31 October 2011

Vote in Colorado and in particular in Denver.

You can still hand deliver your ballots in the 2011 general election in Colorado today and tomorrow at designated elections offices open until 6 p.m. today and from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. tomorrow.

The locations in Denver, Colorado are:

Denver Elections Division, 200 W. 14th Ave.
Christ Community Church, 8085 E. Hampden Ave.
Harvey Park Recreation Center, 2120 S. Tennyson Way
Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center, 3334 N. Holly St.
Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 E. 53rd Ave.
Montclair Recreation Center, 729 N. Ulster Way
Scheitler Recreation Center, 5031 W. 46th Ave.
Washington Park Recreation Center, 701 S. Franklin St.

At the state level the only issue is Proposition 103 which would increase the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 5.0% and the state sales tax rate from 2.9% to 3.0% for a number of years, and in exchange increase funding for K-12 and higher education combined (the division of funds is up to the Colorado General Assembly) by about 15%.

Colorado has one of the least well funded higher education systems relative to median state income in the nation, and its funding of K-12 is lackluster.  Due to the mechanics of various federal law, state constitutional, and practical considerations that go into the Colorado state budget, in recessions, higher education almost always takes the lion's share of shortfalls in state revenues and this measure proposes a medium term fix to that problem.  I recommend that you vote for Proposition 103.

In Denver, voters will cast ballots in one five way at large school board race and two school board district races, each with two contenders.  I profiled the candidates here. At stake in the race is the ongoing division in the school board between members favorably inclined to charter schools and other reforms backed by well heeled area business people, and candidates strongly committed to neighborhood schools and concerned that new options undermine these schools backed by the teacher's union.

Denver voters also cast ballots on citizen initiated issue 300, which would mandate that workers in Denver at establishments with 10 or more employees would earn 1 hour of paid sick time/family sick time/domestic violence victim time off for each 30 hours worked up to 75 hours a year (40 hours a year for businesses in their first year).  The Mayor and City Council are against it, fearing an undue burden on businesses.  I'm not convinced and think that it is the right thing to do, and that the additional administrative burden would be modest given the many payroll obligations that businesses this size must already meet.  It works out to less than a 3% pay raise for hourly workers in the city, as not everyone would use the new benefit. Vote yes on issue 300.

Finally, Denver voters decide if the City Auditor should be permitted to appoint his deputy, a referred charter amendment that would slightly reduce the scope of the city's civil service system for one senior position in the auditor's office, rather than requiring the auditor to pick from three civil service board screened candidates for this post.  I think that this is a reasonable change and recommend that you vote in favor of it.

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