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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
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About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Denver City Council unanimously approves minimum wage hike starting Jan. 1

The Denver City Council unanimously increased the citywide minimum wage Monday night to thundering applause throughout its chambers.

The new law requires employers to bump hourly employees to at least $12.85 on Jan. 1, with a second raise to $14.77 following at the start of 2021, and a third to $15.87 in 2022. After that, the new law mandates that it will then be adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index.

Public comment was overwhelmingly, if not entirely, in favor of the law, which places Denver as the first Colorado city to raise the local minimum wage. Ultimately, the council voted 11-0.

The raises are overdue and while the end goal of $15.87 per hour is a step in the right direction, many said, the council must already consider the next steps.

Read more: https://www.denverpost.com/2019/11/25/denver-city-council-minimum-wage/

Attorney: Body-Parts-for-Sale Case Worse Than One Settled for $58M

Attorney Mike Burg of the Denver-based law firm Burg Simpson recently won a $58 million verdict for ten of 21 plaintiffs who sued the owner of a body-donation facility in Phoenix described as a human butcher shop. But Burg says the facts of the case at the center of two separate lawsuits filed against Montrose's Sunset Mesa funeral home "are even more egregious."

According to Burg, Megan Hess, Sunset Mesa's owner, and her associates, including her parents, Alan and Shirley Koch, "didn't even try to get any type of consent. In other words, the people who brought their loved ones in to be cremated had no idea that she was taking those bodies and selling them out the back door either in whole or in part." (Hess has not responded to multiple interview requests from Westword.)

The lawsuits filed by Burg Simpson earlier this year — the first in February, the second in June — are filled with horror stories told by approximately fifty plaintiffs, including Bobby Espinoza, who believed the remains of Jerry Espinoza, his father, had been cremated at Sunset Mesa until being informed otherwise by representatives of the FBI following a raid on the facility. The complaint alleges that "Jerry Sr.'s body had been dismembered and sold for parts." Defendants "carved off his head and his legs from his body and severed his torso and pelvis. These parts were then sold piecemeal to three different body-buyer defendants."

Equally grisly details emerged from investigation of Biological Resource Center of Arizona, whose owner, Steve Gore, pleaded guilty to taking part in a criminal enterprise back in 2015. Gore "opened up BRC in 2004, and he had no medical training," Burg points out. "I understand that for a while he was involved in recovering corneas for transplantation from an eye institute. But he then got the idea that he could open a whole body donation company, which he, his brother and a college friend began to operate out of Phoenix, and he was able to do it because while organ donation is highly regulated — there are a lot of rules you have to follow both federally and in states — whole-body donation at the time, and pretty much even today, is unregulated."

Read more: https://www.westword.com/news/colorado-body-parts-for-sale-case-and-impact-of-58-million-ruling-11554155

Angela Williams Drops U.S. Senate Bid

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the better days of the entire year to announce news that is less-than-flattering. State Sen. Angela Williams took advantage of the slow news week to announce that she is suspending her U.S. Senate bid in order to focus on running for re-election to the State Senate.

As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Williams cast blame for her weak U.S. Senate campaign in a rather vague direction:

Williams, a northeast Denver Democrat, was the only current elected official in the Senate race, in which she emphasized her experience in the legislature but failed to gain significant traction in a nine-candidate primary led by John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff.

“Unfortunately, even now, as female candidates enjoy a historic level of support from voters, there are still elements of the Democratic Party seeking to promote male candidates at the expense of talented and smart progressive women,” Williams said in a news release.

“Fighting to give women, people of color and the underserved a voice isn’t always easy, especially when faced with strong headwinds from Washington, D.C.,” she added, a reference to the decision by Democrats in the nation’s capital to recruit and endorse Hickenlooper in the race against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

Was John Hickenlooper recruited by national and local groups to run for the U.S. Senate because he is a man…or because he is a former two-term Governor with the best statewide name recognition of any Colorado politician and a proven ability to raise campaign cash? Hickenlooper no doubt benefits (in general) from being a white dude, but the field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate already had plenty of those when Hickenlooper joined the fray in August.

Read more: https://www.coloradopols.com/diary/132638/angela-williams-drops-u-s-senate-bid

Boulder councilwoman responds to critics of controversial comments on race

Boulder Councilwoman Mirabai Nagle responded to criticism Tuesday over controversial remarks on race she made from the dais last week, just after city leaders expedited the reading of a Government Alliance on Race and Equity-based resolution to their next meeting.

Nagle faced calls to resign in emails to City Council, but she also drew support for the comments she made during the mayoral and mayor pro tem selection process last week.

After members of the public urged Council to consider electing a member other than a white man as mayor or mayor pro tem, saying doing so would be justified by this month’s election results, in which two women, one of color, were among the top three vote recipients, Nagle responded by suggesting that white men, and not just women and minorities, have been subjected to unfair treatment at times in history.

Councilmen Sam Weaver and Bob Yates, both white, were the only members who expressed a desire to serve as mayor and mayor pro tem, respectively, and were elected unanimously to the positions. Those positions are voted upon by Council following general elections, and come with no additional voting power, but the mayor runs meetings, and both attend all Council Agenda Committee scheduling meetings.

