November 25, 2009
We recently were privileged to host a townhall pertaining to Veterans issues with guest panelists:
Bill Holen, Congressman Perlmutter's Office
Chaplain Andy Meverden
Artie Guerrero, United Veterans Committee
Lt. Col. Timothy Conklin, Commander 140th Air Co Air Guard, Buckley AFB
Bill Conroy, Director, CO Div Veterans & Military Affairs.
- Many veterans are entitled to benefits they aren't receiving because they don't know about them.
- If you or someone you know are a veteran please make sure you are receiving the benefits that you have earned in service to our country.
- If you need help with the VA, disability benefits or other federal benefits including retirement, GI Bill, burial benefits, Tri Care, housing loans you should contact your member of U.S. Congress as a constituent.
- Find out if you are eligible for the Colorado Military Family Relief Fund. http://www.dmva.state.co.us/page/mfr
- Learn about many Colorado Veterans benefits like housing program, financial assistance, employment and education benefits and more. http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/colorado-state-veterans-benefits
- The American Legion, VFW and other service organizations provides community service and support to veterans. http://www.legion.org/veterans
- Are you a disabled veteran? The Disabled American Veterans is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building better lives for America's disabled veterans. http://www.dav.org/
- Veterans Green Jobs is an organization focused on empowering veterans to restore our environment, economy, and communities. http://veteransgreenjobs.org/
- Volunteers of America provides temporary housing for women veterans who are experiencing domestic abuse, facing homelessness, or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or military sexual trauma.
Are you a veteran looking for a job? Don't miss the job fair hosted by Hire Vets First. It will be held on December 9, 2009 from 10am to 2:30pm at the Police Protective Assocation at 2105 Decatur Street in Denver. The event and parking are free, the location is RTD accessible, and there will be more than 46 employers present.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
- Donate, support, and connect with veterans. http://www.supportourtroops.org/
- Send a care package to a soldier, veteran, or a family member of a fallen soldier. http://www.skipcares.org/carepackages/
- Do you knit or crochet? Warmth for Warriors is a volunteer organization that provides handmade hats and other comfort items. http://warmthforwarriors.com/
- Say thank you. Write letters to our dedicated servicemen and women. Make sure every soldier's name is heard at mail call. http://tellthemthanks.com/
October 15, 2009
I want to thank that the candidates for Aurora City Council and the community for their participation in a candidate forum hosted by Rep. Su Ryden and myself. We took an unusual move of dedicating one of our state legislative townhalls to focus on the importance of city elections and city policies. Remarkably, all candidates (but 1) for these seats that are up in 2009 were in attendance.
At Large (2 Positions):
Ward I (1 Position):
Frances Peter Maks
Ward II (1 Position):
Ward III (1 Position):
Residents of Aurora will be able to vote for 2 at large members for Aurora City Council and 1 member for the Ward they live in. If you don't know what ward you live in you can go to the City of Aurora's website or click here.
REPLACEMENT BALLOTS: Any active elector who spoils, defaces, or does not receive a mail ballot may obtain other ballots, one at a time, not exceeding three in all. For instructions on how to receive a replacement ballot, you may visit one of the Replacement Ballot sites listed below or contact your County's Election Office.
Adams County Motor Vehicle
3449 North Chambers Road
Aurora, CO 80011
Arapahoe County Motor Vehicle
490 South Chambers Road
Aurora, CO 80017
DESIGNATED DROP-OFF SITES for VOTED ballots are open weekdays 7am to 5pm (unless otherwise specified) and 7am to 7pm on Election Day:
The following Designated Drop-Off locations are open weekdays 8am to 5pm and on Election Day 7am to 7pm:
Arapahoe County Clerk & Recorder Aurora Branch Office
490 S. Chambers Road, Aurora
City of Aurora City Clerk Office
15151 E. Alameda Pkwy, Ste. 1400, Aurora
I will post a summary of key positions by the candidates in an upcoming post, if it is of interest to you prior to casting your ballot.
Also, we had several remaining questions when we ran out of time so we will send those questions to the candidates and post their answers on our web sites for your review.
September 19, 2009
This morning there was a forum for immigration reform and the Queen of Peace Church in Aurora. The common theme was different angles on how the current system for immigration is broken and that we need comprehensive immigration reform now.
Father Lally opened with comments about how our current laws are outdated and do not match the reality of people's lives and that our failure to act actually undermines the security of our borders. He noted that the Conference of Bishops have called for reform that includes:
- a path to citizenship
- protection for all workers in the US
- a family-based immigration system and reduction in backlogs
- restoring some due process rights, and
- acknowledging need for economic development in other countries.
