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Should Another Bush Be Put in Charge of Colorado’s Budget?

4:51 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

Colorado has a decision to make this year for the State Treasurer’s race.

Do we stay with the current Treasurer, Cary Kennedy,


do we elect political newcomer Walker Stapleton?

Let’s take a look at the two candidates.

Cary Kennedy has a track record of helping the State of Colorado navigate Colorado through the difficult budget crises and working with across the aisle to solve problems with our budget.

She helped author parts of Referendum C in 2005 – which was supported by Republican Governor Bill Owens as a way to keep the state budget solvent.

Since becoming Treasurer in 2007, she has made the sound investments that have kept Colorado’s Budget growing at a moderate 3% annually, at a time when other states are defaulting on their loans.

What kind of leadership does Walker Stapleton have to offer?

Walker Stapleton’s political activity in Colorado is limited to hosting a website that whose sole purpose was to oppose Senate Bill 228 – a Bi-partisan bill that would overturn the 1991 legislative bill known as Arveschoug-Bird that limited the State’s General Fund from growing over 6% each year.

Arveschoug-Bird sounded reasonable in the 1990s when the economy appeared destined never again to hit a huge recession.

But a perfect storm has occurred since then.

George Bush started deficit spending on 2 overseas Wars while cutting taxes. Then, the Housing Market collapsed, sending our Federal Government and economy into a recession in 2007 and 2008.

The federal budget, which is running on empty, passed the hat on Federally funded programs to the local State budgets, causing a ripple effect on States’ budgets. Nearly every state in the Union is having a budget crisis from this Federal deficit spending.

In Colorado, moderate Republican leaders like Colorado’s Don Marostica joined with Democrats and took a stand for Colorado in helping pass Senate Bill 228.

Other States have copied the successful budget fix of Senate Bill 228.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger enacted a similar bill to avoid having to make more extreme Budget Cuts.

Walker Stapleton’s express opposition to Senate Bill 228 shows that he is out of touch with the reality that other sensible moderate Republicans and Democrats around the country have acknowledged – you can’t continually cut spending and have a working budget that serves the needs of the State.

Walker Stapleton says on his own website:

Colorado cannot afford to become the next California, with skyrocketing taxes that hurt our state’s economy and our quality of life. The time is now to make a stand.

I could not agree more. We should be keeping sensible and proven leaders like Cary Kennedy in charge of our budget and in office as our Treasurer.

This week, Cary Kennedy’s campaign is calling for a "Bust the Bonus" fundraising pledge for her campaign. It is based on the fact that Walker Stapleton gave himself $500,000 from his inherited business in bonuses to fund his campaign.

It is hypocritical for Walker Stapleton to withdraw $500,000 from the family business’ ATM and then call to oppose budget reforms that will help average Colorado citizens who are really hurting in this economy.

Did I mention that Walker Stapleton is George Bush’s cousin?

Perhaps Walker Stapleton thinks the way the economy was handled under George Bush was just fine, and the recession we have now is no big deal.

Maybe this economy does not seem so bad to Walker Stapleton because he is part of those richest 2% who don’t see how the budget is actually used to keep schools open, roads paved and services for the elderly, the children and those in poverty.

Colorado can’t afford to go back to the George Bush/Walker Stapleton way of leadership.

Support a Treasurer with a proven investment track record

- Cary Kennedy for re-election.

(October 6th through October 10th is the ‘Bust the Bonus’ fundraiser for Cary Kennedy – please contribute to her here.)

CO-Sen Michael Bennet – what Democrats need to know

10:29 am in Uncategorized by wadenorris

There are many reasons for supporting or not supporting a candidate in a primary race. I could cite many reasons to support either Andrew Romanoff or Michael Bennet -but for Democrats there is really only one thing that they should know about this primary.

It’s that Michael Bennet can’t win against the Republicans.
From the Hill:

Sen. Bennet faces uphill battle if he wins the primary
The troubling news for Bennet — and other Democratic incumbents — is that only 42 percent of the Colorado voters polled approve of him, and 44 percent disapprove. Moreover, asked whether they wanted to elect a new person or reelect their incumbent, just 34 percent would vote for their incumbent, while 55 percent prefer a new person.

Bennet’s approval rating is under 50% – Bennet at only 42% is a sign of trouble for an incumbent, but it is his disapproval ratings that are most troubling – his disapproval rating is higher than his approval at 44% – a sign of a toxic candidacy for a general election.

These negatives are sure to climb as the recently announced investigation of Mr. Bennet starts up.

