This election guide provides a glance at candidates and ballot issues in Colorado and La Plata County. Only contested races are covered here. In La Plata County, the treasurer, assessor, sheriff and coroner are not challenged offices. These summaries were written by Herald staff writers Joe Hanel, Shane Benjamin, Heather Scofield, Emery Cowan and Garrett Andrews.
Democrat Platform: Hickenlooper would focus on attracting businesses in aerospace, energy, agriculture and tourism. He would continue Gov. Bill Ritter’s tax credits for companies that hire workers. He thinks all areas of the state budget will need to be cut next year, including education and health care, but he would rebuild support for colleges as soon as possible. Hickenlooper would look to private businesses and donors to invest more in the school system through scholarships and arts education. He believes that carbon emissions cause global climate change and supports a greater use of renewable energy. He also thinks that the 2008 environmental rules for the gas and oil industry work fairly well, but he is open to some revisions. Experience: Hickenlooper was laid off as a petroleum geologist from Buckhorn Petroleum in 1986. He cofounded the Wynkoop Brewery, Colorado’s first microbrewery, in 1988. Hickenlooper helped start several other microbreweries and restaurants in Colorado and nationally. In 2000, he led an unsuccessful campaign against selling the naming rights to the new Denver Broncos stadium. In 2003, he won election as mayor of Denver. Education: Bachelor’s degree in English and master’s in geology, Wesleyan University. Age: 58 Family: Wife Helen Thorpe, one son. Top donors: The bulk of Hickenlooper’s $3.6 million in donations come from individuals. More than 1,100 individuals have given Hickenlooper $1,050 each, the most allowed by law. He also got contributions from several unions, including $20,000 from the Service Employees International Union. Hickenlooper also raised $10,600 from Realtors and nearly $100,000 from the state Democratic Party. Running mate: Joe Garcia. Garcia is on leave as president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. Quote: “If you’re in the restaurant business, you learn within a few months that there’s no margin in having enemies. No matter how unreasonable that customer is, you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure they feel respected. ... Too often in politics, people are trying to put down their opponents because they think it raises themselves up.” – Hickenlooper, at the Colorado Water Congress in August. Website: www.hickenlooperforcolo rado.com
Dan Maes Republican Platform: Maes aims to cut state government jobs and eliminate or consolidate departments, although he has not identified which agencies he would eliminate. He would give tax incentives to any business that hires at least one new employee in 2011. He would seek to repeal laws pushed by Gov. Bill Ritter that eliminated tax breaks, froze school mill-levy rates and imposed higher auto-registration fees. Maes would try to reorganize the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and its rules to make them friendlier to the gas industry. He would seek a limit of three bills per legislator per year, down from the current five. Experience: Maes founded and owned Amaesing Credit Solutions, a credit reporting business, and he operated it from 2005-2009. Prior to that, Maes worked for small- to medium-sized telecommunications companies. He began his business career as a sales manager for Voice-Tel, a voice mail company, in Denver in 1990, and he was a manager for the company in western New York and Chicago. In the early 1980s, Maes was a police officer for two years in Liberal, Kan. Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Wisconsin at Madison. Age: 49 Family: Wire Karen, three children. Top donors: Nearly 80 people from around the state have given Maes $1,000 a piece. Running mate: Tambor Williams, a Republican former state legislator from Windsor. Quote: “Where’s the support? Where’s the unity? I went through the system. I did exactly what I was supposed to do.” – Maes, at an Oct. 15 forum, on Republican leaders defecting from his campaign to support Tom Tancredo. Website: www.danmaes.com
Tom Tancredo American Constitution Party Platform: Tancredo would reinstate 11 tax exemptions that Gov. Bill Ritter and legislative Democrats suspended in 2010. He would eliminate the business personal property tax, which is paid mostly to local and county governments. He would push for a rewrite of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s environmental rules and appoint people to the commission who would be friendly to the gas industry. He would push for a tough law against illegal immigrants and require Colorado employers to use a federal database of legal workers. Tancredo would try to cut spending by contracting out government functions to private companies. He wants to convert the Public Employees Retirement Association from a pension-style plan with guaranteed payments for retirees to a plan that bases its benefits on how well its investments do. Tancredo would refuse federal funding if it came with mandates to the state. Experience: While teaching history in junior high school, Tancredo was elected as a Republican to the state House of Representatives in 1977. He was a leader of the “House crazies,” a group of conservative Republicans. He ran the regional office of the U.S. Department of Education for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. From 1992 to 1998, he led the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank. He served in Congress from 19992009, representing Denver’s southern suburbs. He ran for president as a Republican in the 2008 election. Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, University of Northern Colorado. Personal: Wife Jackie, two sons, five grandchildren. Top donors: Tancredo’s $680,000 comes from individual donors throughout Colorado and the country. Running mate: Pat Miller, an antiabortion activist and former Republican state legislator. Quote: “Let’s not squander this opportunity to beat Mayor Hickenlooper just because the Republican Party is saddled with an unfit and accidental nominee.” – Sept. 1 letter to supporters. Website: www.tancredoforgover nor2010.org
Libertarian Platform: Brown would end the income tax and replace it with a sales tax. He also would ask voters to repeal Amendment 23, which sets the minimum funding levels for education, and the constitutional ban against state-levied property taxes. He would fund government spending on schools, prisons and other requirements through a property tax, and other government services and infrastructure through a sales tax. He wants to empower third parties through voting reform that lets people vote for multiple candidates in order of preference. And he would create a state central bank to compete with the Federal Reserve. Experience: Brown works as a real estate agent. He also sings in a band and promotes industrial hemp under the name Jaimes Douglas. Family: Wife Eirika, two children. Top donors: Brown is partially paying for his own campaign. He has raised less than $2,500 total from a handful of individual donors. Running mate: Ken Wyble Website: jaimesbrowncoloradogovernor2010.com
Unaffiliated Platform: Clark would cut the budgets for health care, higher education and K-12 schools, and cut pay for teachers making more than $40,000. He would seek a repeal of the 2008 environmental rules for the gas and oil industry. He would legalize and tax marijuana. Experience: President of Clark Brothers Investments, an investment adviser company. Education: Bachelor’s degree in business/finance, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 1992 Age: 41 Family: Single Top donors: Clark is mostly paying his own way; he loaned his campaign $100,000. He has also raised more than $5,000 from individual donors. Running mate: Clark’s running mate, Victoria Adams, resigned from the ticket after criticizing Clark. Clark will be able to pick a new lieutenant governor if he wins. Website: www.jasonclarkforcolo rado.com
Unaffiliated, write-in Platform: Carr would revise unemployment laws so people could accept benefits while working part-time. He would dispatch representatives on “trade missions” to other states to try and increase economic ties in order to boost business. Experience: Carr is an over-theroad trucker. He founded an online magazine, Chatmag.com, which he still runs. He also hosts an online radio talk show every week. Carr describes himself as a “global nomad.” His father served in the U.S. Army, so Carr lived overseas as a child. Age: 58 Family: Engaged to Antoinette Schaeffer, who is also his running mate. Top donors: Carr has not reported any fundraising. Running mate: Antoinette Schaeffer
Unaffiliated Write-in Platform: Cremeens is running a campaign based on her Christianity. “I recognize sovereignty of God and will use His biblical instruction as the basis for all decisions to bring prosperity to all Coloradans,” Cremeens says on her website. Cremeens says taxes are too high, and business regulations are too strict. Government should not have a role in social services, which are a job for the body of Christ, she says. Experience: Cremeens runs a Grand Junction trucking company with her husband. In 1986, she started a T-shirt printing business and sold it in 2000. Family: Husband Mark, three adult children, four grandchildren. Top donors: Cremeens has reported no fundraising to the Secretary of State. Running mate: Stephanie Mercer Website: www.hollycremeensforgov ernor2010.webs.com
Paul Fiorino Unaffiliated Platform: Fiorino makes education a priority, especially arts and physical education. He also proposes “creative policy-making” to solve concerns about health care, growth, water and quality of life. Experience: Fiorino is a dance instructor and a member of a Denver musicians union.
