In case you haven’t voted yet, the deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 7:00 p.m. It’s too late to put ballots in the mail, so you should hand-deliver your voted ballot to an official County Clerk’s office or a Voter Service and Polling Center. It’s a long ballot, so perhaps my ballot recommendations can help you save a little time. Of course, there’s still a bit of time to do your own research on candidate or issue websites. Here is my list of 2018 ballot recommendations.
CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR OFFICE
IF you want your elected officials to work for the following:
-Greater environmental protections and acceleration to a renewable energy economy
-Reasonable gun safety measures
-Expansion of laws that protect a woman’s reproductive rights and her privacy
-Universal Pre-K, full-day kindergarten, and increased funding for teachers and schools
-More local control over affordable housing options, fracking, and a minimum wage
-Criminal justice reform
-Protecting and expanding the rights of the LGBTQ community
-Making medical care more affordable and accessible to all Coloradans
-A path to citizenship for DACA recipients and an immigration policy that is humane and sane
-Allowing local law enforcement the ability to protect all law-abiding citizens, regardless of immigration status
THEN, you will want to vote for every candidate on your ballot that is a Democrat.
VOTE YES ON ALL JUDGES
STATEWIDE BALLOT INITIATIVES
Amendment V – YES Lowers the Age Requirement for Members of the State Legislature from 25 to 21. I personally don’t think there should be any age requirement. It should be up to the voters to decide who they want to represent them, regardless of age.
Amendment W – YES Election Ballot Format for Judicial Retention. It makes the ballot shorter and more concise, which I hope would encourage more voters to complete and submit them.
Amendment X – YES Industrial Hemp Definition. I rarely disagree with Colorado farmers on their issues and this is no exception. For purposes of clarity, recreational and medical marijuana plants are cultivated indoors and processed for consumption. Hemp is a large, fibrous plant that is grown outdoors, and like cotton, hemp has many product applications. When we legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, we also legalized hemp as an industrial crop and established a strict definition for it in our Constitution with a very low allowable THC level – 0.3 percent. Hemp could be legalized nationwide in the 2018 US Farm Bill, and this could include an allowable THC level of 1.0 %. This means all agricultural states that pursue hemp production after the Farm Bill passes could use or sell hemp with 1.0% THC or lower, while Colorado’s lower limit in our Constitution could put Colorado farmers at a great disadvantage. Amendment X would remove the definition of hemp from our state Constitution, which would support Colorado farmers and keep our hemp industry competitive with other states.
Amendments Y & Z YES These two amendments were referred to you from the Colorado Legislature, having passed unanimously out of the House and Senate. Yes, that means every Republican and Democrat voted in favor. In a nutshell, these measures limit the role of partisan politics in the redistricting process, which occurs after the US Census is taken every 10 years. This is the best approach we have to eliminating partisan gerrymandering in Colorado.
Amendment A – YES Prohibits Slavery and Involuntary Servitude. Our state Constitution makes allowances for both. They don’t reflect our values and they should go.
Amendment 73 – YES Better Education Funding. While this is an imperfect solution to creating a new revenue stream for public education, I strongly believe we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Colorado has the strongest economy in the country, but due to a fiscal crisis created by constitutional amendments we passed many years and decades ago – TABOR, Gallagher, and Amendment 23 – our financial support for public education is tragically inadequate. Teachers are underpaid and we have a current shortage of them – by 3,000! Half the schools in Colorado are only open four days a week. Passage of Amendment 73 would adjust the state income tax to be slightly more progressive for incomes over $150,000. This amendment will raise the money required to hire more teachers, pay them fairly, and improve our schools.
Amendment 74 – NO Just Compensation for Fair Market Value. This is the nuclear option, brought to you by the oil and gas industry, against all efforts we attempted at the Capitol and in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, and Broomfield to negotiate reasonable restrictions on fracking activity in our neighborhoods or near our schools. They have contributed at least $9 million to defeat us. Amendment 74 will bankrupt our cities and counties and remove any possibility of local control over almost anything – height limitations, industrial activities in our communities, noise ordinances, or basic health and safety protections. Oregon passed a measure similar to this law and repealed it within 3 years because of the billions of dollars in lawsuits that threatened to bankrupt their cities and the state.
Amendment 75 – NO Campaign Contributions. It pretends to create parity in campaign contributions but it would actually just allow more money into election spending. Colorado does a pretty good job limiting money in politics, notwithstanding federally allowed prerogatives. I don’t think we need to mess with it. Besides, this amendment was proposed by two former Republican legislators and the funding for the campaign is dark, so we have no idea who is behind it, which makes the case for why we don’t want it. What we need in campaign finance is less money and more transparency – and this amendment doesn’t achieve either objective.
