Jared Polis for Governor

I’m voting for Jared Polis on Tuesday.

I’m one to wait until election day to vote and if you haven’t mailed in your ballot yet, you have until 7pm on Tuesday June 26th to do so.

Who is my choice for governor?

My vote goes to Jared Polis in the Democratic primary.

Why?

I’ve known Jared for many years, I think dating back to my days at Assets for Colorado Youth in the early 2000s. ACY was a positive youth development non-profit organization that taught teachers and youth serving organizations how to apply the development assets to the daily lives of kids.

Jared and his foundation were strong supporters of alternative approaches to students, other than the “containment” approach.

He also was chair of the Colorado State Board of Education where he was supportive of education and classrooms in all their forms in Colorado.

I remember when he first ran for the 2nd Congressional District. It’s a diverse district encompassing the very Republican south part of Weld, Broomfield, Adams, Jefferson, and Summit counties and blue Boulder County.

I’m not one much for political litmus tests. Any candidate who says they can pass all of them is telling you alternative facts. I don’t have a political score card for the gubernatorial candidates.

I think it comes down to style.

Jared knows how to govern toward the middle when it comes to inflammatory issues like the natural gas fracking. He can’t be a purist on the issue having to balance drilling interests in Weld County with the hard core no-fracking stance in Boulder.

The 2nd CD is a microcosm of the state of Colorado. Whoever gets elected will not be able to keep any purist campaign promises, be it to the teachers, the energy industry or the gun lobby.

Jared is a maverick and not afraid to buck the system. When he first ran in 2008, he dared to challenge long-time Denver politico Joan Fitz-Gerald. She admirably served in the state senate and was the heir-apparent to the open seat. He campaigned hard and won in an upset.

When elected in 2008, was the most liberal member of his congressional class and picked to be on a CNN reality cable show featuring himself and freshman Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis – one of my East High School classmates and longtime family friend – from Wyoming’s at large district 1 and the most conservative members of the class.

Jared could have staying in Congress forever, but he chose to stay home this time around. He and Marlon have two young kids and while I don’t know if that was a reason why he chose to run for governor rather than stay in Congress, I imagine it was a part of the decision making equation.

His hands-on experience with federalism coupled with knowledge and work at the state level makes Jared the most practical and best-suited candidate in my mind.

Besides his list of credentials, he’s a really nice guy.

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Trump and Bernie 2015 reminiscent of Wallace and RFK 1968

rfk quoteTrump and Bernie resonate because, in their own ways, they both recognize the “comfortable past” never existed.

I mentioned before that 1968 was my first dose of politics. Back then, Wyoming was a purple state and presidential candidates campaigned in the Cowboy State. For me, it was mostly about the symbols of politics like the campaign buttons and bumper stickers. My mission that year was to collect a bumper sticker and button from each of the candidates. Since then I’ve managed to scrounge buttons for Democratic and Republican nominees starting in 1900.

The country was in quite a bit of turmoil – the Vietnam War was in full swing and talk about civil unrest, it was nothing like it is today. Cops bashing anti-war rioters with billy clubs, manhandling blacks protesting racial inequality. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 – one of LBJ’s lasting legacies – and Voting Rights Act in 1965. Mainstream America was having some trouble adapting – like when the SCOTUS made gender identification a protected class.

The country was totally out of control and LBJ decided not to run for re-election, it brought every yahoo out of the woodwork, just like today.

George Wallace of Alabama was the renegade, straight talker – sort of like Donald Trump. Wallace was an avowed racist – segregationist. The former Alabama governor and his running mate Curtis “Iron Pants” Lemay got the attention of much of the south. Seems he, like Goldwater, wanted to actually nuke Vietnam. Wallace drew enough support to turn the election to Nixon’s favor.

My Carey Jr. High School pal, Mike Whitehead, was big into Democratic politics mostly because of his parents. His mom, Janet Whitehead was Laramie County Clerk and his dad, Ed, was a state legislator. It must have been in early May because we were still in school, but a few months earlier, Robert Kennedy declared his candidacy for president. At that time, he was the carpet bagging senator for New York. He moved there, much like Hilary Clinton did, glad handed around upstate and won. He was the US Attorney under his brother, Jack, and LBJ.

