October 09, 2008 News » Cover Story

November madness (in October) 

The Independents 2008 general election endorsements

click to enlarge FRANK HARRIS
  • Frank Harris

This feels strange, putting together the Independent's package of endorsements and recommendations a full month before the 2008 general election. So much can (and most likely will) happen between now and Nov. 4 that could change how any of us might view a certain race or ballot issue, that it would seem appropriate to wait as long as possible.

Then again, some folks are telling us we're already too late.

The reality is that, in the Pikes Peak region, this election isn't on Nov. 4. It began last weekend when El Paso County sent out 121,000 mail-in ballots to voters who requested them in advance. They include what once had been known as absentee ballots, but now have been lumped together as "mail-in" votes.

As much as 50 percent of the county's votes 372,359 are registered and eligible to participate will be cast ahead of time. That's the first, but not the only, reason for giving you our input so early.

Secondly: This is the longest, most potentially confusing ballot of our lifetimes (at least, so far). Counting all the issues and races, most voters are facing nearly 50 opportunities to make their choices and be counted.

We won't deal with all of those items, such as retaining judges races or uncontested races. But after doing some homework, we do feel the responsibility to share our outlooks on most other issues and races.

Some of our views won't surprise; a few might. Regardless, we're less concerned with how you vote than with whether you vote, in this most important of elections. We strongly urge everyone not to pick and choose. All questions and races are worthy of your educated consideration.

By the way, for those who don't want to battle the crowds on Nov. 4, you still have options.

You can apply for a mail-in ballot until Oct. 28 (though that's certainly pushing the limits with mail), with applications available at Centennial Hall (200 S. Cascade Ave.) or online at car.elpasoco.com/election. There will also be drop-offs for mail-in ballots at early voting locations. Important: If you return your ballot by mail, it will require 59 cents of postage, more than just a regular stamp.

Early voting will take place from Monday, Oct. 20 through Saturday, Oct. 25, and again from Monday, Oct. 27 through Friday, Oct. 31. On those days, voting stations will be open at Centennial Hall, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the Citadel (upper level near JCPenney), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Chapel Hills Mall (lower level, near food-court escalator), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Contested races

President: Barack Obama (D)

On the domestic and international fronts, our nation desperately needs new leadership, new direction, new ideas, new openness, new energy. Obama would provide what we need at home, while also rebuilding America's credibility and relationships around the world. He's also the only viable choice to guide us through the difficult military transition from Iraq to Afghanistan while keeping a close eye on Iran.

John McCain is basically George W. Bush Lite. If you ignore his rhetorical "maverick" mantra, the premise is that the former POW would do a better job than Bush in implementing the same failed domestic, economic and foreign policies. His inconsistent behavior, temperament and positions have cost him dearly, and that doesn't count him choosing Sarah Palin to be one heartbeat from running our nation.

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Palin has no foreign policy understanding and a poor grasp of economic fundamentals. If, by chance, she were to become president, she would be a complete captive of her handlers.Joe Biden, meanwhile, adds immense domestic knowledge and foreign policy expertise to the Democratic ticket.

U.S. Senate: Mark Udall (D)

The race between Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer has turned incredibly nasty, with millions in outside money poured into negative TV ads on both sides. But while Schaffer's ties to big oil are particularly disturbing, the anti-Udall campaign's allegations have been thoroughly debunked.

Schaffer's style is both loud and rude, neither of which counts as an asset in the Senate. Udall's experience as former executive director of Colorado Outward Bound, state legislator and five-term congressman gives him the background to champion solid positions on education, environment, health care and the need for clean, green energy.

Udall also has served Colorado Springs well on the House Armed Services Committee. With Ken Salazar, he'd give Colorado a refreshing Democratic duo in the Senate for years to come.

U.S. House, District 5: Hal Bidlack (D)

Bidlack's military background particularly high-level assignments in the National Security Council and the Pentagon and his combination of intelligence and eloquence have impressed many in this Republican-heavy district. Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, after winning the GOP primary with less than a majority, has continued a cocoon-style strategy, agreeing to appear publicly with Bidlack only once at an Oct. 30 debate sponsored by the highly partisan Republican Club of Falcon.

Through his first two years in office, Lamborn has stumbled often, been mediocre (at best) in constituent services, and shown unabashed devotion to President Bush. His stubborn refusal to face voters and answer whatever questions might come his way is deplorable. Avoiding his opponent, and counting on voters simply following the party line, is equally so.

