January 22, 2009
If we revile un-democratic countries who detain people without charges or trial or who torture their own citizens, then it has never made sense to "become more like them". We have hurt the moral authority of our cause by violating our core American values in order to pursue an enemy who does likewise.
Guantanamo has become synonymous with human, civil and constitutional rights violations that will be a stain on this period of American history.
The strength of America has always been our ability to defend ourselves and our principles without violating the very principles for which we fight.
I am delighted to hear about these executive orders which bring us a long way closer to the rule of law and to the restoration of our Constitutional values of human decency and basic human rights.
January 18, 2009
Every year in the legislature we have done a resolution to pay tribute to the life, accomplishments and principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are reminded that he inspired all of us for several generations. He pursued justice for ALL people and equal rights for ALL. He was ridiculed, jailed and ultimately murdered for his courageous pursuits to better human-kind.
We have inherited key concepts like, "justice delayed is justice denied" or "justice denied anywhere is justice denied everywhere".
He was born Jan. 15, 1929, just 6 months after my father, and at a time where our nation would be entering The Great Depression, at a time where opportunities where increasingly limited for all Americans, but dismal for African-Americans.
Dr. King described his vision of an ennobled world of human justice and equality despite being surrounded by Jim Crowe laws, segretation, actual and threatened violence, lynchings, dogs, firehoses, inability to vote, get equal access to education, jobs or any other right or part of the American Dream. He was stabbed (almost fatally) for raising the plight of the poor and addressing the need for jobs.
In 1968, he delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in solidarity with the sanitation workers and concluded with words we may never forget…
"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
Even in 1968 it is unlikely that Dr. King would have envisioned that by 2008 the United States of America would have elected our first African-American president, our first non-white president, and not because of the color of his skin but because "of the content of his character."
Barack Obama will be sworn in to take the oath of office immediately following Martin Luther King day this year on Tuesday January 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM EST or 9:30 AM MST. There can hardly be a greater tribute to Dr. King's birthday this year than the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Regardless of who you voted for, there is no denying that history will be made on Tuesday that taps into the original civil rights struggle of Dr. KIng and to the vision of freedom courageously pursued by President Abraham Lincoln. This is a time of tremendous hope and healing for our nation — even as our hardest challenges may yet be ahead.
January 11, 2009
I live in an HOA, what are my rights?
You have the right to:
- Display political yard signs (with some time, size limitations if not common property)
- Display the American flag (with some placement limitations)
- Attend HOA Board meetings
- Speak at a designated public forum time during those meetings
- Request copies of Board minutes, covenants, bylaws, declarations, finances
- Due Process before a fee or fine is assessed against you
- Reasonable accommodations for disabilities
- Expect the Board / HOA will follow its written policies
- Not be subjected to arbitrary, unwritten requirements
- Vote in the selection of your HOA Board
- Request mediation if there is a dispute, but it is not mandatory
- Run as a Board member or campaign for your preferred candidate
- Xeriscape your lawn (with some limitations)
- Make energy efficiency or renewable upgrades (with some limitations)
Some general suggestions:
- READ your covenants, declarations, bylaws and policies.
- ATTEND your HOA Board meetings & participate.
- VOTE in your HOA elections.
- DOCUMENT your correspondence, communications with your HOA.
- BE professional, even if your HOA isn't.
Some warnings to consider:
- MOST items written in your HOA documents will be enforced.
- You do NOT have the legal right to withhold dues, even if your HOA is out of compliance in other areas or not living up to their end.
- Non-payment of dues, fines can lead to a lien against your property.
- HOAs have the right to FORECLOSE your property for unpaid dues, fines or fees, even if you are 100% current with your mortgage!
How do I enforce my rights?
- By pointing out the law to your HOA Board & seeking corrective action.
- By using a Mediator.
- By filing with a Court: small claims, county, district court
- Breach of Contract
- Tort – Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Injunction, Declaratory Action, or Damages
January 09, 2009
A Job Creation Bill Brings Renewable Energy to the Masses:
Carroll & Levy to Introduce Renewable Energy Financing Act
The Renewable Energy Finance Act of 2009 was introduced by Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) and Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder).
Colorado has been described as the Saudi Arabia of Solar and Wind, yet average homeowners can scarcely afford to participate.
This bill facilitates four different financing options that allow monthly payments:
1. 3rd party lease agreements;
2. bank loans;
3. credit union;
These loans or payment plans can be used for:
3. wind or
4. energy efficiency upgrades
for residences or businesses.
This measure will bring investment capitol to Colorado, make alternative energy upgrades more affordable for hundreds of thousands of people and create new jobs.
"Access to renewable energy should not just be for the rich. We can create many good-paying jobs and finally give access to the renewable revolution to thousands of energy-conscious Coloradans.", said Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora).
January 09, 2009
This week marks the beginning of the 2009 Legislative Session with the Swearing-In of newly elected officials, opening remarks of the Speaker, the Senate President, the Minority Leaders, the Governor and the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.
It's official. I'm now sworn in as the Senator of Senate District 29. I would like to take a moment to thank Sen. Bob Hagedorn, who has ably served this district before. He has added a powerful IQ, appetite for policy, and a much-needed sense of irreverance in a chamber that can have too much of it. He will be missed by many at the Capitol and in our district.
Opening Remarks can be an important part of setting the tone for the session. The themes of opening week:
- The economy is a very real problem that will force nearly $1 billion in cuts between last year and this.
- We are going to have to work together in a bi-partisan fashion to solve this.
- The key is jobs, education, and converting to a green energy economy.
There will be no pain-free way to make the necessary cuts to our budget. Clearly, we must start by identifying any potential cost-savings, revisiting any "incentives" that may in fact merely be corporate welfare. Even so, that will only get us a fraction of the way and we will have to cut important, good substantive programs that work and are socially necessary.
Colorado is faring better than much of the nation but remains in seriously critical shape. Gov. Ritter mentioned that he is working with the Obama administration. The federal stimulus package, may be the only way that transportation funding happens, or that the hiring freeze can be lifted.
Please know that you are always welcome at the Capitol and to join my townhall meetings!