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Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

I have been spending more time than I want to reading the state amendments, an exercise in frustration trying to understand what they are asking. Here’s the first half of them:

Amendment 46: This sounds like an anti-discrimination question but it is exactly the opposite, being anti-affirmative action. We already have laws against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin; this question says that there should be no preferential treatment, either. I would like to think we’ve reached the point where everyone is judged on one’s own merits, but it’s clear we haven’t.

This is an Angry White Man question and I’m voting NO.

Amendment 47: This is one of two union-busting questions, supported by big corporations including Coors. It basically says that people wanting to work for a union company shouldn’t have to belong to the union. I think that workers have the right to unionize and if they have chosen to do so they should not be forced to hire non-union employees (otherwise, where’s the UNION of it?). This is one of the questions addressed by the flyer with the bald cop begging us to vote no, so I’m sorry to say it, but vote NO.

Amendment 48: Definition of Person. This is an anti-abortion question that says a “person,” with all legal rights, should be defined “to include any human being from the moment of fertilization.” I am a firm believer in the right to choose over the right to bear an unwanted child. A great big NO on this.

Amendment 49: This is another anti-union question ” why don’t they put these things together on the ballot? This one says there should only be certain allowable paycheck deductions, which would not include union dues. To me this should be between employee and employer and not a state amendment. NO.

Amendment 50: Change in gaming laws to allow Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek to allow single wagers up to $100 (currently $5) and to add craps and roulette to the games (currently slots, poker and blackjack), IF they vote to do it (we are not imposing anything), and 78 percent of those proceeds to go to community colleges. How can you run a decent casino without craps for godsake? I’m in favor or eliminating all gambling laws so it isn’t such a huge thing nationwide, but this is a start. And maybe CMC will refund us some of the substantial whack they take out of our taxes. YES YES YES.

Amendment 51: A state sales tax to increase services for people with developmental disabilities. I am all for helping the disabled (don’t you dare try to steal my handicapped tag!), but there are a lot of people hurting and this is a special interest tax so I’ll have to say NO.

Amendment 52: Use of Severance Tax for highways. “Severance tax” means taxes on companies which extract (“sever”) nonrenewable natural resources (oil, gas, coal, silver, gold) from the earth. This amendment asks that half of these revenues be used for highway projects. The existing taxes on these extractions are very low compared to other states and Amendment 58, which you absolutely must vote FOR because it will increase the tax on the oil companies (NOT on us, as the oil companies’ deceptive ads suggest). If Amendment 52 is passed and 58 is passed as well, the benefit for highway improvement will be HUGE and there will be all kinds of litigation over who will get the money. Highway funds are already in place through gas, registration, income and sales taxes and federal funding. Vote NO on Amendment 52 (and a big big YES on 58, one of the most misunderstood questions on the ballot).

Amendment 53: Criminal accountability of business executives. YES. Screw the bastards.

Amendment 54: Prohibits campaign contributions from recipients of government contracts, or those seeking contracts. In other words, you can’t buy your way in. Vote YES.


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