Vote Guide – Ballot questions


Amendment 67


Amendment 67, which
proposes to apply definitions of “person” and “child” in Colorado’s
criminal code and wrongful death act to include unborn humans, is a
solution in search of a problem.

one, the legislature already responded to the issue it claims to
address (the loss of a child by an eightmonths-pregnant woman after she
was hit by a drunk driver) by passing laws that apply penalties to the
unlawful termination of a pregnancy through criminal or negligent acts.
Second, the language in the law is overly broad, written in such a
manner that it would criminalize not just incidents like the accident
and all abortions, but any circumstances that do not result in a live
birth, including miscarriages and birth control.

Coloradans have voted on this type of “personhood” amendment twice
before, in 2008 and 2010. Both times the result was definitive, with
more than 70 percent voting “no.” Boulder Weekly recommends a “no” vote on Amendment 67.

Colorado State Amendment 68


Amendment 68 would permit one casino to be built at horse racetracks in

Mesa and Pueblo counties. The catch is that the casino could only be
built at a horse track that is in operation for five years. Because
Arapahoe Park is the only track that meets qualifications, it would be
the only track ready for a casino. Unsurprisingly, the sponsors of the
amendment own Arapahoe Park.

amendment gives up to $114 million to K-12 education funding statewide,
however, reductions in tax revenue from the mountain casinos (in Black
Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City) would offset the total amount
given to K-12 education to about $67 million. Current revenue from the
mountain casinos amounts to just under $100 million annually. Colorado
schools are budgeted $6 billion annually.

one of the more cynical things I’ve ever seen,” says Michele Ames,
spokesperson for the No campaign. “Not a single education group, not a
single school district is supporting this.”

Amendment 68 would also amend the state constitution for one private company, says Ames.

68 would strip local communities in Arapahoe, Mesa and Pueblo counties
of their right to determine local gambling regulations. The mountain
towns in which Colorado’s only casinos currently reside may suffer from
what the state says will be a 30 percent immediate decline in visitors.

because Amendment 68 essentially writes one casino into the state
constitution, severely restricts the rights of local communities to
determine rules about gambling in their counties, and because the impact
of the funding for K-12 education is minimal, vote no.

Colorado Proposition 104


104 would amend Colorado statutes to require local school boards and
their representatives to hold collective bargaining agreement
negotiations in open meetings.

is unclear, according to the state’s electoral Blue Book, if discussing
negotiation strategies will have to be made public. The ballot question
would make public “any meeting of a board of education, or any meeting
between any representative of a school district and any representative
of employees, at which a collective bargaining agreement is discussed.”

only groups that are really going to be against opening negotiations
are the school districts and the unions, and they have a mighty big
stick down at the legislature but I don’t think that represents what
Coloradans want,” says Jon Caldara, president of the Independence
Institue, which is sponsoring the propisiton.

The proposition would also free information during teacher strikes.

other states already have similar school board negotiation regulations
and several school districts in Colorado already make their CBA
negotiations public.

opposed to the proposition say voters elect school board members whom
they trust to run these negotiations, and that labor negotiations are
often difficult and complicated.

Although the wording in the proposition could be more definitive, Boulder Weekly ultimately agrees with Caldara, who says, “Sunshine is not a scary thing except for people who are acting in the dark.”

Proposition 105


meat and potatoes of this measure would require “any prepackaged,
processed food or raw agricultural commodity that has been produced
using genetic modification” to include the label “Produced With Genetic
Engineering” by Jan. 1, 2016.

biggest cry from critics is that labeling will drive up costs for
consumers. A 2013 investigation by independent consultant Kai Robertson
found “no evidence that changes to a food processor’s product labels
affect the prices paid by shoppers.”

not asking to ban GMOs, we’re simply asking that people have a right to
know what’s in their food by a simple label,” says Larry Cooper,
cochair for Right To Know Colorado, the campaign that’s been working to
get a GMO labeling measure on this November’s statewide ballot since

We endorse a “yes” vote on proposition 105.

Boulder County Ballot Issue 1A County-wide Flood Recovery Sales and Use Tax


with an estimated cost of $217 million to recover the county’s
infrastructure after the flood and an expected reimbursement from
federal funds of $161 million, the Boulder County Commissioners have
crafted a ballot initiative to close that gap — some $56 million. With
an increase in sales and use tax of 0.185 percent, or less than $.02 for
every $10 spent, they can come closer to covering the escalating costs
of recovery from the 2013 flood, including repairs to county roads and
bridges, redirecting rivers that changed course and assisting programs
to rebuild residents’ homes and businesses. The increase is set to
sunset in five years.

