Latino troubles in Colorado

| January 11, 2009

Given that Democrats control pretty much all levels of government here in Colorado, even I must confess some surprise at the following choices made for selected positions:

The selection, and seeming consideration, of nothing but white males for three high-profile political positions has prompted substantial backlash from Colorado’s Latino political and business leaders who feel left out and ignored at a time of nearly unprecedented state and local political change.

“This will have legs down the road, I swear to God it will,” said former Democratic state Sen. Paul Sandoval.

The grumbling began when three white males were selected as finalists for the vacant secretary of state position by a panel chosen to review applications for Gov. Bill Ritter. That left former Denver City Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez on the sidelines for a job overseeing Colorado elections, despite her experience as chairwoman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

It grew louder after the state’s most prominent Latino, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, was picked to join President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet and Ritter chose Michael Bennet to replace him in a secret process.

Then, Thursday, and after a similarly secretive process, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education designated yet another white male [Tom Boasberg] to succeed Bennet as DPS superintendent without considering Latino candidates in a district where 55 percent of students are Latino. . . .

“To those who feel we are not good enough to fill positions of power, we say to you, ‘No more will we be taken for granted,’ ” former Denver Councilwoman Ramona Martinez said at a news conference attended by about 20 Latino leaders Friday. “No more will our numbers be only counted on Election Day. No more. No más.”

Now, I’m a firm believer of finding the best person for the job, be it male or female, be it of whatever ethnic origin. But I am surprised that all three of these appointments — the first two made by Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, and the last made by the members of the Denver Public School Board of Education, who have no stated political affiliation but are quite diverse — were, indeed, white males.

As Glenn Reynolds might say, “They told me if I voted Republican, only white males would get into positions of power and influence — and they were right!” Heh.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Colorado, Main, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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