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Colorado‚€™s two senators took opposing positions yesterday when it comes to an interrogation technique called water boarding even though attorney general-nominee Michael Mukasey may not have been able to tell the senate whether or not the technique is torture. Senator Ken Salazar said yesterday that he could not vote for Mukasey because the retired federal judge would not agree that water boarding, which simulates drowning, is torture under the U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions. Salazar said, ‚€œIt is torture, it is illegal and it is inhumane‚€Ě. Salazar said he would be opposing Mukasey because of his inadequate responses to Salazar‚€™s questions. On the other side, Senator Wayne Allard said that no one has yet to define what kind of water boarding U.S. interrogators may be using. Allard says that water boarding can include everything from holding a detainee‚€™s head under water to holding a wet wash rag on the face. Allard said that Mukasey was right not to give an opinion on the procedure to the senate committee.
Republican legislators plan to introduce two bills designed to undo Colorado Governor Bill Ritter‚€™s plan to allow state workers to unionize when the legislature reconvenes in January. Legislators also hope to strip state employee‚€™s right to go on strike with the new legislation. Even though republicans say it won‚€™t be hard to introduce the bills, getting them through a democratic legislature will be the hard part. GOP leaders say that regardless, they owe it to Colorado taxpayers to try. The GOP has been railing about Ritter‚€™s executive order that allows state workers to unionize, giving them the ability to use representatives to negotiate ‚€œissues of mutual concern‚€Ě, such as wages and staffing conditions. Ritter says the partnership is intended to improve communications between labor and management.
Voters in Costilla County on Tuesday approved funding for a new school building for the Centennial School District by nearly a two-to-one margin. The measure authorizes the district to put forth a $7-million bond issue and to increase its mill levy by seven mills. The funds raised will be paired with a $5 million appropriation approved by the state legislature last year. The measure‚€™s supporters estimated that residential property owners would only pay 5% of the total cost of the bond. Almost 90% of the district‚€™s assessed value is categorized as vacant land and is owned by out-of-state property owners who were not eligible to vote. The school board will meet on Monday to lay out a timeline for working with the company that will issue the bonds and for developing committees that will include students, faculty and the community in the design of the new building.
Alamosa County Commissioners yesterday went into ‚€œplan b‚€Ě for their 2008 budget after losing their sales tax ballot issue on Tuesday. County Administrator Barry Shio****a told commissioners yesterday that they would be looking at cuts. He said, ‚€œIt is simply a matter of balancing‚€Ě. County officials will have to look at many projects that the county has been subsidizing to determine if the county still has the funds to subsidize the projects. Commission Chairman Darius Allen also affirmed yesterday that the commissioners would also have to look at cutting personnel to balance the budget. Shio****a told commissioners that he will be meeting with all of the department heads and will be presenting a balanced budget to the commissioners in the days ahead.
La Jara resident Irene Taylor, 59, was arrested yesterday on a theft charge related to her employment at the La Jara Pharmacy. Taylor, who has worked at the Pharmacy for 13 years, is charged with felony theft involving a substantial amount of money allegedly taken from her employer between November, 2005, and October of this year. Woods was arrested yesterday morning and was being held in the Conejos County jail on a $100,000 bond. This is the third valley embezzlement case to come to light in as many weeks.