during his campaign for U.S. Senate, as it did when he ran for office previously.

Blaha (at 6 min 10 sec below): When I ran [for Congress] in 2012, Tron, it was a painful process because the lie machine gets ginned up, and then those things are exposed. And those things are cleaned up. That’s really the problem with the process itself. If it was just two candidates, man-and woman, man-and-man, whoever, one-on-one, one-on-three, duking it out, talking about the issues, it would be great. But we’ve allowed this political process to get to the place where the permanent political class has controlled the mantra, has controlled the messaging, and they have attack machines everywhere. But, hey, I’ve been through it. It’s not fun. But, you know, if you come out the other side kind of unscathed, it’s a good thing.

Tron Simpson, a guest host on KVOR radio’s Jeff Crank Show, didn’t ask Blaha, who will officially announce his candidacy when Sen. Michael Bennet votes for the Iran nuclear deal, what attacks he was referring to.

Asked to clarify, Blaha’s campaign pointed me to attacks leveled during Blaha’s primary loss to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO Springs) in 2012.

One ad by Lamborn attacked Blaha’s bank, claiming, among other things, that it ranked “among the worst in the region.” In an analysis of the ad, The Denver Post reported that it “leans deceptive.

Other attacks during the vicious primary contest were hurled by Lamborn himself. “Everything [Blaha] says has to be taken with a grain of salt. Voters are often disappointed in people who talk big and don’t perform once in office,” Lamborn told The Denver Post at the time.

Blaha, who’s deflected his share of attacks as a conservative talk-radio hostsaid in response during the 2012 campaign, “Doug Lamborn will say anything to protect his government job, including slandering a local business.”

I’m not racist, but I want to know how many of “those New Black Panthers” are on welfare?

September 14th, 2015

Last month, the Houston Chronicle reported that “about 25 members of the Black Panthers marched in front of the Waller County Jail in Hempstead Wednesday to protest the arrest of Sandra Bland and other cases they characterized as ‘crimes against black people.’”

Bland, you recall, apparently hanged herself after being pulled over and mistreated by a police officer.

Last week, Colorado Springs talk-radio host Richard Randall had this comment about the New Black Panther rally:

Randall: “I wish we could have profiled all those New Black Panthers. Hey, tell me a little bit about yourself. Are you in Section 8 housing. What welfare programs are you on? What’s your income? What do you do for a living? Got any felony arrests? Just curious.”

Randall, who has a morning show on KVOR, was upset at the protesters’ chants and the fact that some were carrying guns, apparently legally.

No, he told callers, he’s not a racist. He’s got good friends who are black. And, he told his radio audience, he keeps a list of his callers. If anyone goes after him, he said, police should investigate the people calling his show and saying he’s a racist.

Facing pot holes and dilapidation in CO Springs, Suthers campaigns against TABOR refund

September 11th, 2015

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers is rocking the GOP boat in pot-hole ridden Colorado Springs. The Republican mayor is calling for a sales tax to fix pot holes, but more significantly, he’s backing a ballot initiative allowing the city to keep funds that otherwise would have been returned to taxpayers under TABOR.

Suthers sounded the alarm yesterday, saying in his state of the city speech, as reported by KKTV:

Suthers: “When companies are looking around, they’re looking for the level of investment the community is making for infrastructure and we need to show them that investment.”

Suthers says the sales tax would cost the average household about $100 per year.

And on KVOR radio over the weekend, here’s how Suthers explained his support for the TABOR ballot initiative:

Suthers: Now, as to the issue that is on the ballot, let me explain what that is. In 2014, the city, as total revenue, took in $2.1 million more than it was allowed to take in under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights—the cap. Well, how did that happen? It happened because in 2014 the city got a number of state grants to deal with fire and flood disasters that occurred in the previous couple of years. And that revenue has to be counted against your TABOR cap. And that —those grants — took us over the TABOR cap for 2014. So the question is: Do we refund it to the voters at approximately $11 per household, or do we retain it?

Listen here to Suthers on KVOR 9.9.15

Sounds a lot like the argument Hickenlooper has been making for changing the definition of the “hospital provider fee” under TABOR, a move that would free up over $150 million for transportation and other projects.

Suthers wants to keep taxes for stuff people want, like trails and parks! He’s touting a poll showing he’s got the support of the people–even if Americans for Prosperity is pissed.

Like the Republicans who baked Referendum C, Suthers is showing, however faintly, that anti-tax ideology doesn’t work when you have to govern. Maybe it’s a sign that our state’s tax crisis can actually be solved through a combination of compromise and necessity.



