Miller HudsonMiller HudsonAugust 29, 20186min423

Politics, like most avocations, functions in the shadow of myths. Perhaps the most popular is the notion that real social change grows up out of the grassroots — best captured by, “…if the people lead, then their leaders will follow” trope. There is a modicum of truth to this theory, courage always being in short supply among elected officials. However, upon closer inspection, we frequently discover the fingerprints of hidden actors.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 22, 20185min1328

A bipartisan organization pushing ballot measures to change the way Colorado draws its legislative and congressional boundaries announced the support Monday of a number of groups representing rural, minority, business and civic reform interests. Fair Districts Colorado, a group chaired by Kent Thiry, the CEO of kidney dialysis giant DaVita Inc., said it now has the backing of Progressive 15 and Action 22, associations representing 37 counties in northeastern and southeastern Colorado, respectively; the African Leadership Group, an advocacy organization for African immigrants; Clean Slate Now, a group devoted to campaign finance reform; and Colorado Concern, an association of some of the state's top business executives.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 1, 20173min381

Denverite’s Erica Meltzer reports that Denver residents once again won’t get to vote on a wide-ranging campaign-reform proposal that, among other features, would have introduced public funding for campaigns. When all the tallying was done at the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office, the ballot initiative and petition drive by the group Clean Slate Now had fallen just shy of the 4,726-signature threshold needed to make it onto the fall ballot.

The proposal had a lot of moving parts. Among which, it would have banned corporate and union donations to candidates in Denver municipal races; it would have lowered limits on individual contributions to candidates, and — in what was probably the most progressive provision — it would have set up an $8 million fund to allow for public financing of elections. Candidates who opted in would have had to agree to a certain number of public debates and accept an even lower limit on individual contributions.

As we’ve noted before, asking the public to foot some of the bill for political campaigns is a touchstone in some political circles — viewed as a last, best hope for curbing the influence of special interests on candidates and their campaigns. If the money comes from the public till, the reasoning goes, the candidates are less likely to be beholden to anyone in particular. And, ideally, office seekers also would spend less time dialing for dollars.

Of course, dinging the public for political speech doesn’t sit well with many who reside elsewhere on the political spectrum, particularly on the right. And it may affront the sensibilities of centrist voters, too, who may feel the last thing they want to do is be forced to pay for all those obnoxious campaign mailers that usually go straight to the recycle bin.

A similar proposal headed for last year’s municipal ballot was derailed by a court challenge. Perhaps next year?


Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 3, 20174min406

Political reform groups made up of Democrats, Republicans and independents are planning and event called Unrig the System: How We Can Fix Colorado Politics in Denver Saturday afternoon.

The hosts are Represent.Us, Independent Voter Project, The Centrist Project and other groups that want to talk about “structural political reforms that increase competition, participation and accountability in politics” aimed at partisan divides.

The meeting is from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Alliance Center at 1535 Wynkoop St.

“Government should work for the people, not political parties and special interests,” the groups said in a press release.

Besides speakers from several organization, Unrig the System will include a workshop on skills building and citizen lobbying, as well as a question-and-answer session with representatives of the organizations.

A list of representatives and descriptions provided by organizers stated:

  • Tori Gates, Represent Denver chapter leader — “Represent Denver is the local chapter of Represent.Us, the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign. Represent.Us brings together conservatives, progressives and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states around the country.”
  • Nick Troiano, Centrist Project executive director — “The Centrist Project aims to strategically elect independent candidates to office who can break through political gridlock and serve as a voice for all those in the sensible center, not as a traditional third party, but as America’s first unparty.”
  • Chad Peace and Jim Jonas, Independent Voter Project — “The Independent Voter Project is a nonprofit organization that seeks to re-engage nonpartisan voters and promote nonpartisan election reform through initiatives, litigation, and voter education.”
  • Ron Tupa, former state Senator, Fair Districts = Fair Elections.
  • Jon Biggerstaff, Clean Slate Now — “Clean Slate now believes that elected officials should put their constituents first, not their campaign contributors. Biggerstaff will also speak about the Democracy for the People Initiative, a citizen-led ordinance that will reform and modernize elections in Denver. It would increase transparency, prohibit corporate contributions to candidates, decrease contribution limits and implement a small donor matching program to publicly fund elections.”
  • Neal McBurnett and Jennifer Bales, The League of Women Voters — “The league is a citizens’ organization dedicated to improving our government and engaging all citizens in the decisions that impact their lives. They will speak about better voting methods.”
  • Linda Templin, FairVote — “FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. She will speak about opportunities to reform elections through ranked choice voting.”
  • Eliza Fackler and Ryan Mironczuk, Wolf-PAC Colorado — “Wolf-Pac plans to pass the 28th amendment to bring free and fair elections to America and reclaim our democracy. Wolf-PAC has members around the country.”