Fort Collins launches survey for police chief search

Fort Collins has launched a survey seeking input about what residents want to see reflected in their next chief of police, marking the latest stage in the search for the city's top cop. After completing six quick questions that gauge how long residents have lived in the city, among other things, respondents are asked to select the “most significant challenges the next chief of police will face.” Of the 10 possible responses offered, survey takers can select up to five answers. Among the options: “Reconcile use of force perceptions, training and community standards” and “maximize transparency whenever possible.”  Duggan: Wanted: A police chief with experience and heart The second primary survey question asks respondents to select top characteristics and attributes desired in the next chief of Fort Collins Police Services. The survey, which is filled out anonymously, takes about five minutes to complete and is available at “Over the coming months we will be looking for a chief who will continue to build a strong relationship with the community while also being a strong leader for the department,” City Manager Darin Atteberry said in a statement. “This will be an open and transparent process with many opportunities for public input. I am committed to moving forward in the best interests of the entire community, including our police force and the city organization.”The city is conducting the nationwide search for the new chief to replace former Chief John Hutto, who stepped down in May.In the meantime, Interim Chief Terry Jones is atop the agency.  Reporter Jason Pohl covers public safety for the Coloradoan. Follow him on Twitter: @pohl_jason.  Local: Loveland police release footage of June officer-involved shooting   Continue Reading

Rudy Giuliani’s desperate for win, woos ex-New Yorkers in Florida primary

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Rudy Giuliani, desperate for a win in Florida, is basking in the goodwill of ex-New Yorkers here, but a new poll Tuesday showed trouble in his own backyard - New Jersey. Giuliani is devoting virtually all of his time and money to winning the Jan. 29 primary here and riding the momentum to the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests in some 20 states, including New York, New Jersey and California. But a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey survey showed Giuliani has lost his once-commanding Garden State lead and trails Arizona Sen. John McCain there by 4 percentage points. He lags by 6 points in California, another big state that Team Rudy once took for granted, a CNN poll found. "Mayor Giuliani's strategy to ignore the early states may have taken him off the radar screen here," said Patrick Murray of the Monmouth poll. Giuliani strategist Anthony Carbonetti said, "We are very confident about our base in New Jersey, and one poll won't change that." Mitt Romney's Michigan win last night, braking the McCain momentum, was good news for Giuliani. "The race remains fluid and competitive," Carbonetti said. In Florida, where 308,000 New Yorkers moved from 1995 to 2000, Giuliani is counting on voters who will thank him for the memories of his mayoral days. "There are people who are familiar with New York City pre-Rudy and they are familiar with New York City post-Rudy and they are very happy to speak about the differences," said Karen Unger, Giuliani's Florida campaign manager. Mitchell Samuels, a former city elevator inspector now living in Cape Coral, popped up this week at a town hall meeting. "How are you, Mr. Mayor? I haven't seen you in quite a while," Samuels, 52, said. "Do we know each other?" Giuliani asked. "Yes, you married us," Samuels replied. Ex-Bronxite Linda Chesnutt, 51, was drawn to a Giuliani meet-and-greet last weekend in Bradenton. "I remember being a kid and not being able to walk in Times Square," Continue Reading

Barack Obama sweeps Dem. primaries

Hillary Clinton got swamped in the "Potomac Primary" Tuesday, her foundering campaign sinking to a new low as Barack Obama extended his winning streak to 8-0 since Super Tuesday. Obama cruised to huge victory margins in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, winning all three contests by 25 points plus. "Today, the change we seek swept through the Chesapeake and over the Potomac," Obama after landing in Wisconsin, which votes next Tuesday. "Though we won in Washington D.C., this movement won't stop until there's change in Washington. And tonight, we're on our way," Obama said to roars from 18,000 at the University of Wisconsin's Kohl Center in Madison. "We have now won east and west, north and south and across the heartland of this country we love." The lopsided wins were a body blow to Clinton's already battered campaign, which had been hoping to slow Obama's momentum heading into Texas and Ohio on March 4, but the Illinois senator only picked up more steam. Though Obama was expected to win all three contests, the size of his victories caught even seasoned politics watchers by surprise. "It's a blowout," said the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato. The New York senator has looked doomed before and managed to pull her campaign together. But large defections of white and Hispanic voters and those pulling the lever based on the economy were especially ominous for the former front-runner. "She's lost ground with some key constituencies that she needs, including whites and lower-income voters," said Sabato, noting that for the first time Obama beat Clinton with people who earned less than $50,000. Obama also looked to have overcome Clinton's past advantage among Latinos, with CNN's exit polls finding 55% going to Obama. The tough losses came as more turmoil hit Clinton's campaign, with Deputy Campaign Manager Mike Henry quitting two days after Patti Solis Doyle was replaced as campaign manager. Expecting the worst last Continue Reading

