National

35 acres of PV at the Denver Federal Center

A rally for solar as Federal Center announces it will triple energy-producing panels

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Posted: 02/18/2010 01:00:00 AM MST
(Denver Post photo not reproduced)

Denver Federal Center Solar PV

Denver Federal Center Solar PV

Hundreds of solar-power supporters make their way to the west steps of the Capitol during a rally Wednesday afternoon. The crowd, representing the Colorado solar industry, gathered at 16th and Lawrence streets and walked up the 16th Street Mall to the Capitol.

As the government launched a project Wednesday to install solar panels on 35 acres at the Denver Federal Center, 250 solar-industry workers marched through downtown to rally political support.

“This is the future of our economy. Even though we’re nicknamed ‘green collar,’ we’re the blue collar of the future,” said R.J. Harrington, director of Boulder-based Simple Solar, one of more than 200 solar companies that employ about 1,500 workers statewide.

The action reflected growing enthusiasm for a greener economy that proponents say could propel Colorado out of doldrums.

“I want a long-term career. That’s why I’m here,” panel installer Wade Andrews, 33, said, marching amid “Solar Roofs = Local Jobs” signs. A Colorado State University graduate in philosophy, Andrews said his $38,000 salary, plus health benefits, gives a solid start.

Solar-industry leaders are lobbying for legislation to enable widespread installation of panels on residential and small-business roofs.

Lawmakers have introduced bills that would:

  • Make it easier for homeowners to arrange financing for the upfront cost of solar panels.
  • Require Colorado to generate 30 percent of energy used by consumers from renewable sources by 2020, up from a current requirement of 20 percent.

Supporting solar energy “is a win for banks,” Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, said. Solar-company assets are growing, homeowners borrowing to buy panels fit profiles of those likely to repay loans, and a 30 percent target would stimulate further growth, Miklosi said. “This is about creating jobs.”

Photo courtesy of SunEdison.com

At the Federal Center, Government Services Administration officials said installation of about 30,000 roof and ground-mounted solar panels would help meet a goal of generating 14 percent of energy used at the center from a renewable source.

About 6,000 federal employees work in 55 buildings at the 623-acre center in Lakewood — the largest federal center outside Washington, D.C.

“The addition of 35 acres of photovoltaic panels at the Denver Federal Center will encourage growth and create jobs in the domestic construction and green technology industries,” GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said.

The new solar arrays would triple the acreage covered by solar panels. The project is being paid for with $5.5 billion in Recovery Act tax funds given to GSA to make federal offices more efficient.
Read more here

Who benefited from outside influence?

(as it appeared in Longmont Ledger, November 8, 2009)

Longmont has been under political attack from outside of Longmont and outside of Colorado.  Aligned with these powerful and well-funded entities are individuals and groups within Longmont who have been furious since the November 2007 election produced a progressive-leaning majority.  They are using outside money and their own deep pockets to “take back Longmont.”   And they have succeeded resoundingly.

Western Tradition Partnership (WTP), headed by Bozeman, Montana Republicans (former US representative Ron Marlenee and state representative John Sinrud) is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against Longmont over electioneering provisions and independent expenditures in the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act.

WTP is rabidly anti-environmental and absolutist on property rights with the stated purpose to target local and state governments.  It receives its backing primarily from the oil-gas-coal industries.

Longmont Leadership is a party to this lawsuit along with former mayors Julia Pirnack and Bob Askey, both Republicans, the Longmont Area Realtors Association, and Republican activist Chris Rodriguez.  It was formed to unseat current mayor Roger Lange and Ward 2 councilmember Karen Benker, and did so with a contribution in excess of $10,000 from Western Tradition Partnership, almost the entirety of Longmont Leadership’s funding.

Western Tradition Partnership is registered with the IRS as a nonprofit 501c4. According to Luis Toro, general counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch, these nonprofit groups have come to replace 527 organizations as the favored shell for political contributions.  They became popular after 527s faced greater disclosure requirements at the state and national level.

Aspen Daily News reports that “527s…lack the spending caps that other political groups have, but they must now release contribution and expenditure information.”  501c4s are allowed “greater anonymity but are required to pursue mostly nonpolitical activities, which they don’t always do. Groups that get involved late in the process don’t have to disclose much at all until December, long after the races are decided.”

The Colorado registered agent for Western Tradition Partnership is their attorney Scott Gessler, who is also the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in 2010.  It is not at all coincidental that Gessler is likely to use WTP’s lawsuit over Longmont’s Fair Campaign Practices Act as a platform for further degradation of campaign financing regulations.

