Amendment P Gaming regulations
Amendment P was referred to the ballot by the Legislature, and it would amend the Colorado Constitution. It would transfer licensing authority for games of chance, such as bingo or raffles, from the Department of State to the Department of Revenue. Also, it would allow the Legislature to change rules regarding the overseeing department and to change a requirement that a gaming organization must operate as a dues-paying organization for five years to qualify for a license.
On one hand, the Department of Revenue already handles the licensing for other forms of gaming, so transferring games of chance to that office would put gaming under one roof — which should lead to efficiencies. On the other hand, there would be a onetime cost, estimated at $116,000, and opponents question this expense during a tough fiscal time. It’s a fair question, but we’ll favor Amendment P on the efficiencies angle, and because navigating the state’s bureaucracy is tough enough without having similar operations in different departments.
Amendment Q Temporary emergency move of Legislature
Amendment Q is a measure referred to the ballot by the Legislature that would amend the Colorado Constitution. Passing it would make it constitutional for the state to temporarily move its seat of government from Denver in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or an act of terrorism. Currently, there are statutes and rules that would allow the Legislature to meet elsewhere, but nothing in the Constitution.
Hopefully there would never be a need for such a move, but stuff happens, and there’s no good reason to vote against an amendment that simply makes a move that’s already in law constitutional.
Amendment R Exemptions on property tax on possessory interests
R is a measure referred to the ballot by the Legislature that would
amend the Colorado Constitution. It would exempt individuals or
businesses operating on government-owned property (possessory interests)
from paying property taxes if the value of the real property used is
less than $6,000. For example, a rancher grazing cattle on federal land
could be seen as having a possessory interest.
one hand, it could eliminate small amounts of paperwork for certain
businesses and even the state. It’s possible that the cost of tax
notification and enforcement could exceed the revenue collected in
certain cases, since only small amounts of property tax are collected in
those situations. Also, small businesses could save small amounts of
On the other
hand, it could cost local governments small amounts of money from
property tax revenue, and the state might need to replace small amounts
of property tax money that would otherwise fund K-12 education. Also,
this tax elimination would go into the Constitution, so under TABOR,
another statewide ballot measure would be necessary to bring the tax
worthy of some careful consideration, but we’ll favor it. It would work
in the favor of small agricultural operations, and it would reduce
Amendment 60, Amendment 61, Proposition 101 Reducing taxes and government spending
60, 61 and 101 are separate ballot issues, but most observers see them
as a package, and we urge you to vote against this ill-advised package.
brief, they are designed to cut taxes, limit government spending and
limit government borrowing. In practice, they’d damage education
funding, cost Coloradans jobs, and needlessly prevent or delay bonding.
of them (60 and 61) would go straight into the state Constitution if
passed. Also, drastic reductions in tax rates under 101 would trigger
TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) limits if there’s ever a need to
re-implement taxes or fees to fund services that 101 would eliminate or
Whether or not TABOR author Douglas Bruce ever talks publicly about his
role or lack thereof in bringing these three measures to the ballot,
60, 61 and 101 smack of “Bruceism.” They demonize government spending —
while not acknowledging when people benefit from services that the
spending pays for — and attempt to cut taxes without care for the
consequences. Voters have defeated every statewide Bruce initiative
since TABOR passed on the third try, and we should do the same here.
already ranks near the bottom of states in terms of its support for
higher education. It’s a financially strapped state, not because the
resources aren’t there, but because of TABOR. Passing these measures
means thrusting Colorado deeper into a budget crisis that won’t serve
Amendment 60: Property Taxes
• Cuts local property taxes used for K-12 education in half over 10 years.
Repeals past local elections that allowed local governments to keep
property tax revenues in excess of TABOR limits (“De-Brucing” measures).
Imposes new property taxes on previously untaxed public enterprises
(such as CU), and reduces other property taxes by the amount of the new
Amendment 61: Borrowing • Prohibits all new state borrowing, including its public enterprises (such as CU).
• Allows local borrowing only with voter approval, but bonded debt must be repaid within 10 years.
• Requires government entities to reduce tax rates once bonds are paid off, by the amount of average annual payments.
101: Tax and fee reductions
• Reduces the state income tax rate from
4.63 percent to 4.5 percent in 2011, and reduces it an additional 0.1
percent every year that state net income increases by 6 percent or more,
until the overall rate is 3.5 percent.
Reduces vehicle registration fees to $10, eliminates or reduces
vehicle-specific ownership taxes, eliminates auto rental fees and taxes,
and eliminates most taxes and fees on telecommunications.
• Increases on most vehicle or telecommunications fees in the future would be considered tax increases.
