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Meeting Legendary Politician: Rep. John Lewis of Georgia

Never Politics Small

My husband and I recently took a vacation, a cruise on Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas. While on the cruise my husband and I had the good fortune to meet a legendary Congressman, Representative John Lewis of Georgia. He was a fellow passenger on the cruise and my husband and I introduced ourselves and conversed with him and took this photo with him.

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The Congressman was very friendly. We told him we admired his years of service, and especially the recent sit-in against gun violence he lead in the House of Representatives. Rep. John Lewis was a key figure in the Civil Rights movement in this country. He is the only living member of the “Big Six” leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He was the chairman of the SNCC from 1963 to 1966. He marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King. He spoke at the March where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and was the youngest person to speak that day. He is one of the most legendary figures in American politics and it was a great pleasure to meet him. He is also a member of Democratic House of Representatives Leadership, serving as Senior Chief Deputy Whip. He has served in the House of Representatives since 1987 and has been re-elected 14 times. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet this legendary activist and statesman.

 

“Building A Better Colorado” Bipartisan Group Set to Examine Colorado Issues Including TABOR

np_logoA new bipartisan group has formed in Colorado which will seek to examine the big political issues in Colorado. The group led by leaders from both the Democrat and Republican parties will hold town halls across the state. The group called “Building A Better Colorado” will be stopping in 40 different cities and towns across Colorado. The newly formed group will seek to address some of the central conflicts in the state, including the controversial constitutional measure, the Tax Payers Bill of Rights, a.k.a TABOR, and other central conflicts in how the state is governed. These conflicts include Colorado’s ability to fund and build new roads, fund education, and engage with an electorate that is checked out and disillusioned, and preparing for the future for our state.

“Building A Better Colorado” is the creation of former University of Denver chancellor, Dan Ritchie. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will be involved with the group, as will former Colorado governors Bill Ritter and Roy Romer. Also lending a hand to the group will be Ken Salazar, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and two former Denver mayors, Wellington Webb and Federico Peña. On the Republican side there will be leadership to the group from former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, former state lawmakers Gigi Dennis and Norma Anderson, and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former state attorney general.

To what degree the group focuses on TABOR remains to be seen, but Republicans are already concerned that the group will focus on TABOR and how to weaken or change TABOR’s grip on state funding and taxes. Gov. Hickenlooper has repeatedly voiced concern over the state’s ability to meet financial challenges in part due to TABOR over recent months.

As a person who has been frustrated by the constraints of TABOR, I am encouraged by the formation of this bipartisan group. Hopefully the group can listen to the needs of the constituents of the state and find common ground to help address some of the central challenges in the state, including the funding challenges for roads, education, and government services. I am for the amending TABOR if not outright repealing it, but much of the state supports keeping TABOR in place as a way of curbing government spending and tax increases. But to these citizens I ask, how do we build and maintain roads, address a booming population growth, fund our schools and pay our teachers, and pay for government services with an aging Baby Boomer population who will need government services?

Hopefully the group finds answers and proposes solutions. Here’s hoping!

Fate of Broomfield Fracking Moratorium in the Hands of Judge

Never Politics Small

The protracted battle being waged in Broomfield over the community’s embattled election results on a fracking-ban could conclude very soon. Now a judge has the complete power to toss out the fracking ban. It saddens me that a decision that should have belonged to the community of Broomfield now rests entirely in the hands of one man. But that is what has happened after this very close and very disputed election in Broomfield in November 2013.

At least soon there will be a decision to bring clarity to the outcome of the November 5 election, which has been mired in controversy and court hearings for over three months now.

The two day trial wrapped up on Tuesday February 25th. According to the Daily Camera: “The trial is the result of a challenge to the election brought by pro-fracking group Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition and Tom Cave, a member of pro-fracking group It’s Our Broomfield, Too. Plaintiffs in the election challenge case want Melonakis to declare  Question 300 that did not pass because of numerous election flaws. Broomfield, which wants the judge to declare that the election results are valid, said the razor-thin outcome was the result of a close election, not flaws in the election.”

No one knows when Judge Melonakis will issue his ruling on the trial. Also it is unknown if the judge has the authority to call for another election to settle this matter once and for all.

This story is developing. . . Stay tuned to NEVER POLITICS for all the updates on this story!

 

Judge Refuses to Certify Broomfield Fracking-Ban Recount Results

“Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark…” – William Shakespeare

Citizens of the county of Broomfield should be upset. Their democratic rights are being subverted. Not only have oil and gas companies sued the Broomfield Election Division, now a judge has weighed into the fray. On December 10th, Judge Francis Wasserman issued an order that bars Broomfield from certifying the election results of the recount over a contentious five-year fracking-moratorium. The order was issued in the wake of a lawsuit filed Dec. 3 by pro-fracking group Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition. Local lawyers have decried the move by the judge, as the election results, affirming the five year ban, had already been approved by the canvass board on December 5th. Broomfield plans to respond by filing a motion in the court asking the judge to reconsider.

It seems that the democratic rights of citizens are under attack from all sides from special interests. The election should have settled this matter, but now it is being drawn out in court. The oil and gas companies have shifted their tactics. If you cannot win by throwing money into swaying public opinion to support fracking, then buy influence. Buy influence through attack-dog trial lawyers, throwing their weight around in court. Buy the influence of judges who will issue rulings against fair election results. If you can’t win in a legitimate arena (i.e. public elections) win with money and influence.

I have been focusing on the Broomfield hydraulic fracturing ban, but in addition to this ban, there have been fracking bans in Boulder, Lafayette, and Fort Collins. the COGA (Colorado Oil and Gas Association) has filed lawsuit against Lafayette and Fort Collins for these fracking bans. It has become so bad here in Colorado that Representatives like Rep, Jared Polis have spoke out in recent days:

“Colorado Oil and Gas Association needs to focus on winning over hearts and minds, not suing us when they disagree with the legitimate outcome of elections,” Rep. Polis stated. “I call on Colorado Oil and Gas Association to withdraw their lawsuits and stop trying to overturn the recent elections in Lafayette and Fort Collins.”

The majority of Fort Collins, Boulder, Lafayette, and Broomfield voters chose to pass measures to extend drilling moratoriums or fracking bans. And even those who voted against these measures generally agree it is community members, not COGA, who should determine how and whether oil and gas is developed in Fort Collins and Lafayette.

“Local governments have authority to regulate oil and gas land use activities because oil and gas operations are matters of local concern that impact home values and are an important issue for residents and neighborhoods,” Polis concluded. “If the oil and gas industry forces taxpayers to defend these lawsuits it will generate even more public sentiment against creating energy sector jobs and achieving energy independence.”

Attached are links to videos of Congressman Polis speaking of his concerns on these lawsuits:

Video 1:               http://youtu.be/PT3EnfqenXU
Video 2:               http://youtu.be/puQ24uz06KI

Source: Jared Polis’ Official Website

Rep. Polis is a brave man and one of the few members of Congress that I still respect and admire. He is right to speak out on behalf of his constituents. How did the Oil and Gas community respond? Very maturely, by challenging Re. Polis to a public debate on energy. I hope that Rep. Polis continues to speak out against the formidable oil and gas lobby. America must not let special interests undermine our most basic rights. We speak out in elections and we expect our election results to be respected in the eyes of the courts.