Prop 109 – NO Fix Our Damn Roads. This is a completely irresponsible measure, fiscally and practically. It asks us to use our limited state funds to “fix highways” by potentially diverting money from education, Medicaid, and basic government services – without creating any new revenue stream to pay for it. Wouldn’t you think the self-proclaimed “fiscal conservatives” who call for multi-billion dollar bond issues such as this would be responsible enough to give us a legitimate way to pay for them?
Prop 110 – YES The responsible alternative to 109. Prop 110 proposes to raise money for highways, local roads, and multimodal options with a sales tax that amounts to 6 cents on a ten dollar purchase. It’s an increase in the sales tax instead of the gas tax because rural legislators said that increasing the gas tax would disproportionately impact rural drivers who drive long distances in less fuel-efficient vehicles. We heard them. While I don’t disagree that a sales tax is regressive, the small increase would go a long way toward improving our systems of transportation, especially for low income families who burn up a lot of time and gas sitting on clogged highways and don’t have enough alternate transportation options like buses and rail.
Prop 111 – YES Limitation on Payday Loans. Let’s limit the amount of profit payday lenders can make on the poorest among us.
Prop 112 – YES Setback Requirements for Oil and Gas Development. Requires a 2500-foot setback for new fracking operations from occupied structures and fresh water sources . This aligns with evacuation zones used by first responders, and a growing body of peer-reviewed studies that show an increased risk of negative health impacts for people living within a half-mile of fracking operations, including elevated cancer risk, respiratory problems, birth defects, and low birth weight. We tried to pass a 1000-foot setback at the legislature this year and oil and gas shut us down. In fact, with few exceptions, just about everything we do at the legislature to place guardrails around fracking for the sake of public health and safety, property values, and quality of life, gets shut down. Prop 112 is a result of the inability of legislators to negotiate safer fracking standards for their communities, which has forced the people to take matters into their own hands. And let’s be clear about job losses – no existing fracking sites under operation are affected by this amendment, nor are their employees.
BOULDER CITY AND COUNTY BALLOT MEASURES
County Ballot 1A –YES Alternative Sentencing Facility. This would allow the county to build a new alternative sentencing facility near the current county jail, which would help address overcrowding at the existing jail. Low-risk offenders could be housed in the alternative sentencing facility, including people in work release programs who don’t need to be in jail with higher-risk offenders. It would also provide better space for the county to manage mental and physical health issues. All things considered, this will be a big improvement when it comes to safety, rehabilitation of low-risk offenders, and managing overcrowding
City of Boulder 2C – YES Oil and Gas Pollution Tax. If fracking occurs within city limits, this gives us the authority to tax them at an amount that would offset the impacts of drilling.
City of Boulder 2D – YES – All the money we’ve raised from the sugary beverage tax should continue to fund health-related programs such as soccer scholarships, rec center passes, bicycle giveaways, and vouchers for fresh produce at farmers markets for low income families.
City of Boulder 2E – YES This measure includes a number of recommended actions from the city’s Campaign Finance and Elections Working Group process. I deeply appreciate that the city put together a group of citizens willing to do the hard work of proposing updates to the system, and that the members unanimously supported the issues listed in 2E. The new petition signature requirements for initiatives and recalls would be based on recent voter participation on city issues. While this has created consternation in some Boulder circles, I know first hand that getting an issue on the ballot through petitioning is hard work, and should an effort succeed, it will be thoroughly vetted through our local media outlets, social media, and Boulder’s many member-based alliances before a vote is cast.
City of Boulder 2F – YES – This would improve signature verification for ballot initiatives.
City of Boulder 2G – YES – This would allow City Council to propose ordinances that would allow electronic devices to be used in petition gathering. Denver first used its “eSign” app in 2015 – they’ve enjoyed great success and it’s considered the national role model.
City of Boulder – 2H – YES – This would put two new voices on the Housing Advisory Committee, giving the committee more perspective and input. It also updates our Charter language regarding sexual identity of commission members.
City of Boulder – 2I – YES – Giving the Planning Department more time to gather information before they provide input on the city’s annual budget is a good thing.
Urban Drainage 7G – YES – We’re raising the necessary funds we need to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the next flood. #Neverforget2013
Thanks for reading, and remember, get your ballot to an official drop-off box by 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6!