03 October 2005

Election 2005 in Denver

The ballot in Denver this November will be a little more crowded than I had originally suspected. I looked at a list of what will appear on it, and recap it here for your benefit.

Of course, the ballot will contain state issues C and D, which have already been discussed repeatedly at this blog.

Denver Referendum 1A, a City Council originated proposal, asks for the city lodging tax to be increased to pay for promoting the new Convention Center and to promote Denver as a tourist destination. I suspect that it will pass easily. People usually support taxes that they are unlikely to pay, particularly when there is a nexus between the source of the funds and the purposes for which they will be spent.

Denver Referendum 1B, another City proposal, would suspend TABOR spending caps, but not change tax rates, for the next ten years. I suspect that this will also pass.

Initiated Question 100 would remove possession of less than one ounce of marijuana by people over 21 from being an offense under City Ordinances. It is a purely symbolic move, as the state ban will remain in place. I have no idea how it will do on election day.

Denver Referendum 1C is a city charter house cleaning proposal which would moderately increase the City Council's authority over some fairly obscure matters like special district formation and intergovernmental agreements. It will pass easily.

Denver Public Schools issue 3A asks for a $25 million dollar a year (adjusted for inflation) tax increase to pay for a merit/district need based pay system for teachers in the Denver Public Schools. I'm not aware of any genuine opposition to the proposal (which has had a low profile until this month), but any true tax increase automatically has a solid block of no votes behind it.

Green Valley Ranch Metro District residents will also be asked to vote on a 7 mill, TABOR free operating expense tax increase in the form of Referrendum 5A. I have no idea what the politics of that vote will be or what is motivating the request. I'm sure that many prominent locals do, however.

Finally, there will be an "at large" school board race in Denver, and three school board races in school board districts, only two of which are contested races. All are for four year terms. There are two "at large" positions and five districts with one director each in all, so three of the seven members of the board won't face election this time around. Board Vice President Rev. Lucia Guzman will continue to represent Northwest Denver's District 5. Bruce L. Hoyt will continue to represent Southeast Denver's District 1. Theresa K. Peña will continue to serve as an "at-Large" member.

The "at large" race, an open race to fill the spot previously held by Board President Lester Woodward, pits Brad Buchanan (the most aggresive so far in putting up signs in my neighborhood), Andrew Karsian, Dave Lewis and Jill Conrad against each other. District 2 (Southwest Denver) will pit Dan Pierce against incumbent Michelle Moss. District 3 (East-Central Denver) is an open seat which will pit Matt Webster against Jeanne S. Kaplan. Kevin Patterson, the incumbent board treasurer is running unopposed in District 4 (Northeast Denver). All will be just names to me until I read about them in the paper sometime this month. Moss probably has an edge as an incumbent, but there is no easy way to get a take on how the two open seat races will play out as these races are non-partisan.

Washington Park is in School Board Director District 1, so I will be voting only in the "at large" race this year. A map linking precincts to Director Districts can be found here.

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