Governor Ritter’s running with the ball

When now-Governor Bill Ritter was running for office, he promised to make a number of changes in Colorado, centering around education, health care and renewable fuels. We’re about four months into Ritter’s first term, and we are already seeing a couple of major initiatives on Ritter’s part, including:

College scholarships funded by the oil and gas industry: This is a very interesting initiative: basically this would recoup the tax credits given to oil and gas companies, and use that money for a few specific purposes. 60% of this money (or around $120 million a year) would be used to fund scholarships. This has to be approved by voters, but it sounds damned good to me.

The state budget for 2008-2009: Ritter’s first budget has some very interesting and promising allocations. The most encouraging of which is an increase of alomst 10% for higher education, increases in both the Chidlren’s Health Plan (enough to cover an extra 11,000 children) and programs for the developmentally challenged.

All in all, I am loving the way that Ritter is already trying to implement his campaign promises here in Colorado. Things are going to be very different – and a whole lot better – in just a few years.

Racist joke leaves em gasping

So Bill Farr attempted to tell a joke, and ended up making a racist statement which offended most everyone in the room (from the Rocky Mountain News):

William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this years award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, “I have a telegram from the White House.” Then he added, “They’re going to have to change the name of that building if Obamas elected.” Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adams Mark Hotel.

My question is: how dumb can a person be?

Cleaning up Bill Owens’s messes…

I often feel sorry for Bill Ritter. As wonderful as it is that he is now the Governor of Colorad, he inherited a few major messes from the Bill Owens administration. One of the major messes regards the state’s computer systems. These projects cost state taxpayers millions of dollars and ended up being scrapped:

Gov. Bill Ritter has ordered sweeping changes in an effort to halt Colorado’s dismal record of buying expensive computer systems that don’t work.He issued an executive order seven weeks ago that begins to centralize control over the state’s scattered computer systems and gives unprecedented authority to a single technology executive, State Chief Information Officer Mike Locatis.

Under the previous Owens administration, the state contracted to spend $325 million on five new computer systems that were unable to: pay welfare benefits on time, pay road crews overtime, track voters or unemployment benefits, or issue license plates.

Bill Owens had no problem allowing contracts to a variety of vendors, spending taxpayer money with little-to-no regard to whether the projects were needed, whether they would actually work. No nods were given towards due diligence. Owens simply believed that giving tax dollars to private corporations would automatically yield good results. It seems to be a classic oversite by the whole neocon movement, and Owens embraced it, hook, line and sinker.

Fortunately, Bill Ritter is much more level-headed about this. He allows that many of the projects are needed, but should be done right. He has hired Mike Locatis – a man with a great resume and a lot of experience in consolidating computer systems for major entities. In the end, we’ll end up with a good system that’ll save us money. And Ritter will prove again that government cannot just feed money to private enterprise, but must hold private enterprise responsible.

Ritter signs bill to protect gays from discrimination

Huzzah! Here’s yet another reason to rejoice over Bill Ritter being elected governor last year. The Colorado governor signed a bill to protect gays from discriminatio (via 9NEWS.com):

Gay people would be protected from being fired based on their sexual orientation under a bill signed into law Friday by Governor Bill Ritter.

This is the same type of bill that former governor Bill Owens vetoed. Twice! Ritter has been a breath of fresh air as Governor. I am proud to stand up and say that I voted for him. Sure, he’s made a couple of questionable moves (vetoing the union bill, for example). But even then, it appeared that Ritter acted because of what he believes to be right, not due to external pressures.

I love living in a blue state!

No funding delays for developmentally delayed kids

So what happens when a state has both a Democratic congress and Governor? Turns out, really, really good things. Including a bill signed by Governor Ritter earlier this week guaranteeing no funding delays for developmentally delayed kids (via 9News.com):

Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) signed Senate Bill 4 into law Tuesday at the annual lunch to benefit the Autism Society of Colorado. The measure would streamline the funding process for early medical intervention for families like the Efirds.

