John Hickenlooper's Fracking Panel Snubs the Fractivists
Colorado Springs No Fracking Zone Facebook Page
One of the sentiments that won't be discussed by the governor's new task force.
Earlier this week, when Governor John Hickenlooper announced the names of the nineteen people selected for a special oil and gas task force intended to address fracking-related land use and health issues across the state, he boasted of the group's "balanced and informed representation." It was as if he was introducing one of those ethnically diverse platoons from old War War II movies: the Italian from the Bronx, the Polish kid from Chicago, the hillbilly from Georgia, the farm boy from Ohio, the Navajo scout, the cigar-chomping noncom from Anytown, USA.

Depending on when they were made, those movies frequently left somebody out of the rainbow commandos -- the Latino, the Asian guy, almost certainly the African American (racial desegregation didn't become U.S. military policy until 1948). And Hickenlooper's group neatly excludes any of the folks who prompted its creation: Conspicuously absent from the task force is anyone who was actively involved in the recent slew of campaigns to promote more local control over fracking and impose bans on drilling in several Front Range cities.

See also: How Colorado became ground zero in America's energy wars

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Video: Pueblo Candidate Tom Ready Wonders if Newtown School Shootings Were a Hoax

Categories: Politics

Tom Ready in a photo from his Facebook page. More images and a video below.
Given that Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace is among the area's most vocal advocates for legal marijuana sales, it's no surprise he's being challenged in this November's election by a candidate on the right -- but attendees at a debate last night were likely startled by just how far to the right is Pace's opponent, Republican Tom Ready. During the event, Ready openly questioned whether the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, which resulted in the deaths of twenty children and six staff members, was a hoax created by the federal government. Details and a video of the exchange below.

See also: Columbine to Newtown: A Tragic List of School Shootings Since 1999

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Ten Terrible Legal Moments for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People in Colorado

Categories: Politics
Denver Public Library Western History Collection
Between legal weed and eco-friendly businesses, Colorado's enthusiasm for green rivals none. But break out the pink and rainbows and the state suddenly gets squeamish. Even before the word "homosexuality" was invented in the late nineteenth century (French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that it first appeared in 1870), the newly formed territory of Colorado had already ensured sodomy was against the law.

In the years since then, Colorado's legislature and voters have attempted to criminalize sodomy, cunnilingus, fellatio and sex toys. In 1992, voters passed a constitutional amendment blocking equal-opportunity legislation protecting sexual orientation; in 2006, voters banned same-sex marriage -- a last hurrah of anti-LGBT political crusaders. To see how far Colorado has come -- and where it still should go -- here's our list of the state's ten most hostile laws toward same-sex sexuality.

See also: The Fight Over Same-Sex Marriage Made This a Long, Hot Summer for Colorado AG John Suthers

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Nathan Dunlap: CNN Spotlights a Death Sentence in Limbo

A Nathan Dunlap mug shot from twenty years ago.
It's been a long, long road from the 1993 murder of four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora to Colorado's lethal injection chamber, and convicted killer Nathan Dunlap isn't there yet, thanks to the temporary reprieve from execution granted by Governor John Hickenlooper last year. That controversial move has made this fall's gubernatorial election a kind of referendum on the state's seldom-used death penalty -- and has brought renewed national scrutiny of the Dunlap case, including "Eye For an Eye," a thoughtful episode of CNN's Death Row Stories series that airs this Sunday night.

See also: John Hickenlooper: Would He Commute Nathan Dunlap's Death Penalty If He Loses?

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John Suthers, Attorney General, on Running for Mayor of Colorado Springs

Categories: Politics
Photo by Anthony Camera
John Suthers is running for mayor of Colorado Springs.
On Tuesday morning, Republican Attorney General John Suthers, who discusses his long, hot summer debating the same-sex marriage issue in this week's print edition, announced his candidacy for mayor of Colorado Springs. Minutes before embarking on a water tour of Colorado, Suthers took a few minutes to speak with Westword about the upcoming race, the shift from law to city politics and his plans if he is elected.

