Home rule might be better | VailDaily.com

Home rule might be better

Kaye Ferry

I had always planned on weighing in on the home rule ballot measure, but especially because I think there’s some confusion about what this particular vote is all about.And why do I say that? It’s because I have heard a lot of misinformation on the street and I also read a comment in one of those Inquirer-fashioned columns that the Daily tries to pass off as responsible journalism.The remarks in the Daily came from someone against the moratorium who for some indiscernible reason thinks the way to stop the duet from perpetrating more injustices on the community is to vote down home rule. There are two major errors in this thought process.To begin, the very easiest way to stop the Menconi-Runyon runaway train is to dilute their power, and the simplest way is to increase the number of votes in the Eagle County chambers. Two against one is never a pretty picture. It’s also a simple fact. Holding together a coalition of two is extraordinarily easier than holding together a coalition of three. Look to the Vail Recreation Board for an example. Three ran, joined at the hip, pledged to march down the path like the three musketeers. Well it lasted, but not for long. And good for us that individual freedom of thoughts and votes is now more the rule than the exception.It’s even more important in Eagle County. We will also benefit by more inclusive representation as the outlying areas will finally have a seat at the table. Besides, cronyism will be much harder to maintain when you have to drive all the way to Basalt to meet for coffee. And musical chairs pose a huge challenge long distance.So that’s part one. Part two, and this is critical to understanding what we’re being asked to do, is that we are NOT being asked to approve home rule this November. We are being asked to authorize a study to consider the merits of a home rule charter. This is the easy part. The no -brainer. Simply looking at this option will be a great exercise for us even if we don’t go any further.If you agree to support the study, you will also be asked to elect an 11-member committee to study home rule. The committee will have 240 days to come up with a conclusion, which may or may not lead to the creation of a proposed charter. If one is recommended and created, we will be asked to vote on it in a special election. Summit County went through this process and decided not to move forward, and consequently no charter document was ever presented to the voters.At this point there is nothing to lose by voting yes on the study and then voting for 11 people to do the study. If they conclude that home rule is the way to go, we get another chance for a vote, and that’s when the serious discussion needs to take place. Remember, we are not voting on whether or not to become a home rule county. We’re only voting to study it. So my advice is this: YES on the study and then choose 11 committee members.I have really mixed feelings about the smoking question. I don’t smoke, though I did years ago. I don’t like smoky rooms. But even more, I dislike government intervention in our lives. I guess I essentially think the businesses should be free to set their own policies; customers should have the choice of what establishments they patronize; and employees should make their own decision whether they can work in a smoke filled environment. So when I put all of that together, I’m voting NO on this legislation.And of course, there are Referendums C and D. I’m voting against them also, and my reasoning is pretty basic. I made up my mind during Katrina. $400 billion is the estimate to rebuild the Gulf Coast. Congressman after congressman stated that we didn’t need to change any current programs or newly planned initiatives. They could cut that much out of the budget and no one would notice; $400 billion out of the federal budget and no one would notice.So I made a leap. If the feds can do that, Colorado can cut $2 billion in the next five years, which is what they need. If we bail them out every time things get difficult, it’ll never end. I stand on my basic belief that whenever beaurocrats get into a financial pinch they think new taxes are the solution. I don’t. While this isn’t a new tax technically, it serves the same purpose. If it loses and they don’t cut the budget, the worse that will happen is that users will pay for services. Toll roads will be come more prevalent, fees for parks will increase, as well as tuition at the college level (K-12 will not be effected either way). But better that than people giving up their refund to pay for services they don’t use. Remember, C allows them to keep your refund and D gives the state borrowing power. So I’m voting NO on both C and D. Here are some interesting numbers I took right off the Denver Metro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s Web site. Last year they increased the number of conventions by 4 (26 to 30); the number of delegates rose by 3,484 (105,259 to 108,743). Yet the revenues dropped by $18 million ($166 million to $148 million).Why? Because even though the numbers go up, the dollars go down as the competition increases and the giveaways multiply in the fierce battle for group business. It has to do with the increased pressure from competing destinations. And it follows the Brookings Institute Report like a script. Don’t forget the Chamber’s Candidates Forum tonight at 6:30 at Donovan Pavilion.Kaye Ferry, a longtime observer of Vail government, writes a weekly column for the Daily.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism