Senate Bill 15-080 is a current bill in the Colorado Senate that allows PERA members to choose between a Defined Contribution Plan or placement of a certain amount of their income into an account that usually is tied to a mutual fund or stocks or something to do with greedy, gambling Wall Street, and a Defined Benefit Plan which hard-working public employers pay a percentage of their income–for teachers it is now at 8%–to be held there until retirement age. Employers graciously contribute a percentage to the Defined Benefit plan. Public school districts pay about 18% toward teacher retirement and health plan retirement benefits. Colorado was the first state in the United States to take care of its public employees starting in 1931 and since that time conservative members from both major political parties have obsessed over this pot of money and conservative members from each decade have attempted to destroy the laws enacted that established a defined benefit plan for its public servants such as teachers and government employees.
This “Gambling-Away-Their-Retirement” bill is another attempt to slowly dismantle the Defined Benefit plans that public employees sign up for when they are hired. Since public employees are not paid as well for their professional services compared to similar professions found in the private sector these employees often are unable to save up enough for retirement. The Public Employee Retirement Account or PERA is a necessary benefit that helps attract the best and the brightest members of our citizenry to serve the people of Colorado. Government employees, teachers and some law enforcement are the beneficiaries, along with their families, of this account. It is surprising that there are people out there that believe these public employees are undeserving of a defined retirement plan after years of service.
However, between the two major political parties none other has had more temper tantrums, more conniption fits, more wild hairs up their collective asses to destroy one of the few things preventing teachers and government employees from living in poverty upon their retirement than the Republican Party! The Republicans LOVE to dip their greasy, stinking, rotten paws into other people’s money! Especially if they are public employees that have dedicated years of service to the people. We won’t even mention in this blog what they did to employees of private banks and investment firms. I’m sure those people would love to have their retirement plans back. Somehow those plans were “lost” in the confusion of deregulating the banking industry and left millions of people without a retirement during bankruptcy proceedings. The Republican Party is expert at losing people’s money at the craps table. They love to gamble! Especially with other people’s money.
So, Colorado Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) wants to throw public employee’s retirements into a “Defined Contribution.” These “contributions” usually go to mutual funds and stocks to be played with by Wall Street investors. Gambling! The Republican Party that claims to be the moral party, the party that upholds family values, the party that trumpets Christian values, and the party of the holier than thous decides it likes to gamble. Throwing the hard-working public employee’s money around like Roman soldiers casting lots for Christ’s bloodied, seamless garment! My, my how faithful you Republicans are to your cause and how blood thirsty and greedy you are to grab up money that is not yours to begin with. PERA does not belong to you! The Republican Party did not pay into this system to render it useless by gambling it away on defined contributions. Public employees already have a choice on whether to get a 401K plan through PERA or not to get one.
What is the Republican’s obsession with other people’s money? Why must they insist on gambling away other people’s retirements? It’s bad enough to watch friends and family that worked for banking houses and investment firms live in poverty because both political parties decided to deregulate those industries and wipe-out their retirement through bankruptcies. It’s bad enough to watch the elderly struggle on a limited fixed income and seeing our Social Security system attacked every year by the Republican Party. NOW the Republicans want to gamble away Colorado teachers and government employees retirement benefits!
Senator Hill, if you want to gamble then build a casino in Colorado Springs! Don’t use teachers and government employees hard-earned money as your poker chips.
The recent approval of a bill out of one of our state’s senate committees to kill a Civil Rights law that protects workers is a giant step backwards for our state. Republican state senators and house members are making good on their promise to tear down good laws that protect workers from unethical practices by employers; protect a girl’s and a woman’s right to make personal medical decision that will impact her the rest of her life; and myriad other antiquated laws that went out with the 50’s. Hatred and racism are unacceptable values that divide our state and communities. The Republican Party is sliding rapidly down a slippery slope that shows no signs of stopping. Their strangle hold over our political system, the media, the commons, our schools, and our seats of government allow them to enact and repeal laws based on their hatred, fears, prejudices and lies. These are worrisome times and ill fares our land. Adams County Colorado is certainly at the center of a regressive movement to kill laws that uphold basic American values such as equality, justice and fairness.
Now, not all Adams County Republicans are Racist and the same holds true for Adams County Democrats. However, when you choose or appoint an individual to a place of leadership that holds the view the people of color are inferior and dangerous you have to wonder whether its time to re-evaluate one’s values and perspectives. Any party that places a person who holds racist beliefs in a place of leadership tacitly agrees with those beliefs when they remain silent. There is a saying that silence is assent.
I don’t know what the future holds and I hope it is one where there is acceptance of all people regardless of skin color, creed, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. If the other party continues to run as it has been and weds itself to hatred then their existence will be short-lived.
The Colorado Measurement of Academic Skills (CMAS) test used this year as our the new metric to measure student academic achievement and as a measure of teacher “effectiveness.” Students take the tests on computers. Many of our children do not know how to type on a computer prior to 3rd grade, so a class on keyboarding at the elementary level will be required to administer the test accurately. The costs involved with the new standardized tests and Common Core Curriculum run into the millions and the Brookings Institute calculated the cost for Colorado to be over 17 million dollars per year from 2008 to 2012. (1)
Costs not factored into the test assessment that states and local school districts had to cover were purchasing the computers, computer labs and bandwidth. (3) Eighty-nine per cent of the costs for these assessments went to CONTRACTS!! (2) Yes, contracts and licensing fees for McGraw-Hill to administer the test. People of Adams County, we need to hire more teachers to reduce class size and to not spend our hard-earned dollars to fill the pockets of for-profit vendors whose tests do not prepare your children for college!
The Republican Party and conservatives do not like the Common Core Curriculum because of federal government interference in state business. The grassroots membership and teachers, and educators, who are members of the Democratic Party are against standardized testing as it does not measure the whole-child. Common Core and Standardized Testing have become bipartisan issues. The tests are also going to be used to measure teacher effectiveness toward student academic achievement and there are many factors that weigh in to a child’s success that are subjective which lie outside an objective measurement.
The millions of dollars spent on wasteful standardized testing is better spent on reducing classroom size, training teachers in best instructional practices and hiring the best teachers for our children. Let’s ditch the tests and get on with real school reform.
1.) Chingos, Matthew M. (2012), Strength in numbers: State spending on K-12 assessment systems. Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings. pg. 27.
2.) ibid. pg. 1
“…Here at least
we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”
The 114th U.S. Congress, the state of Colorado and our local governments will see significant changes in policy and ideology in 2015. It seems the mid-term elections were several things: a backlash against progressivism; a critique of Obama’s administration; a fear of rapid change; a denial of the effects of pollution on our climate, air, water and soil; and a move to secure more law and order at the price of liberty; and an unwarranted fear by ammo-sexuals and gun-fetishists about losing their weapons–a sort of castration syndrome that has infected most of the white male population of the U.S. of late. We will most definitely see an attack on women, feminism, and the feminist movement, if not all things feminine. The need to lynch our President Barrack Obama through proxy by the killing of innocent African-American male youth and adults with impunity–fulfilling the need to castrate men of color by any means necessary–if not to exterminate them. Police brutalities and fatalities seems to be this nation’s primary focus over the past several months. Militarizing our police departments also seems to be a need of the current U.S. population…and now with the deaths of two NYPD officers we’ll see a war waged against free speech unlike any we’ve seen before in our nation’s history. Peaceful, non-violent protestors will be vilified in our press, which is owned by the powers that be, and we’ll see greater violence toward protestors and murder against those that peacefully speak out at the request of those that rule over us. We will see school funding, social services, human rights, and civil rights take the back burner for many years as big oil and gas vie for preeminence over our eminent domain, banks, campaigns, and nature itself. Oil and gas wield incredible power already and it will be interesting to see how much more they can gain. The true nature of our government will be seen most plainly and the idea that we do not live in a democracy will finally gel in people’s minds–there will be clarity! Environmentalist and Liberals will continue to be seen as “radicals” and “nut-cases.” Their voice will be effectively and swiftly diminished even further if not completely squashed out. Gay men not part of the political structure or protected by wealth and money or not part of the social-economic elite will see an exponential rise in violence toward a community that has a thin veneer of religio-consumer acceptance. Gay men that belong to the political power structure now in place and belong to the social elite , and who have sold their lower class brothers out, will be okay and well protected; meanwhile, everyman for himself–a libertarian’s wet dream! Lastly, but never least, religion will be the dominating theme of the next decade or so…Anti-Muslim fervor will grow as will anti-atheist fervor. The Fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. will make their Fundamentalist Muslim brothers look like amateurs when it comes to terrorism–even so–the Christians have had a 300 year jump on Islam in the terror department. So, America has spoken in this mid-term election. Be ready for the worst, the disastrous and the ugly. The conservative, right-wing, Christian, capitalist, white male dominated government and power structure has won this round in the larger political ring with long-term consequences that we cannot even imagine. If you believe in hell, then this be it!!
