2012 La Plata County Election Guide
All the important information about candidates and ballot initiatives in the 2012 election for residents in the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado.
20 12 Ca n Vo dida ti t Po ng in es ll f Ba loca orma llo t m tions tion ea su res La Plata County Election Guide Lo ca Inf orm Sta l & ati te on October 21, 2012 A publication of The Durango Herald PRECINCT LOCATION 1 & 27: Sacred Heart Parish School, 255 East Fifth Ave., Durango 2 & 3: La Plata County Courthouse Anasazi Room, 1060 East Second Ave., Durango 4 & 10: Frontier Baptist Church, 2201 Forest Ave., Durango 5 & 6: Needham Elementary School Auditorium, 2455 West Third Ave., Durango Here’s what you need to know to vote in the election 7, 8 & 9: River Church (New Location), 860 Plymouth Drive, Durango By Shane Benjamin POLLING LOCATIONS IN LA PLATA COUNTY Herald Staff Writer 11: Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary School, 11274 Colorado Highway 140, Kline 12, 16 & 29: Animas Fire – Trimble, 31263 U.S. Highway 550, Durango 13: River Church (new location), 860 Plymouth Drive, Durango 14: Animas Fire station, intersection of Florida Road (County Road 240) and County Road 234, Durango 15: Vallecito Church, 17576 County Road 501, Bayfield 18: Florida Mesa Elementary School, 216 Colorado Highway 172, Durango 19 & 20: Bayfield Town Hall, 1199 Bayfield Parkway, Bayfield 21: Sunnyside Elementary School, 75 County Road 218, Durango 22: Faith Community Church of the Nazarene, 1400 Colorado Highway 172, Durango 23: Oxford Grange Hall, 8018 Colorado Highway 172, Durango 24: Ignacio 11-JT Junior High School, 315 Ignacio St., Ignacio 25: Allison Community Church, 2724 County Road 329, Ignacio 26: Upper Pine River Fire Protection District Administration Building (new Location), 515 Sower Drive, Bayfield 17 & 28: Colorado Department of Transportation training room, 20581 U.S. Highway 160, Durango 30: Fort Lewis College Concert Hall, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango La Plata County election precincts Durango city limit 550 16 6 Durango 29 6 13 550 15 7 5 12 8 4 28 160 17 160 9 10 3 2 1 13 Durango detailed 1 at left 18 28 30 17 11 18 27 La Plata County 26 19 27 160 22 550 140 14 23 It all comes down to this: Candidates have made their cases, they have spent millions of dollars delivering their talking points and the debates are reaching their closing arguments. It’s now up to you to vote. But first you’ll have to decide how you want to vote. Voters have several options, including mail-in ballot, early voting and the old-fashioned way – going to a designated polling place on Nov. 6. At least 62 percent of eligible voters in La Plata County have already requested mail-in ballots, said La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Lee Parker. Mail-in ballots were sent out last week, and anyone expecting to receive one should have it by now, Parker said. Mail-in ballots must be returned to the Clerk and Recorder’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. If the Clerk and Recorder’s Office doesn’t receive a ballot by the deadline, it won’t be counted. Parker said she doesn’t recommend mailing ballots any later than Friday, Nov. 2. Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at three locations: the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, 98 Everett St.; La Plata County Courthouse, 1060 East Second Ave.; and the motor vehicle branch inside Bayfield Town Hall, 1199 Bayfield Parkway. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 email@example.com 20 KEEP UP TO DATE WITH US ON ELECTION DAY 172 21 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, to give residents extra time to drop off ballots or request replacement ballots. Mail-in ballots can be requested until Oct. 30. Early voting begins Monday and continues through Nov. 2. Early voting allows residents to go to one of two locations to vote before Nov. 6, and avoiding lines at polling places on election day. Early voting locations include the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Bayfield Town Hall, which is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eligible voters also can go to polling places on Election Day. They can go to www.govotecolorado.com to verify their voting registration status and to identify their polling place. La Plata County voters also can call the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 382-6296 for information about their voting status or any other voter-related questions. Parker said she is hoping for an 85 percent turnout this year in La Plata County. There was a 75 percent turnout during the 2008 presidential election, she said. “I challenge the citizens of La Plata County to an 85 percent turnout rate,” Parker said. “You can’t complain if you don’t vote. We fought for these rights. These positions that we’re putting people into are so important, and the issues impact our everyday lives.” 