A sampling of recent editorials from Colorado newspapers:
The Gazette, Sept. 11, on Colorado's recall elections:
The people have spoken and the system works. Through the peaceful process of a special election, a majority of voters decided Senate President John Morse will not have another term in the Colorado Legislature. Morse becomes the first recalled state politician in Colorado history. He also becomes an important cautionary tale.
The election sends a powerful message to politicians throughout the country: Govern contrary to the interests of constituents, in a manner that threatens freedom and prosperity, and you may be recalled. Use your authority to assault the Constitution, and you may be recalled.
The recall reminds the rest of the country that Colorado isn't for sale. The billionaire mayor of New York City cannot write a check for the votes of people in Colorado Springs who value their most basic constitutional rights. The Chicago political machine's priciest and slickest political consultants, given a million-plus-dollars to spend, cannot sway the hearts and minds of constituents who feel poorly served. The powerful voice of former President Bill Clinton, who campaigned to keep Morse in office, does not determine our local representation. Vice President Joe Biden can applaud Morse for his actions, but only the locals decide the senator's long-term fate.
Mostly, this election should remind all politicians they work for us. They are servants of people who will not be treated as fodder for the elite. Politicians must respond to emails and phone calls, even from constituents on the other side of the political divide. They must favor public discourse, never using rank to silence dissent. They must govern for the protection and promotion of freedom, not the protection and promotion of political parties and friends.
While we're pleased the people said "no more" to the authoritarian agenda of Morse, we take no delight in his political demise. We disagreed with most decisions Morse made, but maintain the utmost respect for his willingness to serve. As seen in this recall, elective public service is brutal and thankless work. At the very least, we respect his temerity.
We wish Morse had done a better job. We would prefer celebrating him as a Democrat who helped pave the way for more jobs, prosperity and freedom throughout Colorado. We wish the recall had not been needed.
We also take this opportunity to congratulate former City Councilman Bernie Herpin, who was elected to replace Morse. We hope the 2014 legislative session, with a new Senate president who will be elected by the majority party, will focus less on jobs-killing efforts to control the common endeavors of individuals. Give us laws that liberate the masses to earn money, keep it and create good jobs.
Though we're not counting on big change, we hope the next legislative session will undo laws that help predatory lawyers sue employers over frivolous claims. We hope legislators undo the unfair, jobs-killing electric-rate increases Morse helped impose on rural Coloradans. We hope the next session will undo a gun law that cost Colorado a valuable television series and a major employer. We hope the next session will fix an election law so poorly written it jeopardizes the integrity of all future elections.
This recall, while useful, indicates a failure of one powerful politician to adequately represent the people who put him in office.
The Morse recall is national news because it threatens the left's sudden stronghold on Colorado politics. The "Colorado model" is an experiment in using big money, often from outside interests, to change the political landscape of moderately Republican states. The recall turns the experiment on its head, at least for now.
The Denver Post, Sept. 11, on Colorado's recall elections:
We hope the outcome of Tuesday's recall elections closes an ugly chapter in Colorado's political history, an instance when recalls were used against elected officials not for malfeasance or corruption in office but for simply voting their consciences.
Colorado Senate President John Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat who was targeted for his support of modest gun control measures, has lost his seat. He will be replaced by Republican Bernie Herpin. And Sen. Angela Giron, a Democrat from Pueblo who also supported gun control legislation, also failed to hold onto her seat and will be replaced by Republican George Rivera..
We have repeatedly said it was inappropriate to launch recalls against Morse and Giron simply for their votes instead of waiting one year for regular elections. It was also a colossal waste of taxpayer money that ran well into six figures.
But the voters' will should be respected.
We also hope, perhaps in vain, that there will be no recrimination following the elections. Herpin and Rivera will become state senators and should be afforded all the courtesy and respect shown to any other. It's time to move on.
It is not time, for either side, to ponder more ways to use the recall process to undermine our system of regular, democratic elections.
Longmont Times-Call, Sept. 11, on 40 years of blood donations:
Good deeds are done with little fanfare, which is why so many go unnoticed. Lifesaving efforts can go on for decades, and a community might not notice because, well, we're just doing what we do.
Longmont this week passed a significant milestone of saving lives throughout the Denver metro area. Bonfils Blood Center marked its 40th year of operating blood drives in the city, and during that time has collected 21,000 pints.
The organization celebrated the anniversary Monday during a blood drive at the Moose Lodge, which attracted donors who've been saving lives for years. One Longmont woman at the drive has been giving blood for 50 years.
Anyone who has given blood or knows someone who donates understands that the donor often is the one who is thankful for the opportunity to help others. They know that the temporary, mild discomfort of giving is nothing compared to the needs of those who will receive the gifts.
Not everyone can give, but we encourage those who can to take the opportunity at an upcoming drive. More are scheduled for this month.
To those who have given and who organize blood drives, thank you for your persistence in giving. You deserve more than a snack and juice, but we know that the way you see it, that's payment enough.
The Daily Sentinel, Sept. 10, on Grand Junction police considering placing cameras on officers:
We welcome the news from Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper that he is evaluating the use of cameras that city police officers would wear on their bodies — on sunglasses, helmets or clothing — to film police actions.
Using the cameras, we believe, will help demonstrate that police acted correctly in confrontations with the public, and they almost certainly will provide critical evidence that helps speed up court cases. After all, a criminal suspect caught on camera making threats to police or physically attacking them has a lot less incentive to claim police misconduct than when it's just the suspect's word against the police officer's. Let the public and courts see what prompted an officer's action.
The announcement comes a year after the Grand Junction Police Department removed dashboard cameras from patrol cars, primarily because of increasing costs.
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said he will also consider the possibility of on-body cameras for deputies. But he is concerned that, as with dashboard-mounted cameras, if the cameras don't show all of the actions of officers and suspects clearly, they raise questions about a deputy's credibility.
That may be true, but in an age when nearly everyone has a smartphone with a video cam, there's a good chance that a suspect, his or her friends or uninvolved bystanders may film the actions in a way that reflects badly on an officer. Better to have video that at least shows the scene as the officer sees it, than to rely exclusively on such third-party video.
Technology is making video cameras smaller and quality better. It makes sense, both from an economic and law-enforcement standpoint, for police to utilize such technology, which is a big improvement over stationary dash-mounted cameras.