With an anti-incumbent mood still festering, Colorado Democrats might be better off nominating former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff instead of Sen. Michael Bennet

No matter how you feel about the candidates, what good does it do to back a candidate who will lose the General?

At the end of the day, this primary is about who has the best chance to hold the seat.

This is bigger than either primary candidate, this is about the balance of power in the Senate. Losing Colorado to the Republicans would be another step closer to a Republican majority able to block the Obama administration at every turn.
Mr. Romanoff presents voters with a choice – he can both run as a democrat, and as an anti-incumbent and a way to preserve a Senate Seat for Democrats.

The choice is clear.

Breaking:CO-Sen Michael Bennet bank swap cover up by Tom Boasberg

5:32 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

The bank swap investigation story just took an interesting turn for Michael Bennet and his protege Tom Boasberg. School Board members have repeatedly asked for an audit of the Bank Swap between Denver Public Schools and JP Morgan.
Tom Boasberg and the Bennet campaign have attack these board members as asking for an audit due to political motivations caused by the Primary.
Thanks to an email record provided by a School Board member,
this can be proven to be factually wrong.
The evidence points to a concerted effort to cover up details about the swap that was reported in last Friday’s New York Times investigation .
The New York Times discovered that
Denver Public Schools has lost 25 million dollars from Michael Bennet’s investment swap and will have to pay 81 million in termination fees to get out of the swap.

You can listen to an interview about this on Mario Solis-Marich’ show.

School board members had been asking for a transparent accounting of the DPS banking derivative for years. Despite these requests, the Superintendent has delayed or declined the request.
However, when 3 members started calling publicly for an audit, Superintendent Boasberg attacked them and School Board President Theresa Pena (and Bennet campaign Treasurer) silenced them in meetings through procedural motions. Boasberg and the Bennet campaign stated that these board members’ requests were not about finances, but were politically motivated to hurt Senator Bennet’s chance in the primary.
From March 10, 2010:

"This attack is a regrettable action by a few disgruntled board members who are seeking to create a political controversy where no controversy exists," said Superintendent Tom Boasberg.

One of these school board members, Jeanne Kaplan, provided me her emails proving that this is not true – since she was asking questions about the bank swap and reports of financial losses long before there was a primary – even before Senator Bennet was in the Senate.

Ms. Kaplan began asking questions about the finances in June of 2008 which can be proven
by this list of emails.
That date is important because Michael Bennet was not appointed Senator until January 2009 – in fact, at that time, no one could have known he would be – since Barack Obama had not yet been elected and Ken Salazar had not been chosen for Secretary of the Interior.

As the emails show,
Ms. Kaplan tried repeatedly to get Tom Boasberg to explain the transaction to her and the board and explain if it was true that they were losing money only to be rebuffed and dismissed.

In the chain of Emails, examine #5 and #6 out of a total 9 emails.


From: (Jeannie Kaplan)
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 11:11 AM
To: Boasberg, Tom; Pena, Theresa’s External;
Cc: Bennet, Michael
Subject: Re: DPSRS-PERA merger memo

Tom – I can’t open the attachment, but is it still relevant? What is happening=2 0with the merger, since the papers indicates it is off? Also, can we get an update on our bond situation, please? Have we lost a lot of money? If so, how much? Are there ways to stop the bleeding? When will programs/salaries/ etc. be affected?



#6 (response)

—–Original Message—–
From: Boasberg, Tom
To: Jeannie Kaplan-
Cc: Pena, Theresa’s Bennet, Michael
Sent: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 12:04 pm
Subject: RE: DPSRS-PERA merger memo

Thanks. think the attachment is of limited relevance at this point.
I think that we are going to try to spend some time at our board meeting this month talking about all these topics so we will have a chance to discuss in some detail .



Recently, the requests made by Kaplan and the other 2 board members were met with emails like this one.

I’m extremely disappointed that our Board has not been discussing relevant issues…. I will become much more public with my displeasure if you keep this up.


The first thing is that this shows Ms. Kaplan is becoming alarmed at the reports of staggering losses incurred by DPS’s Bank Swap investment long before Bennet has a primary.

Secondly, notice the date of the email – December 3, 2008. Ken Salazar is still the Senator, and he was not picked by the Obama administration until Dec. 17, 2008.

Third, and perhaps most importantly to those outside of Colorado Politics, no one, absolutely no one, imagined at that time that the Governor would pick Michael Bennet, an unelected and mostly unknown DPS Superintendent for Senate. See here "What the Hell!?!"

