A local property tax increase in Loveland has attracted all the usual supporters including the teachers union, administration, and other status quo educational-industrial complex advocates. They have an issue committee, volunteers, money (including contributions from the Colorado Education Association and top district administrators), and access to the local newspaper’s guest editorial page, which the opposition does not.
3A is a $154 million property tax increase for the Thompson School District, which we detailed in an earlier post. We also reported on Nancy Rumfelt’s Bake Sale for Transparency, which raised money so she could pay to get copies of public documents. Mrs. Rumfelt’s Liberty Watch, a 501c4 nonprofit, assumed the responsibility of challenging and providing an alternative perspective to the Yes on 3A crowd, a.k.a. Community Coalition for Local Schools, the issue committee formed in August 2011 to champion the tax increase.
As the only organized opposition to the tax increase, Mrs. Rumfelt penned a guest editorial for the Loveland Reporter Herald. The newspaper, which also opposes the tax increase, declined to run her column because she and Liberty Watch are not registered as an issue committee with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. There seems to be a double standard as Mrs. Rumfelt explains in a recent blog post:
Last night (Oct. 19th) around 6pm I received an email from Jeff [Stahla, City Editor] notifying me that because we did not file as an issue committe the Reporter Herald will not print my guest column. The rationale provided is that Liberty Watch has a stake in this issue and is no different than the Thompson Education Assoc. (TEA) or the Coloradoa Education Assoc. (CEA).
I strongly disagree!!
The school district, the teachers and most important the union all will benefit financially from an additional $12.8 million EVERY year being taken from citizens and redistributed to teachers, district staff and who knows what else.
The financial report filed by CCLS (3A issue committee) shows that 57% of the transactions come from Thompson District Employees or family members and equal 42% of the dollars contributed. The teachers union transactions represent 5% and contributed 20% of the total dollars raised. The balance came from board of education members (former and current), businesses and individuals.
What is apparent is that CCLS may have filed to be a legitimate issue committee but in no way legitmately represents the citizens of Loveland and the true “stakeholders” of 3A are the Thompson District Staff and teachers union.
Here is the link to the guest column I submitted and I would encourage you all to forward the column to others and also the link to this article since none of this will ever be printed with a drop of ink from the Reporter Herald.
For me it seems like a catch 22 argument as Liberty Watch has followed the rules that the Secretary of State has issued in an effort to make it easier for citizens and/or true grassroots groups to have a voice in the political process.
The Reporter Herald however, has decided that they are the final authority and will overrule the Secretary of State Scott Gessler in his decision to ensure citizens true representation and free speech.
COST agrees with Nancy Rumfelt. The Reporter Herald’s rationale is rather lame. Amazing that a grassroots organization, which already had organize a bake sale to raise money just to get documents that are a matter of public record, can’t get a guest editorial published in a local newspaper because of status with the SoS. Access seems much easier if part of the establishment.