Ivan Moreno (US News and World Report)-
Angry parents and educators in a Colorado battleground county are trying to recall three conservative school board members Tuesday, citing several complaints, including a change in how teachers get pay raises and talk of reviewing the history curriculum to promote patriotism.
The idea prompted students to walk out of class and protest in the streets last year. Teachers staged sick-outs, the Jefferson County district claimed.
Marianne Goodland (The Colorado Independent)- Groups opposed to the recall of three conservative Jefferson County Board of Education members are doing their best to keep under wraps how much they’re spending on opposition mailers or TV time. And these groups are getting help in hiding that spending from an industry that normally advocates for the public’s right to know: Denver’s broadcast TV stations.
The Colorado Independent has so far been able to tie at least $261,000 in advertising to the groups that either directly advocate against the recall or in favor of actions taken by the board majority. All but $41,000 comes from groups that are not required by either state or federal law to disclose donations or how they spend their money. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Gabrielle Porter (High Timber Times)- A Colorado Springs-based watchdog organization has accused groups involved in instigating the recall of three Jeffco school members of violating state campaign finance laws in two lawsuits that will go before Colorado’s Office of Administrative Courts.
Colorado Government Watch alleged in an Oct. 13 complaint that nonprofit groups Jeffco United and Support Jeffco Kids — both of which have ties to the organization that initiated the recall of conservative school board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams — are acting as financial pass-throughs for campaign funds while their nonprofit status protects them from disclosing donors. Colorado Government Watch wants the state to require both groups to register as issue committees, which would force them to disclose their donors, said director Dede Laugesen.
Pam Zubeck (Colorado Springs Independent)- Last month, eight people from Colorado Springs, including city employees, boarded a plane for New York City to talk about improvements to the streetscape and infrastructure surrounding the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame with the project’s New York-based designer.
In an unusual move, the nonprofit Colorado Springs Sports Corp. used a donation from an unnamed “private foundation” to fund $15,748 in travel expenses for three city employees and two others associated with the city.
Monica Mendoza (Denver Business Journal)- It appears there are dueling search committees for the hunt to fill a vacancy on U.S. District Court in Colorado.
Today, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, announced the formation of a bipartisan advisory committee that will recommend qualified applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court in Colorado, created by Judge Robert Blackburn’s taking senior status on April 12, 2016.
Shay Castle (Broomfield Enterprise)- An appointed member of Broomfield City Council running for election is coming under fire for his involvement in a series of civil suits, prompting questions over his suitability to hold elected office.
Between 2009 and 2013, Ward 4 Councilman Dennis Harward and his companies were defendants in at least five civil suits, three of which alleged unethical business practices, including misrepresentation and use of deceptive competitive strategies.
Kyle Harris (The Colorado Independent)- Few organizations bust Colorado’s power brokers in court as regularly as Colorado Ethics Watch. So when the organization’s attorney Peg Perl speaks — especially in a Buzzfeed listicle — Coloradans would be wise to listen.
Check out her post: “6 Scary Things You Need to Know About Colorado School Boards,” in which she uses GIF’s of pop culture icons including Darth Vader, Jerry Maguire and Napoleon (of Napoleon Dynamite) to explain troubling facts about the state’s rules governing school boards.
Crystal Anderson (Arvada Press). In the middle of a recall campaign seeking to drive him from office, Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt tried to make a big campaign splash by calling for the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) to investigate his alleged violations of Colorado’s open meetings law.
“This is a serious charge of unlawful behavior and it’s now going to be printed on an official election ballot. But for this accusation to be taken seriously, a complaint should have been filed,” Witt said during an Oct. 8 press conference.
Gabrielle Porter (Canyon Courier). School board president Ken Witt, one of three targets of a recall in the Nov. 3 election, has announced that he is requesting an investigation into himself by the state’s Independent Ethics Commission to counter ballot language that accuses the school board’s conservative majority of violating the Open Meetings Law.
The recall language on the ballot accuses Witt and board members John Newkirk and Julie Williams of “repeatedly violating Colorado open-meetings laws by secretly making major decisions behind closed doors.”