These emails prove that it is not the 3 board members who are politically motivated, but that it is Michael Bennet, DPS school board President Theresa Pena, and current Superintendent Tom Boasberg – they are the ones who have political motivations to prevent an audit.
There may not be anything illegal about the Bank Swap, but as everyone knows in politics, a cover up of information always gives the appearance that something is wrong or unethical.

Either way, Mr. Boasberg and the Bennet campaign have disparaged the character of 3 of School Board members simply for wanting transparency.
Their decision to support Bennet’s primary challenger, at least for one of those school Board members, is directly in response to Boasberg’s and Bennet’s refusal to open the books on the bank swap.

And this other new detail makes it seem like that is the case:

The second contention made by Boasberg is that a savings of $20 million has been realized by the district on the deal. David Suppes, DPS’ Chief Operating Officer, provided a spreadsheet to the School Board on April 14 on this year. It is the most thorough accounting of DPS’ costs for the transactions to date. No combination of totals from that spreadsheet can be figured to produce the savings that Boasberg touts. What is known is, in its last, audited annual financial report, DPS states that $24.9 million has been lost on the deal.

(hattip to Guerin Lee Green and Christopher Scott)

Now, Chair of the State Budget committee (Democrat Representative Mark Ferrandino) has now called for a bi-partisan audit by both the Colorado State House and Senate of this investment. (see here)
"CO-SEN: Bennet Faces Bipartisan Probe Over Wall Street Deal From Dem-Led CO Legislature"
Listen here to Progressive Talk show host Mario Solis-Marich’s interview of Rep. Ferrandino about the investigation.

The real question about all this – the Bank Swap, the cover up by Boasberg, the accusations against the 3 School Board members, the email list and timeline, and the conflict of interest between Bennet, Boasberg and Pena – all of these are secondary to one question.
With an audit looming, if Michael Bennet wins the primary – how will stand a chance in the General?

Breaking:”bipartisan investigation” for CO-Sen Michael Bennet’s Derivative Swap

8:30 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

This Friday’s New York Times investigation:
"Payback Time: Exotic Deals Put Denver Schools Deeper in Debt"
casts a laser focus on Michael Bennet’s investment into a ‘risky’ derivative swap by as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools.
Pasts attempts by the Bennet campaign to deflect questions about this investigation are now laid bare and there are guilty parties involved.
Now, Colorado Democratic Representative Mark Ferrandino, Chair of the State Budget committee is calling for a bi-partisan audit by both the Colorado State House and Senate of this investment that has already cost Denver Public Schools 25 million dollars and counting.
Listen here on local Progressive Talk show host Mario Solis-Marich’s Friday show at about 1/3rd through the podcast.

Representative Ferrandino is exactly the person to call for this investigation. In addition to his position on the Joint Budget Committee, he has served as a budget analyst for the Clinton and Bush Administrations – specifically working on the interest rate for the National Debt.

Rep. Ferrandino:

We are going to ask members of both parties and both chambers to do an audit of the investment because this has bigger implications than just DPS (Denver Public Schools), because of the recent merger of DPS and PERA (Colorado’s Public Employees Retirement Association, because if (the investment) was done wrong, this could have an impact not just on Denver, not just the kids in Denver, but the State as a whole.

One possible solution Rep. Ferrandino suggests is that Superintendent Boasberg should negotiate with JP Morgan to forgive the 81 million penalty fee for withdrawing from the investment – although that seems somewhat unlikely to happen.

There has been a concerted effort by current Superintendent, and lifelong friend of Michael Bennet, Tom Boasberg and the School Board President, Theresa Pena (and Bennet campaign treasurer) to avoid talk about this risky investment and discredit anyone who brings up auditing the investment – including the 3 out of 7 School board members who have been calling for an investigation.
But, the campaign can no longer deny these people’s claims now that it is being covered by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and Markos of Daily Kos.

This "exotic deal", akin to a variable interest rate mortgage, has now cost the Denver school system $25 million more than originally planned, and getting out of the deal would cost the district another $81 million in termination fees.

But no one could’ve predicted! (That’s really Bennet’s defense.)

With an ongoing bi-partisan audit of this swap looming ahead, the Republican General Election candidate will have a hammer to wield against Michael Bennet. (the leading candidate being Ken Buck – who does not believe in abortion even in the case of incest and rape)

Ken Buck as Senator will be a disaster for Colorado.
Even worse, Colorado is one of the swing states that could decide the balance of power in the Senate. And the Republicans will most certainly take advantage of this issue and defeat Michael Bennet in the General.
For the sake of holding on this seat for Democratic party,
Democrats must call on Michael Bennet to step down from the primary.
Supporting Andrew Romanoff is not just about liking or disliking a candidate, it’s about the Democrats best chance to retain this Senate Seat.

