STATE CAMPAIGNS … I'll do local choices next week. Folks have asked for some guidance on the many complex issues on the ballot. So here are my (decidedly) biased picks for the state issues we'll be voting on in this county, from an admittedly Green (radical center) perspective … Bill Ritter, Jr. is my choice for Governor (Barbara O'Brien his running mate) … After eight years of Republican slash and burn politicking and administrative incompetence (the welfare computer system fiasco being only the most costly of many bad initiatives), it's time to turn Colorado Blue, after years of being in the Red … Republican Bob Beauprez's refusal to support Amendment C in the last election, which even Gov. Owens campaigned for, shows him up for the impolitic ideologue he really is. Is the Colorado Springs madman Doug Bruce your hero? Then Beauprez (and his ideologue sidekick Janet Rowland) would be your standard bearers … I must say, though, that I was quite impressed at the Club 20 debates back in September with Libertarian candidate Dawn Winkler-Kinateder (Richard Randall). She's the only pro-choice candidate in the race (shame on the Dems!) and spoke both convincingly and consistently on the issues from a Libertarian perspective. A vote for Winkler might be a throwaway, but it'd be a damn good throwaway. Or if you just want to register distaste with all parties, there's unaffiliated Paul Noel Fiorino (Heather Anne McKibbin) … I'm voting John Salazar for Third Congressional District. The polls show him strongly in the lead, like Ritter. Republican Scott Tipton is running hard, but he's no match for our incumbent farmer representative. And John's aides are super. Electing Salazar is electing a whole team of people ready to help this county on lots of issues. The Libertarian is Bert Sargent … I'm also voting for Ken Gordon for Secretary of State. Ken has done a great job in the Legislature as part of the Democratic leadership, and has committed to securing our election process (after Owen-appointee Gigi Dennis has repeatedly injected partisan politics into the process). Green candidate Rick van Wie dropped out of the race and threw his support to Ken, citing Gordon's liberal credentials and support for Instant Runoff Voting. Republican Mike Coffman is a man who lives up to his word, and goes the extra mile even giving up his State Treasurer job to volunteer for service in the Iraq War. A good candidate too … Fern O'Brien for Attorney General. It's hard not to vote for a good liberal Dem, but Republican John Suthers has done a good job and will clearly win this election, having garnered the endorsements of the major newspapers in the state. The Boulder Weekly endorses O'Brien. Dwight K. Harding is the Libertarian … Cary Kennedy has a better shot for State Treasurer, although Republican Mark Hillman is better known. But this could be a horse race … Stephen C. Ludwig for CU Regent-at-large. He's the Dem, the Repub is Brian Davidson, Marcus McCarty the Independent, Douglas Campbell the American Constitutionist and Daniel Ong the Libertarian … Susan A. Hakason for CU Regent Dist. 3. She's the Dem, but the widely-respected Republican Tillie Bishop is a shoo-in for the job … As for the Court of Appeals, Yes to retain all five: Russell E. Carparelli, Janice B. Davidson, Alan M. Loeb, Jose D.L. Marquez, Robert M. Russel. All get high ratings and recommended retention by Colorado's Judicial Performance Review process … Amendment 38/NO. While appealing to many civil libertarians for seemingly democratizing government, the intent of the crafters seems to be to destroy representative government and give it over to powerful special interests with the money to mount election challenges. Like the last Douglas Bruce-inspired initiative, it's a stalking horse for conservatives and a boon for the legal profession … Amendment 39/NO. While it seems appealing to make local school districts put more money into instruction, it actually is another unfunded state mandate that would tie the hands of local control. And that's bad government … Amendment 40/NO. Forcing out five of seven Supreme Court justices all at once and almost 40 percent of current Court of Appeals judges regardless of excellent performance or voter preference is more bad government. Colorado has a retirement age for judges, plus retention votes by the people already. The unintended consequence of forcing out nearly half of Colorado's highest court judges in one fell swoop will bring an already overburdened court system grinding to a near halt, with no plan to address the inefficiencies or delays. And this measure will bring partisan politics back into Colorado's court system. Colorado is respected