Tuesday, February 27, 2018

“O the irony!” says "Save"LaPlata's front man, Peters. The irony indeed.

This is an updated version of  "SaveLaPlataCounty's "Facts" Tainted by Koch's DarkMoney Tentacles" (2/16), this expanded version was inspired by SaveLaPlataCounty's Dave Peters' bile filled PR release of 2/22.  I submit another study in Intellectual Confrontation, you could also call it simply speaking up for honesty, and trying to rationally describe the process.  In any event, it's something we need more of.
Durango Herald's February 22“O the irony!” said Dave Peters, another (Lachelt) recall organizer, in the news release. “It turns out the queen of outside dark money is actually Commissioner Lachelt herself.” Recall supporters created a website, Save La Plata County, which explains why they are seeking her removal from office.”  
Oh the irony indeed!
What about The Rest Of This Story? 

What about SaveLaPlata.com’s many ties to unabashedly oil loving, environmentalist hating outfits with their vast amounts of Koch DarkMoney ready to be lavished on any go-getters ready to join their fabricated war on rationality and raise hell in their communities?

A network that Ken Francis alluded to in his thoughtful November 17th, 2017 Durango Herald opinion piece,” “Big oil and gas behind county commissioner attacks.” https://durangoherald.com/articles/195280 (at the end of this I share his insightful final paragraphs.)

Where is SaveLaPlata.com getting their funding from?  No hint at their blog.  I’ve sent Mr Peters an email requesting that information, we’ll see if I get a response. I will keep you updated. (still no word 2/27)

Here we look at the brain-trust three locals depended on to fabricate their malicious effort to do an end-run around the democratic voters' will. 

(click on images for clearer view)

To begin with, isn’t their summary title a bit hysterical? 

Does La Plata County need saving?  Look around at our country, aren't we amongst the luckiest people in America, in the world?

(Now they’ve amped up the hysteria meter yet again: “The Queen of outside DarkMoney” - a county commissioner.  Sure jack.  Another example of how this effort lives and breaths melodrama and disconnect from the reality happening within our government and real life.  Worst they seem to believe their own tunnel visioned lies - thus I argue the need for direct intellectual, emotional and factual interventions by friends and neighbors and news reporters who know better.  If you don't do it, who will?)

What La Plata needs saving from is a ruthless, contrived campaign intent on injecting misunderstanding and divisiveness into local politics. 
Please can we be realistic.  Nothing can save us from the march of time and continued population growth.  Rules and regulations, who needs them?  We do.

Second, they repeat idealistic sounding phrases, but show little concern for accurately representing facts, their own, or their opponent’s actual positions.  It’s as if only one side of an issue exists for them and all the rest is meaningless to them.  

Their narrative breaths contempt for environmental problems and safety regulations that benefit all of us, along with all who are concerned with those issues.  

Like they haven’t even figured out that our “environment” out there is our life support system!  We depend on its good health for our own good health.  For some god-awful reason, they refuse to look at that part of this equation.  Deregulation for industry is as far as their imaginations' can grasp.

Third, there’s nothing homespun or grassroots about SaveLaPlataCounty.com or their recall effort.  It is part of a national strategy to crush “liberal” bastions of our country, and eject us from what they feel entitled to.  “All of it!”

Please consider the four references that "save"laplatacounty.com/the-recall-effort/ uses to justify their malicious recall effort.  None contain specific evidence or charges. 

Instead they are agenda driven carefully crafted word-salads.  Full of insinuations, attitude, but nothing solid except for links to Koch’s DarkMoney octopus and a distain for environmental safety standards. 

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1, 3)  Western Wire Reports

Facing Recall, New Questions Emerge For Lachelt Ahead Of COGCC Hearing”
  -  By Michael Sandoval, February 12, 2018

Ethics Questions Continue To Swirl Around La Plata County Commissioner
  -  By Michael Sandoval, July 17, 2017

Western Wire is a project of Western Energy Alliance, a non-profit regional oil and natural gas association based in Denver, Colo., and active across 13 states. (http://westernwire.net/about/)

Michael J. Sandoval is a contract Energy Policy Associate Analyst for the Independence Institute.  Before that an investigative reporter for The Heritage Foundation and he is a 2013 graduate of the Koch Associate Program.  

