Letter: We can all agree 1A was confusing | VailDaily.com

Letter: We can all agree 1A was confusing

I would like to add my voice to those protesting the wording of Ballot Issue 1A. To pose that the wording was not a deliberate attempt to confuse the voters into approving this is simply not credible, to put it politely. It clearly was written to be confusing. I would say that is about the only political point in the county that everyone would agree on at the moment.

Eagle County citizens deserve more respect from the commissioners, and should not tolerate being treated like this for one minute.

I did not read my ballot until I was filling it out a few days before the election, and I was truly alarmed when I saw what commissioners were trying to pull off, but hoped that surely the measure would fail. I honestly had to read the thing three times and think about it to figure out which way to vote.

What is very ironic, however, is that the commissioners acknowledge they copied the verbiage from El Paso County, but clearly they don’t know the rest of the story on that election. After the vote passed there was a public outcry that mimicked that at Tuesday’s meeting of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners. Irate Colorado Springs citizens stood up and stared down their commissioners calling out this political chicanery, as they well should have, and as did many people in Eagle County over the past two weeks.

The outcry became so heated that the commissioners there eventually did the appropriate thing, they agreed to put it on the ballot in 2012 (although they deliberately refused to put it on an earlier ballot, allowing a sitting commissioner to secure a third term), and the change was repealed by the voters in nearly the same margins that the original term limit change had been approved: 64% to 36%.

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Given that commissioners used the same language that fooled the voters in El Paso County (and the subsequent outcome there) completely eviscerates any credibility on the commissioners’ part that the voters realized what they were doing. Given this measure had lost before, and commissioners resorted to language they hoped would secure their goal is a blatant attempt to subvert the will of the people via deception and confusion. While all three commissioners may point to Bryan Treu, the county’s attorney, as the source of the idea, the fact remains that all three current commissioners went along with it.

These offices are institutions, and commissioners are the temporary caretakers and responsible for passing on the integrity and honor of these offices to future commissioners. What they have done here leaves a dark shadow and heavy stain on the credibility of the Eagle County government in terms of being transparent and fair.

I would urgently insist that it is imperative for the credibility of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners as a whole to put this issue up again on the May ballot and do so in plain and simple language. Something to the effect of: “Shall the terms of the County Commissioners be limited to two 4-year terms.” To refuse to do so will seriously taint the credibility and authority of these offices.

Give the citizens of Eagle County the fairness and respect they deserve.

Chris Neuswanger


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