He has been on the faculty at Colorado State University and Colorado College. Age: 55 Family: Single, two adult children. Top donors: Fiorino has raised $101, all from donations he made to his own campaign. Running mate: Heather McKibbin Website: www.fiorinoforcolorado.com
Democrat, write-in Running mate: Ed Coron, a Republican
Michael Moore Unaffiliated Write-in Platform: Moore’s top priority is to reduce illegal immigration. Moore would let citizens and a multi-partisan board propose legislation, which he would forward to the Legislature. He would decide whether to sign legislation based on the way Coloradans vote on his website.
Experience: Moore is a Navy veteran and now works as a utility contractor in Eagle. Age: 46 Family: Divorced, two adult daughters. Top donors: Moore has reported no campaign donations. Running mate: Sherry Cusson Website: www.cogovforthepeople.com
Polling places Precincts
1 & 27 2&3 4 & 10 5&6 7, 8 & 9 11 12, 16, 29 13 14 15 17 & 28 18 19, 20, 26 21 22 23 24 25 30
Sacred Heart Parish School La Plata County Courthouse Frontier Baptist Church Needham Elementary School First United Methodist Church Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary Animas Fire Station (Trimble) Grace Church Animas Fire Station (Florida) Vallecito Church Colorado Dept. of Transportation Florida Mesa Elementary Bayfield Town Hall Sunnyside Elementary Faith Community Church of Nazarene Oxford Grange Hall Ignacio Schools administration building Allison Community Church Fort Lewis College Concert Hall
255 East Fifth Ave. 1060 East Second Ave. 2201 Forest Ave. 2425 West Third Ave. 2917 Aspen Drive 11274 Hwy. 140 31263 Hwy. 550 1440 Florida Road CR 240 and 234 17576 CR 501 (Bayfield) 20581 Hwy. 160 216 Hwy. 172 1199 Hwy. 160B 75 CR 218 1400 Hwy. 172 8018 Hwy. 172 (Ignacio) 315 Ignacio St. (Ignacio) 2724 CR 329 1000 Rim Drive
Not Sure which precinct you’re in? Call the County Elections Office at 382-6296. Source: La Plata County
LA PLATA COUNTY
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Voter’s State Treasurer Cary Kennedy Democrat, incumbent Platform: Kennedy takes credit for keeping Colorado’s finances sound during the recession. The state has earned positive returns every quarter since she took over. Kennedy says she avoids the type of risky investments that led to the Wall Street crash and backs greater investment in public education. Prior to becoming treasurer, she wrote
the education-funding Amendment 23, which passed in 2000. As treasurer, she helped write the bill that provided the state’s first investment in public school construction. She also has posted the state checkbook on her website and installed a program so taxpayers can see where their money is spent. Experience: State treasurer, 2007 to present. Her previous jobs include policy director for House Democrats, a job at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, fiscal analyst for the state Department of
Walker Stapleton Health Care and Financing and an analyst in former Gov. Roy Romer’s budget office. Education: Bachelor’s degree, St. Lawrence University; master’s in public administration, Columbia University; J.D., University of Denver law school Age: 42 Family: Husband Saurabh Mangalik, two children. Top donors: Kennedy has raised $865,000. Her top contributors include several unions and a Realtor small donor committee.
Republican Platform: Stapleton thinks the treasurer should do more to speak out against spending at the Legislature. He opposes the minimum funding mandates for education of Amendment 23 (which Kennedy wrote). He would push for further changes to the Public Employees Retirement Association to shift it to a 401(k)-style program, instead of one that provides guaranteed pension payments. He touts his
private-sector investment experience and says he will be able to produce better returns for the state’s portfolio. Experience: Since 2005, Stapleton has been president and CEO of Sonomawest holdings, which owns two light industrial parks in Northern California. Prior experience: Director of acquisitions, The Lamar Companies, Aurora, 2003-2004; Founding principal, Converge Capital Partners, Czech Republic, 2001-2003. Director of marketing and manager of business development, Live365. com, San Francisco, 1999-2001; Investment banker, Hambre CHT &
Quist, New York, 1997-1999. Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, Williams College; graduate diploma in business economics, London School of Economics; master’s in business administration, Harvard. Age: 36 Family: Wife Jenna, one son. Top donors: Stapleton has raised $619,000 and loaned his campaign another $250,000. He donated an additional $115,000. His other fundraising comes from individual donors; notable donors include former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.
U.S. Congressional District 3 Scott Tipton
John Salazar Democrat, incumbent Platform: Salazar touts his role, along with other conservative Democrats, of getting Congress to pass “pay-as-you-go” rules that require new spending to be paid for with either cuts or taxes. He advocates for more resources for veterans and more spending on veterans’
health care, and he sponsored an act that made it a crime to falsely claim to have won military medals. (A federal judge recently struck down the act.) He speaks up for funding for farm and ranch programs, and he pushes for opening foreign markets for U.S. beef. Experience: U.S. Congress, 2005 to present. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee. From 2003-2005, Salazar served in the state House of Representatives. He is a seed potato farmer and rancher and continues to work
on his farm. He served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1976. Education: Bachelor’s degree, Adams State College in Alamosa. Age: 57 Family: Wife Mary Lou, three sons, one grandson. Top donors: Salazar received more than $600,000 in political action committee funding. The top donors are the Blue Dog PAC for conservative Democrats and the PAC from Oxbow, a coal mine company. Salazar has raised $768,710 from individual donors.
1.4 percent in federal spending. Second, he would cut the corporate tax rate to 10 percent and eliminate deductions corporations can claim. Third, he would cut the capital gains tax for investors to 10 percent. Experience: Tipton is serving his first term in the state House of Representatives. He serves on the House Agriculture and House Local Government committees. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Salazar in 2006. He
its specific Constitutional authority. Experience: Gilman has worked in engineering and management his entire career. He never has held political office. He lives in Custer County. Education: Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He completed an engineering fellowship at Stanford University. Family: Single. Top donors: Gilman has reported no fundraising to the Federal Election Commission.
cofounded and owns Mesa Verde Indian Pottery in Cortez. Tipton has been active in Republican politics since 1976. Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, Fort Lewis College. Age: 53 Family: Wife Jean, two daughters. Top donors: Tipton has raised $788,744 from individual donors and $69,500 from political action committees, according to the Federal Election Commission.
John Hargis Sr.
Gregory Gilman Libertarian Platform: Gilman endorses the Libertarian-affiliated Downsize D.C. agenda. He would require members of Congress to sign a sworn affidavit that they have read a bill before they vote on it. He would limit bills to a single subject. He would require members of Congress to write their own bills, and require each bill to cite
Republican Platform: Tipton opposes the healthcare bill that Congress passed this year. He has put forward a “three 10” plan: First, he would cut 10 percent from the part of the federal budget that pays for everything except Social Security, Medicare and the military; it would amount to a cut of about
Unaffiliated Platform: Segrest is critical of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress or running for Congress. He opposed the bank bailout, the stimulus bill and the “cash for clunkers” program, all passed by Congress since 2008. He calls for federal spending cuts and a steady rate of taxation, not necessarily tax cuts. He supports increased use of natural gas and nuclear power, and less use of imported oil. Experience: Segrest has founded and operated several small businesses in the Grand Junction area. Top donors: Segrest has self-financed his campaign’s entire $11,000 budget.
Unaffiliated, write-in Platform: Hargis would vote on legislation based on feedback he received from voters on his website. He thinks Congress should work to expand employment, which should increase the government’s tax revenue. He envisions a financial security bill in which the government deposits $10 into an account for every citizen at birth. People and their parents could
add to the savings accounts, and the government could use deposits to buy down foreign debt and phase out Social Security by 2070. Experience: Hargis has held a variety of jobs, including general contractor, commercial driver, private investigator, bar bouncer, repo man and restaurant manager. He served in the U.S. Navy and has no previous political experience. Age: 53 Family: Single, three sons, one granddaughter. Top donors: Hargis has reported no fundraising to the Federal Election Commission.
U.S. Senate Charley Miller Unaffiliated Platform: Miller touts his unaffiliated status as a way to help him resolve the partisan divide in Washington. He would vote to end corporate bailouts, increase tax credits for businesses, not raise taxes and balance the federal budget within four years. Experience: Miller worked in the banking industry in the late 1980s. He spent many years recovering from a severe brain injury he suffered in 1991. Since then, he has started several small businesses and a nonprofit agency. Miller served six years in the Air Force as an enlisted man. Education: Two bachelor’s degrees, the University of Arizona; master’s degree in history, University of Northern Colorado; J.D., University of Denver law school. Age: 53 Family: Two adult children. Top donors: Miller has not reported any donations to the FEC. Website: charleymiller2010.wordpress.com
Democrat, incumbent Republican Platform: Bennet Platform: Buck’s seeks economic growth dream is to amend the through the promotion Constitution to require of renewable energy, Congress to balance biotechnology, science the national budget. and technology. He Short of that long-term wants to reform public goal, Buck seeks cuts education by using to federal spending. data to track the performance of students He would raise Social Security retirement and teachers and paying high-performing age for younger workers, but he pledges teachers more. He supports plans to reduce no benefit cuts for retirees or older workcarbon emissions and fund federal sciers. Buck wants to increase the domestic ence on climate change. Bennet proposed production of coal, oil and natural gas. He changes to U.S. Senate rules to require disopposes legal caps on carbon emissions. close of earmarks, limit budget deficits and He would address illegal immigration by inrestrict the power of the minority to block creasing work permits for legal immigrants, action. Bennet supports abortion rights. but sending illegal immigrants home to Experience: Bennet was appointed U.S. apply for visas. He opposes federal assissenator in January 2009 by Gov. Bill Ritter. tance to car companies and banks. Buck He was Denver Public Schools superintenopposes abortion rights, except to protect dent from 2005 to January 2009, and chief the life of the mother. of staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper Experience: Buck has served as Weld from 2003-2005. Before that, he was a County district attorney since 2004. He managing director for Anschutz Investment worked at Hensel-Phelps Construction Co. Co. (1997-2003). from 2002-2004. He worked for the U.S. Education: Bachelor’s degree, Wesleyan Department of Justice from 1986-2002 and University; J.D., Yale Law School. was an assistant U.S. attorney in Colorado. Age: 45 Education: Bachelor’s degree Princeton Jason Napolitano Family: Wife Susan Daggett, three University; J.D., University of Wyoming. daughters. Age: 51 Independent Top donors: Bennet has raised more Family: Wife Perry, two children. Reform Party Top donors: Buck has raised more than Platform: Napolitano than $1.4 million through ActBlue, the $122,000 from South Carolina Sen. Jim opposes government Democratic online fundraising tool. He has taken more than $1.3 million from various DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund. Most bailouts for banks of his fundraising comes