A Wild Election Season Missing Links – Rick Langenberg

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Election fever is running high. Here in Teller County and Colorado, we are once again finding ourselves on the radar.

Heck, our own governor, John Hickenlooper, may become the vice-presidential candidate of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. I hope Hillary picks Hick. That would get Hick out of our hair, as he has done absolutely nothing to help Teller County and other rural burgs, clearly showing his support for the Denverites on every issue of concern, such as gun control. And quite frankly, a Hick choice would boost the state and region a notch from a publicity standpoint. And from a political perspective, he would make a good political choice for Hillary, and keep her from resorting to the whims of the party’s left-wing radicals.

Locally, we also have some key ballot issues, including proposed lodging levies for pro-tourism efforts; and a plan to eliminate many telecommunications restrictions, and allow our governments to do needed partnerships with other entities and private companies in making much needed improvements to our Internet and cell phone services.
The commissioners have done a good job in addressing our plight as a struggling village lingering in the Dark Ages when it comes to communications services. We have the potential to strike a jackpot of nearly $10 million in telecommunications-related grants and extra funds.

I would definitely favor a yes vote on this proposition, or at least give it a chance. The commissioners, and especially chairman Norm Steen, need to be commended for the way this issue was handled and the collaboration that occurred with telecommunications providers and even state entities.

A Bad April Fool’s Joke
Unfortunately, the same positive opinions can’t be made regarding their other ballot proposal on the plate: An attempt to end state-mandated term limits and anoint themselves and other elected peers as Kings The next time you go to a county commissioners meeting, or a sheriff briefing, maybe hand our elected leaders a crown or a Caesar-like cape, anything, as long as they agree to rip up this anti-term limit ballot resolution.

This proposition outright stinks and deserves to be thrown into the nearest garbage can. At first, I thought our county leaders were playing an April Fools’ joke with us, when I read this resolution.

A blanket ballot issue on ending term limits on all elected positions is beyond ridiculous. Teller residents have made it clear in the past they don’t support career politicians.

More citizens would be favorable toward specific plans for certain positions, and even bids to extend some seats to an additional term. But a blanket plan to end term limits on all positions, with no strings attached, is a darn good April Fools’ joke. We will consider that for our next Mountain Crackpot issue.

The timing of this also doesn’t pass the smell test, with certain leaders already starting their second and final term in office. Is this a way they can assume life-long jobs with the county and pursue an ongoing power trip?

In Teller County, many already oppose the tactics associated with the revolving doors of “elected office-holder shuffling.” The idea that a person partakes in one elected position for eight years, and then assumes another county elected slot for another eight has triggered many question marks.

We need new blood and we have plenty of talent for these elected positions.

And to especially include the commissioner and sheriff seats in this anti-term limit plan is completely preposterous. Recent races for these seats have featured a hefty field of good competitors. Regardless of our sometimes colorful politics, and whether you supported Mike Ensminger or Mark Manriquez for sheriff two years ago, we had a good-hearted race, with great candidate credentials from both camps. The same can be said for the commissioner battle of 2012. At one point, nearly 10 candidates were vying for two commissioner spots.
So needless to say, there isn’t a shortage of candidates for these positions, especially when term limits come into play. We have plenty of eligible contenders.

With unlimited terms, we are basically saying that a small group of people will determine the future of every elected seat, and in essence, all administrative policies of virtually every office in Teller County.

If the commissioners want to make needed reforms in the process, fine, get rid of, or change the current caucus and party assembly system. Even Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has agreed it’s a rigged system. I am not a fan of Donald Trump, but he’s right in that regard.

Moreover, the plan the commissioners are proposing would further reduce the importance of unaffiliated candidates and Democrats, and create a more unhealthy system from what currently exists. It also would tilt the power wheel in favor of current incumbents.

In conclusion, vote yes for lodging levies and telecommunications improvements, but absolutely no way for eliminating term limits. Give common sense a chance.