Politically speaking, Colorado is turning into California. So, isn’t it time to admit it and celebrate it?
My day job is running the Independence Institute and for the second year we are bestowing our Californian of the Year Award. This coveted recognition goes to the Coloradan who best exemplifies the effort to change our once liberty-loving Colorado into the command-and-control state of California.
I love the Colorado culture where we crave the freedom to make our own decisions. By contrast, those who vie for Californian of the Year believe in demanding to make decisions for others.
First, some of the runners-up:
-Jason Lacy, president of the Steamboat Springs City Council, for beating up plastic grocery bags. Yes, other nanny-driven communities have taxed grocery bags in that grand style-over-substance environmentalism, but Steamboat Springs did it with child-like wonder. Their effort to take away choice was brought forward, quite literally, by children who demanded city council outlaw the evil bags.
Changing hearts and minds was the strategy of old liberals. Coercion via government is today’s standard operating procedure.
-Boulder City Council member Jill Adler Grano, who has brought Boulder’s unique brand of smug intolerance and hate to a higher level by turning thousands of law-abiding Boulder gun owners, including me, into criminals with her so-called assault weapon ban.
Treating gun owners with the type of intolerance you’d expect from some old redneck, Boulder’s new gun ordinance not only prevents the purchase of guns that are not to Grano’s cosmetic liking, it forces current gun owners to self-identify to police, present themselves for investigation and their weapons for inspection, and pay fees to secure permission slips to keep the semi-automatic weapons they already legally own.
Like many old laws meant to forcibly “out” gays and lesbians and keep them from freely associating, her bigoted ordinance “outs” gun owners in a community that is hostile to the gun-owning lifestyle.
People with money might be able to make their own decisions but poor people should never be empowered in the same way. It’s why rich people can send their kids to a private school but we should never give poor families educational vouchers to do the same.
A good Californian never lets poor people make their own decisions — because they care about the poor.
-The queen of cronyism, Kelly Brough, president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce for leading the charge for corporate welfare and tax increases.
For years the Denver Chamber has been the headquarters for public works projects, bond deals and tax hikes. If there’s been a tax increase unleashed on the good people of the Denver metro area, chances are the attack was planned and executed from the Hall of Cronies, deep inside the bunker at the Denver Chamber. The grand Californian principle of select, inside “business people” working hand-in-hand with government planners to enrich certain interests has become standard operating procedure in Denver thanks to Kelly.
And the winner is:
None other than the next president of the United States, John Hickenlooper, who in 2018 ceded control of Colorado’s automobile regulations directly to California.
Seeing that the best and quickest way to become California is to just hand Colorado’s government over to California’s governor, our governor went around the state legislature and directed a clean air board to “adopt” the California Low Emission Vehicle Standard.
While the courts will have to decide if Hick even has the authority to gift the governor of California control of Colorado without lawmakers’ okay, you gotta admire the honesty of submitting the citizens of Colorado to the authority of the Californian Empire. Not quite Austria 1938, but getting there.
Under this official surrender to California, the California governor will legally call the shots for what type of vehicles can be sold in Colorado. Jerry Brown’s old lackeys and Gavin Newsom’s new friends will now dictate what battery-powered, golf cart-sized cars and trucks Colorado ranchers will be able to buy to haul supplies over the Continental Divide.
Congratulations to Californian of the Year John Hickenlooper for capitulating to the leftist lords of the West Coast and making Colorado officially subservient to the will and whims of California’s governor. Darth Vader had Boba Fett. Jerry’s got John.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.