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Archive for November, 2011

The Estes Park Tea Party Patriots is encouraging people from all political parties to become involved in the party caucus process.  Early and active participation in the caucuses and primaries by average citizens helps counter the harmful influence of special interests.

The Larimer County Republican Party is holding an informational session on Saturday, December 3rd from 10 am to noon at the Estes Park High School’s Commons Area.  The program will begin with an opportunity to meet current elected officials, candidates for public office, and county party officials.  Anyone interested in the caucus process, including unaffiliated voters, are welcome to attend.

The Republican Caucus will be held on February 7, 2012.  To participate, a voter must be registered as a Republican by next Tuesday, December 6th.  Voters can change their party affiliation on-line 24-hours a day by going to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website at:  http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/VoterHome.html.

The Democrat Party will hold its precinct caucuses on March 6, 2012.  The last day for a voter to change their registration to the Democratic Party and participate will be on January 6, 2012.

Unregistered voters will have until January 9, 2012 to register and participate in the Republican Party Caucus, and until February 6, 2012 to register and participate in the Democratic Party Caucus.  Any voter uncertain about their registration status can go to the Larimer County elections website at:  https://larimer.org/elections/voter_inquiry.cfm.

The mission of the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots is to to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.  For more information about the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots, please contact Mack Hunt at 970-five eight six-zero one five six.

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Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts announced today that he is retiring from Congress .  Unfortunately, his retirement comes a decade too late for taxpayers.  Rep. Frank was one of the most ardent supporters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thwarting efforts to increase their capital reserves and improve regulatory oversight.  Alarm bells sounded years before the real estate collapse.  Rep. Frank made certain that Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac could continue inflating the housing boom into a bubble.

Democrats are hailing his role in the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.   Dodd-Frank is a 2,300 page bill that rivals ObamaCare in creating new bureaucracies.  Like ObamaCare, the full costs of the legislation will only become known over time.  Rep. Frank used his power to protect the two government-sponsored enterprises that played a major role in the real estate bubble and subsequent economic collapse.   What did Rep. Frank learn from his failures?  Instead of ending taxpayer bailouts, Dodd-Frank makes them a permanent part of government oversight. Now every bank has an explicit mechanism to seek government bailouts.  That enshrines the problem of private profits and taxpayer losses.

Estimates are that the new law will require 2.2 million hours of compliance work per year.  Accountants and lawyers aren’t cheap.  The burden will fall most heavily on small banks, not the national giants who teamed with Washington and Wall Street to give us TARP bailouts.  Crony capitalism will become more important–not less– under these purported reforms.

Rep. Frank proves that it is possible in Washington to get things wrong more than once.  He now wants to do other things.  Let’s watch and see where the revolving door puts the former congressman in 2013.  His power and influence will allow him to continue pushing for more crony capitalism.

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On Thursday November 17th Freedom Works and Tea Party activists from across the country were to present the Tea Party Debt Commission Plan before a joint hearing of Senators and Congressmen. It was supposed to stream live on C-SPAN.

Before the meeting was to begin, the Democrat controlled Senate Rules Committee, headed up by none other than Chuck Schumer, ordered their staff to remove the microphones that had been set up for the event and had Capital Police block the doors to the hearing room, which had been reserved by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). At the same time, a “suspicious package” was reported in the room next door and everyone was  barred from the area.

Here is a link to the video of what happened. http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/thale/matt-kibbe-and-others-react-to-the-eviction-of-the?source=tpdc

The Tea Party Debt Commission Plan will balance the federal budget and cut $9.7 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. Following are the highlights of the plan.

The Tea Party Debt Commission Plan will;

* Cut, cap, and balance federal spending

* Balance the federal budget in four years without any tax hikes

* Reduce federal spending by $9.7 trillion over ten years

* Shrink the federal government to 16% of GDP

* Stop the growth of debt, and begin paying it down

To achieve these goals, the plan

* Repeals Obamacare

* Eliminates the Department of Energy, Education, Commerce, and HUD, and privatizes the EPA, TSA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac

* Ends farm subsidies, government student loans, and foreign aid to countries that don’t support us

* Saves Social Security

* Gives Medicare seniors the right to opt into the Congressional health care plan

* Suspends pension contributions and COLAs for Members of Congress, whenever the budget is in deficit

The Tea Party Debt Commission developed a comprehensive plan that far exceeds what the Supercommittee was unable to do, all without raising taxes.

The entire plan can be found at the following website. http://www.freedomworks.org/the-tea-party-budget

 

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9 News investigators teamed with the Denver Post to review spending by E-470, the Denver metro toll road.  E-470 recently raised its tolls.   A 9Wants to Know reporter had the temerity to ask the Board of Directors questions in a public meeting.  Go here for the video & story.  The mnost controversial spending item was $13,000 per year for monthly massage therapist visits.

E-470 defends its spending as just a cost of doing business.   For example, E-470 paid a $100 baggage fee that allowed a Board member to take his golf clubs to a San Diego conference.

E-470 contends it is “competing” with the private sector and therefore must offer certain benefits and perks.  That’s probably true to some extent.  Yet the strange thing is E-470 is a public authority.  Their Board of Directors consists entirely of elected officials . Where is the “competition” to serve on their board?

Readers may recall that Pinnacol Insurance faced severe criticism for a golf trip to California.  Pinnacol does in fact compete with the private sector, yet the perks extended to its directors and officers became grounds for a failed legislator raid on Pinnacol’s reserves.

It will be interesting to see whether any legislators pick up the E-470 issue.  E-470 is one of the most expensive interstate toll roads per mile  in the country and just voted on a rate increase.  In fact E-470 is already planning its toll increases for the next ten years.  Since there’s no reserve fund to raid for the state budget, I suspect legislators will ignore E-470’s modest misspent funds.  Check out reporter Jeremy Jojola’s home page for more E-470 stories, including its outrageous policy on late fees.  That policy was only changed due to repeated public outrage.  No private business would ever be specifically empowered by the legislature to pursue such abusive late fee policies.

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For years lovelandpolitics.com has been documenting the interplay of local politicians and private interests through the monstrosities known as “public-private partnerships.”  Like an umpire in a New York Yankees uniform, local politicians prefer to be players and not neutral arbitors among local businesses.  This week Lovelandpolitics wrote an excellent overview of the Good Old Boy Era of Loveland government.

If you want to understand the major problem with local American governments, start with lovelandpolitics.com.  The favoritism displyed by the Loveland City Council was bipartisan and always described as promoting business or jobs.  The result has been a city and local taxing districts saddled with lost tax revenue for decades to come.  The Palisades commercial development by McWhinney Enterprises was foreclosed.  Now, the Centerra Metropolitan District can’t repay its urban renewal bonds on time.  That’s just one of many failed schemes.  Check out the home page for links to archives documenting years of taxpayer abuse.

The present economic crisis resulted from such real estate schemes spread across an entire nation.  Mortgage brokers acted on behalf of borrowers who could not afford their loans.  Banks re-sold the mortgages to investors.   Wall Street made fees from repackaging and selling the loans as mortgage-backed securities.  Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac facilitated the market for mortgages by issuing such securities.    The Federal government encouraged such loans through implied & actual government guarantees made to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.   Ratings agencies enjoyed a government-mandated oligopoly in which three companies provided “independent” ratings required by federal and state laws.  Those agencies were paid by the companies issuing the securities.

Overseeing all of it were quiescent state and federal regulators who answered to elected officials.  Elected officials relied upon contributions from the very same companies that transferred the risk of the shaky investments to the U.S. taxpayers.

In July 2010, the Loveland City Council allowed the McWhinney-controlled Centerra Metro District to extend the maturity of its public bonds to the year 2040 (eleven years beyond the life of the urban renewal authority).  At the same time, the federal government is saddling future generations with $15 trillion in debt–which is still growing.

Lovelandpolitics.com also revealed the details of the City of Loveland’s scheme to subsidize vNet LLC.   vNet promised to create “new jobs.”  Just like Solyndra at the national level, the promised jobs have disappeared and taxpayers are left holding the bill.

It takes vigilance and a willingness to challenge the conventional wisdom to effect positive change.   The only way to put an end to crony capitalism is to begin chipping away at such business favoritism at the local level.  Every community in Colorado could use a watchdog like lovelandpolitics.com.

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On November 10th, in a post on our web site titled “The Judgepocalypse: Ft. Collins & Boulder Together in Congressional Redistricting”, we wrote that a” Denver judge Robert Hyatt adopted a Democratic-proposed redistricting map.”

On Tuesday the Colorado Supreme Court rejected the newly drawn state House and Senate districts, saying too many counties were split by the boundaries. The court’s 4-2 decision sends the map back to the Colorado Reapportionment Commission, which must draw new maps and resubmit to the court by December 6th.

Republicans blasted the maps as unconstitutional. Ryan Call, Colorado’s GOP chairman, said that “the state Supreme Court’s decision today validates what Colorado Republicans have been arguing all along – the Reapportionment Commission must first look to keeping counties boundaries whole before looking to non-constitutional criteria in drawing district boundaries. Respecting county boundaries and communities of interest leads to more effective representation as legislators will better reflect the perspectives and needs of the communities they are chosen to represent.”

Several of us from Estes Park went down to Denver last spring for the hearings and saw first-hand how the Democrats desperately wanted to design as many “competitive” districts as possible. What they really meant was that they wanted to design the districts so that they had the best chance of gaining more seats for the Democrats. If you can’t win in the battle of ideas, then design the districts so that you have a better chance to win.

Hopefully with the new design, Fort Collins and Estes Park won’t be included with Boulder and Jefferson County.

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