Despite Some Transparency, Arvada Website Comes Up a Little Short

Despite Some Transparency, Arvada Website Comes Up a Little Short

A local government’s website often is the front line of communication, giving residents both a first impression and a deeper basis to determine whether elected officials have effectively established confidence and trust. The City of Arvada has sought to put its best foot forward in some aspects of customer service and transparency. But a number of opportunities exist to improve the Arvada website and its usefulness to concerned taxpayers and other community residents. Analysis and suggestions are based on an informal site audit I performed on March 6-8. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

March 8: Week in Review

March 8: Week in Review

From the Independence Institute Ed Is Watching Blog More Time to Study the K-12 Testing Issue Would Be Greatly Beneficial School Choice Legislative Debates Spread Across Map; Time for Colorado Kids to Win Two Michigan Teachers Set Free of Union; Thousands More in Limbo Top Facebook Links of the Week That's Just WRONG: This Doughnut Shop Won't Sell Dougnuts Because They Are Too Unhealthy (Delish.com) Further Proving Colorado Senators Are Rubber Stamps: John Fund - A Radical Rejected (National Review) Playing Favorites with Tax Credits Equals Bad Policy: Gorman: One Man's Tax Preference is Another Man's Tax Burden (Greeley Tribune) Next Up... Math Optional?: SAT College-Entrance Exam's Essay Portion to Become Optional in 2016 … [Read more...]

February 8: Week in Review

February 8: Week in Review

I offered recorded commentary for an American Family Radio News syndicated report on the Colorado Education Association's legal and legislative challenge of the state's 2010 tenure reform. More from the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Task Force Looks at Policy Answers for Online Learning (Podcast) Will President Obama Set Record Straight on How School Choice Has Helped Kids? (Ed Is Watching) Open Negotiations in Jeffco Schools? That Old Momentum Looks Like It’s Back (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #2) by Robert A. Caro: If you have a sensitive moral conscience, you also will need a hard stomach. But this second installment in Caro's intensely … [Read more...]

Lewis-Palmer School Board’s Debt Financing Draws Scrutiny

Lewis-Palmer School Board’s Debt Financing Draws Scrutiny

Local watchdogs say revelations made at the Lewis-Palmer District 38 school board’s January 16 meeting not only confirm some of the past warnings they shared but also should heighten concerns about fiscal mismanagement. Board members seem unable to come to terms with their 2010 decision to borrow money that’s costing taxpayers extra dollars for financing with no return for classrooms or students. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

January 18: Week in Review

January 18: Week in Review

I wrote an op-ed for the Greeley Tribune titled "Education Spending Transparency Doesn't Require Massive Tax Hike":Giving Coloradans open government should be more than an applause line. Whatever reassurance skeptical voters may need, it’s not because officials have withheld financial information from online disclosure. The question is whether they have done enough. More from the Independence Institute I’ll Stick My Toe into the Fordham-Cato School Choice Argument… for Five Minutes (Ed Is Watching) Denver State’s New Largest School District; Falcon 49 Open Enrollment Soars (Ed Is Watching) School Funding at Forefront of K-12 Legislative Business (Podcast) Twitter Verse of the Week Joel 2:13 Return to the Lord your God, for he … [Read more...]

Colorado Lags Neighbors in Ability to Meet Financial Obligations

Colorado Lags Neighbors in Ability to Meet Financial Obligations

Colorado trails most of its neighbors in the state’s ability to pay current and future bills. So says a new analysis from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “State Fiscal Condition: Ranking the 50 States” by economist Sarah Arnett compares the states’ respective abilities to cover short-term and long-term financial obligations. ...Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado.... … [Read more...]

Heath: “Grand Bargain” K-12 Tax Hike “Beginning to Take a Bite” from Elephant

Imagine sitting down to write a term paper or thesis, then releasing the first draft of the paper not only to your professor but to a worldwide audience. Now imagine your paper contains instructions for allocating billions of tax dollars to a bunch of different groups. You can start to understand what Colorado state senator Michael Johnston (D-Denver) feels like after releasing a draft of legislation to rewrite the state's 19-year-old School Finance Act. In the funny game of democratic politics, is it better to make a bold push in one direction, or to try to bring diverse interests together around a "Grand Bargain"? When it comes to Johnston's monumental effort, the question is being played out before our eyes. The idea is to tie "bold" … [Read more...]

How Bad Was the Fiscal Cliff Deal? Michael Bennet May Have Teed One Up for the Teetering GOP

Conservatives have plenty of reason to mope in the fiscal gloom these days, maybe even enough to indulge in a bit of dark humor. That brings us to the Colorado political junkie joke of the week, the first of 2013: "How bad was the fiscal cliff deal Congress approved?" "I don't know. How bad was it?" "The fiscal cliff deal was so bad that Michael Bennet couldn't even vote for it." The serious question, though, that follows Congress' pathetic kicking-the-can-down-the-road exercise -- which strangely divided Colorado's Democratic tag-team duo in the U.S. Senate -- is whether Colorado Senator Michael Bennet's dissent may have set the stage for Republicans to start taking a necessary hard line on the next tough issue around the bend. … [Read more...]