Scott Shires is also listed as a WTP registered agent. He is a Republican operative and front man for many 527s and he has a history of violating campaign reporting regulations.  Shires has also been indicted on an alleged money laundering scheme to hide an illegal gambling operation.

Shires is behind the Colorado League of Taxpayers who attacked Longmont council candidate Richard Juday in a January 2008 mailer.  A similar event occurred in Garfield County.  Colorado Ethics Watch sued Shires for campaign violations in that case and he was fined in excess of $7,000.

Western Tradition Partnership also had an electioneering violation complaint filed against it with the State of Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices in October 2008.

Reporting for the Missoulian State Bureau on 5/4/08, Charles S. Johnson asked WTP who else was helping the organization and was told that Christian LeFer was helping with graphics and web design work.  (LeFer is a public figure in both the Montana and Colorado Right-to-Work organizations.)

LeFer is also the web registrant for the “Greeley Report” with a striking similarity to the anonymous “Longmont Report” that appeared in January 2008 to defeat Juday in favor of current councilmember and former Rep. Tom DeLay staffer Gabe Santos.  After the election it targeted Benker and councilmember Sean McCoy.  .

Stephanie Baum, “Take Back Longmont” blogger and wife of mayor-elect Bryan Baum, wrote to Doug Wray about the person responsible for Longmont Report, saying that she “knows who he is” because she “met with the owner of Longmont Report.”  Baum and Chris Rodriguez move in the same political circle.  Rodriguez is well known for his blog vitriol.

Who benefitted—politically and financially—from the Western Tradition Partnership lawsuit and other suits targeting the City of Longmont?   Who benefitted from the bombardment of expensive mailers that are appeared in mail boxes all over Longmont?  Who benefitted from attack blogs, push-polls and robo-calls against candidates? With the results of the November 3rd election now in, the answers are self-evident.

Kaye Fissinger is a former educator and a retired business woman with experience in marketing, communications, and strategic planning.

A similar version appeared on YourHub.com under the title  “Big Money, Republican Machine Buys Longmont Election” (http://denver.yourhub.com/Longmont/Stories/Elections/Story~705977.aspx)

What’s behind this curtain?

Scott Gessler - Longmont 2/10/2010

Scott Gessler – remember that guy??

  • Lead attorney in the lawsuit against the City of Longmont over Fair Campaign Practices.
  • Registered agent for the Montana organization Western Tradition Partnership, lead plaintiff in that lawsuit and financier of Longmont Leadership and its trash politics.
  • Registered agent for Coloradans for Economic Development.
    • Chief financier of another committee supporting The Baum Squad.
    • Referred by Colorado Ethics Watch to the IRS for political activities not allowed under federal 501c4 statutes.
  • Paid $68,500 by Longmont taxpayers to settle unnecessary lawsuit.

NOW he’s holding a fundraiser in Longmont to raise money for his campaign for Colorado Secretary of State.

Ken Blackwell – remember that guy??

  • Secretary of State  (Chief Elections Officer) – Ohio – 2004.
  • Honorary (!) Co-chair for Committee to re-elect George W. Bush 2004
  • Rigged votes for “W”.
  • Four more years to create the current economic chaos.

Coalition for a Conservative Majority – who are they??

  • Formed by Tom DeLay (former boss of current Longmont city council member Gabe Santos) and Ken Blackwell (see above).
  • Objective – foment Second American Revolution.
  • Objective – insure that the unique American dictatorship made up of Theocrats and business fascists.
  • Requires application for secret membership just like the Council for National Policy.

Wanna bet Scott Gessler is not a charter member??

Wanna bet Scott Gessler won’t be Colorado’s Ken Blackwell??

Didn’t think so.  Those bets would cost you more than money.  They would cost you your Representative Democracy.

(Darn, I forgot, these guys don’t like that idea.  What idea??   DEMOCRACY.)

dot > dot  > dot  > dot > dot

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623429538124″]

So nice…

They are good people, God-fearing, patriarchal, mostly conservative, and on questions of authority, ask, “What does the Bible say?”  Who are these good folk, and why should they concern the residents of Northern Colorado?

They are LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Johnstown and Frederick, and Rocky Mountain Christian Church of Niwot and Frederick. They are supported by several thousand members, and many powerful and wealthy people in Longmont and surrounding areas as well as Longmont’s only newspaper.

They continue to support a growing influence on local politics as evidenced by the recent city elections in Longmont.  They have recently won a million dollar lawsuit against Boulder County to expand their church in Niwot.  They will be building a small Christian city just east of Longmont.

