HICK’S LUXURY STATE: Income Inequality Grows In CO As Hick Focuses On Hipsters

“Here’s to killing the middle class”

Gov. John Hickenlooper is turning Colorado into a hipster city.  Earlier this week, Joel Kotkin wrote an interesting piece for The Washington Post about how the current liberal bastions like New York City, San Francisco, and Portland (among others) are being redesigned as playgrounds for the wealthy over the needs of the middle class.  (Via The Denver Post):

It reflects a desire to create an ideal locale for hipsters and older, sophisticated urban dwellers. It’s city as adult Disneyland or “entertainment machine,” chock-a-block with chic restaurants, shops and festivals.

Overlooked, or even disdained, is what most middle-class residents of the metropolis actually want: home ownership, rapid access to employment throughout the metropolitan area, good schools and “human scale” neighborhoods. [the Peak’s emphasis]

Whenever Hickenlooper talks about Colorado and growing the economy, it is always in the context of the luxury; whether it is praising some new micro-distillery, or talking about fostering the Denver music scene.  Hickenlooper doesn’t appear to have the appetite to do what is necessary to grow Colorado’s middle class (hell, his fellow Democrats brag about wanting to make commutes harder so people drive less.  Why don’t they just tear up all the roads in downtown, buy the land around it and just become a second Boulder where only the wealthy can afford to live?).  This is evident in the growing divide between the rich and poor in Colorado (from The Denver Post):

Colorado ranks among the top 20 states in the nation with the highest levels of income inequality, according to a new study by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

In recent years, incomes for many Coloradans have fallen behind the cost of living. Since 2007, the median income in Colorado, when adjusted for inflation, has fallen $4,400. [the Peak’s emphasis]

Hickenlooper keeps praising how great Colorado’s economy is, but he doesn’t mention the caveat that this only applies to you if he likes what you’re doing.

This goes along with the trend of hipster/luxury cities mentioned above as they’re some of the most unequal places in the country when it comes to income:

Luxury cities, increasingly, are less places of aspiration than geographies of inequality. New York, for example, is by some measurements the most unequal of major U.S. cities, with a level of inequality that approximates South Africa before apartheid

Other luxury cities exhibit somewhat similar patterns. A recent Brookings report found that virtually all the most unequal metropolitan areas… are luxury regions, including San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. [the Peak's emphasis]

Liberal policies exacerbate income inequality and kill off the middle class?  We’re.  So.  Shocked.  Good thing Democrats have appointed themselves the party most likely to help the poor.  Without such labels, looking just at results, people might assume Democrats are just a bunch of privileged assholes.  They’re like the Apple of political parties.


NOT INSPIRING: Group Bolstering Hick’s Economic Creds Ignores Economic Realities

What do you mean I can’t take credit for our labor force?

A recently-surfaced 501c(4), Inspire Colorado, is busy pushing positive economic messages into social media to support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s uphill re-election effort. Its website has tons of shareable memes in support of Hickenlooper and the economy, boasting concepts like job growth, innovation, labor supply and more.  Let’s dismantle this a bit.

First of all, unfortunately, John Hickenlooper cannot take credit for Colorado’s great labor supply or its innovation.  The natural beauty of Colorado attracts highly-skilled workers from across the country and the fact that they’re innovative should be no shock.  It would almost be like Hick taking credit for Colorado having a hard-working labor force.  Try as he might, nothing he’s done has inspired hard work – or innovation for that matter.

But, economic growth – he could be responsible for that, right?  Wrong.  Here are some stats on Hickenlooper’s economy:

  • Pew reports that there are zero states in which the percentage of people employed has gone up.  Zero. Not even Colorado. We are still lagging in economic recovery.
  • Everyone was excited last month when the jobs report showed that Colorado had added 3,000 new jobs…until we all realized it was all government hiring. Sad trombone. So, not only is the private sector not hiring, but now the private sector is saddled with more government spending that they must fund.
  • Speaking of, Hick has overseen an unprecedented expansion of state government. At one point, the government expanded 10% over a nine month stretch.  Not even liberal bastions like Illinois and New York can boast of such expansion.
  • Since 2012, the rest of the country received more venture capital funds to aid with startups. Not Colorado. The turbulent political environment caused by a lack of leadership by Hick is causing investors to flee.  This means that alllllll those innovators that Colorado has are spinning their wheels waiting for investment that may never come.  Thanks, Hick.
  • Colorado is falling behind its neighbors in economic growth.
  • Labor participation remains low, meaning that unemployment may be coming down, but that’s largely due to government hiring and people removing themselves from the workforce entirely.  That’s not a good thing.
  • Since Hick took the reins, Colorado has fallen in several economic indicators.