25 The Durango Herald will provide constant election coverage on Nov. 6. Follow us at: 24 www.facebook.com/TheDurangoHerald Source: La Plata County Durango Herald www.durangoherald.com @DurangoHerald Colorado 3rd Congressional District Pace and Tipton battle for a seat in a diverse district By Joe Hanel Herald Denver Bureau The race for Western Colorado’s congressional seat is a rematch of sorts. In 2010, Cortez Republican Scott Tipton earned his seat in Congress by beating former Rep. John Salazar, DManassa. This year, a protégé and former staffer for Salazar is challenging Tipton. State Rep. Sal Pace, DPueblo, served as minority leader in the state House for one year. He has been an advocate for unions and public schools. During the campaign, Tipton has touted his record in Congress of passing five bills through the Republican-controlled House. None passed the Senate. Pace presents himself as a hard worker who prefers bipartisan solutions, saying he can help heal divisions in Washington. Pace has carefully sidestepped an issue that helped bring down his former boss – Pace Tipton President Barack Obama’s national health care law. Although Pace likes much of the law, he does not support the most controversial part, the mandate that each person buy insurance. Tipton has voted repeatedly with House Republicans to repeal Obamacare, although – like Pace – he supports a ban on insurance companies denying people coverage because of pre-existing illnesses. Health care economists say there is no way to ban discrimination on pre-existing conditions without imposing a mandate for everyone to buy insurance – something that Tipton and Pace oppose. Tipton favors lower tax rates on corporations and the closing of unspecified tax loopholes. Pace supports greater spending on education and tax breaks for companies that employ American workers. Tipton, 55, and Pace, 35, earned degrees in political science from Fort Lewis College. Unaffiliated candidate Tisha Casida is the most prominent alternative candidate in the race. The Pueblo businesswoman is a supporter of Republican Ron Paul, and she believes much of what the federal government does now – from land management to health care to education – is unconstitutional and should be turned over to the states. Casida has joined Pace and Tipton for three out of their four debates. Libertarian Gregory Gilman is also on the ballot. Write-in candidates include Jaime McMillan of Durango and Dale Reed. Colorado’s U.S. congressional districts Larimer District 1 Fort Collins Arvada Lakewood Grand Junction Mesa Denver El paso Colorado Spring Pueblo Pueblo Durango La Plata Source: State of Colorado District 2 District 3 District 4 District 5 District 6 District 7 Durango Herald BALLOT QUESTION 5A STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 59 McLachlan tries to unseat Brown By Chase OlivariusMcAllister Herald Staff Writer Residents of La Plata County know the men running for the 59th District seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. They see Republican incumbent J. Paul Brown, the personable rancher from Ignacio, cruising town in his pickup truck, and Democratic challenger Mike McLachlan, the ever-cordial Durango-based lawyer, holding court at Carver Brewing Co., sometimes at both breakfast and lunch. Yet their race is one of the most competitive in the state. Redrawn last year in a bitter redistricting process that left the district more competitive for Democrats, the Colorado Democratic Party and the Colorado Republican Party (which holds a one seat majority in the state house) are betting that whoever wins the 59th District will prove crucial to determining which party holds the majority next term. As Election Day closes in, vast streams of outside money – often underwritten by powerful political action committees, super PACS, and 527s – are overwhelming both candidates’ direct spending, making the race – which was already financially cutthroat – increasingly volatile. A clear choice Politically, the choice between Brown and McLachlan is one of the starkest in Colorado. Brown, one of the most conservative members of the Legislature, supports the criminalization of abortion and opposes legalizing gay civil unions. His legislative career has New state House districts PITKIN Grand Junction 70 DELTA MESA By Shane Benjamin GUNNISON Brown 50 Gunnison 50 Montrose MONTROSE SAN MIGUEL Telluride HINSDALE Ouray SAN JUAN DOLORES 491 SAGUACHE Lake City MINERAL 550 Cortez MONTEZUMA LA PLATA House District 59 Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio H.D. 54 160 Durango 160 H.D. 60 Source: Colorado Reapportionment Commission been eventful. He gained a debutante’s notoriety as “the bear guy” by sponsoring an ill-fated bill in his first session to overturn a 1996 ballot initiative banning bear hunting in the summer and spring. More recently, Brown – who graduated from Farmington High School