Visit here for the complete story on the current Superintendent Tom Boasberg’s stonewalling of the investigation, conflicts of interests, paybacks from JP Morgan to Bennet’s campaign, and the collective effort of the Denver Post and Political Blog Colorado Pols to cover up this story.

Your chance to replace a Conservadem in the Senate. Moneybomb for Andrew Romanoff

2:19 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a Senate primary in Colorado – pitting a Conservadem – Michael Bennet vs a people powered candidate, Andrew Romanoff – who has taken the Obama pledge to take no PAC money.
(Conservadem is not my label, Rachel Maddow gave Senator Bennet that name for joining Evan Bayh’s coalition of conservative democrats)
Despite millions of corporate dollars being spent by Michael Bennet, Andrew Romanoff has taken the lead in polls with the Primary on August 10th.
Pundits have written that Romanoff’s win will send a message throughout politics, that we the grassroots voters, can reverse the Corporate Stranglehold on Congress .
First, let me say this, I have been a volunteer for Andrew Romanoff in this campaign, but that’s not all. I worked in Colorado on Democratic Campaigns in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. With the exception of 2000, when Andrew Romanoff was running for his first election (therefore campaigning himself) Andrew Romanoff was with us, the Democratic activists on every election, knocking on doors, making phone calls, and growing the party. I don’t have anything against Senator Bennet personally, but prior to being appointed, no one in the Colorado Democratic party had ever heard of him or seen him doing anything for Democrats. That being said, let’s get on to the facts.

Here are 10 Reasons to Support Andrew Romanoff:

Some people have said there is no difference between the two candidates.
Even if that were true, which it isn’t, letting an incumbent who worked against progressive values without a primary challenge sends a message to other Senators that we, the democratic base can be ignored.
What has Senator Bennet’s done that was not progressive?
#1 Senator Bennet joined with Republicans to vote against the Sanders amendment which would have closed a 35 billion tax loophole for Big Oil and invested the money in clean energy investments – something President Obama supported.
#2 Senator Bennet has written letters in support of tax subsidies for natural gas at a time when people of Colorado have flammable tap water from unsafe natural gas drilling practices.
#3 Senator Bennet has sought exemptions for dirty fossil fuels in any Climate Change legislation.
#4 Senator Bennet voted to stop Senator Dodd’s legislation to create a regulatory agency to protect consumers from predatory practices on Wall Street.
#5 Senator Bennet voted against the bill to Break up the Big Banks that were too big to fail, allowing these banks to continue controlling how home mortgages are valued.
#6 Senator Bennet was one of the few Democratic Senators to join with the GOP to oppose Cramdown which would have helped Colorado families renegotiate their mortgages and prevent foreclosures.

Other people have said that Andrew Romanoff, if elected, will be no different in the Senate and is no more Progressive than Senator Bennet.

That’s simply not true.
Andrew Romanoff is more progressive on at least 4 very important issues,
#1 Renewable Energy and the Environment

Andrew Romanoff has proposed some of the most progressive proposals on the Environment as well.
On June 10th he announced his proposal for 50% Renewable Energy in the United States by 2030.

"We have focused most of our attention on cleaning up the spill and holding British Petroleum responsible…
To that end, we should also seize the moment to revolutionize our energy policy… Today, I am proposing that we set a national renewable energy standard. I propose a national renewable standard of 50 percent by 2030."

#2 LGBT rights
From the Romanoff Campaign’s LGBT Outreach director:

Andrew Romanoff vs. Michael Bennet on LGBT issues and legislation:
Andrew Romanoff Supports full, federal marriage equality
But Michael Bennet Believes it’s a states’ rights issue
Andrew Romanoff Would co-sponsor Military Readiness Enhancement Act (would effectively repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell")
But Michael Bennet has not co-sponsored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act.

#3 Andrew Romanoff fully supports Net Neutrality even writing on article fighting for it, and will join Senator Franken in introducing legislation.
Senator Bennet has not stated a position.

#4 Employee Free Choice

Andrew Romanoff has stated support for Employee Free Choice and will vote for it when it is brought to the floor of the Senate.
Michael Bennet won’t answer what his position is on it.