Anyway, he made a campaign whistle stop in Cheyenne. Mike and I decided to go see him. We taped six pieces of poster board together and stapled it onto a couple sticks of lathe. I don’t remember what was scrawled on the sign with Magic Marker – which was new back in those days. I was the cartoonist for the school paper, The Tumbleweed, and drew a pretty good caricature of RFK on the bottom of the sign.

We rolled it up and hauled it on foot from Cole Addition to the Pavillion in Frontier Park. I came to realize that this is what old fashioned politics was about, The place was packed with supporters and the curious. He was there with members of his family, wife Ethel and maybe some of his kids. I don’t think he even said anything, He was like a rock star. Afterward, the senator noticed our sign. He came over and shook our hands and autographed a “join now” campaign card I picked up at the door, which I still have.

There was a reception for Senator Kennedy and his entourage at the Hitching Post after the rally. Mr. Whitehead was there and later emerged with some “real” autographs that he gave us. I was amazed that he remembered. I also learned at that event how accessible politicians can be at any level of government, I didn’t realize it then, but this was my first taste of federalism which has stuck with me to this day, not to mention my fascination with autographs.

I didn’t learn until later, that this was the first stop on a long train trip through Nebraska which ended in Omaha just before the Nebraska primary in mid-May. Having won the California primary, Nebraska was a key state for him and he won it.

Three weeks later, my clock radio turned on early in the morning to a live broadcast from Los Angeles about Robert Kennedy’s murder. He was shot at close range by a bad guy named Sirhan Sirhan.

I was shocked.

What would America be like today had RFK lived? After winning California and Nebraska, I’m pretty sure he would have been elected president. It’s impossible to say what kind of legacy Bobby would have left, but I imagine the war would have ended earlier, Watergate for sure wouldn’t have happened.

I wonder if Bobby would have made deals with the commies like Nixon did. Of course, his trip to China was designed to draw fire from his Watergate battle at home.

In 1968, the Republicans tore themselves apart, much like what is happening now. With his populist message, Kennedy was drawing huge crowds where ever he stopped, much like Bernie Sanders today. Our not-so-charismatic vice president Hubert Humphrey stepped up trying to fill the void Kennedy left. South Dakota senator George McGovern tried to pick up the pieces, too. In the end, Nixon and Agnew would defeat Humphrey and Muskie – a senator from Maine by 500,000 votes, largely because of George Wallace’s Stand up for America third party run.

… and then there was campaign ’72. That’s a story for another day and about Hastings College “Legislators and Lobbyist” class field trip out to Nixon’s inauguration with Debbie Hemmingsen Bills, Karen Doerr​ and fearless leader Denny Storer​, et al.

If RFK was inaugurated, I probably wouldn’t have been tear gassed at an anti-war demonstration.

In the 2016 election cycle the Republicans want to take us back to the Reagan years and the Democrats want to relive the FDR administration. I just hope whoever gets picked just tries to move forward. via Barbara May​

My top stories from 2014: Mork, Gutless NFL, Soft on Commies, Homeland and ISIS, Blues blow it, and more …

My yoga teacher at The Little Yoga Studio told a story about why we should avoid New Years resolutions about making us perfect, since we are imperfect beings.

My yoga teacher at The Little Yoga Studio told a story about why we should avoid New Years resolutions about making us perfect, since we are imperfect beings.

When I was working in the newspaper business, at the end of the year, the staff sat around and came up with the top news stories. I was the sports editor and came up with the top sports stories. The yoga teacher the other day was talking about how none of us are perfect. Rather than striving for perfection with New Years resolutions, we should figure out ways to work within our imperfections to make life better for ourselves and for others.

Now that I’m an arm chair journalist, here are my top 10 picks mostly about the foibles of people and how they may have an impact on our daily lives, in no particular order:

The GOP took control of the Senate with Harry Reid leaving as President Pro - tem and Mitch McConnell on tap to take the job.