in 1971 and earned a bachelor’s in animal science from New Mexico State University in 1975 – was the only member of the House who voted down a bill that would streamline services for homeless youths and expand the state’s definition of “homeless youth” – from a person between 15 and 18 to one between 11 and 21. In the last two years, he sponsored bills that brought a new judge to the La Plata and Archuleta county district, banned Voters to decide on term limits for Hermosa Cliff board RIO GRANDE Pagosa CONEJOS Springs ARCHULETA House District 58 Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose H.D. 61 H.D. 62 JOE HANEL/Durango Herald bath salts (an addictive synthetic drug) and made it easier for schools to hire teachers of Native American languages. As one of six lawmakers on the committee tasked with overseeing state property, Brown also evolved into one of the most voluble advocates for spending money to finish long-delayed maintenance projects throughout the state. Before his election in 2010, Brown at one time had served as La Plata County commissioner for four years and as a member of the Ignacio School District’s board for 12. With his wife, Debbie, Brown has four sons, Joshua, Luke, Levi and Abraham, and five grandchildren. McLachlan meanwhile styles himself a “centrist Democrat,” supporting McLachlan legal abortion, equal pay, civil unions, gun rights, environmental protections, renewable and traditional energy development, expanding access to broadband and protecting the Western Slope’s water rights. McLachlan has worked in La Plata County as a lawyer for 38 years, clerking for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Edward C. Day and serving as a prosecutor and a La Plata County attorney. In 1999, Attorney General Ken Salazar appointed McLachlan Colorado’s solicitor general, during which time McLachlan successfully defended the constitutionality of a Colorado law shielding women’s access to health clinics before the U.S. Supreme Court. McLachlan, who often accuses Brown of blind partisanship, cites his successful defense of former Re publican Gover nor Bill Owens against a suit brought by Doug Bruce, a former GOP legislator and the author of Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (known as TABOR) as proof that he could work with Republicans if elected to the Legislature. McLachlan earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Colorado State University in 1970 and his law degree from the University of Arizona in 1973. He has two children, Brian and Katie, with his wife, Barbara McLachlan, who is a teacher at Durango High School. Herald Staff Writer compasses about 35 square miles and is in the upper Animas Valley, from south of Tamarron north to the San Juan County line. There are only about 500 active voters in the district, The district collects property taxes for fire protection and passes the revenue on to the DFRA. Two Hermosa Cliffs board members sit on the DFRA board, which has seven members. The Hermosa Cliffs board meets six times per year and is considering reducing that to four times per year to save money. The district has no employees. If no one files a self nomination form, then an election is not required. “We believe that not having to hold board elections every four years we can save money that will provide additional revenue for DFRA’s budget,” Webb said. “We believe that by eliminating term limits and reducing the number of meetings we will be able to save money that will then be spent protecting our residents.” Voters in the Hermosa Cliffs Fire Protection District are being asked this November to eliminate term limits for the board of directors. Proponents said no one has voluntarily applied to run for a vacant position on the board in 10 years. Instead, current board members recruit residents to run for the board, said Bill Webb, president of the Hermosa Cliffs board. It makes sense to allow board members who are willing to serve to continue serving, he said. Board members are elected to four-year terms. They are allowed to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms before they reach term limits. Voting “yes” on Ballot Question 5A would allow board members to serve more than two consecutive terms. No coordinated opposition to the ballot measure has come forward. The board has five members. The Hermosa Cliff district is part of Durango Fire firstname.lastname@example.org & Rescue Authority. It en- Collected podcast interviews Mountain Daylight Time Produced by Richard Alcott for The Durango Herald Local Races Local Issues Local Voices www.durangoherald.com/politics La Plata County Commissioner DISTRICT 3 Baxstrom and Westendorff vie for county commissioner By Emery Cowan Herald Staff Writer JULIE WESTENDORFF – DEMOCRAT Current positions: Real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Heritage House Realtors, and private practice attorney Westendorff supports