Answerland: What is ballot initiative 4D?
Question: There’s a confusing and long-winded question on this November’s ballot called initiative 4D that involves the local junior college system (Colorado Mountain College). What is it?
Answer: The reason local voters are seeing 4D on the ballot is because of a 2005 law that limits the ability of local governments, including CMC, to provide broadband Internet services, unless a majority of voters say otherwise.
Voting “yes” or “no” won’t result in any spending of public money, and it doesn’t approve any sort of telecommunications project. Passing the measure simply allows the college to invest in broadband in the future if needed. The college doesn’t have any current plans to start any Internet or telecom infrastructure projects, either. This initiative would simply give the college the legal authority to fund telecommunications infrastructure or, if needed, provide its own telecommunications services in the future, explained Debra Crawford, Colorado Mountain College public information officer.
“The college has no specific plans to invest in broadband at this time,” she said. “And 4D creates no new fiscal impact. But students’ demand for high-speed broadband and faculty use of technology in the classroom continues to evolve, and CMC has a responsibility to continually adapt to remain academically relevant. Approval of 4D simply provides CMC with administrative flexibility in planning for an ever-changing future.”
CMC isn’t the only entity to be asking release from the law. According to Crawford-Arensman, more than 40 other counties, cities and school districts are making similar requests from their local voters. Many communities in rural Colorado still don’t have adequate broadband services, so passing this initiative would help pave the way for those areas as well.
And why is the ballot issue so difficult to understand?
“Unfortunately, various provisions of state law require ballot measures to be written in a way that is more friendly to attorneys than the general electorate,” says the CMC website.
For more info on ballot initiative 4D, see http://coloradomtn.edu/about-cmc/ballot-initiative-4d/.