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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Breckenridge Marijuana Shop Fights Move to Force It Off Main Street
Photos from the Breckenridge Cannabis Club Facebook page.
Breckenridge has a well-founded reputation for progressive marijuana policy. The town's voters decriminalized pot in 2009, years before the passage of Amendment 64.

Nonetheless, officials passed a law banning new pot shops from opening on Main Street, and a grandfather clause for the Breckenridge Cannabis Club, which was already located there, is about to expire. But the latter's co-owner says an extension has been granted and she's hopeful the BCC will be allowed to remain for the long term.

See also: Sean McAllister on Breckenridge's decriminalization of weed, the Board of Health's medical-marijuana action

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Pot Legalization is Boring and Colorado Is Filled With NIMBYs, say NY Times Readers

Categories: Politics

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni was back in Colorado last week, eating (and tweeting) at Acorn, attending a book signing for Helen Thorpe's Soldier Girls (which not only earned a good review in the Times, but a rave in People, of all places) and, it turns out, researching this weekend's column describing this state as "A Battleground and Bellwether."

See also: Helen Thorpe, Ex-Colorado First Lady, Lauded on the Daily Show for Soldier Girls

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Marijuana: Ex-Bronco Supports Plan to Turn Women's Prison Into Pot Factory
A photo of the prison facility from the Colorado Farm Products Facebook page.
A women's correctional facility in Brush closed in 2010. But it could reopen soon -- as a retail marijuana grow, shorthanded by the media as a "pot factory."

Problem: Brush currently has a moratorium on marijuana businesses. But the city council could lift that ban after a town hall meeting tonight -- and Nick Erker, the man behind the proposal, is hoping a sales campaign and a pitch from a popular former Denver Bronco will help him convince officials to give him a chance.

See also: Marijuana: $24.7 Million in Recreational Pot, Edibles and Concentrates Sold in June

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Same-Sex Marriage Issue Made It a Long, Hot Summer for Boulder Clerk Hillary Hall

Categories: Politics

For 35 days this summer, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall made Colorado history when her office issued more than 200 same-sex marriage licenses. In doing so, she defied Colorado Attorney General John Suthers's threats of legal action. Late last month, after the Colorado Supreme Court issued a stay on same-sex marriage until it could review the case in late 2014, Hall's office once again limited marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples, and she left town for a much-needed vacation.

The 48-year-old Hall grew up in Boulder, did undergraduate work at the University of Northern Colorado, studied culinary arts in Oregon and worked as a chef in San Francisco. She has used her cooking skills to aid the Democratic Party and the Community Foundation's Open Door Fund, which offers grants to LGBTQ organizations. She served as chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party and was elected county clerk in 2006 and re-elected in 2010; she'll be running for a third term in November.

On the morning after she returned from vacation, Hall spoke with Westword about this summer's events.

See also:
Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage in Boulder Forty Years Ago

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GMO Labeling Initiative Will Get a Healthy Study from Healthy Democracy

Categories: Politics

At the start of the year, it looked like Colorado's November ballot might overflow with citizen initiatives. That flood became a trickle; there will likely be only four to consider on November 4. But one of those, Initiative 48, which would require mandatory GMO labeling, could create plenty of controversy all on its own. And Healthy Democracy, a nonpartisan group dedicated to elevating voter awareness, wants to make sure Colorado residents have a healthy amount of information on the measure.

See also: Initiative #48 Would Require Labels on Genetically Modified Food

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Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage in Boulder Forty Years Ago

On June 25, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah's gay-marriage ban, setting a precedent for states in its jurisdiction, including Colorado, where voters had adopted a ban on same-sex marriages in 2006. Hours later, Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. For weeks, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers threatened Hall with legal action for violating state law. Her office warded him off in court and issued over 200 licenses before the Colorado Supreme Court finally announced on July 29 that it would consider Suthers's arguments in late 2014 -- and ordered Hall to stop issuing licenses in the meantime. Meanwhile, the Utah case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This summer, Clela Rorex has been watching history repeat itself. Thirty-nine years ago, she was not just the first Boulder county clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but the first clerk to do so anywhere in the country.

See also: A Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiff's Open Letter to John Suthers

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GMO labeling proposal could join Personhood, racetrack casinos on ballot

Categories: Politics

No-GMO supporters delivered more than 167,000 signatures.
The last of the petitions pushing citizens initiatives were delivered to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's office last Monday. In the coming weeks, Gessler and his staff will determine which campaigns gathered the 86,105 valid signatures required to get their proposals on the ballot. After a busy season that saw dozens of meastures proposed and then pulled -- including four at the last minute in a controversial fracking compromise -- what's left?

See also: Election Activists Have Some Primary Problems with Colorado's System

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Fracking Compromise: Savvy Solution or Sellout?

There's plenty of back-patting going on today in the smoke-free back rooms where politics thrives like spores in agar, after an eleventh-hour deal was forged by Governor John Hickenlooper, Representative Jared Polis and others to remove four initiatives dealing with oil and gas development from the November ballot. The move short-circuits what promised to be a costly and ugly campaign, with plenty of heated rhetoric and exaggerated claims on both sides. But the relief among industry interests hailing this "balanced" compromise is more than matched by the bitterness of grassroots anti-fracking groups, howling that Polis and the "Fracker in Chief" are giving us the business -- again.

See also: "Single Fracking Waste Well Blamed for Hundreds of Low-Level Quakes"

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Marijuana: Pennsylvania senator toked up during state-funded pot visit to Colorado

Daylin Leach as seen in one of his campaign videos.
Legal cannabis has attracted a wide variety of tourists to Colorado who might not have come to the state otherwise -- including Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach. But Leach's trip was work-related. He and a few staff members recently spent three days here in order to inhale as much information they possibly could about the state's cannabis industry.

And yes, we're using the word "inhale" literally.

See Also: "Video: Obama at Wazee Supper Club asked, 'Want a hit, man?' "

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