The GOP took control of the Senate with Harry Reid leaving as President Pro -tem and Mitch McConnell on tap to take the job. (Photo Fair Use)

Democrats blow midterms, lose US Senate – The biggest domestic story that happened was on election day when the GOP took control fo the US Senate. Harry Reid is out and Mitch McConnell is in as President Pro-tem. Politicians like these two guys are an odd lot. Neither wants to budge from their  extreme positions. I wonder if McConnell will soften up now that he’s in charge. It was a weird election – stock market strong, gas prices low, unemployment rate low. As near as I can figure, the Democrats blew it by not getting out the vote. This midterm election was decided by 36 percent of the electorate. It will be interesting to see how things change starting in January.

Ray Rice, Janay Rice

Washed up Baltimore Ravens running back had a roller coaster ride after slugging his wife and getting away with it for a while until a movie surfaced of the bludgeoning.(Photo Fair Use)

NFL cuts DV perps slack – Having worked in the domestic violence prevention field for a number of years, I was intrigued by how incompetent the National Football League was in dealing with the Ray Rice issue. His domestic violence proclivity brought the issue to light in big time sports. Whether or not there will be any long lasting changes, we’ll have to wait and see. I have a MPA degree from CU – Denver in domestic violence prevention. One of my thesis advisors, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Rita Smith is a member of the NFL advisory group. So far, the issue has become irrelevant with the playoffs on the horizon. Ray Rice still doesn’t have a job and unlikely to get one.

mr november

I was in Yankee Stadium when Derek Jeter was dubbed Mr. November during the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Photo Fair Use)

Jeter calls it a career –  He hung up his spikes after 19 years in pinstripes. This is the best “feel good” story of the 10 I picked. I think Jeter is truly a good guy. Playing shortstop for the Yankees was always my dream job, but it was always taken. I had a chance to watch him play a few times when the Yankees played the Colorado Rockies and in the 2001 World Series. It was scheduled later in October than usual because of the 9/11 attacks in New York. I was at the game when he was dubbed “Mr. November” after he hit a game winning home run to knot the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at two games apiece. Derek says he wants to settle down and have a family. I imagine he’ll be giving a lot back to the community, whether it’s in New York or his home town of Kalamazoo Michigan.

NBC reporter Nancy Snyderman was one of the biggest stories when she broke quarantine and went to a coffee shop in her neighborhood and got caught.

NBC reporter Nancy Snyderman was one of the biggest stories when she broke quarantine and went to a coffee shop in her neighborhood and got caught. (Photo Fair Use)

Ebola non-story keeps voters at home – A couple of the cable TV stations had a heyday with a few people getting sick from ebola. You would have thought that ebola was spreading like weeds. When the election was over, suddenly, the US ebola epidemic was over – four cases, one death. Contrast that with the 30 pediatric flu deaths as of September 2014 and 36 states reporting widespread flu occurrences as December 20th.  Cable TV was also airing that Dustin Hoffman – Renee Russo movie “Outbreak” during this time period, just to get us all in the worst possible scenario mood. I hope people look at stories holistically, rather than in a reactionary fashion.

There was a big to do about "The Interview" which was reportedly the reason Sony's internet security was breached.

There was a big to do about “The Interview” which was reportedly the reason Sony’s internet security was breached. (Photo Fair Use)

Sony hacked, sets up “The Interview” publicity stunt – Everyone pretty much knows about the Sony hack job that’s been reported in the popular media. The FBI is still blaming North Korea because of the James Franco – Seth Rogen movie, “The Interview” about the assassination plot of the Kim Jung Un. Turns out, it may have been an opportune publicity stunt riding the wave of an inside Sony hack job by a band of disgruntled employees. Nonetheless, reading the private emails between angst – filled studio execs was quite revealing and entertaining. I’m planning a watch “The Interview” party on January 6th. Moral of this story is, don’t write down stuff you don’t others to see in emails.

A man backs away as law enforcement officials close in on him and eventually detain him during protests over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by a police officer, in Ferguson, Mo.

