OK, you've just gotten a long, incomprehensible mail-in ballot dropped in your mailbox, and you have to deal with it. You're in luck; Sister Mary Ignatius will explain all.
First, there are 50-odd people running for seats on various school boards. They're earnest, well-intentioned, decent, boring and slightly overweight. According to their capsule bios (helpfully published in Sunday's Gazette), they're for quality education, for putting kids first, for active involvement, for aggressive intervention, for safety and health, and for auto body repair (D-22 candidate Robert Miller).
There seems to be only one engaging lunatic in all the races, D-20 hopeful Steve Gresh, a Libertarian gunnie who thinks that building more schools in that growing district would "only inhibit the development of a free market of [education] suppliers."
If you live in D-20, and like to make trouble, vote for Steve; otherwise, vote for anyone else -- they all run the same program (Board candidate 5.0 -- you can download it for free at school boardcandidate.edu/elect).
Moving right along, we've got another bunch of aspiring pols running for petty municipal office. Having once held a petty municipal office, I confess a special fondness for these folks.
Let's take a look at the elections in Victor, where Mayor James Watson, 46, seeks re-election. His promise to the voters: "I will continue to finish the projects that have been started." A noble sentiment, and one echoed by two Council candidates -- Adam Watson, 21, who asserts, "I intend to finish the projects already started," and Andrew Watson, 26, who plaintively writes that "I wish to deal with issues and projects that are underway at this time in Victor." Gee, could these guys all be related?
Yup, the plainspoken candidates make Victor seem tranquil enough, but of course it never is ... and if you're a voter in Victor, you already know that.
Let's move on down the Pass to Manitou, where Marcy Morrison is running for mayor against incumbent Nancy Hankin. Marcy, having served as an elected official of one kind or another for 26 years (1974--2000) is the 800-pound gorilla of West Side politics. It'd be a major upset if Hankin, who woke up the gorilla by waffling on the Red Rock Canyon development issue, manages to beat Morrison.
That's it for warm bodies; everything else is about money. Let's start with the ridiculous -- Amendment 26 on the state ballot, which would allocate $50 million to study the feasibility of building a monorail from DIA to Vail. My guess is that Jon Caldara and his cronies at the Independence Institute secretly funded the effort that put this gobbler on the ballot, just to make public transportation advocates look like mush-brained loonies and/or hired guns for the ski industry.
But so what? It's not gonna pass, so don't worry about it. Now to the sublime -- Referendum A, also a state issue, which allows Great Outdoors Colorado to borrow up to $115 million, and use the dollars for open space, parks and wildlife habitat. No taxes here -- just the voluntary contributions of dumbos like me who like to play the state numbers game. Vote for it; it'll make a visible and positive difference to our state.
On to our own fair city, whose elected/appointed leaders, along with an amen chorus of "civic leaders" (the usual suspects -- including the EDC's Rocky Scott, the boss Realtor, the boss Homebuilder, and the boss Chamber of Commerce person), would like to borrow $100 million, and up the city sales tax by 25 percent.
Why? Because, folks, we've got this looming crisis in infrastructure and public safety. Sound familiar? It does to me, since, as a Council member a decade ago, I led the fight to increase the city sales tax by 25 percent, rolling back voter-mandated cuts. I did my best to persuade the public that a major infrastructure crisis was a-brewing; they didn't believe me, and they were right.
Fast forward 10 years, and things haven't changed much. Maybe we have under-invested in drainage, roads, amenities and public safety -- but it's not glaringly obvious.
Took a 25-mile bike ride on Sunday, never leaving the city limits, and the city seemed just fine: spacious parks, tranquil neighborhoods, well-maintained roads, cheerful citizens.
Maybe the roads are about to crumble, drainage systems are inadequate and cops and firefighters are stretched to the limit ... but absent flood, fire or sudden crime wave, I suspect that the voters are just gonna wait and see on this one.
However, according to a credible source (my friend Sherri the bartender/biker chick), the Hell's Angels are establishing a chapter here ... and if that doesn't persuade the voters to cough up, I don't know what will.
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