Fibs about home rule cheapen vote
Vail CO, Colorado
By now your ballot’s in the mail. The lone item might seem esoteric, but it does matter how $100 million or so of our taxpayer dollars are spent right here in Eagle County.
A few minutes of your armchair citizenship answering whether to approve a home rule charter that frees county government from state control in a few key ways will be time well spent.
We support the home rule charter that in 2005 you voted in a commission to forge, given our vantage watching Eagle County government function, and frankly not function particularly well.
If predicting outcomes, though, this thing amounts to rolling a big boulder uphill. The charter looks unlikely to pass for a variety of reasons, good and not so good.
The momentum that earned the voters’ approval to see if there might be a better way to govern Eagle County has slowed, maybe even stopped. New Commissioner Sara Fisher has brought maturity to the County Board, and an abrupt end to the Tom and Arn Show.
Ex-Commissioner Tom Stone and current Commissioner Arn Menconi’s not-so-private feud since the turn of the century had more to do with the home rule push than perhaps anything.
When two of three total commissioners are caught up, as happens, the whole county pays a price.
The inertia of doing things the same old way is powerful on its own. The county has lumbered along with a triumvirate for a Board of Commissioners for what, over 100 years?
Throw in a little mischief from Stone and some local GOP cohorts who pretty much fib about the effects of a home rule charter, and that should pretty much settle the outcome.
Between lawn signs which fibbed last fall that voters would lose rights with the charter when the truth is they would gain some, and reaching pretty far for unsupported assertions to try to cast doubt on the language of the charter, this small group has put “winning” ahead of frank, fair and, above all, honest discussion about the charter. Too bad.
We recognize there are logical reasons to turn down this charter, and accept those. We see a better chance of more deliberation among five commissioners over three, and better representation across a fast-growing county.
But the argument that there’s no guarantee of that is reasonable, even if we disagree with it.
Fibbing that this charter is the same as the draft voters turned down in November, and pretending that the election in 2005 supporting home rule as a concept did not happen, well, that’s so much Swift Boating for unfair advantage.
Stone and Co. may win as a result, but they ought to be ashamed of themselves for trying to turn a serious question into a stew of confusion in a naked attempt to just win, baby.
” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board