Read more: https://www.dailycamera.com/2019/11/26/boulder-councilwoman-responds-to-critics-of-controversial-comments-on-race/
(Boulder Daily Camera)

Colorado hospitals accuse Polis administration of hurting Medicaid patients, as health fight grows

Colorado hospitals accuse Polis administration of hurting Medicaid patients, as health fight grows nastier

Executives at Colorado’s largest hospital systems on Thursday sent a blistering letter to Gov. Jared Polis and the leaders of the state Medicaid agency, saying they fear the state has “lost its focus on uninsured and Medicaid patients.”

The executives accused the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers Medicaid in Colorado, of creating cumbersome pre-approval processes and delays for Medicaid patients to receive care, of antiquated records-management practices, of denying patients needed care and of shorting hospitals more than $30 million on drug costs.

They also said new Colorado Medicaid policies have made it more difficult for patients to remain enrolled in the program.

“Overall, it has become increasingly difficult to continue to protect Medicaid patients from the challenges imposed by HCPF,” the executives wrote in their letter. “The actions, and inaction, by HCPF is directly putting the health, safety and security of patients at risk.”

Read more: https://coloradosun.com/2019/11/22/hospitals-letter-polis-medicaid/

Andrew Romanoff's record on immigration complicates his progressive bid for U.S. Senate

Andrew Romanoff pitches himself to Democratic voters as the proven progressive option in Colorado’s 2020 primary race for U.S. Senate.

But his record on immigration complicates that narrative. As Colorado’s House speaker from 2005 to 2009, he oversaw the passage of what at the time were considered among the most restrictive policies in the nation when it comes to people living in the U.S. illegally.

Romanoff has specifically come under attack and been criticized –– both from fellow candidates and immigration advocates –– for his role in a series of measures passed by the legislature in 2006, including during a special legislative session that year.

Senate Bill 90 was the most consequential of the 2006 measures, requiring local law enforcement to report arrestees to federal authorities if officers suspected them of being in the U.S. unlawfully. The bill was repealed in 2013. There were also policies restricting people living in the U.S. illegally from accessing government assistance programs and requiring business owners to provide proof of the legal work status of their employees.

Read more: https://coloradosun.com/2019/11/25/andrew-romanoff-immigration-record-colorado-us-senate/

HIV-prevention funding is being slashed in Colorado, even as a growing number of people are

HIV-prevention funding is being slashed in Colorado, even as a growing number of people are diagnosed

An alert went out to health agencies in late summer: the number of Coloradans diagnosed with HIV was on the rise, especially women.

The state health department is now predicting 455 people will receive HIV diagnoses by the end of 2019, up from 409 last year. And this comes after more than a decade of promise in HIV prevention, including a breakthrough drug that was a game-changer for public health.

At the same time, Colorado clinics that provide HIV testing and PrEP, the once-a-day preventative pill, are seeing their budgets slashed, and with little notice.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment informed the agencies this month of funding reductions from 25% to 87% beginning in January, igniting a clash between state officials and a community group that for decades has advised the state about HIV and AIDS prevention.

Read more: https://coloradosun.com/2019/11/26/hiv-prevention-colorado-funding-cut/

With Proposition CC's failure, Colorado Democrats face a budget crunch in 2020. Here are their 4

With Proposition CC’s failure, Colorado Democrats face a budget crunch in 2020. Here are their 4 options to address it.

With the defeat of Proposition CC, voters ensured two features of Colorado state government are here to stay:

Taxpayer refunds and the periodic legislative exercise in avoiding them.

The 2020 budget cycle is shaping up to be no exception. The legislative session is still weeks away, and Colorado budget writers already face a daunting list of requests.

Two federal health care programs –– the Children’s Health Insurance Program and a supplemental funding program for hospitals — are scheduled to reduce their payments to Colorado by nearly $70 million next year.

Read more: https://coloradosun.com/2019/11/27/colorado-taxpayer-refunds-2020-legislature/

PNM stands by plan to close coal-fired plant

FARMINGTON — New Mexico’s largest electric provider said continued operation of a coal-fired power plant using carbon-capture technology wouldn’t be in the best interest of utility customers.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico made the declaration in testimony filed with state regulators who are weighing the pending closure of the San Juan Generating Station.

The recent filing was in response to concerns that the utility had not presented an alternative case for installing carbon capture equipment at the plant in an effort to reduce emissions and avoid shutting it down as planned in 2022. At issue are the significant economic effects closure will have on the region.

The utility said this week it is standing behind a proposal to end its reliance on coal by moving toward a mix of natural gas, renewable resources and batteries. The utility has said it intends to meet the state’s newly enacted mandate for zero emissions by 2040.

Read more: https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/pnm-stands-by-plan-to-close-coal-fired-plant/article_371cf85e-a485-518a-b4e7-090f45b2a21e.html

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren lead pack in New Mexico fundraising

SANTA FE — New Mexico residents are throwing their financial support in the race for U.S. president mainly behind progressive candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, according to an analysis of individual contributions to campaign committees.

The fundraising tally by the Center for Responsive Politics focused on contributions over $200 before Oct. 1 and left out some small donations.

It shows Sanders, the Vermont senator who narrowly lost New Mexico to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, at the front of the fundraising pack with at least $379,000 in individual contributions. Warren of Massachusetts is close behind.

They are followed by President Donald Trump; Pete Buttigieg, the youthful mayor of South Bend, Indiana; and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Former Vice President Joe Biden is further down the list.

Read more: https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2019/11/26/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-lead-pack-new-mexico-fundraising/4301722002/
(Las Cruces Sun-News)
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