options such as standardizing the county’s land-use code, building a business park and creating zoning in certain areas of the county to provide businesses regulatory predictability they need to locate and expand in La Plata County. The current planning review process based on neighborhood compatibility is too arbitrary and subjective, she said. Westendorff said she would have pushed harder to pass the countywide comprehensive plan commissioners ditched last year. She said she would like to resurrect many of the themes and the general goal of that plan. “Part of the leadership role of commissioners is to put a comprehensive plan in place,” she said. The county also needs to make sure its land use code is “a step ahead” of anticipatWestendorff ed developments such as solar energy, she said. Sustainability is an important theme that the county needs to consider, especially when it comes to water use, she said. Westendorff said she promotes balance between re- La Plata County Commission districts Durango Bayfield District 1 District 2 District 3 Durango Herald newable energy and natural gas and oil development. “I’m not about all or none when it comes to energy production,” she said. The county has a responsibility to ensure that natural gas and oil development does not come at a cost to public health, surfaceowners rights or the environment, she said, adding that the full implications of fracking need to be weighed against its potential value. The county needs to continue to put a priority on veterans services and has a responsibility to plan to meet the future medical, transportation and housing needs of seniors in the county, she said. HARRY BAXSTROM – REPUBLICAN Current position: Owner of Pine River Veterinary Service in Bayfield Baxstrom supports the idea of a comprehensive plan but has indicated that he would like to go about creating the plan differently next time by gathering more input from residents and relying less on outside consul- tants. Most rules, legislation and regulation should come “from the bottom up,” he said. Any efforts to zone parts of the county, for example, should originate from residents in that area, he said. The county’s current planning review processes that are based on neighborhood compatibility are problematic, Baxstrom said. “ I f yo u Baxstrom have a project that doesn’t adversely affect neighbors you should be allowed to do that,” he said. “I believe in private property rights and they’re trying to take that away from us.” He would support more diversity on various adviso- ry boards to get more people involved in forming these decisions. The county also needs to make a better effort to communicate with and educate citizens about its decisions and processes. Baxstrom said the county needs to make its regulations and processes, especially those in the planning department, more efficient and business friendly while preserving the character and the beauty of the county. “Julie and myself are at the very worst conservationists,” he said at a debate in August. “We love our environment and don’t want to ruin it. I’m fiscally conservative, and I’m socially tolerant,” he added. He supports natural gas and oil development and the technique of hydraulic fracturing. We are Your Neighbors in La Plata County We Support GWen LacheLt for county commiSSioner Please Join Us and Vote for Gwen! “We encouraged Gwen Lachelt to run for County Commissioner because she is the strongest, most committed public servant we know. Whether taking on big corporations or working with ranchers and rural homeowners in La Plata County, Gwen goes all out to put people first. She’s smart, she’s fair, and she’s full of such strong core values—Gwen will be a leader for us all.” Wally White, county commissioner Brian o’Donnell, FounDation Director Josh Joswick, Former county commissioner Diane & Fred Wildfang, Hotel oWner, Writer lucas matney, Flc stuDent Herb & enid Brodsky, Business consultants Julie cooley, mortgage Broker Dave thomson, rancHer anne markward & Doug Walker, solar Business caye geer, PsycHotHeraPist rich & sharon Podlesnik, ProFessor, retail A future for us all. Hundreds have signed on—add your name at www.GwenLachelt.com Paid for by Gwen Lachelt for La Plata Co. Allison Morrissey, Treas. 