Bidlack, by the way, already has been assured that, if elected, he immediately would have a place on the House Armed Services Committee (replacing Udall), as well as Veterans Affairs. Lamborn, voters may recall, had to wait nearly a year to join the Armed Services Committee, doing so only after a congresswoman's death.

A final point: With Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Bidlack would be able to get much more done in support of this area's interests than Lamborn ever could as a far-right member of the minority party.

State Senate, District 12: Pete Lee (D)

It's been a fascinating competition to replace term-limited Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany in state Senate District 12. Lee started his campaign a year ago and has methodically built grassroots, bipartisan support of his candidacy against Republican Keith King, a former state House member. It's easy to separate the two: Lee makes it clear he wants to work with all sides; King has alienated many with his fixation on charter schools and staunchly conservative views.

Lee, a local attorney for 30-plus years who has served such nonprofits as Silver Key, Pikes Peak Mental Health and the Youth Transformation Center, says he has learned from going door-to-door that "people are fed up with the partisan, divisive politics that have plagued this community for too long." Beyond core issues of education, health care, economy and environment, Lee notes a special dedication to restorative justice because of Colorado's lack of success in rehabilitating criminals. King, meanwhile, says on his Web site that he would "be tough on criminals" and "decrease mandates on health insurance."

When Lee says he'll "go to the Legislature with an open mind," that's the clincher. And seating a second state senator in the majority party, with John Morse, could only be a good thing for Colorado Springs.

State House, District 14: Chyrese Exline (D)

Exline made an excellent impression last year in her campaign for the School District 11 board, and she's facing a tough challenge against Republican incumbent Kent Lambert in House District 14. Exline has the ideal mix of charisma, energy and savvy, which will make her an excellent leader whenever enough voters offer their support.

State House, District 15: Mark Waller (R)

Tough call here. We like Michelle Maksimowicz, the Democrat in this race, and agree with her on some points. But we can't forget the admirable primary campaign Waller ran in toppling Rep. Douglas Bruce, and Waller's willingness to reach out to all voters on both sides already is obvious.

State House, District 16: Richard Flores (D)

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Flores might not have experience as he tries to unseat Republican Rep. Larry Liston. But we have to pick Flores after Liston's latest escapade in which the incumbent verbally threatened a young man trying to help register voters outside a Safeway store (see "Attention, shoppers," News, Oct. 2). We also remember the infamous "sluts" label Liston slapped on unwed parents.

State House, District 17: Dennis Apuan (D)

Of all the House races in this region, none has been as compelling as Apuan facing Republican Kit Roupe, to fill the seat vacated by Stella Garza-Hicks. Both have worked to make this a better place to live, Apuan with nonprofits, Roupe as a community activist.

We're concerned that Roupe, despite an engaging personality, was unwilling in an interview to take a stand on many issues particularly the state constitutional amendments on this ballot, but also the stormwater issue and the proposed one-cent county sales tax. She wins points for bravery as a pro-choice Republican, but we wonder if overall indecisiveness would hinder her as a legislator. We're particularly concerned about a negative mailer in which wrongly labeled Apuan as "violent" and "anti-military."

Apuan, meanwhile, has impressed state-level Democrats with his calm forcefulness and intelligence. He's articulate on mental-health issues, especially involving the military, and he feels access to affordable health care "is a basic right." He makes high priorities of education and environment, and adamantly opposes Amendment 48, the "personhood amendment." He's also in agreement with our conclusions regarding the local sales tax increase, saying public safety and health needs are dire and cannot be ignored, but also that we should expand restorative justice programs.

The more we learned about Apuan's dedication and beliefs, the more we could see him as a dynamic presence representing his district, and our causes, in Denver.

State House, District 18: Michael Merrifield (D)

This one is a no-brainer Merrifield has fully earned one last term. He's among the Democratic leaders in the House, chairing the Education Committee but also championing such important causes as health care reform, energy independence and sound tax policy. He's popular in his district, understands Colorado Springs' varied needs, and will continue to further the party's agenda for two more years.

