Recent Stories

New Process for Examining Ballot Measures will have Colorado Trial

An Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review at work.

The citizens jury method of evaluating ballot measures will receive a pilot run in Colorado this fall. A balanced panel of 20 state residents will present their findings on Initiative 48, which would require labeling on genetically modified food. The citizens will hear first from opponents and proponents, with neutral experts on hand for questions. Continue Reading →

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Weld, Moffat County Residents Like it Where They Are, in Colorado.


It isn't just that secession votes failed in six of the 11 counties where they took place Tuesday. It's where they failed, including Weld County where county commissioners were the driving force and public face of the movement (including nice rides on national television, complaining about the politics in Denver).  Some 58 percent of Weld voters decided they like it just fine where they are, in Colorado. Greeley Mayor Tom Norton, the former Republican president of the Colorado state senate, was against the 51st state movement from the beginning and he was reelected  with 72 percent of the vote. Some secessionist leaders were putting the happy face on their defeat, according to The Greeley Tribune.  “If this turns things around and opens doors and people start working together more, I think all of that is a good thing,”  said Weld Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. Steve Mazurana, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Northern Colorado, didn't see it quite that way. Continue Reading →

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Boulder Voters Favor Their Own Electric Company, Reject Xcel Measure


The Xcel Energy-sponsored Measure 310, which would have slowed Boulder’s push for a municipal electric utility, failed by a wide margin at the polls Tuesday, despite receiving about triple the amount of campaign dollars as the prevailing, city-sponsored Measure 2E. The competing energy measures received international interest, and drew about $1.4 million in contributions. The nearly 67 percent of voters who said “yes” on 2E cleared the way for the Boulder City Council to incur $214 million in debt to begin acquiring Xcel's distribution system in Boulder. Measure 2E  amends the city’s home rule charter and continues the path city voters began in 2011 to explore forming a cost-effective municipal electric utility that uses more renewable energy sources than the current model in place by Xcel. The night proved to be a big loss for Xcel. Continue Reading →

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Despite Massive Campaign Spending, Education Amendment Loses Big

Funding for Amendment 66 in 2013 Election

Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected an income tax hike to pay for K-12 schools Tuesday, despite a campaign that spent more than $10 million to persuade voters. But voters did agree to levy hefty excise and sales taxes on legal marijuana - and up to $40 million of that money will go to pay for K-12 school construction projects. Proposition AA passed with about 65 percent of the vote. More than 65 percent of voters opposed Amendment 66, which  would have raised about $1 billion a year for public schools through a two-tiered income tax hike. That compares with a 64 percent rejection of Proposition 103, a 2011 proposal to temporarily raise income taxes for K-12. The measure was supported by Gov. John Hickenlooper and had many other endorsements. Continue Reading →

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Secession from State on Front Burner as Election Day Arrives

Map of New Colorado

Voters in 11 Colorado counties will go to the polls tomorrow to decide whether they want to pursue secession from the state. Ten of those counties, including Weld, are in the northeast corner of the state and the plan there is to form a new state of North Colorado, while Moffat County in the northwest corner wants to become the Wyoming panhandle. If this seems like an extraordinary way to pursue a region's political grievances, that's because it is. No area has successfully removed itself from an existing state since West Virginia split from Virgina at the height of the American Civil War. Secessionists, led by the Weld County Commission, say the state Capitol in Denver is under the thumb of urban legislators, while their own interests are being ignored. Continue Reading →

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Boulder Voters Face Competing Ballot Measures on Municipal Electric Company

Xcel Energy

By Adrian D. Garcia
Boulder voters face competing energy utility measures on the ballot Tuesday, one put forth by Boulder City Council that would advance a city owned and operated electric system, and the other funded largely by energy giant Xcel that would slow the process down if not derail it. The city’s measure, Question 2E, would authorize the expenditure of up to $214 million to acquire Excel Energy’s distribution system in Boulder, continuing the process approved by city voters in 2011 to explore forming a municipal electric utility. Advocates argue Boulder could more effectively pursue green energy goals if it was operating its own “muni.”

Question 310, which arrived on the ballot first via a citizens’ initiative, forcing the city to put up its competing measure,  would also amend the city’s home rule charter to stipulate that voters would have to approve the total debt limit and repayment amount of any debt a municipal utility issues. Any Boulder County residents who might receive energy from the city’s utility would also vote on that debt. “It’s inconvenient for the city to get the voters input, but it’s also a massive amount of debt that the city’s taking on,” said Katy Atkinson, spokeswoman for Voter Approval of Debt Limits, an issue committee supporting Question 310. Continue Reading →

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Bloomberg, Melinda Gates Join Big Contributors to Colorado’s Amendment 66 Campaign


Two more big names – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Melinda Gates – kicked in $1 million each to an effort to convince Coloradans to raise income taxes to support K-12 education. Bloomberg Philanthropies gave $1,050,000 on Oct. 16 and Gates gave $1 million on Oct. 17. The two largest contributors are two teachers’ unions. Continue Reading →

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Hick Ventures Into the Would-Be 51st State, Not Warmly Received

Gov. Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper arrives at the University Center on Wednesday at the University of Northern Colorado campus in Greeley. Hickenlooper spoke with several city and county officials in an effort to create regular communication between the Governor's office and Colorado communities. (Photo by Joshua Polson/jpolson@greeleytribune.com | The Greeley Tribune)

Gov. John Hickenlooper deserves at least a modicum of credit for his willingness to enter the lion's den. In this case, that would be a trip last week to Weld County to meet with a group of 30 or so local and elected officials so unhappy with the state of politics in Denver that they're voting on whether to secede from Colorado. Eleven counties have just such a measure on next Tuesday's ballot - 10 counties in northeast Colorado are proposing to become a new state of North Colorado, while Moffat County in far northwest Colorado will explore becoming part of Wyoming. Continue Reading →

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