September 9, 2009
A judge Wednesday rejected an effort by anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce to overturn the wording on a ballot measure that will be decided by Colorado Springs voters in November.
Fourth Judicial District Judge G. David Miller also refused to force the city to send a 500-word commentary from Bruce to accompany the ballot measure, now known as Ballot Issue 300.
The measure would phase out over eight years fees collected by city enterprises, starting with one that charges property owners for drainage projects.
Bruce argued that the City Council violated the city charter by inserting an introductory clause that framed the ballot measure into a yes or no question, rather than for and against.
In a six-page decision, Miller ruled that the language added by the city did not alter the meaning of the measure as described on the petitions that Bruce and others circulated. In fact, he said the added wording made the measure “more understandable,”
Miller also disagreed with Bruce’s interpretation of the state Constitution requiring that the city include his 500-word argument for the measure in the notices sent to voters.
Bruce said he will seek an emergency ruling later this week from the Colorado Court of Appeals.
“I’m not going to let local government get away with this nonsense,” he said. “They don’t care about misleading the voters. They want to mislead the voters. That’s all they’ve got going for them.”
El Paso County officials say the final language of the measure needs to be to the printer by Friday.
For more court coverage, read the Sidebar Blog at Gazette.com.