from individual and other companies, political action committees. Little-known fact: Bennet’s brother, donors, including his former colleagues at and he opposes the Hensel-Phelps. health-insurance bill James, is editor of The Atlantic. that Congress passed this year. He supports a balanced budget, Michele Newman and he would vote for higher taxes if Congress could not balance the budget excluUnaffiliated (write-in) citizens is the best way to solve the country’s sively by cutting spending. He opposes the Platform: Newman debt problems. Arizona immigration law because it could believes the country Experience: Newman has held a wide unfairly single out American citizens who should cut foreign aid variety of jobs in graphic design, business are Hispanic. and military intervenconsulting and technical writing. She volExperience: Napolitano is chief fition to a minimum and unteers for the Colorado Cross-Disability nancial officer of Heska Corp. a Loveland focus on helping its Coalition and volunteered for the Obama company that makes equipment and citizens at home. She campaign. medicine for veterinarians. would start with improvEducation: Bachelor’s degree in geograEducation: Bachelor’s degree in engi- ing schools and helping the unemployed phy, Arizona State University. neering, Yale University. find jobs. Newman criticizes the health-inAge: 55 Family: Wife Amy, two daughters. surance bill that Congress passed because Top donors: Newman has reported no Top donors: Napolitano has selfof its mandate to buy insurance, which she fundraising to the FEC. financed his campaign with $4,947. said does not guarantee good health care. Website: www.newman-senate-co.com Website: www.napolitanoforcolorado. She believes better financial education for com
Jorge H. Moromisato
Green Party Platform: Kinsey seeks an end to U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He seeks global nuclear disarmament and wants to cut the military budget by 75 percent. He would also end the war on drugs, fully legalize marijuana and release all nonviolent drug offenders from prison. He would raise taxes for the wealthy by removing the limit on income taxed by Social Security and restoring the income tax system to its 1950 levels, when the top earners paid much more of their income to taxes. Kinsey supports single-payer health insurance, a system in which the government functions as the main insurance company. Experience: Kinsey worked 25 years as a public-school history teacher, and he won the International Teacher of the Year award from the Denver Council on Foreign Relations. He has served on several boards and participated in activist groups. He served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Education: Bachelor’s degree in history, Dartmoth University. Master’s degree in guidance and counseling, Colorado State University; Master of Divinity, Chicago Theological Seminary. Age: 73 Family: Widowed, seven children. Top donors: Kinsey has not reported any campaign contributions to the Federal Election Commission. Website: www.kinseyforsenate.org
Unaffiliated Platform: Moromisato promotes his “Denver Plan” as a solution to the financial decline. The plan would seek “balanced trade agreements” with trading partners and raise tariffs on imported goods if other countries refuse to sign the agreements. He seeks higher taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers. Experience: Moromisato retired in 2004 after a career as a teacher and researcher in high-energy physics. Moromisato was born in Peru and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1985. Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of San Marcos (Lima, Peru); master’s degrees in physics and economics, Northeastern University in Boston. Age: 69 Family: Wife, three children. Top donors: Moromisato has reported no donations to the FEC. Website: www.jmoromisatoussenate.com
Robert Rank Republican (write-in) Top donors: Rank has reported no fundraising to the FEC.
Bruce Lohmiller Green (write-in) Top donors: Lohmiller has reported no fundraising to the FEC.
Maclyn “Mac” Stringer Libertarian Platform: Stringer seeks lower federal spending through an end to “corporate welfare.” He thinks federal employees making at least $75,000 a year should have to take a 30 percent to 40 percent pay cut (except for military members). He wants individuals to be able to invest their Social Security payments in the private market. Stringer wants major reorganizations to several federal programs and policies that he says
are not working, including the Department of Education, health and welfare programs, and the war on drugs. Experience: Captain, U.S. Air Force (retired). Stringer has been involved in several small businesses and start-up companies. Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, Colorado State University; master’s in business administration, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Age: 41 Family: Wife Michelle, one child. Top donors: Stringer has raised just $1,000. Website: macforcolorado.com
Sunday, October 24, 2010 b Page 3
Voter’s Attorney General John Suthers
Stan Garnett Democrat Platform: Garnett pushes for more action on consumer protection from the attorney general’s office, and he pledges to double the consumer unit’s resources within two years. He would involve the office more in environmental cases, and he would give the highest prosecution priorities to violent crime, business crime, “serious” drug dealing and public corruption. Garnett supports the right to buy and sell medical marijuana through dispensaries. He opposes opponent John Suthers’ intervention in “political” cases outside Colorado borders, and he entered the campaign after Suthers joined the Republican lawsuit against the health-care bill.
Experience: Boulder County district attorney, 2009 to present. Before his election, Garnett was a trial lawyer at the Denver firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck for 22 years. From 1981 to 1986, he was a prosecutor in Denver. Garnett has served as president of the Boulder Valley School Board. Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Colorado; J.D., CU law school. Age: 54 Family: Wife Brenda, two sons. Top donors: Most of Garnett’s largest donations ($1,000 or more) come from other lawyers. Garnett has spent $50,000 on his own campaign. Little-known fact: Garnett represented John and Janet Elway in a winning civil case that went to the state Supreme Court in 1995.
Republican, incumbent Platform: Suthers believes Colorado must reform its constitution to resolve conflicts that simultaneously require low taxes and high spending, and he offers his office’s legal expertise to help the new governor find a solution. He pledges to continue the work he has done so far as attorney general – preparing for an interstate legal fight over the Colorado River, cracking down on Internet sexual predators, and targeting white-collar crime. Suthers opposes the sale of medical marijuana through dispensaries, but he says he will defend the new state law that legalizes and licenses pot shops. Suthers has joined a multistate Republican lawsuit to overturn the health-insurance bill that Congress passed this year.
Experience: Colorado attorney general, 2005 to present. He was U.S. Attorney for Colorado – the top federal prosecutor – from 2001-2005. He served as Gov. Bill Owens’ executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections from 1999-2005. He was elected district attorney in El Paso County in 1988. Before that, he worked in private practice for seven years and as a deputy district attorney for four years. Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Notre Dame. J.D., University of Colorado law school. Age: 59 Family: Wife Janet, two adult daughters. Top donors: Most of Suthers’ donations of at least $1,000 come from individuals – led by finance and investment professionals, payday lenders, lawyers and real estate agents. Little-known fact: Suthers has written five books on the law.