We’re not trying to be Debbie Downers here, but Coloradans deserve to be armed with facts, not fluff, when it comes to their economic well-being.  Hickenlooper’s uncertain regulatory regime in Colorado is gunking up our state’s economic engine. Unfortunately, we’re feeling less inspired and more skeptical when it comes to Inspire Colorado.


COWARD: Dunlap Murder Victim’s Family Faults Hickenlooper

We can’t imagine how difficult it would be to lose someone to violence the way the Crowell family did in the Chuck E. Cheese murders committed by Nathan Dunlap.  Last night, murder victim Sylvia Crowell’s family told CBS4 that they believe that Gov. John Hickenlooper’s temporary reprieve was cowardly. From the interview:

“‘I think that’s the coward’s way out, and I view John Hickenlooper as a coward,’ said Bob Crowell, whose daughter Sylvia, 19, was among those killed in the Dec. 14, 1993, slaying of four employees at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.”

This comes on the heels of his daughter April Crowell’s commentary on the Peak‘s Facebook page earlier this summer when she said:

“By all means, vote for the guy who allowed my sister’s murderer to continue breathing air. Dunlap/Hickenlooper 2014″

See the photo below.

The problem with Hickenlooper’s non-decision is two-fold.  First, the justice system spoke.  It was fair.  Dunlap killed those four people – that is not in question.  He had a trial by jury and he was sentenced.  He offered a half-assed apology letter, saying “even though it is difficult for me to say I’m sorry, I am sorry.” It’s difficult for Dunlap to say he’s sorry?  He should be begging – we repeat begging – for forgiveness for the evil acts that he’s done.  Nonetheless, why should Hickenlooper overrule the will of the people?

The next issue is that now Hickenlooper is attempting to silence critics of this cowardly decision by calling them out for playing politics with a man’s life.  No, sir, that was you.  As Sylvia Crowell’s father noted:

“Crowell chastised the governor for saying his opponents are playing ‘political football’ with the issue.

‘Look who’s doing it: Hickenlooper,’ he said, calling the governor’s stance ‘dirty pool.’”

We just want to know – where was Sylvia Crowell’s temporary reprieve from Nathan Dunlap?  Where was the mercy for her life?

Earlier this week, we joined others in calling for Hickenlooper to make a decision about Dunlap prior to the election.  Coloradans deserve to know where this candidate stands.  But, more importantly, we deserve to know that Hickenlooper stands for Colorado, not some shadowy liberal agenda.


DECISION BEFORE ELECTION: Taking Politics Out Of Death Penalty In Hickenlooper’s Hands

“Look at me having it both ways”

Following up on yesterday’s news that Gov. John Hickenlooper is willing to commute ChuckECheese murderer Nathan Dunlap’s death sentence as a lame-duck governor should Hick lose his reelection, The Gazette points out in an editorial that Hick is the only one politicizing the situation.  And, it is well within Hick’s power to take politics completely out of the situation.  As The Gazette writes:

Gov. John Hickenlooper should decide right away whether Nathan Dunlap lives or dies. No more should this man’s life be a political football…

No one has politicized Dunlap more than Hickenlooper. He wouldn’t grant clemency because doing so would annoy his base. He punted. Now, if Republicans want to make an issue of it, Hickenlooper will change his decision. He’ll reclaim the ball and forfeit the game, granting full clemency the moment he has no more chance of winning. [the Peak’s emphasis]

The Coward-in-Chief for Colorado claims he hasn’t changed his mind on the issue, that he still favors making no permanent decision on the issue rather than just having it settled once and for all.  As his campaign spokesman said in a statement:

“He expressed his position on the clemency issue in May of 2013 when he signed the executive order on this matter, and his position has not changed since then,”

Yet, completely lacking in the position Hick expressed then was the revelation that he was 100% anti-death penalty, a position he has only acknowledged over the past few weeks.  How can a man who claims to be 100% against the death penalty leave a man on death row given the fact that his successor as Governor has publically stated he will support the Colorado justice system’s decision in this endeavor when he wins?  If Hick thinks the death penalty is so wrong, there is no way he will allow this sin of omission to burden his conscience the rest of his life.  We agree with The Gazette when they say Hickenlooper needs to make a decision sooner rather than later:

Governor, you can’t be a leader who won’t make tough decisions. This attempt to have it both ways turns Dunlap and his victims into political sport. But this isn’t a game. If the governor wants clemency, he should grant it now – before the election. Voters deserve to know Dunlap’s fate before they determine the governor’s future. They deserve the truth. [the Peak’s emphasis]

Yet, waiting for Hickenlooper to show any type of strong leadership skills is like waiting for the Rockies to turn it around this season: it just ain’t going to happen.


