Tag Archives: Colorado

Trancredo a loss for Republicans

November 2,2015

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

 

Well, I just turned another page on my calendar. One more month gone by; one more month closer, I hope, to some real changes. Funny that I would use “hope” and “change” in the same sentence, given what those promises have given us over the past seven years.

Before I get going too far, I must say that I am not a total, undying fan of former Colorado Representative Tom Trancredo. He and I have disagreed on a number of issues over the years, but we have agreed on great number more. I disagree with his latest decision and I really hope he reconsiders. He has already backed off to some degree.

After the so-called debate in Boulder last week Trancredo told some members of the press that he was going to cut ties with the Republican Party. Actually, I think he already has, but I want to talk a little about his reasoning.

Trancredo was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1976 at a time when I was working for a very conservative sheriff and living in a very conservative county. I liked Trancredo’s shoot-from-the-shoulder brand of politics. He seemed to understand the problems of rural law enforcement and he voiced sincere concern over some of the policies of Governor Dick Lamm. He was a history teacher, which gave him another point on my scorecard and served two terms in the Colorado House.

I thought then, and I still think now, that Trancredo had some very good instincts. He cut the Department of Education staff in Denver by a significant number when he served as the regional representative under both President Reagan and President George H. W. Bush. While he and I disagreed on his marijuana legalization opinions, and initially on his term limit advocacy, we certainly agreed on most other of his policy issues.

Trancredo was elected to the United States Congress and served five terms. He decided not to seek re-election in 2008, not because of his term limit beliefs, but because he wanted to run for president. Here, again, we disagreed. I did not think he had a chance in that 2008 battle. Again, we agreed on a lot of things and, not unlike today’s “outsiders,” Trancredo brought some important topics to the top of the barrel.

After he dropped out of the race, Trancredo openly endorsed Mitt Romney. When Romney lost, I began to see the bitterness in Trancredo and I can certainly understand most of his frustrations. I think he would have been a great governor for Colorado. I think the fact that he ended up running on the Constitution Party ticket was a sad turn of events. The Republicans needed to get behind him. He outperformed Bob Beauprez by more than 25 percent of the vote, making Beauprez the spoiler rather than the third-party guy. The Republicans need to think about that hard and long. We ended up with a governor that endorses everything Barack Obama does.

Back to my point: Last week Trancredo said it was time for him to end his affiliation with the Republican Party. He listed a myriad of reasons for doing so, and he was not off base on any of them. The Republicans have failed to perform. They are all quick to tell us how many promises Barack Obama has broken, but the sad fact is that they have broken at least one for every one they point out in Obama’s failed administration. But, I hate to see Trancredo go. I think he is just what we need in the party. I still think we have a chance of turning things around, but we need to do it by replacing the idiots in charge. We need to hold them accountable and we need to put a stop to the professional politician movement that has increased by leaps and bounds over the past few decades.

On the positive side, as soon as Trancredo announced his departure from the Republican Party, he announced his support for one of the Republican candidates, Ted Cruz. He said he wanted to help organize Independents in support of Cruz. I am not endorsing Cruz by any means, at least not yet, but I like the fact that Trancredo is willing to say he agrees with Cruz on most issues. It gets more and more interesting.

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

Bob

© Robert R. Cox 2015

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No lions and tigers, just bears in Colorado

August 3, 2015

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

Some of my friends and acquaintances with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife get a little nervous when I start telling them that they are falling prey to the “political correct” crowd on way too many fronts.

An ongoing controversy surrounds the control of bears in Colorado. The latest so-called effort is almost laughable. Earlier this year Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, introduced legislation that would have established a general purpose hunt for black bears during the month of August. There was also a provision that allowed for liquid scents to be used and for optional hunts stretching into October. The solution, as is more and more typical in today’s political environment, also becomes the problem. Opponents of the bill immediately started to scream that the bears were “more vulnerable” during that time and that it would therefore be unfair to hunt them then.

Ultimately, the bill stalled in committee and Willet and his group settled for a completely different statute that provided for a “study” of the problem. That new law went into effect last Wednesday. If studies killed bears, we damn sure would not have the problem. They have been studied for decades and the studies of the studies have been analyzed and re-evaluated so many times that nobody involved can definitively describe the results. So, the obvious answer is to do another study – right?

There are an estimated 18,000 black bears in Colorado and the current management of that population falls on CPW through hunting. The problem with that is that CPW is at the same time severely restricted in how it can use hunting as a management tool. The bear-in-the-room problem is one that CPW personnel is loath to discuss because it is not popular with a lot of people who considered bears little snuggly things back in 1992.

That problem I refer to was known in 1992 as Initiative 10. It became part of the Colorado Constitution through a process that is more than a century old. In the 1970s a lot of people figured out how to manipulate the initiative process and attempt to nullify the idea of representative government in favor of mob-rule, or democracy.

