01 November 2005

More Election 2005 Winners

Denver's results are 96%+ complete.

So, it is now possible to say with some certainty that Jill Conrad has defeated Brad Buchanan, apparently a function of the fact that Conrad has a Democratic Party endorsement (which left questions about the party affiliations of Brad Buchanan) and a Denver Public School's employee's endorsement, as well as a longer history of involvement in the schools. None of the factors was strong, and the race itself was close (with the major newspaper endorsements and endorsement from leading political figures split, and with the platforms of the two candidates being almost identical), but it was enough to give Jill Conrad the lead in the race.

Issue 100, which passed by a healthy margin, sought to bring parity to marijuana treatment and alcohol treatment under city ordinances. But, it was merely symbolic, as state anti-marijuana statutes remain on the books. It is, however, also notable that only one city councilman, Charlie Brown, who represents East Washington Park, vehemently opposed the measure, while others, like at large member Doug Linkhart, took a "whose cares?" position on the issue, rather than reflexively opposing it. While the federal government continues to vigorously enforce marijuana laws, putting occassional federal marijuana crime defendants away for long prison terms and making a large proportion of all its arrests and prosecutions for marijuana possession, the American public in Issue 100, in "low priority" municipal mandates in Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California, and in medical marijuana cases in a significant minority of states including Colorado and California, have repeatedly made clear that marijuana is not a menance, despite the fact that few major political figures have actually endorsed loosening legal prohibitions for marijuana. Conservative reefer madness may take time to abate at the legislative level, but the average person simply isn't worried about pot. (A similar measure in Telluride was defeated, but only thirteen out of more than six hundred voters would have had to have voted differently for that to reach the opposite result -- it was hardly a blowout defeat.)

Finally, it is increasingly clear that despite rumors of sinking polls on the eve of the election and poor turnout in key jurisdictions, Referendum C has passed in Colorado as a whole, with good performances in both the suburbs and rural areas compared to pre-election expectations, and good turnout in Denver (well beyond the 42% expected by Denver election officials). Referendum D remains a very close matter statewide, but D does not have to pass for C to be adopted, even though C does have to pass for D to be adopted. This is good news, for the reasons discussed at length already on this blog, but the fact that it was so close deserves more attention. This was a bipartisan measure adopted in the face of a dire budget crisis with widespread support from about 1,096 nonprofits in the state. The campaign was well organized, well funded and had highly committed high profile leaders. Yet, it was hardly a slam dunk. This dynamic is central to Colorado politics and needs to change if Colorado is to prosper.

1 comment:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Denver also gets credit for finishing its count before midnight despite not having the whole day to count mail in ballots.