Speaking of transparency, do you know who Western Energy Alliance is?  In their own words:

“The Voice of the Industry in the West - focuses on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental, public lands and other policy issues. We represent the voice of the Western oil and natural gas industry in a variety of ways. 
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A key component to the WEA's activity is the legislative actions taken by all levels of government that impact the oil and natural gas industry. 

Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’
Richard Berman Energy Industry Talk Secretly Taped
Eric Lipton  |  October 30, 2014

… “Think of this as an endless war,” Mr. Berman told the crowd at the June event in Colorado Springs, sponsored by the Western Energy Alliance, a group whose members include Devon Energy, Halliburton and Anadarko Petroleum, which specialize in extracting oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. “And you have to budget for it.”

What Mr. Berman did not know — and what could now complicate his task of marginalizing environmental groups that want to impose limits on fracking — is that one of the energy industry executives recorded his remarks and was offended by them.

“That you have to play dirty to win,” said the executive, who provided a copy of the recording and the meeting agenda to The New York Times under the condition that his identity not be revealed. “It just left a bad taste in my mouth.” …
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also see the related report: 

DeSmog Blog  |  November 4, 2014

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Here’s another yet more detailed story:

Behind the curtain:
An inside look at the oil & gas industry/Republican ‘REDPRINT’ for turning Colorado from Blue to Red
By Joel Dyer - September 17, 2015 - Boulder Weekly 

… The industry waged its war by creating incredibly well-funded oil and gas front groups like Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) and Vital for Colorado (Vital). CRED was founded and is primarily funded by the two largest oil and gas companies operating in our state, Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy. 

CRED is also the group we have to thank for the endless bombardment of “fracking is good for you” TV commercials, which represent the largest single ad spend in state history. CRED is also the industry front group that paid for an entire section in The Denver Post, calling it the “energy and environment” section, which like the TV ads, was used to extol the virtues of fracking page after page, week after week. CRED clearly has money and lots of it.

More than one observer noted that media criticism of the oil and gas industry all but disappeared once the millions in ad dollars started flowing the media’s way. But that’s a story for another day. …
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The Coors-funded Independence Institute is a free-market, libertarian think tank based in Denver, Colorado. The non-profit is a member of the State Policy Network

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2)  Free Range Report Depicts Lachelt’s Lobbying Activities

The author Marjorie Haun has written for American Thinker, the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, Watchdog.org, and Colorado Peak Politics…

Today I found out something else about Marjorie, I can’t make up stuff like this:

I report, you decide.

       watchdog org

Watchdogdotorg is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a non-profit organization dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility.  (As part of our 501(c)3, non-profit mission, which is where the DarkMoney is)

Franklin Center Top Donor Is Right-Wing's "Dark Money ATM"
Joe Strupp   |   February 22, 2013

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Report: Right-Wing Dark Money Group Provides 80 Percent Of Franklin Center Funds
HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY  |  December 3, 2013

New tax filings acquired by Mother Jones reveal that the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity received 80 percent of its grant money from the Donors Trust, dubbed the "the dark money ATM of the conservative movement.”

As Media Matters has previously documented, Donors Trust and its affiliated organization, Donors Capital Fund, provide individuals and organizations a way to hide their donations or "pass-through" money to various right-leaning causes and media outlets. They are the primary financial backer for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which, according to the tax documents obtained by Mother Jones, received $9.2 million from the fund, accounting for "nearly $8 of every $10 in grant money received by the Franklin Center in 2012.” …

Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity  -  Background

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Plain Talk: Brazen smear? Yes, but it got the job done.
Dave Zweifel | Cap Times editor emeritus | Nov 12, 2014 

… The column described how the Wisconsin Reporter was one of several "services" started in Wisconsin and other states by an outfit called the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, one of those tea party-connected nonprofits that somehow qualifies for a tax exemption. Its president, who at the time claimed to be an "expert on nonprofit journalism," had never worked as a journalist before and, in fact, for six years ran the North Dakota Republican Party.