Jenny then spoke about how she and her family came to the U.S. for a better life, lived in Colorado for 13 years, paid taxes, worked and never had any trouble with the authorities. Her 2 young children are U.S. citizens. When her husband was diagnosed with Cancer and became too ill to work, she picked up 3 jobs, and even then was falling further behind on her mortgage. When her car failed emissions she didn't have the money for the necessary repairs and couldn't afford to renew her driver's license. She was pulled over by police asked if she was "legal" or "illegal", taken to jail and put on an immigration hold while her sick husband stayed home and cared for the kids. She was transferred to an immigration facility where further humiliated, left in cold conditions, got sick and wasn't given care for over a week. While she was eventually released, she incurred a $2,700 impound fee, lost her jobs, and owes money to the attorney that helped with her release. Jenny urged that families should not be separated and the need to address immigration reform.
Jesus is a 12 year old community organizer who goes to Cesar Chaves Academy. He is a U.S. citizen who is the son of parents who originally immigrated from Mexico. He asked us what kind of community do we want to live in? Do we want a community of divided families? A community where education opportunity is cut short? A community where we fear police? Or do we want a community with a strong family foundation, where we can achieve our educational and career goals and dreams and partner with the police and law enforcement for a safe, thriving community?
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet attended and said that it is unacceptable to have 12 million people living in the shadows of our laws and that we need comprehensive immigration reform. He highlighted the appointment of Justice Sonya Sotomayer to the U.S. Supreme Court as something we can celebrate that if we get a good education and work hard, that we can achieve anything. He also mentioned that his mother immigrated from Poland escaping World War II at the age of 12 to the U.S. and did not speak English at the time. She learned, found housing for the family and figured out when, where and how to get herself enrolled in school. He said he was a proud co-sponsor of the Dream Act, Agriculture Act and a Small Business Act. He opposed the building of the wall and the mandate to use e-verify. In calling for comprehensive human reform he concluded that "we are all God's children."
Reverend Larry Brown next spoke and reminded us that in the 1st 100 years of this country's history, immigration was virtually unregulated. People arrived, got off the ship, and tried to realize their American Dream. While he talked about the great promise and ideals of this country, he reminded us that the author of the Declaration (Thomas Jefferson) was a slave owner and that we have always been a land contradictions. Not long after, we saw some of the first waves of immigrants express backlash against the new immigrants. By 1798 the U.S. had passed the "Alien & Sedition Act" severely restricting free speech rights and other political rights of French and Irish immigrants. By 1882 some prior generations of immigrants began to feel threatened by Chinese immigrants that were competing for jobs and passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which wasn't repealed until 1943. He called for respect for the law, but also the need for dignity for all human beings. He called for:
- a pathway to citizenship,
- rights for all workers,
- no wall, described as a Medieval practice.
He said that our national security requires gaining the goodwill of our neighbors and passing laws that support the humanity of all, and challenged us to ask ourselves,
- who is my brother?
- who is my neighbor?
Reverend Mario Mencos then joined us to point out lessons and analogies in Israel and Egypt. He told the group that God has bigger plans.
Alicia talked about working for a company with extreme deadline pressures that failed to pay overtime, failed to provide paychecks in a timely or regular manner, had unsafe working conditions, where workers were yelled at and even had things thrown at them. She held up her scar from where they threw a pair of scissors at her. The employer would threaten workers and call them "wetback" and talk about deporting them. Alicia, who is a U.S. citizen, fought back and sued the employer. After no-showing several times in Court, they filed for bankruptcy to avoid paying the salaries they owed to their workers and simply reorganized under a new name.
Samuel spoke on behalf of workers and that while some people blame workers for low wages, the real reason for low wages is that most our state and federal laws are written to favor large corporations, rather than workers or consumers.
The event was moderated by Alma Mendoza who concluded with a call for all people doing something to ensure that Congress takes up comprehensive national immigration reform as soon as possible.
June 23, 2009
Thank you to all of you who attended our last townhall meeting with Rep. Ryden and myself on Personal Finance: Surviving a Recession. We had a great panel which included:
Keith Tillman, CPA
Marc Schtul, Bankruptcy Attorney
George Schumaker, Consumer Credit Counseling
Mason Finks, Fraud Unit, 18th Judicial
For those of you who could not make it, here was a few takeaway tips:
- Track What You are ACTUALLY Spending (few people do)
- Use That to Make / Keep / Modify a REALISTIC Budget
- Have a Plan for Debt Elimination, Highest Interest Pay-Down First
- If You Can't Make Your Minimum Monthly Payments, You Should Consider Consumer Credit Plans
- Consumer Credit Counselors Can Negotiate Lower Interest Rates to Help Pay Down Debt Faster
- Current Bankruptcy Law requires consultation with credit counselors before proceeding
- Rule of Thumb: Keep at least 6 months of your monthly expenses in savings
- Rule of Thumb: Try to make sure no more than 40% of your total earnings go to debt payments
- Then begin retirement planning on what you need to live
- When refinancing consider how long you plan to stay – consider the COST to refi
- Avoid interest-only loans or always pay more than asked and specify additional portion to principal
Also, a reminder to comparison shop, there are GOOD deals out there. And a particular reminder from Betty Harris is Free Cycle — a great way to find and get free items you would otherwise spend money to buy.
May 30, 2009
The Arapahoe County fair will be Wed. July 22 through Sunday July 26. Hold the date!
<< Newer Posts | Older Posts >>