postheadericon The harsh reality of the “good” unemployment numbers

US labor force participation since 1976. Click for larger view. (Department of Labor)

US labor force participation since 1976. Click for larger view. (Department of Labor)

Two weeks ago news outlets heralded the latest unemployment numbers showing a drop to 6.3 percent.  What they and the president continue to fail to acknowledge is that there is a lower percentage of working age Americans with jobs now than in nearly 40 years.

The Bureau of Labor said that the economy added 288,000 jobs during the month of April.  Certainly that is very good news for a quarter of a million Americans.

However, at the same time more than 800,000 working age Americans quit looking for jobs.  The labor force participation rate is now a depressing 62.8 percent.

The rate has dropped virtually continually since President Barack Obama took office and began his “transformation” of the nation.

His liberal economic policies have put him right on par with a previous president in this regard.  The labor force participation rate hasn’t been this low since 1978 when Jimmy Carter sat in the Oval Office.  Two peas in a pod for sure, much to the chagrin of the American people.

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postheadericon Member of storied Adams County family, Democrat, among group receiving Broncos perks

Prime seats to Denver Broncos' games for you, your family and your friends are one benefit of being a well-connected political appointee in Adams County.

Prime seats to Denver Broncos’ games for you, your family and your friends are one benefit of being a well-connected political appointee in Adams County.

Political service in Adams County has always come with its little under-the-table benefits, particularly for Democrats.  This week we learned how volunteering to serve on a board that meets twice a year can get you a cushy luxury suite for Broncos’ games for free.

In a story that aired Sunday night on CBS4, investigative reporter Brian Maass uncovered how the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Football Stadium District get the use of a suite at Broncos games.

The nine political appointees, one from each area county and three appointed by the governor, are part of a subdivision if the State of Colorado charged with overseeing the taxpayer-funded Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  While the job doesn’t pay cash, it isn’t a very tough gig given how the group only met twice all of last year and has no meetings scheduled for 2014.

Apparently for all of their hard work, the board members share a luxury suite with tickets to all Denver Broncos home games.  Each gets the suite to themselves plus six other club level tickets for one game while sharing it for playoff games.

Do you think they would share this perk with the community that is actually paying for the stadium?  Why no, of course not.  Instead they keep the tickets for them and their friends and family.

In Adams County, our representative to the board is Gene Ciancio.  Since 1997 he has been on the board of MFSD, reappointed every four years by the Board of County Commissioners.

The Ciancio family name is of course a rather storied one in the area (for good and bad) with longtime ties to the criminal and crooked Adams County Democrat Party and its members.

An average, honest and ethical public servant, when confronted with the fact that they are personally benefiting from a taxpayer funded entity, would be a bit humble and perhaps rethink their position.

Such was not the case with Ciancio.  The founder of a powerful area law firm instead told Maass, in effect, “Let them eat cake,” when asked about the appearance of impropriety in the eyes of the public.

“Is it a perk?  I’ll leave that for the people outside there to decide that. I don’t think it is,” Ciancio said.

Huh?  I think most of “the people outside there” would have a hard time seeing it as anything but a taxpayer funded perk.

Ciancio went on to say he would not vote to change the policy.  He would continue to let each board member, “who is in a public trust position allocate them [the tickets] the way he or she saw fit.”

‘Public trust’ does not even belong in that sentence as clearly this is yet another case when that trust has been violated by a local Democrat.

postheadericon Tony Rigatoni (Tony’s Rants) gets shout out on TV as credible new media news source

Internet NewsI have long railed against the lack of true, local news coverage in Adams County.  Much to my surprise, Tony’s Rants received a mention on a local TV show during a discussion about how new age media is filling the gap that the big media outlets are ignoring.

  • Watch the video below

With the Rocky Mountain News gone and the Denver Post on a major decline, the Mile High City has fewer credible news sources.  Here in the north area, there was a time we could count on the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel and other weekly print outlets but they too have degraded and lack any true, original, hard news reporting.

Last Friday on Devil’s Advocate, host Jon Caldara engaged in a discussion about “Local news in the digital age.”  Providing perspective was Todd Shepherd, former KOA reporter and now the owner and operator of Complete Colorado as well as Colorado Inside Out host Dominic Dezzutti.

Shepherd heralded Tony’s Rants as an example of how local people can make a difference by informing their communities about what is going on and the issues that are a concern.  “He has scooped the mainstream media on several occasions,” Shepherd said about this site.

