More reasons for home rule
Dear Editor:I am writing to urge you to vote “Yes” for home rule for Eagle County. You should have your ballot by now – it’s a mail-in election, with ballots due in the County Clerk’s office by Tuesday, May 1.Here are just two reasons I think home rule promotes better government in Eagle County:Five commissioners:First, it gives us five county commissioners. We’re a large county, spread out geographically, and we have critical issues facing us: housing, transportation, open space, the environment, community health and social services, a stable economy, to name a few. If home rule is adopted, five commissioners would each represent a district, with one from the Basalt/El Jebel area. Commissioners would live in their districts and be voted on at large, just like now. I think that’s the best of both worlds – commissioners live in the communities they represent so are most familiar with issues, towns and neighborhoods there; but they serve the county as a whole and are elected by all residents.Counties have the option to go to five commissioners when they reach a population of 70,000. For us, at the rate we’re growing, that will probably be close to the year 2020. Because adding commissioners and drawing district boundaries have to be based on an official census, 2020 is the earliest date we could consider adding commissioners without moving to home rule status. I think that’s too long to wait.I believe five commissioners gives us more balance and better representation. “Who’s at the table” matters. Two more voices, from two more parts of the county, will provide balanced governance and more viewpoints. Three is a difficult number. On contentious issues, or with contentious personalities, big issues are often decided by one vote – one pro, one con – and the commissioner in the middle makes the big decisions.Accountability:This is a simple one, but very powerful. The charter requires an annual report from the commissioners. The report would show attendance records, every vote taken, and boards served on by each commissioner. This is public information, but hard to gather right now. The charter puts the records of our elected officials at our fingertips – another way of providing good representation and accountability.There are many more reasons to vote Yes! You can go to http://www.homerulefacts.com to get more detailed information or to read the charter. The charter is available on the county website as well, http://www.eaglecounty.us.In summary, I believe home rule is good governance. It’s self-determination at its best. It allows us to be governed close to home, and I’ve always believed that the best governance is that which is closest to the people.Thank you for exercising your precious citizen right to vote, and thank you for taking the time to read this letter.Kathy Chandler-HenryEagle
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