Freedom Updates: January 9, 2004

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: January 9, 2004

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Elect Travis Nicks
[The following press release was issued January 7. Nicks said he anticipates a two-way race against a Republican, though a Democrat also submitted signatures and several other candidates announced as write-ins.]

For Immediate Release:
Libertarians Select One of Their Best and Brightest to Run Against Tracy Baker

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, CO -- On December 31, 2003, Travis Nicks submitted twice the number of required signatures necessary to gain listed status as a Libertarian in the February 24 recall election against Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder, Tracy Baker.

A registered Libertarian for more than two years, Travis Nicks, commenting on his petition drive said, "I am thrilled by the outpouring of support for me. People from all parties signed the petition to get me on the ballot. We only needed 750 signatures. I am overwhelmed and delighted that we got over 1500. We're organized and ready to go. I promise that when I am elected I will make the County Clerk and Recorder's office a consumer-friendly and respectable place to work."

Nicks continued, "I grew up as a Boy Scout and at the age of 15 I held several significant leadership roles in that organization as a Life Scout. I continue to live by the 11 basic skills of leadership that I learned and taught as a Boy Scout and I will apply those same skills to the office of Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder.

Nicks works as a Design Engineer for a large telecommunications company managing the northeast portion of their U.S. network. "I will bring my technical and managerial skills to the Clerk's office. I will bring my sense of duty and fairness to the taxpayers, to make the Clerk's office as friendly to consumers as the best of any private enterprise."

"The voters need a principled, grounded, mature person to run the Clerk's office in an unbiased and professional manner. I am proud to be a Libertarian, a member of the Party of Principle and I will use those principles of fairness and reason when I am county clerk."

Media Contact:
Ralph Shnelvar
303-546-6125
ralphs*AT*dos32.com


Producers of Injustice
Severin Schneider submitted the following comments on January 8, citing articles in Westword and SCFD:

Last night I went to see a play, the Producers at the Buell Theater, in the Denver performing arts center. I enjoyed the show, however something gnawing at me throughout the show, and that something is tax money. The theater was almost filled completely up and it holds 2,882 people I would guess that maybe 2,500 people were there. The cost per ticket ranged between 40 and 80 dollars. We also ended up parking in the garage where I would say at least 500 other cars were parked the cost for parking was 8 dollars. I am estimating that this one show probably brought in about $160,000 in gross revenues.

This is not an event priced for poor people or families, and even though this is just anecdotal almost all of the people I saw were white, middle aged or elderly, not typical of the diversity we have in Denver.

I did a bit of research on the internet and found that the Denver performing arts center where the Buell is located is a recipient of tax payer money through the SCFD [Scientific and Cultural Facilities District]. It is in the tier one category. The SCDF seizes about 30-35 million a year through a sales tax that applies to the 7 county metro area. 65.5 percent of this money goes to the five tier one organizations, or between 19,650,000 to 22,942,500 dollars, of which the performing art center gets between 3,930,000 and 4,588,500 taxpayers dollars.

The SCFD is about taking from the poor to give to the rich. The SCFD was approved by voters in 1988 but is due to sunset in 2006. In November of 2004 the SCFD will be back on the ballot, where they will ask taxpayers to extend the SCFD. I am asking the freedom lovers in Colorado to speak out against this unfair redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.


Congratulations, Walter in Denver!
Walter Schlomer, a Denver Libertarian, runs a blog (web log) called walterindenver.com. On January 3, 2004, David Kopel announced that Walter is "at the top of the heap" among "the winners of Colorado Best Web Logs, 2003."

Kopel wrote, "A good example of Walter at his best was his Dec. 27 item tracking down the current claims that the recent earthquake in Iran was caused by the U.S. military. Walter provided a link to another Web log (www.classicalvalues.com) that explained that the source of the crackpot earthquake theory (which the Denver dailies wisely ignored) is also the source of another crackpot theory that the Denver dailies have foolishly disseminated. The second theory, which appeared repeatedly in the Denver dailies last year as if it were an actual fact, involves 'depleted uranium' (DU) weapons... Another link by Walter in Denver took us to a Dec. 22 FrontPage Magazine (frontpagemag.com) interview with U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, in which Tancredo claimed that five towns in the southwestern United States are run by corrupt governments under the control of the drug-smuggling Mexican Mafia. The towns included Compton, Calif., and Douglas, Ariz. Walter in Denver argued that Tancredo's allegations were plausible, but that Tancredo was dead wrong in blaming the problem on immigration, rather than on drug prohibition."

Kopel added, "Runner-up for best Colorado blog is the aptly named TalkLeft.com, run by criminal defense lawyer Jeralyn Merritt."

Kopel writes a twice-monthly "On the Media" Column for the Saturday edition of the Rocky Mountain News.


Tancredo and Immigration
President Bush wants to let immigrants work in the U.S. legally. Predictably, Congressman Tom "Illegals Are Good Enough For My Basement But Not For Yours" Tancredo has blasted Bush for his heresy. According to a January 8 article in the Rocky Mountain News by Ann Imse and M.E. Sprengelmeyer, "In Tancredo's view, the measures would reward illegal immigration and do nothing to secure U.S. borders against terrorists lost in the huge numbers crossing into America." Tancredo told the reporters that Bush's plan "rewards people for having broken the law. That's bad policy."