around the country for its judicial review process a far-reaching reform that took politics out of state courtrooms years ago. This bad idea gives the next governor and all future governors the power to appoint nearly the entire Supreme Court all at once, stacking the deck with judges who share their partisan political views be they conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican … Amendment 41/a reluctant Yes. A bit draconian, making gifts as small as $50 illegal, this initiative at least begins to address the runaway influence of paid lobbyists in the legislative system, although the fallout for other jurisdictions may be problematic … Amendment 42/YES. Some have complained that minimum wage raises shouldn't be in the State Constitution, and they're probably right. But that's the only way initiatives can't be overturned by industry-friendly legislatures, without a vote of the people. And we're way past due for a minimum wage increase. Really, it's scandalous what basic necessities cost and what we pay our poorest workers … Amendment 43/NO. The State shouldn't be involved in defining marriage, and certainly not by those who believe that gay marriage is equivalent to mating with sheep, as one prominent Colorado politico does. This is a civil liberty issue … Amendment 44/YES. The State shouldn't be involved in imposing legal sanctions for what herbs we use in our own bodies in our own homes. Especially as innocuous and relatively harmless a relaxant as Cannibis spp. … Referendum E/YES. It's shameful how we treat our disabled veterans, as Rep. John Salazar has noted. This extension of tax breaks to those injured in the line of duty will not cost state citizens much, but it gives a real benefit to those who've been injured while serving their government, right or wrong … Referendum F/NO. Recall procedures need a fix, but this isn't it. It gives too much power to the Governor and the Legislature … Referendum G/YES. Deletes obsolete language in the Constitution … Referendum H/NO. We've been mean-spirited to our undocumented workers in this state. This would not only require Colorado businesses to disclose the amount of compensation paid to illegal immigrants, but also prevent such wages from being counted as legitimate business expenses. By discouraging the hiring of immigrants, Referendum H reduces the financial advantage that a business gains when it pays lower wages to unauthorized workers. But the reality is that Referendum H will likely have minimal impact, since it has a loophole a mile wide. This measure would only apply to corporations that knowingly pay $600 or more annually to an individual undocumented worker … Referendum I/YES. Whatever marriage is or isn't, at least we ought to grant domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples. This law would do that … Referendum J/NO. Another unfunded mandate school finance bill. Will attacks on local control never stop? … Referendum K/NO. This forces Colorado to sue the Federal Government over immigration laws. An unwise move. Immigration needs to be dealt with in Congress. We shouldn't be authorizing one agency of government to sue another, as it's the taxpayer that picks up both bills.
LOT 126 … I guess I'm mystified. I thought folks didn't want to see any lights from the Mountain Village on the Valley Floor? The County got protection for ridgeline lots in the Village, and from any further structures visible from the Town of Telluride. But Lot 126 is not a ridgeline lot … John Adler told me that story poles that went up with lights on Monday, Oct. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m., which would have shown the extent of the visibility of the new building. He had talked with the Commissioners about the situation last week … Although the County has no say over what Mountain Village decides in the way of height and use variances for this tall new building, Adler invited concerned citizens to contact him and get involved in the Town of Mountain Village process (369-8250) … A second hearing in front of the Mountain Village Design Review Board took place just yesterday.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS … Ace long-haired columnist Mike Littwin of the Rocky did a several-page feature on yours truly (and the Telluride community) last week for a five-part series nosing around the Western Slope. Todd Heisler did some great photos, and Sonya Doctorian a lovely video voiceover interview overlaid on footage of the Telluride Mushroom Festival … The right-to-it URL is long gone, but if you go to www.rockymountainnews.com, click on "Opinion," click on "Mike Littwin, " and look for the "Oct. 18" column, you should find all of it.