Friday, November 10, 2006

Post-Election 2006

I spent Election Day contending with the nastiest gastrointestinal bug I've had in years. I blamed it on election ad toxicity, but the election results had several bright spots for education which helped me recover.

First, both Amendment 39 and Referendum I failed by a wide margin. I am very pleased that Colorado voters value the local control of their elected School Boards. I opposed these initiatives not only because of the negative impact they would have had on PSD, but also the implication that education issues should be generally settled at the state level. I always thought the best commercial against 39 would have been this:

A small child stands in the dark at a cold, snowy bus stop. Her mother approaches and says, "I'm sorry honey - the District has had to cut bus service due to Amendment 39, and the car won't start. You'll have to walk." Vote "No" on Amendment 39 - it's bad for kids.

It really would have come down to things like increasing the "walk distance" (the distance children are required to walk before qualifying for bus service), reducing groundskeeping and maintainence, and other things which would have directly impacted the safety and education of our children. It's ludicrous to think that a statewide bureaucracy would know more about what you value in your children's education than your neighbors serving on the elected Board of Education would.

Second, locally, the Library District passed, again by a wide margin. Although I am somewhat disappointed that they did not have a good option to provide for elected oversight, I do think that a Library District is very much in the tradition of local community members banding together to improve the lives of their citizens. This will benefit not only the education of K-12 students in PSD, but also the preschool and post-secondary educations of Library District residents. I've been a long-time user of the Library, and could afford a fee for its services if it had been needed, but there are many more citizens who use it who could NOT afford a fee. Continuous education improves the economic prospects of those who engage in it, and the Library District will maintain and widen the access of citizens to information.

Finally, good news for all government in Colorado, Amendment 38 failed (again by a wide margin!). This was a blatant attempt to subvert representative democracy. It would have allowed small groups of disgruntled people to disrupt the fiscally conservative practices of locally elected governments, by allowing them to place construction projects on hold while construction costs rise. It would have prevented timely decisions from elected officials by holding them hostage to the threat of a referendum. Colorado already has reasonably liberal recall provisions - if you disagree with your elected officials, throw the bums out! - and this amendment was not only unnecessary, but also harmful. Again, Colorado Voters showed their wisdom by rejecting this turkey.


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