They will be supporting a major Christian rock festival that by their own estimates, could bring tens of thousands of Christians to Union Reservoir in Longmont, on July 31 of this year.

So?

They are Dominionists, seeking influence or control over secular civil government through political action—aiming either at a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of Bibical Law.

And so?

They will be fruitfull and multiply, embracing unlimited growth, enriching their developers, and destroying open space.

They will teach their children Christian values, history, and science in Christian schools, or at home.  Public schools with a “liberal agenda,” will wither on the vine.

They will pass laws that will endanger or destroy the rights of those who hold to secular values and lifestyles.  They are relentless in their quest for a shining city on a hill.  Best of all, it’s tax free.

Think it can’t happen in Boulder as it is beginning to in Niwot and Longmont?  Look no further south than Colorado Springs, the Evangelical Vatican.

Stimulus money to help update Onahu Lodge in RMNP

From Coloradoan.com

Rocky Mountain National Park is planning to use federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money to replace part of the water system for the historic Onahu Lodge in the Kawuneeche Valley, and park staff is asking for public comment.

Go here to submit your comment.

The new water system is needed for the park to comply with state health regulations for potable water and the national fire safety code.

Built in 1945, Onahu Lodge was deemed unsafe for occupants several years ago because of mold and unsafe plumbing issues after years of use as employee housing, said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.

Improvements were made in 2009 to make the first floor accessible, but before the lodge can be used for housing again, the water system must be replaced.

The project calls for a new water tank to be built higher up Green Mountain than the tank for the current system in order to achieve enough water pressure to meet regulations.

An environmental assessment for the project says there will be little impact to the forest, and the system will not be built within wilderness.

Patterson said the final cost of the project has not yet been determined.

The National Park Service is looking for public comment on the project through Feb. 16.

Here’s the page on the Park Service website about the project.

A few excerpts from the page:

The National Park Service (NPS) is considering the construction of a new water system at the Green Mountain Housing Area, just west of Trail Ridge Road on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), approximately 2.2 miles from the west entrance to the park. The purpose of this action is to comply with Colorado State Department of Public Health and Environment potable water regulations which are not being met with the current outdated water system. The project is also necessary to comply with national fire safety codes which require a fire suppression sprinkler system in the newly rehabilitated Onahu Lodge dormitory. The project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

—-

If you would like a printed copy of the Environmental Assessment, please call (970) 586-1332.

Although submitting your comments via this website is preferred, you can also submit written comments to us in other ways:
• By Mail: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado 80517
• By Fax: (970) 586 -1397
• By Express Delivery: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517
• Hand Delivery: Rocky Mountain National Park Headquarters, 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado or to Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 16018 Highway 34, Grand Lake, Colorado

Before including your address, telephone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you may request that any personal information be withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we can do so.

All public comments will be carefully reviewed, and a determination will be made whether to approve a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or if additional environmental compliance is required. The final decision will be made by the Director, Intermountain Region of the NPS.

Leahy Slams Alito For ‘Under Oath’ Testimony To Committee

From HuffPo

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) lashed into Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday morning on the Senate floor, calling out the swing vote who overturned a hundred years of precedent to legalize deep corporate involvement in elections.

Leahy said that, in 36 years in the Senate he had never come to the floor to criticize a court decision, but was moved to do so by the activist nature of last week’s 5-4 ruling in the Citizens United case.

He personally attacked Alito, noting that his confirmation testimony was under oath, yet was proven false by his brazen and radical dismissal of a century of precedent.

Read the rest at HuffPo

Protesting supreme insanity

It was a good day on the street last Saturday (1-21-2010). There was a demonstration in response to the Supreme Court’s bizarre ruling, which freed corporate money to influence elections as if corporations were human beings.

Six stalwarts showed up to hold signs. A young man on a skateboard stopped and wondered why we were demonstrating. He asked some intelligent questions and we had a good conversation. Another guy stopped to see what was going on and said he had just moved to Longmont from Denver. He said he had attended demonstrations at the Democratic Convention. It seems he’s one of us and may be back.

We all had a good time; lots of fresh air, conversation and a good photographer; quite a dynamic mix.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the Supreme Court would behave in such a fashion. Republican presidents appointed six of the nine Supreme Court justices and five of them voted against the people and for the corporations. Our Enthusiasm comes and goes, but the danger lingers on.