Ominous US Army surplus riot gear supposedly added to the schism between citizens and cops in Ferguson, MO (Photo Fair Use)

“Stand Up Don’t Shoot” “I Can’t Breathe” movement needs closers – This is another story that everyone must have heard a little something about. There is definitely more awareness about the “us versus them” mentality that is evident in at least some police departments. The unarmed black kid shot by a white cop in a suburb of St. Louis and riots and protests ensued around the country. I’m not sure where it all will be headed, but protesting and tossing cars will soon become old hat. The “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” movement needs some closers. Also on the shirt tail of this shooting is that of the band of cops who strangled a guy selling loosey cigarettes on a New York City sidewalk. That added fuel to the fire. I hope this movement doesn’t end up like Occupy.

The Showtime cable series "Homeland" has brought ISIS into the living room. Carrie picks off snipers.

The Showtime cable series “Homeland” has brought ISIS into the living room. Carrie picks off snipers.

“Homeland” CIA crew fights ISIS in our living rooms – I’m a big “Homeland” fan. That’s the cable TV series on Showtime that just wrapped it’s fourth season. Homeland’s Carrie – who has been dealing with bipolar illness – somehow keeps afloat in a very high stress job. She and former CIA director Saul have normalized the US fight against ISIS and brought it into our living rooms. The last three episodes were about ineptitude in the US Embassy. In real life, the Islamic State, as near as I can figure is quite enterprising. They raise millions in cash from family oil fortunes; revenues from their own oil fields; contraband in the forms of drugs and stolen ancient artifacts. The US pulled out of Afghanistan, just in time to keep soldiers employed as the US re-escalates in Iraq and Syria. I can’t wait for the next season of “Homeland” to air next summer! I’m not quite sure what to think about the war with ISIS. It’s seems like another non-starter and a no-win situation. The US has less at stake since domestic fuel production is at an all time high.

The Mork and Mindy house in Boulder was turned into a shrine for the late Robin Williams.

The Mork and Mindy house in Boulder was turned into a shrine for the late Robin Williams. (Photo Fair Use)

Mork from Ork leaves this world – Around Boulder, this was a pretty big story since his 1970s classic sitcom “Mork and Mindy” was set in Boulder during the 1970s. He committed suicide, which is always too bad but he must have been fighting off demons. I don’t think he spent much time in Boulder during the series. Based on the tributes placed at the Boulder TV house, you’d think he flew in from Ork and lived in Boulder his entire alien life. I must admit that I made a pilgrimage to the Mork and Mindy house this summer – Nanu Nanu …! He could have been so much more prolific. If you feel like you need help for a mental illness, get to the doctor.

Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines were at the center of three air disasters this year. (Photo Fair Use)

Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines were at the center of three air disasters this year. (Photo Fair Use)

Asia-based airlines go down in flames with three disasters  – It wasn’t a great year for Asia – based airlines. This week, Air Asia flight 8501 was lost and the remains found in the Java Sea with no survivors of the 162 passengers on board . Malaysian Airlines 370 dropped off the radar screen and vanished with 239 passengers. The Malaysian transportation minister tried to stonewall the story but finally came around and said that no wreckage had been found. On top of that, Malaysian Airlines 17 carrying 298 passengers was shot down over the Ukraine by separatist renegades. These crashes certainly are not everyday occurrences, but give me a train ride any day!

President Obama and Pope Frances were involved in negotiations with Raul Castro to normal relations with Cuba. (Photo Fair Use)

President Obama and Pope Frances were involved in negotiations with Raul Castro to normal relations with Cuba. (Photo Fair Use)

Obama and Pope soft on the Cuban commies – This story just came out of nowhere, even though it was in the making for several months and included intervention by Pope Francis. President Obama announced that the full diplomatic relations would be renewed with the Raul Castro regime and that an American Embassy would be opened in Havana.

The Cuban baseball player market will be open with normalized relations between Cuba and the US. Sal Maglie played for a Cuban baseball team

The Cuban baseball player market will be open with normalized relations between Cuba and the US. Sal Maglie played for a Cuban baseball team.

The Cuban baseball player market will be open with normalized relations between Cuba and the US. There are a bunch of people who think this is a bad idea since they have been working on getting the government to change its tactics. The recent announcement, put the kibosh on their efforts.