But the main reason we have security problems now on the border is that immigrant workers are pushed into the black market. Bush's plan to turn illegal immigrants into legal temporary workers would only help this problem.

Tancredo's argument that people who broke the law to work in the U.S. should not now be offered legal status is without merit. An unjust law should be repealed, not applied endlessly. By Tancredo's reasoning, slaves who illegally escaped their alleged "owners" should never have been given legal standing. Breaking an unjust law when it is prudent to do so not only is morally acceptable, it is morally virtuous.

In a word, Tancredo's anti-immigration policy is socialistic. He wants to use the force of government to interfere with the hiring practices of U.S. businesses.


Contempt in Medical Marijuana Case
A January 8 AP story about Steamboat Springs relates, "A judge has issued contempt citations to nine police officers involved in a drug raid that has led to a clash in state and federal laws over the use of marijuana by the sick. The citations, issued Wednesday, accuse the officers of failing to return 2 ounces of marijuana seized from Don Nord, 57, last October. Colorado is one of nine states that allow the infirm to grow or smoke marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Nord, who has battled cancer, diabetes and other ailments, has a certificate from the state allowing him to use the drug under a voter-approved 2000 constitutional amendment... Last month, some of Nord's pot-growing equipment was returned but he is still waiting for the marijuana and his pipes... Officials with the Drug Enforcement Agency have said they have no intention of returning the marijuana, which is illegal for any use under federal law. The officers, who served on a federal task force that conducted the raid, must appear before Routt County Judge James Garrecht on Feb. 2 to explain why they should not be punished for contempt."

The contempt charges are excellent. Think about this for a minute. At least nine armed agents raided the home of a sick patient and stole his medicine. And we paid them to do it. The officers' actions are morally reprehensible, and contempt is the least of their failings.


Campus Information Campaign
Recently I criticized State Senator John Andrews for his possible "Academic Bill of Rights." The Washington Times picked up this story on January 6. According to the Times, Andrews' likely proposal now is less ambitious than what was possible: Andrews wants "a campus information campaign, complete with posters and handbooks that advise students of their rights." Andrews told the paper, "I'd prefer this [proposal] rather than trying to put into statute a definition of academic freedom and mandate that a grievance procedure would include the following steps."

Of course, tax dollars ought not be spent for any such purpose, just as they should not be spent on higher education at all. But, so far as legislative proposals go, the one described by the Times is fairly innocuous. Perhaps if Andrews loses the legislative battle he can pursue a private effort to provide appropriate literature.


Save Jeff Jordan
The Liberty Round Table related the following information:

"Hunter, AKA Jeff Jordan, [was] honored as a Defender of Liberty of the Knights of Non-Aggression)... If you're familiar with the Liberty Round Table, you've probably corresponded with one of our first Knights of Non-Aggression: Hunter. If you've been to one of our camping get-togethers, an LRT Conclave, you've probably met him. Or if you've been on one of our email discussion lists, you've probably corresponded with him. Even if you haven't, you may have read some of his essays in the Sierra Times, The Price of Liberty, Doing Freedom!, or a number of other publications. Or you might have met him at a Gun Rights Policy Conference, Second Amendment Sisters event, or science fiction convention. Whatever the case may be on that, the key things to know are that Hunter is a marksman, a gunsmith, a concealed weapons permit holder in many states, a man of his word, a steadfast friend, and one of the most dedicated people we know fighting to defend freedom in America.

"And now Hunter is in trouble.

"On Monday, 12/29/03, Hunter was driving through Ohio, on his way home to New Hampshire after spending Christmas with his family in Kansas. He was pulled over for speeding, realizing too late that he had forgotten to follow his usual procedure and remove the guns he carries, legally in most states. The trooper claims he saw one of Hunter's mag pouches (a perfectly legal item to wear) and searched Hunter with the predictable consequences...

"Hunter is working with a SAF-recommended attorney in Ohio, James E. Brightbill. Several LRTers have spoken with him and he strikes us all as being very competent. He's also retained Marc Victor, the famous libertarian Phoenix-area criminal defense attorney who was kicked off the bench after one day on the job as judge, for recusing himself from drug cases. Brightbill is willing to take help from more lawyers, as making a strong constitutional case will be challenging, and that could run into some serious cash ... but there are grounds on which to challenge the Ohio law (not to mention the bungled procedure of the traffic stop), so this could actually turn into a big win for RKBA. Hunter is seriously thinking about liquidating his house and assets and pouring everything into a strong constitutional challenge to the Ohio law.

"We'll update this project as the case progresses. Questions and press inquiries may be directed to . Please spread the word. We want to teach the Bad Guys a lesson with this one!

"If you'd like to make a donation to Hunter's legal defense fund, we've established a contributions page that lists all the ways you can make a donation to help him out. More will be added as they're created..."

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com