The initiative process in Colorado is famous for, as one federal court opined, “exceeding the reasonable regulation guidelines.” But, for some reason, this initiative, which I think resulted in black bears having constitutional rights, has not been successfully challenged and we cannot approach bear management in Colorado through hunting unless that crazy amendment is trashed. Getting rid of the restriction on spring bear hunting is not something wildlife managers seem willing to support. It just does not coincide with the mandates they are receiving from those Eastern Slope do-gooders.

First of all, initiatives are put on the ballot through a signature process. There are firms out there that will almost guarantee success by getting all the signatures based on the demographics of the state. If the initiative is one that is popular in the extreme liberal side of the spectrum, then the signatures will be gathered mostly in places that have a history of voting for extreme liberal proposals. Of course the opposite is also true. The overwhelming majority of the signatures for Initiative 10 came from large Front-Range Counties that had relatively few hunters and relatively large numbers of extreme environmentalists and animal rights groups.

There were a total of 1,512,292 ballots cast on Initiative 10. Of those voting, 1,054,032 voted in favor and only 458,260 against the initiative. The figures, for what they are worth, show that 70 percent of Coloradoans favored giving constitutional rights to bears. Nothing can be further from the truth, but getting enough support to nullify it will be difficult at best.

What it all boils down to is that CPW will not be able to manage the surging bear population under existing law. They will not be able to substantially curb the bear/human contacts under existing law, and they will not be able to study the bears into slacking off on their need to find food. CPW will be able to do only what they are doing now. Ranchers will continue to lose livestock. Idiots will continue to feed the bears in their backyards, campers will continue to invite nocturnal wrestling matches and legislators will continue to avoid the real issue. All that is the result of my “study.”

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

Bob

© Robert R. Cox 2015

 

Raiding the severance tax in Colorado

March 29, 2015

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

The Western Slope is about to get drilled – again.

Colorado has on its books a law commonly known at TABOR, or the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The initiative that brought the law about had good intentions. I have always said that, but as with many of these initiatives, it had some consequences that are not so good, and lawmakers are loath to mess with the substance of the law.

They are not so reluctant to use the law in any way they can to get their hands on pots of money that should not be included in the TABOR at all. The most important for those of us who call the Western Slope of Colorado home, is the severance tax assessed on companies that extract our natural resources from our lands. This money is intended to help with the impacts that the extraction industry has on the locales where the extraction takes place. Half of the money goes to the Department of Natural Resources. The other half is doled out in grants and direct payments to energy-impacted cities, towns and counties.

This year the State of Colorado collected about $70 million over and above the amount allowed by TABOR. That money, by law, has to be returned to the taxpayers, although there are always very inventive ways as to how that happens. There are some “unallocated funds” in the severance tax purse. That simply means that there are grants and direct payments that have not been applied for or made as of right now. It also means that the state lawmakers see the funds as a piggy bank that they have not yet broken.

Originally, these spendthrifts we have representing us wanted to grab $47 million from the severance tax fund to help repay the amount mandated under TABOR. Now they have “settled” on just $20 million. Either amount is wrong. First of all, this money was not collected from the average taxpayer. It is collected from the companies that are providing us with coal, oil and natural gas. If the money is returned at all it should be returned to those companies so they can lower our prices and expand their explorations and production. Secondly, this is not what the severance tax was intended to be used for in the first place.

Of course the supporters of this transfer of funds fall back on the old arguments of needing to steal the money from somewhere other than the general fund because they don’t want to “hurt” the children (education) or health care (Medicaid).

It is time for our lawmakers to come up with some plans to keep what are supposed to be earmarked funds from being used to balance a top-heavy state budget. It is time for them to be brave enough to ask the voters to remove the severance tax from the TABOR oversight – maybe even give it its own limiting rules, which would return surplus to those who really paid it in the first place.

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

Bob

© Robert R. Cox 2015

 

Simplify background checks

March 9, 2015

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

 

The various departments and divisions of the government in the state are deeply involved in the budgetary process for the next fiscal year. One of the early steps in this process is the Colorado General Assembly Joint Budget Committee staff figure setting.

Basically, the JBC gets the requests and the justification for funding from each department. The staff looks at the requests, analyzes the justifications and looks at some independent sources of information. They then recommend certain things to the assembly for inclusion in the state budget. The staff figure setting for the Department of Public Safety (working document) is 107 pages long and brings out one of those troubling duplication of efforts that I have railed about for years.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation has, among a number of other responsibilities, the task of doing background checks for persons who are buying guns and for those applying for concealed weapons permits. This year they are requesting, as part of the concealed weapons permit application budget, $407,687 spending authority to support the hiring of 7.9 technicians and to reduce the processing time for those permits. More than $300,000 of that is in the form of cash funds and the JBC does not like the justification. But the JBC, I think, is looking at this in the wrong way. Let me explain where I am coming from:

Let’s say I decide to buy a handgun. I go to my favorite gun dealer, pick out a nice .45 caliber model 1911 and tell the dealer I will take it. Now, I fill out a form, commonly called the 4473 form. This is not a registration. It is a statement saying that I am not violating the 1968 Gun Control Act, and that I can legally own the firearm. The buyer must sign the form after reading the section that, in part, says, I also understand that making any false oral or written statement, or exhibiting any false or misrepresented identification with respect to this transaction, is a crime punishable as a felony under Federal law, and may also violate State and/or local law.