From fellow Progressive Darcy Burner on Bennet unwillingness to "make a decision" on Employee Free Choice.

And here was Senator Bennet’s response to the Denver Post’s questionnaire on the Employee Free Choice Act: (yes or no boxes)

Congress should pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
Michael Bennet:
The candidate chose not to mark a box
Andrew Romanoff:

Maybe that’s why Andrew Romanoff has the support of the 2 largest Unions in the state.
There are clear differences between these two candidates.
Andrew Romanoff has proposed some of the most progressive standards for Renewable Energy, will support full Marriage equality and will support the Employee Free Choice Act.
And, Andrew Romanoff will get elected with individual donations only, without corporate PAC money, just like President Obama did.

Send a message that we the people still have the power to elect people over corporate funded candidates.
Support him here on this ACTBLUE page

Andrew Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff

Sen. Bennet will have plenty of time to think about China soon

4:27 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

Volunteers for Andrew Romanoff are busting their behinds day in and day out and Mr.Romanoff himself is crisscrossing the state connecting with voters and making his case for their vote.

What’s Bennet up to? From the latest edition of the New Yorker

Michael Bennet, a freshman Democrat from Colorado, said, “Sit and watch us for seven days—just watch the floor. You know what you’ll see happening? Nothing. When I’m in the chair, I sit there thinking, I wonder what they’re doing in China right now?

uh, what? You have a primary – Guess your day dreaming is happening on the campaign trail too and Andrew Romanoff is taking advantage of it – and is surging in the polls.

(crossposted at Huffington Post, Square State, Firedoglake and Ultimate Politics )

Local Progressive Talk Show Host Mario Solis Marich says it best today:

"In my history of campaigns, I always said a candidate can’t win without PAC money – I have never said you could win without it. Now that’s not the case. Romanoff is doing it."

As you can see in this diary about Primary Candidate Andrew Romanoff (that was up on the rec list for the last 2 days) – Mr. Romanoff has come from behind from a double digit deficit to a lead in 4 weeks – and all without taking any PAC money against a conservadem.

Wednesday August 4th is the Andrew Romanoff Moneybomb Day
Help Andrew get not only past the primary but able to beat a Tea Party Republican (Ken Buck) in the General: Donate to Andrew Romanoff here

More insanity in Colorado – this time the Senate race

3:03 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

This week, Andrew Romanoff made the bold move to go ‘All In’ on the race and sold his house to fund ads for the last 2 weeks – a move that will add an additional $325,000 to the nearly $700,000 raised in the last quarter – all by small dollar donations.

"I’d like to create a democracy where you don’t have to sell your house to win the U.S. Senate, but we’re not there yet," he said. "I expect to win and repay the loan. I happen to believe Americans of modest means deserve representation, too."

Whether you agree with Mr. Romanoff’s decision to sell his house or not, Mr. Romanoff is showing the volunteers and supporters across our state that he intends to fight to win this race and prove that the country can elect Senators exactly in the same way Barack Obama was elected.

But the Bennet supporters are hurling all kinds of insults and unfounded accusations towards Mr. Romanoff.

One Bennet supporter wrote this diary Romanoff and the balloon boy
which said this about Mr. Romanoff:

He is so sincere about it(not taking PAC money), he is apparently willing to become homeless for the cause.
Homelessness is a serious societal problem, causing immeasurable pain to it’s victims.

yes, the author is stating here that Romanoff is using Homelessness as a campaign gimmick.

Another blogger – in that diary, goes so far as to accuse Andrew Romanoff of lying about his public service as a teacher in Central Americaread it yourself

"I’m also still looking for what year he claims to have taught English
in Nicaragua. I think he made it up. I was illegal to do business from 1982 to 1990.
Was he there as a guest of Daniel Ortega or the Contras?"

So Mr. Romanoff – not only made up teaching in rural schools in Central America and Nicaragua, if he did, he was working with the Contras!
(and this guy said the same on his facebook page)
And it is not just supporters, the Bennet campaign is also doing the same: by sending their spokes person to crash the Romanoff Press conference at campaign Headquarters: As the Huffington Post calls it -

"Rockies Gone Wild: Colorado Politics Devolves Into All-Out War"

Mr. Romanoff’s campaign and his supporters have done their best to keep this civil.
I fully disclose that I have gone on the offensive on the facts on Mr. Bennet, such as his ties to Right wing Multi Billionaire Republican Phillip Anschutz,and that I have been upset about Senator Bennet’s conservadem votes:
Votes like Senator Bennet’s vote against Cramdown, or how he voted against the bill to Break up the Big Banks and how Senator Bennet joined with Republicans to vote against the Sanders amendment which would have closed a 35 billion tax loophole for Big Oil.
I have even interviewed people who knew him professionally – such as the Teachers who worked under him after he was appointed to be the superintendent of Denver Public Schools and did not appreciate how teachers were treated.
But I have not accused Mr. Bennet of lying about his career or using homelessness as a gimmick.

