Category Archives: Writing

Samples of my writing in publications including the Los Angeles Times and The Denver Post.

Democrats chase votes in Nevada’s rural outposts, far beyond Las Vegas’ glamour

PAHRUMP, Nev. — Along pothole-pocked Route 160, campaign signs for Hillary Clinton appear every few miles, erected among gravel and weeds beneath towering billboards for fireworks and R.V. resorts.

Such support for a Democrat is unusual in this community known for its deep conservatism, where residents sometimes shop at Wal-Mart with pistols holstered to their hips.

Continue reading Democrats chase votes in Nevada’s rural outposts, far beyond Las Vegas’ glamour

Democratic candidates court Culinary Union, the kingmaker of Nevada

LAS VEGAS — When Edgar Montano first moved here two years ago, his work at a carwash offered sporadic hours, dismal pay and no job security.

Today, tending to guest rooms at the Luxor, the vast pyramid-shaped hotel on the southern tip of the Las Vegas Strip, his job folding linens and restocking toiletries provides the 21-year-old enough money — about $17 an hour — to not only pay rent to his stepmother, but send something back to relatives in Michoacan, Mexico.

Continue reading Democratic candidates court Culinary Union, the kingmaker of Nevada

Candidates interrupted: Why presidential hopefuls are getting heckled by allies

When activists from the Black Lives Matter movement arrived at a campaign rally for Hillary Rodham Clinton last month with plans to disrupt the event, they were blocked at the door by Secret Service agents and herded into an overflow room. No room, they were told.

A noisy spectacle was averted, but the news spread quickly on social media, and Clinton staffers had to scramble.

Continue reading Candidates interrupted: Why presidential hopefuls are getting heckled by allies

Amid Ferguson unrest, Antonio French finds a national following

FERGUSON, Mo. – Antonio French sat in the front passenger seat of an air-conditioned sedan parked behind vandalized and boarded-up Red’s BBQ on West Florissant Avenue, scrolling through his iPhone, reading a barrage of tweets, emails and text messages.

Nods of appreciation and media interview requests have kept his phone vibrating these last few weeks.

“It’s been like a blur,” said French, in a respite from the muggy afternoon air. “We’ve been out here every day trying to maintain some focus.”

It’s a new reality for the St. Louis native and alderman.

In the two weeks since a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, French has become a pinnacle figure in what’s evolved into a national call for justice.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

Amendment 66 defeat capped a year of challenges for Gov. Hickenlooper

Standing alone before a lectern in a downtown Denver hotel ballroom Tuesday night, Gov. John Hickenlooper did what’s been rare in his decade-long political career: offer a concession speech.

“At a certain point you take risk, but then you look at the reward,” said Hickenlooper, a Democrat, as election night ballots revealed a stark statewide rebuke of the $1 billion income tax increase for education that the governor staunchly supported. “And the opportunity to define Colorado as the national model for public education … that reward more than justified the risk of going out there with again — in a difficult year — a tax increase.”

For Hickenlooper, who is vying for a second term in next year’s election, taking political risks has encompassed much of 2013, say some political observers.

Tuesday’s defeat caps off a year in which the governor has been assailed by critics across the aisle as grossly out of touch with the state’s moderate electorate. He backed a package of gun-control bills, supported a measure that doubles renewable-energy standards for rural Coloradans and supported a sweeping elections-reform measure.

Read more at The Denver Post.

Colorado recalls behind them, House, Senate GOP aim to repeal gun laws

Handguns at a store in Aurora. (John Leyba/The Post)
Handguns at a store in Aurora. (John Leyba/The Post)

This year’s statehouse battles over new gun regulations could all return next year with a renewed debate.

House and Senate Republicans are poised to present a series of bills in the 2014 session that look to repeal or alter some of the gun-control legislation passed by Democrats and implemented into law over the summer.

Indeed, Republicans are competing with one another to sponsor the bills.

And though the files are not yet public, GOP leaders say several Republicans have submitted gun-focused bill titles.

Read more at The Denver Post

Organizers say state GOP scoffed at recalls of Sens. Morse, Giron

At a gathering of county Republicans inside a Pueblo public library in June, organizers behind the effort to recall Democratic Sen. Angela Giron met for the first time with the leader of Colorado’s GOP.

Furious that Giron had pushed for stricter gun laws, the group had collected signatures to force a special election and were just days away from having it certified by the secretary of state.

They were confident, but the private conversation with Chairman Ryan Call did not go well.

“He scoffed at us. He told us we didn’t have a shot at getting the recall signatures certified and that what we were doing was just wrong,” said Victor Head, a Republican and leader of the group, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, which took the initial steps to have Giron recalled. “He did not care to listen to what was going on with the grass roots in Pueblo, and that’s a problem with leadership in the Republican Party.”

Read more at The Denver Post

Colorado online voter system could play role in future recall elections

Victor Head sits in his Pueblo home Tuesday, surrounded by the phone, laptop and tablet he used to gather signatures for a recall petition. Head used the technology to access voter registration information available online.
Victor Head sits in his Pueblo home Tuesday, surrounded by the phone, laptop and tablet he used to gather signatures for a recall petition. Head used the technology to access voter registration information available online.

The way Victor Head accomplished what may have forever changed how petitions are gathered — and what stunned Colorado’s political landscape this summer — originated with an iPhone and a 4-year-old voter law.

Those were the tools, along with a mix of tablets and laptops, the 28-year-old plumber from Pueblo and a little more than 80 organizers utilized as they scoured parking lots and sat perched at folding tables outside businesses collecting petition signatures to recall Sen. Angela Giron, a Pueblo Democrat, from a heavily Democratic- leaning district.

“From the smartphones, we had the secretary of state’s voter registration website locked in and at the ready,” Head said. “In 30 seconds, we were able to punch in a name, ZIP code and birth date and confirm that people signing were actually registered and lived in the district. We even registered some people that wanted to sign.”

Read more at The Denver Post