John Colson: A few ideas for the midterm ballot, now get busy and vote | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: A few ideas for the midterm ballot, now get busy and vote

John Colson
Hit & Run

Have you taken a look at your electoral bible for 2018?

I'm referring to the State Ballot Information Booklet and Recommendations on Retention of Judges, a 107-page pamphlet providing dry-as-dust information about the various ballot questions and judicial-retention questions facing voters Nov. 6.

Keep in mind, this hefty little pamphlet does not even pretend to offer suggestions for how voters should cast their ballots in the election, nor does it even touch upon the numerous political races involving candidates from the two major parties and some not-so-major.

I'm just glad I don't live in California, where a nephew informs me that the "Blue Book," as the state ballot information pamphlets are often called, is perhaps four times as thick as the one we have to work through here in Colorado.

Given the girth of our Blue Book here in the Centennial State, and the difficulty of parsing the dense language and meaning contained therein, we have a lot of work to do in the coming three weeks or so.

So, as we struggle to make choices and mark ballots in the hope that we can wrest our political culture out of its tailspin into hate, intolerance, greed and spite and back toward some semblance of rationality and hope for the future of humanity, I offer a few thoughts and suggestions on a few of the more critical (to my way of thinking) issues and candidates, to help the weary voter through the dark woods and into the bright sunshine of post-election recovery.

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Naturally, if you've already made your own journey through the pages of the Blue Book, the multitude of new stories in newspapers, on TV and radio, and have come to your own set of conclusions, my advice may be superfluous.

But in the off chance that you're still in a dither about it all, feel free to borrow as much of my thinking as you feel is appropriate.

And good luck to all of us.

3rd Congressional District

My choice in this contest is clear and unequivocal — vote for Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat who is trying to unseat long-time incumbent Republican Scott Tipton, who has held the job for far too long and deserves to be put out to pasture for a much-needed rest.

I have been receiving announcements from Tipton's office over the past couple of years, and have noticed that he mostly keeps his head down and proposes safe, non-consequential bills that toe the Republican line of slashing taxes, eliminating regulation of businesses and protecting the profits of big corporations and landowners.

He has voted to kill the Affordable Care Act and, failing that, to cripple it and raise health care costs at the same time, in the hope that the public support for the program will wither.

He voted along party lines to slash taxes for the wealthy and the corporations, thereby further ensuring that our government is supported mainly by the income tax revenue from those who can't afford to hire tax lawyers and cheat on their rightful obligation to help fund the government.

Mitsch Bush, on the other hand, has a long record of progressive, environmentally beneficial positions aimed at helping to protect our state's share of the nation's natural treasures, including our rivers and our forests, from despoliation by industries and developers.

She has pointed out Tipton's hypocrisy in voting for Donald Trump's tax cuts, ripping a trillion-dollar hole in our fiscal future, then turning around to slash funding for everything from Social Security and Medicare, to public education and environmental protection, claiming there isn't enough money to do the things that voters have long supported and voted for.

Most importantly, Mitsch Bush is part of the resurgence of intelligent, practical and forward-thinking women who are needed to counterbalance the white-supremacist, corporate-funded, anti-government ways of the current administration.

Governor

I'm voting for Jared Polis and Diane Primavera, who, like Mitsch Bush, will continue and improve upon the legacy left behind by outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper, and not simply sell our state out to the highest bidder.

Proposition 112

Vote for this one, which would require that oil and gas drillers stay 2,500 feet from occupied structures, water sources and areas "designated as vulnerable." Ignore the industry-spawned lies predicting that it will mean the end of oil and gas exploration in the state, because it most certainly will not. There will still be plenty of private and federal land for the rigs to occupy, and as long as there's money to be made the industry will continue to drill. And what the industry is declining to address is the plain fact that its activities have been making people sick, polluting the water and air near homes and schools, and generally making a monstrous profit with little regard for the safety and welfare of the citizens who live near their facilities.

Amendment 74

Vote against this one, in part because there already are laws on the books, known as "takings" regulations, that permit private property owners to be compensated when government actions are proven to damage or cut the value of a private property. Plus, laws such as this one have no proper place in the state Constitution, and should be rejected on that principle alone. This proposed amendment comes to us from the oil and gas industry, which is seeking to get rid of all opportunities for state or citizen interference with their greedy ways.

Amendments Y & Z

These two are aimed at undercutting the practice known as "gerrymandering," which allows the party in power to juggle voting populations around the state in ways that keep that party in the driver's seat. We have seen in recent years how this undemocratic scheme (along with its cousin, the federal Electoral College) has warped our political map and disenfranchised voters wholesale. It has to stop, and this is a good first step in getting that done.

There is much more, and perhaps I'll be able to go a little further in future columns, but for now, that's it.

Oh, one final thought: Whatever your politics, whomever you support in this election cycle, it is crucial that you, your relatives, your friends, even your enemies get out there and vote. This thing called our representative republic doesn't work if we sit on our hands at election time.

Email at jbcolson51@gmail.com.

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