Amendment 62 Rights for fertilized eggs
Amendment 62 seeks to extend the definition of person to include a fertilized egg
“from the beginning of biological development.” It is almost a direct
repeat of 2008’s personhood initiative, as both supporters and opponents
agree. By legally defining a fertilized egg as a person, with all of
the same legal and constitutional rights entailed therein, abortion in
any circumstance would be criminalized, as would several forms of birth
control, including the pill and the IUD, as well as stem cell research.
The amendment would also affect some fertility treatments, such as in
vitro fertilization, and possibly hundreds of laws.
like Colorado Right to Life, say this would protect “little boys and
girls” and that any turmoil in the legal system will just have to be
dealt with later. Tellingly, National Right to Life does not support the measure.
if every woman who miscarries has to endure a forensic vaginal exam, in
which doctors search for criminal evidence that she caused the
miscarriage herself. Imagine victims of incest and rape forced to carry
pregnancies to term, enduring nine months of emotional torment and the
suffering of childbirth on top of the crime that impregnated them.
Imagine having only sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods to
prevent pregnancy — and no options at all if one of those methods fails.
That’s the world that Amendment 62 is trying to create.
such as Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, say the measure is
extreme, allowing judges, lawyers and lawmakers to intrude on private
health care decisions. Lisa Radelet, communications director at Women’s
Health, says the measure is invasive and that even if it passed, the
amendment would face legal challenges “almost immediately,” costing the
state money. She also points out that in 2008, Colorado voters
overwhelmingly rejected a similar amendment.
“Coloradans think this is a bad idea, and I don’t think that’s going to change,” she says.
agree. Whether you support the right to choose or you consider yourself
a pro-lifer, defining a fertilized egg as a person is taking things to
absurd extremes. Consider the ramifications: Would miscarriages have to
be investigated as a possible negligent homicide? Can an egg inherit
property and pay taxes? Should a 12-year-old who becomes pregnant by her
own daddy be forced to carry that pregnancy to term? Would pregnant
women automatically get to use the HOV lane? Is every sperm truly
Give us a
break! Like 2008’s personhood initiative, Amendment 62 is absurd and
insulting to women. We strongly urge you to vote NO on Amendment 62.
Amendment 63 Mandatory health care purchases
63 is a citizen initiative that would amend the Colorado Constitution
and would prevent the state of Colorado from enforcing purchases of
health care coverage under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act (PPACA), which mandates that people buy health insurance and
fines those who don’t. The registered proponents of 63 are Boulder’s own
Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute in Golden, and
Linda Gorman from the same organization.
been suggested that 63 is a largely symbolic measure, since federal law
trumps state amendments, although you will find debate about that in
the blogosphere. Also, 63 cites the 10th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, which says the federal government only has powers
specifically enumerated to it in the Constitution, while others say the
Commerce Clause gives the feds the right to implement the PPACA.
Well, we’ll see you in court on this debate for a long, long time.
and Gorman are running the initiative on the right of health care
choice, but they won’t mention a few other “rights” that ordinary people
don’t want. The right to be denied coverage. The right to watch your
premiums go up until you can’t even afford high-deductible coverage. The
right to be denied bankruptcy when your medical bills ruin your life.
The right to lose coverage because you lost a job. The right of
Americans to pay much more for coverage as a percentage of GDP than
other Western nations with worse health outcomes.
are among the reasons that Obama won in 2008, and while the extended
battle in Congress over PPACA sapped his political capital, a lot of
ordinary people will eventually benefit.
say 63 would cost private premium-holders, since the cost of providing
care to the people who will remain uninsured will be passed on to
premium bills, although proponents differ with that. The amendment would
also prevent Colorado from implementing a statewide system such as the
one Massachusetts currently has, according to proponents. Opponents say
63 would lead to costly lawsuits. Worse, it would go into our
Constitution if approved, ending the debate about health care before we
have a true solution. Of course, that’s what the health insurance
industry wants. They’re concerned with their profits, not your mother’s
Vote NO, and let’s keep working to find a better solution.
Proposition 102 Bail bonds and pretrial release
102 is a statutory citizen initiative. In short, it would prohibit
releasing defendants to pretrial release programs, except for
first-time, nonviolent misdemeanor-level suspects. We oppose 102 because
it appears to be on the ballot primarily to benefit the bailbond
enforcement officials and agencies also oppose 102, in part because it
would lead to increased costs and demand on prison beds. Poorer
defendants simply won’t be able to afford bond, which means they’d be
locked up at public expense. The Colorado Legislative Council estimates
that 102 will increase jail costs by $2.8 million per year. Judges
currently have the option to use pretrial release instead of jail or
bail bonding, which can save money. But 102 supporters say this allows
criminals to get out on the streets — silly scare tactics.
