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2013 September

Photo Dispatch: Victor, Colorado

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The dirt road winding from Canon City through Phantom Canyon is quiet but not nearly as quiet as Victor, Colo. on a Tuesday afternoon, the town that sits five miles outside of Cripple Creek on Hwy 67 at the end of Phantom Canyon Road. Actually, with 455 residents, it is hard to imagine anything but quiet in Victor.

Remnants o…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

The dirt road winding from Canon City through Phantom Canyon is quiet but not nearly as quiet as Victor, Colo. on a Tuesday afternoon, the town that sits five miles outside of Cripple Creek on Hwy 67 at the end of Phantom Canyon Road. Actually, with 455 residents, it is hard to imagine anything but quiet in Victor.

Remnants of stores past exist on Victor Ave., the main drag, blending amongst the local hotspots. A grocery store, an art gallery and a bakery lie vacant amongst a few restaurants, a general store and the historic Victor Hotel.

It is apparent almost everywhere the town was once a bustling city. Overlooking Victor is evidence of a once booming gold industry, one that helped a population of more than 50,000 people in the area thrive.

Gold was first discovered around Victor and Cripple Creek in 1890. At its peak, the area was the site of over 500 mining sites. Today, only one gold mine is in operation.

On the Tuesday afternoon a friend and I discovered Victor, a group buzzed around the Lowell Thomas Museum, which highlights the heyday of the gold rush. Had we known yellow hard-hats were complementary with the tour, as we discovered as the group wandered back to their bus, we would have eagerly put aside time for the tour.

Instead we opted for lunch at the Headframe “bikers welcome” Tavern. No bikers were actually present, probably because Britney Spears and Rhianna blasted from the jukebox. It was their loss, the pool table was open, the burgers were fresh and the beer was cold.

Wandering down the street and up the hill on 4th Street (approximate directions), you’ll find an antique shop with no apparent name. In addition to the expected furniture, jewelry and weathered books are reminders of the town’s history. A cabinet houses vintage photos and forgotten letters written in elegant cursive and near the back of the store sits a stack of Rocky Mountain News papers from the 1930s.

On the opposite side of Victor Ave. the train depot from Adelaide, a wide spot in the road that sat along side Phantom Canyon Road. In 1895 a flood washed the town away, killing three. It was eventually rebuilt above the flood line. In the 1890s the road was carved out to serve as a passage from Florence to Victor. T…

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News

Gunfight Over Money in the Dark

What started over the debate on gun control now is an election completely overrun with money. The recall election of Senators Giron and Morse has given the public a rare look at how outside interests influence local elections.

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Tracking the connections and links is nearly impossible but PULP's investigation into the recall money shows the fundraising apparatus for both sides.  View a hi-res PDF of the chart. Tracking the connections and links is nearly impossible but PULP’s investigation into the recall money shows the fundraising apparatus for both sides.  View a hi-res PDF of the chart.

Local Efforts & The Start:

Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the committee that ultimately gained enough signatures to proceed with a recall election against State Senator Angela Giron, calls itself a tr…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

Tracking the connections and links is nearly impossible but PULP's investigation into the recall money shows the fundraising apparatus for both sides.  View a hi-res PDF of the chart. Tracking the connections and links is nearly impossible but PULP’s investigation into the recall money shows the fundraising apparatus for both sides.  View a hi-res PDF of the chart.

Local Efforts & The Start:

Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the committee that ultimately gained enough signatures to proceed with a recall election against State Senator Angela Giron, calls itself a true grassroots effort that has largely gotten this far on their own.
“We never knew we were able to do this,” Victor Head told PULP. While most donations to PFR were small, there was outside help from other groups.
The Basic Freedom Defense Fund has been aiding PFR’s effort by picking up the tab on legal costs, according to Head on AR15.com on July 13.
There is record of BFDF giving money directly to PRF on August 8 with a $2,000 donation. Board members from BFDF have also donated money to PFR. Victor Head verified this in addition to saying in the beginning, BFDF didn’t even think the Pueblo group had a shot in succeeding.
Head met some of the board members on AR15.com’s forum. They began talking about the legislation and all planned to meet up at the capitol to protest. Even from that meet up, BFDF board members weren’t sold on aiding PFR, so the Head brothers borrowed $4,000 from their grandma to pay for legal counsel.
It was only after BFDF, having a major hand in the recall of Morse, and PFR were facing lawsuits in the same week that BFDF decided to provide help.
“After we came together, (PRF) had already succeeded,” Head said.
BFDF is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization that was created in correspondence with the creation of gun legislation. It also calls itself a grassroots effort.
“We are currently providing overall monetary, legal, organizational, outreach and media support to several issue committees targeting key offenders for such recall. Any donations given to the BFDF go towards the recall committees under the BFDF umbrella,” the organization states on its website.
While there are other groups involved in the recall of Giron, PFR hasn’t been working with them directly. The NRA hasn’t contacted PFR and there is no link from the NRA directly to PFR. Though a representative did show up to PFR’s grand opening, there has been virtually no contact between the two groups.

Five Key Donors:

Though the board members at BFDF don’t refer to their organization as big, they have had some help from some big names.
Keith Coniglio, a board member for BFDF said on a post on AR15.com the group received help from four groups, Americans for Prosperity, the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and a fourth unnamed source that was aiding in the very beginning but couldn’t contribute long term. Some of these names are expected but it’s how they donated and when a trail of who was involved and when becomes traceable.  Laura Carno’s efforts and groups in Colorado Springs also become important to the success of BFDF.