Lundberg supports Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses

September 10th, 2015

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank asked Lundberg Friday whether he’d back a Colorado clerk who denied same-sex marriage licenses. “I believe that they have that responsibility as an elected official to ask themselves, am I fulfilling my job or not,” Lundberg told The Post. This comment may have led, in part, to the Post’s editorial today pointing out that Lundberg “appears confused about whether state officials can ignore laws they don’t like.” The Post called Lundberg’s stance “disturbing.”


In a string of Facebook posts beginning Sept. 3, Colorado State Sen. Kevin Lundberg hasn’t been shy about his support for Kentucky Clerk Kay Davis, who landed in jail after giving marriage licences to some loving couples but not others.

Who would expect Lundberg to be shy, given his uncompromising stances on social issues in the legislature? But he is a state senator, which is why his fringe view should be aired out by reporters and others. To wit:

On Facebook, Lundberg wrote that Davis is “abiding by the laws of God and man. The Supreme Court and their inferior courts are the ones in violation of the rule of law.”


Good for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who is refusing to issue “marriage” licenses on the grounds that it violates God’s law, and her conscience.

Have the Federal judges become kings and queens who can fabricate law out of thin air and then throw state government officials in jail for daring to oppose their plans? What Constitutional authority does the Federal Court have to jail this elected official for exercising her best judgement in fulfilling her duties as county clerk? If the people who elected her want her to change, they can speak through any recall procedures the State of Kentucky allows, or vote her out at the next election for county clerk, but the Federal Courts should stay out of areas of law clearly reserved for state jurisdiction.

The courts have certainly seized this power and demonstrated their autocratic intentions long ago, but they do not derive this authority from the Constitution, which is the law of the land.

In my opinion the clerk is abiding by the laws of God and man. The Supreme Court and their inferior courts are the ones in violation of the rule of law.

In a post last week, Lundberg addresses the question of why Davis shouldn’t just resign:

Additionally, many are saying that the clerk is not following the “rule of law.” I submit it is more accurate to say she is not following the rule of the Court. If anyone is actually following the rule of law, it is clerk Davis.

Lundberg did not immediately return a call for comment.

Bipartisan support for Colorado’s clean-air laws undermines accusation of Obama overreach

September 8th, 2015

It’s irritating when officials and pundits here in Colorado grandstand about President Obama’s climate change initiatives as being overreach, without pointing out that, as a matter of fact, state efforts to regulate global-warming emissions from power plants have won bipartisan support.

An article in The Denver Post last month reported that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has decided to sue the federal government to stop Obama’s Clean Coal Plan, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions in Colorado by 28 percent from 2012 levels over the next 15 years.

The Post reported that “Coffman describes the measure as another EPA and Obama administration authority overreach.”

To its credit, The Post added this fact:

Colorado lawmakers under a Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act in 2010 required regulated utilities to develop plans for reducing air pollution. These plans launched utilities on efforts to replace coal plants with energy generated using renewable sources and natural gas.

Omitted, however, is the crucial information that Colorado’s Clean Air, Clean Jobs of 2010 received bipartisan support, getting the votes of numerous GOP lawmakers in the Colorado legislature, including muckety-muck Republicans like former state senators Josh Penry and Greg Brophy and former state representatives Frank McNulty, Ellen Roberts, and Amy Stephens.

Thanks to the 2010 law, and other state measures, some of which admittedly had less bipartisan support, Colorado already has a plan to reach 70 percent of the reductions mandated by Obama’s Clean Coal Plan, according to Western Resources Advocates.

Colorado has worked in a bipartisan way to address climate change, and the attorney general should be asked to explain why she’s politicizing and wasting time on a lawsuit that runs counter to  Colorado’s approach to this issue.


Media omission: How will the Planned Parenthood attacks play in next year’s election?

September 5th, 2015

For an RH Reality Check post yesterday, I interviewed some familiar pundits for their take on the question of whether continued attacks on Planned Parenthood, including the recent demand by 30 GOP state lawmakers for an investigation of the women’s health organization, will affect candidates in next year’s election in Colorado.

They offered a range of opinion on the topic, but I think it’s fair to say that, outside of pleasing hard-core Republican voters, the Planned Parenthood attacks were deemed neutral at best and damaging at worst to the GOP’s electoral efforts next year in Colorado. For example:

“Given what we know at this point, it seems to me that Planned Parenthood is the wrong organization for Republicans to go after, because it has a great deal of good will,” said Norman Provizer, Professor of Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “Overall, from a political perspective, I think it’s an act of desperation to find a battle you think you might win after a long string of losses on the social issues front. But it’s the wrong organization to go after.”