I gave the outfit credit for being clever enough to take advantage of the troubles that plague traditional media, and offer news services, including "investigative journalism," for free to cash-strapped newspapers. What a novel idea to get your political message across by couching it as supposedly objective journalism. I called it Fox News in print. …

… But outfits like the Wisconsin Reporter are savvy enough to know that in this age of attack politics, the story, no matter how discredited, will get "legs." Mainstream media will report on it, reporters will ask questions about it, political ad makers will prey on it and, hence, the seeds of doubt about Mary Burke will be sown. Makes no difference if the story is made out of whole cloth — the mission's accomplished.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital.

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4)  Colorado Peak Politics:

“RECALL! Environmental Whacko Faces the Ax By Voters”
February 9, 2018   |  Colorado’s Conservative Bully Pulpit

poor job performance  -  A LIE !  -  https://gwenlachelt.com/commission-record/

double-dipping  -  A LIE !  -  https://durangoherald.com/articles/207192 
 “No substance to the Lachelt recall effort”

repeatedly leveraged our public office for her private gain  -  A LIE !  -  
“Recall effort: 
Blaming unpopularity of land use code on Gwen Lachelt alone is misguided”
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Dave Peter's Recall Petition is nothing but biased angry inflammatory bullying.  

Venom filled words, but in the end very little substance and what there was of that was misrepresented.  This is precisely the kind of emotional vitriol that destroys the democratic civility we depend on to keep our society functioning.  Exactly what the oligarchs want, this cynical recall attempt is doing their bidding.   
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Gwen has been working for her constituents !  I copied this from 

Gwen Lachelt’s Work as La Plata County Commissioner, So Far:

 • Re-ignited the Comprehensive Plan conversation and pursuit with the Planning Commission
 • I supported the creation of the La Plata County Water Advisory Commission to aide the county both in planning for, and protecting, our waters.
 • I sponsored the Public Lands Resolution, which passed unanimously, calling for maintaining federal ownership of our public lands.
 • I advocated strongly in DC for passage of the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, critical to our tourism industry.
 • I supported convening a Fiscal Sustainability Steering Committee to help the commissioners plan for the county’s financial future.
 • I led the county in developing strong state air quality standards and the nation’s first rule controlling methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
 • I testified in Washington DC in support of the BLM’s Venting and Flaring Rule to reduce emissions and protect the US Treasury.
 • I served as co-chair of Hickenlooper’s Oil & Gas Task Force and fought hard to maintain the authority of local governments to regulate O&G operations.
 • I have been serving on the boards of San Juan Basin Health and Housing Solutions for the Southwest.
 • I advocate daily for diversifying our economy so we are not so dependent on any single industry.
 • I’ve worked with residents and local businesses to strengthen our local foods economy, support community garden projects, and promote sound food policy by creating the Herbicide Carryover Working Group to educate growers and the community about the risks certain herbicides pose to gardens and farms in our region.
 • I promoted the first community solar garden development on the Boys & Girls Club rooftop.   https://gwenlachelt.com/commission-record/


Francis: Big oil and gas behind county commissioner attacks

Ken Francis, Nov. 17, 2017  |  Op-Ed Durango Herald

… It’s worth noting that in August, Americans for Prosperity quietly hired a Western Slope field director, based in Durango, marking the organization’s first-ever presence in this part of Colorado. What that means for the future of local elections in La Plata County is not certain, but it would be naive to think Americans for Prosperity is here arbitrarily or without targeted goals for our community and the Western Slope.

The oil and gas industry and its lobbyists have waged a longstanding crusade against those they perceive as enemies. As a longtime proponent of responsible fossil fuel production – who made no bones about that fact during both her successful bids for county office in 2012 and 2016 – it’s no surprise that Lachelt is in their crosshairs. But Dempsey’s hit piece is more than one attack on one local official. Powerful players with huge holdings in oil and gas are making a concerted effort to influence local elections by undermining leaders like Lachelt under the guise of moral principle.

We must remember to make our own decisions when it comes to our leadership and governance and reject outside influences with deep pockets telling us how or what we should think. Their goal is to serve themselves, not the people of La Plata County.

Ken Francis,he a fourth generation Coloradoan raised in Durango, is currently retired from the Office of Community Services and Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College.

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