102 appears to be another in a line of Colorado initiatives with
connections to out-of-state interests. The Durango Herald reported that
one of two registered proponents, M. Paul Donovan, is the government
affairs director of the Pennsylvania-based Bail USA, the largest bail
bond underwriter in the nation. The other, Matthew Duran, was linked to
an organization called Virginians for the Preservation of Bail. Both men
list the address of 2910 N. Powers Blvd. in Colorado Springs on the
initiative, and the Herald reported that this is actually the address of
a strip mall.
the proponents have the best interests of Colorado at heart or not,
enough Coloradans signed petitions to get 102 on the ballot. Still,
voters ought to know where our initiatives come from, and they should
have a good chance to understand if a measure is being pushed out of
Vote NO on 102, and we can reexamine pretrial release at a later time if need be.
SECRETARY OF STATE
The players in this contest are Democratic incumbent Bernie Buescher, Republican
Scott Gessler and Amanda Campbell of the American Constitution Party.
The secretary of state oversees a number of key state functions,
including elections, licensing and business functions such as
transactions, filings and trademarks. The winner earns a four-year term.
major-party candidates have solid resumes. Buescher earned a law degree
from CU, spent 11 years in private practice, was the president of West
Star Aviation, earned two terms in the state House, served on the state
Joint Budget Committee and was executive director of the state
Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
earned an MBA from Northwestern and a law degree from the University of
Michigan. He was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of
Justice, is a private election law attorney, managed a family
construction business, taught election law at CU, and served in the Army
Gessler had a hand in what some say was some dirty politics last fall in
Boulder County. He represents Western Tradition Partnership (WTP), a
conservative group that has been accused of funding attack campaigns
against Democratic candidates. WTP contributed to Republican Katie
Witt’s campaign for Longmont City Council by funding a “push poll”
against Witt’s opponent, Karen Benker. He also was the attorney who
successfully sued the city of Longmont to overturn campaign regulations
aimed at ensuring transparency in disclosing candidates’ donors. Not
necessarily the kind of guy we want controlling our state’s elections.
next legislative session will likely feature a battle over
redistricting, and Gessler fought as an attorney against a court-ordered
redistricting plan in 2002 and beyond — as the Republicandominated
Legislature adopted an alternative plan in 2003 that Democrats decried
as the “midnight gerrymander.” Buescher worked on a bill in 2010 that
included allowing same-day voter registration, an option that has been
roundly criticized by Gessler and other Republicans.
court-ordered redistricting plan stayed in effect, the midnight
gerrymander was found unconstitutional, and the bill including same-day
voter registration was never formally introduced.
We’re endorsing Buescher.
This is a race between Democratic incumbent Cary Kennedy and
Republican Walker Stapleton. There are no minor-party candidates, and
the winner will serve a four-year term. We’ll support Kennedy, and part
of it has to do with her resume. She’s served as a budget analyst in the
Office of State Planning and Budgeting and as a fiscal analyst with the
state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. She was a
co-author of Amendment 23, which has kept the state’s K-12 funding from
ranking near last or last in the nation. She worked on the coalition to
pass Referendum C, which helped the state fund key services over the
past five years. She’s been treasurer since 2006.
other words, she knows the state’s financial structure inside and out.
She’s also handled the state’s investment pool in a small-c conservative
manner, and Colorado has maintained good credit ratings in spite of the
tough economy. She’s increased the state’s financial transparency, in
part through online services such as Colorado Tax Tracks.
is a second cousin of former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush
(Bush the First), and the great-grandson of former Denver Mayor Ben
Stapleton. He’s got an MBA from Harvard and a graduate degree in
business economics from the London School of Economics. He’s the
president and CEO of SonomaWest Holdings, a real estate investment firm.
should at least check out the “issues” section of Stapleton’s website.
He lists only two. And in the section on “budget and taxes,” he
primarily discusses tax limitations such as TABOR and rails against
also somewhat troubling that his information appears to be outdated
and, in some cases, inaccurate. In the “budget and taxes” section, he
mentions the “Arveschoug-Bird” 6 percent limitation on budget increases,
but it was amended during the 2009 legislative session — and only
pertained to the general fund budget anyway. Also, he refers to Pinnacol
Assurance, the state’s worker’s compensation insurer, as a “private
company,” when in fact it is a quasi-governmental agency.
his website just needs an update sometime before the election, but
those would have been some significant omissions or mistakes to begin
Vote for Kennedy. She knew that stuff a long time ago.