State House, District 20: Jan Hejtmanek (D)

We appreciate anyone who has the dedication to run for public office, and we have even more admiration for those who learn from their first experience and try again. Incumbent Rep. Amy Stephens, taking this race for granted in a district that leans GOP, has not bothered to show up for public events or to talk to her constituents. "She may think it's smart, but it's not fair to voters," Hejtmanek says, and we agree.

Hejtmanek's rightly concerned about drilling for gas on Mount Herman west of Monument, plus she supports the idea of a single-payer state plan for health insurance. That's enough for us.

State House, District 21:

Anna Lord (D)

This choice isn't as easy as some might think. Republican stalwart Bob Gardner, who defeated Lord for this seat in 2006 (59 to 41 percent), has done some productive things in the Legislature, most notably on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. But on many other issues, starting with education, we agree with Lord. She's worked hard to cultivate support, including from Republicans, and her years on the Manitou Springs District 14 school board could make her an instant asset in Denver.

County Commission, District 2: Allison Hunter (D)

Here's another case of a determined candidate learning from previous experience. Hunter, who previously ran for the state House, is taking on Amy Lathen, who replaced Douglas Bruce at the start of this year. It's true that Lathen brought positive change after Bruce, but we disagree with her strongly conservative views on social issues. We also feel like the time has come to break the Republicans' stranglehold on the county commission, and this would be the perfect place to start.

County Commission, District 3: Sallie Clark (R)

Clark faces a challenge from Democrat Pam Berry, who worked for years inside county government. But Clark has served her west side district responsibly, and it's impossible to overlook her involvements with Fountain Creek and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, among others. Her expertise in this office will be even more useful in the years to come, as the county works its way through its budget-related struggles.

County Commission, District 4: Dennis Hisey (R)

Hisey also has a well-meaning Democratic opponent in Andr Vigil, and we certainly commend the Dems for not simply conceding the seat. But Hisey has established himself as an effective commissioner, and as with Sallie Clark, we do see the importance of being able to build on that experience during these rocky financial times.

City and county questions

1-cent sales tax to fund public health and safety: YES

No one likes to pay taxes. But our city and county are running out of funds to cover public health and safety while providing other basic services. We all suffer if restaurants and water systems go without regular inspection, offices close one or more days a week, and 911 calls don't elicit immediate response.

click to enlarge SALLY PIETTE

El Paso County's taxes are the lowest per capita along the Front Range. Even with this countywide 1-cent sales tax, our local tax burden still will be less than our neighbors'. Failure of this measure will endanger our health and safety, and our county government will have to curtail many worthwhile programs and services.

The only part of this revenue measure we do not fully support is the added funds for a new jail/prison. Our current, irrational system of incarcerating more and more citizens, at huge expense to all taxpayers, is one reason our county not to mention our country is running out of money.

We need to revamp our penal system by investing for prevention, rehabilitation, restorative justice and other common-sense initiatives. We also need to rein in the prison-industrial complex, including private interests, correctional unions and others that profit from widespread incarceration.

All that said, it would be a disaster for our community and county if this measure failed.

Making payments to most city enterprises voluntary: AGAINST

This proposal, authored by Douglas Bruce, would effectively dismantle our current stormwater funding system. That's Bruce's stated intent. He has called the stormwater payment a tax, though courts have ruled that it's legal for a city to charge stormwater fees. If enacted, not only would we endanger our aqua-infrastructure, but we would justly earn the wrath of and massive lawsuits from our neighbors downstream in Pueblo, who are sick of having to deal with our ... er, effluent.

Within three decades, more than 1 million folks likely will call the Pikes Peak region home. Unless we continue forward-thinking strategies to deal with our wastewater and stormwater, our kids and their kids will pay for our short-sightedness.

Not only must this measure be defeated, like pretty much all Bruce measures, but Colorado Springs must continue to mandate permeable paving materials and other smart designs, to further prepare for what's to come.

Phasing out payments from enterprises to the city, and each other: AGAINST

This is simply another plank in Douglas Bruce's latest platform: dismantling the foundation of Colorado Springs' operations and funding, in particular Utilities funneling money into city coffers.

City ownership of Utilities now produces $26 million annually in what's called payment in lieu of taxes. Bruce's proposal would phase out those payments over a 10-year period, but the effect would be traumatic and would force the city to make huge, sweeping, unnecessary changes. Perhaps the circumstances would be different if, say, the city someday decided to sell Utilities to a private entity. But as long as that's not the case, we don't see serious problems demanding extreme measures.

