HUDSON: CHEERS AND JEERS FROM THE SESSION
During the first few weeks following each legislative session, Colorado’s public policy institutes convene their supporters to either brag about their successes or bemoan their failures. For nearly a decade progressive and liberal lobbying shops have had a lot to be happy about (not so much at CACI and the Independence Institute). Once Democrats figured out how to reliably win legislative elections, following nearly three decades of Republican dominance, it turned out they didn’t have any problems a handful of billionaires couldn’t solve for them.
HUDSON: LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE OLD TIMERS
If you’ve been watching the current reprise of Fargo on FX from the inimitable Coen brothers, you have witnessed several victims tossed into car trunks who later crawled out to find their captors either unconscious, dead or vanished. Governor John Hickenlooper emerged the day after the 2014 legislative session adjourned last week to deliver State of the State remarks before the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in a similar daze of slightly mystified elation.
HUDSON: LABORING OVER STATISTICS OF STATE EMPLOYEES
Unless you happen to find yourself caught in the squeeze, salary compression is one of those phrases that bewilders far more than it enlightens. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Is it more or less a natural result over time, or a flaw introduced by shortsighted decisions and a disregard for legal obligations? During bouts of economic distress is it simply a burden that should be borne without complaint, or does it insinuate injustices that inexorably undermine the integrity of any organization? (Weighty considerations, to be sure.)
HUDSON: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Each spring, shortly before final exams, the Conference on World Affairs schedules a week-long program of forums, panels, speakers and cultural performances across the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. This year’s edition was the 66th outing for the CWA. Originally designed as a town meets gown opportunity for the larger community, the Conference was also created to provide a little international flair to what was then surely an obscure and backwater center of higher learning in flyover country.
HUDSON: NO POLITICS HERE, RIGHT?
Before publicly debating its ruling on whether Gov. John Hickenlooper violated ethical standards last year by hosting the Democratic Governors’ Association meeting in Aspen, Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission went into executive session Monday morning to confer with their attorney. Apparently in the Passover spirit they must have slit the throat of a lamb, drained its blood and examined the entrails for legal guidance, perhaps augmented with an assist from a snorted elixir of powdered lizard gizzard, eye of newt and skin of Bufo alvarius.
HUDSON: SHOULD THE SECRETARY OF STATE BE PUNISHED?
Was your civic conscience troubled when you learned that Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, attended an election law conference in order to compare notes with other Republican election lawyers in 2012? Was it particularly irksome to discover this meeting was piggybacked on the Republican National Convention scheduled in nearby Tampa, Florida? Were you further outraged to find out that Gessler dipped into his discretionary expense account in order to cover his travel expenses for appearing as a speaker at this partisan confab?
HUDSON: SHOULD THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE BE PUNISHED?
Did it prick your civic conscience when you learned that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper hosted a meeting of the Democratic Governors Association in Aspen? Was it particularly galling to find out this meeting was primarily a subterfuge to assemble Democratic governors for a high-dollar fundraiser with the Aspen glitterati? And, did it further chafe that raw spot beneath your saddle when you discovered the Governor and several of his staff received free meals, free rooms and free stuff?
The Colorado Statesman
World Denver lassoed another top tier speaker for its Denver luncheon this week, serving up former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates along with the usual rubber chicken. Since leaving the Obama administration, Gates has assumed a position as Chancellor at William & Mary College and written a memoir covering his five years (2006-11) as Defense Secretary for Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama. He enjoys the distinction of being the only Defense Secretary to have survived a change in administrations.
HUDSON: COLORADO’S FIRST COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE
“On the application of the Legislatures of
The Colorado Statesman
Last week the Independence Institute and the Environmental Alliance teamed to organize a “Just the Fracking Facts” debate at the Denver Post Auditorium. Despite considerable promotion of the event it only attracted 50 or 60 observers, most of whom were solidly allied with one side or the other in this slow, simmering dispute. Colorado voters, however, appear destined to hear a lot more about this conflict between now and election day.