Sixty years ago this week: In a surprise move, Denver City Councilman Joe Ciancio Jr. announced he was withdrawing from the Democratic primary for Secretary of State, leaving Deputy Secretary of State FJ Serafini unopposed before the election generals
Ciancio told reporters that he had withdrawn his candidacy “for the benefit of the Democratic Party, which will now have a candidate who will not have to use his campaign funds in a primary. If things continue as they are, I will present myself for re-election to the city council”.
With $1,600 already spent on his primary campaign, Ciancio said he expected a primary to cost him another $4,000.
Serafini told The Colorado Democrat that he deeply appreciated “Joe’s withdrawal in my favor.”
In other news, members of the Colorado General Assembly called a meeting at the behest of David Dunklee, president of the Denver Area Metropolitan Cooperative Commission to discuss and draw attention to the metro area’s growing problems .
Dunklee cited a report by the Congressional Committee on Government Operations that came to the stark conclusion that “the focal point . . . clearinghouse for subway problems is your state government.”
To that end, a new state department should be formed to manage Colorado’s urban affairs, Dunklee argued, and to conduct research and act as an adviser to the governor. But he clarified that this department would not circumvent or circumvent the functions of the state planning division or planning commissions and would not have authority to collect property tax.
“Adequate action in the area of metropolitan planning in Colorado would require a revision of the constitutional concept of autonomy,” Dunklee said. “We must have a metropolitan autonomous system, not just a municipal one, to deal with common problems in the whole area without removing the authority of the municipalities to manage affairs within their own boundaries.”
But state Rep. Roy Romer, D-Denver, questioned the department’s viability.
“Most of the discussion about metropolitan issues revolves around techniques,” Romer said. “Are we leaving the real power to direct public affairs in the hands of nonpartisan experts … who have no particular philosophy of government?”
Twenty five years ago: Republican Congressman Bob Shaffer, CD-4, told The Colorado Statesman that he expected “big labor bosses” to go hard on him in anticipation of federal legislation he planned to introduce: the Paycheck Protection Act.
Shaffer’s bill would have prohibited anyone from deducting money from wages to use for political advocacy without specific written authorization from wage earners.
“Labor bosses typically deduct union dues directly from union shop workers’ paychecks, and a portion of those dues are used for lobbying, campaign contributions and the like,” Shaffer said. “What I’m trying to do is ban the practice that has used great labor for years to raise obscene amounts of cash to spend against pro-business, pro-family candidates like myself.”
“This is an issue that has national appeal, not just for CD-4 or Colorado,” said Susan Wadhams, Shaffer’s chief of staff. “In 1996, organized labor spent $35 million to defeat Republicans.”
Wadhams said the bill had not yet been formally introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives because Shaffer was still gathering support and co-sponsors for the draft legislation, but it was expected “in the coming months.”
Shaffer added that his interest in writing the Paycheck Protection Act was sparked in the decades following the 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that ruled that unions could not they could use the quotas for political purposes without express permission.
“The Clinton administration has refused to enforce the decision and that led to the congressman’s bill,” Wadhams said.
Shaffer, meanwhile, faced a potential challenger in the general election, as former Fort Collins Mayor Susan Kirkpatrick had raised $5,000 in funds (triggering an FEC report) and, although she hadn’t formally decided if he launched an offer, he had already presented himself as more moderate. candidate who was more in tune with CD-4 voters than the “ultraconservative” Shaffer.
Rachael Wright is the author of the Captain Savva Mystery series, holds a degree in Political Science and History from Colorado Mesa University and is a contributor to Colorado Politics and The Gazette.