Ferry: Let’s do a 1A do-over
Call me a cynic, I can live with that. What I can’t live with is political BS.
What am I talking about? Ballot Issue 1A. That’s what I’m talking about.
I wrote a column urging county residents to vote no on 1A. But like a lot of things, the devil was in the details, and in this case, the details were intended to confuse. No. Worse than that. They were structured to purposely mislead the voter in order to achieve the intended result.
The Vail Daily’s article on Nov. 7 explored the wording. It compared the language used on this issue in the last election with what appeared on this year’s ballot. The last request in 2010 gave voters a clear and accurate profile of what they were actually being asked to decide. And it lost. Overwhelmingly. Because it was clear than that voters did not want dynasties in our local government. They already knew what that looks like at the federal level, and didn’t want to duplicate it here.
So what did our current commissioners learn from that? It’s really simple.
Don’t ask in the same way or you’re likely to get the same result — which was not their goal. Remember the definition of insanity?
Oh no. The only way to achieve the goal was to create language that was confusing enough that it would elicit the answer they were looking for. And it worked.
As I pointed out in the article I wrote before the election, Kathy Chandler-Henry, if she changes her mind and decides to run again and is re-elected, will have spent 15 plus years in the job due to the fact that her first term — which was appointed —didn’t count towards the total. The same will be true for Matt Scherr if he is elected to three terms. His first term won’t count, either, because it also was appointed and not elected.
What is abundantly evident is that the goal was to create careers out of an elected position. And to add insult to injury, these three commissioners made no attempt to exempt themselves from the results. Typically elected officials are restricted on voting on issues that have a personal benefit to themselves. They can present an issue that will improve their future re-placements, but not them personally. Not these three. They intend to take full advantage of the results they have manipulated for their own benefit.
While there may be no law preventing it here, there is certainly and expectation that elected officials should avoid all appearances of an impropriety. They should at the very least pretend they are acting in our best interest.
But as Commissiner Scherr said, he agrees it could have been misleading for voters “but it’s not intentionally misleading.” Can I remind you of the famous joke? It goes like this: “How can you tell when a politician is lying?” The answer: “His lips are moving.”
Are we really to believe that in a county with a population in excess of 50,000 that these three are our only hope for a successful government? If this is the best we can do, heaven help us.
So please don’t be duped into thinking they did this for the good of the community. And, do you suppose there is even the slightest chance that a big fat paycheck could have anything to do with it? They’re at $105,000 per year now and due for a raise next year. Again, call me cynical — I can live with that. Funny thing, most people I talked with thought it was a volunteer job. Go figure.
But what’s the fix-it? Ask the commissioners to put it up for a vote again, but with clear and accurate wording. Good luck with that.
The other is to collect signatures on a petition. If you meet all of the requirements for a citizens’ initiative, they must put it on the ballot — again.
I say go for it.
Kaye Ferry is the chair of the Eagle County Republicans.