Archive for October, 2011

This article first appeared in the October 20, 2011 Estes Park News. You can check out the photos as well in the Estes Park News on-line editionuntil Thursday (page 47). Thank you to the Estes Park News for covering local events.

Straw Poll in Estes Park

By Michelle Hurni

A slice of Estes Park residents gathered at Village Pizza on Monday, October 17 for a social to discuss political ideas with like minded friends. The group of over 75 included military veterans, former school teachers, business owners, airline pilots, scientists, Democrats, independents, Republicans and Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

A straw poll was conducted over pizza, with businessman Herman Cain capturing 58% of republican votes. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took second, with 17%. Michelle Bachmann and a write-in for“undecided” each captured 7%. The remaining votes went to other candidates, with 5% or less for each. On the Independent and Democrat side of the coin, not one selected re-electing President Barack Obama, but no write-ins were noted.

The theme the group agreed on for moving the United States of America in the right direction was overwhelmingly for limiting government spending and power, with business and the economy coming in a strong second. While progressive and liberal press focuses on the “occupy” movement, and claims the Tea Party is losing steam, the concerned Estes Park group remains focused on their basic values of smaller government, following the constitution, a balanced budget and self dependence, not government dependency.

In a poll that only 3% of the group chose “national security and foreign policy” as the number 1 priority moving forward, it appears businessman Herman Cain will have a good chance at gaining the nomination for the Republican party, despite many in the mainstream saying he’s unelectable because he’s never held public office and he’s too conservative. The same was said about Ronald Reagan by Gerald Ford in 1980. The field is still open, with the primaries scheduled to begin in January 2012.

The event was kept lighthearted, yet educational with trivia. Correct answers to the questions, how many amendments are in the U.S. Constitution (27); and what is the current national debt ($14.9 trillion) received Kristi’s Konservative Kookies.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith talked about the great state of Colorado and how lucky the residents are that control is kept at a local level.

Future events for the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots will be posted on TeaLiberty.com, or via e-mail (tealiberty@hotmail.com).

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In 2008, Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute used real-life sock puppets to illustrate his policy points.  This year he’s enlisted a domino world record holder to illustrate the negative impact on Colorado jobs of Proposition 103.  

But my favorite Proposition 103 video was Kelly Maher’s discovery that petition gatherers were hiding the fact that Prop. 103 is a tax increase.    Kelly asks, “a guy lies to me then asks me out–isn’t that backwards?”  Well Kelly, not really.  That’s the progressive definition of “moving forward.”  In fact that seems to be a too common definition of “moving forward” at both the federal and state level.   Carol Hedges of Progressive Women of Colorado says Prop 103 is an easy way to provide funding for schools.   We’ve already pointed out that Prop 103 provides money for the state general fund, not public education.

Proponents of Prop 103 chose a stop-gap measure.  That’s gathering opposition as well as support.  The Sterling Journal-Advocate says vote no and get to work on fixing the state constitution.  In the midst of persistent unemployment, many voters may be reluctant to tip the next domino on job losses.

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Estes Park, CO:  The state news is filled with progressive activists who are supporting “Occupy Denver” and “Occupy Boulder.” Monday night, the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots occupied the Village Pizza in Estes Park to conduct a Presidential straw poll.  Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith attended the event, joking that his presence was necessary due to the boisterous demonstrations of the attendees.

Businessman Herman Cain occupied the hearts of local Tea Party activists, capturing 59% of the votes.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took second, with 17%.  Michelle Bachmann and a write-in for “undecided” each captured 7%, and Ron Paul attracted 5%.  Other candidates collectively received 5% of the votes.

The GOP straw poll attracted most of the participants, with 86% of the responses.  Nine percent of the respondents were unaffiliated and 5% were Democrats.  One-third of unaffiliated voters wrote in “Anybody but Obama.”  None of the Democrats marked Barack Obama as their choice, despite him being the only Democratic name on the ballot.

The majority of Tea Party supporters (59%) see “government spending and power” as the most important issue facing the nation, with another 22% choosing “business and the economy.”  Just 8% identified “social issues and moral values” as a top issue, and 3% chose “national security and foreign policy.”

Respondents overwhelmingly saw President Obama’s jobs bill as harmful.  Sixty-six percent believed the jobs bill would hurt the economy and unemployment rate a lot, 13% thought it would hurt a little, and 19% thought it would not matter for the economy. 

Respondents also weighed in on elements of the Obama jobs bill.  Giving temporary federal tax credits and temporary payroll tax waivers to employers who hire new employees won measurable support, with 24% favoring it, but 62% opposed.  The rest of the respondents were neutral or undecided. 

Other elements of the Obama jobs bill gained even stronger opposition.  Seventy-five percent opposed providing federal funding for public works projects, including repairs and maintenance of public schools.  Tea Party supporters place an emphasis on local & state control and funding of public works projects. Tea Party groups have voiced strong opposition to the practice of federal earmarking, which is seen as promoting pork barrel projects. 

Over 70 people attended the Tea Party event, with almost everyone participating in the straw poll.  In 2008, about 450 people attended the GOP Presidential Caucus in Estes Park. 

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Colorado’s political future is on trial, as a Denver court hears testimony in the congressional redistricting case.  According to testimony presented by the Democrats’ own map-drawing expert, the 4th Congressional District is not a competitive district for any potential Democratic candidate.  That’s bad news for state Senator Brandon Shaffer.