This is a race between Republican incumbent John Suthers and Democrat Stan Garnett, the district attorney for
Boulder County. The
attorney general represents and defends the legal interests of Colorado,
and the winner earns a four-year term.
has spent a great deal of his career in the public sector, although he
spent seven years with the private firm Sparks Dix, P.C. He earned his
law degree from CU, became the deputy and chief deputy DA for Colorado
Springs, and was elected DA of El Paso County in 1988. He served as
executive director of the state Department of Corrections, then became
U.S. attorney in 2001. He was appointed AG in 2005, and was reelected in
a race against Boulder’s Fern O’Brien in 2006.
also earned his law degree from CU. He has spent 22 years in private
practice as a trial lawyer with the Denver-based firm of Brownstein
Hyatt Farber Schreck. He worked for the Denver DA’s office from 1981 to
1986, and served as treasurer and president of the Boulder Valley School
District Board of Education before winning the 2008 election for DA.
could have been unopposed in this race, but Garnett decided to
challenge him after Suthers joined a multistate lawsuit against the
federal health care bill. Suthers claims that the federal government
overstepped its authority relative to states’ rights. Meanwhile, Garnett
has noted that many major steps in our nation’s history — including the
Civil Rights Act — have been criticized or opposed on the basis of
states’ rights before they gained acceptance.
people will base their vote on this issue, and in this case, we agree
that Suthers took this legal action despite legitimate public
men are accomplished attorneys with the ability to manage large cases.
Garnett helped settle a water dispute that delayed the Great Sand Dunes
from becoming a national monument, and settled a $39 million
settled a $35 million case regarding environmental damage at the Rocky
Mountain Arsenal site, and wrapped up cases regarding Rocky Flats and
the California Gulch Superfund site while in office. Both men are
clearly capable of doing the job.
once again we have a race between a Boulder County Democrat and an El
Paso County Republican, and this race could boil down to ideology once
again. We support Garnett partially because of Suthers’ health care
decision, but also because he’s one of ours, and we believe he’s up to
REGENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, AT LARGE
Simply put, this is the one regent race that is really up for grabs in
the university’s political landscape, considering that the 4th District
seat is likely to stay Republican and the 1st District seat is likely to
stay Democratic with incumbent Michael Carrigan.
to say it, but Libertarian Jesse Wallace is probably not a major factor
in this race, unless he pulls some votes away from Republican Steve
appreciate the fact that Bosley’s extensive experience and background in
banking and finance may give him the upper hand in addressing the
budget crises that CU is wading through. Given that background and the
fact that he is the incumbent, he demonstrates thorough knowledge of
what needs to be done to get the university out of this financial
But Melissa Hart is
a brilliant mind. She clerked for the Supreme Court and graduated from
Harvard Law School. She is a faculty member in the CU School of Law,
meaning that she will bring some actual education experience and faculty
values to the board, something that has been lacking for some time now.
have held the majority on the Board of Regents since 1980, and it’s
time to put an end to the right-wing agendas that have silently plagued
CU for years. It’s time for a changing of the guard.
Vote for Hart.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
We’ve got an easy decision in this race. Vote Democrat Angelika Schroeder, the incumbent and a former member of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education.
Republican Kaye Ferry, has one problem — a lack of experience in
education. Ferry’s platform calls for focus on commitment, engagement
and accountability (educators everywhere are now saying, “Wow, never
heard that before!”). But demanding accountability isn’t such a bad
thing, until you consider this excerpt from her nomination acceptance
speech in May 2010:
what will I do? I don’t have specifics yet, but starting next month
I’ll be attending the State Board of Education meetings to try to get
ahead of the curve.”
Schroeder’s already ahead of the curve, so why waste time waiting for Ferry?
resume includes eight years on the BVSD board, serving as a parent
representative to the Teacher and Special Services Professional
Standards Board, and serving on the boards and executive committees of
the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Alliance for Quality
Teaching. She is presently a member of the Teacher Quality Commission,
the liaison to the Colorado Association of School Boards and a board
member of the Public Education and Business Coalition. Give her your
REGENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, 4TH DISTRICT
Given the demographics
in this district, Sue Sharkey will likely win this race because of the
“R” next to her name, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to convince
you fine folks in Longmont to consider Robert Bishop-Cotner instead.
Both candidates are running on a platform of making CU more affordable.
