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A Californicated ballot

Don Rogers

The towns rightly have referendums for their truly big decisions.You know, like Crossroads in Vail, the RV park in Minturn, maybe whether to turn pastures into big box sprawl in Eagle.Those make sense.But, sadly, Colorado has become politically Californicated with a longish list of measures going to the voters that properly belong in the state Legislature.Isn’t that why we elect these politicians, to settle such weighty questions as whether to adjust term limits on judges, reset recall initiative deadlines, and my personal favorite – eliminate “obsolete” state constitutional provisions? That’s pretty much junk that somehow got tacked onto the state Constitution in previous statewide elections.I count 14 statewide measures on the ballot Nov. 7. True California proportion begins around 30-something, last I remember voting in that beautiful, hopelessly tangled-up state. But this is an impressive start.I suppose we as a citizenry should vote on a couple of these: n How we define marriage, given our squeamishness about a man living in love with another man, a woman having a spousal relationship with another woman. In time, what walks like a duck and looks like a duck will earn legal status as the duck it is. We’re obviously not there yet, with so many of us ascribing this “sin” as more venal than eating pork or coveting our neighbor’s wife, both of which we’ve figured are forgivable. Whatever. We’re all jailhouse lawyers when it comes to the holy texts. n Setting tighter ethical guidelines for political officials might be one that’s beyond the Legislature.The rest of the slate could and should be worked out by the state legislators. Isn’t that what they buy their way into office for? To decide the silly stuff cluttering up this ballot?Maybe some thoughtful folks could put a ballot measure together that ends ballot measures. We’d lose out on a couple of issues, perhaps, but in the main we’d force the Legislature and governor to actually do their jobs.Or, I’ve got it, here’s another measure: Why bother with a Legislature if we’re going to wind up making all the decisions by statewide votes anyway? How about a constitutional amendment that eliminates the state Senate and House? Save some money, anyway.The most reasonable course would be to make statewide initiatives harder to get on the ballot. Looking at the largely inane list of amendments and referendums, it’s clear that this is too easy.In the meantime, we as citizens doing our civic duty ought to say no to the whole lot of them. There’s not one, save maybe the ethics tightening, worth our time.It’s tough to get voters to the polls. It’s a crime to waste their effort with nonsense like this. Each Thursday, the editors of the Daily and the Trail offer Point-Counterpoint in each newspaper. For Trail Editor Tamara Miller’s side, see the Vail Trail today or visit http://www.vailtrail.comVail, Colorado


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