Secretary of State Bernie Buescher Democrat, incumbent Platform: Buescher has backed bills to allow voters to register online and to combat alleged fraud in the ballot petition process. His office installed a statewide voter registration database and eliminated thousands of duplicate voter registrations this year. Buescher also points to his efforts to make the office run more efficiently, though cross-training employees and not filling vacant senior management positions. He supports the increased use of mail ballots. Buescher says he will push for increased powers for the secretary of state to investigate campaign finance violations. Experience: Buescher was appointed secre-
tary of state in late 2008. He served in the state Legislature from 2005 to 2008 and was chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. Former Gov. Roy Romer hired him to reorganize the State Fair and to lead the Department of Health Care Policy and Finance. He served as president of West Star Aviation in Grand Junction for nearly a decade, and he practiced law from 1975 to 1986. Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, Notre Dame University; J.D., University of Colorado law school. Age: 61 Family: Wife Mary Beth, four adult children, two grandchildren. Top donors: Buescher has raised more than $300,000, mostly from individuals. His top donors are unions, led by the Service Employees International Union, at $10,600.
American Constitution Party Platform: The secretary of state should defend the rights of citizens to petition for ballot measures, Campbell says. The secretary of state should testify against bills in the Legislature that are unconstitutional and sue the Legislature to block such legislation, she says. Experience: Campbell is the membership secretary and treasurer for Colorado’s American Constitution Party. She has served on the party’s executive committee for seven years and is active in her church. She ran for the state House of Representatives in 2008. Top donors: Campbell has not reported any fundraising to the secretary of state’s office.
Republican Platform: Gessler supports a requirement to make voters show photo identification before they vote and to prove their U.S. citizenship before they register to vote for the first time. He opposes conducting elections only by mail. He said he would display more of a “can-do” attitude than Buescher in complying with a federal law to get ballots to military voters before the election. Experience: Gessler is a lawyer who specializes in election law. His clients have included several Republican and conservative campaigns. Gessler began his career as a federal prosecutor. He also was a construction company manager. He served 16 years as an officer in the Army Reserve and was deployed to Bosnia. Education: Bachelor’s degree from Yale University, J.D. from University of Michigan, M.B.A. from Northwestern University. Age: 45 Family: Wife Kristi, one daughter. Top donors: Gessler has raised $255,000, almost all from individual donors.
State House District 59 J. Paul Brown
Republican Platform: Smaller government. Individual freedom and personal responsibility. Environmental regulation that won’t scare away energy producers. Brown believes reducing the size and scope of government will increase business activity and create jobs in Southwest Colorado. Experience: A rancher by trade, Brown has long been active in state and local politics. He was a La Plata County Commissioner for four years, a county planning commissioner for three years and an Ignacio School Board member for 12 years. He has served on the boards of the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Pine River Southwest Ditch Company, Region 9 Economic Development District and Club 20. Education: Bachelor’s degree, New Mexico State University Age: 57 Family: Wife Debbie, and sons Joshua, Luke, Levi and Abraham. Donors: Brown has raised $46,732 in campaign contributions. Notable contributors include Ben Nighthorse Campbell ($100). His largest donors are the Care Small Donor Committee ($2,125), CACI Prosperity Fund ($1,000) and himself ($1,000). Little-known fact: Brown is a song leader and Bible school teacher at the Bayfield Church of Christ.
Democrat Platform: O’Donnell has portrayed himself as an open-minded independent Democrat who will represent the diverse interests of the 59th District. He wants to phase out the business personal property tax and expand the Colorado Credit Reserve Program, which provides loans to small businesses. He thinks renewable-energy development could spur job growth in the area. Experience: O’Donnell has worked in nonprofit management since college. His career includes stints at the Sierra Club, the Alaska Wilderness League and the Wilderness Society. He was public lands director for the local office of Trout Unlimited. He is currently executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, which aids in the management of Bureau of Land Management conservation areas. Education: Bachelor’s degree, Rollins College. Age: 40 Family: Wife Melyssa, and 2-year-old daughter Kara. Donations: O’Donnell has raised $108,428 this election. His largest contributors are the United Food and Commercial Workers Committee in Wheat Ridge ($4,250), the Colorado Professional Firefighters Small Donor Fund ($4,000) and himself ($6,500). Little-known fact: His first job was pumping gas at a filling station off an interstate highway in Milford, Penn.
State Senate District 6 Ellen Roberts
Republican Platform: Roberts believes government should be limited to that which a citizen cannot do alone. She’s running for the state Senate on her knowledge of the district and continuing her work reforming health care and the criminal justice system. She would look to build jobs and move the state away from its reliance on foreign energy through established and emerging industries. Experience: Roberts took on a diverse clientele as a Durango lawyer in private practice for more than 20 years. She sat on the boards of Mercy Regional Medical Center, Alternative Horizons, Durango Children’s Museum and the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado. She has represented Durango in the Colorado House of Representatives since 2006. Education: Bachelor’s degree, Cornell University; J.D. University of Colorado Age: 51 Family: Husband Rick, daughter Caitlin, and son Ben. Donations: Roberts has raised $131,147. Notable donors include Molson Coors Chairman of the Board Pete Coors. Her largest donations include $4,250 from the Realtor Small Donor Committee and $4,000 from Homes for All Coloradans Committee. Little-known fact: If elected, Roberts would be the first woman to represent the Colorado 6th Senate District.
Democrat, incumbent Platform: Whitehead, a former state water engineer, has worked to establish himself as the state Senate’s expert on water and natural resources. He’s running on what he achieved in his busy first session, including carrying legislation on job creation, government efficiency, energy development, water and agriculture. Experience: Whitehead was an employee of the Colorado Division of Water Resources for 25 years, working as division engineer in Durango. He was appointed by the governor to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. He was executive director of the Southwestern Water Conservation District, where he still works four hours a week as program director. He was appointed to the Senate when Sen. Jim Isgar vacated the seat. Education: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, Colorado State University Age: 52 Family: Wife Becca, daughters Isabel, 11, and Risa, 9. Donations: Whitehead has raised $114,908. His largest donors include the Service Employees International Union ($4,250), the State Democratic Senate Campaign Fund ($9,555) and himself ($8,644). Little-known fact: A self-confessed gearhead, Whitehead rides a BMW R1150R motorcycle, and is currently refurbishing a 1950 Chevrolet pickup truck.
