Endorsements for Nov. 7
President -- Crusader Ralph Nader
Senate District 12 -- Libertarian Patrick Lilly
House District 17 -- Democrat Ed Raye
House District 19 -- Republican Richard Decker
House District 21 -- Democrat Laurie Picus
House District 22 -- Democrat Michael Merrifield
Colorado Board of Education -- At large -- Democrat Jared Polis
Amendment 20: Medical marijuana - Yes
Amendment 21: The caveman tax slash proposal - No
Amendment 22: Closing the gun show loophole - Yes
Amendment 23: Funding public schools - Yes
Amendment 24: Controlling sprawl - Yes
Amendment 25: Excessive requirements for women and abortion providers - No
Referendum A -- Property tax reduction for seniors - No
Referendum B -- Reforming the reapportionment timetable - Yes
Referendum C-- Selection of county surveyors - Yes
Referendum D -- Eliminating outdated constitutional provisions - Yes
Referendum E -- Multi-state lotteries - No
Referendum F -- Additional funding for math and science grants - No
Colorado Springs 3B District 11 mill levy increase - Yes
County Question 1A -- Rebuild Bear Creek Nature Center - Yes
City of Colorado Springs Cable Proposals:
This year's questions are similar to last year's conundrum. Basically, the city charter requires voters to approve any franchise agreement with the companies that provide cable access to the people who live here. The big game in town right now is Adelphia, the Pennsylvania-based conglomerate that currently controls the rates, customer service and access to cable not only here but across most of the country. Adelphia wants a non-exclusive franchise agreement here (Question 2A).
This year, a new, Colorado-based cable company Wide Open West, is also bidding for a non-exclusive agreement to come in and compete in Colorado Springs (Question 2B).
The third question (2C) asks voters to let the city keep the money from any voter-approved cable franchise agreement, overriding TABOR restrictions.
Here are our recommendations:
2A -- No. For the second year, the city did not negotiate the best deal for its people. Again, the city ignored major components that are commonly addressed in cable franchise agreements all over Colorado, including requiring Adelphia to respond to customer complaints and not increase cable rates at whim. Like last year, the proposal still gives Adelphia control over the local public access channel, and doesn't promise cable service to various parts of the city currently without cable, including downtown. Our advice to the city: Hire a professional negotiator, go back for Round 3 and bring us a palatable proposal next year.
2B: Yes: Let Wide Open West have a non-exclusive franchise agreement. It will hold their feet to the fire to actually compete with Adelphia in Colorado Springs.
2C: Yes: Ninety-nine percent of the cities in America have franchise deals that require their local cable company to give back to the community in exchange for using the public right of ways. Because our city requires a vote of the people, and we have thus rejected bad proposals, we have allowed the cable monopoly a free money ride. It's time to end that sweet deal.
Editors note: The Independent's full endorsements for all of these ballot issues can be reviewed online at www.csindy.com.