Bishop-Cotner, who goes by “BC,” is a high school teacher and, what’s
more, he actually has a college degree. His opponent does not.
some elected offices, it might not matter that someone lacks a college
degree, but when that post involves governing a university, this is
relevant. Also, given that the Board of Regents has been dominated by
right-wingers for three decades, the last thing we need is another
Republican complaining that CU faculty are too liberal or that there
should be a department of Western civilization. Sharkey seems to think
that people who go to college tend to get liberalized, and she’s out to
Instead of having another politically motivated conservative join the
board, why not a high school teacher? The board already has a banker and
a PR type, not to mention attorneys, so how about someone with some
experience in K-12 education? We think BC would bring a valuable
perspective to the board, given his work with the very population that
CU is trying to attract.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 3
Cindy Domenico, the
incumbent, lists among her goals providing open government, restoring
funding for human services, supporting the recovery process for people
affected by the Fourmile Canyon fire and preserving open land for
wildlife habitat and recreation, as well as for farming and ranching to
enhance local food production.
Eva Kosinski wants
more openness in county government by making minutes and reports
available promptly online and rescheduling meetings and webcasts to make
it easier for working folks to watch them. She argues that the board
should have five members instead of three, in part because it “sneaks
under the radar of Sunshine laws.” She wants to protect property rights
and believes that dictating home sizes is “just wrong.”
also implies that the commissioners and city of Boulder government are
in cahoots too often. She says “it’s time to take a closer look at the
historically interwoven coordination of decisions between the county
commissioners and the city of Boulder to create a fairer balance and
ensure that the interests of all of the county’s residents are
considered in every decision.”
Murphy has a Ph.D. and a strong financial background, having served as
deputy treasurer and chief investment officer for the state of Colorado
in the 1970s, a general partner at Boettcher and Company in the 1980s
and chief financial and operating officer of the Boulder Valley School
District in the 1980s.
All seem like strong candidates, but Domenico has done an admirable job, and there is no compelling reason to
vote her out.
COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER
We certainly appreciate Republican Daniel Martin’s desire to increase
efficiency and accountability in counting votes (not to mention his
taste in music — he lists Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles among his
favorites). But his call for no more mail-only elections and the
elimination of serial numbers and barcodes on ballots seems a bit
extreme. We are as cynical as the next guy when it comes to election
fraud, given the way Shrub won his first election, but there has to be
some way of tracking where the votes have gone, if for no other reason
than to ensure against shenanigans.
While there have been some delays in Boulder County election tallies in the past decade, the administration of Hillary Hall has taken measures to correct the mishaps and has made vast improvements over previous votecounting operations.
have enhanced our testing and election preparation to address potential
issues, and we are proud of our auditing and verification processes,”
Hall says. “We have also implemented online vehicle registration,
improved the auditing and canvassing of our elections, and improved our
recording system. We are especially proud that we have executed all of
these responsibilities under budget.”
Hardworking Hall has made enough improvements to be re-elected.
Incumbent Joe Pelle, a
Democrat, is running unopposed, and we support him. Pelle takes a
sincere and compassionate interest in the wellbeing of county residents,
demonstrated every day in his actions and those of his staff. On top of
that, he’s a badass. We’re glad to be able to keep him around.
So the surveyor is that dude who makes sure your
property lines are correct and also maps out things like topography and
buildings. Democrat Jason Emery, the incumbent, is running unopposed.
Republican Marty Neilson
wants to bring “a reflection of liberty and selfdetermination” to
Boulder County government, which she says is “rife with tyranny of
Ouch. We never knew oppression could go unchecked for so long without someone saying something.
Neilson’s goals seem noble enough:
riskaverse investments of taxpayer money to fulfill the county’s
financial obligations, effective management of the treasurer’s office,
great customer service. She also wants to implement other counties’
online tax lien sales programs to generate cost savings and a more
user-friendly environment for buyers.
But Robert Hullinghorst, the
incumbent, has a strong track record that includes creating a lean
government training program called “SLIM.” Hullinghorst says his office
is now serving 50 percent more taxing authorities, has a higher tax
collection rate and is collecting more taxes, all without an increase in
his accomplishments he lists various pieces of legislation his office
has initiated to benefit seniors, members of the Colorado National Guard
and Army Reserve, churches, nonprofits, small businesses and local
there is the customer service program his staff created. “To add fun
like the famous Seattle Fish Company, but without throwing fish, we
start Fridays with a dance,” he says.
We’re going with Hullinghorst, despite the tyranny.
Incumbent Jerry Roberts, a
Democrat, has more than 30 years of experience in the field and is a
licensed appraiser. He says his opponent does not have experience in
appraisal or real estate.
“I don’t think the
voters of Boulder County would consider voting for a sheriff without law
enforcement experience, or a coroner without forensic experience, or
the county surveyor without a surveying license,” he says.
also points out that his office has won three distinguished assessment
jurisdiction awards from the International Association of Assessing
Officers, which he says “is more of these awards than any jurisdiction
in the world.”
challenger Joel Champion describes himself as a retired U.S. Air Force
officer and a retired small business owner and corporate executive. He
says he has more than 40 years of experience as “a practicing leader and
manager.” Champion holds a Ph.D. in management and organization theory
and has taught at the university level.
