D.R.: What constitutes ‘support’? | VailDaily.com
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D.R.: What constitutes ‘support’?

Don Rogers

It’s a fair question: If a survey shows 49.75 percent of respondents believe Eagle County should have five commissioners instead of three, does that constitute “support” for putting home rule on the county ballot again?

Of course, the person asking the question won re-election to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners with 45 percent of the vote. Does Tom Stone think he was “supported”?

Yes, ex-Commissioner Stone and current Commissioner Arn Menconi, who won re-election with a similar tally, ran in three-horse races.



But the survey plumbing home rule opinions in a significant way also is three-pronged. There’s “agree” and “disagree.” There’s also neutral and “don’t know,” which make for one category: No opinion one way or the other at this time.

For the question about five commissioners, the telling percentage would be those agin it. That’s just 28.75 percent.



So this remains an open question, and an election could easily pass a home rule charter.

I dwell on the number of commissioners because that is the core of the home rule push.

The survey answers also showed 80.25 percent support for a county official code of ethics, 67 percent support for better representation for all parts of Eagle County, and 65 percent support for county residents being able to place issues on the ballot through referendum and initiative.



Only 22.75 percent think home rule would be too expensive, and just 14.5 percent fall for the Republican central committee sop that home rule would take away citizen rights.

Whether county elected officials should have party affliliation or not seems to line up with the parties being important. Too bad. They only add mischief to county politics. But hey, it’s often fun in an irresponsible way. Besides, having the party nuts organize against home rule is probably enough to kill it for good.

Sixty-three percent said home rule is a difficult concept to understand, and 62.75 percent said, yep, they understand it.

I agree with Stone and others who say that the county government doesn’t so much need a code of ethics as leaders acting ethically. Colorado state law handles the ethical question. A code only confuses things, particularly since it can only be non-binding.

Other than that, the combination of positive answers to most questions pointing toward putting home rule on the ballot again and the gap with the negatives makes this a relatively easy call.

The hardcore opposition likes to ask rather rhetorically, “How many times are we going to vote on this?”

Well, state law provides for two chances. There’s nothing untoward, and the home rule commission is quite right to step toward placing the question on the ballot again. I expect they’ll let the party affliliation and regrettable party process for placing candidates on the ballot back in. I hope they kill that dumb ethics clause, frankly.

The home rule charter failed last November when 53.5 percent of the votes went against it. That’s significant. But remember that the voters approved of a committee to write a home rule charter the year before.

So really, the election match is 1-1, tie, and the next one is just the rubber match. If it fails, the deal will be dead. Fair enough. At least those confused voters won’t have to sort through all those other November election questions, like who should be governor and all that.

Stone can look at the rather overwhelming support for his favorite clause about an ethical code if needs a clearer view of “support” for a new charter. Last I looked, eight out of every 10 respondents is pretty definitive.

An irony, at least to me, is that the whole ethics code business came in the wake of Stone deciding a few years ago to go work for the company that he brought to the county’s attention and voted for to build Miller Ranch.

He broke no laws, but you won’t find many folks who believe he made a particularly ethical decision, even if the association turned out to be brief.

I personally believe actions like that ” and I don’t believe that Stone is the only one among commissioners now and past to have crossed some ethical lines ” only add credence to the idea we ought to have more than three of these folks with so much power.

I think Tom should be a big supporter of five, given his angst with the current commissioners.


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