There are roughly 4,000 Colorado children, two percent of the state’s kids, with significant developmental delays.

Good things, man. Good things.

Lucrative wind blowing into Colorado

9News.com is running an article about wind power in Colorado. For those of you from outside the state, our current Democratic governor Bill Ritter ran his campaign based heavily on the promise of renewable energy. He said that he would go out of his way to make Colorado a leader in renewable energy, including wind and solar. And he’s already making a difference:

“Why come to Colorado? At some point, it’s a risk-reward game for us. To spend more time and more money and maybe not get a wind project in a state in the northeast or on the west coast, we’re going to come to a place where we can spend capital and affect public policy in a postive way,” said O’Sullivan.

In other words: Colorado was chosen because our political climate is friendly towards companies that are going after alterantive energy. FPL felt the change in the air here since Ritter moved into office, and decided this is where they could make money.

So what exactly is Florida Power & Light Enegry going to do here?

The project includes the construction of 267 wind turbines creating enough energy to power 120,000 households. FPL will construct a 78-mile-long transmission line to connect the Peetz facility to Xcel’s Pawnee substation near Brush. Up to 350 people will be hired to help build the wind farm and transmission line. Afterwards, 20 full-time workers will live in the community to keep it operational.

In the end, this is going to be good for just about everyone. FPL will make a lot of money, Xcel will make a lot of money, there’ll be jobs created here in Colorado (and in a small town like Brush!), and Colorado will take a step forwards toward becoming an alternative energy giant.

I love stories like this!

Push to abolish death penalty moves forward

There’s a continued push here in Colorado to abolish the death penalty:

The bill to abolish the death penalty in Colorado and create a cold case unit is moving forward in the state legislature.In a 7-4 vote, the House Judiciary Committee approved the measure Wednesday. State Representative Paul Weissman, a Democrat from Louisville, says abolishing the death penalty could save millions of dollars which could go elsewhere.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am morally opposed to the death penalty. I don’t see any difference between the state killing someone or a citizen killing someone. Both are wrong.

The issue is being debated in a different way here in Colorado, though.  Instead of debating the morality of the issue,  it is being approached from a financial point-of-view.  That is just different enough that it might pass!

More racist ideas from possibly-racist Tancredo

Now as I’ve said before, I don’t know this for certain, but I am fairly certain that Tom Tancredo is a racist. How else can you explain most of his anti-immigrant stances, or his racist-tending ideas? For example, 9NEWS reports that Tancredo wants to have the black and Hispanic congressional caucuses abolished. Apparently, Tancredo believes that these caucuses are equivalent to segregation, which basically just shows that Tancredo has no idea what segregation is.

And don’t get me started on the hypocracy of Tancredo referring to anyone/anything as racist!

I don’t know how Tancredo got elected. And I have no idea at all how he beat Bill Winter in ’06. Hopefully things change when Tom’s up for re-election in 2008.

Iraq War Demonstration: 1/27/2007, 12:00pm @ Capitol bldg, Denver

Iraq War Demonstration:

Saturday, January 27th at noon, on the west steps of the Capitol in Denver, there will be a demonstration in favor of peace in Iraq, diplomatic solutions to the current conflict and the safe return of American troops. For those who favor a change in the policy that our administration has been pursuing and continues to pursue, this would be a good time and place to express your position.

The demonstration is being sponsored by The Interfaith Alliance Policy Committee and other organizations, and will have speakers from the faith community, Iraq Veterans, and military families. There is also going to be a huge national demonstration in Washington D.C. on this day.

Please let others know about this event and ask organizations with whom you are associated to publicize this event as well. The press will focus on the numbers of people present to judge the feelings of the community. Bring signs. Bring family. Bring friends. Bring hope and goodwill.

MLK: ” SOMETIMES SILENCE IS BETRAYAL”
COME MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD