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Saturday April 21st 2018

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That's what she said

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Open Letter to Senator Shaffer


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Created upon receiving yet another mailing from Colorado’s Futures asking participants to support SCR11-001, a bill that would completely change citizen’s abilities to put amendments on the ballot.

An Open Letter to Senator Shaffer,

I feel very strongly that the foundation on which this bill (SCR-11 001) was founded is absolutely unethical, and the “result of hard work by you and many others” consisted of a strategically-designed process with only one outcome in mind — selling the concept behind an already constructed bill and falsely claiming there was “real consensus” from the public.

Things were presented as “facts” that were simply not true.  The claim that there were over 100 initiatives pending to the Colorado Constitution at the Title Board, was true ONLY because the 20 or so initiatives that were there all had an average of 5 versions of their wording, some more than 10, but that wouldn’t really serve as an argument for convincing the public that changes needed to be made, so that part was left out.  A lot was left out, and not accidentally.

I attended the Community Forum in Boulder, the results of which were discounted, as they had a “computer glitch” which actually consisted of many folks at the meeting not buying the premise and not coming up with the “right answers” — see my article on the topic.

To add insult to injury, those Community Forums attendees were asked to LOBBY for the bill, as part of the consensus-gathering process, and comments such as “we think TABOR kept us in better financial shape than the rest of the country”  were never allowed to be made, nor were folks allowed to create any questions, nor were the questions themselves handed out so everyone could read them and see the patterns in the presentation.  This was a process with few real ethical hooks, and a lot of manipulation, and the resulting bill should not be passed.

Colorado’s Future is a group I’ve looked closely at, and I consider it (among several others) an attempt by Colorado’s corporate elite to keep the state government flush with tax funds for their own purposes.  I’ve always considered Democrats folks that support the people against corporate interests.  I was a Democrat for most of my life before becoming a Libertarian, and I find it ironic that Libertarians have to remind Democrats that tax dollars are there for the people, not for tax-increment financing for developers, transportation projects that bring all kinds of goodies for the builders of “transit villages” and on and on.

I know the state has problems financially.  They’ve dug many holes for themselves by hard-wiring programs (esp. the “it’s for the Children” Amendment 23 which has been sucking the life out of the budget since it was passed) without creating checks and balances to prevent those funds from ever being cut — a flaw of the legislative process.   If there is a place to change the amendment process it is in making those creating amendments clearly show how their funding would affect the state’s future financial health.   Amendment 23 was a Democratically-supported initiative, so that side of the coin, sadly,  was not looked at too closely.

I am NOT a person who believes there should never be any taxes, although many conservatives would disagree with me, but I do believe the HOW speaks volumes about the Legislature’s tendency to serve corporate interests, rather than those of the people.  This particular bill was created and sold to the public with a campaign that would make a used car salesman proud (don’t look under the hood, believe me, it’s great!).

I would hope you’d look to the people rather than to a group of developers and their cronies to “ensure Colorado’s leaders have the tools to make sound decisions.”  I’m getting less and less hopeful by the day, although there was a ray of hope when you had to rebuke Sen. Heath, the creator of this bill,  on the Senate floor the other day for not believing the rules applied to him.  I wish everyone had the courage to do so on the important things that really matter.

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