Editor’s Picks on Key Local and State Ballot Explosion

Rick Langenberg

Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy would be proud.

Never did these 19th century legendary authors imagine that the main competition they could face in lengthy prose in future years may come from  our own Colorado election rhetoric; and more specifically, our ongoing ballot explosion. Maybe, we will get a sequel to War and Peace when everything is concluded.

Yes, here we go again with ballot fever, a trend that helped create a 22-inch epic voting novel with some 40 questions if you count all the propositions, amendments, judge retentions and more.

Confused. Join the gang and best of luck sorting through the litany of questions.

Here are some suggested picks from the office of TMJ Editor Rick on some of the more important issues.

Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority Funding Continuation: Yes.  This one has a big impact on Green Mountain Falls and lower Ute Pass residents. This one is a no-brainer, and continuing this very tiny sales tax,  nets an amazing amount of  improvements for the region and is a good fit especially for GMF, with $800,000 on the line in the next decade. Scary development, and  please don’t freak out. This is one of the few issues I agree with John Suthers on. My question:  Why didn’t Woodland Park join the Authority years ago?  Maybe, that was the start of the nickname Idiots Above the Clouds. Anyway, no use revisiting past mistakes.  Yes on 7A

City of Cripple Creek Sales Tax Increase – Yes.  This is a very small tax and it will not impact residents, and tourists won’t know the difference. Plus, items for home food consumption aren’t  affected and the sales levy already assessed is quite low. Let’s face the reality of today’s fiscal environment, the city  needs the money, after taking a severe hit from COVID and dealing with a leaner lineup of gaming devices and games.  I encourage residents to vote yes on 2A and then take a more definitive role in how the money is spent. With this passage, maybe more of the funds can be used eventually to bring back events.

Cripple Creek Pro-Marijuana  Questions: Yes. We believe legal cannabis is going to occur nationally or at the state level very soon, so let’s get a head start on the trends and do it right with concrete regulations. Wish these ballot questions were reversed, with the related cannabis taxes listed second on the ballot to ease the confusion.  But such is life under the guise of TABOR. Critics make a good case regarding the impacts, but in reality, a Creek cannabis scenario will end up more like what occurs in fellow gaming town Central City. Officials there have really not noticed  any additional adverse impacts.  This could generate some needed revenue and could  create a younger demographic. In addition, I like the idea of using a hefty portion of the excise money for tourist and recreation promotions. Despite the apparent controversy  confusion, I say Yes on both  2B and 2C.

Divide Fire Protection District Mill Levy Hike:  This one I really don’t have an opinion on, as don’t reside or hang out much in that burg, but if you live in the area and believe the money would help, go for it. Fire mitigation is a worthy cause.

State Issues

Legalizing  Access to Mushrooms  and Psychedelics: No.  This one is just plain silly, and would have Dickens and Tolstoy shaking their heads on the use of exaggerated, robust, flamboyant  prose. Issues like this really should not appear on a state election ballot Proponents need to take a trip back to Woodstock; go listen to Saturday Afternoon Won’t You Try by Jefferson Airplane; read books  by Carlos Castaneda and Hermann Hesse or something, or partake on  trip to special “shroom” tasting hub areas in Mexico or Central America.  Not impressed with Proposition 122. Not really against the idea, but it shouldn’t appear on an election ballot.

Increasing Liquor store Locations, Allowing Grocery and Stores to  Sell Wind and Third-Party Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages: No. These three issues, referred to as Propositions 124, 125 and 126 respectively, have involved one heck of a slick advertising campaign. But in the end, their approval would create an unfair playing field for small, locally owned liquor stores and really give an extra fiscal bullet to big conglomerates. Believe their advertising campaign has been quite deceptive, and don’t see how this is that big a plus for consumers. At least up here, our locals enjoy frequenting their local liquor stores and restaurants. Let’s keep it that way.

Affordable Housing Dedicated Revenue: Yes.  What can we say? Any effort to tackle this growing crisis is a plus, especially without raising taxes. I really don’t see any downside to Proposition 123, as long as solid affordable housing programs do actually move forward. Moreover, this could take some of the pressure off local governments in trying to solve the issue. In Teller County alone,  we must have an estimated 15 studies on affordable housing, which all are filled with dust. Frankly, that is a conservative number.

Charitable Gaming Operations: No. Again, this plan, Proposition F, just shouldn’t appear on an state ballot. People are being asked to vote on technical matters that they don’t have time to research or learn about.

This is just a short sample of some of the state ballot questions we face on Nov. 8. Still, please remember to vote and to return your ballots. The process up here is quite convenient.

Other Needed Non-Election Propositions.

World Series 2022: Go Philadelphia Phillies.  Anyone out there who is a Houston Astros fan in the coming World Series should be banned from visiting a local sports bar or popular sports fan-friendly restaurant. Maybe, I will propose that on the next state ballot. Either that, or we will sentence you to the wrath of the High Country’s beloved “Philly Joe,” alias Joe Corrigan. In all seriousness, how can anyone not enjoy Philly fans. A Philly win would be a big asset for Major League Baseball.