 

After the form is completed, I pay a ten-dollar fee, which goes to CBI and the dealer forwards the information to the CBI. They do what is known as an Insta-check and get back to the dealer, usually in less than an hour, although times vary, and then CBI either authorizes or denies the sale. I pass and pay for the gun and leave contented.

 

Okay, so I purchase the .45 and like the idea of shooting it for fun, but I also like the idea of having it for personal protection so I sign up for a fairly expensive concealed weapons class, complete the class and take the documents to the local sheriff so I can apply for a permit. I fill out a bunch of forms and pay another fee (much higher this time) to have a background check done. I am told that the background will take about 45 days (a maximum of 90 is allowed) and I go wait, visit the shooting range a few times and wonder what all the fuss is about. But, eventually, I get the call, go back to the sheriff and get my permit. By then I have decided that the .45 is a little bulky to carry and decide to go look for something a little smaller. Back to the dealer, where I pick out a good-looking compact .45 and a $60 holster. I fill out another 4473 form, give the dealer my ten-dollar background fee and wait for a few minutes while CBI decides I can legally purchase the gun. As it stands right now, the fact that I had two background checks in two months has no bearing on the third one.

There has to be a way the legislature can address this, and in the process reduce the expenses incurred by CBI. There has to be a way to fast-track someone who has had several background checks over a period of time, and there has to be a way that the time required for the CCW permit can be drastically reduced. Presenting the CCW permit to a dealer and signing a simple form saying nothing has changed should be enough to walk out of the store with a gun. Is this so complicated? Most of us would not risk a felony for misrepresenting something on the 4473 form in the first place, and we certainly would not walk back in the store if we had a disqualifying circumstance between the original purchase and the present one.

By the way, as I pointed out, the JBC is not satisfied with the CBI justification for the extra funding (known as BA-03) and they recommend not appropriating that portion of the request.

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

Bob

© Robert R. Cox 2014

Sheriff Justin Smith knows his job

February 5, 2015

(supplement)

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

I admit that I have a certain bias when it comes to the actions of various sheriffs and their deputies. I spent 20 years of my life working for a couple of sheriffs and I made it a priority to understand the office of Sheriff as it is defined in Colorado.

Years ago I became friends, or at least acquaintances, with several sheriffs around the state of Colorado. There were some I disagreed with, but many more that I admired for their dedication and integrity.

Since leaving the world of law enforcement several years ago, I have tried to maintain some contact with law enforcement and can still count a few sheriff and their deputies as friends and acquaintances.

I do not know Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith personally, but I became very aware of him a year or so ago when Colorado was on the cusp of passing some very controversial gun laws, one of which limited the sale or transfer of guns from one person directly to another. Smith, who has taken a liking to using the social media sites, made a statement that he would not enforce any unconstitutional laws. He did NOT say he was authorized in any manner to decide what was unconstitutional, just that he would not enforce a law that was unconstitutional. He was hoping that the Supreme Court would tell us all that they believed in the Second Amendment. Anyway, I immediately like Smith because he obviously understood what a sheriff is supposed to do.

Last Tuesday, Sheriff Smith showed up on FaceBook again. This time he basically told the out-of-control U. S. Department of Justice to take a flying leap at the moon. Here is the text of his posting:

I received a very interesting veiled threat letter from Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security addressed to all police chiefs and sheriffs around the country.

His letter made it clear that if Congress didn’t send President Obama the DHS funding bill that he wanted (rubberstamping the president’s executive amnesty), local and state public safety agencies would not receive federal grants they were counting on because the president would veto the DHS funding bill.

Let me get this straight – the president believes he has the authority to nullify federal laws that don’t serve his personal agenda, but if Congress dares to exercise it’s responsibility of controlling the purse strings, he will willingly hold public safety grants hostage just to get his way?

Mr. President, you don’t have to love the Congress we elected, but you do have to respect their role as established under the Constitution -and Mr. Johnson, please show some integrity and stop with the threats. Sheriffs don’t take kindly to them.

 

Thanks Sheriff. And for all you who like to follow me, send the sheriff a thank you note and cc it to your local sheriff. We need more elected official that understand that they should not allow themselves to be bullied by the federal government.

