by Paul Kashmann
Let us remember in this election
season, as we vote for those who will represent us, that our nation was formed
with a philosophy of governance that calls not simply for government of the
people, but government of the people, by the people and for the
The operative words here are those above in
bold. Especially the ďby the peopleĒ part. We elect
representatives because it would be impractical for 300 million of us to show
up in Congress and all try to be heard. So we set up a system where we elect
representatives, we make our opinions known to said public servants, and direct
them to carry our community conscience back to headquarters in Washington,
D.C., to try to come up with policies that reflect and address our wants and
The only way the system can work as intended is if we do the heavy lifting. Nowhere in
the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Magna-freaking-Carta
or any other such document does it call for turning your will and your life
over to anyone other than Ė if you believe this way Ė a God of your
understanding. Here on this earthly plane, we have work to do.
please lend a hand. We need your voice. We need your vote.
This yearís ballot has a number of items to
consider whose passage or defeat will have serious impact on life in our fair
city for years to come.
Measure 2A asks Denver voters for
permission to retain all taxes collected under our current rates, without
raising those rates now or in the future without a vote of the people. The
concept is known colloquially as de-Brucing Ė a
reference to Doug Bruce, a radical anti-tax activist and supporter of the TABOR
(Taxpayers Bill of Rights) Amendment, that has forced Colorado jurisdictions to
return money collected if in excess of a certain level determined by said
If 2A passes, Denver will receive an
additional $68 million annually to help offset the ongoing deficits that have
arisen due to the recession-driven reduction in all sources of city revenue.
While this does not involve a change to our tax rates, the money does not come
out of thin air, but is money that will no longer be rebated to property owners as TABOR now requires.
Let us not split hairs. Let us face this
honestly and with full disclosure. No, this is not a tax rate increase. Yes, it
will increase the tax bill on the average Denver home about $100. Larger homes
a bit more. Smaller homes a bit less.
Hereís the deal. It takes money to run a
city. Denver has trimmed some $400 million from its budget in recent years, and
there is very little fat left. Library hours have been reduced and will go down
further if 2A fails. Our ability to staff our police and fire fighting
departments has been weakened. Both agencies are under-manned for the jobs they
face. Iím thinking thatís not a situation that bodes well for public safety.
Our roads need maintenance, our trash needs
to be picked up, our kids need access to recreation and after-school programs,
etc., etc., etc., etc. It takes dough, people. For most of us, even in light of
the recession, the money this measure costs is well within our reach. For those
of us truly at witsí end, I would submit the good that this measure will do will offset the pain it may cause.
If you can afford the tab, and decide to
vote against 2A, please drop me a note and let me know which services you
suggest we drop. Thanks.
Iím of like mind for 3A and 3B. Another $150
a year more or less to allow Denver Public Schools to maintain and improve its
facilities and programming. I am not a blind fan of Tom Boasberg
and the DPS administration, but from where I sit, I see a school district that
is providing a far more varied and appealing product than was true a number of
years back. Our school district is slowly integrating based on choice rather
than transit, and we are offering all students more options for success than
simple, reading, writing and arithmetic.
We need even more commitment to raising up
our at-risk populations, a renewed devotion to support of traditional
neighborhood schools, and a reaffirmation that not all students are nurtured by
a diet weighed down by math and science, without a reasonable portion of arts,
music and physical education to balance the scales.
I believe withholding the monies sought
because of current shortfalls I want addressed is potentially far more damaging
than offering up my $150 a year in support of progress I see being made. Iíll
vote Yes for DPS.
I think Councilman Charlie Brown is
absolutely right that if Colorado votes in favor of Amendment
64, and adult use of marijuana is legalized, Jay Leno and his fellow
comedians are going to have a field day with comments about the Mile ďHighĒ
City. And, I am interested to see how it all actually plays out, in view of the
fact that possession and consumption of marijuana is still in violation of
However, I think while the late night jokes
will be funny, they beg the question, and while we may be at odds with federal
law, Iíd rather we pushed the discussion rather than shied away.
And may I clear the air for the record. I
donít use the stuff and havenít for many years. Did for a while. Donít think
the use of mind and mood altering substances is a great idea, except in small
doses by adult humans.
If you want prohibition, then outlaw alcohol
as well. It makes no sense to me that liquor is legal and marijuana is not. If
you think another legal drug makes too many, and one is enough, Iíd suggest
legalizing weed, and putting the beatdown on booze. I
believe alcohol is, by far, more dangerous in more ways than I have time to
The current system of cartel-building
marijuana prohibition, and our absurd ďwinky-winkyĒ
system of medical marijuana, is in no way protecting our children or the public
interest, which should be the motivating reason for your vote on this matter. The public interest.
Regulate marijuana production and sales so
you have a safe product sold to the proper audience. (Kids will still find ways
to get weed, as they always have found access to alcohol.) Tax the hell out of
it, and we may be paying for fewer bond issues in the future.
if you want to reduce the number of people who find it necessary to retreat
from reality, then think seriously about what we need to do as a society to
give folks a reality they donít need to retreat from so much. Now that, my
friends, is a long discussion.