The biggest benefit I see is baseball players won’t have to defect or risk drowning at sea in make-shift rafts. I went to visit family in Peru and flew on AeroPeru. The plane made a late night stop in Havana, not enough time to get off the plane, but I count that as being in Cuba.

The Little Yoga Studio is, in fact little, buck has a great welcoming environment for beginners to expert yoga practitioners.

The Little Yoga Studio is, in fact little, buck has a great welcoming environment for beginners to expert yoga practitioners. I like this place because of  the stories.

There are many more stories, but these are 10 I picked out as significant in 2014.

I picked stories mostly about people with flaws and I hope that we can learn from their stories.

My life in 2014 really wasn’t that memorable, but if you had some great experiences, good or bad I hope they will help inform your decisions and choices in 2015.

 

 

The #HandsUpDontShoot and #ICantBreathe protestors in Ferguson and NYC need closers

Protesters block highway 36 in Boulder, Colorado (Photo by the Daily Camera)

Protesters block highway 36 in Boulder, Colorado (Photo by the Daily Camera)

Even in white bread Boulder, Colorado protesters and marchers have taken it to the streets in the wake of the cop killings of  Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

The problem?

There’s no end game.

The movement needs closers.

Lot’s of glittering generalities scrawled on the placards – “justice for Mike”, “hands up don’t shoot”, “no killler cops” … reactionary causes like this are heavy on feel good symbolism and light on outcomes. I had high hopes for the Occupy movement, too, but that fizzled.

Already the Brown – Garner furor has waned and CNN is on to the next news cycle about CIA torture and vicious Sony emails.

That’s too bad.

About the only outlet that oppressed people have to get their larger communities to take notice is through civil and criminal disobedience and the willingness to accept the consequences of jail time and injury. The topic moved race relations to the forefront, though, even forcing Walmart to pull a TV ad.

Race riots around the country in 1964 got the nation's attention.

Race riots around the country in 1964 got the nation’s attention.

Back in the 1960s, segregation was a state’s right and legal in the south. The bus boycotts and restaurant sit-ins initially were not that successful but the 1964 riots in Chicago, Harlem and Philadelphia got people’s attention. This was also the first time there was TV news coverage.

What was the end game?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This is the 50th anniversary of that legislation which passed by landslides in both houses of the US Congress and Lyndon Johnson’s trademark legislation carrying the torch for John Kennedy.

Half a century later, the country has come along way in civil rights, but what’s next?

No laws will change societal attitudes. That’s work that each person has to do on their own by looking in the mirror and deciding what kind of person they want to be; ask what values do they want to instill in their children and the children of others; decide if its work losing friends over their new outlooks.

It’s hard work.

You ask anyone and nobody will say they are “racist”.

Their rationales?

“I don’t burn churches and wear white hoods.” I hear people say they are “color blind.”

If a person is truly “color blind” they should be willing to give up personal power to people of color and oppressed people.

The work goes way beyond exchanging pleasantries at church coffees – although that’s a good start for some people.

the notion of cultural competency rears its head from time to time. It wouldn’t surprise me if there aren’t funds for this in the big federal program Obama unveiled the other day that would give money to local police departments to buy body cameras.  The problem is, cultural competency work is generally an “add-on” and not really integrated into the day to day workings. It gets discussed on a reactionary basis.

Quality of law enforcement can be plotted on a bell curve. On one end are bad cops that lie, cheat, steal and kill and on the other end are great cops that save kitties from trees, help a stranded motorist. We just need a whole bunch of okay cops, good cops. In fact, the vast majority are okay and good trying to make a living for themselves and their families. Here’s an example of a cop who caught a woman shoplifting eggs.

What were his choices?

He could embarrass her by a shake down in the store. He could call in back-up; He could see if the store wanted to press charges; or he could pay for the eggs, which he did. I doubt he got any special training to do this, but rather he’s just a nice guy.

I also think that people and police generally want to change their attitudes towards inclusion, but there aren’t any readily accessible day to day tools, other than, maybe through a church or nonprofit, or workplace.