The shout out is truly appreciated – even if I am not Italian as the banter might indicate.  ;-)

I would throw in a further shout out to you, the readers of this website.  Many of the leads I receive come from concerned members of the community and I appreciate your trust in me to handle those appropriately.  As always, if you have a news tip, you can contact me here – confidentiality assured.

postheadericon Mag profile of White House press secretary’s wife shows home featuring Soviet propaganda

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, ABC News contributor Claire Shipman, is featured in the latest issue of Washingtonian MOM magazine.  Sharp-eyed readers noticed that a picture of Shipman and the pair’s children has Soviet-era propaganda posters in the background.

It isn’t clear if the picture, taken from a kitchen, is actually Carney and Shipman’s home.

If it is, one can’t help but wonder what would compel someone to display socialist propaganda in their home, especially a top U.S. government official.  If not, I would certainly hope Carney and Shipman would be on the phone to the Washingtonian and have them issue an explanation for the use of such a background.

Soviet-era propaganda posters are seen in the background of a photo featuring White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, ABC News contributor Claire Shipman.  Click for a larger view. (Screenshot, Washingtonian.com)

Soviet-era propaganda posters are seen in the background of a photo featuring White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, ABC News contributor Claire Shipman. Click for a larger view. (Screenshot, Washingtonian.com)

postheadericon Follow-up: McIntosh campaign issues statement denouncing accusations; fails to dispute them

Statement by Mike McIntosh's campaign about allegations that the candidate and his staff were operating unethically.

Statement by Mike McIntosh’s campaign about allegations that the candidate and his staff were operating unethically. (Click for larger view)

The McIntosh for Sheriff campaign posted a statement to Facebook last night saying accusations of wrong-doing by the candidate or those supporting him are an “attack.”  The statement did not dispute the charges that had been leveled.

“Liberals are starting to attack McIntosh 4 Sheriff,” the statement said.  “The liberal Colorado Fraternal Order of Police who have unanimously endorsed Democrat Ed Perlmutter for congress [sic] and have viciously attacked Republican Mike Coffman are now coming after my campaign for sheriff.”

It went on to tout Mike McIntosh’s conservative credentials.

The Colorado FOP’s law firm sent a letter last week to the county asking for an investigation into allegations that he was pressuring department employees to support him and misused county resources.

It also was discovered that a small donor committee that released an attack ad against one of his opponents had ties to his official campaign.

Oddly enough, there was no denial of any of the allegations or any explanation offered.  Voters deserve answers to the questions that have been raised.

postheadericon Obamacare signup delayed despite administration admission it has no ‘statutory authority’ to do so

The Obama Administration continues to make it up as they go and willfully disregard Federal law as they do.  It was announced last night that individuals who have fallen victim to the disaster of HealthCare.gov no longer have to complete sign up by the March 31 deadline.

Using an ‘honor system’ of checking a box saying they ran into problems, consumers trying to use the federal exchanges are granted a reprieve of a yet to be determined amount of time.

Once again Health and Human Services (HHS) is playing with deadlines established in the 2010 Affordable Care Act and possibly acting in violation of the law.

Just two weeks ago the administration said it could not alter the deadline if they wanted to.

HHS official Julie Bataille said in a conference call with reporters, “We have no plans to extend the open enrollment period.  In fact, we don’t actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014.”

Clearly ‘statutory authority’ – i.e. the law – means nothing to this president.

Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University, wrote in the L.A. Times recently about a different deadline alteration by the administration, “There is no statutory authority for the change — simply the raw assertion of executive power. The United States is at a constitutional tipping point: The rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches.”

postheadericon Breaking: Colorado police organization alleges intimidation, abuse by Adams County sheriff’s candidate

Allegations against Division Chief Mike McIntosh, Adams County Sheriff's Office, are serious and troubling. (Tony's Rants)

Allegations against Division Chief Mike McIntosh, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, are serious and troubling. (Tony’s Rants)

In a strongly worded letter, the attorney for the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police has demanded Adams County address alleged unethical behavior by Division Chief and sheriff candidate Mike McIntosh.

Sent to County Attorney Heidi Miller and Sheriff Doug Darr, the allegations against Darr’s right-hand-man and candidate to replace him, are grievous.  Charges of exerting undue influence, intimidation, and improper use of a county resources are leveled against McIntosh.

  • Read the complete letter below

Employees and sheriff’s deputies went to the fraternal organization because they feared for their jobs when faced with apparent intimidation by McIntosh and Division Chief T.J. Coates.  The pair and others in their inner circle have apparently been unethical in their campaign to elect McIntosh.

The letter asserts that they have been, “pressuring employees to reveal their allegiance in the pending Sheriffs race and efforts to coerce the employees to support the McIntosh campaign.”  These actions have apparently occurred while on duty in an official capacity.

