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Local GOP core serves whoppers

Vail Daily Editorial
Vail CO, Colorado

The bitter core of the local Republican Party has been cooking up more whoppers about the proposed home rule charter than a fast-food joint.

Rather than straight-up arguments over whether three or five commissioners are the better number and whether citizens should have any right to put measures on election ballots, this small group is focusing on misstatement, wild exaggeration and scary rhetoric that’s pretty unhinged from reality.

Things like putting up lawn signs that suggest citizens would lose rights under home rule when the direct opposite is the case under a county constitution that partially emancipates county governance from strict state control.



Or loudly touting how the county once won an award for “Best Run County.” Nice, but there was only one entry in the category. This was a warm fuzzy along the lines of a star for each kindergartner who turned in a fingerpainting by the end of class.

Or claiming that this charter is the same as the one turned down in November’s election. Actually, the home rule commission surveyed the public after the election and revised the charter accordingly. State law provides for two chances at the polls after voters in 2005 approved home rule in concept and voted in a commission to write up a charter for consideration. In other words the people voted for home rule before they voted down the first draft of the charter. This is the rubber match.



Or wailing about the “massive” expense of adding two commissioners. Since when is less than 1 percent of a government’s budget considered “massive?”

Here’s a good one: The argument that some think that commissioners should be elected only within their districts and therefore the charter is “flawed.” Well, the charter keeps the means of getting elected exactly the same as now. Of course, you know that they would loudly oppose a charter that provided for commissioners being elected only in their districts.

Same with huffing about this revised charter emphasizing that political party affiliation would remain in the election process. That’s the major departure from the previous draft that voters declined last fall. The subsequent survey showed a preference for party affiliation, and so the home rule commission revised the charter.



There’s the whopper about how the county administrator would have more power than the commissioners when nothing actually changes on that account.

There’s the one about how commissioners apparently would race to make campaign donations a secret. That’s not even remotely in the realm of reality.

And so on. The core of the local Republican Party could open a Burger King, they’ve become so good at churning out whoppers.

Even on the true issues dealing with the home rule charter, they can’t help but keep cookin’.

Their argument against the new right of citizens to put issues up for election, for instance, is actually an argument in favor of home rule, if you think about it.

Currently, under strict state control citizens have ZERO ability to put initiatives or referendums on an election ballot.

The charter allows these on issues except for adopting budgets or land-use decisions. While these folks argue that this isn’t enough, if they truly wanted this power, they’d favor home rule and put up a petition for the voters’ consideration to amend the charter to allow votes on land-use and/or budgeting decisions.

This leads to the next point. The county charter is a lot like a constitution. The hallowed U.S. Constitution has 26 amendments. To listen to these folks, you’d have to conclude that the Constitution is a horribly flawed document that’s had to be “fixed” 26 times.

Yes, this editorial belabors the point that a small group of folks are not content with a fair fight about the legitimate issues with the charter.

There are well-reasoned arguments against adopting this home rule charter.

Too bad this band of chefs is too busy cooking their whoppers to use them.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board


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