Nicks Makes KBDI Appearance
by Ari Armstrong, January 31, 2004
The Libertarian Party of Colorado has a new spokesperson. Travis Nicks is a polished, intelligent candidate vying for Arapahoe County Clerk in a February 24 special election. If the current clerk, Republican Tracy Baker, is recalled on that day, voters will then select among Nicks, Republican Nancy Doty, and several write-in candidates. Baker faces no criminal charge but is accused of creating a hostile working environment and of trading sexually explicit e-mails with an employee while at work.
On January 28, Nicks appeared on Colorado Inside Out, a television show on KBDI hosted by radio personality Peter Boyles. As Boyles explained in his introductory remarks, KBDI invited Nicks, Baker, and Doty to appear on the show. Doty declined, but Baker accepted. However, the day before the show was to air, Baker dropped out, complaining of an independent e-mail that had circulated notifying people of the show. Boyles said he had agreed not to ask about Baker's personal life, but he couldn't control what callers asked.
Boyles kept open the invitation for Nicks, and added a journalist and a community activist involved with the recall effort. Thus, while most of the show was devoted to a discussion of Baker, Nicks was able to outline some of his key goals should he be elected as the next clerk. Nicks said he wants to restore integrity to the office, ensure tax dollars are spent prudently, and make sure any new voting system allows manual verification and recount.
One of Nicks' campaign advisors, Ralph Shnelvar, the 2002 LP candidate for governor, has been active with Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results, a Boulder group concerned that all-electronic voting systems are open to fraud and error and do not allow for a manual recount. Other advisors include Richard Randall and Frank Atwood, a Libertarian who helped repeal the grocery tax in Littleton.
Shnelvar said Aaron Harber had considered inviting the candidates for Arapahoe County Clerk onto his February 2 KBDI show, but Shnelvar didn't know whether the show would proceed with those plans.
The Rocky Mountain News reviewed Boyles' show in a January 29 story by Jim Tankersley. The reporter wrote, "Tracy Baker didn't show for a televised debate Wednesday, so a panel of opponents and journalists beat him up in absentia. On KBDI-Channel 12's Colorado Inside Out Live, host Peter Boyles criticized Baker's short-notice decision to skip the show, on which Baker had agreed to appear... In an interview with the Littleton Independent published Jan. 8, Baker challenged any of them to debate 'the issues of the office, not my personal life.' One opponent, Libertarian Travis Nicks, accepted the challenge... Nicks... promised on the show to improve the climate in the clerk's office, manage its money better and implement an improved voting process..."
Nicks' campaign staff issued a release January 14 announcing the show. Another release from January 21 (reproduced below) described a hearing that decided several points pertaining to the recall.
Elect Travis Nicks
For Immediate Release
Travis Nicks Wins on All Points at Bosier Hearing.
ARAPAHOE COUNTY: Today Ed Bosier, the Arapahoe County Assessor and the person charged with conducting the Tracy Baker recall, held a hearing regarding the Democrats request to be on the ballot.
[Note: All quotes are approximations but are fair representations of what was said. A court reporter was present.]
The Democrats argued that the law was unfair and unconstitutional. The Republicans argued that the law was clear and constitutional.
"I speak for the Travis Nicks campaign," said Ralph Shnelvar Media Contact but acting as lay counsel for the campaign. "Mr. Nicks sympathizes with the Democrat and wishes that the law was such that all candidates can have equal access to the ballot; but we observed the rules. Changing the rules now would send a terrible message to future candidates and may cause candidates to withdraw from participating in the political process even before they enter any race."
One of the Republican lawyers said, "This is not about fairness; this is about power politics." When told of this cynical (but accurate) statement, Travis Nicks said, "No, this is not about power politics. This is about serving the people of Arapahoe County. The Republicans wish only to maintain power and Tracy Baker is a prime example of how power corrupts."
Using similar tortured logic and the bending of plain-English as the Democrat, the same Republican lawyer asked Mr. Bosier to rescind Mr. Nicks first position on the ballot.
"The language of the statute is clear," ruled Mr. Bosier.
There were no representatives of Mr. Baker's present at this hearing.