CLEMENCY AFTER ELECTION: Hickenlooper’s Craven Move To Hide From Voters

Craven, craven, craven

What else is Gov. John Hickenlooper not telling Coloradans?  Complete Colorado has exclusive audio of Hickenlooper once again telling a reporter in confidence something he has never revealed to the average Coloradan.  This time Hickenlooper reveals that win or lose come November he’ll be granting Nathan Dunlap clemency.  As Complete writes:

In an interview with CNN earlier this year, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper suggested that if he does not win reelection, he could use his executive powers to overhaul Colorado’s death row with clemency

Hickenlooper interrupts.  ”And, you know, if that becomes a political issue, in that context within a campaign, um, obviously there’s a period of time between the election and, and the end of the year where individuals can make decisions, such as a governor can.” [the Peak’s emphasis]

As Kelly Maher over at Compass Colorado points out in a statement:

The irony, of course, is that the one person who made the execution of one of Colorado’s most vile killers a “political football” is Hickenlooper himself.

Much like President Obama and Sen. Mark Udall on the Keystone XL pipeline, it is Hick who has inserted politics into the death penalty here in Colorado.  He has done this by choosing to ignore a decision made by a jury of average Coloradans, upheld on three separate occasions by Colorado’s Supreme Court.  If it wasn’t for Hickenlooper inserting politics into the process by refusing to allow the execution to proceed or by exercising his right as Governor to commute the sentence, politics would never have come to bear here.  Instead, Hickenlooper’s refusal to be a leader where he would take a stance or make a definite decision on Dunlap has left waters murky that definitely shouldn’t be.

Last week, Hickenlooper admitted he’s now anti-death penalty.  Despite this admission, Hickenlooper has refused to commute Dunlap’s sentence yet.  Is Hickenlooper not willing to stand by what he believes and let the Colorado voters’ decide accordingly?  What kind of political posturing is that?  It’s clear it is more important to Hickenlooper to be reelected than to be a strong, principled leader that Colorado deserves.  The man  who claims to not be your average politician, has proven he’s much more cynical and craven than your average politician; most of them have the decency at least to not hide from voters what they feel is clearly wrong.  It’s apparent now the only thing Hickenlooper strongly believes in is the furthering of his own ambitions.


FLOODED WITH LIES: Udall, Hickenlooper, And Democrats Politicize Tragedy

“Nothing is too slimy for me to do to get reelected”

PeakNation™, you may have missed this Truth Test put out by Brandon Rittiman at 9News this week, but we think it is well worth your time to catch it.  Sen. Mark Udall and surrogates attacking on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s behalf (if Hick is really sincere in his belief that negative campaigning only poisons the water well, then he needs to forcefully denounce anyone who does so on his behalf.  Then again, the only thing Hickenloooper does forcefully is ogle women) have politicized the devastating floods that killed a number of Coloradans last year and destroyed many more lives and communities.  If that wasn’t enough, Udall and Hickenlooper’s complete rewrite of history flies in the face of the very bipartisan response of Colorado’s politicians to the floods last year.  Does Udall not remember sitting across from Gardner in a helicopter as they surveyed together the devastation across Colorado?  Rittiman certainly remembers.

Udall is running a campaign where nothing is left sacred.  What should be a moment of pride for Coloradans everywhere, a time that represents who we are, people who can passionately disagree with one another but come together to fight alongside each other when tragedy strikes, has been cheapened and destroyed by Udall and his campaign, who only cares about winning an election no matter the costs.  That is not the Colorado way, and that is not who we are as Coloradans.  There are lines we won’t cross, and there are traditions of doing what is right that are more important than casting your neighbor out so you can win.  If Udall insists on running a campaign that degrades what us Coloradans can achieve when we come together, then it is time for him to go.

We will say this for Udall though, at least he doesn’t have to hide, cowering behind other people, while they do his dirty work.  Hickenlooper doesn’t even have enough dignity to do that.



PeakFeed: NRA Goes After Bloomberg And His “No Roads” Comment

Don’t be mad at us, Michael. You should stick to your own state.

The National Rifle Association started a $500,000 TV ad campaign aimed at making sure everyone in Colorado knows the ridiculous comments former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made about us.  As if Coloradans needed more reason to despise Bloomberg and his nanny-state politics.

This is a problem for Gov. John Hickenlooper, since his close relationship with Bloomberg is well known.  From listening to Bloomberg (but not having any time for Colorado Sheriffs) when it came to the gun legislation Hickenlooper signed into law, to writing love letters to Bloomberg, we’re sure Hickenlooper has a shrine set up to his patron saint of know-better-than-thou somewhere in the Governor’s mansion.

Which makes the NRA ad even more devastating is the fact that Hickenlooper takes advice from Bloomberg when Bloomberg clearly has little to no clue about Colorado itself.  Bloomberg’s infamous comments highlighted in the ad where he claims former Sen. Majority Leader John Morse was recalled in an area of the state that is the ruralist of the rural—to the point where they have no roads—ignores the fact that El Paso county is actually the most populous county in the entire state.  How anyone from Colorado could love a man so out of touch with our state to write him a fawning letter, shows just how out of touch Hickenlooper is with anything Colorado not five blocks from Wynkoop.


