The Denver Post goes berserk
|This morning, the Denver Post published a front-page editorial
attacking Gov. Ritter's executive order creating a bargaining
partnership with state workers.
It was a hyperventilating, jump up-and-down hysterical (in
more ways than one) rant.
here it is (with commentary on a blog below that):
A Colorado promise broken
By The Denver Post Editorial Board
Article Last Updated: 11/04/2007 01:49:34 AM MST
When Coloradans elected Bill Ritter as governor, they thought they were getting a modern-day version of Roy Romer, a pro-business Democrat. Instead, they got Jimmy Hoffa.
Ritter campaigned under the guise of a moderate "new Democrat" but now we know he's simply a toady to labor bosses and the old vestiges of his party — a bag man for unions and special interests.
The governor on Friday unveiled his plan to drive up the cost of doing business in Colorado by forcing collective bargaining on thousands of state employees.
We're concerned this may be the beginning of the end of Ritter as governor.
By pandering to unions, and the ever-shrinking 7.7 percent of the electorate that belong to unions, he's broken his "Colorado Promise" to voters. His promise to usher in a new era of collaborative government — where business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, would all be at the table — was nothing more than a sham.
It's unconscionable for the governor of a state that's limped through lean budget years to knowingly drive up the cost of government. And for what? Political payback to unions?
He's even doing an end-run on the legislature, controlled by his own party. Instead of introducing a bill in the legislature that could be debated and fine-tuned — the collaborative process he promised — Ritter junked what has worked for Colorado for decades with the flick of a pen. He didn't even have the guts to stand before the public and announce his plan. Instead, he sent out a press release late Friday afternoon when he hoped no one was looking.
It's government by fiat.
Ritter sailed into office with an unusual but strong coalition of business and labor backing his bid. But he has now corrupted that relationship with business, and the bulk of his agenda is at risk. He also has damaged his party, which enjoys power in Colorado partly because of that moderate face they painted for themselves in recent years.
Without business in his corner, we fear Ritter won't be able to effectively shepherd a comprehensive health care solution through the statehouse. And any plans he may have for a new revenue stream for higher education are dangling by a thread, too.
Perhaps more importantly, we're concerned he's lost whatever business support he had to reform Colorado's budget process. And that could very well doom his governorship. Gov. Bill Owens was able to pass Referendum C, which freed up money for five years from the state's tight revenue caps, because he had a strong coalition of business leaders helping to win support from GOP voters, who happen to be the largest block of Colorado voters.
Ritter will be rudderless if he tries to convince voters to approve an extension of Referendum C.
Experts say collective bargaining can add as much as 30 percent to the cost of doing business. Tell us, how does that make sense for a state that can hardly pay its bills and plans to come to voters as soon as 2009 with its hand out?
Ritter's two Democratic predecessors, Dick Lamm and Romer, were able to govern for 24 years, collectively, without introducing collective bargaining.
State employees are paid well, and treated well. In fact, by one estimate, they already earn 25 percent more than workers in surrounding states and their pay is 9 percent higher than the national average. We're ninth best in the country in paying our state employees, but not long ago we were 49th in the nation in K-12 spending as a percentage of personal income. Strange priorities, indeed.
Had Ritter thought employees were somehow getting a raw deal, he could have waved his magic wand and changed all that. He is the governor, after all. Instead, he's decided to prop up unions.
Now, he runs the risk of becoming Colorado's first one-term governor since Walter Johnson in 1950.
Coloradans bought the Colorado Promise, but may end up with a trail of broken promises.
A governor with such early promise has squandered his future in order to keep his backroom promises to a few union bosses.
And Colorado is the loser.
The Denver Post's editorial board operates independently of the paper's news coverage.
Holy Tabloid Journalism, Batman!
by: Colorado Pols
Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 10:34:40 AM MST
Today The Denver Post absolutely lit into Gov. Bill Ritter over Friday's executive order authorizing a bargaining partnership with state employees.
We're not going to get into the mechanics of Friday's executive order here, because the larger issue is the sad state of Colorado journalism when the largest newspaper in the state turns itself into a tabloid rag along the lines of The New York Post. Today the Post carries a FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL lambasting Ritter over his executive order - an editorial filled with ridiculous over-the-top, name-calling hyperbole such as this:
"When Coloradans elected Bill Ritter as governor, they thought they were getting a modern-day version of Roy Romer, a pro-business Democrat. Instead, they got Jimmy Hoffa...
"...The governor on Friday unveiled his plan to drive up the cost of doing business in Colorado by forcing collective bargaining on thousands of state employees.
"We're concerned this may be the beginning of the end of Ritter as governor...
"...Had Ritter thought employees were somehow getting a raw deal, he could have waved his magic wand and changed all that. He is the governor, after all. Instead, he's decided to prop up unions.
"Now, he runs the risk of becoming Colorado's first one-term governor since Walter Johnson in 1950.
"Coloradans bought the Colorado Promise, but may end up with a trail of broken promises.
"A governor with such early promise has squandered his future in order to keep his backroom promises to a few union bosses. And Colorado is the loser."
Talk about your vendettas. Ritter lost his chance at re-election because of this? That's a bit much, don't you think?
And comparing Ritter to Jimmy Hoffa...come on, really? Forget the New York Post, this is National Enquirer territory.
Obviously somebody high up at the Post isn't happy with Ritter, and that's their prerogative. But editorials are not meant for the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper, and to promote an editorial in such fashion is, frankly, an embarrassment to the paper and all who work there (particularly when they include this silly disclaimer at the end of the editorial: "The Denver Post's editorial board operates independently of the paper's news coverage." Uh, yeah, right.)
Front page editorials are so universally decried as wrong that critics on both sides of the aisle have criticized their use (witness this commentary from the Independence Institute's Dave Kopel). It's fine if the Post wants to attack Ritter in its editorial pages, but it's unconscionable to do so on the front page of the paper and then to include the absurd disclaimer that the editorial board and the rest of the newspaper are separate. It's no mystery that newspapers are dying in this country when fundamental journalistic integrity is blithely ignored.
[View the list]