Bruce has been put in his place before, and he should be again here.

State initiatives

Abolish all affirmative action programs: NO

Funded and initiated by out-of-state ideologues, Amendment 46 is a vaguely worded and unnecessary effort to alter our state constitution by wiping out affirmative action programs. It would prohibit Colorado governments and agencies from "granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."

Great strides have been made, but discrimination still exists in today's society. And as it is, Colorado's public institutions can provide only minimal incentives to ensure that historically disadvantaged groups have equal access to employment, educational and business opportunities.

This proposed amendment does not define "preferential treatment" or "discrimination," leaving these terms open to interpretation and lawsuits. It could play havoc with single-sex sports teams and ethnic- or gender-based college fraternities and sororities. And if this constitutional change is enacted, it would be extremely difficult to tweak later, to eliminate any unintended consequences.

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Send a clear message that we do not condone outside interests manipulating our state for their ideological gamesmanship.

Eliminate union membership requirements: NO

This proposal, funded by big-business interests, would emasculate unions by eliminating membership as a condition of employment at companies where the workers, by majority vote, have organized a union. If passed, we will have labor strife and strikes for years. This punitive measure is designed just to harm unions in Colorado. It is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

For the record, Amendment 47 is one of three (along with 49 and 54) that business groups have agreed to oppose in exchange for other ballot issues being pulled.

Changing the definition of personhood: NO

The goal here is to define the term "person" to "include any human being from the moment of fertilization." While the amendment does not define the term "moment of fertilization," a commonly used medical definition is the union of a male sperm and a female egg in a womb or in a Petri dish.

This amendment, the subject of our Sept. 25 cover story "The egg and I," would prevent doctors from using widely accepted medical procedures and treatments and subject medical professionals to possible legal action for providing medical care to a woman of child-bearing age whenever it might impact another "person."

It would limit the ability of individuals to make private, personal choices about their health. Besides leading to court rulings that could outlaw all abortions in all instances, it would limit health-care providers' ability to: offer emergency contraception after rape or incest; provide many popular and effective forms of birth control; treat certain kinds of cancer; undertake emergency surgery to terminate tubal pregnancies; and conduct potentially

life-saving stem-cell research. We could go on and on.

Prohibit public employers from payroll deductions to fund private interests: NO

Like Amendment 47, this amendment aims to weaken unions and workers. Like 47, business interests agreed last week to oppose it as part of a deal with labor groups.

Amendment 49 would prohibit public employees from using payroll deduction to fund social-change activities. Currently, just by filling out a simple form, unionized employees can opt out of paying these totally voluntary fees. It's plain unfair, and wrong, to allow business groups to fund ballot measures but to prohibit workers from banding together to do the same.

Increasing stakes for gaming to benefit community colleges: SPLIT DECISION

Since 1991, Colorado has permitted gaming in Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk, but limited single wagers to $5. This amendment would raise that maximum to $100, also allowing dice games (craps) and roulette. Of the increase in state-tax revenue, 78 percent would go to the state's community colleges, 22 percent to the mountain gambling towns.

We're torn on this one. It's a gold mine for casino owners, as many gamblers would stay here (or flock in from nearby states) instead of going to Nevada. Las Vegas-style establishments would move into the former mining towns. In addition, we'd almost certainly see more compulsive gamblers, bankruptcies, broken homes, suicide and crime.

Also, as a constitutional measure, if Amendment 50 has flaws, it will be extremely difficult to fix them. Among the possibilities: Gambling interests could seek via ballot measures to further expand their operations to, say, airports in Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo and Grand Junction.

Then again live in the real world! Colorado and most other states already have

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casinos. By limiting wagers to $5, Colorado loses big bucks whenlocal gamblers travel elsewhere. Once enacted, this amendment would generate an estimated $300 million to the state in just five years meaning more than $230 million for our underfunded community colleges. Colorado would also generate added revenue from out-of-state tourists.

Yes, this measure would transfer funds from gamblers to students attending colleges. But at least more young adults will be able to afford college, where they'll hopefully learn that at casinos, the odds are always in the house's favor. As you can see, we're divided on this one.

Vote your conscience.