I believe that Mr. Bennet’s appointment and candidacy represents the calculation that Democrats must be in bed with corporations just as much as Republicans to win – even if those corporate interests are fully Republican themselves.
Someone has to take the stand and follow President Obama’s lead to stop the corporate buyout of our elections.
That can start here with the people funded Andrew Romanoff campaign.

I’m one of many volunteers for Romanoff. I don’t have a lot of money, but I’ve spent a lot of time volunteering to help elect a man with progressive ideals and a vision of cleaning up Washington.
Andrew Romanoff is all in. So are all of his volunteers. There are 14 days to go, and he needs our help.
Donate to his campaign and help us prove that the people are more important than the corporations.
Visit Actblue to donate to Andrew Romanoff.

There is a clear choice on Education in the CO Senate Primary

5:05 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

First, about Speaker Romanoff’s accomplishments from the Colorado House Democrats weblog:

B.E.S.T. Plan Provides up to $1 Billion for School Construction
(DENVER) State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, Senate President-elect Peter Groff, and State Senator Gail Schwartz announced an ambitious plan today to provide up to one billion dollars towards fixing and replacing K-12 schools across Colorado.
“Every child deserves a safe, healthy place to go to school,” said Romanoff. He said that the inequalities he saw while touring were striking. “It’s tough to learn when the roof is caving in or your desk is falling through the floor. The quality of your education shouldn’t depend on your zip code.

Now for Mr. Bennet’s statement that he provided Denver Teachers with the largest pay increase in State history:

Bennet says ProComp fails to provide teachers with enough money early in their careers, incentives are too small, compensation is back-ended in favor of veteran teachers and too much tax money is being banked every year in the ProComp trust.
The ProComp V2 plan offers richer bonuses to more teachers, resulting in "the largest pay increase in the history of Denver Public Schools," Bennet said.
Starting-teacher salaries in the plan would rise from $35,500 to an average of $42,413 for a person with a bachelor’s degree. The DPS figure includes incentives, each of which would grow to $2,900 from $1,067 a year.

Was this true? Ask the Teachers:

(question) (ME) As Superintendent, Michael Bennet stated on camera that Denver Teachers had just received a pay raise – was it a raise?
MS.UNDERWOOD-VERDEAL "Technically that is one way to talk about compensation, but that is certainly not the way we live, because I won’t be able to use my retirement to go the grocery store now.
It was not a raise teachers realized on their paychecks."
So it was not true?
"No, it was not true, in the practical sense."

Bennet was hired as Superintendent for his financial expertise. It has now been revealed that Superintendent Bennet convinced the Denver Public School Board to invest their retirement funds into a Derivative Swap with JP Morgan – the same type of swap that are now coming under scrutiny by the Senate and House banking bill.

A call for transparency on a financial deal done by then Denver Public School Superintendent Michael Bennet has roiled political waters. School Board members, including Cherry Creek-area school board member Jeannie Kaplan, have asked for an accounting of a deal centered upon a “synthetic” interest rate swap, which has cost DPS millions. The deal, which involved mortgaging schools for an yet unrealized interest savings, has given Wall Street banks and shadowy Belgian firm Dexia (NASDAQ:DEXB) millions in taxpayer dollars. Dexia, a player in the Madoff scandal, was insolvent last year, and had to be bailed out, partially by American taxpayers…
DPS appears to already have been in a position to lose money. In fact, in its very first month, taxpayers lost $1.5 million alone, excluding fees. The deal, which is keyed to the interest rate banks charge one another, is pegged far outside of the long-term rate average, almost guaranteeing that DPS would lose money. DEAN (Denver Education Advocacy Network) has estimated the deal has lost $51 million to date, although no actual accounting has been provided to the public or school board members. Recent testimony at the statehouse on the state pension fund concluded that the deal was $78 million underwater, and created risk for the state.

This was one of many teachers I spoke to who was willing to speak about the changes she saw in the way school was administered under Superintendent Michael.

