Vail Valley Voices: Let voters decide on open space tax |

Vail Valley Voices: Let voters decide on open space tax

Tom Stone
Vail, CO, Colorado

Voters should only elect Eagle County commissioner candidates who support the democratic process and are willing to put the continuance of the open space tax on the ballot.

We should all be clear about what the real issue is in this debate.

It is about who should decide for what purpose and how much property owners are willing to tax themselves.

Should politicians decide or should the voters decide?

This is not about the value of the open space tax, as both Jill Ryan and Jon Stavney would like you to believe.

That decision should be made by the voters after we elect at least two commissioners who believe in democracy and are willing to place the issue on the ballot.

County government in Colorado is unique in that only the commissioners can place an issue like this on the ballot. The law does not allow for a petition or initiative process, so we have to only elect commissioners who are willing to follow the will of the voters.

We should all consider Stavney and Ryan’s opposition to placing this issue on the ballot as a slap in the face to Lady Liberty. Our nation was based on our right to choose and be self governed.

Jill and Jon believe that they know better than we do about how we should be taxed. We must ask ourselves why they refuse to let the people decide.

My guess is that they and their campaign donors believe that the voters will boldly state that the county has spent enough of our hard-earned dollars on open space.

And what about property owners like me who cannot vote? Who represents them? My wife and I have had to temporarily relocate for work but hope to return someday to our home.

I have ultimate faith in a voting majority of the citizens in Eagle County to represent me and not in only three politicians.

Jon and Jill would be free to plead their case in defense of the open space tax once they allow the issue to be placed on the ballot.

For now, the only reasonable and responsible decision is to vote for the two candidates who have committed to support democracy and let the people decide: Jeff Layman and Courtney Holm.

Tom Stone is a former county commissioner who currently lives in Genoa, Nevada.

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