Clinton wins Puerto Rico primary

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Hillary Rodham Clinton won a lopsided, but largely symbolic victory Sunday in Puerto Rico's presidential primary, the final act in a weekend of tumult that brought Barack Obama tantalizingly close to the Democratic presidential nomination. The former first lady was gaining more than 60 percent of the vote in early returns, and a pre-election poll suggested she could wind up with nearly two-thirds support. In defeat, Obama was on track to gain at least 14 delegates, bringing him within 50 of the 2,118 needed for the nomination. Aides to the 46-year-old Illinois senator said he would clinch the long-sought prize within days. "We hope this week, absolutely," said spokesman Robert Gibbs. Montana and South Dakota hold primaries on Tuesday, the last of the primary campaign season. Gibbs' confidence reflected the outcome of Saturday's meeting of the Democratic Party's rules and bylaws committee. Before an audience that jeered and cheered by turns, the panel voted to seat disputed delegations from Michigan and Florida, but give each delegate only one-half vote rather than the full vote sought by the Clinton campaign. While the decision narrowed the gap between Clinton and Obama, it also erased the former first lady's last, best chance to change the course of the campaign. A telephone poll of likely Puerto Rican voters taken in the days leading up to the primary showed an electorate sympathetic to Clinton — heavily Hispanic, as well as lower income and more than 50 percent female. About one-half also described themselves as conservative. Nearly three-quarters of all those interviewed said they had a favorable view of Clinton, compared to 53 percent for Obama. One-third said they didn't know enough about Obama to form an impression. The survey was conducted Tuesday through Saturday for The Associated Press and the television networks by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. It included 1,587 likely voters with Continue Reading

Obama, Clinton face off in primaries on the Potomac

WASHINGTON - Democratic rivals Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton squared off Tuesday in primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, home to the White House, their long-sought prize. With 168 delegates at stake, Obama hoped to erode if not erase the lead Clinton has held since the campaign began. In polling place interviews, more than eight in 10 voters in Maryland and Virginia said the country is ready to elect either a black or a woman to the White House. Blacks made up more than a third of the Democratic electorate in Maryland, slightly less in Virginia. Obama, hoping to become the first black president, has consistently polled over 80 percent among African-American voters in primaries this year. The surveys were conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for The Associated Press and the television networks. There was no survey conducted in the District of Columbia. Obama won a string of contests in all regions of the country over the weekend, routing Clinton in a Louisiana primary as well as caucuses in Nebraska, Washington state and Maine. The final Maine returns had not been tallied when Clinton's campaign manager announced she was stepping down. Coming several days after the former first lady lent her own campaign $5 million, it was a fresh indication of the trouble the one-time front-runner is having fighting off Obama's strong challenge for the nomination. Aides to the former first lady concede she is in the midst of a difficult period in which she could lose 10 straight contests. She is hoping to rebound on March 4, in primaries in Ohio and Texas, states where both candidates have already begun television advertising. In fact, while still in Virginia on Tuesday, Clinton did satellite interviews with 10 TV stations in Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin, calling for more debates and addressing regional concerns such as the economy in Ohio and immigration in Texas. Asked about the possibility of Continue Reading

Barack Obama wins Georgia primary

ATLANTA - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama coasted to victory in Georgia over rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, riding a wave of support from the state's large black population.On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were locked in a three-way contest.Blacks comprise about half of the Democratic primary vote in Georgia, and exit polls showed they lined up overwhelmingly behind Obama, an Illinois senator seeking to become the nation's first black president."Obama is just better because he makes people, like myself, get up and want to do something positive," said Felix Omigie, a black 42-year-old truck driver from Riverdale. "I can see that he is trying to tap more into the younger generation. He can relate to them."The Associated Press made its call based on surveys of voters as they left the polls.Obama had cultivated black support in the state, speaking from the pulpit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s church the day before the federal holiday honoring the slain civil right leader. But Clinton made him work for the win. The former first lady had the backing of prominent black leaders such as Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero, and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.Many voters in Georgia said Tuesday they were moved by Obama's message more than his skin color."I didn't want to vote for Obama just because he was black," said Jacqueline Jenkins, 42, a black administrative assistant and part-time college student who voted outside Albany. "I didn't want to vote for Hillary just because she's a woman. I think both bring a lot to the table. I just think Obama would be a better choice."The election was the first statewide in which Georgia required a photo identification of all voters casting their ballots in person. Some sporadic problems were reported, in part because people could not wait out delays caused by the ID checks before they had to leave for work. Continue Reading

