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FACT CHECK: House District 20

pinocchio_0By Leslie Jorgensen

Four Republican candidates are running in a race to replace Representative Bob Gardner who is term limited. Judging by the radio ads and email exchanges, the two frontrunners appear to be businessman Miles Dewhirst and law professor Terri Carver.

The latest ad in the race is a contrast ad comparing Miles Dewhirst and Terri Carver – but what is fact versus fiction?

The first claim in the ad says, “Terri Carver has been teaching impressionable students the hoax of manmade global warming in classes and seminars.”

This claim is clearly outlined, without the editorial comment about the students and global warming being a hoax, in Carver’s class description of GEMM 6200 that she taught at University of Colorado Denver as well as a seminar at University of Denver.

According to CU Denver records, Carver was listed as the instructor for the Environmental course that covers “climate change, pollution, solid wastes, and conservation of natural resources.”

Carver was also promoted as the leader of a panel discussion “Communicating Environmental Issues Across Borders,” at the “Globally Speaking: Voices, Visions and Viewpoints” seminar sponsored by University of Denver in February 2009.

The description of Carver’s presentation stated, “Climate change is responsible for increased dramatic natural disasters, reduced natural resources, and greater strains of fresh water and food.”

The seminar lecture was cited in a news article published April 2, 2014 by The Colorado Observer that interviewed Carver who also declined to reveal her position on climate change – a proven theory or a hoax.

The other points of the Dewhirst campaign ad focus around Carver’s leadership role on the Public Utilities Advisory Committee.

The ad says the committee that she chaired, “sanctioned a nearly $100 million debt increase that has driven up our water rates year-after-year. Carver’s edict went through without a vote of the people and Terri Carver did nothing to give you a voice on this massive rate hike.”
The proof of that claim comes from the bond statement from April of 2013.

Here’s what it said about this committee: “The Utilities Policy Advisory Committee (“UPAC”) is comprised of seven regular members appointed by the City Council. The Utilities Board directs UPAC to study specific issues or policies and provide recommendations to the Utilities Board or City Council, as appropriate.”

That description makes it clear that this decision is something that board would have advised on. The bond statement goes on to name Terri Carver as the advisory committee chair.

The amount of the bond debt is slightly less than $100 million; it is listed as $97,580,000.

The rate increases the ad refers to are listed on pages four and five of the bond document and the statement also outlines the votes by the utilities board for the rate increases.

The ad informs listeners of Miles Dewhirst background.

First, the ad chronicles his work as a Reagan aide. Dewhirst spent two stints in the Reagan administration in both the Dept of Interior and Justice.

Then, it says he’s a businessman. Miles Dewhirst is the owner of Dewhirst & Dolven law firm in Colorado Springs.

The ad cites Dewhirst’s endorsements from Representative Gardner and Attorney John General Suthers. That was confirmed in a Colorado Springs Gazette article published June 5.

Next, the radio ad talks about Dewhirst’s support of freedom, empowerment and TABOR. While harder to prove, these are three tenets that his campaign have discussed since he announced his candidacy in November.

The Dewhirst ad takes some editorial license but it is definitely on point when it comes to the facts which are verified by a search of Colorado Springs Utilities Advisory Board meeting minutes and documents, CU Denver and DU.

BOTTOM LINE: On a scale of 1-5, 1 being inaccurate and 5 being the most accurate ad ever produced, I have to give this radio ad a 4.5.

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