Roberts deservedly caught some heat after his office drastically
underestimated the value of the home of Boulder City Council member
Macon Cowles, he is clearly more qualified than his opponent.
Tom Faure is out, so
either way we’re getting some new blood into the coroner’s office, so to
speak. And that’s a good thing. It took Faure weeks to perform
Both candidates are unaffiliated.
Hall has training and experience as a crime scene investigator,
evidence analyst, autopsy technician and death investigator. But since
she has only worked in this field intermittently since 2005, she has a
fraction of the experience possessed by her opponent. Daniel Pruett has
20 years of full-time experience as a medicolegal death investigator in
Boulder and Jefferson counties. He is currently chief deputy coroner of
Jefferson County. He also has eight years of experience as a paramedic
prior to his coroner experience.
Pruett’s statement to Boulder Weekly that he “can keep the same quality
of death investigation going in Boulder, if not better” is not exactly
inspiring, his experience trumps that of Hall, whose claim to fame seems
to be that her family has lived in the county for more than 130 years
and owned Hall Ranch in Lyons, where she grew up.
BOULDER COUNTY ISSUE 1A Funding for human services
Ballot Issue 1A asks voters to approve a $5.4 million annual
property tax increase of 0.9 mills for five years to backfill
deficiencies in state funding for county human services programs.
short, the county has found a way to stop the decay of its child and
family safety net after the state stopped paying its share. Without 1A,
human services programs for the most needy among us will be in even
worse shape than they already are.
language of 1A is clear that if the state ever recovers from this
budget crisis and gets its you-know-what together, the county will lower
the tax and let the state restore funding.
now, though, the state isn’t going to come to the rescue of battered
women, hungry children or anyone else with an immediate, emergency need,
so it would be negligent of the county to leave them in the lurch.
Everyone knows this isn’t the best time for a tax increase. But it’s
also not a good time to be in need of emergency help. Suck it up, and
vote for this relatively small tax increase to make sure no member of
our community is left behind in these difficult times. Vote YES.
BOULDER COUNTY ISSUE
1B Funding for open space
This tax increase
— equal to a penny and a half on every $10 purchase over the next 20
years — will be used to purchase the last large open space sites on the
county’s 30-year wish list. These areas of land are around the Heil,
Hall and Caribou ranches and contain major wildlife habitat, stream
corridors and trail connections crucial to the county open space plan.
tough to ask citizens to fund open space purchases during a recession,
but this may well be the only time these key properties — family-owned
ranches — will be available to the county as open space. The families
who own the lands need to sell them now, and if the county doesn’t
purchase them, developers will.
have two choices: approve the tax and complete the plan that county
leaders established more than 30 years ago when they established the
open space program, or scrap the plan and allow developers to have their
way with once-pristine forests and meadows.
we’d rather be able to hike from Boulder to Lyons in a beautiful
natural setting than watch wealthy developers tear it apart for nothing
more than their own profit. We’re voting in favor of this one. Vote YES.
Increase in public accommodation tax
City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2A would increase the accommodations tax
from 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent “to fund improvements and services to
the residents and visitors of the city and to promote increased tourism
in Boulder.” Up to 20 percent of the revenues produced from this tax
would go to the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau and be
specifically earmarked for promoting tourism and pimping Boulder to the
rest of the world. The other 80 percent would go into the city’s
coffers to cover budget gaps. The increase in revenue would raise up to
$1 million each year and would never expire. The Boulder Convention and
Visitors Bureau Advisory Board supports the measure, as does the
Boulder Hotel and Motel Association as a whole. While some hoteliers
fear the increase in room rates could discourage visitors, others,
including a majority of BHMA members, say more money is needed to
promote tourism and are in favor of the issue.
suggest voting in favor of Ballot Issue 2A because, quite frankly, the
city could use the money, and an extra 2 percent — which would mean an
extra two dollars for every hundred spent on a hotel stay — is a pretty
small premium to pay for staying in one of the greatest cities in the
nation. Plus, it’s not costing us residents anything. Vote YES on Issue
BOULDER BALLOT ISSUE 2B
Five-year utility occupation tax to replace lost franchise fee revenue
Ballot Issue 2B is a bit tricky to explain, but easy to vote for. When
energy provider Xcel was under a franchise agreement with the city of
Boulder, Xcel paid a franchise fee of about $4 million each year to use
our roads and rights-of-way. Like any good corporation, they passed
that cost directly onto consumers in order to protect their bottom
line, and Boulder residents have paid this fee for years as part of
their monthly energy bill. A bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but
apparently it got the job done.
