Well, Gov. Hickenlooper's Special Session did not work out as he hoped. The Civil Union bill was bottled up and killed in a committee dominated by Speaker McNulty's cronies. The governor was left with some egg on his face based on lackluster results of the session he had called. Guess those Republicans gave him a civics lesson on how the legislature works.
The Democrats hope the Republican hatchet job on civil unions will work to their advantage in the fall election as they expect a large cross-over vote of independents, gays and even forward-thinking Republicans. The Gov. Hick was here in town this last week courting the electorate and sowing seeds of goodwill. To his Democratic base he may have appeared to be pandering to the wrong crowd.
Sorry governor, do not expect an avalanche of votes from Mesa County. There is simply no way you are going to win Mesa County on any ground or on any accomplishment. The voters here stand proudly in the camp of the conservative wing of the Republican Party and will not vote for you.
State Rep. Ray Scott pumped up his right-wing credentials with an assist in killing the Civil Union bill. He does not expect to lose any votes on the issue and probably will not. He continues to toe the party line and will be rewarded this fall with another term in office. Scott's bill to eliminate the County Trustee's office was passed and signed into law by the governor on the Courthouse steps this past Monday. The location was baffling to more than a few. It is not known what advantage the governor felt could be gained by this piece of political fluff.
Certainly, local politicos have lobbied for years to eliminate the Trustee's office and milk it for whatever funds can be added to the general fund, but signing the bill here only serves partisan purposes of the Republican Party and will gain Hickenlooper nothing. There will be celebrations over at the Daily Sentinel as foreclosure notifications and the revenue they produce will surely be returning there soon.
The bill was amended numerous times and allows the current Trustee, Paul Brown, to remain in office until the end of his term in 2015. Aside from getting pressure to return notifications to the Sentinel, and move his office into vacant county office space, we await to see what other demands may be made of him.
The political process has been eerily quiet around town. Maybe I am not paying enough attention, or maybe everyone considers the races already decided. There have been a few signs that have become evident of late, but otherwise everything seems quite quiet. Whatever happened to Dan Robinson who announced a run against Ray Scott? Have not seen or read about him since the day of his announcement. I have not seen his name among those aforementioned signs, not seen a story, have not heard about an appearance. In conversations with others, I could not find anyone who had much of a clue, maybe Robinson is testing a new political strategy of running an invisible campaign.
While driving around town today, I noticed a bus bench that promoted "Free and Low Cost" birth control at the County Health offices. Given the rancor of late, one wonders how our county providing such services may conflict with the religious and political views of our candidates for county commissioner. It would certainly seem to be a valid question. It is understood there is an element which thinks birth control is the moral equivalent of murder, and that there is an element which thinks birth control should not be offered by government, a question in this regard is now posed to those candidates. Please do not hide behind "mandated services" smokescreens and simply tell us if this service would be continued if you were capable of deciding such.
This question seems especially pertinent as multiple lawsuits have been filed seeking an exclusion from offering health insurance that provides birth control if such conflicts with one's moral and/or religious convictions.
Could we see Mesa County joining this action in an amicus curiae brief? There are current candidates who, if elected, could seek to influence or control services provided to our poorer citizens through the health department. I hope the question is raised in candidate forums.
Jim Hoffman is a local real estate broker and investor who is trying to move from semi-retired to retired. He needs to retire to devote more time to unpaid interests such as skiing, camping and fishing.