Taking back freedom

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: David Martinez

In Loveland’s North Lake Park Saturday, hopes were high and moods were bright as close to 100 people came to support candidates, like gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo and state senatorial candidate Kevin Lundberg, and bask in the excitement of the upcoming Nov. 2 elections.

The group gathered around a small shelter for a somewhat impromptu “Freedom Rally,” sponsored by Sen. Lundberg, an incumbent, in support of candidates who are running on platforms that promote freedom from unnecessary government regulation.

General sentiment reflected the feeling that, come Wednesday, several Democratic seats around Colorado would be filled by a fresh batch of Republicans who better represent that platform.

“Exciting is kind of an understatement,” said Judy Scheuerman, an attendee from Windsor. “I’m having a ball.”

Candidates who were long shots three months ago are now serious contenders in the election polls –– an accomplishment candidates attribute partially to Colorado’s Tea Party movement.

The Freedom Rally had no official ties to the Tea Party, but several of those in attendance had Tea Party sentiments, including Lundberg himself. He said the movement has taken hold of him and others, noting that people have become “fired up,” “concerned” and “engaged” over the decisions Democrats have made since gaining control of the House of Representatives and Senate.

“The Tea Party movement is not a political party,” he said. “It’s political principles. It’s a real focus on limited government and life and liberty.”

The movement is intentionally grassroots-based, according to Lundberg, and has spread throughout Colorado since 2008.

The movement officially hit Northern Colorado one year later when Tea Party sympathizers created Northern Colorado Tea Party, an organization that supports the “United States Constitution, smaller government and protecting America’s freedom,” according to the group’s website.

Lesley Hollywood, one of the organization’s creators, said the group is still growing and that this election cycle was “practice” for later election cycles. She said she was motivated to bring the movement to Northern Colorado after attending a Tax Day rally in 2009. The group has since grown from one person to more than 2,000.

“There have been a lot of friendships and relationships that have developed out of this,” she said.

The group, however, has experienced disorganization and clashes in opinions as the organization has tried to find common ground. Even early on, another one of the party’s founders, Ray Harvey, clashed with the Tea Party’s message.

“The Tea Party now is not the Tea Party it used to be,” said Harvey, who also works as a bartender and novelist. “They’re way too religious.”

Harvey said he fought “tooth and nail” against those who brought up the question of prayer during meetings. He put some of the blame on Glenn Beck, who he said added the religious aspect to the movement, putting Tea Partiers who believe in the separation of church and state in an uncomfortable position.

“It’s contrary to the constitutional principles,” he said.

Hollywood said she tries not to touch the social issues, saying they can be very polarizing within the movement.

In the movement’s beginning she said those people held a lot of sway within the group, but they have since left after the rest of the organization stopped perpetuating their issues.

She said, however, that since the movement operates on such a grassroots level, a diverse range of views should be expected.

“A lot of them love Sarah Palin. A lot of them hate Sarah Palin,” Hollywood said. “A lot of them love Glenn Beck. A lot of them hate Glenn Beck.”

Those who have supported social issues perpetuated by Beck and other Tea Party leaders have generally joined 9/12 groups around the country. According to the Loveland 9/12 Project’s website, the group is designed to “bring us all back to the place we were on Sept. 12, 2001.”

The movement began with a speech Beck gave in March of 2009, when he called for Americans to return to a time when they “were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties.”

Several Tea Party members have also rejected the movement’s depiction as being primarily Republican, although some of the values of both can intersect.

Many, like Lundberg, see the movement as a catalyst to elect candidates who take power out of the hands of government and give it back to the people –– especially in terms of health care. Others, like Hollywood, see Tea Partiers as watchdogs for the people.

Either way, several Tea Party members will vote Republican come Tuesday. Even Harvey, who said he sees the “left and the right as two sides of the same penny,” said he will likely choose the right simply to check the actions of the left.

“I believe that the left is so dangerous right now, and so much damage has been done, the only practical way to at least put some sort of halt on it is to put some balance on the right,” he said.

News Editor David Martinez can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:07 pm

Amendments 60, 61, Prop. 101 polling low

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Jim Sojourner

Proponents of Colorado’s three major anti-tax amendments on this year’s ballot are facing what looks like an impossible battle on the eve of Election Day.

