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In last week’s letters, D. Cotton accused residents who want a vote on the future development of Reservoir Hill of seeking to change our current form of government. By taking decision-making responsibilities away from elected officials, he warned of impending mob rule. Not surprisingly, several members of the town’s council share Mr. Cotton’s concerns.
Fellow citizens, have no fear. Mr. Cotton’s worries are unfounded. The right of voters to initiate changes to the law and reclaim limited decision-making authority is one expressly reserved in our town’s home rule charter, as well as our state’s constitution. In fact, the Supreme Court of Colorado has declared, “Like the right to vote, the power of initiative is a fundamental right at the very core of our republic form of government.”
How should disgruntled residents react when a handful of elected officials propose to build amusement rides atop the town’s beautiful woodland park? Mr. Cotton suggests they meekly accept the officials’ decisions for now, and then vote them out of office later. That strategy may work in some circumstances, but not when it comes to the irreversible destruction of a natural resource. Once trees are cut, concrete is poured, and the first screaming tourist goes flying down Reservoir Hill in a roller coaster, it’s too late to un-ring that bell. The horse is out of the barn, and it isn’t ever coming back.
If town residents want to step up and demand a say in the future of Reservoir Hill before it’s too late, that’s their constitutional right. And anyone who suggests that they sit on that right seems to be the one really wanting to change to our current form of government.