The hope, county commissioners say, is to rebuild better, stronger infrastructure ready to withstand the next natural disaster.

Public support has been widespread for the ballot issue. Boulder Weekly joins those endorsements in saying this is a necessary step to recovery.

Boulder County Ballot Issue 1B Human Services Safety Net Mill Levy Extension


Issue 1B proposes extending a mill levy that comes down to $7 per
$100,000 value on a home and has been used to fund housing and human
services programs within the county. A significant percentage of Boulder
County residents have yet to fully recover from the recession and are
still looking to the help that Boulder County’s Housing and Human
Services program either provide or connect them with on a federal level.
Between 2011 and 2014, Boulder County’s Housing and Human
Services-funded community partner programs have served an estimated
6,905 Boulder residents in need of housing assistance, 6,108 residents
with basic needs for families, 2,432 people for mental health services,
1,514 for domestic violence services and 202 for parent education
programming. The county commissioners describe the programs as having
been wildly successful in helping families.

measure was initially proposed to help fill a gap left as state and
federal funding was reduced to these kinds of programs, but signs point
toward that funding not being backfilled and demand has continued. This
ballot issue proposes to extend the Safety Net Tax by 15 years.

City of Boulder Ballot Issue No. 2A – Temporary Tax Increase for Community, Culture, and Safety


Ballot Issue 2A calls for a $0.03 sales tax increase in the city of Boulder for three years in order to raise funds for cultural and safety improvements to the downtown civic area, Museum of Boulder, Chautauqua Park, University Hill and more.

passed, 2A will raise $8.7 million for capital improvements to the
downtown civic area (Canyon Boulevard to Arapahoe Avenue; Ninth Street
to 13th Street), including increased lighting, refurbishment of Eben G.
Fine Park, better paths and more.

would raise $3.2 million for improved lighting on the Hill, and $5.2
million to light Boulder Creek Path from 3rd to 17th streets and improve
paving along the path.

would allot $3.8 million to the Dairy Center for the Arts so they can
soundproof theaters and increase the size of dressing rooms to meet
stage actor union standards, allowing more acts to come into Boulder,
says Yes on 2A volunteer, Bob Yates.

Museum of Boulder would receive $4 million in matching funds to move
into the Masonic Lodge downtown and set up shop in the
16,000-square-foot building.

The new museum will include a “Children’s Discovery Zone,” science exhibitions, art exhibitions and local history displays.

2A would also provide $1.5 million for improved lighting in Chautauqua
Park, and the construction of a wider, safer path along 9th Street.
Issue 2A would also allot $600,000 for public art.

really kind of coalesced around culture and safety,” Yates says.
“There’s a lot of needs but I think the idea was ‘Lets make it something
the voters can really get their arms around.’” Ultimately, the sales
tax was the best way to raise funds, Yates says, because it asks not
only residents, but visitors to help pay for the improvements. The
downtown improvements will provide millions in new revenue, according to
independent research.

Vote yes.

City of Boulder Ballot Question 2B (on executive session)


Question 2B asks the voters to give permission to the Boulder City
Council to meet in executive session to discuss legal issues related to
advancing the city’s municipal electric utility.

a newspaper, we believe the public should have access to these meetings
and be engaged in the conversation, and that transparency in city
government should be prioritized over the supposition that

is any move the city could negotiate in secrecy that would catch Xcel
by surprise. Xcel Energy has demonstrated an ability to anticipate and
plan for each maneuver the city has proposed, with or without an element
of surprise.

The city
can also continue employing some of the workarounds currently used,
such as city council members meeting in pairs. It doesn’t appear
everyone on the city council thinks this measure is entirely necessary
or that voters will go for it anyway. So while municipalization is an
important issue, it is not the most important thing the council has ever
dealt with, and opening this door could set a bad precedent.

Boulder Weekly recommends a no vote on this one.

City of Boulder Ballot Question No. 2C


has a high focus on the tech sector, the ideal sort of environment that
Google was searching for with its Google Fiber Initiative, which sought
to supercharge internet speeds for one lucky community.

we were passed over for the project in large part because of state laws
restricting the ability to create municipal internet.

it is one that can be corrected thanks to home rule. The question asked
by this ballot is not “should Boulder create municipal internet,” but
“should it have the authority to do so.” And if one believes in local
control, it’s hard to oppose having the authority.

principal argument against municipal internet is that it is, without a
doubt government taking over something that was traditionally done by
the private sector. There are many who oppose that on principle, and in
many cases they are correct to do so. But our economy and society has
reached the point in which internet is becoming a utility, much like
electricity or water, and continuing to let it operate as a natural
monopoly in the private sector risks communities falling behind.