According to a Friday coloradopols.com release, more than 60 percent of state voters are either opposed to or leaning toward opposing Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101.

Though the polls are stacked against the measures, these three initiatives would have intense consequences for higher education funding, and when vote tallies are finalized later this week 60, 61 and 101 could decide the fate of universities in Colorado.

Each amendment affects state and local finances by reducing taxes and restricting borrowing. In concert, the three would drastically reduce state and local taxes and government revenues and would restructure how Colorado distributes its funds.

Proponents of the measures say lower taxes are important for creating jobs, reining in unnecessary government spending and putting money back in the hands of hard-working Coloradans. But opponents say their passage would effectively end state funding for higher education –– and other funding areas –– altogether. The CSU System Board of Governors opposes all three measures.

Although parts of each of the three measures are implemented over time, their impact on taxpayers and the state would grow over the years. But it’s the long-term forecast that CSU President Tony Frank said would be catastrophic for CSU.

According to Colorado’s Ballot Information Booklet, assuming all three measures passed, once fully implemented the measures would reduce state taxes and fees by an estimated $2.1 billion and would increase state spending on K-12 education by $1.6 billion.

Over time, the state would have to commit 99 percent of its general operating budget to pay for K-12 education as required by Amendment 60, leaving little to no funding for other budget areas that also rely on the general fund, including higher education.

“The simple fact is if these three pass, there isn’t any general fund for anything but K-12,” Frank said.

As state higher education funding has dwindled in recent years, CSU has raised base tuition costs at least 9 percent each year since 2007. Frank said if the three anti-tax measures were to pass, CSU would have to raise tuition an additional 9 percent annually just to make up for the loss of state funding.

The final result of the measures, he said, would be the defunding of higher education in Colorado and an end of state funding for CSU.

“If these three pass, CSU would essentially be privatized,” he said.

Amendment 60

Amendment 60 changes parts of the state’s property tax system to reduce property taxes paid to school districts, counties, special districts, cities and towns.

It gradually reduces school district property taxes over 10 years and requires the state to backfill the money school districts would lose as a result of the tax cuts.

When the measure is fully implemented, according to the state voter guide, the state’s obligation for funding K-12 education would increase by an estimated $1.5 billion. The average homeowner would pay $376 less in taxes per year, and the average business would pay $5,106 less per year.

In addition, Amendment 60 would repeal the current voter-approved authority of local governments to raise property taxes above their constitutional limits and would repeal local voter-approved tax increases across the state.

According to a letter from the National Taxpayers Union supporting the Colorado anti-tax group Colorado Tax Reforms, Amendment 60 would “enact common-sense reforms” by ending property tax hikes that violate voter-approval laws and allow citizens to petition their local governments for ballot issues to lower taxes.

Colorado Tax Reforms website states that Amendment 60 reduces tax burden and puts control of earned income back in the hands of taxpayers. In addition, it says K-12 education will not suffer as a result of the amendment since the government is required to replace 100 percent of the money schools would lose.

But opponents of the measure say that, in order to pay its eventual $1.5 billion commitment to K-12 education, the state will have to cut its funding lines to areas like transportation, prisons and higher education. The colossal backfill, they say, would ultimately defund other funding lines that depend on the state’s general fund.

Amendment 61

Amendment 61 would place new restrictions on the state and local government’s ability to borrow money.

According to the voter guide, governments currently borrow money for large public improvement projects for things like roads, buildings and airports. Beginning in 2011, Amendment 61 would prohibit all borrowing by the state government and put restrictions on borrowing by local governments by requiring voter approval for any borrowing.

It also requires that taxes be reduced by the amount of the average annual payment on certain borrowed money after that borrowed money is repaid in full.

The voter guide says that, assuming the tax-reduction requirement applies to current borrowing, once the measure is fully implemented state taxes will be reduced by $200 million. Local government taxes would see a reduction of $940 million when all borrowing is repaid, which could take up to 40 years.

Proponents of the measure argue that limits on borrowing are necessary because borrowing encourages fiscal irresponsibility and is expensive due to interest payments and fees. Limiting borrowing encourages fiscal restraint, makes the voters responsible for local borrowing and, ultimately, further reduces taxes.

“If someone stole your wallet, you’d yell, Stop, thief! If he ran up credit card debts, you would cancel the cards. Theft of credit is what politicians are doing to you now. You must act to stop them. Amendment 61 ends their unlimited access to your credit card,” Colorado Tax Reforms website says.