Turnout very light at polling stations for Primary Day

There were no citywide races, no big contests and no big-name candidates. Brooklyn was the only borough in the city with a boroughwide contest - and that was for Surrogate's Court judge. In a survey of 100 Brooklyn voters, the Daily News found that 66 people didn't know it was Primary Day. Just 34 knew the polls were open - and, of them, only 10 voted. "I didn't know," said Brooklyn day care worker Caroline Harvey, 48. "I saw a voting sign at the school but I didn't know what it was for." Poll workers said they have never seen voting booths so empty. "Primaries are usually slow, but not this slow," said election worker Raheem Jones, 45, in the nearly empty gymnasium of Bedford-Stuyvesant's Public School 309. "My take was 11 voters from 6:30 \[a.m.\] to 2 \[p.m.\]," said Tasmin Akter, 32, who manned a voting booth at PS 180 in Borough Park. Because not all election districts had contests, fewer polls than normal were open. Manhattan and Queens had only small races, largely for district leaders and county committees. There were no races on Staten Island. A single primary was held in the Bronx, for Republican County Committee candidates. "There are only 44 registered Republicans in that district," city Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said. In Brooklyn, voters were sparse - but some did turn out. "I'm voting for the judges," said Elaine Berkowitz, 85, as she entered PS 180 to cast her ballot. Most people on the streets said they didn't know there was a primary. Once they found out, some said they would vote. Poll workers said they expected the number of voters to increase as people got off work - but not by much. "We're waiting for 6 o'clock for the working people," said Bedford-Stuyvesant election worker Laureen Jackson. "But right now it looks grim over here." The upside was there were no lines. "People might be glad because they get in and out," said poll worker Shirley Skinner, 65. In heavily Jewish Borough Park, the Continue Reading

Dems slam Florida delegates over primary move

WASHINGTON - Playing hardball, Democrats yesterday voted to shut Florida out of the party's 2008 national convention for violating party rules by moving up the state's presidential primary to Jan. 29. The punishment would leave the fourth-largest state without a vote for the nominee.The tough stance by the Democratic National Committee banned all 210 delegates from voting - and gave Florida 30 days to move their primary back at least seven days if they want to regain their voting privileges.Florida vowed to fight to get the sanctions lifted.The DNC also is threatening to sanction any candidates who participate in Florida's Jan. 29 primary."Florida was aware of the sanctions they would face but apparently ignored the seriousness of this until now," said DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "If the party doesn't enforce its rules, what's to stop other states from leapfrogging ahead?"Florida Democrats violated a party rule that permits only Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina to vote before Feb. 5. If Florida is allowed to make the move ahead, Dems fear other states will follow, forcing those four states to schedule primaries and caucuses even earlier."I think Florida thought that we wouldn't enforce the rules because they're Florida, but rules are rules, no matter which state," said a national party insider.Some observers fear some candidates won't spend time and money in the state, since Hillary Clinton enjoys an early and overwhelming lead there.Experts warn that ignoring Florida could anger the state's voters, who think they are being taken for granted."If you skip out on the Florida primary, it could hurt you in the fall ['08] if you're the nominee, particularly with the independent voters," said Florida pollster Brad Coker, who runs the Mason Dixon survey.Three of five Florida Democrats who wrote to the DNC this week in favor of an early primary are Clinton backers.Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Kendrick Meek are all with Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders narrows among some likely Democratic primary voters, polls show

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s hold on Granite State voters isn’t that rock solid, according to a pair of new polls. Two surveys out early this week find Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-declared Democratic socialist, with big momentum in New Hampshire, though Clinton retains her edge. S.E. CUPP: THE FOLLY OF FAR-LEFT HILLARY Clinton leads Sanders by 41% to 31% among likely Democratic primary voters in a live-caller poll from Suffolk University, the first public poll that’s found anyone within a double-digit margin of the front-runner. Another poll, released Monday, found Clinton’s lead shrinking to a similar 44% to 32% margin. That poll was released by the Morning Consult, a publication for Washington insiders, and included a partial online sample, a method viewed with skepticism by some pollsters. ALYSSA KATZ: HILLARY CLINTON'S LIBERAL LURCH IS LESS RADICAL THAN MEETS THE EYE The pair of polls are the first survey evidence that Sanders has captured the interest of the Democratic base in the state bordering his, though anecdotal evidence has been piling up that progressives looking for a Clinton alternative are rallying to his side. Many Sanders events have been packed in recent weeks, and he recently came within striking distance of Clinton in a non-scientific straw poll of Wisconsin Democratic activists. Clinton maintains a huge lead in both Iowa and South Carolina, according to Morning Consult polls in those states. She’s above 50% in both states, with Sanders barely reaching double digits. Continue Reading

Democratic National Committee approves six presidential primary debates

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee has signed off on six primary debates beginning this fall, it announced Tuesday. "We've always believed that we would have a competitive primary process, and that debates would be an important part of that process," DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in a statement. Each of the first four early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — will have a dedicated debate. Hillary Clinton immediately indicated she plans to participate in the debates, though she didn’t say if she’ll take part in all six. “While GOP debates the same failed policies, Democrats will debate how to help families get ahead. Looking forward to a real conversation,” she tweeted Tuesday, shortly after the DNC’s announcement. The bigger question is what threshold candidates will need to reach in order to participate. In the past, candidates often would have to be polling above a certain level in either statewide or national surveys to get a spot onstage. DNC spokesman Mo Elleithee said that the DNC will establish a “uniform threshold” for all the debates rather than let each debate organizer set their own rules. The DNC has yet to determine what that threshold will be, he said. Continue Reading