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

Bob

© Robert R. Cox 2014

 

Leading in the wrong direction

December 15, 2014

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

Well, there are only 10 days left until Christmas. I did not waste time making a list this year. I simply handed my wife the latest Cabela’s catalog. Can’t wait to see how that works out.

Last week another public entity in Colorado added their contribution to completely alleviating what is left of state sovereignty in this country. The Jefferson County Schools were all worried that the non-elected self-appointed nutrition expert that is married to our president would be a failure in her attempt to mandate the type of food served in school lunch programs. The JeffCo lunch purchases were way down. So, they decided to bribe the parents and kids by placing the names of those purchasing the bland diet in a raffle. Then they gave some smiling little girl a bicycle.

During my somewhat rebellious days in high school, a principal called me into the office and told me I was a leader. That was good he said, but it seemed that I had a problem in that I was leading in the wrong direction. That, it seems to me, is what Colorado is doing.

In Washington State they recently passed a bill (I-594, if you want to read it) that expanded the background checks for all gun sales. Suspiciously, the bill has some of that famous Colorado ambiguity when it comes to transfers of guns between private parties. I wonder if the fact that Michael Bloomberg was behind both of these legislative overhauls of our constitution had anything to do with the similarity.

We all know that Colorado and Washington are also in the so-called groundbreaking area of marijuana legalization and Colorado is considered the leader in that too.

It would really be nice if that old principal were around to tell Colorado to turn around and lead in the right direction for a change. Maybe if Colorado decided that we were going to send a message to the country that the whole constitution is important to us, we could get states like Washington to follow us on that too. Maybe if we became the leader in awareness of the 10th Amendment we could get people to listen. We have to start by telling the next Colorado politician that takes money from Michael Bloomberg to take a hike.

We will see how this goes. Meanwhile, I will not be surprised when our biased network media tells us in the near future that Washington State has a new plan to bribe kids to eat non-fat peanut butter and sugar-free jelly on gluten-free bread made from organic wild grass seed grown without any fertilizer on government owned property where access is only allowed on foot. Lead on Colorado.

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

Bob

© Robert R. Cox 2014

Is Hickenlooper really capable?

June 23, 2014

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

 

 

The disappointing governing of Governor Hickenlooper

 

This last weekend I spent an enjoyable evening and day with some of my peers in the Colorado Hunter Education program. We meet periodically to offer our input on the program and receive training to enhance our performance as instructors.

 

It is not surprising that an overwhelming (but not unanimous) number of my fellow instructors hold the same beliefs that I do regarding Colorado’s overreaching gun control laws that were passed last year. It is also not surprising that our evening conversations included the recent address made by Governor Hickenlooper at the meeting of the County Sheriffs of Colorado in Aspen.

 

For the last week Gov. Hickenlooper has been trying to walk back some of the comments he made to the sheriffs. He should have realized from the get-go that these law enforcement experts deal in the difference between fact and fiction every day and they quickly recognize the efforts of someone that is trying to make fact out of fiction.

 

When this whole gun debate was taking place last year, it became an established fact that Gov. Hickenlooper communicated with Mayor Bloomberg of New York. In fact, the bloggers at CompleteColorado.com requested the cell phone records from Hickenlooper’s office and confirmed that Bloomberg and Hickenlooper talked twice on March 2, 2013 and that one of those conversations lasted 12 minutes. They talked again on March 19. In April spokesman Eric Brown confirmed those conversations. But, fast-forward to last week, and Gov. Hickenlooper stood in front of a room full of sheriffs and said he had never talked to Bloomberg about the gun issue.

 

Almost as upsetting is the fact that, in a failed effort to patch things up with all the sheriffs that disagreed with the gun bill, Hickenlooper tried that old Obama tactic of blaming someone else, in this case some unknown staff member. He said he “felt conflicted” about signing the bill that limited magazine capacities, but did so because one of his staff made a commitment to do so, and he felt compelled to sign the bill. Thanks to Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell, many of us knew about the governor’s comments almost immediately after he made them. Because of Spruell’s Facebook posting, the governor will have a hard time backing up too far.

 

Two things bother me here: First, it is upsetting that Gov. Hickenlooper would even try to pass off an easily refuted statement such as his not talking to Bloomberg. Second, if he is making such monumental decisions because a staff member wants him to, what does that say about his ability to actually “govern?”

 

One other thing: I just read a quote from State Rep. Rhonda Fields. Fields is from Aurora and thought that the magazine bill would prevent more of those stupid mass shootings. I can understand her passion, although I think she is wrong, but what she said when asked about the commitment from a staff person only heightens my concern. She said she never received any commitment from anyone on Hickenlooper’s staff. It brings to mind Sir Walter Scott: O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!

 

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at coxnotes@Reagan.com I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.

 

Bob

 

© Robert R. Cox 2014