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School district’s Facebook, Twitter efforts are a waste of public funds
Editor:
I am finding a series of events troubling and would like to share them with you. It is my understanding that school districts are in the midst of financial crisis and being faced with daunting tasks of improving performance of student achievement.
Jefferson County Schools is the only school district (that I can locate within the state of Colorado) that maintains Facebook pages with employee resources, not just one page but two Facebook pages, Jeffo Schools and Jeffco Public Schools. While maintaining these pages, Jeffco Schools has also enabled all abilities for the public to interact with their pages, and I assume it is due to the legitimate comments and questions I myself have posed on these pages, on my own time.
On Sept. 30, I saw this post made on Jeffco Schools’ Facebook page:
“Jeffco Schools says hey Jeffco friends … we dare you to send us some of your old elementary or high school pics — you could make our wall !! Come on, you know you want to laugh about your feathered hair and Members Only jacket days!!”
For everyone’s information, in case you’re unaware, the employee that maintains the two Facebook pages, and in addition a Twitter account, is paid an annual salary of $78,679 (per 2009 wages, which is more in the $80,000 range this year). This employee’s supervisor, the director of communications, is paid $119,835 (per 2009 wages, which is more in the $120,000-plus range this year).
All the while, and this is not an isolated event, I have submitted an open records request that is in accordance with the CORA on the purchase of four i Phones at an elementary school receiving Title 1 federal funds in Jefferson County. I cannot get a timely answer on who maintains these phones with the outrageous monthly charges associated with these four phones. Through Jeffco Public Schools’ website, you will find this under the very department called community relations, the same staff that maintains the Facebook pages and is responsible for processing open records requests: http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/media/open_records.html:
“The Jefferson County Board of Education recognizes and endorses the right of the public to obtain timely and accurate information concerning the school district’s instructional programs, policies, actions and overall operations.”
There’s more that is a bit troubling: Seven employees’ annual salaries in the communications department of Jeffco Public Schools total $500,000-plus (not including benefits). What exactly are their job descriptions?
I don’t find hair and jacket games on Facebook any sort of good use of taxpayer resources; furthermore, I don’t find someone playing on Facebook and Twitter to the tune of $80,ooo a year an acceptable use of ANY public funds.
Regan Benson
South Jeffco

Walking the talk of government transparency
Hello, my name is Jim Moore. I was the county administrator in Jefferson County until Dec. 9, 2009, when the Board of County Commissioners fired me. In their termination letter, the commissioners said it was for failing to carry out their directive. This directive concerned a land transaction that I had good reason to believe may be unlawful.
This invitation for transparency is not so much about the details surrounding my termination. Those will be sorted out in a federal courtroom in Denver, probably years from now. It’s about a critical and fundamental public policy question that needs to be addressed today, not when an over burdened legal system finally gets around to it. Here’s the question:
To whom do high-ranking public officials owe their ultimate accountability and duty of loyalty — citizens and the public at large or the politicians currently in office? The answer is significant because I’m not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, high-ranking government official given orders that, if carried out, may violate the law. This is a critical issue that is central to the ability of honest politicians (yes, there are quite a few) and government officials to conduct business on behalf of the citizens they work for.
My invitation is simple. Let citizens see the arguments being made in this lawsuit. Don’t hide behind the well-worn phrase that often encourages public officials to avoid accountability: “I cannot answer that question on the advice of my attorney.” Surely, a small portion of the legal fees paid by taxpayers can be used not to hide information critical to good public policy, but to reveal it. Let citizens see behind the curtain so they can understand what is being done and why. Let’s walk the talk.
Jim Moore
former Jeffco
county administrator

Keep Tim Kauffman as treasurer
Editor:
I am writing this letter in support of Tim Kauffman for Jefferson County treasurer and to ask the citizens of Jefferson County to vote for Tim in the upcoming election.
Tim Kauffman was appointed to the position of Jefferson County treasurer in 2009 by our county commissioners to fill a vacancy in the position. Tim was selected because of his extensive financial experience and leadership skills. Tim Kauffman’s background and experience include: treasury management, investment and liquidity management, banking, local elected office (Westminster City Council), current president of the board of the Westminster Legacy Foundation, current board of trustee member of two public sector investment funds, former executive board member of the Jefferson Economic Council, and several church and nonprofit boards.
Tim makes it clear that safeguarding the county’s investment portfolio is a very high priority and that risks will not be taken. Tim Kauffman works hard for the constituents and taxpayers has a track record of being responsive and running an efficient office.
Tim and his family live in north Jefferson County, and his wife teaches in Jefferson County. As a 23 year resident of Jefferson County and after having worked with Tim on multiple boards and civic groups, I support Tim Kauffman for Jefferson County treasurer and ask you to vote for Tim as well.
Kristen M. Anderson
Littleton