BREAKING UP WITH HICK: Moderate Businessman Pens Breakup Letter

“Don’t let me be lonely tonight”

“So here’s the thing Hick, it’s not you, it’s us… JK! JK! JK!  It’s totally you!”

After reading how Gov. John Hickenlooper takes his break-ups like a little bitch (seriously, who drops out of college because a girl broke up with them?  Can we get someone to track that girl down?  Hick, do you have her address?  Still stalk her on Facebook?), we’re thinking once he reads this latest breakup letter, he’ll be in Alaska next week sporting a mustache, trying to grow gooseberries.

In what should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to how Hickenlooper governed these past four years compared to how he campaigned in 2010, one unaffiliated businessman is having buyer’s remorse.  Dave Maney was more than excited to donate to Hick in 2010.  This time?  Not so much.  Here’s some excerpts from the breakup letter he sent to Hick’s campaign:

Maybe next time John will stick to the socially liberal, fiscally conservative, live-and-let-live Colorado themes that got him elected rather than sidling up to the radical left…  in this election, I’m a Beauprez donor

In the future 1) Don’t use weasel words in death penalty cases. I could’ve taken either “for” or “against”, but not the weasel road John took. 2) When your party goes radical and controls the legislature, rein them back in instead of letting them run riot. [the Peak’s emphasis]

Don’t worry, Hick, as long as you are Governor for a while longer you can still pay for other businessmen to hang out with you.  Nothing makes fast friends for life like cronyism.  Joshua Sharf over at Watchdog Wire details how a few large donors for Hickenlooper were able to buy a veto from him, hosting a max-dollar fundraising event the very same week the bill they were opposed to was introduced.

Two of those developers, brothers Chad and Troy McWhinney, have been longtime supporters of Republican office-seekers. However, they held a fundraiser for Hickenlooper in Windsor the week that the bill was introduced into the legislature. The suggested contribution for that fundraiser was $1,100, the maximum allowed under state law.

As Sharf points out, it was revealed just recently how large donors for Hickenlooper have a direct line to him.  Are we to ignore that Hickenlooper vetoed a grand total of just five bills over the past two years when nearly a thousand have been passed, and that one of those bills happen to be from donors who hosted a maxed-dollar fundraiser for him?

Is Hickenlooper just so old he knows he couldn’t take any sort of rejection anymore, that he’s willing to pay for companionship friendship.  Is his real reelection campaign theme, “Just don’t let me be lonely tonight?”  If that’s the case, Hickenlooper better start growing that beard now.


PICK-UP OPPORTUNITY: RGA Invests in Colorado

Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, visited Colorado to throw his support behind GOP candidate Bob Beauprez.

Now, the RGA is putting up the money to back Christie’s promise.  They released the first of several ads attacking Gov. John Hickenlooper, yesterday, and it signals what will likely be a very large investment in Colorado.

There are already 30 Republican governors, and Colorado is actually one of the very few pick-up opportunities for the RGA this cycle.  Having raised a formidable $100 million, they have a lot of money to play with.  That should have Hickenlooper very, very nervous, especially considering he’s never been the target of massive outside spending before.



PEW SAYS NO: Gov. Hickenlooper’s Claims About Economic Growth in Doubt

Gov. Hickenlooper has pegged his re-election efforts on the so-called “fact” that Colorado has grown economically, but this morning, The Washington Post‘s headline forcefully injected doubt into those claims.  Headline: There are zero states where the percentage of people employed has gone up since the recession.

The headline is referring to a Pew study that found the following:

“In 2007, leading up to the Great Recession, 79.9 percent of people ages 25 to 54 in the United States had a job. In the 12 months ending June 2014, five years after the recession ended, only 76.2 percent of people in that age group were working.”

A few percentage points may not sound like a big deal, but it is to the families who are struggling to make ends meet here in Colorado.  Pew deemed 19 states’ ongoing unemployment statistically insignificant.  Colorado wasn’t one of those states.  Translation: Colorado is still hurting.

While our families are important, this finding also has consequences for our state budgets, according to Pew:

This finding has significant budgetary consequences for states:

  • Without paychecks, people pay less income tax and tend to buy less, reducing sales and business income tax revenue.
  • Unemployed people frequently need more services, such as Medicaid and other safety-net programs, increasing costs at a time when state governments may have less tax revenue.

And, that brings us back to Hick.  He can tout what a great economy Colorado is experiencing, but all that does is drive a wedge between him and voters who know better and who are experiencing a different reality.

© 2011-2013 Colorado Peak Politics