Lamborn draws fire again
It took just six days for a fellow Republican Colorado congressman to distance himself from remarks made by Rep. Doug Lamborn last Tuesday at a Liberty First meeting at the Dublin House. Tweeting on Monday, Rep. Mike Coffman wrote, "As a Marine combat veteran, I know to keep my politics off the battlefield."
He was responding to the comment Lamborn made, first reported by Corey Hutchins on medium.com, that he and other members of Congress have been encouraging generals who disagree with President Barack Obama's foreign-policy decisions to just quit. "A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, 'Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let's have a resignation,'" Lamborn said. "'You know, let's have a public resignation, and state your protest, and go out in a blaze of glory."
Two days later, Lamborn presented what he called a clarification of his meaning at a Royal Gorge Tea Party meeting: "There are some of us on the Armed Services Committee that would like to see generals, when they have a disagreement with the White House, make the point of it and resign if they have to, and not just toe the White house line," the Cañon City Daily Record reported the congressman as saying. "There were those who disagreed with 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' but there weren't any major resignations; I think there should have been."
Lamborn's Democratic opponent in the coming election, retired Air Force officer Irv Halter, issued a statement saying, "Someone who serves on the House Armed Services Committee should know better." — BC
Stormwater pros and cons
Because El Paso County officials are calling the stormwater ballot measure a "question" rather than an "issue," voters will not receive pro and con statements on the measure in the mail prior to the Nov. 4 election. A ballot "issue" would require the notice.
Those in favor of the stormwater measure argue that a dollar spent today on flood control will save more money in the future, and that everyone should pay their share for regional stormwater projects. The measure would create the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority and charge property owners based on impervious surface. The typical homeowner would pay about $8 a month. For more arguments in favor, see pikespeakstormwater.org.
Anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce, who wrote the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which requires pro and con statements be provided to voters for all measures that would raise taxes or incur debt, provided a statement against the measure. He says besides creating another layer of government, the measure would drain $40 million from the local economy.
Bruce calls the county's decision on TABOR notices illegal. He says TABOR defines a ballot issue as a referred measure, and county commissioners referred the stormwater measure to voters. County Attorney Amy Folsom, he says, "insists a ballot issue is not a ballot issue, and a mandatory fee is not a tax. Why? 'Because we say so.'" For more arguments against the measure: noraintax.net. — PZ
Oil and gas panel starts
Gov. John Hickenlooper's Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force began meeting last week to find ways to satisfy oil and gas producers as well as communities that oppose fracking.
The task force's work is one part of a negotiated deal between Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, who'd been supporting anti-fracking measures that had been headed for the Nov. 4 ballot.
The 21-member panel is charged with balancing the need to protect Colorado's air and water from pollution while enabling oil and gas production. Made up of industry, community, political and environmental leaders, the panel will meet through the winter to write recommendations for the state Legislature and state agencies.
Environment Colorado issued a release saying the nonprofit supports local communities' rights to ban fracking within their borders, and noted, "The public deserves a comprehensive, statewide solution to this problem." Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, meanwhile, said it was optimistic about the task force and noted on its website a statewide fracking ban would have eliminated 110,000 Colorado jobs and $30 billion in economic activity, while curtailing the production of "clean-burning natural gas." — PZ