State sales tax to help people with developmental disabilities: YES

In many states, persons with qualifying developmental disabilities receive state-funded services simply by entering the "system" and showing they are "qualified." Colorado, unfortunately, has not supplied sufficient funding for all qualified individuals (including many with severe or profound disabilities), thus leading to a waiting list that now numbers around 10,000.

This amendment would create a minuscule increase to the state sales tax 0.1 percent (one cent for every $10 spent) starting in 2009 and another 0.1 percent starting in 2010 for the sole purpose of reducing, and hopefully ending, that waiting list. It would produce almost $90 million the first year, more than $180 million each year thereafter.

It would aggressively address a glaring embarrassment, using a small percentage to create a large impact.

Transfer severance taxes from water projects to highways: NO

This proposal would mandate that a large portion of state severance tax collections be spent on highway projects, especially those designed to ease congestion on Interstate 70 west of Denver. Companies that extract nonrenewable natural resources from the earth pay this tax, and the recent growth in oil and gas production has resulted in a huge revenue increase, from about $8 million to $100 million annually.

While an improved I-70 corridor is important, Coloradans would be far better off if this revenue continued to be spent as it is today: in providing loans and grants for water projects, water conservation and other programs designed to shore up our aging aqua-infrastructure. By shifting more than $225 million over the next four years and likely more than $500 million in the next decade from water to transportation, Amendment 52 would harm our ability to meet rapidly growing, long-term water supply needs.

It also clashes with Amendment 58, which proposes that additional severance taxes fund college scholarships. A final reason to vote no: If at some point other sources provide adequate funds to improve highways, we'll need another statewide vote to undo this amendment.

Holding corporation executives criminally accountable: WITHDRAWN

This will be on the ballot but won't be counted, thanks to a late agreement to withdraw four measures. Amendment 53 would have held executives criminally responsible if their (for-profit or nonprofit) organization failed to follow the law and state courts determined the official(s) knew what was taking place. Brought forward by labor interests royally pissed off by big businesses' anti-labor proposals, it would've had unfortunate consequences that could have impacted even nonprofit charity boards.

Setting limits for businesses with state contracts: NO

This amendment, one of those that business interests have agreed to oppose, would prohibit corporations that have non-competitive state contracts worth more than $100,000 from contributing to any political party, candidate or ballot measure for the contract's duration and two years thereafter. It also prevents those who will financially profit from a ballot initiative from contributing to the campaign supporting it.

While we support the concept, it would've created mountains of paperwork and lots of lawsuits. Instead, Colorado should enact comprehensive campaign finance reform.

Forcing employers to show just cause for firing workers: WITHDRAWN

Another proposal that won't be counted, this amendment would have prohibited private-sector businesses from firing or suspending full-time employees without "just cause." It would have required firms to jump through additional hoops with lots of accompanying paperwork to discharge any employee, and would have given fired employees more incentives to sue. Federal and state laws already protect employees from being fired for reasons such as race, sex, religion or age, or because of an unwillingness to perform an illegal act.

Mandating employers to provide health insurance: WITHDRAWN

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Third of the four amendments that won't be counted, this would have required private employers with 20 or more employees to provide health insurance for employees and their dependents, or to pay for insurance through a new state authority. It would have mandated that businesses pay 80 percent of the cost for employees and 70 percent for dependents.

Colorado, and our nation, must do something about our mishmashed health insurance system. In many ways, this proposal was a step in the right direction. But well-meaning as it was, it was too inflexible an approach toward guaranteeing everyone access to affordable, quality health care. Moreover, to avoid the new requirements, employers as with Amendment 55 would have been inclined to convert full-time employees to part-time status.

Allowing employees to sue beyond workers' comp: WITHDRAWN

Last of the measures that won't be counted, it would have allowed an injured employee to seek damages in court beyond workers' compensation benefits. Our current system effectively balances the needs of employees and employers. The amendment would have disrupted this balance, and once again would have tempted employers to change full-time employees to part-time status. (And if it seems out of character for the Indy not to support pro-labor measures, we should note that pro-labor leaders agreed to withdraw 53, 55, 56 and 57, in part for reasons we have cited, including the fact that constitutional amendments aren't always the best solution.)

Closing loopholes and raising severance taxes to fund college scholarships: YES

This would increase severance taxes paid by companies that extract nonrenewable natural resources from the earth, primarily by eliminating an existing tax credit. Most of the funds would provide additional scholarships for state residents attending in-state universities, with lesser amounts supporting wildlife habitat, renewable energy projects, transportation projects in energy-impacted areas and water treatment grants.

