Government-reform redux runs into skepticism
November 28, 2006
Home rule is alive for now, but several authors of Eagle County’s government- reform charter said they’re not sure it should have a second chance.
“There’s undecided ambivalence,” said Don Cohen, chairman of the Eagle County Home Rule Charter Commission. The commission met Monday to consider whether it should move forward with putting home rule on the ballot again after its defeat by voters in November. The commissioners tentatively agreed to meet next month to keep talking about the prospect.
In the Nov. 7 election, 53.5 percent of Eagle County voters rejected home rule, but state law allows the proposed charter back on the ballot a second time.
A special election, which would have to happen by this spring, would cost up to $50,000.
The home-rule proposal would have increased the number of county commissioners from three to five. Supporters said that would give the county better representation. It also would have removed party affiliations from county races.
Opponents said the measure would cost too much and wouldn’t improve representation
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A few of the Home Rule Charter Commission members said Monday that it might not be a great idea to keep going. “I’m leaning against proceeding any further,” said Dave Mott.
“I think we’re kind of flogging a dead horse here,” agreed Tom Edwards.
“I’m doubting the value of putting it back out again,” said John Horan-Kates.
Jacque Whitsitt of Basalt ” part of the corner of Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley that would get a its own commissioner under the proposal ” was the only commission member to say she’d like to see it put before voters again.
“I feel very strongly we should take it back to the ballot,” she said.
Several meeting attendees encouraged the commission to bag home rule. Tim Cochrane of Eagle said the voters’ decision should be respected.
“Don’t sell Eagle County residents short,” he said.
Commissioners cited several reason why they thought voters rejected home rule. Some said the proposal was too complicated for voters. Others said the November ballot was too long and was asking for too many costly proposals. Others said opponents’ yard signs that read “Protect your rights” were misleading yet effective.
The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.