In addition to using intimidation and inappropriate coercion, the employees have received unsolicited McIntosh campaign literature at their homes.

How their mailing addresses were obtained is questioned as well as they are not a matter of public record.  The insinuation is that McIntosh or his proxies used their official positions to obtain the mailing list from the department.

Lastly, McIntosh is accused of using official resources during the course of his campaign in clear violation of county policy.

The allegations in the letter are shocking and troubling.  They however were not entirely unforeseen. 

Colorado Secretary of State records show the same person as the Designated Filing Agent for the McIntosh campaign and for the Colorado Law Enforcement Fund. Click for a larger view. (Colorado Secretary of State).

Colorado Secretary of State records show the same person as the Designated Filing Agent for the McIntosh campaign and for the Colorado Law Enforcement Fund. Click for a larger view. (Colorado Secretary of State).

As Darr’s hand-picked successor, McIntosh has that questionable association to begin with.  Given his mentor’s well-documented history of inappropriate campaign practices and use of intimidation in politics, perhaps McIntosh’s alleged actions aren’t surprising.

Looking back, it was McIntosh that oversaw the program that gave jobs to kids of department employees and was the subject of a television news investigation that caused a black eye for the office.

Just this past week a small donor committee acting as a front for the McIntosh campaign has stooped to new lows to attack one of his opponents, Mark Nicastle.  The so-called Colorado Law Enforcement Fund (CLEF) has sent mailers to assembly delegates using inflammatory language in an attempt to discredit McIntosh’s opponent.

The Designated Filing Agent for CLEF and the McIntosh campaign are one and the same – Marc Osborne, a finance guy with the sheriff’s office and county employee.

Public records for CLEF show McIntosh himself, his wife and his children are donors to the shadowy group.  The rumor mill also has it that much of its funding comes from poker games put on my McIntosh supporters where the buy-in goes to fund his campaign.

The attack mailer comes despite McIntosh’s public pledge not to ‘go negative’ in his campaign.  So much for promises, eh?

With the county assembly just a few short days away, I am also hearing that McIntosh is attempting to stuff the ballot box in his favor.  Employees have been pushed into becoming delegates for the sole purpose of voting for him.

Campaign finance contributions to the Colorado Law Enforcement Fund showing Mike McIntosh and his family contributing.  Click for a larger view.  (Colorado Secretary of State)

Campaign finance contributions to the Colorado Law Enforcement Fund showing Mike McIntosh and his family contributing. Click for a larger view. (Colorado Secretary of State)

What we seem to have here is a pattern of behavior from McIntosh that fits in with the worst of the dirty Adams County politics citizens are fed up with.  Broken promises, underhanded campaign practices, election manipulation, and using fear and intimidation are all tactics we cannot tolerate.

Citizens have a right to ethical governance and should demand it, especially from the county’s top law enforcement officer.  These allegations against McIntosh are extremely serious and should cause voters pause.

Editor’s Note:  I receive many emails and news tips on various local issues and candidates.  Over the past couple of months more than one message has come my way about possible wrong-doing by McIntosh and his supporters.  The folks that contacted me of course wanted to remain anonymous, something which I always respect.  Now it appears they may have had good reason as their very livelihoods were possibly in jeopardy.

I receive no pleasure in reporting this story and in fact find it quite disheartening.  Wrongdoing and unethical behavior have been the hallmark of the other side of the aisle, not ours.  However I cannot sit idly by when one of our own has such strong allegations leveled against him.  These issues need to be addressed and we need to be above board in all of our dealings.  Our candidates and elected officials should be held to a higher standard.

Have a news tip? Contact Tony via the Contact page or email tony@tonysrants.com.  Discretion and anonymity guaranteed with all contacts.

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March 21, 2014 – Letter to Adams County regarding Mike McIntosh

postheadericon Three vie for nomination to become next Adams County Sheriff

Adams County Sheriff BadgeAs elections go, the one to elect a sheriff is usually one of the less dramatic but given the weighty law enforcement issues faced in the county, 2014 is going to be very different.  Three professionals have put their names in the hat for the Republican nomination at next weekend’s assembly.

Adams County has many problems at all levels of government with the sheriff’s office being one of the most problematic in recent years.  Current sheriff Doug Darr has been a divisive figure, alienating communities and fellow law enforcement professionals while potentially endangering citizens county-wide.

Because I believe this is such a critical race for citizens, I have probably researched the candidates more heavily than in any other in recent memory.  Here is a quick run-down of the three with my impressions.