The good new is that more and more people are catching on to the fact that corporate power is THE basic danger we face. The question is, what can we do about it? We need to have a public discussion on this matter, but allow me to offer a few suggestions. We can stop buying crap we don’t need; we can grow some of our own food. Everything we don’t buy is money that the corporations don’t get. It’s our money unless we give it to them. Then it’s their money, and they use it to screw us. That does not compute.

We can become the media. Standing on the corner with informative signs is a type of media with no advertisement, and almost no cost. If there is any independent media around, support them, Viz Magazine and Free Range Longmont, for example. Use public transportation and ride bicycles. If you can save a teaspoon of gas, do it. Drive like an old granny. It’s good for the environment.

You already know all these things. We should all be lying awake at night trying to come up with creative ways to add to this list. My personal fantasy is that we could all agree on one corporation (like Coke) and boycott them until they squeak.

So, let’s put our collective heads together and come up with some useful ideas. Meanwhile, support a constitutional amendment to ban corporate personhood.

Campaign finance: The end of Democracy

From the Boulder Daily Camera:

Dan Frazier: Campaign finance: The end of Democracy

We can write the obituary for our American Democracy.  It died January 21st, 2010, with the Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United v. FEC.  From this day forward, there are no limits on the money that large or even multi-national corporations may use to control elections.  However much money a candidate can raise, corporations will be able to overwhelm that campaign with legal media buys.   In less than a decade, all elected officials will be vassals of corporations.  Instead of Democracy we will have Fascism: The marriage of government and business under authoritarian rule.

Of course we will not notice much of a change at first.  The elections will seem much the same.  A few of your favorite shows will go away but there will be plenty of interactive, sports, and reality shows.  There won’t be much media chatter about the bad economy except to blame it on some radicals.  Where you had a house, your kids will only be lucky to afford an apartment.  Many of your friends and relatives will fall on hard times but it will not be reflected in the news, which will talk instead about the patriotic necessity to sacrifice for the war.

There will really be only one party, with the two wings called the Democrats and Republicans.  Only corporate-vetted candidates will be on ballots and elections will be electronic and privatized.  Government positions will be patronage for loyal corporatists.  Corporations will be able to write or change any law to suit their purposes.  All facets of government will be repurposed for corporate use.  Public safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare will be quietly eliminated.   Constitutional rights will disappear because no one will defend them.

You think this is fiction?  It is already happening.  Who is going to stop it?

Dan Frazier
Boulder
Leave a comment at the Daily Camera

Money runs wild

Colorado GOP to sue to lift campaign money limits – The Denver Post

Colorado Republicans will sue to overturn voter-approved state limits on some campaign contributions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday that tossed out restrictions on corporate involvement in federal races. “Our firm will be bringing a challenge to this law in the coming days,” said Ryan Call, an attorney with Hale-Friesen. Call said the firm will represent the Colorado Republican Party in the suit and is trying to put together a cross section of plaintiffs. “It will be a broad coalition,” he said. “It will be partisan groups. It will be trade associations, individual companies and corporations.”

Read the rest at The Denver Post

Fair Campaign Practices Act

ARTICLE 45

ELECTION CAMPAIGN REGULATIONS

Legislative declaration. The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that large campaign contributions to political candidates allow wealthy contributors and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process; that large campaign contributions create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that the rising costs of campaigning for political office prevent qualified citizens from running for political office; and that the interests of the public are best served by limiting campaign contributions, encouraging voluntary campaign spending limits, full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions, and strong enforcement of campaign laws.”

With that as a foundation, it would seem that Longmont might just piggyback on what our state has done in regulating our municipal elections. But there’s a BIG, BIG problem with that. Our state statute does not extend to municipalities and local elections in any of the ways identified in the legislative declaration. I used the very useful “find” feature for this pdf document and I’ll be darned if it found only one reference to “municipal elections” and one more for “local elections”” So if Longmont chose to use the state statute, guess what – There would be NO regulation of our municipal elections.

I also recently read another very interesting statement:

“The rights of citizenship do not stop at the ballot box. They include the free-speech right to devote one’s resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions upon those activities that would discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional right to enter the political fray or limit their commitment to their ideals.”

“…right to devote one’s resources…”: How much of one’s resources. All of them? Any amount one wants?

“We oppose any restrictions or conditions…”: That sure sounds like a political free-for-all to me and I submit to most people, including most people in Longmont.

Mayor Baum, at a recent council meeting you strongly promoted that Longmont scrap it’s Fair Campaign Practices Act in favor of state statute. So I guess you subscribe to the second quotation. That quotation comes from the Republican Party platform.