Colorado currently taxes oil and gas companies at rates ranging from 2 and 5 percent with loopholes to reduce even that paltry amount. Amendment 58 creates a flat rate of 5 percent for all firms earning $300,000 or more annually.

After exemptions, deductions and credits, our state's severance tax rate is the lowest of the eight large-producing Western states. Our actual severance tax rate last year was 1.3 percent; Montana's was 6.8 percent.

The amendment eliminates a tax loophole for an industry currently experiencing record profits. Revamping our severance taxes to be more in line with other Western states makes sense and our students certainly need help obtaining low-interest loans to attend in-state schools.

Creating a Savings Account for Education (SAFE) : YES

Spearheaded by House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy, this measure is one of the most important. If enacted, it would remove sections of a previous amendment that mandated ever-increasing state spending for K-12 education, and create a rainy-day fund for public schools that would be free from Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) restrictions. While guaranteeing stable education funding, it would not raise taxes.

This elegant proposal would eliminate many conflicting mandates of past constitutional Amendments. It provides the right balance of guarantees and flexibility so that all important sectors of our state can flourish.

Lowering age to 21 for serving in the Legislature: YES

This would lower the age requirement for serving in the state Legislature from 25 to 21. There is no downside. A 21-year-old, an adult under the law, can vote, get married, fight in wars and legally purchase and drink alcohol. Citizens can judge for themselves whether a candidate possesses the maturity, ability and competence to hold office.

Eliminating obsolete constitutional provisions : YES

Both make sense to us. Nothing controversial here, no need for elaboration.

Changing the state's ballot initiative process: YES

This measure would make it more difficult for Coloradans to propose constitutional initiatives, and at the same time easier for citizens to enact regular laws via the initiative process.

We agree with Republican state Rep. Al White that our "constitution should be a broad framework of freedoms as opposed to what ours has become: a micro-managing budgetary document full of conflict and irrelevancy."

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Proposals put directly into the constitution can only be changed by another vote of the people. Statutes, on the other hand, can be changed by the Legislature.

Referendum O would give citizens an incentive to put forward regular statutory measures at the ballot box by requiring fewer petition signatures than a constitutional amendment, while increasing the number of petition signatures needed to alter our state constitution. It would also make it harder for lawmakers to overturn voter-approved statutes by requiring a two-thirds legislative majority to change them within five years of voter passage.

It also would mandate another common-sense reform: All proposed ballot measures would go through a public-review process. This would help citizens better understand each measure, and also help identify potential problems early, so the language could be rewritten and clarified to avoid unintended consequences.

School district initiatives

Property tax override: YES

D-11 is asking for an override (not an increase, but averting a tax decrease) to raise $21.5 million for upgrading teacher pay, tutoring and intervention programs, new textbooks, online courses, more foreign language instruction in grade schools, and more. Given that it can have an immediate impact, this is a reasonable request.

Mill levy override: YES

With more businesses and higher assessments, D-20 is asking to transfer money out of its bond fund into its general fund, to lower class sizes. Sounds sensible.

Mill levy overrides: YES

These districts also are requesting more money, in relatively modest amounts, for teachers and programs. If

you live in one of these

districts and believe in the value of education, these measures are worthy of your support.


If you choose to vote by mail, the final date one can apply is Tuesday, Oct. 28, but it's best to get your paperwork in earlier. Application available at the county clerk's office (Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave.), and at csindy.com. Remember that if you mail your ballot, the envelope requires 59 cents of postage, more than a first-class stamp.

Registered voters can also vote in person from Oct. 20-25 (Monday through Saturday), and then Oct. 27-31 (Monday through Friday) at one of three early voting stations:

Downtown: Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Citadel Mall: Suite 3124, located upper level near JCPenney, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Chapel Hills Mall, Suite 179, located on the lower level near food court escalator,

10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If voting in person via early voting or on Tuesday, Nov. 4,

make sure to bring identification with you;

understand that if you are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m.,

you have the legal right to vote;

and if you have any questions about whether your voting rights were

infringed, contact Just Vote Colorado, a nonpartisan citizens group working

to make sure that everyone's vote counts.

justvotecolorado.org 866/OUR-VOTE (687-8683)

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