Turkey on a train track

Turkey on a train track. Photo courtesy All About Birds.

Now that you're sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and taking stock of what you're grateful for, Capitol M is also taking stock, a little more literally. 

In this business, one is grateful for those who have provided ample material in 2019. So without further ado, here's Capitol M's Turkeys for the Holidays.

Turkey No. 1: Caitlin Switzer, editor of the Montrose Mirror, a weekly emailed news publication that has served the Western Slope since 2010. 

Last week, One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ Coloradans, sent out a press release on the 20th anniversary of Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day remembers transgender individuals who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.

The press release drew this response from Switzer: “Let’s honor the millions of ‘CIS’ women who have endured violence since the dawn of time, only to be bullied now by those who want to shove us aside and claim our status, without the fear of pregnancy to get in the way. Please unsubscribe me.”

That response did not sit well with Republican state Rep. Don Coram of Montrose.

“I think it is unfortunate that we cannot honor all of God’s children regardless of their race, color, creed, gender identity or sexual orientation,” Coram said.

Turkey No. 2: Gov. Jared Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenburg. Gov. Polis’ turkey looks like an Impossible Burger, the meatless vegan alternative, which he promoted to the Department of Agriculture staff in August. The same department is responsible for promoting Colorado beef, Colorado’s number one agricultural export, through its Colorado Proud promotion. Soybeans — the main ingredient among the 17 that make up the Impossible burger — aren’t on the Colorado Proud list. Soybeans aren’t grown in Colorado.

Greenburg makes the list because, as one ag leader later said, the commissioner of agriculture should never have let him make such a boneheaded remark. The staff was “horrified” by Polis’ idea to promote vegan alternatives to beef, according to the Fence Post.

The controversy hit while two groups were collecting signatures to try and force a recall of the new governor, an effort that failed a couple of weeks later. The recall movement against Polis had its origins in many of the same Eastern Colorado counties where cattle is king.

Polis later attended a beef-promotion event and ate an all-beef Colorado hamburger in full view of all.

Turkey No. 3: Polis’ communications staff, for trying to get three small-town Colorado newspapers to drop a story published by conservative media outlet Center Square in September. The story didn’t have any errors in it. The staff just didn’t like that it was produced by a conservative publication. The story was on Polis’ decision to create “The Office of Future Work” (yes, that’s really its name).

To the credit of those three newspapers — the Kiowa County Press, Trinidad News-Chronicle and the Mountain Jackpot in Teller County — they all told the comms staff to shove it. 

Turkey No. 4: Dark money and those who so far have ensured it stays that way (you knew I had to throw this one in). Who provides the financial backing to the North Fund? The Strategic Victory Fund? Education Reform Now? National Popular Vote? Americans for Prosperity? The Independence Institute? All of those groups contributed to ballot measures in 2019, although National Popular Vote isn’t up for voter review until 2020.

The total contributions, both cash and in-kind, from just those named groups, totaled more than $3 million in 2019, with the most contributions coming from Americans for Prosperity, at just over $1.4 million to fight against Proposition CC.

Not one of these groups discloses its donors, so who’s buying your vote is a mystery, although you absolutely have a right to know. What say you, lawmakers? Secretary of State Jena Griswold?

And if you think 2019 was bad, just wait for 2020.

Turkey No. 5: Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia has a frozen turkey.

Back on March 13, the area was hit by a bomb cyclone. In addition to producing a record-low barometric pressure, it also led to a record-low moment for Garcia, who decided to keep the state Senate open — literally the only branch of government in the metro area open that day, in the midst of the worst snowstorm in state history — in part to allow for a hearing on a controversial family leave bill where the testimony came almost entirely from those who favored it. The bill's sponsors, Sens. Faith Winter (D-Westminster) and Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge), promised to read written testimony from the opposition during the hearing, a promise they broke almost immediately, and instead read just the names of those who opposed the bill. 

Turkey No. 6: Senate Republicans at various moments during the 2019 session. Have some pity on the Senate reading clerk, willya?

You have to admire the stamina of Senate Reading Clerk Andrew Carpenter. Every time the Senate Republicans asked for a bill to be read at length, a delaying tactic that they rolled out 18 times between March 11 and Sine Die, Carpenter was on the mark. The worst had to be on March 11, the day Senate Republicans requested Carpenter read a 2,023-page bill. Carpenter did a couple of hours reading that bill — and he was sick at the time — until Senate Democrats decided to let the rest of the bill be read aloud by computer programs. They lost that one when Senate Republicans challenged it in court, given that the reading was completely incomprehensible. That challenge is still awaiting final resolution.

Enjoy your birds!

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