Much has been said about keeping Longmont’s election non-partisan. Let’s hope that the new council majority will not adopt the Republican Party’s ideology in our non-partisan municipal elections.

Long Ol’ Row to Hoe

It’s been a long row ta’ Hoe, Now,

From Ducktown to Longmont

& I pray there’s still More yet to come.

I been pushin’ this Plow over hard, stony Ground

Tryin’ ta plant Y’all some Trees an’ some Flowers

‘n’ I’ve seen many cold Dawns

and strode mostly Alone

While I worshipped the Sun an’ the Snow

‘n’ I’ve carried the Story of All I’ve encountered,

& I’m tryin’ ta make sense of it All.

SomeOne gave me a Mission

I been tryin’ ta be True to

As I Plowed every step of the Way –

Yet, my Guides have been scattered

Wearin’ many Disguises

While I’d listen to what they might Say.

SOME spoke Backwards — Some Frontwards

Some Screamed and then Cursed

First at Me then at That which I Love

But I’ve searched for the Meaning

In Whatall I’ve Encountered

As an oft-Cryptic Sign

From Above.

Now, Confusions ha’ plagued me

Many Dangers waylaid me

As I ran up this crooked ol’ Trail

I keep getting’ back Up

From th’ Swamp an’ th’ Muck

Prayin’ Someone might Stand for my Bail.

But the Night has been Long

Stifled many a Song

That my Heart has been longing to hear –

‘n’ I try even now, though I still ain’t learned how

to dispel that Ol’ Demon — my FEAR.

And He keeps right on Lurking —

Crushing all of my Working

For Love Beauty Justice

And Truth.

So my Path kep’ on Windin’

To Escape the Confining

Prison Walls which have Stolen my Youth.

& I Run up the Mountain

shout my NAME to the Stars

then return to my hovel a l o n e

Knowing NOTHING is Promised

but to DO What I Came For

and to Stand up an’ Sing You

My SONG.

Strider © 1/17/2008

Remarks I shared at Longmont City Council on 1/12/10

Earlier today I attended the Martin Luther King celebration in these chambers. The City put together a beautiful and inspirational program. When I looked at the posters of MLK and President Obama together, I felt both hopeful and melancholy. Hopeful to think of how far we’ve come, and melancholy as I realized how far we still need to travel to end discrimination… As my friend Strider reminds me, “It’s a long march.”

While that’s not what I came to speak about, I was inspired. See, I too have a dream. My dream is to keep Union Reservoir Wild. This dream started in 2001, when the City of Longmont had a contract on 315 acres at Union for Open Space. Due to a glitch in the contract, the landowner was able to get out of this contract when Lifebridge Church doubled the offer the City had made.

I was on a organized bird walk at Union 10 days ago where we saw 7 bald eagles, 2 golden eagles, 2 norther harriers, 1 coyote, 2 foxes and a flock of about 100 horn larks. All this is 70 minutes. Union Reservoir and the wildlife it supports and surrounding land is precious and needs protection.

My ultimate dream is that Lifebridge has a change of heart and decides to sell this land back to the city to be kept wild as was the original plan.

My new short term dream is that the organizers of Heavens Fest realize the incredible jewel Union Reservoir is and rethink the location of their event. I was thinking Main Street would be far superior for the following reasons: 1) They know hoe to do large festivals–accommodating 20,000+ people. Extending a couple blocks might be necessary if there will be 35,000+ people.
2) There is regional and local RTD services to Main Street and from Main Street all over Longmont. 3) Downtown businesses would get an economic boost and lots of great exposure. Frankly, Union attenders would travel east, north, south in addition to those that might come west into Longmont. A more central location increases the likelihood of dollars staying here. 4) The Main Street location would not have a negative impact on Land & wildlife. 5) Shuttles could be arranged from the fairgrounds etc. to offset parking.

Heaven Fest maybe a good idea. It’s just not a good location.

Foxymoron

From the Daily Camera Letters online:

Fair and balanced?

Yeah, right

My wife and I watched 60 Minutes with interest last Sunday to discover that Sarah Palin had to ask Joe Biden if she could call him Joe at the vice-presidential debates so she wouldn’t make the mistake of confusing his last name with Obama’s. She ended up calling him O’Biden anyway.

However strange that was, your story in Monday’s paper topped it. Fox News hired Sarah Palin as a political commentator and analyst. Her response? “It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.” Fox News fair and balanced? Now that’s an oxymoron.

And Sarah Palin as a Fox political analyst? That’s even better, my wife said. That`s a Foxymoron!

RON SMARON
Boulder