Council gets behind group opposing amendments

September 14, 2010

The Colorado Springs City Council passed a resolution Tuesday urging the defeat of three ballot measures that opponents say would have devastating effects on government.

But the vote wasn’t unanimous.

Three council members — Tom Gallagher, Darryl Glenn and Sean Paige — opposed the resolution, but not because they support Amendment 60, Amendment 61 or Proposition 101.

Amendment 60 would cut school-related property taxes and reimpose spending and revenue limits. It also calls for "state aid" to refill school coffers. Amendment 61 would restrict state and local borrowing. Proposition 101 would cut car license fees, the state income tax and fees that show up on phone bills.

Glenn cast a dissenting vote because the resolution was inadvertently left off Tuesday’s agenda.

Councilwoman Jan Martin requested that it be included on the agenda during Monday’s council meeting, which is televised and open to the public.

Still, “I believe it should have been noticed,” Glenn said. “I think it’s only fair to have a very open discussion, pros and cons.”

Paige also said he was “uncomfortable” with the process and had a problem with the resolution itself, which stated that the council was “in support of Coloradans For Responsible Reform,” a group working to defeat the measures.

“I don’t know who their donors are,” he said. “For us to attach ourselves to a private organization, I don’t know that that’s really appropriate.”

Paige had an even bigger problem with the perception that council is telling people how to vote.

“I oppose these measures. I oppose them strenuously. I think they’ll be terrible,” he said. “But I guess I oppose more city councils or any elected body voting collectively to try to tell voters how to vote.”

Gallagher agreed.

“There’s just something wrong with the system when government tells the people how to vote,” he said.

Vice Mayor Larry Small said the council wasn’t telling people how to vote.

“We’re saying that we oppose these, and we urge their defeat,” he said.

The citizens of Colorado Springs expect their elected representatives “to take positions on their behalf and for their benefit,” Mayor Lionel Rivera said.

“I think it would be irresponsible not to express our opinion, especially when we know the ramifications to the city budget,” he said.

El Paso County commissioners and others have also opposed the measures.

The council plans to take another formal position on the ballot measures Sept. 28 with a separate resolution that specifies how the measures will affect the city.

“We will do our own resolution, which will be more specific to local issues,” Martin said. “But we felt it was important to get this done so that we could be included on the (Coloradans For Responsible Reform) list of people or groups in opposition.”

Call the writer at 476-1623

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