December 9, 2022
Colorado Attorney General Pushing To Block Albertsons Investor Payout
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is urging a Washington State court judge to block Albertsons’ $4 billion payout to its investors while the company’s merger with Kroger is under review. Weiser’s office is leading a multistate investigation of the proposed grocery chain merger. Kroger announced its plans to acquire Albertsons for almost $25 billion in mid-October.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Weiser said the merger, if approved, could result in higher prices for Colorado consumers, lower wages for workers, fewer jobs, and negatively impact farmers and those in rural communities. “It is not plausible to tell someone in Cortez, ‘Oh, you could drive to Grand Junction for an alternative supermarket.’ That’s just not plausible. And we are very mindful of those concerns. And we are going to be making sure to hear directly from those who will be affected by this merger.”
Colorado has nearly 150 Kroger stores, branded as either King Soopers or City Market, and around 100 Albertsons owned stores, mostly doing business as Safeway. Weiser said that in many communities in the state, these stores are competing head to head, and in some communities they are the only grocery stores serving residents. “Now, this merger, because of the market shares, has the real prospect of adversely affecting urban, including food deserts, which can be in rural or urban areas. So we’re really concerned in both contexts, what will happen, what will be the consequences, and how do we make sure to protect all communities in Colorado.”
Weiser also said he plans to go on a statewide tour of Colorado in order to hear directly from consumers on this issue. He said he has already heard from Coloradans concerned about the impact of the merger. ’To give you a sense of the concerns I want to read from a card that someone shared with us from Estes Park. ‘Please do all you can to prevent a grocery monopoly. Our Safeway is already the highest price store in the chain due to our seasonal tourist season. If Albertsons and Kroger merge it will only get worse.’”
The State Attorney General’s office is accepting public comments on the proposed merger through the website stopfraudcolorado.gov.
City Officials Say No Evidence Of Another State Politician Sending Migrants To Denver
Denver officials told reporters during a Thursday press conference that they are not seeing any evidence of another government entity directing migrants to Denver. The city held yesterday’s press conference to address speculation and questions surrounding a 120 person spike of immigrants arriving in Denver by bus earlier in the week and the city deploying a make-shift shelter at a rec center in response to the flux.
Denver’s deputy chief of staff Evan Dreyer said people staying at the shelter told workers they organized on social media to come to Denver. City officials say they are still trying to find out details about the bus or buses that brought the migrants to Denver and their point of origin, as well as trying to understand why Denver is a destination for the migrants. City officials say they expect more migrants may arrive in the coming days.
Prosecutors Dropped Prior Case Of Club Q Suspect After Family Members Dodged Subpoenas
The El Paso County District Court Judge presiding over the Club Q case unsealed documents yesterday related to the prior arrest of the alleged shooter. Police arrested the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich – whose current defense attorneys claim goes by the pronouns they and them and is nonbinary- in June 2021 following allegations of a bomb threat and threatening to kill their grandparents, who had also called 911.
Unsealed records show that during the 2021 SWAT team arrest, law enforcement found and seized guns and rounds of ammunition, a gas mask, body armor, and a tub full of chemicals to make explosive materials. Authorities said they did not return the seized weapons to Aldrich, despite Aldrich’s attempts to reclaim the guns.
During the 2021 case, other distant relatives submitted statements to the court warning Aldrich would harm their grandparents again and should remain incarcerated.
El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen told the Associated Press yesterday the court dismissed the 2021 case after the suspect’s mother and grandparents evaded subpoenas that would have required them to testify in court against their relative.
House of Representatives Passes Law to Protect Interracial and Same Sex Marriage
The United States Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act Thursday. The landmark legislation creates explicit federal protections for interracial and same sex marriage.
Congressperson Joe Neguse of Colorado’s 2nd District said in a statement: “This moment holds particular importance to our community, thanks to the late Clela Rorex, Boulder County’s former County Clerk. Clela was a champion for equality, and in1975, made history as the first county clerk in the nation to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, transforming the lives of countless families across the country.”
Feds Award Colorado $170 Million Broadband Grant
Colorado Governor Jared Polis joined White House officials yesterday by announcing that the United States Department of Treasury has approved Colorado’s plan to use around $170 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to help build broadband infrastructure within the state. State officials plan on distributing the funds to internet service providers through a competitive grant program that will require the building of broadband projects within areas of the state with no or limited high-speed internet.
Polis and his administration also announced yesterday the National Telecommunications Information Administration will award Colorado over $5 million to expand internet access, affordability, and digital skills for the state’s residents. In October, the Polis Administration announced a five-year plan that aims to connect 99% of Colorado households with high-speed internet.
Colorado Energy Office Updating Plan To Boost Sales Of EV Sales
The Colorado Energy Office announced a draft plan Thursday aiming to boost sales and use of electric vehicles in the state. According to the Denver Post, objectives of the plan include electrifying a bigger share of medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses and boosting electric passenger vehicles to 25% of the market share by 2025, as well as having all vehicles on the road be electric by 2050.
Thursday’s announcement is the second update to the state’s plan, which the agency’s director says is a response to a remarkable acceleration in Colorado EV sales. The energy office is also considering offering state incentives to offset restrictions on the $7,500 federal tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act.
Junie Joseph Will Stay On As Boulder City Council Member While Also Representing HD 10
Boulder Council Person Junie Joseph says she will stay on as a city council member while also heading into her newly elected position as State Representative for House District 10. Joseph won the house district seat in November and says she now plans on serving the rest of her city council term that ends in November 2023.
Joseph told Boulder Beat News earlier the week that she thought resigning her city council post would leave a big hole and that she also wanted to honor the voter mandate of a four-year term. According to Boulder Beat News, Joseph initially planned on resigning from her city council post shortly after the November election, but reconsidered after learning nothing in the city code or state law would prevent her from serving both bodies.