See also: The Fight Over Same-Sex Marriage Made This a Long, Hot Summer for Colorado AG John Suthers

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Ethan Abbott, Farming Activist: Anti-GMO Political Prisoner or Combustible Harasser?

Photo by Ambrose Cruz courtesy of March Against Monsanto Facebook/Occupy Denver Facebook
A 2013 March Against Monsanto that Ethan Abbott helped to organize.
Even his supporters admit that Ethan Abbott, the embattled natural farming activist who's been feuding with county authorities on several fronts, has a bit of a temper. But Abbott, 38, who was sentenced yesterday to ninety days in jail and eighteen months of probation in Weld County Court over a 2012 altercation with a neighbor, says that there's more to the case than his orneriness -- that, in effect, he's the one being harassed and set up by influential people with ties to factory farming and fracking.

It's an attitude that the judge who sentenced him finds disturbing. "Mr. Abbott doesn't deal with conflict well," Judge John Briggs told the assembled at Abbott's tense sentencing hearing. "The way that Mr. Abbott perceives things and reacts is not always consistent with reality."

See also: "Denver's March Against Monsanto One of Ten Largest Worldwide, Organizer Says"

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Marijuana Backer Lauds Boulder for Rejecting "Racist" Anti-Pot Cages, Asks Hick to Apologize
A "Don't Be a Lab Rat" campaign cage. Additional images and more below.
Earlier this month, we told you about "Don't Be a Lab Rat," a new campaign aimed at dissuading teens from smoking pot. The multi-media effort, backed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, includes oversized rat cages intended to be displayed in public places throughout the state.

Now, however, the City of Boulder has rejected the displays, and that cheers one cannabis-industry representative, who calls the cages racist and thinks Governor John Hickenlooper should apologize for the campaign. Additional photos and videos below.

See also: Anti-Pot "Don't Be a Lab Rat" Campaign Uses Disputed Facts That Might Be True

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John Hickenlooper: Would He Commute Nathan Dunlap's Death Penalty If He Loses?

John Hickenlooper during the 2013 press conference when he announced his decision about Nathan Dunlap. Additional photos plus audio clips and more below.
In June 2013, a month after Governor John Hickenlooper granted Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap a reprieve from execution but didn't commute his sentence, a poll showed that Colorado voters disagreed with his decision by a three-to-one margin. Since then, the furor has faded -- but the issue is primed to move front-and-center in Hickenlooper's reelection bid against Republican hopeful Bob Beauprez thanks to a newly released audio recording (hear it below) in which Hick speculates about granting clemency to Dunlap should he lose.

Will the election come down to voters picking who's most likely to kill Dunlap? And how much ugliness will emerge along the way? Continue to get a sense of the possibilities, featuring responses from those on both sides of the controversy.

See also: John Hickenlooper Gives Nathan Dunlap Reprieve From Death Penalty but Doesn't Grant Clemency

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Did Some of Colorado's Prison Reforms Die With Tom Clements?

This week's cover story traces the dramatic shift in direction of the Colorado Department of Corrections since the 2013 murder of its chief, Tom Clements, by Evan Ebel, a violent parolee who'd just spent six years in solitary confinement. The death of the reform-minded Clements had a profound impact on DOC operations, leadership and morale, but the lasting effects of the tragedy on prison policy and public safety are still being debated.

See also: After the Murder of Tom Clements, Can Colorado's Prison System Rehabilitate Itself?

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Secretary of State Scott Gessler Accused of Harassment, Retaliation by Ex-Office CFO

Categories: Politics
Mark Manger
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
The former chief financial officer for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office is accusing Secretary Scott Gessler of harassing her, retaliating against her and eventually demoting her after she "began to push back on the financial mismanagement" she reportedly saw in the office. Heather Lizotte took issue with Gessler's use of the office's $5,000 discretionary fund and federal grant funds meant to improve state elections, according to a lengthy claim notice filed with the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

See also: Scott Gessler is always right...right?

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