World's longest political blog: Teak Simonton, Vail Daily, James Johnson, Dan Corcoran, Ali Hasan
July 29, 2008 —
I have to ask this question: if a story breaks in the deep ether of cyberspace and “only” a few hundred realvail.com readers read it, can another news organization claim they broke it?
Under a “Breaking News” header Tuesday morning, the Vail Daily Web site carried the story that Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton switched her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
Sorry, guys, realvail.com had that item up at about 9:30 p.m. Monday night. We know it’s your company policy to ignore all those pesky little blog sites out there, but you can’t just claim you broke it if you don’t actually originate the story. And with our unique readership growing by leaps and bounds each week, it’s no longer fair to argue no one saw it if it was on realvail.com.
Let’s get the ground rules straight: breaking news means you carried the story before anyone else out there, whether it’s another newspaper, a magazine, a wire service or a Web site. If you’ll do us that little courtesy, we won’t claim to have broken the numerous stories the VD does legitimately break – and should, given its 20-plus news-gathering staff.
Some more from Simonton on her plans to run for a third term in 2010 (clerks aren’t term-limited): “I hope my party switch will not affect my chances in 2010, but either way I could have had an opponent – so in my opinion, better to be comfortable with the party I’m partnered with.
“I have not talked to the Dems about support for 2010, but have lots of friends and supporters among the party leadership and active members, so hope they will be welcoming. In the end I have to prove by the work that I do and the type of person that I am that I am worthy of voter’s support. Hopefully I have done so and certainly intend to continue. “
Now, Vail Daily, here’s an example of an exclusive, although far from breaking item: did you know that another elected Eagle County official changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat more than a year ago and got no play (apparently because he didn’t issue a press release).
Eagle County Surveyor Dan Corcoran pulled the same switcheroo, although he was less vocal than Teak about his motivations when reached by phone late Tuesday afternoon. Asked if he’d like to discuss his reasons for changing parties, he said simply, “Not especially.” Let’s just assume he caught Obama Fever.
And I can respect his reticence. Why do we care about the political affiliations of surveyors, clerk, coroners, treasurers and sheriffs? We shouldn’t.
The home rule ballot measure that failed twice in recent years would have allowed us to do away with that anachronism of local politics. And it would have given us five commissioners to better represent this big and diverse county. Oh well, smaller but less representative government won out. Way to go local GOP.
And here’s another little “exclusive” if not exactly breaking item you may not know about: remember James Johnson, the two-term Democratic county commissioner who quit before his second term was up and moved to Kentucky a few years back?
Seems the former African American maid (former maid; he’s still African American) who shocked Vail real estate magnate Rod Slifer to win his first term, is back in the state, living in Denver and running the Aug. 12 primary against the openly gay incumbent in state House District 2, Mark Ferrandino.
Johnson once ran for state Senate and got drubbed by Republican Jack Taylor, contrary to a headline I ran in the Daily Trail newspaper at the time. Maybe he’ll fare better this time around.
In the meantime, join Johnson and the Colorado Progressive Coalition from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at their 16th and Downing offices for a canvassing session to fight Denver’s Initiative 100, which would require police to impound the cars of drivers who can’t show a valid driver’s license. That vote is also Aug. 12.
The initiative is aimed at illegal aliens and would require the owner of a vehicle to post a $2,500 bond to ensure no one else drives the vehicle without a license in the next calendar year. The Denver City Council opposed it 10-1, saying the federal government needs to reform immigration laws. Call the Colorado Progressive Coalition at (303) 866-0908 for more info.
Finally, Ali Hasan, Beaver Creek resident and Republican candidate for our House District 56, was re-reading on realvail.com some of the stories about him and his race with Democrat Christine Scanlan of Dillon and wanted to clarify a couple of his positions.
No problem, Ali. We give everyone equal time here at RV. Just remember to ask U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer his position on these issues when he meets Eagle County voters at E-town in Edwards Monday at 3:15 p.m. Yeah VD, you broke that one.
Here’s Hasan on gay marriage:
“I am deeply supportive of civil unions and will likely support gay marriage legislation, as a state representative. I have some minor concerns regarding gay marriage legislation because it could potentially open the door for polygamy, which I'm completely against.
“In addition, I don't think all religious institutions should be forced to perform gay marriages, but our good state should recognize marriages between same sex couples. It is important to note that this is not a liberal-versus-conservative issue. This is an issue of civil rights and liberties.
“Denying marriage to one group, just because of gender issues, is wrong. I want to fight for this cause because I believe America is a county where full liberties should be extended to all.”
Here’s Hasan on immigration issues:
I'm not supportive of building a fence on the Mexican border. We need to build bridges, not walls. Most importantly, we must make sure that Spanish is spoken in our public school classrooms. Studies show that when a child speaks Spanish only, the worst thing we can do to that child is force him/her into an English-only classroom and expect him/ her to get along.
“English-only classrooms are a prime cause of dropouts, low self esteem, and gang activity, among children who are not fluent in English. If a child speaks Spanish-only, then we need to immerse that child by speaking both Spanish and English, as studies show this to be the most effective method of education.
“I am particularly ardent on this issue as I use to serve as a public school tyro-teacher in East LA, so to me, taking care of our immigrants and helping them to become good Americans is important to me. I also taught in dual language classrooms and I'm deeply proud of that experience.”
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