Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: Tancredo's not running for governor, but he's on the move

Tom Tancredo will have his Kumbaya moment at 10 a.m. today, when he gathers with Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis and other top GOPs -- including former governor Bill Owens and former gubernatorial Josh Penry -- to unveil an agreed-upon set of Republican principles.

And that will mark the end of Tancredo's rumored run for Bill Ritter's seat. But while the controversial former congressman may not be running for governor, Tancredo is definitely on the move -- and now he's got time to campaign against the state's hate-crime statutes.

Even as McInnis' office was sending out word of today's gathering, the Rocky Mountain Foundation, the group that Tancredo's headed since he left Congress, was announcing Tancredo's next campaign: He's asking Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to charge the 33 black males recently arrested for a series of racially motivated assaults downtown with hate crimes.

"I personally do not believe in 'hate crime' laws," Tancredo said in the announcement. "But if that law is used against some racial and ethnic groups, it should be applied equally to all groups. According to police Chief Whitman, the assaults in this case were all racially motivated against white and Hispanics, so that clearly falls within the definition of a 'hate crime.'"

And then Tancredo noted that Morrissey had declined to invoke the hate-crime statute in the case of Lilian Verdonkschot, a 53-year-old woman killed in a hit-and-run in late May at the Broadway Burger King, even though witnesses (including Verdonkschot's daughter) say that her accused killer, Nadine Montoya, threatened to kill the "stupid white bitches." That's an account that comes directly from this Westword story by Jared Jacang Maher.

"What is Morrissey waiting for?" Tancredo asked. "This new case of the black gangs seeking out and targeting white and Hispanic victims is a no-brainer. Either the city of Denver will enforce hate crimes laws fairly or people will conclude that some victims have fewer rights than other victims. If that's the case, those laws should be repealed."