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Ballot initiatives

Dear Editor:

The Pagosa SUN did a front page article on our Liberty Zone ballot initiatives which did a lot to stir up more interest in what we are doing here, but they failed to provide the actual facts of the law we are acting under, and instead, mouthed attorney propaganda that we had no county right to petition for ballot initiatives. Since The SUN is seemingly not willing to give us equal time when we asked for it to give the other side of the case (no response to our request), here are the basic facts. Colorado statutes authorize us to do what we did, and you can prove it yourself by going to michie.com and going to “Colorado Revised Statutes” and look it up. First, the Colo. Const. Art. II, Section 1, Vestment of political power, states “All political power is vested in and derived from the people;” that would be us, not the leaders, but they want to say that county citizens do not have such power. Cities, towns and municipalities have this power to petition, but not the rest of us in the county? We had to look for the laws on this issue. In C.R.S. 30-11-103.5, County Petitions and Referred Measures; it states, “The procedures for placing an issue or question on the ballot by a petition of the electors of a county … shall …follow as nearly as practicable the procedures for municipal initiatives and referred measures under part 1 of article 11 of title 31, C.R.S.” C.R.S. 31-11-104 – Municipal Initiatives, goes on to detail the exact procedure for initiatives, which we followed to a “T.” The county attorney, Todd Starr, said there is no authority to do what we did. The above, which is pretty basic law, proves otherwise. Further, in the Colorado Constitution Article 14 Section 16; County Home Rule, it states, “Action to initiate home rule may be by petition, signed by not less than five percent of the registered electors of the county in which home rule is sought …” Now, the obvious may be missed by our county attorney, but not the rest of us. If we, as county citizens, do not have any authority to bring ballot initiatives (disenfranchising us from a voice in government, a violation of our rights), then where does the authority for county citizens to bring a ballot petition for home rule come from? This is obviously an existing right and law for us at the county level to bring a home rule petition, so why would the right stop there? We have the right on home rule, but we don’t have the right for anything else? This is an example of attempted subversion of our rights and the constitutional laws of Colorado. Those in power are loath to give any power back to the people, but that is too bad. It was ours, and is ours still, not theirs, and we want it back, now. Don’t fall for those who would maintain your chains at any cost.

Jeff Maehr

This story was posted on January 2, 2014.