My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Ramanoff Announces Gubernatorial Candidacy; Merrifield Back In As Chair Of Education Committee 

Sure, those aren't the actual headlines of the Rocky Mountain News article, but if there were real jounalism going on, they would be.

This one is so rich, I'm going to have to post much of the article and provide running commentary.

Call it the education of Andrew Romanoff - or call it the construction of his rural constituent base.

Colorado's speaker of the house is traveling the state in daylong jaunts - driving on unpaved roads to meet with kids, eating lunch in restaurants decorated with rusted farm tools, singing America the Beautiful with the Lions Club - to learn more about rural schools.

But, what about "God Shed His Grace On Thee"? Isn't that an establishment of religion? The ACLU might have to pull its donataions. Ah, the things Democrats do when they're campaigning.

And, by the way, even Nancy Mitchell, the author of this article, noticed that it's a fairly obvious campaign stop. Now, THAT's obvious--when even a journalist notices.

In repairs alone, K-12 schools statewide need $6 billion to $10 billion. Which is why Romanoff may propose, for the first time in Colorado history, a statewide ballot measure to build and repair schools.

And you thought Referendum C was expensive. But if C was supposed to solve a $1 billion problem with $3 billion, which ended up being $5.9 billion, how much do you suppose Romanoff's $6-10 billion is actually going to cost you?

The 41-year-old Democrat may be known better for his work resolving the state's budget crisis - he crafted what would become Referendum C - than for his involvement in school issues.

His gutsy, hard-won success with Referendum C, passed largely with the help of rural lawmakers, taught him the value of votes outside the metro area.

It also solidified his standing as future gubernatorial material.

His position in the House and his reputation as a policy wonk capable of pragmatic solutions make it likely any education bills he backs in the coming legislative session will be taken seriously.

Okay, this is way too much to work with. "Resolving the state's budget crisis?" But they keep raising taxes and fees, so I don't get it: If the budget is resolved, then why keep raising taxes?

And, let's get something clear: Ref C passed because of a huge advertising campaign by the Big Three and the fact that a popular Republican governor also supported the bill.

And, where, exactly, were those pragmatic solutions in the last legislative session? Was that the one that mandated standards for Sex Ed but then killed increased standards for Math and Science? Or the one that effectively killed the Charter School Institute? Those solutions?

"We've had a fairly polarizing, paralyzing debate in the legislature in the last few years," he said. "We've been pitting one group of folks who believe schools need more resources against another group of folks who believe schools need more reform. I think the truth is," he said, "we need both."

Actually, that makes sense. As long as the resources have accountability, and the reforms are based on achievement, not affect, then I actually would have to agree with him.

Accompanying him on most trips are state Sen. Sue Windels, D-Arvada, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, and Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, chairman of the House Education Committee.

But, I thought Merrifield resigned in disgrace after the whole "special place in hell" thing. Was that just a ruse, a misdirection to get the conservative blogoshphere off his back? I'm shocked!

Romanoff's goal is for lawmakers to find a funding source for K-12 building.

"If we can do that inside (the Statehouse), we should. If not, we'll take it to the ballot."
A bond issue to fund school capital needs statewide could stand on its own or be part of a larger package, along with roads and bridges, he said.

But, wait a second . . . roads, bridges, schools . . .I seem to remember this. Oh, yes, that's it. THIS WAS ALL WHAT REF C WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. And, yet, here they come again, looking to confiscate more of our money.


• New Mexico formerly dedicated 60 percent of lottery revenue to school capital projects but switched to regular bond issues off revenue from oil and gas severance tax. The result is $1.1 billion generated since 1999.
• Wyoming lawmakers annually appropriate funding, relying largely on revenue from federal mine lease royalties such as coal. The state has seen $1.9 billion for school capital needs for fiscal years 2002-08.

Oh, if only Colorado had some kind of natural resource to bargain with the government for. Gosh, it would be neat if we could get in on this billion-dollar windfall like these other states.

OH, WAIT! WE DO! There's all that oil in the Roan Plateau. . . which a Democratic governor and two Democratic lawmakes have decided is "off-limits."

Oh, well. Guess they'll just have to go to their fallback position--and keep raising your taxes.

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