Opponents, meanwhile, argue that borrowing is critical for large-scale projects that benefit all citizens because borrowing is the only way governments can afford to maintain public infrastructure like roads, bridges and public buildings. In addition, they say Amendment 61 would cause serious financial disruption in programs like unemployment, where the government may be unable to pay unemployment benefits for periods of time if it cannot borrow to pay for those benefits.

Proposition 101

Proposition 101 would reduce the state income tax and eliminate or reduce vehicle fees and taxes, eliminate or reduce state and local telecommunication fees and taxes and require voter approval to create or increase fees on vehicles or telecommunication services.

The state’s income tax rate would drop from 4.63 percent to 4.5 percent in 2011 and down to 3.5 percent over time, dropping by 0.1 percent per year in years where state income tax collections grow by more than 6 percent, according to the voter guide.

The measure sets car registration fees at $10 and reduces an array of other vehicle fees and taxes including sales tax and specific ownership taxes.

Proposition 101 also eliminates state and local sales tax and other fees for any telecommunications service, except for existing 911 fees, which would be frozen at their 2009 level, the voter guide says.

Although in the first year the tax and fee reductions are expected to total 1.4 billion, once fully implement the measure is expected to reduce taxes and fee collection by $2.9 billion.

Proponents of Proposition 101 argue that allowing citizens and businesses to keep more of their earned money strengthens the economy and say that Proposition 101 requires state and local governments to eliminate unnecessary spending because the amount of money they bring in will be reduced.

Colorado recently increased vehicle registration fees by $220 million, the voter guide says, –– an average of about $44 per car –– circumventing existing laws requiring the government to get voter approval for tax increases. Proposition 101, proponents say, forces the government to seek voter approval rather than just increasing fees and simplifies fees across the state by reducing vehicle registration to a flat fee and ending taxes and fees on phone and cable bills.

Opponents argue that Coloradans depend on the services that state and local governments provide including education and transportation systems. They say the reduction in state revenue would force the state to reduce services like transportation system maintenance, public health and safety and higher education funding that have already seen cuts due to the economic recession.

Managing Editor Jim Sojourner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:05 pm

Students work on campaigns

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

With Tuesday’s elections approaching, national Republicans and Democrats aren’t the only ones hard at work. CSU’s College Republicans and Young Democrats have worked countless hours this semester to make sure their party wins.

Sam Starr, a sophomore political science major and member of Young Democrats, has spent his time canvassing on the Lory Student Center Plaza and educating students on issues, including Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101.

“Even though the polls are in the favor of students, it’s important to campaign against 60, 61 and 101,” Starr said.

The amendments would reduce property taxes and make it next to impossible for the government to obtain a loan, while the proposition would reduce vehicle taxes to $10 a vehicle, a rate that hasn’t been seen since 1919.

Student government has taken a stance against the three initiatives and urges students to vote no on Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.

The Young Democrats have brought in a number of blue-party candidates to campus including Lt. Gov. candidate Joe Garcia and Adam Bowen, the candidate for Larimer County commissioner.

On the other side of the spectrum, Kelly Carnal has campaigned hard for the Republicans through her work at the Larimer County Victory Office while keeping up with her duties as president of College Republicans.

Carnal and her fellow members spent past weeks educating students on ballot issues and trying to get them involved through internships with the Cory Gardner for Congress campaign.

“We’re trying to get as many students involved as possible,” Carnal said.

Although this election is drawing to a close, College Republicans and Young Democrats are always looking for new members.

“We’d love to work with (new members),” Starr said. “We’re such a tight-knit group.”

Both Carnal and Starr said the best way to get involved is to attend their meetings.

Young Democrats meet in Rm. 217 in the Lory Student Center on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. College Republicans are changing their meeting date and time for next semester but can be reached at www.coloradocollegerepublicans.org under the CSU Chapter.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:02 pm

Pidgeons!