"When he (Arne Duncan ) came to town with Michael Bennet, he called us
‘dead wood’ – he said that they needed to ‘clean house’ – they don’t want career teachers… and it is not just about a Union issue -
(me – They are trying to save money?)
"That’s just it, I don’t make that much money, I really don’t"

(Patty Corsentino was a biology Teacher for 26 years who was forced out – step by step as part of clearing the ‘dead wood’)

This is driving out Career Educators – leaving short term and younger teachers in their place. From my experience, it was the older veteran teachers who had learned the best methods for education and taught me the most.

Andrew Romanoff speaks to this new kind of business model approach to education.

Schools are not factories and students are not widgets. The silver bullet approach – the suggestion that we should transform education by charter-izing or voucher-izing or privatizing it – that approach is doomed to fail. The real work is hard and tedious and often expensive.
But it is worth it. What keeps most teachers up at night spending their spare time and spare change is the challenge of reaching a student who might otherwise be lost.
"The joy of awakening a mind to a new idea that what drove these talented men and women to teach in the first place. But we will continue to lose effective teachers if we demonize and demoralize them – if we saddle them with the blame for society’s shortcomings and strip them of the resources they need to succeed."

For voters interested in education there are two choices:
On the one hand you have a business man – Michael Bennetwhose philosophy on education comes from being a business person – and whose investment strategies are now costing the Denver Teacher’s retirement pension millions of dollars.
And on the other hand you have an educator – Andrew Romanoffwhose philosophy on education comes from being an educator and whose leadership in the State House was demonstrated in his procurement of 1 billion dollars in investments in Schools in Colorado.

For voters of Colorado, on Education, it is a clear choice.
More importantly, for our Education policy, having an actual educator in the Senate is just plain common sense.

Support Andrew Romanoff.

What did Senator Bennet know and what was his involvement?

1:57 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

(crossposted at Huffington Post and Square State)
We start with last August.
August 29th,2009 – Denver Post reports a rumor that Andrew Romanoff may challenge Michael Bennet.

August 30th, 2009 – The Post follows this up with more information seeming to confirm Romanoff’s intention to enter the Primary race.

September 1, 2009 – After less than supportive statements on the Public Option, Bennet coincidentally releases a video loudly and repeatedly proclaiming his support for the Public Option, one day after the primary is confirmed.

September 4th, 2009 – from this radio show report from local political talk show host, Mario Solis-Marich, Bennet and Romanoff sit down at lunch – presumably to discuss Romanoff’s intentions to enter the race.

September 5th,2009 – Andrew Romanoff files FEC paperwork as a candidate.

September 11th, 2009 – 7 days after Bennet and Romanoff have that lunch, Jim Messina calls Romanoff to discuss his intentions – to which Romanoff states he is running for Senate. An email from Messina follows that mentions there would be a ‘possibility’ for one of three jobs – (if he wasn’t too busy with anything else)

Flash forward
June 3rd, 2010 – as news breaks of this information, following the Joe Sestak debacle , the Bennet campaign states it
had a conversation with the White House during this crucial period in September 2009.
Statement of importance:

A spokesman for Bennet sidestepped a question about whether the senator was aware of White House efforts to maneuver Romanoff out of the race by discussing possible jobs.
"It seems common knowledge that Speaker Romanoff had applied for a few jobs in the administration and several in Colorado," Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid said. "Conversations Michael had with the White House focused on the president’s continued support for his campaign, regardless of what career path Speaker Romanoff chose to follow.

June 4th, 2010 – as the (non?) scandal grows, the Bennet campaign sends out another message as reported in the Denver Post:

"Bennet, whom the White House is supporting in the primary, was aware at the time that someone in the Obama administration planned to contact Romanoff "to confirm reports that he was interested in running for the Senate or determine if he was still interested in serving in the administration," according to a statement from Bennet’s campaign. But Bennet had no role in those conversations with Romanoff, his campaign said."

Here is where it gets tricky. Michael Bennet, who had no doubt seen the reports of Andrew Romanoff’s plan to enter the Primary on Aug. 30, 2009 and then spoke over lunch with Andrew Romanoff on Sept. 4, 2009, is now admitting that his campaign was in communication with the White House during this time.
Furthermore the Bennet campaign states a day later it knew the White House ‘planned’ to contact Romanoff about his possible campaign and the possibility of his interest in ‘serving in the administration’.
Is it possible that Bennet made no mention of getting Romanoff out of the primary through help from the White House? It is possible. But is it likely?

It might seem like a stretch for one to believe that presupposition, but let’s look how Senator Bennet got into office and remember, and consider for a second that this could be much bigger than just one Senate seat.
Senator Bennet was, up until a few years ago, an extremely well connected corporate ‘raider’ for Multi Billionaire Republican Philip Anschutz. Since that time, he was appointed Superintendent of Denver Public Schools (where he made some very questionable investment decisions in derivatives) then was somehow picked to become a U.S. Senator. I say somehow because he had never run for any office in Colorado and was unknown to most Democrats in Colorado.
To top that off, he was immediately placed on the Powerful Banking Committee – just as that committee was taking up Wall St. Reforms – many of which he opposed – like Cramdown, Dodd’s reform bill, and finally regulating risky derivative investments (shocker) and breaking up the too-big-too-fail Banks.
Consider that ascent from unelected to that kind of power and ask yourself how hard would it be to have some strings pulled from D.C. to make a Senate seat safe.
These patterns of pay-to-play politics (which are Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina’s style) – are likely to grow in scope and news coverage during the upcoming Blagojevich trial.
It is good to know that the President was, apparently, ‘out of the loop‘ about the decision to make these entreaties to Mr. Romanoff, however,
the President would be well served by not allowing Rahm Emanuel to engineer these back room negotiations on his administration’s behalf.
(bring back Howard Dean)

As for Mr. Bennet, this is about voting for more democrats, and definitely, for better democrats. The voters will get to decide whether this is their preferred method of representation in the August 8th primary.
If you are tired of candidates bankrolled by special interests and play-to-pay politics, consider supporting the grassroots and people powered candidate in this primary -
Andrew Romanoff.
You can

Whose White House? Obama’s or Rahm’s?

3:34 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

The White House’s involvement with Senate primaries may seem to be business as usual, but that is not the case.
Obama has been involved in more primaries than any President since FDR.

"History warns Obama on primaries"
by Matthew Dallek
The White House promised full support to GOP Sen. Arlen Specter when he switched to the Democratic Party a year ago. So Obama’s team had approached Rep. Joe Sestak, the primary challenger now gaining on Specter, in an effort to ward off this intraparty contest.

Obama is entangled in other Democratic primaries, as well. His White House has endorsed incumbent moderate Democrats in a handful of key midterm races. It has actively intervened in support of Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas……

The biggest political debacle in modern times was when President Franklin D. Roosevelt intervened in a series of 1938 midterm primaries.

FDR considered the 1938 primaries an “act of vengeance against Democrats who had betrayed him” during his 1937 court-packing fight, as Jeff Shesol, author of the new book “Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court,” said in a recent conversation.

The president’s attempted “purge” of conservatives from Democratic ranks proved a stunning setback for his standing — and his New Deal agenda. FDR speechwriter Sam Rosenman later called the purge a “grave mistake.”

Roosevelt’s preferred primary candidates lost in droves. Democrats also lost seats in the 1938 general election. Conservatives gained congressional strength and administered a substantial political blow to the New Deal.

Consider that FDR was trying to re-align the congress with primaries to get conservative members of congress out and more liberal members in. It backfired and hurt the efforts of his New Deal Agenda.
Here, incredibly, Obama is blocking primaries of Conservative Democrats from Liberal/Progressive challengers. Not only has Obama endorsed Lincoln, Specter, and Bennet, without letting the primary voters weigh in, the White House has also been offering back door job ‘dangles’ to Sestak and Romanoff.
Here in Colorado, Democrats are getting calls from the DSCC to donate to their funding, when they are running ads directly for one candidate over the other.
FDR lost the opportunity to get the full impact of his administration by these primary losses. Obama, so far, is 0-2 and looking to go 0-3 in his Senate primary preferences.
This is bad politics for President who represented transformational change on the campaign trail. These moves have upset the base voters in these states who now have defied the White House’s choices.
It does not seem like the Candidate we knew. This is Rahm’s methods – Chicago/blago style politics.
Do the grassroots democrats matter to him? Wasn’t he the one that called the Grassroots left ‘fucking retarded?’

Was this the logic that candidate Barack Obama was thinking when Hillary Clinton’s election machine was already called ‘inevitable?’
Shouldn’t our candidates get the same benefit of the Primary system
that got Obama himself into office?
Not to mention that the Republicans are looking for any chance to pounce on any perceived wrong doing by the Obama administration.

Mr. President, start listening to the grassroots and to the advisers who got you into the White House and stop listening to Rahm Emmanuel and his kind. Not only will it keep you out of legal trouble, but it is the smart thing to do.