16 October 2013: Think before you vote on ballot issues

Think before you vote on ballot issues

Put me down as no-yes-yes-no-yes on the ballot tax questions.

No on the Georgetown tax that would add 1.5 percent to the sales tax in a trade-off for a two mill reduction in property taxes.  I’m not sure of the logic, if any, behind it, but it makes me wonder who pushed it and their agenda.  The only ones who seem to benefit are upscale homeowners and in-town realtors.  Sixth St. is already a path-less-traveled without adding another barrier to visitors parting with their dollars.

Yes on both the Central Clear Creek Sanitation District’s and the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District’s requests for mill-levy increases.

Our local water and wastewater infrastructure, like so much of our state’s and nation’s infrastructures, is collapsing as a result of out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitudes, misplaced priorities, and paranoid fear of taxes.  Generations before us understood that a sound infrastructure is fundamental for a healthy community.  Thus, they constructed one anticipating us maintaining, upgrading, and eventually replacing it when it reaches the end of its shelf life.

We understand we usually get what we pay for; the inverse of that axiom is we deserve what we’re not willing to pay for.  Those in flooded areas that found their wastewater needs compromised are now able to appreciate firsthand what not having a place to flush their poop means.

The CCMRD’s request for “renovating, constructing, equipping, and furnishing updates and additions to the District’s recreational facility” falls under the healthy community needs also.  Poor health is epidemic in America.   Obesity and type-2 diabetes rates are off the charts.  Diet and exercise are the primary defenses against them as well as promoters and insurers of good health, physically, mentally and financially.

The cheapest health care costs are accrued by not needing to seek care in the first place.  Life provides enough reasons for needing medical attention without individuals exacerbating it by not taking care of themselves; and besides, we are enslaved way too far as it is to Big Health.

My rec center lies right outside my door; but then, I’m blessed with a body and mindset that gravitates to outdoor experiences.  In addition, not all activities, such as swimming, are conducive to outdoor settings up here, especially in the dead of winter.  Another simple truism to keep in mind: Time spent in a gym is converse to that in a hospital bed.

For the first time in my voting life, I will not be supporting an initiative to increase funding for public schools.  I am voting no on Amendment 66 not because I have bought into the rightwing canards about bloated public school bureaucracies and teacher unions, but in large part because of the extortion attempts being made by the rightwing press chorus led by Denver Post editorial board head Vincent Carroll and weekly crank Mike Rosen who are demanding the Colorado Education Association forswear any legal challenge to SB 191, which ties 50 percent of a teacher’s performance to his/her students’ test performances.

I’ve grown weary of so-called educational experts that include the aforementioned, clowns on the Douglas County Board of Education, and other pontificators who made their livings not by engaging freshmen in the finer aspects of writing and appreciating quality literature, but by doing work over which they had final control over product outcome…mechanical engineering, comes to mind.

Maybe what it will take for the public to understand that the shibboleth about the evidence of successful schools comes in the form of its students’ collective performance on standardized tests is nonsensical and a betrayal to what it ultimately agrees is absolutely requisite in our public schools: a safe place where young people can come to learn, explore, and grow in whatever context their life experiences would be best enhanced.  Skill development is critical to be sure, but so is providing space for critical thinking activities and artistic, creative experiences, something sorely lacking in our sound-bite, I-need-it-now culture.

Finally, let’s tax the smoke out of pot vis-à-vis Proposition AA.  I was for the amendment that legalized it, understanding that it is already a very popular commodity the stigma of which needed to be removed.  Now we need to normalize it further by treating it as we do any other product: taxing it.

You might agree or disagree with me on any or all of my analyses and conclusions.  What’s important, though, is that you study each critically, which means spending more than a sound-bite amount of time considering them.  In short, please think before you X.


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