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In The News

Update: Regional Building takes second look at questionable deal

Pam Zubeck (Colorado Springs Independent)- A deal reported in this week’s edition of the Independent, “Partnering up,” that would give Nor’wood Development Group control of $2.1 million worth of property in the lower downtown area is undergoing further examination for its legality.

The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department had agreed to pursue a “participation agreement” in which it would place two properties it owns near the Olympic Museum site into a new entity with Nor’wood properties. The new entity, with Nor’wood having a 63-percent stake, would then develop the property and have first right to buy the Regional Building land.

Now, Regional Building Official Roger Lovell tells the Indy the deal is on hold.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Springs Independent.

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Fixing Colorado’s Broken Campaign Finance Enforcement System

Luis Toro (Colorado Independent)- A federal lawsuit is currently challenging Colorado’s unique system under which private citizens enforce campaign finance laws at their own expense in an administrative law court. The suit was filed by the target of one such lawsuit and is being prosecuted with the help of Washington, D.C. based lawyers.

While the suit is being cheered on by opponents of strong regulation of money in politics, those who support such regulation should be concerned about the outsourcing of campaign finance enforcement to the private sector.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.

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Boulder County’s Elise Jones accused of conflict of interest involving sister’s Eco-Cycle job

John Fyer (Longmont Times Call)- A Boulder County resident filed a state ethics complaint Wednesday alleging County Commissioner Elise Jones violated Colorado’s conflict-of-interest laws in a number of votes that could financially benefit Eco-Cycle, the recycling agency headed by her twin sister, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones.

Chuck Wibby, who’s been battling Boulder County over subdivision road repaving, filed the complaint with the Independent Ethics Commission, accusing Elise Jones of active participation in several county board meetings — or at least the pertinent portions of those meetings — involving items affecting Eco-Cycle.

Click here to read the full story in the Longmont Times Call.

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Regional Building Department would inspect construction of its business partner

Pam Zubeck (Colorado Springs Independent)- The government enterprise charged with monitoring development and construction wants to partner with the region’s largest developer for financial gain.

A pending agreement between the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department and Nor’wood Development Group would create a new entity, to which both stakeholders would transfer land. All the property in question lies within the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal Area, where the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame is to be built. Nor’wood, the master developer of the urban renewal area, would then have the sole option of developing the land held by the new entity.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Springs Independent.

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At 125 years, LifeBridge Christian Church builds toward future

Carah Wertheimer (Daily Camera)- Friday night at Longmont’s Roosevelt Park, LifeBridge Christian Church kicked off its month long 125th anniversary celebration and the 30th anniversary, to the day, of OUR Center, a nonprofit it helped found as part of a coalition of area churches.

For the church, the anniversary is an opportunity to double-down on giving.

Click here to read the full story in the Daily Camera.

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Significant funding gap in Colorado fracking fight

Jacy Marmaduke (The Coloradoan)- Committees fighting proposed Colorado ballot measures that would limit fracking have raked in about $15 million in donations this year, more than 35 times the contributions of groups backing the measures.

About 90 percent of the anti-ballot measure donations have come from energy companies, including $10.5 million from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Noble Energy alone.

Click here to read the full story in The Coloradoan.

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Now you can watch Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission in action

Jason Salzman (Colorado Times-Recorder) –

After receiving a state grant to broadcast its meetings live over the internet, as well as a lessson (See it here.) from Colorado Ethics Watch on how easy it is to broadcast on the internet, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission has made its meetings open to the public via video livestream.

Watch the Commission’s August 10 meeting here.

Click here to read the rest of the story at the Colorado Times-Recorder.


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Political consultant files legal challenge to stop Denver campaign finance reform proposal

A proposed Denver ballot initiative aimed at reining in big-donor campaign contributions and setting up a public financing system for city elections now faces a challenge in court.

While backers that include Colorado Common Cause and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) are working to collect nearly 5,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot, David Kenney — a political consultant and lobbyist who is active in the business community — recently filed a challenge in Denver District Court.

Click here to read the full story in the Denver Post.

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Independent Ethics Commission shuts down public livestream of meeting

Marianne Goodland (Colorado Independent)- The conflict over a lack of transparency at Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission came to a head Thursday when Colorado Ethics Watch set up a live video feed to allow the public, at least in Denver, to watch and listen to the commission’s meeting.

That didn’t sit well with Commission Chair Bill Leone, who directed the group to shut down the broadcast.

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Independent.

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BARTELS: Colorado Common Cause hands out awards, lauds bi-partisanship

Lynn Bartels (Colorado Statesman)- The invite from attorney Martha Tierney took me by surprise: “Friend, I would be delighted if you would join me at my table in support of Colorado Common Cause for a Champions for Democracy luncheon and fundraiser.”

As a journalist, I tangled over the years with Tierney and Common Cause on several issues, including Amendment 41, the ethics measure that is less than crystal clear, and ballot proposals that limited campaign-finance donations, which critics said just drove the money underground.

[…] The lawmakers Nuñez and Peg Perl with Colorado Ethics Watch for being, as Becker said, “the real brains who actually knew how to get done what we wanted to get done.”

Click here to read the full story in the Colorado Statesman.

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