According to internet speed measurement service InternetAccessLocal.

Boulder’s internet speeds are around 30 percent faster than the
national average. But our 27 Mb/s download speed pales to Chattanooga’s
publically-owned network which reaches speeds of 1,000 Mb/s.

For the good of our community, Boulder Weekly recommends a vote in favor of Ballot Question No. 2c.

City of Lafayette Ballot Issue No. 2A – Public Safety Mill Levy


Issue 2A calls for the raising of property taxes in Lafayette to pay
for upgrades to the police department and ambulance services.

city says it needs to “ease the financial impact” of operating its
ambulance service, which it figures will only increase in coming years.
City council passed a resolution in favor of 2A, in which it said that
in order to keep ambulance services in town, extra funds need to be

“We used to
have a regional service that we used and response times were really high
and that was the impetus for going to more localized service,” says
Debbie Wilmot, Lafayette public information officer.

tax will also help fund upgrades for police technology, including
“software and hardware investment.” And, funding will be given to youth
and crime prevention programs.

of [the upgrades] are communication upgrades so that we can be on the
same radio frequencies with the other emergency responders in the
county,” says Wilmot.

2A passes, Lafayette residents can expect a moderate increase in their
property taxes — a $200,000 house, would mean $32 per year. This tax is

additional fact the funding will likely be taken out of the general fund
if 2A fails, and the lack of a safe, immediate option for a regional
ambulance system is enough for a yes vote.

City of Lafayette Ballot Issue No. 2B – Recreation Bond and Mill Levy


Lafayette’s ballot issue No. 2B asks voters to approve a $5.5 million bond to upgrade and renovate the Lamont Does pool and park complex.

by the city, the Lamont Does complex is 43 years old and several
upgrades would be applied to the facility if 2A passes, including the
construction of a water park, which will include two flume towers, a
renovated lap pool, a new bath house and more.

mechanics are failing and its very costly to upkeep replacements of all
those,” says Debbie Wilmot, city of Lafayette public information
officer. “It’s just not justifiable to continue to put band-aids on the

The pool had 9,500 admissions this year (and 74 dogs), with 407 participants in swim lessons and clinics.

The ballot issue also includes the construction of a new synthetic turf athletic field and handball courts.

property tax will last 10 years and residents in a $200,000 home can
expect to pay $31 annually, while those in $350,000 homes can expect to
pay $53 annually.

tax is moderate, and if you’re a Lafayette resident and want a new pool
facility and turf field, by all means vote yes. Because there are other
avenues for the funding of this renovation, because the total funding
amount is sizeable, and because it is not a necessity to the town, vote

City of Lafayette Ballot Issue No. 2C – Retail Marijuana and Retail Marijuana Products Excise Tax


ballot measure will add a 10 percent tax on all marijuana and marijuana
products bought in the city of Lafayette. This tax is in addition to
state taxes already levied on the sale of marijuana.

According to the city, funds raised by the tax will be used to offset any costs that Lafayette incurs from the licensing
and regulation of marijuana. The city also says it will use funds to
support local drug education programs to prevent underage consumption of

As a rule, Boulder Weekly supports reasonable taxation by local communities on the sale of marijuana.

City of Lafayette Ballot Issue No. 2D – Excise Tax to Fund Clean Energy Initiative


passed, Ballot Issue 2D will require Lafayette residents to pay a small
tax based on their utility bill to fund a local clean energy program
and initiative.

tax would be 1 percent of a resident’s monthly electricity and natural
gas bill in 2015, and 2 percent in 2016. That amounts to about $1 to $2
per taxpayer per month. The total collected figures to be around
$240,000 in 2015 and $480,000 in 2016.

to the issue’s backers, Lafayette Clean Energy Campaign, those funds
will be used for “offering rebates for energy efficiency projects; free
expert energy advising; establishing on-water-bill repayment of certain
energy upgrades; and employing an energy professional to implement
programs and coordinate with an oversight Commission.”

citizens voted in 2013 to collect a 3 percent “Utility Occupation Tax”
that would offset the costs of leaving a contract with Xcel, in order to
independently pursue a clean energy future. Although the measure
passed, the city elected to resign with Xcel and so no tax was

Boulder Weekly endorses a vote for this issue.