970-375-2690 Beth lamberson, entrePreneur Richard Emmett, attorney Bonnie schmidt-cabrera, Fmr. Prosecutor Jeanne costello, retail Jack Scott, rancHer Dick White & Faye schrater, ProFessors Bruce & laura Bransom, teacHer, nurse susan Davies, ProPerty manager ken & lois carpenter, rancHer, Homemaker leigh meigs, attorney Jennifer Wrenn & andy kaynor, retail marilyn mccord, soFtWare engineer, ret. elaine slade, scHool counselor, ret. Sweetie Marbury, teacHer alison Dance, restaurant oWner susan Dahl, small Business oWner DeeDee deHaro-Brown,teacHer tom & allison morrissey, consultant, stuDent marikay shellman, rancHer, artist louise edwards, naturoPatHic Doctor Dorthy mcgill, rancHer shan & regina Wells, artists, teacHers Bliss Bruen & Jim Judge, eDucators tim & sandra laFrance, attorney, eDucator Denise Bohemier, rancHer Joe Griffith, Dianne Donovan, cHemist, anestHetist Jim & terry Fitzgerald, rancHers, nurse Doreen Hunter, teacHer Britt Bassett & Ilana Stern, engineer, climatologist Dinah & terry swan, Writer, eDucator Heather erb, realtor Julie & chad maccluskey, nurse Pract., musician Goen Gw12 lt.com Lache Gwen 201 La Plata County Commissioner DISTRICT 2 Hotter tries to keep her seat in race against Lachelt By Emery Cowan Herald Staff Writer KELLIE HOTTER – REPUBLICAN CURRENT POSITION: County Commissioner District 2 Hotter promotes fiscal responsibility in government. She touted her work downsizing La Plata County’s staff and balancing the budget to make the county debtfree. She supports a more limited role of government, saying the county “can’t be all things to all people.” She said the government needs to make the county more business friendly and is a proponent of letting free enterprise satisfy county needs such as senior health care and housing. She said she supports continued development of natural gas in the county and supports local governments switching to natural-gas powered vehicles. Methane released from natural gas facilities in the county is a concern but should not be addressed through a “knee-jerk reaction” of regulation, she said. At this point, the county should continue to monitor data, study best practices and analyze potential implications of regulation, she said. “I think we have appropriate protections in place now,” she said. She stands behind her decision to reject the Climate and Energy Action Plan, a set of recommendations aimed at reducing carbon Hotter emissions in the county. The choice to approve the plan, and any associated costs, should be made by voters, she said. The county needs to readdress and assess the successes and the shortfalls of the shelved comprehensive plan. Then the county La Plata County Commission districts Durango Bayfield District 1 District 2 District 3 Durango Herald and community need to determine what in the current plan should be preserved and what may be missing, she said. GWEN LACHELT – DEMOCRAT CURRENT POSITION: Director of Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project Lachelt supports developing a long-range comprehensive plan for the county and said the plan commissioners shelved last year needs to be revived. The county has a role to “dispel myths and fears about planning,” she said. Lachelt also supports the greenhouse gas-reducing recommendations of the Climate and Energ y Action Plan that commissioners declined to adopt in March. She wants the county to take a Lachelt leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through actions such as requiring new county buildings to be built to green standards and supporting the development of solar gardens. The county should calculate cost savings of energy conservation and efficiency, so taxpayers can see the payoff, she said. Lachelt said she wants to work with industry to develop regulations that capture or reduce methane leaking out of well heads and natural-gas pipelines. Such practices save the industry money and produce cleaner air, she said. She supports the protection of surface-owner rights and the protection of wildlife habitat. Regardless of where the county heads on gas and oil development, she said it needs to create a plan to transition to more sustainable, renewable energy sources. She sees potential for economic and employment growth in green jobs and local agriculture. She also supports promoting the local food system through advocacy or other incentives. Lachelt said she wants the county “to be a model again,” whether it be through gas and oil regulations, health care or clean energy development. Amendment S would reform state’s personnel system By Joe Hanel Herald Denver Bureau Gov. John Hickenlooper led the charge to get Referendum S on the ballot as part of his plan to change the way the state hires and fires people. To many voters, the amendment might seem to be small and technical changes that could be handled by the Legislature. However, the state constitution governs much of the personnel system, and only voters can amend it. If passed, Amendment S would give the governor more power to hire people in his administration by removing up to 330 senior positions from the protections of the state personnel system, including lobbyists, media spokespeople and top administrators. The governor could also dismiss members of the state personnel board. Hickenlooper has said he and his department heads need greater authority to hire the best people. The amendment would create several other changes: ➤➤ Supervisors could hire workers based on comparisons between finalists for the job, instead of their scores on tests. ➤➤ Six candidates for any job could be designated as finalists, compared to just three now. ➤➤ Out-of-state candidates could be hired if no Colorado residents could be found, and jobs within 30 miles of the border would not be limited to Colorado residents. ➤➤ Temporary employees could be hired for up to nine months, rather than six. ➤➤ Hiring preferences for military veterans would be expanded. The Legislature voted unanimously to put Referendum S on the ballot. There is no organized opposition to the measure. The state employees’ union is neutral on the measure, but a small opposition campaign has formed. Anti website: www.noonamendments.com REFERRED MEASURE 2A Second time around for LPEA franchise By Jim Haug Herald Staff Writer City Councilor Sweetie Marbury figures she will pay 12 cents a day for the franchise fee of the La Plata Electric Association if city voters approve it Nov. 6. Because the franchise fee would be based only on electricity consumption, retired Durango Police Chief Chris Wiggins quipped at a council study session that Marbury would get off cheap because she’s “never home.” Marbury had queried police and firefighter pensioners on their ability to pay a fee that averages $3.64 a month during a meeting about cost of living increase for police and fire pensions. “Sorry, I put you on the spot, but we had a debate last night and it was quite controversial about people on limited incomes,” she said. The fee, which would generate $20 million during the 20 years of agreement, would go to the city’s general fund, helping to pay for street maintenance as well as city services that benefit lowincome residents. Those on a tight budget have become a battleground. Opponent Tom Darnell argues that the fee is a “regressive tax” because it’s charged for an essential service, electricity. He also called it a “double tax” since a city sales tax would apply to the same kilowatt hours. These charges mean a lot to people struggling to get by, Darnell said. “Everybody talks as like nickels and dimes mean nothing to them,” he said. “If you don’t have anything, nickels and dimes mean something.” Technically, the franchise fee is charged to the LPEA, but the electrical cooperative passes on the cost to consumers through electric bills. Because voters rejected the original agreement in April by a 41-vote margin, consumers have not had to pay it since May. It would return in June if approved by voters. The city decided to go to the polls again at the urging of residents at public hearings in the spring and because there was no consensus on budget cuts to make up for loss of revenue. The fee is estimated to generate $930,000 annually. To address criticism, the franchise fee was modified to be based only on electricity charges. The city charter was also changed to allow all registered voters to participate. Previously, it was limited to property owners registered to vote in Durango. Darnell thinks the city might have set itself up for another loss. “I think it’s great they expanded it to renters,” Darnell said. “They’re not going to want to vote for this thing.” email@example.com BALLOT ISSUES 3A & 3B Bayfield measures ask for money to help fund school district projects By Chase OlivariusMcAllister Herald Staff Writer Residents Bayfield will vote on two ballot issues that would increase funding for Bayfield School District, which has struggled to cope with significant reductions in state funding despite making painful cuts to its budget. The first ballot measure, 3A, would increase the mill levy to cover operating expenses, including textbooks, science lab equipment and modern technology. It would enable the district to pay competitive salaries and to hire teaching aides, restoring previous levels of staff support. The levy will cost homes worth $300,000 up to $95.52 annually, or 27 cents a day, and houses worth $200,000 up to $63.68 annually, or 18 cents per day. The second ballot measure, 3B, is designed to improve existing facilities and finance new ones by issuing bonds that would extend the current debt levy without increasing the current tax rate for debt repayment by $8.9 to $11.9 million. It would also allow the district to repair leaking roofs, renovate old classrooms and construct new ones, build an auditorium, an auxiliary gymnasium and a baseball field for the high school, and purchase land for future growth. AMENDMENT 65 Campaign finance measure targets spending, fundraising By Joe Hanel Herald Denver Bureau The flood of money into political ads on television has caught the eye of campaign-finance reformers, who are pushing Amendment 65. It would change Colorado statutes to “instruct” the state’s nine members of Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow Congress and the states to limit campaign spending and fundraising. It also tells the state Legislature to vote to approve such an amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 ruled that corporations and individuals can spend unlimited