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Colorado Seen

November/December 2010


Colorado Seen November/December 2010 LIBER. . .WHO? Colorado’s Libertarian Party is the largest third-party in the state. Who are these people, and what do they mean by ‘free minds and free markets?’ 6 Denver snaps Urban moments from the streets of the Queen City. 20 ASPENFALL When the leaves are past their peak and the crowds have gone — that’s the special time to experience Colorado’s aspen glories. 30

Departments From the Editor 5 Out of our past 40 On the cover The soldier on Colorado’s Civil War memorial at the state Capitol faces forever west into the afternoon sun. One day a helpful soul gave him a pair of sunglesses to rest those tired eyes.

Amid branches laid bare in premonition of winter, a last aspen leaf quakes in the wind. DEAN KRAKEL

Colorado Seen

From the Editor Yet another milestone for ColoradoSeen. This month I am pleased to publish the first photoessay by another photographer. Dean Krakel served as photographer, picture editor and Director of Photography at the late, great Rocky Mountain News until its closure in 2009. He is now a Krakel freelance photographer, editor and writer based in Conifer, Colorado. His contemplative images and essay on Colorado autumn aspens begins on page 30. With multiple holidays, travels and story shoots over the next few weeks, production time is limited, so this a combined issue for November and December. See you January 1st!

Colorado Seen A monthly internet magazine Editor & Publisher Andrew Piper We welcome comments and letters. Submit them to: To submit work or story ideas for consideration, send an e-mail to: If you would like to advertise in ColoradoSeen, send an e-mail to for information on rates and interactive links. Copyright Š 2010 ColoradoSeen

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With 13,000 registered members, Colorado’s Libertarian Party is one of The biggest as a percentage of voters nationwide, and the largest ‘THIRD-PARTY’ in the state. Who are these people, and why are they saying all those things about GUNS, GAY RIGHTS, and FREE MARKETS?

Colorado Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Jaimes Brown holds up his campaign card. Media focus on Democrats and Republicans often leaves voters with a fuzzy and faceless impression of the candidates from smaller parties.

Candidate Brown introduces himself to a ‘Restore Sanity’ rally in Denver Oct. 30. ‘I’m Jaimes Brown — and I feel G-oo-d.’

Brown supporter Karen Young (above) applauds during his rally talk. ‘I’ve never heard a Libertarian bash anybody and that’s what I really like,’ says Young.


STORY & Photographs by ANDY PIPER

rank Atwood sums up the Libertarian dichotomy this way. “I’m a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association — and the American Civil Liberties Union.” It takes either very convoluted principles to belong to one of the most conservative and one of the most liberal American lobbying groups at the same time — or very consistent ones. “Here’s how I put it to people,” says Attwood. “When you put on your pants, should you have to choose between your wallet and your zipper? Your wallet is your economic freedom, and your zipper is your personal liberties — and it turns out most people would rather wear pants with both.”

How did Atwood, now running for State Representative in Colorado’s District 38, come to be a Libertarian? “I was a milquetoast Republican. In 1996, I was faced with the dismal choice of Dole or Clinton. Then I heard about Harry Brown (the Libertarian presidential candidate). My initial reaction was, ‘Hey! He’s crazy — just like I am!’ ”


aimes Brown, Libertarian candidate for governor of Colorado, has his own thumbnail of Libertarian goals. “We’re for free minds — and free markets. Unlike most Republicans, we’re socially tolerant, and unlike many Democrats, we’re fiscally responsible: pro-business, anti-gun-control, anti-deficit, antiwar-on-drugs, anti-regulation.” 9

Ken Wyble, campaigning to be Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, meets and greets at an Independence Institute gathering in Denver’s LoDo. On his first trip as a Libertarian organizer, ‘I spent four hours each way on a bus with 50 Libertarians, so I really got to know the party and the players.’


en Wyble, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, followed yet another path to Libertarianism. “I’m a life-long Republican and fiscal conservative — with gay parents. I was raised by my dad and his partner. Coming to Colorado, and hearing this (expletive) coming out of Colorado Springs (home to conservative advocacy group Focus On The Family) pissed me off. So it only became a matter of hearing and learning what the Libertarians were about to realize ‘Oh, there’s my home!’ “ As a marketing consultant to the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, Wyble is the quintessential networker. “I registered as a Libertarian. And one of the first events I did was to load up a busload of Libertarians to go over to a Club 20 debate (on Colorado’s western slope). “So I was in a bus with 50 other libertarians and I had four hours each way to really get to know the party and the players and the activists — and I knew I’d found my home. I’ve been bleeding Libertarian for four years now.”


