Looking at the events of the last couple of weeks, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that certain public officials in Colorado hold their constituents in contempt for the sin of not handing over their pocketbooks.
Legislative Democrats, with the cooperation of too many Republicans, have gone along with efforts to water down the state’s initiative process. And now, for refusing to go along with these plans, the people having spoken, must be punished.
In 2008, they turned down Referendum O, which would have allowed opponents of ballot measures to focus their efforts on any one Congressional district. And they turned down Amendment 59, which would have lined the teachers unions’ pension plans by gutting TABOR.
This session, the Democrats failed to pass out of the Senate SCR-001, which would have created a hybrid Constitutional amendment-recision process that was clearly too complex for its stated goals.
Now, they have resorted to suing their own constituents in federal court, claiming that the Colorado Constitution is unconstitutional. The legal precedent here is clear. The courts have long held that the US Constitutional requirement for a “republican form of government” is non-justiciable, meaning that it’s a matter for the legislature and the people to decide. The most recent case, in 1912, upheld a state’s citizen initiative process against the very claim they seek to revive.
Remember, for “progressives,” it’s always Three Minutes to Wilson.
This effort is really a matter of politics, not of litigation, and that the plaintiffs are seeking a platform at taxpayers’ expense to make their case against TABOR.
(Let’s be clear: this is a Democrat initiative, and shame to the few officeholding Republicans who’ve given them cover to call it “bipartisan.” The big names are representatives of the “former” variety, and of the total list of 12, only 6 hold elected office, at the school board or city council level, most of which are nominally non-partisan.)
We’ve also heard that back in 2009-2010, the Colorado Springs City Manager at the time, Penny Culbreth-Graft, had instructed the city’s PR office to intentionally undermine its image, in the national media if need be, to browbeat the citizenry into voting for higher taxes. I’m sure the folks tasked with luring tourists, students, and businesses to the area were thrilled with this.
So think about this: in the last two weeks, we’ve seen public officials sue their citizens, and undermine the name of their own city. Why on earth should these people be trusted with more of our money?