Law enforcement officers catch the brunt of frustration and I think that’s just part of the job. If the protest groups get their acts together, what might be some outcomes for them for them to pursue? This is largely a local issue and here are a few ideas:

  • Work with civil service commissions police unions and citizen police boards to change their police testing and recruitment procedures to include stronger cultural competency indicators. Police departments do pretty good jobs weeding out the real bad apples and tests tend to be standardized and don’t control for race relations.
  • Work with police academies and college law enforcement departments to add additional training and classroom instruction about how to verbally deescalate situations. These two citizen killings escalated from stealing cigars and selling cigarettes to death. That’s a problem. There are companies that provide training about this. Deescalation classes should be a part of criminal justice college / university curricula and not just on the job workshops.
  • Develop new leadership by recruiting members for the city parks board, planning commission, housing committees. Once emerging leaders gain experience they can make runs for the city council or other elected offices.

About all the nationwide peaceful and violent demonstrations have accomplished is ruining the lives of two cops – Daniel Pantaleo and Darren Wilson – who will soon fade into oblivion and sold some newspapers. That’s not a very good return on investment, if you ask me.

The activists from the 1960s and 70s  are tired and there wasn’t much, if any, thought about passing on organizing skills to others. It’s a young people’s world now and there must be at least a few closers out in the fray …

On grand juries, police image problems and revolution

There’s been quiwizard id peasantste a bit of buzz in the popular media about the recent work of grand juries that found little probable cause to indict police officers who killed citizens in the line of duty.

I have a unique perspective on this having served on a grand jury in a past life.

Grand juries haven’t changed much over the centuries. The idea is to provide yet another control on the government for community members to keep over zealous government lawyers in check. That didn’t happen in Ferguson and Staten Island. The grand jury system was used for political cover.

In the US, the justice system is set up to favor citizens, you know – “innocent until proven guilty.” The burden of proof is on the government to provide probable cause that a crime exists. Grand juries make “probable cause” determinations via indictment. The jury that I sat, heard its fair share of bad cases, in fact, we kept asking for more information if it was lacking. We would advise the cops and county attorney what they needed to bring to strengthen their case. In Ferguson and Staten Island, those juries were actually tasked – by design or by accident, I don’t know – to find the defendants innocent.

How the DA handled these grand jury cases has been fodder for talking heads on both ends of the political spectrum. But the bottom line is, based on the information provided to them, grand jurors had no choice but to find no probable cause. In Staten Island and Ferguson, the jurors were given the prosecution’s evidence and the defense evidence. All that evidence is compounded by the great leeway cops have to show force.

Cops maim and kill people every day but these two cases in particular have raised public awareness about how the citizenry has allowed law enforcement to run amok. I get the public safety thing, but for instance, the other day I was in Loveland at the museum taking a peak at the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit there. Sitting on a bench was a guy – probably a homeless guy – being questioned by one cop, then another pulled up and joined in on the fun. He was standing back watching.

What went through my mind was, why were they hassling this guy?  The police show of force in this case was placing their hands on their hips in front of their weapons. The next show of force move would have been unsnapping their holsters.

Cops have an image problem.

It’s been happening for generations. It’s pretty much a thankless job – the cop’s job description is looking for trouble and they have guns. I’d be scared, too, if I had to walk into a domestic violence situation not knowing how wigged out a guy might be. (70 to 80 percent of DV perps are men).

Being scared and that coupled with preconceived fears about people based on stereotypes add to the over reaction.  I’m pretty sure the vast majority of cops don’t find themselves in life and death situations or try to avoid them.

Public agencies do the best they can to screen out the real bad apples through psychological screening, but those tests need to to be tweaked to better control for attitudes about race, gender identity.

Sure, Brown was stealing cigars and Garner selling loose cigarettes and not collecting taxes, but the problem is with cops escalating minor criminal situations that end up with people shot.

I hope there continue to be public outcries about this from kids marching out of school, and communities taking it to the streets. It’s the only way for victims to get the political system to react.

It’s going to take awhile for things to change. Keep in mind it’s only been 150 years since Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation and 50 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

There’s no turning back.

Apres campaign 2014 – Democrats are their own worst enemies

The 2014 midterm election cycle was a Throwback Tuesday to the 2004 presidential election. The Democrats blew it with their finesse game. The Republicans are way better at campaigning using brute force and they have way more money.