University of Colorado Regents At-Large Steve Bosley
Republican, incumbent Platform: Bosley touts his experience dealing with the University of Colorado’s budget woes. As an incumbent, he said he is familiar with the budget crisis and is a proven budget-cutter. He said he has made hard decisions without compromising educational standards. It is not the time for “on-the-job training,” and not the time to trade “proven financial expertise” for a fourth lawyer, he said. Experience: University of Colorado Regent, 2004 to present. Chaired past two presidential searches for the university. Worked in Colorado’s banking and finance industry for more than 30 years. Founded the Bolder Boulder 10k running race. Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, CU. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in 2003. Family: Five children, 11 grandchildren.
Democrat Platform: Hart believes the University of Colorado needs to stop funding education by raising tuition and cutting programs. As the state’s largest public university, CU should advocate for equal opportunity and equal access to education for all communities across Colorado. She said the work done by CU faculty and graduates helps keep the state at the forefront of the global economy, and the regents must support that work. Experience: A law professor at CU Law School for the last 10 years. She has served on numerous committees while at CU. She worked as a law clerk for a judge of the Second Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. She practiced law with a private law firm in Washington, D.C. and with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, also in D.C. Education: Bachelor’s degree from Harvard College; J.D., Harvard Law School. Family: Married, two children.
Jesse B. Wallace Libertarian Platform: Wallace pledges to uphold academic freedom, lower tuition and balance budgets. He said the University of Colorado has a bloated budget and is overly dependent on dwindling money from the government. He said existing leaders talk about going through the budget with a fine-tooth comb, but what is needed is a chain saw. The campus needs leaders, not political social climbers, he said. He said the university violates the federal and state constitutions, and tax dollars should not be used to undermine the constitution. Experience: Wallace did not respond to an e-mail requesting information, and no experience is listed on his website. Education: Bachelor’s degree in communications, CU. Family: Married.
WHAT TO TAKE TO THE POLLS All voters must provide some form of identification when voting. If you are voting by mail for the first time, you may also need to provide a photocopy of your ID. The Clerk & Recorder’s Office accepts several forms of valid IDs. Some of them are: Colorado driver’s license; state ID card, U.S. passport; government employee ID card; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck. A Social Security card is not a legal from of ID for voting in person.
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Voter’s La Plata County Clerk
La Plata County Commission District 1 Bruce Baizel
Democrat Platform: Baizel hopes to focus on the development of a workable and balanced land-use code and wishes to ensure elected county leadership is fair and easily accessible to the public. He also hopes to bring a rural perspective to the post and help keep agriculture viable in the county. Experience: Baizel is a staff attorney for Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. Since 1986, he’s worked in environmental law and as a university instructor for the College of Santa Fe, Utah State University and Colorado State University. Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, Earlham College; master’s degree in international relations, University of Denver; J.D., University of Denver. Age: 53 Family: Married with two children Contributions: $20,293
Republican Platform: Lieb hopes to tackle the county’s ongoing revenue shortfalls and budget challenges while building more certainty into the county’s new land-use code to better define locals’ property rights. He would advocate for higher-paying jobs for residents in the area. Experience: Lieb most recently worked as a project manager for Durango Commercial Development, LLC. Since 1980, he’s worked for and managed family-owned businesses, including serving as vice president of Durango Threadworks Inc. He also worked as the executive director of the La Plata Economic Development Action Partnership and the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Lieb has served on a number of public, private and nonprofit boards. Education: Bachelor’s degree in international marketing, Arizona State University. Age: 45 Family: Married with three children Contributions: $23,420
Unaffiliated Platform: Root touts his unaffiliated status as a potential measure of balance to the three-member board of county commissioners, on which a Republican and Democrat are already seated. He would work to simplify the county’s land-use code and reduce its design costs while providing incentives for clustered development near business parks and public transportation. He would seek to maintain good working relationships with the gas and oil industry and seek to encourage economic development in the area. Root also aims for income growth in technology and health-care industries. Experience: Root is a professional engineer for Kunert/Root LLC. Since 1987, he’s worked for the Colorado Department of Transportation and on projects of a residential, commercial and public nature. He has also served on the La Plata County Planning Commission and Durango’s Design Review board. Education: Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, University of Colorado; professional engineer licensed in Colorado and New Mexico. Age: 57 Family: Married with one adult child Contributions: Root self-funded his campaign
Republican Platform: Lee touts her experience and hopes to ensure a smooth transition in leadership, if elected. She said she would be cautious about making immediate changes. Lee also intends to push forward with projects already under way in the organization and hopes to make the process of searching for and obtaining public records more user-friendly. Experience: Lee has worked in the La Plata County Clerk and Recorder’s Office off and on over the last five years. She also spent nine years working for the Deschutes County Clerk and Recorder in Bend, Ore. Education: No academic degrees. Specialized professional training in elections and records management. Age: 34 Family: Married with three children Contributions: $7,685
Democrat Platform: Phelan hopes to focus on improving customer service and community relations within the clerk’s office and envisions more electronically available services and information to provide “onestop shopping” for locals. She also hopes to keep modernized the county’s record keeping and servicing procedures with greater connectivity between county departments. Experience: Phelan has worked for La Plata County for the last 11 years, as a property records technician and as an appraiser. Since 2001, Phelan has worked for the county’s Geographic Information Systems department as a technician. Education: Bachelor’s degree in sociology, Fort Lewis College Age: 53 Family: In a long-term committed relationship Contributions: $8,950
La Plata County Surveyor Lawrence “Larry” Connolly Democrat Platform: Connolly hopes to continue as county surveyor in protecting constituents in land-survey issues. If elected, he wishes to address concerns surrounding
some historic survey documents that have become illegible during the process of converting the documents to digital form and properly preserve them for the future. Experience: Connolly is president and co-owner of Animas Surveying & Mapping Corp. and has been the elected county surveyor since 2000. He has worked in the surveying business locally and around
Thomas Au Colorado since 1984. Education: Associate’s degree in civil engineering, Idaho State University. Licensed surveyor in New Mexico and Colorado Age: 53 Family: In a committed relationship with one adult child Contributions: $700
Republican Platform: Au’s bid for the elected post of county surveyor is driven by a desire to become more involved in government and politics. Experience: Au has worked in the surveying business since he was 21 and has owned Pinnacle Surveying since 2001. He also is a
member of the Bayfield town board. Education: Associate’s degree in land surveying, Denver Institute of Technology. He is licensed as a land surveyor in Colorado and Nevada. Age: 49 Family: Not provided Contributions: $1,280
Colorado Propositions Proposition 101: Taxes What it does: If passed, the income tax rate would be cut to 4.5 percent from 4.63 percent and then to 3.5 percent over 10 years or more. Vehicle registration, title and license fees would be cut to a combined $10. Sales taxes on vehicles would be cut. All telephone taxes would be eliminated, except for the 911 fee. Arguments for: Proponents say taxes are too high, and Proposition 101 will make taxes lower and fairer. The proposition will undo the increase in vehicle registration fees that Democrats in the Legislature passed in 2009.
