Home rule redux greeted with skepticism
EDWARDS – Home rule is alive for now, but several authors of the government-reform charter said they’re not sure it should have a second chance.”There’s undecided ambivalence,” said Don Cohen, chairman of the Home Rule Charter Commission.The commission met Monday to consider whether it should move forward with putting home rule on the ballot again following its defeat by voters in November. The commissioners tentatively agreed to meet next month to keep talking about the prospect.Home rule was rejected by 53.5 percent of voters in the Nov. 7 election, but state law allows the proposed charter to come back to voters a second time.A special election, which would have to happen by this spring, would cost up to $50,000.The home rule proposal would have increased the number of county commissioners from three to five. Supporters said that would give the county better representation. It also would have removed party affiliations from county races.Opponents said it would cost too much and wouldn’t improve representation.’A dead horse’A few of the Home Rule Charter Commission members said Monday it might not be a great idea to keep going.”I’m leaning against proceeding any further,” said Dave Mott.”I think we’re kind of flogging a dead horse here,” said Tom Edwards.”I’m doubting the value of putting it back out again,” said John Horan-Kates.Jacquie Whitsitt of Basalt – part of the isolated corner of Eagle County that would get a hometown commissioner under the proposal – was the only commission member to say she’d like to see it put before voters again.”I feel very strongly we should take it back to the ballot,” she said.Several meeting attendees encouraged the commission to bag home rule. Tim Cochrane of Eagle said the voters’ decision should be respected.”Don’t sell Eagle County residents short,” he said.Commissioners cited several reason why they thought home rule was rejected by voters. Some said the proposal was too complicated for voters. Others said the November ballot was too long and was asking for too many costly proposals. Others said opponents’ yard signs that said “Protect your rights” were misleading yet effective.Some commission members said a home-rule reprisal would suffer if County Commissioner Arn Menconi pushes forward with trying to fund services that would have been covered under the rejected “early child services” tax that he championed.The 11-member, bipartisan home-rule commission was elected by voters in 2005 to draft the charter.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO
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