In alphabetical order:

Mike McIntosh: Currently a division chief within the department, McIntosh is Darr’s hand-chosen replacement.  He has not run from the association which is troublesome to anyone even vaguely familiar with the issues within the department.  McIntosh has never been involved in the party – until he decided to run for office – and now is claiming the mantle of ‘conservative.’  The refusal of the county jail to accept municipal criminals is probably the biggest issue in this race and McIntosh seems willing to let things stand pat, endangering citizens in the process.  He has said the problem is one of “consistency in sentencing”, blaming municipal judges and other area law enforcement professionals just as Darr has.

Mark Nicastle: This is Nicastle’s second go-around having narrowly lost to Darr in 2010.  He witnessed firsthand the unethical behavior of those in Brighton and seeks to return to the sheriff’s office and restore the public trust.  Nicastle has been the most active of the three and seems to be everywhere there is a community function.  He is very outspoken on the issues and has laid out a concrete vision for the department and spelled out how he would right past wrongs.  From protecting citizens’ Second Amendment rights to rectifying the jail issue, control spending, improve efficiencies and more importantly, protect citizens, he has put his plan out there.

Fred Ramirez: A long-time law enforcement officer from New York, Ramirez is the outsider in the race, a role which he seems to relish.  He wants to establish a Public Integrity Unit and actively pursue cases of corruption by county officials and employees. Not having been part of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office does limit his knowledge of the inner-workings of the department and its issues.  However, he notes that the department’s problems stem from poor leadership at the top.  Ramirez also recognizes that the problems won’t be solved if the sheriff doesn’t work in an open and collaborative fashion with the community and other law enforcement agencies in the area.

postheadericon Adams County officials, administrators enjoy plush mountain retreat

Nothing but the finest accommodations will do for Adams County officials when they have a retreat. (Estes Park Resorts)

Nothing but the finest accommodations will do for Adams County officials when they have a retreat. (Estes Park Resorts)

In recent years residents of Adams County have been told a lack of money is the reason behind cuts in services and additional “fees” being unjustly imposed on them.  When you’re an Adams County elected official or administrator however, the supposed lack of money matters little when a nice taxpayer-funded mountain resort junket is possible.

Last year county commissioners and administrators plopped down nearly $6,000 for their ‘annual retreat’ at a fancy Estes Park resort.  For 2014 they nearly quadrupled that expenditure dropping over $20,000 for the event including a sole-source contract to an out of state facilitator.

The three day, two night retreat was held from January 28 to January 30 at the Estes Park Resort.

The facility boasts, “crisp mountain air, expansive spaces and panoramic views of the Rockies.”  It is further described as, “an elegant mountain getaway with all the comforts of home.”

Indeed it sounds downright inviting – but not cheap.

There is more to this story – Click here to read it »

postheadericon Tom Tancredo delivers spot on slap down of Dick Wadhams

Former congressman and current candidate for Colorado governor, Tom Tancredo, gives a very accurate assessment of the state's former GOP chair. (Tom Tancredo)

Former congressman and current candidate for Colorado governor, Tom Tancredo, gives a very accurate assessment of the state’s former GOP chair. (Tom Tancredo)

In a beautifully penned op-ed in the Denver Post, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo masterfully took a swipe at former Colorado GOP chair Dick Wadhams.

I don’t have a favorite yet in the Colorado governor race and at this time I don’t believe Tancredo will be my top pick when I do reach a decision.   However, I wholeheartedly agree with his evaluation of Wadhams, he of many defeats and the reason Colorado took a huge turn to the blue in recent years.

Tancredo writes:

 Asking Dick Wadhams’ advice on how to win Colorado elections is like asking Barack Obama’s advice on how to balance the federal budget. His track record does not inspire confidence.

…..

Given his own prominent role in the unfortunate debacle of the 2010 governor’s race, I can understand why he wants to distract attention away from his own failed stewardship of the Colorado Republican Party.

In the years from 2008 to 2011, the Republican Party of Colorado not only lost Wayne Allard’s U.S. Senate seat and failed to win back the governorship, but the state also saw new Republican voter registrations outdistanced by new unaffiliated voters, 5 to 1.

Then, on his way out in February 2011, Wadhams attacked the Tea Party for good measure. Maybe this is why Colorado Republicans think of Wadhams as the pied piper of excuses, not victories.

That honest evaluation of Wadhams is spot on.

The Post continues to call on Wadhams as some sort of Republican expert when in truth, he is far from it.  There are few within the party that look with favor on his reign at the head of the state GOP and even fewer want to see him as a mouthpiece for the party today.

I cringe when I read one of the Post’s leftist writers quoting the man as if his word were conservative gospel or held any sway in our party.

My opinion?  Don’t go away mad, Dick.  Just go away.

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