Local voters have several decisions to make by Tuesday. All are important choices, but none are difficult calls.
Voters in Durango School District 9-R should pick Erika Brown, Rick Petersen and Andrea Parmenter for seats on the school board. They are all well-qualified. And on the three statewide ballot issues, the right answer is a simple “no.”
The school board races should be about the kind of issues such boards typically face – budgets, teacher pay, policy governance and so forth. This year, however, the top issue for local voters is the importance of keeping the culture wars out of 9-R.
Three of the candidates are running as a slate. They appear to be focused on issues such as face masks and the teaching of what is termed critical race theory.
But face masks are a silly basis for a political argument. They are nothing more than a simple public health measure and no threat to American liberty.
And School District 9-R does not teach critical race theory. That is more commonly discussed in universities and, in politics at least, is seldom well understood.
The seventh candidate, Catherine Mewmaw, is in a three-way race with the incumbent Brown and one of the slate of challengers. She has experience, education and seems well-qualified. All she lacks is a good reason to oust Brown. Mewmaw should be encouraged to stay involved and perhaps run again when board races are more normal.
Vote for Erika Brown, Rick Petersen and Andrea Parmenter.
The three ballot measures voters face this year warrant rejection. None of them is needed and all include potential threats.
Amendment 78 would amend Colorado’s Constitution to inject the Legislature – and hence, politics – into an area where neither is needed. So-called custodial money consists of funds the state gets from outside sources, typically the federal government or from court settlements, which is earmarked for specific purposes.
This measure would require that spending those funds be approved by the Legislature – an inherently political body. It would also add another layer of bureaucracy and slow the process, in some cases – think pandemic – probably dangerously so.
Vote “no” on Amendment 78.
Proposition 119 would increase the tax on marijuana to pay for “out-of-school learning opportunities like tutoring.” That sounds good, but it would also create another state agency – another level of bureaucracy – with the potential to further politicize education and divert public money to private schools. A marijuana tax to fund schools directly would be one thing. This is quite another.
Vote “no” on Proposition 119.
Proposition 120 would change state law to cut property tax rates for “multifamily housing and lodging properties” – apartment houses, hotels and the like. It would not apply to private homes.
It also contains no provision to ensure that lower taxes are passed on as lower rent. And it would certainly harm entities such as fire departments and libraries that depend on property tax revenue.
Landlords and Holiday Inns do not need the taxpayers’ help.
Vote “no” on Proposition 120.