Guest Columns

HARBER: VOTERS REJECT MASSIVE TAX HIKE

Lessons from the failure of Amendment 66

The Colorado Statesman

In a stunning electoral defeat, Amendment 66 — representing a much-needed re-writing of the byzantine School Finance Act — went down in flames despite seeming to have everything on its side.

SMITH: LOOKING FOR RELIEF FROM DYSFUNCTIONALITY

There are lessons to be learned from Obamacare

The Colorado Statesman

Whether Obamacare sinks or swims, there are some important lessons to be learned here.

First, Management by Walking Around still works. Although this is difficult for a Cabinet Secretary like Kathleen Sebelius to do and much more so for a president, it’s impossible not to sense that they’re disconnected from the actual day-to-day workings of government. Governing is not just giving orders or waiting to be told about things; it’s asking questions, being curious, listening, getting information from a variety of sources.

HUDSON: AL-TURKI'S FATE IN JUDGE’S HANDS

Colorado’s Islamophobia Lollapalooza

The Colorado Statesman

For a brief week that encompassed two and a half days of court hearings, Homaidan al-Turki was back in Colorado asking Arapahoe County District Judge Mark Hannen to grant him probation, for which he is eligible after more than eight years in Colorado prisons, and a return to Saudi Arabia. He would receive sex offender treatment there and serve out the remainder of any sentencing conditions under the custody of the Kingdom’s Ministry of the Interior.

HUDSON: BUT NOT FOR EVERYONE

An exit strategy for Colorado’s entrepreneurs

John Cassidy speculated recently in his New Yorker blog that America’s dysfunctional politics might be entwined with our dysfunctional economics. With one third of Americans struggling to pay their bills and the remainder of the middle class experiencing an inexorable evaporation of their discretionary income, there is much to be unhappy about. By contrast, in an economy that seems to be working well, Momma Merkel was just elected to her third term as Chancellor of all the Germans.

HUDSON: A CONTINUING SAGA

The Denver Post competes for readers directly with the National Enquirer

The banner headline, “Saudi Accused in hit plan,” splashed across page one of Friday’s Denver Post may have caught your attention. Holy cow, was there finally evidence that Homaidan al-Turki, the Colorado inmate recently transferred into the federal prison system for fuzzy reasons, was actually guilty of ordering the assassination of Corrections Chief Tom Clements? No, it wasn’t that. If you were curious enough to work your way to paragraph 14 on page 9, you would discover that al-Turki was accused six years ago by a mentally ill prisoner of threatening to kill him.

HUDSON: AMERICA'S IMMIGRATION POLICIES PLAY OUT ON STAGE

Helen Thorpe’s Just Like Us was compelling as a book — as theater, not so much

The Colorado Statesman

When the Denver Center Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Kent Thompson approached Helen Thorpe about adapting her book for the stage, I’m sure it felt like a good idea. The book had done well for a non-fiction report on the dilemmas created by America’s dysfunctional immigration policies. The author was married to the Governor and a Denver audience would be familiar with the outlines of her tale about four Latina women approaching high school graduation and intent on acquiring college degrees.

MARES: OUR VISION FOR A HEALTHIER COLORADO IS POSSIBLE

60 years of partnering for mental health in Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

In 1953 a diverse group of concerned Coloradans, among them a Denver city attorney, a Greeley professor and a Pueblo psychiatrist, banded together to change their state for the better. These men and women were the parents and siblings of people who were forced into the shadows of society because they had been diagnosed with mental health disorders.

SMITH: AN EXAMPLE OF POLITICAL COURAGE

Mike Strang — Legislator, cowboy and friend

The Colorado Statesman

What do you think about that House district I carved out for you?” Mike Strang asked. It was the spring of 1972 and he was in the Aspen hospital, recovering from surgery.

HUDSON: WADING THROUGH THE WEEDS FOR ANSWERS

Free soaring EAGLE-Net is prey for rural phone companies in Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

Whoever first speculated that the road to hell is paved with good intentions may well have had Colorado’s EAGLE-Net Alliance in mind. During the Legislative Audit Committee’s investigative inquiry last week, Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D–Adams County, expressed the nearly universal sense of confusion pervading the committee room when she observed, “The deeper we get in the weeds here, the weedier it seems to get.”

SMITH: PEOPLE KNEW HIM AND LIKED HIM

Likable ‘Johnny Van’ was focused on Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

John Vanderhoof or “Johnny Van” was Governor of Colorado for only one legislative session — 1974 — but he brought to the table some important new ideas. The problem was that although he was to be his party’s candidate for Governor, he had little support from his Republican colleagues in the House where I served.