Arguments against: Opponents point to the projected tax cuts of $1.4 billion in the first year and say that state and local governments will have to cut their services, like education. The vehicle registration fee is raising around $250 million a year, less than half the amount that an expert panel said is needed to maintain Colorado’s roads. Proposition 101 would reverse the registration fee and cut even more from auto fees and taxes. Who supports it: Same as Amendment 60. Who opposes it: Same as Amendment 60.
Proposition 102: Bail bonds
Linda Daley, La Plata County clerk and recorder, discusses voting logistics with office manager Sarah Jacobson Friday afternoon at the La Plata County Courthouse.
Keep up to date on election results For ongoing coverage and updated results on election night, visit the Herald’s website at www.durangoherald.com.
Tuesday: Last day to apply for a mail-in ballot Friday: Last day for early voting Nov. 2: General election
What it does: Currently, judges can release defendants awaiting trial to a pretrial services program without requiring them to put up money for bail. Proposition 102 would require a monetary bond for anyone arrested for a violent crime or with a previous criminal record. Pretrial services programs are mostly on the Front Range. There is no such program in Southwest Colorado. Arguments for: Defendants are more likely to appear in court when they post a monetary bond, proponents say. Pretrial services programs amount to “tax-funded baby-sitting programs,” proponents say. Arguments against: Proposition 102 is an attempt by bail bond agents to get more business, opponents say. Pretrial services workers monitor defendants much
more closely than bail bond agents, maintaining frequent contact and administering drug and alcohol tests. Who supports it: Bail bond agents. Safe Streets Colorado is the official campaign. It has reported only $5,555 in donations, mostly from proposition author Mike Donovan. But online discussion groups for bail bond agents discuss spending much more. Website: www.voteyesto102. com Who opposes it: Citizens to Protect Colorado Communities is the official anti-102 campaign. It has reported almost no fundraising. Police and sheriff’s officials, district attorneys, public defenders and a national group for pretrial service agencies also oppose it. Website: www.votenoto102.org
Colorado Referendums Referendum P: Bingo regulation What it does: Currently, the secretary of state regulates charity bingo games. Referendum P transfers the responsibility to the state Department of Revenue. Arguments for: The Department of Revenue already regulates all other forms of gambling, like casinos and the state lottery. Arguments against: Current regulation is enough, and the
move to oversight by the Department of Revenue might result in higher fees for charities that run bingo games. Who supports it: No organized campaign. It was placed on the ballot by the Legislature. Who opposes it: Save Our Nonprofits is the official anti-Ref P campaign. It has not raised funds.
Referendum Q: Emergency state capital What it does: During a widespread disaster, the governor could declare an emergency and designate a city other than Denver as the temporary seat of government. The state constitution designates Denver as the capital. Arguments for: The authority to move the capital would
allow the government to respond faster to a disaster that affected Denver. Arguments against: No serious opposition emerged to the referendum when the state Legislature put it on the ballot. Who supports it: No organized campaign. Who opposes it: No organized campaign.
Referendum R: Possessory interest tax cuts What it does: This amendment to the constitution eliminates taxes on possessory property interests for any interest valued at less than $6,000. It mainly affects ranchers who pay possessory interest taxes on the grazing rights they lease from the federal government. Arguments for: Possessory interest tax bills are often so small
that they are more of a hassle to collect than they are worth for local governments. Arguments against: The predicted tax cut of $160,000 statewide will put a greater burden on other taxpayers. Who supports it: No organized campaign. Who opposes it: No organized campaign.
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Voter’s Colorado Amendments Amendment 60: Property taxes What it does: This amendment repeals all former elections in which voters gave their local governments the power to keep extra property tax revenue. It allows property owners to vote on property taxes even if they do not live in the district. It requires many school districts to cut their property tax revenues in half over a decade, with the expectation that the state will make up for the lost money. It requires government-owned enterprises, like colleges, to pay property taxes. An analysis by the Legislature’s staff predicts a property tax cut of $376 per year for the average homeowner after Amendment 60 takes full effect. The state would have to make up $1.5 billion in lost funding for schools. Amendment 60 is part of a package with Amendment 61 and Proposition 101. Together, the measures will cut state and local taxes by $1.7 billion in the first year and $5.5 billion when they take full effect, according to the Legislature’s staff. Arguments for: Property taxes are regressive because they are based on property values, not the ability to pay. Amendment 60 would reverse actions the Legislature took to collect more
property taxes. Arguments against: Amendment 60 tramples the will of local voters by overturning their past votes. The amendment would require large cuts to state and local services, and the state can’t make up the lost revenue to local schools. Who supports it: CO Tax Reforms is the official campaign for Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. It has raised less than $18,000. The Hasan family, a Pueblo family active in Republican circles, gave $10,000. Opponents have filed a campaign finance complaint against anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce and his nonprofit group, Active Citizens Together, alleging that they are the true force and money behind all three initiatives. Website: www.cotaxreforms.com Who opposes it: Coloradans for Responsible Reform is the official campaign to fight the three initiatives. It has raised $6.7 million from various businesses and unions. Hundreds of governing bodies around the state have passed resolutions opposing the three tax measures. Website: www.donthurtcolorado. com
Amendment 61: Public financing
Amendment 62: Abortion and birth control
What it does: Amendment 61 restricts or ends the government’s ability to borrow money. The state government would not be able to borrow money in any form, no matter how short or long the term. Local governments could take out debt with voter approval, but the money would have to be repaid within 10 years. Taxes would have to be reduced after the debt is paid back, even if taxes were not raised to make the debt payments. Arguments for: Government’s use of financing tools is illegal already because the state constitution bans public debt. Money currently spent on interest payments could be better used for other things. Arguments against: The state could not build any projects if it cannot borrow. A 10-year payback term is too short – most people would not be able to pay back their home mortgages in 10 years. If a public building or highway is built to last for 50 years, then the payments should be spread over multiple decades so current taxpayers don’t bear the entire burden. Who supports it: Same as Amendment 60. Who opposes it: Same as Amendment 60.
