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Letters to the editor

Peter Runyon

Why is it that the forces gathering against looking into the possibility of home rule in Eagle County are so very negative? Recently they have undertaken a recorded message phone campaign that makes the outrageous assertion that this effort (to explore home rule) is “a scheme to take control of Eagle County.”Excuse me? Since I am basically the lead dog in this hunt, this must be my “scheme.” Hmmm, let’s see. I am currently the swing vote among the three commissioners. Sometimes I vote with Commissioner Stone and sometimes I vote with Commissioner Menconi. That means I’m the deciding vote. If I wanted to “take control,” I wouldn’t very likely want more commissioners to dilute my power. Now would I?The recording goes on to say that a home rule charter could eliminate most of the other elected officials. True, but the operational word here is “could.” I have stated on many occasions that I would definitely oppose a charter that appointed the sheriff, I would have serious doubts about one that would appoint the treasurer, assessor or clerk, but I would probably be OK with one making the surveyor and coroner appointed. Who among us is qualified to vote for a coroner? Yet per the Colorado Constitution, every four years, we must. Oh, yes, the candidate is a Democrat (Republican) so they must be OK.It goes on to say, with loaded words, home rule would allow two commissioners to “meet in secret”. Ooooh! You mean like every other elected official in the country, U.S. senators, U.S. representatives, state senators, state representatives, town council persons? They can all meet to exchange ideas, but not county commissioners. Besides, previous boards have proven that such “secret” meetings can be regularly undertaken with impunity. Be careful of glass houses.It then goes on to say that it could cost $200,000. That is probably high, but for the sake of argument, let’s accept it. That amount is only two-tenths of one percent of the annual budget, which is only one-tenth of next year’s growth in revenue. If you want to save money, let’s just elect a dictator. But be sure you elect the right dictator.Then even more outrageously, it goes on to say, “Home rule takes away your rights, your voice, and your ability to hold county leadership accountable.”Again, excuse me? What part of representational democracy is that they don’t understand? A properly constructed home rule charter will do the exact opposite. It will increase your rights, increase your voice, and increase accountability.What are these people afraid of? Tell these people to take their tele-marketing annoyance and get lost. Vote yes on 1A.Peter RunyonChamber supports C, DThe Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau recently hosted a luncheon with Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Andrew Romanoff. In his presentation, Rep. Romanoff discussed Colorado’s growing financial crisis and the relief Referenda C and D will provide to the state’s budget.The Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau strongly supports Referenda C & D, which will come up before Colorado voters on election day Nov. 1. These referenda provide a critical means to return Colorado to a position of competitiveness in a global marketplace. Referenda C and D will help regain ground lost as a result of the September 11 attacks four years ago, several years of severe drought, and a multi-year national recession. Over a three-year period, 115,000 Coloradans lost their jobs. In addition, revenue shortfalls forced a billion-dollar cut in state spending on services often taken for granted: safe roads and bridges; the necessary funding for K-12 schools and community colleges; and a health care system that provides for Colorado citizens who are most in need. The retention of current Colorado employers and the recruitment of new companies are contingent upon investments in public infrastructure systems, such as education, roads and bridges. Revenue limitations placed on the General Fund by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) will force government to cut more money from these essential state services whether or not the dollars are available to meet those needs. Without raising taxes, Referenda C and D provide a temporary timeout from TABOR that will allow Colorado to retain revenue and invest in specific areas: 55 road and bridge projects across Colorado; increased funding for textbooks and in-classroom instruction in K-12 education; more money for financial aid for Coloradans seeking a college degree; and much-needed funding for health care. More than 300 organizations from across Colorado have already signed on in support of Referenda C and D, and the list grows daily. The Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau asks for your personal support to “Move Colorado Forward: Vote Yes on C and D” and encourages you to ask your employees, family and friends to do the same. Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau Board of DirectorsBogeyman callingIf you were on the receiving end of the Home-rule-is-out-to-get-you autodialer call, don’t be scared. This is very possibly a prankster trying to stir up fear just as Halloween approaches. I’m here to let you know that evil does NOT lurk in the hearts of the people that want to examine the home rule issue. Just a desire to look at the possibility of improving the way county government works. This vote is to elect a commission of your friends and neighbors to draft a charter that will be brought back to you in about a year for a decision. You are NOT making a decision about a home rule charter now, as as the auto dialer suggested. Other misleading auto dialer scare tactics: 1) Home rule would allow two commissioners to “meet in secret.” “In secret” is a strange way to say that two elected officials can have a conversation like other elected officials do, including members of Congress, state legislators and town councils. They can all meet to exchange ideas, but not our county commissions. 2) The autodialer claims that it could cost $200,000 to draft a home rule charter and submit it to the voters. That estimate may be high, but if it’s true, that amount is only two-tenths of one percent of the annual budget. And the people running for these positions will not receive a dime of that money. It will be spent on professional advisers to help the commission get this job done the way you would want it done. Does it make you wonder why someone would go to so much trouble to scare you away from even looking at the possibilities of home rule? Maybe auto dialer should save the hobgoblins for Halloween-and come out where we can see him. Finally, because so many voters don’t know the candidates, let me throw out my list of favorites to consider. District 1: Colleen McCarthy. District 2: Kathy Chandler-Henry, Ron Wolfe, Don Cohen or Charlie Wick. District 3: Robert Schultz, Jacque Whitsitt. At large: Dave Mott, Rohn Robbins. Please Vote yes on 1a. The bogeyman won’t get you. Jacque Whitsitt Basalt Vail, Colorado


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