money on political campaigns. Since then, a few dozen donors have made $1 million-plus contributions to “Super PACs,” a new form of political committee that can be exempt from campaignfinance limits. By amending the U.S. Constitution, activists hope to obliterate the Supreme Court ruling. Colorado has had at least one previous ballot measure that tried to “instruct” members on Congress on how to vote. In 1996, supporters of term limits tried to get members of Congress to amend the Constitution in favor of term limits, but courts threw out the initiative because it tried to attach anti-term limits labels onto candidates’ names on the ballot. Arguments for: Everyone, rich or poor, should be subject to the same campaigndonation limits, but the Supreme Court’s ruling allows rich people and corporations to wield too much influence. Arguments against: Previous campaign-finance laws created a complicated system that favors rich organizations. The First Amendment bars government limits on speech, including political TV ads and other expensive forms of campaigning. There is no organized opposition campaign. Pro website: www.coloradoamend2012.org AMENDMENT 64 Voters will choose whether to legalize use of marijuana By Joe Hanel Herald Denver Bureau Several years into Colorado’s experiment with legalized medical marijuana, advocates of the drug want to decriminalize its use for everyone, regardless of health. Amendment 64 seeks to apply many of the laws regulating alcohol to marijuana possession and use. If it passes, Coloradans age 21 and older could legally possess up to 1 ounce of the drug, grow as many as six marijuana plants for their personal use and buy the drug in specially licensed stores. Using the drug in public could still be prohibited. No matter how Coloradans vote, the federal government still treats marijuana as an il- legal drug. Users and dealers could be subject to federal prosecution. The amendment also calls for the Legislature to apply excise taxes to marijuana. Pro-pot activist Mason Tvert of Denver is the initiative’s main sponsor. Delegates to the Democratic state convention also endorsed Amendment 64. Arguments for: Marijuana prohibition has created a black market for the drug, and by legalizing its sale, the state could regulate it and hand the market over to responsible businesses, not illegal street dealers. People who prefer marijuana to alcohol – a legal drug – shouldn’t be penalized, advocates say. Arguments against: One ounce is a lot of marijuana – about 60 cigarettes. Marijuana is a mood-altering drug that can cause dependence, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Legalization could lead to increased use. Campaign money: The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project has given $1.1 million to the pro-64 campaign. As a nonprofit, its donors are not public. Florida nonprofit Save Our Society from Drugs funds the opposition. Pro website: www.regulatemarijuana.org. Anti website: www.votenoon64.com LA PLATA COUNTY ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2012 The General Election will be conducted as a Polling Place election with Early Voting between Monday, October 22, 2012 and Friday, November 2, 2012. Early Voting sites are Durango Clerk & Recorder’s Office at 98 Everett St, Ste C between 8:00am and 5:00pm or Bayfield Town Hall at 1199 Bayfield Parkway between 8:30am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. You may also request a mail ballot at www.GoVoteColorado.com. Mail ballots will be mailed out the week of October 15. Hours on Election Day are 7:00am to 7:00pm at the individual polls. REPLACEMENT BALLOTS - An eligible elector may obtain a replacement ballot if the ballot was destroyed, spoiled, lost, or for some other reason not received or if a mail ballot packet was not sent because the voter’s status was inactive. Such voters may request a replacement ballot by phone (970-382-6296), fax (970-259-5413) or in person at the Clerk & Recorder’s Office at 98 Everett St, Ste C, Durango, CO (Bodo Park).Regular Business Hours apply. Open for drop off or replacement ballots Saturday, November 3rd, 9:00am to 2:00pm. HOW TO RETURN YOUR MAIL BALLOT - You may return your voted ballot by mail using one .45 cent stamp or you may hand deliver your ballot to a Designated Drop-Off location listed below.Regular Business Hours apply. Open for drop off or replacement ballots Saturday, November 3rd, 9:00am to 2:00pm. All ballots must be received by the County Clerk & Recorder by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Postmark dates DO NOT count as received. Only one ballot per envelope. Voter affidavit (on back of return envelope) must be signed. DESIGNATED BALLOT DROP-OFF LOCATIONS: • La Plata County Clerk & Recorder’s Office / 98 Everett St, Ste C, Dgo • La Plata County Courthouse Information Desk / 1060 E 2nd Ave, Dgo • Bayfield Motor Vehicle / 1199 Bayfield Parkway, Bayfield