The big quasi surprise was Mark Udall getting defeated. I think it was largely at his own hand. His ground game wasn’t good enough. I think if he had Obama come to Denver and Boulder, that would have been positive for him. Nationally, the Democrats bought into the Republican anti-Obama story. Instead of staying home, president should have been been out there making whistle stops. I don’t care what anyone says, when the President of the US shows up it is a BFD!

I wait until election day to turn in my vote.

I wait until election day to turn in my vote.

Udall let Gardner position his campaign as single issue, which it wasn’t. Udall originally was elected because of his name. He was a political carpetbagger when he first came to Boulder and ran for the U.S. House. Gardner did a good job framing Udall as a career politician with no heart.

Gardner played the “grandma card” and the “tractor card” which both played well. Plus he was only joshing about his past personhood and anti-women views. Udall didn’t show any emotion. He followed the Gore and Kerry playbooks which talked about data and votes and little about his story and about his vision for the country.

I did see a blog post on his campaign site about he being a kid in the southwest, but that didn’t do anything to show him “in touch” with Colorado. Same thing happened to John Kerry when Bush shaped the election and Kerry just followed along with being painted as a rich kid and a swift boater.

The Bill and Hillary road show helped close the gap for Udall, but their star power is fading. The Clintons showed up in Kentucky many times but Alison Grimes was thoroughly stomped there by Mitch McConnell.

Hickenlooper eked one out. That should be a wake up call. He tried to keep everyone happy, but ended up ticking everyone off. Bob Beauprez playing the “mass murderer” card backfired. I imagine families in Colorado would feel safer without edible marijuana on the market. Both Ways Bob is a sore loser and likely waiting for a recount before conceding.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming – the Republicans held serve. The state legislature lost a Democrat in Lee Filer from Cheyenne, but picked up Charles Pelky from Laramie. I think the mix in the Wyoming State House of Representatives is 51 Red to 9 Blue. The Democratic Party in Wyoming doesn’t have a candidate grooming strategy.  The Tea Party, on the other hand, is good at making all politics local by getting their folks to get on city parks boards and planning commissions. In Jefferson County, Colorado, the conservative majority members of the school board were sneaked in there and nobody really noticed until the recent flap over the move towards revisionist history.

In Wyoming, if a person gets elected to any office or appointed to a board or commission, it makes them immediately available for other elective offices. Former Mayor turned State Legislator Del McOmie at out a cycle or two and was elected as mayor Lander for his second go-around. He’s thoughtful and asks around before he makes decisions. When I worked for him it was during some tough times – the U.S. Steel mine closed, the bottom dropped out of the uranium market just after the 3-Mile Island meltdown. I hope he resurfaces in statewide politics again.

Senate Majority Leader In Waiting Mitch McConnell has been talking big after the election and it doesn’t sound like there will be any conciliatory offers. He’s already threatening Obama on immigration reform. Working with the Democrats, according to McConnell, is total capitulation to the GOP perspective. I don’t see much happening in the next two years. I doubt there will be any meaningful conference committees unless a bunch of Republicans break ranks – which is what happened when the Democrats had control of both houses. Not much got done when congress was controlled by Democrats either.

I can hardly wait until 2016 to hear about why Hillary and Jeb both are too extreme for my own good.

Election day thoughts 2014

Election day 2014 is tomorrow. I voted early but not casting my ballot until tomorrow – election day.

Based on all the “too extreme” for Colorado ads still running on TV, apparently there is still too much money flowing and voters still haven’t made up their minds.

I find it amazing that there are voters out there who are so uninformed they are actually swayed by the nonsensical mudslinging messages. If you’re one who hasn’t made up your mind, I want to know who you are and get your information from TV ads, I want to know who you are!

Who has the most toys doesn’t translate into victory. House majority leader Eric Cantor spent $168,000 at three restaurants while eventual winner David Brat spent $123,000 on his entire campaign. At the end, Cantor spent 40 times more money than Brat and lost by 10 points.

