Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

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Coyote Gulch likes to keep an eye on the rainy side view of Colorado politics. Here are some of the endorsements from the Telluride Watch. They write, "Mostly because Coloradans have to wonder how Republican Bob Beauprez would have governed had his side in last year's debate on Referendum C, temporarily relaxing the Taxpayers Bill of rights, prevailed, his opponent Democratic opponent Bill Ritter has been dominating this contest. Beauprez succumbed to the far right impulse to always oppose taxes, even when basic government services are at stake and even when tax cuts are draconian. This is despite the fact that even current Governor Bill Owens, no flaming liberal, campaigned hard for Referendum C. Ritter, by comparison, understands that a growing state needs adequate revenues to maintain services, and he supported Referendum C. This is hardly the only difference between these two candidates, but it is all you really need to know to pick Ritter over Beauprez. Beauprez was a lackluster member of Congress, a seat he gave up to run for governor, and he has run a dismal campaign for governor. More reasons to support Ritter. Ritter has campaigned that he will bolster Colorado's energy production, with a strong emphasis on renewable sources, and create what he calls a 'New Energy Economy.' He recognizes that Colorado has shortsightedly shortchanged higher education. Ritter gets our vote...

"Gay marriage, thankfully, seems to be losing its power to sway elections. The Republican Party has used this hot button issue to rally its religious base for several years now, despite the fact that Canada, several countries in Europe, and even the State of Massachusetts, have all survived letting homosexuals join together in marriage, with no apparent adverse consequences. Contrary to the overheated rhetoric of the right, the future of Western civilization is not at stake. If anything, gay marriage strengthens, and surely does not weaken, the institution of marriage. There are heartening signs of further progress in the battle for equal rights for gays...

"The Libertarian view on this issue is surely the right one: We should keep the state out of 'marriage' entirely and allow couples of any sex to join together in civil unions, or contracts. If couples wish to 'marry,' let them do so in a church of their choosing. And if a church does not condone gay marriage, let that church refrain from conducting any such ceremony. This probably won't happen, however. So as long as the state is in the business of sanctioning marriages, gays should have the same access to it as anyone else. Coloradans have a chance to advance the cause on this issue at the polls next week by rejecting Amendment 43, which would amend the Colorado Constitution to define a marriage as a union of one man and one woman, and by approving Referendum I, which would amend the Colorado Revised Statutes to authorize domestic partnerships, expressly extending the right to enter into them to same-sex couples...

"Proposed Amendment 41 to the Colorado Constitution, to impose stricter bans on gifts to public officials, may be another example of why voters should reject Amendment 38, which if adopted would make it easier to petition initiative and referendums onto the ballot. Here again is a complex matter - how to prevent corruption in government - that should not be dealt with in the form of an amendment to the state constitution. As written, amendment 41 includes terrific detail about what is and what is not an example of an improper gift, and would be subject to a great deal of interpretation, in part by a new state ethics board...

"Another proposed amendment to the constitution, Amendment 42, would raise the minimum wage to $6.85 an hour (from $5.15, set by the federal government) and then index future increases to the rate of inflation in the Denver metro area. This would likely have minimal effect in Telluride, where average earnings are generally well above the minimum wage anyway. The minimum wage should be above $5.15 an hour, and if Democrats win control of even one house of Congress, an increase in the federal minimum wage is likely to be among their first orders of business. An increase in the minimum wage by Congress at the federal level is the right way to go with this issue - not yet another amendment to the overburdened Colorado Constitution. Since it appears likely that Congress will be acting, we recommend a no vote on 42...

"Will America ever be ready to admit that the War on Drugs is a failure? Can we recognize that drug abuse is a health issue, not a matter for law enforcement? With so many Americans worried about the vulnerability of their children, it is politically incorrect to argue for relaxing drug laws. But we should stop burdening our police and filling our prisons with people guilty of minor drug offenses. It is more symbolic than practical, but we support Amendment 44, to decriminalize the possession one ounce or less of marijuana by persons older than 21. Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is only a petty offense, subject to a fine of $100. Why bother?

"Referendum K would direct the Colorado Attorney General to initiate or join other states in suing the federal government to demand the enforcement of existing immigration laws. Those of us who live in ski towns know first-hand how much immigrants contribute to our community, whether they arrived here legally or not. The entire immigration contretemps strikes us as a distraction from real issues. We urge a no vote on this mean-spirited question."

Category: Denver November 2006 Election

5:55:17 AM    

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