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Benjamin Gowen
 Posted by at 3:52 pm

MWC Power Rankings – Week 9

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Collegian sports staff

1. TCU (2)
2. Utah (1)
3. San Diego State
4. Air Force
T5. Brigham Young
T5. Colorado State
7. Wyoming
8. UNLV
9. New Mexico

 Posted by at 3:51 pm

Undeclared

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Ian Cox
 Posted by at 3:51 pm

Scubbles

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Derrick Burton
 Posted by at 3:51 pm

Life on the Edge

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Dave Anderson
 Posted by at 3:51 pm

Get out the way, it’s Luda

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Matt Miller

Ludacris will perform on Nov. 18 in Moby Arena as the main Association for Student Activities and Program hosted concert for this year, the organization told the Collegian last week.

In place of ASAP’s spring concert, students will have the opportunity to attend this performance and a large spring event, said Loren Martinez, concert coordinator for ASAP.

“We’re going to do another event this spring but it will not be a concert,” Martinez said.

ASAP has teamed up with the Air Force Reserve in order to bring Ludacris to campus.

The Air Force Reserve has worked with Ludacris before and approached ASAP in early October with the idea of doing a joint concert.

The concert collaboration, ASAP leaders said, provides the organization with a musical experience to present to the student body and for the Air Force Reserve to bring awareness to programs it offers.

ASAP will pay for the venue, the lighting and sound production, staging, security, ticketing fee and operations while the Air Force Reserve will pay Ludacris’ fee.

When The Air Force Reserve presented the opportunity, ASAP jumped on the opportunity to bring in a performer it thinks will elicit positive student reaction.

“It seemed that Ludacris was a perfect fit,” Martinez said.

For the past five years ASAP has used RAMweb to survey students on what acts and performers they would like to see at CSU. Hip-Hop has always been one of the top genres, Martinez said.

Tickets can be obtained at the Lory Student Center bookstore buyback window on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at the Campus Box Office from Nov. 8 to 18. Call the box office at 970-491-5402 for exact times.

The tickets are free and open to all current CSU students, staff and faculty. There are 6,700 tickets available.

Entertainment Editor Matt Miller can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:42 pm

Tancredo makes quick stop in Fort Collins

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Oct 312010
 
Authors: Andrew Carrera

A flurry of “Tancredo for Governor” signs flapped in the air as the gubernatorial candidate pulled into his next campaign trail stop: a Fort Collins restaurant two minutes west of Colorado State University.

CB & Potts played host to Tom Tancredo and a crowd of approximately 70 supporters from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been involved in a campaign,” said Maria Weese, a Fort Collins resident waving pro-Tancredo signs on West Elizabeth Road outside of the gathering.

“I haven’t been this excited about a candidate since Reagan,” Weese said.

Tancredo told the Collegian that the event was “a traditional get-out the vote thing” aimed at Fort Collins voters. The support of Larimer County, he said, is crucial to getting him elected to the Colorado Governor’s Office.

“It has to happen here,” he said in the moments leading up to his address to the crowd.

“We’re running against two candidates. A Republican that has 5 to 6 percent, a Democrat that has 40-some percent … and we’ve got the rest,” Tancredo said.

With the gubernatorial election taking place Tuesday, candidates are blitzing the state with multiple campaign stops daily that serve to give one final push to people still questioning who they should vote for.

Rasmussen Reports, a polling agency often used to gage political races, released figures Thursday showing 2 percent of Colorado voters undecided when it came to the governor’s race. The question for candidates is whether or not supporters will show up to vote for them on Election Day.

Tancredo told his supporters that being in the American Constitution Party made it difficult for conservatives who have traditionally voted Republican to vote for him.

“The reason why we’re doing this, the reason why we needed to do this, was not to harm the Republican ticket. It was actually to give us a chance to stop a man by the name of John Hickenlooper,” he said to thunderous applause.

The gubernatorial candidate vows to govern as a Republican, despite not technically being a member of the party.

Kelsa Erickson, a junior animal sciences major, attended the event in support of Tancredo’s views of illegal immigration and overall personality.

“He’s down to earth, real … he’ll tell you how it is,” she said, adding that being a Republican at CSU is “getting harder” because she feels the campus is not as conservative as it used to be.

According to Tara Arterburn, the campaign’s communication director, the event of 70 people was small in comparison to previous Tancredo rallies of 200 people.

Rasmussen Reports’ latest polling data shows Democrat candidate John Hickenlooper at 47 percent popularity among likely Colorado voters, with Tancredo at 42 percent, and Republican candidate Dan Maes at 5 percent.

Staff writer Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:40 pm