the City Council decided to axe the franchise agreement with Xcel, the
franchise fee went out with the bath water. The $4 million-a-year bath
water, that is. To make up the lost revenue that Xcel was paying by way
of residents’ wallets, the city wants to put a new tax in its place — a
replacement tax, you might call it. If Ballot Issue 2B passes, the city
will tax the public utility company serving Boulder (for the meantime,
that’s still Xcel). And like the franchise fee, this new tax would be
passed on to consumers. That means you’d be paying the same amount of
money each month, just with a different name. Chances are, you didn’t
even notice you were paying it in the first place, but the city sure
did. Losing that much money would hurt nearly every city department,
including police, fire, public works and parks and recreation.
ballot issue also includes language instructing the city to develop a
plan for increasing Boulder’s renewable energy use. Not only would the
replacement tax keep Boulder from going broke, supporters say, it would
get us started down a path of truly sustainable energy. Vote YES on 2B.
BALLOT QUESTION 2C
City of Boulder height limit exception for renewable energy improvements
What do spires, belfries, cupolas, chimneys and silos have in common?
They are all on a list of exceptions to Boulder’s 55-foot building
Question 2C asks whether rooftop renewable energy improvements, like
solar panels, should be on that list, too. Allowing renewable energy
“appurtenances,” as they’re called, to exceed the 55-foot limit means
more homes and businesses could take advantage of the 300 days of
sunshine and reduce their carbon footprint. Sounds good to us.
while these structures would be exempted from the 55-foot limit, that
doesn’t mean we’d suddenly have gigantic, unattractive solar panels and
turbines obstructing Boulder’s beautiful vistas. There are still
requirements that any additions be no larger than absolutely necessary
and as unobtrusive as possible.
most cases these solar panels aren’t going to be all that visible
anyway because of the angle they have to be at,” says Karl Guiler, a
planner with the city’s land use review department.
Vote YES on Ballot Question 2C.
CITY OF LOUISVILLE BALLOT ISSUE 2D
City of Louisville
Ballot Issue 2D asks voters to approve a 3.5 percent use tax to replace
the city’s current 3.375 percent use tax. The increase would allow the
city to collect an additional $1.5 million annually. The extra funds
will be used for open space, historic preservation and other uses to be
determined by the Louisville City Council.
has been named the best place to live in the country by Money Magazine
and the book Best Places to Raise Your Family, but it won’t make any
lists in coming years if something doesn’t change. Low revenues have
forced the city to cut some services and abandon altogether its 2010
fireworks display, a genuine small-town tradition. This relatively small
tax increase will help restore some of Louisville’s charm without
digging too deeply into residents’ pockets. Vote YES on Louisville
Ballot Issue 2D.
TOWN OF JAMESTOWN BALLOT QUESTION 2E
Publication of ordinances
To save money, the
Town of Jamestown is proposing a ballot question that would allow the
city to publish proposed ordinances by title only, instead of printing
them in full in a newspaper, as they are required to do now.
the Town of Jamestown is to be commended for seeking cheaper solutions
to some of its duties, the publishing of ordinances is too important a
part of the democratic process to abandon. We certainly understand that
municipal budgets are tight, if not shrinking, in this economy, and we
can sympathize with the desire to save money.
by publishing the titles only, the city would force residents to do
further research to understand an ordinance. The law was put in place
originally to give residents easy access to the public business of its
town council, and hindering that process in any way would come at the
expense of the liberty of the people of Jamestown. We’re sympathetic to
the need for Jamestown to save revenue, but the public’s business —
especially a city’s ordinances — need to be available to the public in
their entirety. Vote NO on Town of Jamestown Ballot Question 2E.
TOWN OF JAMESTOWN BALLOT QUESTION 2F
Prohibition of medical marijuana operations
Question 2F would prohibit the operation of medical marijuana centers,
cultivation operations and facilities for which a medial
marijuana-infused products manufacturer’s license is required.
more and more municipalities approving the use of medical marijuana, it
stands to reason that there will have to be places where the stuff is
grown, manufactured and distributed. Putting up barriers to such
inevitability is pointless, as the residents of Jamestown doubtless
marijuana is a valid way for those who suffer from chronic health
conditions to seek relief. It’s also a form of grassroots health care
reform because marijuana isn’t controlled by Big Pharma, hospitals or
the insurance companies. We need to support, not inhibit, the growth of
this alternative health industry.
Vote NO on Jamestown Ballot Question 2F.
