Don’t be lulled to sleep by Gov’s race
August 25, 2006
And so it has come to this.Colorado politics has yet again produced a gubernatorial race that is so lackluster as to actually drive voters away from the polls.But let us not be too quick to run. There may be reason to hang in there.Republican Bob Beauprez and Democrat Bill Ritter both are conservative Christians from Catholic upbringings, both are Colorado natives, both are from the Front Range of the Rockies and, as such, are unlikely to understand Western Slope needs and interests.But while they may seem like two peas from the same pod, that is not entirely so.Beauprez comes from a cattle ranching family near Boulder that early on turned to development as a better way to make money. They reportedly built something called the Indian Peaks golf subdivision, and at one point a homeowner embroiled Beauprez in a lawsuit over damage to a home done by hard-driven golf balls. That experience so embittered Beauprez that he joined the Colorado Civil Justice League to battle for tort reform.In addition to all that, Beauprez is a banking magnate worth more than $6 million personally, according to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia.Ritter, born in Denver and raised in Aurora, is the son of a blue-collar equipment operator who started working at the age of 14 and at one point joined a labor union while working in construction. An attorney by training and education, he is the former district attorney for Denver County. He reportedly created one of the nation’s first “drug courts” and was active in victims’ rights issues. He has done human rights and charity work, and for three years, 1987 to 1990, did lay missionary work in the African nation of Zambia, helping to distribute food and other necessities to the drought-stricken sub-Saharan bush.So, we clearly have some differences in the approaches to life shown so far by our two candidates. I’ll let you draw your own mental pictures.But my reason for bringing all this up is that Beauprez has been making the rounds in Western Colorado trying to make himself out to be some sort of friend to the environment and to Western Slope interests. Both, I believe, are blatant lies that must be pricked with the sharpest available pins.One of his inventive little campaigns is to portray himself as a friend to wildlife. He says he wants to find ways to preserve wildlife, perhaps in order to establish a hunting preserve for his Vice President Dick Cheney. But the plain fact is that he has been one of the strongest supporters of the oil and gas industry in Congress, according to various watchdog groups, and has not shown the slightest concern for the effects of drilling rigs on wildlife habitat on the Western Slope.Then there is his support for the 2003 Referendum A, an effort by Front Range interests to build more than $2 billion worth of water projects designed to steal Western Slope water and hand it over to the mushrooming Front Range.Beauprez also has come under attack for his record of supporting industries that pollute our state’s water resources. He has voted to exempt the oil and gas industry from provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to the political action group ProgressNow, and has acted to bail out the makers of the gasoline additive MTBE, which reportedly has contaminated drinking water in his district, according to the League of Conservation Voters.Another area in which Beauprez is trying to reposition himself is renewable energy. According to ProgressNow, Beauprez “supported President Bush’s 2006 budget, which slashed key energy research funds, leading to a $28 billion decrease in the budget for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – which is located in Beauprez’s district.” ProgressNow also accuses Beauprez of not signing a letter, issued by more than 100 of his fellow Congress members, to restore the funding to NREL.So good ol’ “Both Ways Bob,” as he has been tagged for his attempts to be on both sides of many hot-button issues, is trying to pull the wool over our eyes in time-honored political fashion. It’s up to us to keep our eyes clear of his cloaking technology.