Colorado government corruption
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The overwhelming bipartisan support in the House could mean an easier road through the state Senate, where a similar bill that would have required schools’ to post their finances online passed 28-6 earlier this year." Read the full article here.
"On Thursday's Mike Rosen Show, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper criticized a coalition of defense attorneys who have alleged that the city could spend $500,000 to prosecute protesters arrested during August's Democratic National Convention.
Denver city officials, including Hickenlooper, have widely criticized the estimated tab, first reported in Face The State earlier this month but are now refusing to provide alternate figures.
During Hickenlooper's monthly appearance on Rosen's 850 KOA show at 10 a.m., Rosen raised the issue of the trials with Hickenlooper.
"Robert Corry, who's one of the defense attorneys, said that the city is spending more than $500,000 for prosecutors, judges, clerks, police officers and other witnesses," said Rosen. "Seems to me that's a fixed cost. These are people who are on salary anyways.""
"State District Judge Tim Williams ruled today in favor of Boulder City Councilwoman Linda Strickland's request to designate as public records a batch of individual employee survey forms filed with the city in July 2007.
City Attorney Dave Olsen unsuccessfuly argued that the forms, which were filled out anonymously, were "nonrecords" and would have violated employee confidentiality if they were declared public records. The city clerk is currently in possession of the surveys."
Judge Morris B. Hoffman dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking access to Ritter's cellphone bills.
The newspaper sued Ritter after he refused to turn over 19 months of cellphone records that contain the phone numbers of people Ritter has discussed state business with since taking office in 2007."
"A two-day bench trial in the case concluded late Tuesday afternoon in Morgan County District Court.
District Judge Douglas Vannoy gave attorneys for the two parties four weeks to submit findings of fact and conclusions of law, and said it could be an another two months before he makes a ruling".
"Are they — or were they — public records or not?
Trying to find an answer to that question was the object of a long day of testimony in Morgan County District Court on Monday as a two-day bench trial began in a lawsuit between the city of Fort Morgan and The Fort Morgan Times."
Delta County clerk and recorder Ann Eddins said that she is looking for a sensible solution. Eddins has written to the county clerk’s association attorney asking for guidance on how the office should handle public documents that contain sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers."
"The abrupt resignation Thursday of a top elections official at the secretary of state's office happened in the midst of a watchdog group's investigation into her relationship with a local businessman who has contracts with that office.
Holly Lowder, 66, resigned from her post as elections director two months before what is expected to be one of the biggest elections in recent Colorado history. She held that job since 2006. Before that, Lowder served as Alamosa County clerk for about 25 years."
"A left-leaning watchdog organization has informed state Sen. John Penry, R-Grand Junction, it plans to sue him and two other state lawmakers for failing to turn over documents pertaining to a ballot initiative.
According to a letter faxed Wednesday to legislative attorneys, Colorado Ethics Watch plans to ask a judge to force Penry, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, and Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, to comply with an open-records request."
"Lawyers for Gov. Bill Ritter said today that they will seek dismissal of a lawsuit filed by The Denver Post which requests 19 months worth of cell phone records that Ritter has declined to give the newspaper.
Denver District Judge Morris Hoffman gave First Assistant Attorney General Maurice Knaizer - who is representing Ritter - until Sept. 5 to file the motion. Hoffman gave The Post two weeks after that, until Sept. 19, to respond to the motion to dismiss."
"Activities of the Hartsel Fire Protection District continue to raise eyebrows as new information becomes available about the district's authorization of payment of about $182,000 for Fire Chief Jay Hutcheson's personal legal fees; the district's use of a petty cash fund to make more than $1,000 in payments to Hartsel's Only Bar this past February and April and more than $4,000 to Hutcheson's Maverick Construction Co. for snowplowing; the failure of the district to comply with requests for information in a timely manner, or at all, under Colorado Open Records Law; and its billing one requestor more than $1,000 for legal bills related to her requests."
“We do our best to try to make it so it is not cost-prohibitive to get documents,” said City Clerk Terry Andrews."
"The Department of Natural Resources told lawmakers in 2007 that developing state oil and gas regulations could cost less than $7,000 the first year, while an internal department estimate put the cost of implementing the regulations at more than $1 million, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The $7,000 estimate appeared in a February 2007 financial statement given to lawmakers as they deliberated the cost of enforcing a new regulatory regime affecting the energy industry.
Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, and Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, questioned the estimate. They and eight other Republican legislators asked state auditors to check it. Auditors concluded the $6,840 cost was "reasonable" -- but were not given a department document containing the higher estimate."
"As one of his first official acts, President Barack Obama issued an executive memorandum instructing members of his administration “to operate under principles of openness, transparency and of engaging citizens with their government.” There are a number of ways Colorado state and local government can follow suit and join the president in his commitment to an “unprecedented level of openness in government.”
To begin, the Colorado General Assembly should immediately adopt and implement a uniform policy for the members and their staff, setting minimum standards and guidelines for the retention of electronic records, including e-mail records in particular. Incredibly, there is currently no policy at all."
"The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday once again asked Rep. David Balmer to provide records of phone calls and e-mail messages that could help the committee determine whether he broke House rules while he was running for the House minority leader’s seat last December.
The committee is looking into whether Balmer, R-Centennial, asked a lobbyist for the Colorado Chiropractors Association to pressure freshman Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora, to support the lawmaker in his bid to become the House Republicans’ leader.
Balmer did not respond to the committee’s requests, but his attorney, Jonathan Anderson, sent legal analysis concluding that his client did nothing wrong and a letter in which he declined to give his home phone records, citing privacy concerns."
"The Routt County Board of Commissioners and Sheriff Gary Wall filed lawsuits against each other and the Steamboat Pilot & Today last week, seeking a court determination as to whether the county or the Sheriff’s Office is required to release copies of a disputed legal invoice.
The document in question is a $6,700 legal bill from Ralph A. Cantafio, who has acted as legal counsel for Wall in his ongoing disputes with the commissioners. After the invoice was forwarded to the county for payment, the county commissioners requested more information about what the bill was for — a question Wall has refused to answer, claiming that providing the information would force him to relinquish his attorney-client privilege and “jeopardize the sovereignty of my office.”"
"A District Court judge ruled in favor of the city of Fort Morgan Thursday in a lawsuit between the city and The Fort Morgan Times over access to records related to the evaluation of former city manager Michael Nagy.
Judge Douglas Vannoy’s ruling broke down the issues in the case and favored the newspaper’s position on some of them and the city’s stance on others. Vannoy’s final conclusion was in favor of the city."
"The Denver Post today sued Gov. Bill Ritter after the governor's refusal to turn over 19 months of cellphone records that would show some of who Ritter has called and been called by since taking office in 2007.
The newspaper claims it is entitled to a list of calls made and received by Ritter during the 19 months related to his work as governor." [ Read the full article here].
"Denver's "disclosure" of security-related equipment spending for the Democratic National Convention is hardly an act of "transparency," as the city claims. The one-page-plus-two-lines document resembles an entry in an essay contest requiring responses in 25 words or less, not a reasonable accounting of how the city will spend the public's money."