Kauffman deserves our votes
Editor:
I am writing to endorse our current county treasurer and to encourage the South Jeffco community to do so also.
Tim Kauffman was appointed county treasurer in 2009 to fill a vacancy. He was selected by the Board of County Commissioners because of his financial, banking and leadership abilities and experience. During his short two years as county treasurer, he has been responsive to constituents and taxpayers. His No. 1 priority is safeguarding the county’s investments. Risks will not be taken by Tim with our money. He works tirelessly to ensure the office runs efficiently and smoothly.
As a former chief deputy treasurer for Jefferson County (decades ago) and a 34-year resident of South Jeffco, I know how important it is to have a professional and trustworthy person such as Tim Kauffman managing the hundreds of millions of taxpayers money.
Dale C. Todd
Littleton

Pay close attention to who is supporting candidates
Editor:
You have probably noticed a pattern developing across the country where primary election losers are acting in a vindictive manner toward their party (especially Republicans) by either running as a third-party candidate, asking supporters to write them in at the ballot box, or simply refusing to endorse the winner. A number of their high-powered buddies are also breaking ranks with the party to support their friends, presumably because they see the writing on the wall and are going all-out to try to keep their power.
Think of Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, Charlie Christ in Florida and Mike Castle in Delaware. While many think these people are just throwing tantrums, the patterns suggest an overall strategy to keep the powerful in office. While everyone knows that progressives have taken over the Democratic Party, there is also evidence of Republican infiltration.
For example, who really thinks that Charlie Christ is (or used to be) any kind of principled conservative (a.k.a., non-RINO Republican) when he’d been cozying up to the Obama administration all this time and is basically jumping into their laps now?
A Missouri Democrat, Robin Carnahan, recently let slip that a big part of her strategy is to promote Libertarian and Constitution Party contenders, since people who listen to Glenn Beck “will go vote for them” instead of her Republican opponent.
And then there is the Michigan candidate who tried to get his affiliation listed on the ballot as “The Tea Party.” Unfortunately for him, that failed because the real Tea Party noticed the attempt and won a lawsuit. He was simply a progressive trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes and siphon off votes.
Now we have the governor’s race in Colorado. The Republican voters’ choice is Dan Maes, not a career politician. This makes the career politicians very angry; hence we have Tom Tancredo leaving the GOP, like Charlie Christ, to split the vote in an attempt to elect the progressive candidate.
What, you think Tancredo a conservative? Would a principled conservative vote for T.A.R.P., one of the most restrictive gun-control bills ever presented (HR2122), more earmark money than John McCain, or lead the charge for term limits and then break his pledge at the first opportunity?
Beware, people. Those who don’t want to lose their political control (or their cushy jobs) are using every trick they can think of to keep their power and suppress your “interference.” Investigate the candidates and their records. If they have no record, look at who’s supporting them; that will speak volumes.
Brian Sutton
Colorado Springs

Reject ballot measures
Editor:
Three spending-limitation measures are on Colorado’s Nov. 2 ballot: Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101. If enacted, they would have a devastating impact on Colorado’s economy and critical state services, including health care programs.
Henry Sobanet, former director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting under Gov. Bill Owens, estimates that these measures would lead to the loss of more than 73,000 jobs in Colorado, including more than 11,700 jobs in health care, mostly in the private sector.
The nonpartisan Colorado Legislative Council staff has concluded that these measures when fully implemented “would leave the state’s general operating budget almost entirely committed to paying for the constitutional requirements of K-12 education, with no money left to for pay for other government functions.”
Not surprisingly, these ballot measures have attracted an unusually broad and bipartisan opposition, including Republican and Democratic legislative leaders and business, labor and civic organizations. Every Coloradan, Democrat or Republican or unaffiliated, urban, rural or suburban, has a shared interest in fighting for our state’s future by defeating these draconian measures.
Shepard Nevel
vice president, policy and operations
Colorado Health Foundation

Amendment 60 a disaster
Editor:
I hope to bring the community’s attention to a proposal on the November ballot that will prove devastating to Colorado. Amendment 60, billed as a “tax relief” measure with Amendment 61 and Proposition 101, is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Any meaningful discussion of 60 starts with Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). That provision in the state constitution limits the growth of state and local revenues to a highly restrictive formula: inflation plus the annual change in population. Any taxes above that limit must be returned to the taxpayers. Local governments have seen that TABOR limits are insufficient to fund meaningful government, especially education. They have taken it upon themselves to hold elections to retain excess revenues and reinvest them in schools, libraries and maintenance of infrastructure.
Amendment 60 would repeal voter-approved revenues over TABOR limits. Local decisions to give greater flexibility to school districts, library districts, fire departments, police departments and other services to meet local needs would be disregarded. Control over our local funds would be usurped by the state.
60 would also reduce local funding for schools by $1.22 billion by cutting local mill levies in half by 2020. It would require the state to replace that local revenue, but after more than $3 billion in budget cuts from 2008-10, the state government has no source of funds with which to replace it. This would result in the loss of 8,000 teaching jobs.
To add insult to injury, this amendment would force colleges and universities to pay property taxes for the first time ever, and would allow individuals to initiate local ballot measures to cut mill levies. We face the possibility that we would have to use our tax dollars to fight efforts to cut funds for public education. Ridiculous.
Vote no on Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101.
Laura Florence
Ken-Caryl Ranch resident