25 October 2006: 2A& G-TownStreets

2A bad plan for Georgetown Streets

On top of the plethora of statewide ballot initiatives, there are two local ones to be considered: 1A, the open space initiative, and 2A, the Georgetown road tax.

1A is a scant one mil increase, so about $25 or an evening out for a meal. 1A is well worth funding as it would not be onerous and would go to a fund and organization that has an outstanding record of stewardship of Clear Creek’s open spaces. With just one paid staff member and currently 11 volunteers, the Open Space Commission has helped secure and manage considerable acreage over the past six years. They’ve been operating on a shoestring, so it is time to give them another lace, to keep one sneaker from flopping while running to do what we value them doing.

2A, on the other hand, is not a good plan. In addition to it being a big chunk of change—over 2.5 million, nearly half of which will go to the lenders—other factors should concern voters. First, a precise need hasn’t been clearly demonstrated for all the projects. Dirt roads in themselves are not prima facie reasons for paving. Further, politics is playing a major role as evidenced by Sixth Street making the list. From the start, political considerations have been factors both in naming of specific projects and negotiating the final amount, which began with a $6,000,000 or 15 percent increase concept.

If passed, politics will be even more brutal when it comes to whittling down the number of projects due the inevitable rising cost factor. When that happens, there are going to be some mightily outraged citizens demanding to know why they increased their personal taxes by several thousands to find their local pet project axed.

Two other considerations need to be made. One, asphalt, a by-product of oil, will be in time, and probably sooner than later, going the way of the dinosaur. With the world reaching peak oil production, we need to begin looking at sustainable alternatives, and, as experience has shown, asphalt is hardly a long-term solution. The other is dramatically increasing speeds. To blow the concern off as a “separate, enforcement issue” is unrealistic. In small towns such as Georgetown, the roads themselves need to be constructed in a fashion to deter speeding since it would be unrealistic to expect our minimal police force to sit around with radar guns to trap the occasional, but potentially deadly speeder.

The roads of Georgetown do need attention, but a more considered approach looking at alternatives such as cobblestones and special tax districts is what is needed.

On to chicken lips—it is rare, as Steven Graeber points out, that we agree. He’s right on, though, with regard to Referendum I, Domestic Partnership, and Amendment 44, legalizing possession of marijuana for one ounce or less. Both are private issues with no detrimental impacts on the society at large. He’s correct as well on Amendment 40, which would impose term limits on the judiciary. It is a solution in search of a problem. In reality, an activist judge is one with whom we disagree. As I pointed out previously, if an activist judge is one who votes regularly to overturn the will of a legislative body, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are the number one and number three in the nation.

While certainly 65 percent of a school district’s budget should be dedicated to English teacher salaries for all the work we do, Amendment 39 and Referendum J, which would tie the hands of the school board in terms of the budget, is a bad idea as well. Amendment 43, etching marriage into the constitution, is not necessary and simply mean-spirited. As for Amendment 42 raising and institutionalizing the minimum wage in Colorado, I have mixed feelings. While I completely agree that it would be efficacious for workers and businesses alike, it no more belongs in the state’s constitution anymore than an amendment that ties the hands of the legislature by restricting its ability to raise or impose taxes, which we have: TABOR. I would prefer for the measure to be enacted into law rather than the constitution, but if it goes down on principle rather than merit, opponents will make the case that it failed on its merits. Thus, there is no choice but to give it thumbs up.

On the campaign trail: So Bob Beauprez thinks it’s OK for a government agent to break the law to aid a political campaign? Both Ways Bob and the rightwing talking heads are trying to spin it as a conscientious citizen leaking info that the public should know. They compare it to reporters. One problem: Beauprez is a politician, not a journalist. The ads were Both Way’s October surprise. Only he has gotten checkmated by Ritter’s superior campaign staff. They have hope, though: Governor Ritter can pardon them if they are unable to plea bargain.

Please, do you civic duty and VOTE. It’s the American thing to do.

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