BVSD BALLOT ISSUE 3A
Boulder Valley School District mill levy override
Yeah, paying taxes
kind of blows, but so does a crippled education system. And considering
all the cuts coming down the pipeline from the state, our schools are
going to need a serious crutch. The Boulder Valley School District mill
levy override, Ballot Issue 3A, would increase property tax revenue by a
total of $22.5 million in 2010, for collection in 2011.
has already cut $11.7 million from its 2010-11 budget, and while some
of those cuts were restored by federal emergency funds, that’s only a
short-term solution. Ballot Issue 3A would increase 2011 residential
property taxes about $130 on a $350,000 home, or a little more than 35
cents a day. The money would go toward early childhood education,
teacher and staff compensation and keeping class sizes down.
of the measure warn that without 3A, programs and services will have to
be cut and class sizes will increase. Education really is the most
important gift we can give our children and the best way to invest in
our future. Vote YES on Ballot Issue 3A.
STATE SENATE DISTRICT 16
Tim Leonard, who
acknowledges that he has never been elected to office, touts the typical
Republican company line: decreasing taxes, lifting burdens on the free
market, reducing regulations, fewer bureaucrats in the government
wasting our money.
This wouldn’t be such a bad idea if Colorado had a bloated state budget, but the opposite is true.
And unfortunately, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, he sounds like Tom Tancredo.
immigrants should not be given the economic incentives to come or stay
in Colorado based upon taxpayer-paid free benefits,” he says. “Free
social welfare only attracts free-loaders. In addition, Colorado needs
an Arizona-type law making it illegal to reside in our state illegally.”
Jeanne Nicholson seems
to be more in tune with reality and mainstream values. She has a good
handle on a variety of issues, from water and transportation to
education and renewable energy. Nicholson believes Colorado should have
one nonprofit health care system that treats everyone equally. She
believes that reproductive health decisions should be made by the
individual and not the government. And she believes that homosexuals
should have the same rights as everybody else.
Plus, she thinks marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed.
Amen, sister. Vote Nicholson.
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 10
Lee Hullinghorst, the incumbent, is running unopposed. Plus, she has a cool name.
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 11
Democrat Deb Gardner and
Republican Wes Whiteley agree on at least one thing: that improving the
state’s economy and creating new jobs are the highest priorities for
Colorado’s Legislature. They just disagree on how to get the job done.
Gardner talks about investing in education, because it results in the development of new technologies and new business.
Whiteley says cutting taxes and reigning in spending will jump-start Colorado’s job market.
last we checked, the state budget has been slashed by millions over the
past couple years, and any fat that existed before has been trimmed,
along with a fair amount of muscle and bone. There’s simply nothing left
to agree that investing money — not that there is any — in education
will ignite the economic recovery more than additional state budget
Gardner in this budget environment, because anyone who says we need to
cut taxes further in a lowtax state like Colorado should have his or her
head examined, especially considering what TABOR and Amendment 23 have
done to strangle the public coffers in the past decade. Vote for
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 12
This race actually gave us pause.
Matt Jones has
the experience, having served in the Legislature before, but he was
accused of engaging in a type of negative campaigning known as a “push
poll” earlier this year against his opponent in the Democratic primary,
Ilseman, to his credit, con centrates on solutions to economic recovery
in his talking points, instead of veering into some of the more
controversial stances taken by many of his Republican colleagues, but he
implies that taxes need to be cut further in a state that is in a
Shaffer is not as extreme as some of the other Libertarian candidates
and rightly points out that Jones has already had his chance to change
politics as usual in the Legislature, and that Ilseman has no experience
in the political arena. But he accuses Democrats of almost bankrupting
us with taxes “to pay for socialist programs,” which is a bit out there.
was a tough call, but we’ve got a slight lean toward Jones. He has
pioneered energy conservation legislation, beaten cancer twice,
prioritized funding for education, and he serves as a wildland
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 13
Houdeshell says voters can let an “out of control state government tax
more, regulate more and kill more jobs, or they can vote for relief.”
This state government,
if anything, is out of control only in the sense that it can’t afford
to cover basic expenses any longer. To imply that the state government
is taxing more in an environment in which massive budget cuts have been
and are being made to essential public services is ludicrous.
cannot ignore the facts and pretend that Colorado can provide the
services its residents need while cutting taxes at the same time,” says
Democrat Claire Levy. “The families in House District 13 want
excellent schools. They want public safety. They want a functioning
transportation system. They want the state to police the big insurance
companies, banks and mortgage lenders that have grown rich while others
suffered. The legislature has made responsible and balanced decisions
under extremely difficult circumstances. Colorado continues to rank
among the top five business-friendly states.”
helped sponsor legislation expanding the use of alternative energy with
“solar gardens,” not to mention the Boulder Weekly-inspired law
regulating the shackling of female inmates in labor.
We will be voting for Levy.