Shaeffer’s campaign had to submit its own legal brief to argue for keeping Longmont in the 4th CD.  Shaffer points to “Thiebaut Map 2” as his preferred solution.  Democrat Bill Thiebaut is the Pueblo County District Attorney.  Thiebaut decided to intervene in the redistricting litigation.  Why would a Pueblo elected official be looking out for Brandon Shaeffer?  TeaLiberty.com notices that Thiebaut is represented by former Democratic congressional candidate/former legislator Stan Matsunaka of Loveland.  Thiebaut is helping Shaffer  avoid filing his own maps–or being forced to support a GOP map that leaves Longmont in the 4th CD.

Shaffer’s entire argument hinges on convincing the court that Longmont has strong ties to agriculture in Weld County and Northeast Colorado. Unfortunately, Shaffer is also arguing the Eastern Plains need to be split between two districts, a move intended to boost his own election chances.  Prior courts have recognized the Eastern Plains as an agricultural community of interest.  It wasn’t until 2002 that a court included Longmont in that community of interest.  Now Shaffer wants to both divide that very same Eastern Plains community of interest–just to keep his Longmont home in the 4th CD.

Shaffer’s political party wants to go much farther.  Democrats hope to throw much of Larimer County into Jared Polis’ 2nd Congressional District in the name of “competitiveness.”  Recent trial testimony sought to justify joining Larimer County and Boulder by pointing out that both counties face the scourge of pine beetles.  Let us know when the federal government finds a cure for the pine beetle.

There’s a much longer list of reasons to keep Larimer in the 4th CD.   Public testimony, and e-mails submitted to the legislative Joint Redistricting Committee overwhelmingly supported keeping Larimer County in the 4th CD.  Democrats were so terrified of hearing even more unfavorable testimony against their Larimer-splitting plans that they refused to hear it last April.

Occupy Denver still hasn’t noticed.  The much less than one percent of the one percent are deciding our congressional districts.  Progressive activists are content to let the insiders make the decisions for them.  Looks like both the money people and the grassroots Dems are content with seeing Brandon Shaffer shunted aside.  That means the Democratic redistricting consultant is right:  Brandon Shaffer cannot win.



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The Denver Post editorial board isn’t exactly a bastion of limited government when they editorialize as a group.  But even the Denver Post has weighed in urging a No vote on Proposition 103.  Check it out for yourself.  They of course praise Rollie Heath as a sincere fellow.  In fact, they apparently urge a no vote so that elected officials can find a long-term (tax increase) solution to Colorado’s budget.

The Vote Yes on Proposition 103 camp says  their initiative will fund public schools.  Keep in mind it does no such thing.  The increased taxes collected will go into the state general fund.  Less than 40% of the state general fund gets spent on K-12 education. Legislators will decide how to spend the higher tax revenue.

The Vote Yes website has a tax calculator to show you just how affordable their tax hike will be.  Rossputin.com has an excellent analysis of the flaws  in their calculator.

Prop 103 is also being pitched as a “time out” from school district budget cuts.  This is a $3 billion (or more) tax increase in the midst of continued high unemployment.  The Vote Yes crowd sees taxpayers as misbehaving students, who just need  five years of higher taxes to realize the error of their ways.

Save Colorado Jobs is a group promoting the No vote on Proposition 103.  They explain how raising taxes will kill jobs in Colorado.

A number of school districts have endorsed Proposition 103.  The Park R-3 School District endorsed a no vote.  Like a number of other districts accross Colorado, Park R-3 is asking for a mill levy increase to support school funding.  According to Park R-3 Board members, for a school district to also endorse Prop 103 would be a double whammy.

The “double whammy”  impact on jobs never stopped the legislature from devising more fee increases as a way to avoid the vote requirements of the TABOR amendment.  That’s what led to the non-voter approved “Dirty Dozen” collection of fee increases and an unconstitutional “Amazon” tax on the out-of-state sale of books via internet.

Colorado voters are cautious about giving the legislature ever higher taxes.  Proposition 103 seeks five-year increases because Referendum C  sold a similar temporary fix to the voters.

The Denver Post wants a permanent solution to Colorado’s budget woes.  Usually, the “permanent solution” turns out to be repealing TABOR and then increasing taxes.  Higher taxes would be a permanent problem.  Just ask California.  Reason produced an in-depth report on California’s budget crisis.  Over the last two decades, state spending outpaced the rate of inflation plus the growth in state population.   It didn’t matter whether the Governor was Democrat Gray Davis or Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.  That’s why Californians would be grateful to have Colorado’s TABOR limits on state spending.

Hopefully voters will recognize that Prop 103 is just the opening salvo in an ongoing effort to increase the size of state government.

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The Estes Park Tea Party Patriots will have a Pizza Party on Monday, October 17th at 5:30 PM.  The event will be held at the Village Pizza.  This is in lower Stanley Village across the street from the Visitors Center.  The  cost is only $5.00 per person which includes pizza, soft drink, tax and tip.  It will be a social evening.  Meet with friends that are as concerned about the country as you are.  Please bring your friends, but please RSVP so we can order enough pizzas.  We have a lot of interest in this event and we hope you can come!

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