ocial conservatism was also a stumbling block for Brenda Francis, wine blogger and fiscal conservative. “I’m a child of talk radio. After Obama was sworn in, I felt I had to do something. The country was still on the wrong track economically. I heard about Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project — start working for change with your own family and in your own community — and I began organizing. “It was two weeks of hell. I’m agnostic. I’m pro-choice. And it quickly became clear that those didn’t sit well with most of the 12

‘I’m kind of unique,’ says Jeff Schitter. ‘I lost a Libertarian primary.’ He now backs his former opponent with a sign (left) outside his Denver candle shop. other 9-12 organizers. I started getting funny looks —and rude emails. It was scary. “ is so great, though! I found two groups of Libertarians that way. I abandoned Glenn Beck. And I’ve been a Libertarian now for a year and a half.” Brown takes the Libertarian case against social conservatism even further.

“That aspect of conservatism is socialism — that’s the point that they don’t get. They want to dictate how we should run out lives, what personal choices we can make. So stop calling Obama a socialist. If you’re a social conservative, you’re a socialist. Live with it.”


o if Libertarians don’t agree with Republicans on social issues, what is their beef with Democrats? Jeff Schitter runs a candle shop in northwest Denver, and ran a losing campaign for the Libertarian spot to oppose Democratic congresswoman Diana

DeGette. (Losing a Libertarian primary is rare —usually the challenge is to find enough candidates.) “On a lot of social issues, I agree with what she believes in. But when it comes to economic issues, we’re night and day. In my personal opinion, if Diana DeGette never voted on a bill with a dollar sign in it, our country would be better off.” Financial and business regulation is another area where Libertarians disagree with Democrats. Says Chris Leinster, who led Denver libertarians for three years, “Government 13

regulation is what leads to things like the current economic crisis, because it takes away market regulation. “People will invest with, say, Goldman Sachs, because they figure, ‘Well, hey. it’s regulated by the government. What could go wrong?’ What an individual investor should do — you and me — is look at Goldman Sachs and all their competition and see who the people are and see what the policies are and see if they’re being reckless with the money. We should all investigate it individually.”


ut isn’t an economic free-for-all what got the U.S. into the current economic mess? “One of the key misconceptions people have about Libertarianism is that it’s all “Every man for himself,” says Brown. “But it’s not that way at all. I want my rights, and I respect your rights. We work in harmony. “I do want a free-for-all. I want a free country for all. “An investor with $50,000, or the Bank of Colorado, or Goldman Sachs — they should all be treated equally by the government. But some get special favors because they have more money, they’ve got the levers, and they can say ‘You owe me.’ That’s how messed up it is — that’s the reality. “The Democrats got control of the government through Republican failure, not Democratic merit. And they may be about to lose it through Democratic failure, not Republican merit. “We keep going back and forth between Republican majorities and Democratic majorities — because they always end up betraying us.” n Frank Atwood’s chess board resembles the political grid on the quiz he hands out. A high score in preference of both personal and economic freedoms puts one squarely in the Libertarian corner. Quiz published by

Libertarian fiction and Colorado Libertarian writer Ayn Rand placed several elements of her distopian-America novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) in Colorado, most notably, the utopian libertarian community established by the novel’s mystery man, John Galt. “Galt’s Gulch,” a mountain valley screened from the world by a hightech mirage as a individualist retreat from an increasingly socialist America, is generally assumed to have been inspired by the mountain-walled town of Ouray, which Rand visited while researching the novel. Noted science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein lived near Colorado Springs from 1947 until 1965, during which time he wrote the Hugo-Award-winning novels Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966), which recounts an American-style revolution by lunar colonies. Both espouse personal choice and liberty in all human endeavors in phrasing familiar to any Libertarian. From Stranger in a Strange Land A prude is a person who thinks that his own rules of propriety are natural laws. A desire not to butt into other people’s business is at least eighty percent of all human ‘wisdom’. . .and the other twenty percent isn’t very important. From The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Do this. Don’t do that. Stay back in line.Where’s tax receipt? Fill out form. Let’s see license. Submit six copies. Exit only. No left turn. No right turn. Queue up and pay fine.Take back and get stamped. Drop dead — but first get permit. I’m a rational anarchist...I can get along with a Randite. You have put your finger on the dilemma of all government — and the reason I am an anarchist.The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; it contains until it destroys.


