Election reeks of red herring | VailDaily.com

Election reeks of red herring

Don Rogers

There are reasonable questions about Eagle County’s proposed home rule charter that would free the county from complete state control.

The main one, of course, is whether five commissioners is a better number than the current three.

Another is whether citizens should have the new right to put county matters on the ballot.

The rest are pretty much froth whipped up by opponents lacking confidence that they can win on the two questions of real substance.

Two of the most obnoxious red herrings:

” The county administrator would not answer fully to the county commissioners. This one was pretty thoroughly discredited last fall when only one lawyer, a real estate attorney with little to no experience in municipal law, could be found to lend any credence to the claim.

” Campaign donations in county elections could be made secret. Fat chance. You personally have way more of a risk of being struck twice by lightning than this actually happening.

Here’s something kooky that would be far more likely to happen with home rule than the alleged bogeymen above: Weld County, under a home rule charter, sets commissioner pay, which is less than the state-set pay for Eagle County’s commissioners. Under home rule, it’s possible that Eagle County voters could put an initiative on the ballot to reduce or even eliminate commissioner compensation.

Today Eagle County citizens have no ability to put anything on an election ballot. With home rule, you gain this right.

For every loopy scare story there’s a slightly less loopy promise that comes with home rule, essentially a partial emancipation from strict state control of county affairs.

Now, can we stick to the real issues in going with this home rule charter? Or is that just too much to ask?

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board

Support Local Journalism