Denver November 2004 Election
Dave Winer: "To Blitzer, Sawyer and Russert, to Viacom, GE, Time-Warner and Disney, Kerry seems safe, but Dean is dangerous, he routes around them, he goes direct. To accept his candidacy would be to accept the end of television-dominated politics. They aren't going to let this happen, any more than the record and movie companies are going to roll over for P2P distribution...I'm an engineer and a writer, and after years of work on content management, editorial interfaces, syndication and desktop tools, delivering a variety of viewpoints to thinking citizens is something we can now engineer. Technologically we're ready to route around the news channels. Had Dean decided to help develop the human network of citizen journalists, providing coverage not just of his campaign, and not just the good spin of his campaign, he might have been able to survive the onslaught of the television networks. It will eventually happen. Some day, maybe in 2008, we will elect a President who is not subject to the veto of the television networks. In the meantime, the techniques that the Dean campaign could have used are available to any candidate running for local office because the networks don't reach below the national level. The competition there is with local television and local newspapers, which are shrinking rapidly."
There you Mr. Miles, Mr. Freedburg, Mr. Walsh, Ms. McCann, Mr. Morrissey. You can be the first candidate(s) to really figure out weblogs. They are a conversation. You post links to positive and negative things about your campaign. You post links to your opponents. Then when the voters want to know the truth they'll go to your weblog because it's all laid out there, plusses and minuses, the human side and the political side. And you don't have to spend a ton of dough to get out the word. You can do by yourself, with volunteers, or paid staff, and a few hundred bucks for the technology (well $3,000 or so if you buy that PowerBook that I'd recommend ).
Here's an opinion piece against changing TABOR written by Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, from today's Rocky Mountain News [February 7, 2004, "No need to 'fix' one of nation's most effective limitations on government"]. According to Mr. Caldara, "The fact is TABOR saved Colorado's fiscal fanny. If we didn't have this constitutional amendment, which limits the growth of government to inflation and population, the state would have spent all the excess revenue it collected in the overheated late 1990s. When government spends money, it doesn't buy one-shot deals, like pizzas. It puts it into programs that demand ever-higher budgets every year. During the overheated years, TABOR returned around $800 in excess revenue (that's your money) to every man woman and child in Colorado. That's $3,200 per family of four, to use for your own personal rainy-day fund."
State Representative, Brad Young R-Lamar, argues that TABOR needs to be changed, along with Amendment 23, in an opinion piece in today's Rocky [February 7, 2004, "Taxpayer's Bill of Rights hobbles programs, wage competitiveness"]. Quoting Mr. Young, 'At first glance, this may appear to be reasonable. But the economy normally grows faster than the TABOR limit by about 2 percent to 3 percent annually because of increases in productivity. If wages of government jobs are to be competitive with the private sector, state revenues should keep pace with the economy. If revenues do not keep pace, the result will be continuing cuts in programs. Over a short period of time, state government can absorb these small changes without citizens of the state noticing. But after the 16 percent drop in revenues during fiscal years 2002 and 2003 the TABOR impact on the budget became apparent. Under TABOR we cannot recover, even when the economy improves. The limit on the growth of government has "ratcheted down" the size of government, and it must still continue to shrink relative to the economy. Amendment 23 was passed with the idea that some of the excess revenues that created large tax refunds in the late 1990s could be used to create a new trust fund, the State Education Fund. The extra money would allow spending on education to increase over a 10-year period. It worked as planned until the state revenues fell 16 percent. As other departments experienced cuts, especially in higher education, K-12 funding was increased by inflation plus 1 percent. K-12 general fund spending was increased by 11.4 percent in 2003 when higher education general fund spending was cut to 1995 levels, a total cut over two years of nearly 20 percent. K-12 alone will require an increase that exceeds the entire amount of new tax revenue coming into the state next year. To put it bluntly, we cannot afford to pay the amounts demanded by Amendment 23."