Candidate Brown, left, converses with ‘my favorite Socialist,’ Colorado Green Party Senate candidate Bob Kinsey, at Denver’s ‘Restore Sanity’ rally Oct. 30. As small parties, the Greens and Libertarians share an interest in overcoming the two-party system, even when they disagree on policy.

Brown’s run for Colorado Governor is a long shot, like that of any candidate outside the two-party system. But ‘I had to do something — because otherwise we just keep going back and forth between Republican majorities and Democratic majorities - and they always end up betraying us.’

Rainshower 20

3+3, Skate park


Under the overflow, Cherry Creek 21

Kitchen repairs, Lower Downtown 22

Outside the Brown Palace hotel 23

Girl with Komodo Dragon 24


Flag with feet, St. Patrick’s Day 26

Waiting for the parade 27

Fountain and skyline, City Park 28



Collegiate Peaks


Story & Photographs by Dean Krakel

’m all for viewing aspens at the height of their autumn glory. But my favorite time is when the leaves are past their peak, when the gold rush is over, the roads lonesome after the viewing hordes have returned to their homes. The yellow stands are scattered then, some trees barren, some still full-blown. I like that contrast. At a distance it’s impressionistic. Coming together. Now falling apart. Shimmering like a mist. The trunks white


bones. The cool breezes bring a trembling rattling rain of leaves from above. The dead crunch underfoot. Of course aspen should be the Colorado state tree and not the Blue Spruce. Blue Spruce? What does spruce ever do? Other Rocky Mountain states have aspen, of course. Montana, Idaho, New Mexico. But those states are known for other natural wonders. Montana would be mostly snow and cold. (Hey, I used to live there. ) Wyoming has Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, New

Kenosha Pass

Twin Lakes Mexico, the sharp blue artists light. Idaho has — well, Idahoans.


ut when you think of aspen, you think of Colorado. And no, not the Hollywood John Denver kind. The forever-mantle-ofgold-leaf-spreadingacross-mountainsand-valleys-like-velvet kind.

Collegiate Peaks & Twin Lakes

Kenosha Pass

The name Colorado is synonymous with the tree. Budding aspen leaves are one of the first harbingers of spring. Their turning colors one of the first hints of winter just around the bend. You can hardly go wrong with aspen viewing in any part of the state, but I have my favorites: the highway from Ridgeway over Dallas Divide with the jagged San Juan range as

Kenosha Pass


Twin Lakes

Kenosha Pass

a backdrop; the dense old growth stands that almost form a tunnel as you drive Keebler Pass out of Crested Butte; the Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray. Early October in Rocky Mountain National Park can make you feel as if you’ve stepped into an Alfred Bierstadt painting; highway 285 from Salida to Alamosa through the San Luis Valley brings distant views of aspen groves clinging to the flanks of sharp peaks bathed in alpenglow.


like to pick up fallen aspen leaves and study them, the miniature saw tooth blade that makes

up the circumference, the delicate petiole and intricate veins. I think about the complex exchange of water, nutrients and sunlight into life energy, into air; the way the quivering of millions upon millions of leaves in the slightest breeze (hence the nickname quaking aspen) supposedly dissipates the wind’s energy and aids in photosynthesis. How perfect. You can sense the power of the universe in a single aspen leaf, it’s life from birth to death so much like our own, a constant reminder of how brief, how fragrant, how fleeting and mysterious life is. n

An aspen leaf ages to red on a stone as snowflakes dust one leaf still clinging to the tree (opposite). 39

Out of our past: November 15, 2008


Advocates for and against gay marriage face off at a demonstration in Denver’s Civic Center plaza. Home to both Focus On The Family and the Gill Foundation for LGBT civil rights, Colorado has been at the center of the gay rights debate since 1992’s Amendment 2 controversy. Andy Piper/ColoradoSeen


ColoradoSeen 11-2010  

ColoradoSeen November 2010 - Libertarians, Denver snapshots, Aspenfall