What it does: The term “person” would apply to any being from “the beginning of biological development,” for the purposes of defining individual rights in the state constitution. Supporters want it to lead to a ban on abortion and any form of birth control that destroys a fertilized egg. Arguments for: Proponents say abortion is wrong and should be banned. Birth control pills are actually a form of abortion, proponents say. Arguments against: The amendment would lead to bans on abortion in nearly every case and ban common forms of birth control. It could create legal chaos because the word “person” appears thousands of times in Colorado law. It is based on religious belief and does not belong in the state constitution, opponents say. Who supports it: Personhood Colorado. The group has raised about $48,000, mostly in small donations and from its national affiliate, Personhood USA. Website: www.personhoodcolorado. com Who opposes it: No on 62 is the official campaign. It has raised more than $480,000, mostly from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. Website: www.protectfamiliesprotect choices.org
Join us to see the results The Durango Herald will host a party for the public to see updates of election results as they come in throughout the night. The party will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Nov. 2 at 1275 Main Ave.
Where and when to drop-off mail-in ballots Mail your ballot or return it to any of these places: La Plata County Clerk & Recorder Bodo Park, 98 Everett St, Suite C, Durango Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Election Day 7 a.m.-7 p.m. La Plata County Courthouse 1060 East Second Ave., Durango Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Election Day 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Bayfield Town Hall, 1199 U.S. Highway 160B, Bayfield Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m. Election Day 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Voting hours Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. See map of polling places on Page 1.
Amendment 63: Federal health care What it does: Amendment 63 adds the right to health-care choice to the state constitution. It forbids the state from requiring any citizen to buy health insurance, and it affirms that patients can pay their doctors directly for medical services. Arguments for: Passing Amendment 63 would send a message that Coloradans oppose the federal health-insurance bill, although it would not prevent its enforcement. If the federal bill is overturned in court, it would block a potential back-up plan by national Democrats to get the states to impose a mandate to have health insurance. Arguments against: The amendment’s language could have unintended effects on the complex healthcare system, and it is unclear what
the right to health-care choice would mean in a legal sense. A symbolic statement against federal health care does not belong in the state constitution, opponents say. Who supports it: The Independence Institute, a conservative/ libertarian think tank in Golden. The group provided the bulk of the pro-63 campaign’s $300,000 in funding. Website: www.amendment63.org Who opposes it: Colorado Deserves Better is the official campaign, with $163,000 in fundraising as of Oct. 4. Major funding comes from the Service Employees International Union, National Education Association, AFL-CIO and Colorado Hospital Association. Website: www.coloradodeserves better.com
La Plata County Judges Three judges are standing for retention this November in La Plata County. All three were recommended for retention by a local judicial district performance review commission. Chief District Judge Gregory Lyman, 60, oversees divorces, criminal cases and water court cases. He was appointed June 1, 1996, by former Gov. Roy Romer. He received high marks from the performance review commission in every category, including knowledge of the law, communication, demeanor and diligence. District Judge Jeffrey Wilson, 55,
oversees civil, criminal, probate and child-custody cases. He was appointed in July 2002 by former Gov. Bill Owens. A survey of attorneys and non-attorneys scored Wilson slightly below average in all categories. The commission voted 7 to 2 in favor of retaining Wilson. La Plata County Judge Martha Minot, 53, oversees civil cases and criminal cases. She has the largest caseload of any judge in the 6th Judicial District. Attorneys and nonattorneys scored Minot below average in every category.
Business Improvement District Tax Durango BID tax renewal and increase Who it affects: The Business Improvement District encompasses roughly 800 commercial property owners in downtown Durango that opted into the district when it was created in 1997. What it does: District property owners are taxed for efforts such as economic research, creating business directories and buying items and equipment for special events. The district has also used the money for “branding,” promotional items and marketing. The tax also could be used to build a conference center, but such
plans are not under way now. The cost: District officials say they need $58 per $100,000 of actual property value to ensure the district’s annual revenue compares to that of years past. That’s compared to the $43.50 for every $100,000 of assessed property value property owners in the district currently pay. That assessment generated more than $200,000 annually in recent years, officials said. The renewal would last 15 years. Arguments for: District officials
say a membership survey conducted earlier this year showed overwhelming support for a renewal of the tax. Proponents say the district’s work has helped keep downtown Durango vibrant and continues to be needed as the area recovers from the recession. Arguments against: Opponents of the tax increase say local businesses are already struggling to deal with plummeting profit margins and increased costs. Some business owners want the tax eliminated.
Durango School District 9-R Mill Levy Ballot issue 3A Board is asking voters to approve a mill-levy increase to pay for smaller class sizes, quality teachers and innovative programs and technology. The tax increase – ballot issue 3A – would raise $3.2 million per year for educational improvements the district no longer can afford. Arguments for: The district has a General Fund budget of just under $37 million. It had to cut $2.5 million from the budget for the 2010–2011 school year due to declines in student enrollment and cuts in funding from the state. Because the state faces a deficit of almost $1.1 billion in the next fiscal
year, the district is expecting continued cuts to its funding. The district’s specific goals for the money include expanding the advanced classes and international education offered by the International Baccalaureate program, into the middle and high schools and increasing Internet speed in elementary schools. The money also would go toward offering teachers more competitive salaries. Arguments against: Opponents of the mill-levy increase say the district needs to make more efficient use of the money it has instead of asking taxpayers for more. Many business own-
ers are wary of another tax increase during difficult economic times. The cost: If the ballot issue passes, property taxes for a home valued at $400,000 would go up by $60 a year, or $5 a month. The higher tax would be collected in 2011 on property valuations from 2010. Who supports it: The IDEAS campaign has organized in support of the ballot issue. So far, the campaign has raised $55,000, said school board member Julie Levy. Website: ideasdurango.org. Who opposes it: No organized campaign.
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