City of Longmont Ballot Issue 2A (street system maintenance)


City of Longmont’s Ballot Initiative 2A asks to extend street system
maintenance and improvement by extending an existing sales and use tax
of three-quarters of a cent from its enddate in 2016 to 2026.

only real advantage to not passing this ballot issue is to eventually
see a slightly lower sales and use tax. Passing it allows the city to
build the infrastructure for Longmont, like bike lanes and pedestrian
underpasses, and improve the roads we all use. In addition, the tax will
be used to improve transportation efficiency and safety.

Boulder Weekly recommends a yes vote.

Town of Lyons Ballot Issue 2A


Last year, Boulder Weekly supported
state taxes on marijuana, but opposed localized city surtaxes on top of
them, as we felt that it was likely to raise prices enough to either
push purchasers to other towns without surtaxes, or into the black

This year, we
have revised our position as it has become clear that for the average
consumer, the risks and added difficultly of the black market or driving
to the next town are not worth the trouble.

sales taxes are better applied to non-essential consumer goods like
marijuana than to essential items like housewares, and communities
should have the right to decide how and how much to tax themselves.

feel this issue is especially relevant in Lyons, which was hit hard by
last year’s floods. Taxing local marijuana sales is a fairly painless
way for Lyons to raise needed money to rebuild, and it should have the
ability to do so if it chooses.

We encourage our readers to vote for Ballot Issue 2A.

Boulder Valley School District RE-2 Ballot Issue 3A


Issue 3A is an attempt for schools to catch up after the recession
required funding cuts on the state level for schools that have made
infrastructure updates and even repairs a luxury rather than necessity.

Every school in the district will benefit from the half a billion
dollars raised by the increased property taxes, according to Boulder
Valley School District Superintendent Bruce Messinger. Almost half of
the money raised through the bond will be used to address aging systems,
including heating, ventilation, roofs and boilers, as well as to remove
the asbestos from all Boulder Valley schools. Three schools that can’t
be updated in a cost-efficient manner will be rebuilt — though they’ll
work to keep and build around recent construction at those schools. A
new school will be built in Erie to accommodate expected growth.

for schools declined during the recession, and schools are still trying
to get back to the funding levels they would have seen had school
funding kept up with inflation and growth.

2009 to 2014, schools received $1 billion less annually than what
inflation and growth rates projected they’d receive, leaving Boulder
County behind by $34 million each year.

72 percent of school buildings in Boulder County are more than 30 years
old. Current funding doesn’t provide for regular maintenance and
improvements to buildings, according to BVSD’s master plan.

results will be a six- or sevenyear build-out of the school district,
at a cost of $47 per year for every $100,000 of actual value.

Boulder Weekly endorses this increase in funding for school infrastructure and equipment.

North Metro Fire District Ballot Issue 4A


North Metro Fire District covers 63 square miles through areas of
Broomfield, Northglenn and unincorporated areas of Jefferson, Adams,
Weld and Boulder counties. In recent years it has seen property values
decline, popu lations

increase, inflation go up, and the cost of fire-fighting equipment go up even faster.

made cuts in administrative personal and other programs,” says Sara
Farris, Public Information Officer for the North Metro Fire District.
“We just can’t keep on this track anymore and maintain the same response

Farris says
they try to maintain the national standard of being able to respond to
any call within the district within four minutes, but that if this
ballot doesn’t pass, they won’t be able to maintain that standard.

Vote yes for Ballot Issue 2A.

Coal Creek Canyon Fire Protection District Ballot Issue 4B


Between growing human access, climate change and drought, the west has endured years and years of ever more punishing wildfires.

the same time, costs of fire fighting equipment have skyrocketed
leaving fire departments everywhere, and especially more rural
communities like Coal Creek Canyon, strapped for cash.

Additionally, fire stations are also that respond to medical calls, equally crucial in rural areas.

If we expect them to be there when we call, then we need to be there when they need assistance as well. Vote yes.

Lyons Regional Library District Ballot Issue 4C


Lyons was hit hard by last year’s floods, and more than just recovering, we here at Boulder Weekly want
to see it return even stronger. A library is a boon to any community,
and especially one in need of a win as part of its big comeback.

Vote yes for 4C, and help Lyons build the library that the community deserves.

Sunshine Fire Protection District Ballot Issue 2A


the Sunshine Fire Protection District is to maintain its current level
of operations, it will need more operating capitol. And we here at Boulder Weekly think that’s good for everyone.

Vote yes for this measure.