Here’s how I voted on issues and candidates this year. I follow politics in Wyoming and Colorado where I have stakes. I tend to support people with whom I have some sort of connection and that bears out this election cycle.

US Senate Colorado – Back in the mid 1970s, I went to Washington DC for a student political science institute. I befriended over a couple days Morris Udall. He’s the father of Senator Mark Udall, who is in a neck and neck race with Cory Gardner. I got to know Mo Udall, however briefly during the conference. I met Mark Udall when he moved to Colorado to run for Congress. He’s a career politician and that reputation is catching up with him. i voted for Udall mostly for the good of the order of keeping the federal system split. I think Udall will prevail, much like Senator Bennett did when he defeated Ken Buck.

US Congressional District 2 – I’ve known incumbent Jared Polis for a number of years, mostly through non-profit organization circles when I worked for Assets for Colorado Youth and he was on the Colorado Board of Education. Since he was elected to the US House, I don’t run into him as much as I once did. I voted for Jared again. His opponent is a Chinese guy named George Leing – he pronounces his name in Anglicized fashion “Lang”. He’ll get votes in east and north Boulder County, Weld and Gilpin counties.

Colorado Governor – John Hickenlooper was one of the first people I met when I came to Colorado. He and I served on the Chinook Fund board of directors for a number of years. He’s had to govern to the middle and “Both Ways Beauprez” has had to grasp at straws to find issues that would make John look bad. Recently, Beauprez played the “soft on murderers” card, which I don’t think have played very well. I voted for John again.

68 – I voted for gambling expansion at the Arapahoe County horse track. Not because I want to fund education, but to encourage more gaming.

105 – I voted for the GMO labeling. The proponents came up with a little over $500,000 while the opposition raised over $12 million from multinational corporations like Monsanto, Pepsi Cola, Kraft, Coca Cola. With a cast of characters like that I pretty much had to vote for it.

In Wyoming, competitive elections went away in the mid 1990s when the Democratic main stays were all soundly trounced and never resurfaced – former Governor Mike Sullivan, former Secretary of State Kathy Karpan; former state Senator John Vinich. Since then, the laws were changed to suppress voter registration and voting. In a red state like Wyoming, there end up being various shades of red. I don’t know how long it will take for Wyoming to become competitive again – maybe never.

US Senate Wyoming – My first job out of school was with the city government of Gillette. I was in a class at the University of Wyoming called the Human Services Project. Multidisciplinary students worked together to solve problems arising from rapid population growth during the coal boom there. I worked for then Mayor Mike Enzi and City Administrator Flip McConnaughy – now Senator Enzi’s Chief of Staff. Mike’s wife Diana and I were both members of the Wyoming Private Industry Council charged with administering federal job funds. Mke is running against a former Catholic priest, Charlie Hardy, who’s been logging a lot of road miles in Wyoming and has become a bit of a media darling. Enzi will win this one big. I’ll be surprised if he runs for a 5th term after this.

US Congressional District Wyoming At Large – The incumbent is Cynthia Lummis. She and I, as well as her siblings, all grew up together. Cynthia’s husband, Al Wiederspahn passed away suddenly last week. I don’t even know who is running against her, but she’ll win in another landslide, maybe getting 90 percent of the vote.

Wyoming Governor – I’ve gotten to know Matt Mead and his family over the past four years,  He’s been in a couple videos I’ve made for his art’s awards celebration and for the 75th anniversary of the Wyoming state parks system. It’s election season, but nonetheless, he’s had to govern to the middle, which means something totally different than other places. He’s running against a guy from Pinedale, Pete Gosar. I think he’s the Wyoming State Democratic Party chairman. Matt Mead should win with no problem.

State House District 21 – A friend of mine, Albert Sommers is running for reelection. He’s a level headed and thoughtful guy who should win again. His wife, Sue, is quite the graphic artist. He funds his own campaign and refuses contributions from others.

Lander Mayor – former mayor and state legislator Del McOmie is running for Mayor again.  My second job was working for the city of Lander as Del’s assistant before I worked for the Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation. I don’t know who he’s against, but he should win this one.
There you have it, I’m not trying to influence you, since my opinions are clearly too extreme to help anyone change their minds and I approve of this message