by Antonio D’Lallo
THE SAME CAN BE SAID OF
GARDENER, BEAUPREZ AND COFFMAN
THEY JUST DON’T FIT
Betsy Markey will make a great Treasurer for Colorado. A successful businesswoman and a former member of Congress, Betsy has a track record of integrity and standing strong for her principles.
From balancing a business checkbook, to grappling with the federal budget and its finance tools like T-bills, Betsy Markey is more than qualified to be Colorado’s Treasurer.
Betsy is seeking to replace Walker Stapleton. Mr. Stapleton’s first name derives from his family roots. As a desendant of the Bush/Walker political dynasty, Colorado’s Treasurer kind of appeared out of nowhere four years ago.
Mr. Stapleton has been accused of collecting the full Treasurer’s salary even though he plugs away full-time at his career in real estate and isn’t seen in the Treasurer’s office on a full-time basis.
But you know what – a rich white guy from a connected political family who’s taking taxpayer money while working on fleecing his own pockets – that’s too easy.
I’d rather focus on the many positive aspects of Betsy Markey.
In 2006, Betsy Markey defeated Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and the world has been a better place ever since.
The Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives in 2009 did something vitally important. They took up meaningful climate change legislation. They were told there was no guarantee the U.S. Senate, under the leadership of Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, would take up the bill and move it along to the President’s desk. And, in fact, the bill would ultimately die in some committee in the bowels of the Senate.
Betsy’s district was roughly half rural, and agricultural interests were heavily opposed to the climate change bill.
Then-Representative Markey was told there was no guarantee the Senate would ever vote on the bill, let alone pass it. We could have forgiven her if she had voted against it. All she would have had to say was that she was voting the interests of her district. But Betsy Markey didn’t cower. She proudly voted what she thought was the right thing to do. And she was right.
I once had the opportunity to thank her for that vote. She was beaming with energy the way she always seems to be. She didn’t blink, and she didn’t pause. Betsy told me she was proud of that vote, and she’d do it again if she had the chance to do it over again. I almost cried.
How many politicians do you know who would say “it cost me my great job once, but it was the right thing to do, and I’d do it again”? It brings tears to my eyes to think about her steadfast dedication to her values and the best interest of all. She cared about the greater good more than a really prestigious job with great pay and even better benefits.
COLORADO WE NEED
Honestly I can’t figure out the short-term memory of the average voter. So I am starting a new group. I am toying with two names of the group. The first is People Associated with the Longing of Intellectual Notoriety or PALIN. The other name is Citizens Regretting the Use of Zero Education or CRUZE. Yes I know it is not spelled correct but it is appropriate. I was trying to use Gardener and Coffman but their names are too long. This organization will continually educate the public on historical events as they are and not how they are spun. We will travel to the South and remind voters that the North won the war. We will remind citizens that all citizens have the right to vote. We will educate the public that People and Corporations are not even spelled the same. We will remind people that women and minorities are people too. Oh yes if you are gay it does not reduce your rights. That Roe vs. Wade was fought and a women’s right to her body is law and if you don’t like it you lose. Financial inequality is not good for the country and defiantly not good for business. Unions are law and busting them is illegal. Yes people we will do it all. We will not take back the country but instead get rid of the political clutter. We will surgically rotter rooter the backlog in congress. You may ask what we are for.
- Higher minimum wage.
- Equal pay for equal job.
- Health care for all and a woman’s right to her own body.
- Equal rights Man, Woman and all minorities and majorities’.
- Religion does not belong in our politics. (We fought a war on this)
- People are people and corporations are not
- A well educated citizenry
If you like this group send this to Cory “personhood” Gardener and Mike “I don’t know where the President was born” Coffman and tell them with your vote and your voice enough is enough.
This is not a political ad but a voice of reason.