Laura Carno and I Am Created Equal:

In contact with Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee—the original group leading the petition drive against Senator Morse, started by the board members of BFDF, received $56,798 from I Am Created Equal, a 501(c)4 organization. I Am Created Equal did not give money directly to BFDF instead and according to Laura Carno, “I Am Created Equal donated the signatures to El Paso Freedom Defense Committee.”
The money was raised from “large and small donors all from Colorado.” Carno then paid Kennedy Enterprises to run the petition drive and from there she donated the signatures back to El Paso Freedom Defense Committee.
When asked for clarification if Carno donated voluntarily or was prompted by an outside group she said, “I would have to speak to my attorney on how to characterize that.”
Carno is also behind the IACE (I Am Created Equal) Action, a political action committee that is paying for some of the TV spots against Sen. Morse.

Americans for Prosperity:

Coniglio sites AFP as a contributor for their walking efforts and phone bank.  BFDF’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Kerns, has a connection to AFP but said in an email to PULP that she has had no activity with the Colorado chapter.
Kerns helped start the organization in California but she said in her email while she does an occasional project for California AFP, she has never worked for the Colorado sector.
Kerns was noted on a press release from AFP as recently as August 8. BFDF pays Kerns for her work even though none of the seven board members are not paid.
“The Basic Freedom Defense Fund was referred to me by a few women who knew that I was one of the first women who testified on the gun control bills in the Colorado legislature back in February,” said Kerns. In the 2013 Legislative cycle, Kerns worked for Coloradan…
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2013 September

Editorial: News shouldn’t just tell you what you want to hear

News organizations shouldn’t just tell the public what they want to hear. We must tell the uncomfortable truths. And there will be many uncomfortable truths after this recall election. 

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We are not here to manipulate the facts to fit our version of a story. The facts should not reinforce our idea of the world, and then we print them as truths. 

PULP started out this month asking one simple question: how did Victor Head and Pueblo Freedom and Rights get this far? Any good journalist should want to know the rea…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

We are not here to manipulate the facts to fit our version of a story. The facts should not reinforce our idea of the world, and then we print them as truths. 

PULP started out this month asking one simple question: how did Victor Head and Pueblo Freedom and Rights get this far? Any good journalist should want to know the real answers to why, how, when as well as to develop an understanding of the group. Yet, what we read and watched was the blame game, from the NRA to Chicago, and our answer was never found. 

We focused on the money for one simple reason:  nothing else matters, now. The money has turned this election about a debate on the recall and guns to the absolute unadulterated money grab that is played at the expense of voters and campaigners. 

Let’s start at the end, not with the results, but with faith in the results. At the PULP we have no doubt County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz will run a good, fair election. We also know that DA Jeff Chostner will prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, any improprieties that are found. 

It’s not the final tally with which we are worried.  We are concerned that the losing side will always be able to point to the money and say, “That’s why we lost.” 

No one wants to hear that the money in this election changed how viable both recall groups were and if Morse and Giron were viable candidates against the recall. 

No one wants to hear the most grassroots and viable campaign was Pueblo Freedom and Rights. We looked into the money and, while this group did receive outside help, Victor Head was told by the Basic Freedom Defense Fund that he was on his own. This allowed him to have the mentality that he’s all alone and no one will help him. That created a campaign that was isolated on some level from BFDF and was the most likely to get enough signatures to start the recall election. 

On the other side, it is unlikely the BFDF, which is essentially the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, would have caused a recall election if it were not for early outside money that “paid for signatures.”

The NRA doesn’t want to hear that the Democrats finally have the guts to fund a gunfight. That’s what this is and, for the last …

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Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
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2013 September

Givin’ a flip – the art of forcing a decision

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How many times have you tried to make a seemingly insignificant decision and simply cannot weigh the pros and cons? We’ve all been there and most of us waste a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide which decision to make, “Should I cut my hair? Should I go to that party? Which is better the green or aqua shirt…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

How many times have you tried to make a seemingly insignificant decision and simply cannot weigh the pros and cons? We’ve all been there and most of us waste a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide which decision to make, “Should I cut my hair? Should I go to that party? Which is better the green or aqua shirt? Whiskey or beer?” etc. etc. etc. What if there was an insanely easy, simple, and convenient way to make that decision? Something like flipping a coin? Yeah I know when I first thought about this I silently smacked myself in the forehead and muttered, “uh duh.” As primitive as this solution may seem, it works.

Here’s the deal, let’s say a group of friends are trying to decide whether or not to enjoy a local paragon folksy band (Haunted Windchimes anyone?) or a foot stomper, shake your money maker original/throwback band (Is that Martini Shot I hear?). Typically this is how it goes down; there’s the one person in the group who obnoxiously tries to sway everyone else or the silent type who has no opinion until a decision has been made whereby they promptly sigh and have a terrible time. Take out all the bias, flip a coin, and be done with it.

Oftentimes I’m lucky if all I have is two decisions to choose from. Typically I have to narrow from four or five to just one. Turns out I can also flip a coin for multiple decisions. Look at it like a scaffold, start with two and keep eliminating until there’s only one option left, easy. — Side note: this works really well when trying to decide what to wear, cardigan? superhero t-shirt? glasses? all three? Seriously try. it. out.

For the continued naysayers who insist that nothing is as easy as flipping coin, here’s your golden nugget. So the verdict has been made the coin lands on heads and upon landing your heart fills with a sense of dread. The upside is that even though the coin flip didn’t have the results you…

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Givin' a flip – the art of forcing a decision
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One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

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