“It is going to highlight the women’s issue again, which could be damaging to Republicans” continued Provizer.

The others I interviewed (Jennifer E. Duffy, Senior Editor at the Cook Political Report; Prof. Robert Loevy of Colorado College; Political analyst Floyd Ciruli) had somewhat different opinions, which you can read here, but most saw the attacks as dicey, from a political perspective, for Republicans.

A related question, which Duffy addresses briefly in my piece, is, what will Democrats do with the Planned Parenthood issue going forward? Michael Bennet has voted against stripping federal funds from the organization, and you’ve seen some Dems defending the group.

But will we see more proactive responses from Dems as we approach the election, assuming no evidence of actual factual wrongdoing emerges?

Everyone knows how important women voters are in Colorado and how determined the anti-choice activists are to push their agenda forward. That combination will likely keep the Planned Parenthood controversy in play through next year.

Former Republican talk-radio host poised to jump into U.S. Senate race

September 3rd, 2015

On Facebook this morning, former talk-radio host and former Colorado Springs congressional candidate Robert Blaha writes that he will challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, if Bennet endorses President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

“If Colorado Senator Michael Bennet votes to support this deal, he must be defeated in 2016 and I will announce my candidacy for U.S. Senate. If he votes against the deal, I will stand down – Period,” Blaha wrote on Facebook, without mentioning state Sen. Tim Neville and DA George Brauchler, who are also testing the Senate waters.

Blaha’s radio show on KZNT was called Black, White, and Right, and his co-host was Derrick Wilburn, who’s now vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party. The pair didn’t disappoint those who wanted to hear from the “right.” This Muslim bashing in this segment, for example, caught my ear back in 2012.

Wilburn would often stake out ground even further to the right than Blaha. Wilburn for example, once gave “almost human” honors to mainstream Repubicans, while Baha didn’t quite go that far.

No word yet on whether Tancredo, also a former talk-radio host, will join Blaha in running for U.S. Senate. Maybe Blaha will encourage him. I loved it when Tancredo told Bob Beauprez to jump in the gubernatorial race last year: “Listen buddy, get in! The water’s fine. It will be fun.” Little did Tanc know how hot Beauprez would make water for Tancredo, due to attack ads from national Republican groups. These ads were credited with knocking Tanc out of the race, opening the door to Beauprez to lose to Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.

Blaha isn’t the only local talk-radio host who’s jumped to partisan politics. Jimmy Lakey, who hosts a morning shoe on KCOL 600-AM in Ft. Collins, ran for Congress in Colorado Springs. Tancredo hosted a show on KVOR in Colorado Springs. KVOR’s Jeff Crank was almost elected to Congress. KLZ’s Ken Clark is the Second Vice Chair of the Denver Republican Party.



Media omission: Brauchler sees himself more like Ken Buck than Cory Gardner

September 1st, 2015

Who’s most like you, Sen. Cory Gardner or Rep. Ken Buck?

Many see Buck and Gardner as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, one wearing a smile the other seething with anger. But if you’re a Tea-Party activist in Colorado, the answer is “Ken Buck.”

So it’s not surprising that Tea-Party radio host Chuck Bonniwell would put this question to failed theater-shooter prosecutor George Brauchler, who’s considering a U.S. Senate run: Are you more like Ken Buck or Cory Gardner?

Brauchler’s answer, according to Bonniwell, was, “Oh God, Ken Buck!” Here’s Bonniwell’s story, told with co-host Julie Hayden, who’s also a Fox 31 Denver reporter:

Julie Hayden (@4:40 below): We were at a function and Chuck, in Chuck’s way [laughs]. Standing-around-drinking-wine-just-put-it-to-you way, said to George, “Okay. Who do you like better – Ken Buck or Cory Gardner?”

Bonniwell: No, that’s not what I said!  I said, “If we put a gun to your head, and said, ‘Who are you closer to on the continuum of  Ken Buck to Gardner. Shich one?  You have to choose one.  You can’t sit. And to his credit, I mean I expected a kind of weasely answer, he said, “Oh, God! Ken Buck!”

Hayden: And Chuck went, “Yea!”…He didn’t hesitate at all, nor did he mince any words. He didn’t put conditions on, like “Ken Buck on Tuesday. Cory Gardner on Thursday. No, he said, “Ken Buck.”

Bonniwell: Ken Buck.

It would be interesting to know what issues draw Brauchler to Buck. Good fodder for a future radio show.

Listen to Bonniwell and Hayden discuss George Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM Saturday: