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Posts Tagged ‘Estes Park’

The national media insist that the Romney campaign and SuperPACs will outstrip the Obama campaign in spending and organization.  It looks different here on the ground in Northern Colorado.  Colorado is a swing state, and Larimer County is one of three key swing counties in Colorado.

Estes Park is only six precincts in a county with over 150 precincts.  It tends to vote like the rest of the county, making it a swing area in a swing county in–well, you get the idea.

Consider an e-mailed letter that has made the local rounds announcing that the Human Resource Director for the YMCA of the Rockies has resigned to set up an campaign office for the Obama campaign in Estes Park.  Sometime soon, Estes Park will have an Obama campaign office and a full-time paid organizer for our six little precincts.

What does Estes Park have to look forward to?  Here is a description of what a field organizer is expected to do from a 2008 organizer for the Obama campaign:

“I managed volunteers, created call lists, made calls, made packets for people to take with them when they were going to be going door-to-door, registered voters, decided where volunteers would go and tried to come up with more creative ways to communicate with people. When I started out a typical day was 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. We had Sundays off or we started at noon. When I became a field organizer, the day was 9 a.m. until midnight except for Fridays when it was 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. When the convention was getting closer in August, 9 a.m. to midnight was a good day. By the end of October, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. was a good day. The last week if you got to sleep at all it was a good day.”

According to the Obama campaign website, “Field Organizers (FOs) are the face of Organizing for America in communities across the country, working to advance President Obama’s and the Democrats’ agenda and grow the grassroots movement for electoral success in 2012.”  The Obama campaign is still taking applications, for those interested in the task as hand.  For those less inclined to join, the online interview questions are a lesson in community organizing.  The last line asks about work eligibility, and includes a choice for “non-citizen seeking work authorization.”  Hmm.  I believe there was an Executive Order concerning that. 

The Obama campaign has fifteen publicly identified field organizers for Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and Boulder already and is obviously expanding earlier in the cycle this time.  In 2008, the Obama campaign opened a campaign office in Estes Park in late September or the beginning of October.  In terms of time, the effort will be tripled this time, at minimum.  Barack Obama won Estes Park by 4% in 2008 (less than his statewide margin).

The Obama campaign will rely even more on intensive, paid staff work in 2012, not just Hope and wishes.

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Tuesday marks the kickoff of Estes Park’s Rodeo with the Rooftop Rodeo parade. Bring a blanket and head to Performance Park for the Freedom Rally from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10.

The rally kicks off with music by Rick Starr and his magic guitar at 12:30 p.m.  Speakers begin at 1 pm.  Rocky Mountain Black Tea Party chairman Derrick Wilburn will be the master of ceremonies. The RMBTP website claims “black and conservative are not mutually exclusive” and he will speak on that topic during the rally.

Jeff Crank, state Director of Americans for Prosperity will speak about federal policies and the economy.  Solomon Martinez, chairman of Northern Colorado Hispanic Republicans, will speak about reaching out in Northern Colorado to get Hispanics to vote for the party that best aligns with their values of faith, family and freedom.  Local candidates running for office in the November 2012 election will also speak.

The patriotic event has been held the past two years, drawing upwards of 350 people. Also included in the rally is an invocation, flag ceremony, and a patriotic song fest with Larry Pierce.  Join in the music, speakers and patriotic fun in Performance Park after the Rooftop Rodeo Parade.

Many commenters claim people no longer care about the liberty movement.  Prove them wrong this week!

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The Republican primary race for the Second Congressional District began in earnest this weekend at a meeting of the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots in Larimer County.  State Senator Kevin Lundberg and businessman Eric Weissmann both addressed the monthly meeting of the tea party group in Estes Park.  Senator Lundberg mentioned that it was the first time the two candidates have met on the campaign trail.

The event was specifically not formatted as a debate.  Both candidates largely focused their comments on Representative Jared Polis.

Having served as their legislator since 2003, Kevin Lundberg is well known in Estes Park.  Lundberg opened his remarks by discussing the concept of natural rights–our rights are given to us by a higher power, not by government.  Senator Lundberg responded to a number of questions about the current state legislative session.  Senator Lundberg introduced a bill to set two criteria for licensing of children day care centers.  First, health and safety and second an affordability criteria.

Sen. Lundberg at Estes Park Meeting

Lundberg has been a vocal critic of new state regulations for day care centers that contain numerous specific mandates for regulatory compliance.  For example, the regulations specify the number of crayons provided to each child and that a certain number of displays at each day care must include “realistic” depictions of nature.  “I’m not opposed to any particular displays,” said Lundberg, but he believes the state has no business focusing on such details of how a day care operates.  Lundberg contends that witnesses who testified in favor of the detailed regulations based their appeal on a conflicting idea.  “They say ‘we can’t trust day care center operators to know what’s best for children,” said Lundberg.  At the same time, state witnesses told the panel that the legislature needs to “trust us [the regulators].”

Lundberg also questioned Polis’ opposition to the Pioneer Act amendment, a provision that would require leasing of federal lands for oil shale development.  Altough the technology does not yet exist to extract oil shale for production, Lundberg wants the federal government to recognize its great potential.  Lundberg said that the U.S. has a 1 trillion potential reser

Eric Weissmann recognizes question

Eric Weissmann is a political newcomer.  Weissman contended that Polis “didn’t learn anything” from his private sector experience, based upon his voting record.  “Polis thinks he’s smarter than you, me, or any of us.  We need to be able to make our own decisions,” said Weissmann, instead of Washington making all sorts of decisions for us.  Weissmann provided a lengthy list of harmful Polis votes, including Polis’ votes for the stimulus bill, cap & trade energy, and the Dodd-Frank bill, and his recent opposition to the Kestone pipeline.  “Polis votes 89% of the time with Nancy Pelosi, 2% of the time with the GOP, and 9% of the time he did not show up,”  Weissmann asserted.

Weissmann contended he entered the race in part to provide coattails to state legislative and local races.  “I know how to build and organization with resources,” said Weissmann.  Weissmann doesn’t like talking about process, but “process is important” to success.

During a series of audience questions, Weissmann explained that Jared Polis’ opposition to school reform convinced him he needed to run against Polis.  Weissmann called Polis the night before a vote on school choice for the District of Columbia,  one of America’s worst urban school districts.  Polis opposed the bill.  The Heritage Foundation has multiple posts about teacher union opposition to the SOAR Act.  The bill’s sponsors were House Speaker John Boehner and (drummed out of the Democratic Party for being too) independent Senator Joe Lieberman.  Polis stuck with the unions rather than disadvantaged children in the District of Columbia.

President Obama’s latest budget again eliminated funding for DC School Choice— schools the President won’t allow his own children to attend.   Both Polis and the President are opposing a reform effort that has produced substantially higher graduation rates at a lower cost to taxpayers.   School choice for DC residents began in 2003.  If Polis and the President have their way, it will end this year.

Weissmann has been involved in multiple organizations committed to school reform, including the Alliance for Choice in Education (school choice scholarships to assist low-income parents), Colorado Uplift (a mentoring program to empower urban youth to lead successful lives)  and the Wellness Initiative (wellness program for low income K-12 students).  In other words, Weissmann is working to ensure that all Colorado children, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, have educational opportunity.

Polis contended as recently as Sunday that he is a staunch supporter of education.  Perhaps he meant to say unions that fund Democratic Party candidates.

In the meantime, Rep. Jared Polis claimed to kick off his re-election campaign in Fort Collins on Sunday.  That claim raises more questions about whether Polis violated House ethic rules by conducting official business in Loveland–which is not yet in his district.  Lovelandpolitics.com and this blog have raised the questions.  In responding to a question, State Senator Kevin Lundberg noted that a Polis staffer also attended a Loveland School District meeting and spoke in her official capacity.  Since Loveland is not yet in Polis’ district, that would appear–if true–to be a clear violation of House ethics rules.  The traditional media have thus far declined to investigate these stories, nor has the Denver Post written any follow-up to allegations concerning allegations of Jared Polis’ insider trading based on legislative knowledge.

Polis even called Sunday for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Polis is thus taking his cuts from another Boulder County resident–U.S. Senator Mark Udall.  As the Republican campaigns get underway, Polis will begin sounding more moderate by the day.  Conservatives face the need to choose a standard bearer who can prevail in November.

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The Estes Park Tea Party Patriots will be meeting this Saturday, February 18 from 1 to 3 pm at the Estes Valley Library in the Hondius room.  Two candidates for Colorado’s Second Congressional District, State Senator Kevin Lundberg and businessman Eric Weissmann, will both speak.  Lundberg and Weissmann are competing for the Republican nomination to challenge Representative Jared Polis (D-Boulder).

Kevin Lundberg

State Senator Kevin Lundberg represents Estes Park and much of Larimer County in the Colorado legislature.  Lundberg was first elected as a state Representative in 2002, was appointed to the state Senate to succeed County Commissioner Steve Johnson in 2009, and elected to a full four-year senate term in 2010.  Lundberg has received numerous awards from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers as a Taxpayer Champion and a Taxpayer Guardian.

Lundberg sees taxes, spending and the national debt placing America on a bad trajectory. Lundberg contends that federal mandates and subsidies have to give way to consistent and predictable federal policies to enable the private sector to get back to the job of building America.

Eric Weissmann of Boulder is an entrepreneur who founded the software company Decisioneering at the age of 21.  He started his first business at the age of 15.  Weissman earned an external program undergraduate degree from the University of the State of New York, and an MBA from the University of Colorado.  In the year 2000, turned over leadership of Decisioneering to others and began investing in other businesses.

Eric Weissmann

Weissman has been a board member or advisor to numerous organizations, including The Wellness Initiative, Colorado Uplift and the Colorado State Treasurer’s Investment Advisory Council.  Weissman and his wife Jennifer have three children.

Weissmann says he is concerned this might be the first generation in America to break its promise to the next generation of greater freedom and a better future for Americans.  Weissmann is focused on issues that include ending deficit spending, promoting a limited federal government and promoting private sector job growth.
Saturday’s meeting is a unique opportunity for Estes Park residents to hear from both candidates seeking the Republican nomination to the newly redistricted Second Congressional District in Colorado.

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Colorado Republicans will hold their caucuses on Tuesday, February 7 at 7 p.m.  Please arrive by 6:30 pm to register and start on time.

Pre-register: The Colorado GOP has established a statewide Preregistration Process that will verify you are eligible for caucus prior to the meeting:  http://www.caucus.cologop.org/  All you need to do is enter your address and zip code.  There are two benefits:

One, it will tell you your confirmed caucus location.

Two, you will be pre-registered.  Simply print your confirmation form and bring it with your photo i.d. to caucus.  This will save everyone time, as the precinct committee people will not need to find your name on the printed list.

Caucus Training for Republican Voters:  Estes Park Tea Party Patriots held a caucus training meeting on Saturday, January 21, 1 p.m. at the Estes Valley Library.  We reviewed information provided by the Larimer County Republican Party.  We will also discuss the resolution process, which allows caucus attendees to submit proposed resolutions that will be voted on at the higher assemblies.  This is the process that determines the state and national party platforms. The Larimer GOP sponsored two caucus training meetings.  Hopefully these pre-meeting discussions help people run meetings more efficiently than in years past.

Please attend the Republican Caucus February 7, because this meeting will decide who represents your precinct, and who will be delegates to pick local candidates for the Colorado Republican primary ballot.  Let’s ensure the Republican Party elects candidates who are committed to limited government, free enterprise and upholding the U.S. Constitution.

Democrat Caucuses:  Democrats will be holding their caucuses on Tuesday, March 6.  The Larimer County Democrats or the Colorado Democratic Party might provide more information as the date approaches.

This post will be updated as we approach caucus, so check back at this link before February 7.  Also, please e-mail and share this post on Facebook and other social media because it will help us ensure greater citizen participation.

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Tuesday, December 20 at 7 pm, the Estes Park Town Board will consider a resolution to offer comments on a new power line to be constructed by the Western Area Power Authority (WAPA).  WAPA is a power marketing administration within the Federal Department of Energy, which distributes and markets hydroelectric power in 14 states.  WAPA is therefore charged with distributing power from our local dam.

WAPA wants to replace two older existing transmission lines with a single, larger set of lines from Estes Park to Flat Iron near Lyons.  WAPA’s favored power line route will have a major impact on a residential neighborhood near Highway 36.

Once WAPA made its plans public, it began encountering public criticism.  Neighborhood activists have already obtained substantial media coverage, including stories in the Loveland Reporter-Herald, Longmont Times-Call, Fort Collins Coloradoan and Estes Park Trail-Gazette.  The Trail-Gazette gives the most detailed description of the project. Channel 9 News broadcast a report highlighting what the proposed route might look like at the scenic overlook on Highway 36.

See the video here

The debate is over two potential steel pole routes from the east side of Estes Park.  This is not an all or nothing choice.  Both routes follow existing easements.  WAPA prefers the route along Highway 36.  The alternate route would impact fewer residents and be less visually intrusive.  The alternative, northern route is also shorter and more direct.  This shorter route could still be more expensive because the existing easement would need to be widened and there is no existing service road.

One point to make clear:  the 185 property owners in Meadowdale Hills Park Hill and Ravencrest are not asking that the power lines be buried in their neighborhood or along Route 36.  Some of the news stories suggested they were.  People in the Estes Valley have long suggested burying the power lines that cross Lake Estes along Highway 36, but that is a different section of the power line.  There is no current proposal by WAPA to replace the section of the power lines that runs along Lake Estes.

No matter which of the two existing right-of-ways is chosen for the larger towers, some property owners will be negatively affected.   The largest private property, affected by both routes, is the Crocker Ranch.  It is unclear whether the smaller property owners will be entitled to greater compensation for their easement due to the much higher height of the proposed steel structures.  Crocker Ranch would likely demand compensation for widening the easement along the northern route.  It is unclear whether WAPA would surrender one of its easement routes through this process.

Valuing utility easements is apparently not a straightforward calculation, with utilities favoring methods that produce minimal compensation.   There is an extensive list of studies about the impact of overhead power lines on property values.  A property owner concerned about transmission lines might want to look at this article:  “Power Lines and Property Values.”  Another summary describes the impact as a less than 10% decrease in total value, but up to 15%.  It is unclear how increasing the size of the towers will impact property values.

For Estes Valley residents, the potential negative impact on tourism is a concern.  In the U.K, the push for green energy is leading to a revamp of transmission systems.  In some cases, local Conservative Party members are spearheading opposition to such plans due to their negative impacts on rural tourism.

For more information about the property owners’ perspective, you can visit  http://www.responsiblelines.org/.  Here’s a handy map of the proposed and existing routes.

WAPA is accepting public comments at EstesFlatironEA@wapa.gov, but act fast.  The public comment period appears to end January 3rd.

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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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