Aurora Mayor Steven Hogan died in 2015 at the age of 69 yet his vision of Aurora continues to reach fruition a...
BY THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARD The political class can never get enough of the private sector...
Ramblin’ around the corral with Bob Sweeney Brrrr, what a quick return to winter weather, we can be than...
The Fall air is starting to fill with political decisions. Candidates for city leadership positions are...
SUBMITTED BY CURTIS GARDNER It isn’t news to anyone reading this – Aurora is getting big. With nearly 400,000...
BY DAVE KERBERGV COUNCIL MEMBER The State Legislature passed a number of initiatives to “enhance” our lives du...
Ramblin’ around the corral with Bob Sweeney The Second Commandment say to “Love your neighbor as yoursel...
Most citizens don’t like to pay taxes, but that is a price we pay for a civilized society. Our tax doll...
My wife and I just returned from a wonderful two-week trip to London and Germany, part business, part pleasure...
Arapahoe County lost a true American hero last week. The death of Mort Marks has ended one of the last of surv...
Aurora Mayor Steven Hogan died in 2015 at the age of 69 yet his vision of Aurora continues to reach fruition after his death.
Steve spent a majority of his life as a public servant serving in the Colorado State legislature, as the first executive director of the E-470 Public Highway Authority and as a broad member, the Aurora city council and ultimately as mayor of Aurora.
Throughout his career Steve had a vision to improve the Colorado’s transportation system and provide a government that was truly transparent to those whom he governed.
He worked to develop the alternative E-470 PHA from a small four- mile toll road into a larger, financially successful transportation corridor connecting with most of the north and south transportation corridors.
He helped in negotiating the development of a coalition of cities, Arapahoe County, Colorado Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense to fund the construction of a 6th Avenue new extension from Aurora to E-470 and the eastern parts of Arapahoe County.
The completed corridor, now called the Steven D. Hogan Parkway, opened last month, will significantly reduce travel time to those areas and provide a safer and more convenient access to E-470.
In spite of the fact that Steve’s life was cut short; his remarkable achievements and vision continues to find their way into achievable public policy and brick and mortar projects.
Steve’s legacy of achievements continues to grow. Steve we will continue to work to achieve your dreams and expand your legacy.
BY THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARD
The political class can never get enough of the private sector’s money. That is why politicians are trying to con voters into passing Proposition CC in November.
Do not give politicians a blank check. They have proven unable to manage what they already have.
Colorado is not a low-tax state where politicians scrape to fund basic services. Our state did not make Kiplinger’s top-10 list of the most tax-friendly states this year, released last week, despite having a one-of-a-kind Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the state constitution.
Weakening this protection, as Proposition CC would do, will only make things worse.
By calling taxes “fees,” and because of Colorado’s booming economy, the state government finds itself awash in surplus revenue. It has so much excess income, estimates anticipate constitutionally mandated returns of nearly $400 million for fiscal year 2020 and 2021.
TABOR requires the state government to return surplus revenue that exceeds inflation plus population growth. That law, enacted by voters, wisely recognizes the rights of individuals to keep their earnings, while ensuring the government can provide essential services.
Despite substantial new revenues, politicians refuse to live within their means. The overreaching, anything-goes legislative session of 2019 spent so much on want-tohave social programs that the state’s budget must absorb up to $100 million in new expenses next year.
Meanwhile, politicians continue to underfund transportation and education in the hope taxpayers will give in by approving a tax increase or demolishing TABOR.
Even Democrats are wringing their hands over the budget situation in Colorado.
“I’m very concerned,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, as quoted by reporter John
Frank in a Denver publication.
She would like to come off as a voice of reason, but Zenzinger chairs the Senate
Appropriations Committee and helps write the budget as a member of the Joint
Budget Committee. She voted for the budget and for nearly all the programs that are overstressing the government’s unprecedented revenues.
“I was concerned last year,” Zenzinger said. “And the fact that the estimates (for required spending) are coming in so much higher, just increases my concern.”
More than almost anyone else in the state, Zenzinger is responsible for the reckless spending spree that stretched the budget too thin. Now, like a drunk with a hangover, she is waking up in a mess of her creation.
The incoming Democratic chair of the Joint Budget Committee expressed similar anxiety about the Democrats’ spending binge.
“There were a lot of bills passed last (session) that have continued spending … and some of those were very large,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “I don’t think we completely all truly understand what we have obligated ourselves to.”
It sounds like a cry of “what have we done?” The answer is clear. State politicians neglected to manage money responsibly. They overspent, despite the luxury of riches.
In addition to squandering bull-market surpluses, legislators in 2019 chose to jeopardize one of the state’s largest producers of tax revenues: the oil and gas industry.
In passing Senate Bill 181, legislative Democrats authorized local governments to overregulate and even ban oil and gas operations within jurisdictions. As local jurisdictions roll out new regulations, expect energy revenues to sink and the state’s cry of poverty to grow even louder.
In this environment, the political class has the audacity to ask more from taxpayers.
Proposition CC would gut TABOR forever, giving politicians the authority to keep all revenues exceeding a commonsense formula — established entirely by voters — that keeps government spending within reasonable boundaries.
Brrrr, what a quick return to winter weather, we can be thankful that the recent snowfall was not heavy enough to damage our beautiful fall tree foliage. The freezing weather did take some of the color away from the gilded aspen and golden-brown trees and bushes.
Outdoor flowers have met a sudden death sentence for this season.
Noticed that it was -4 below zero in Steamboat and -2 below in Grand Junction. That is very dangerous to our famed “Palisade Peach” heartland. Those late summer plump peaches are the best of the season. Not sure what the freeze does to the abundant apple crop.
I received an interesting anonymous letter recently that I actually appreciate calling attention to some misspelled names in my columns. Let me apologize to any of you readers when I misspelled your names. To mention a few classics: Koulis, rather than Kouilis, Marilyn not Maryln, Wirth, not Worth, Marcy instead of Marcie, and Kathy rather than Cathy. I get the message and will do better; unfortunately spell check doesn’t correct all names and our copy editor was from Minnesota and didn’t know local names. (Retired now.)
Challenges that we face with names is always difficult. Photo captions are really challenging to quickly capture groups in photos and get names in the right order. Also, to decipher the quick scribble of having people write down their own names. We love business cards because we can get the names spelled correctly.
I know that Nancy Sharpe is not Sharp, and that Bennet has only one T. Also, that Lynne is not Lynn, but you see these names are tricky. I admire the proofreader who sent me the alert on names. I think the avid reader for her knowledge of names and politics, really sharp on these spelling errors. I plead “guilty” and will attempt to be more careful. I know that nothing is more important to a person than the correct spelling of their name. We all need some coaching tips.
Also had an unusual twist of fate this past week on a Centennial story that was edited correctly, but an unedited version ended up on the web page for a brief period of time. The vigilant editor did correct the final proof page copy and deleted some reporter name references.
The objectionable reference never appeared in The Villager print edition. We pride ourselves in attempting to report the news accurately. Spend a week with us and you will have more appreciation for what we all accomplish.
The Fall air is starting to fill with political decisions. Candidates for city leadership positions are knocking on doors and political signs are appearing in yards and street corners.
Littleton, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Centennial, and Aurora will elect new council members and a new mayor in Aurora. There will be no runoffs; high vote recipient in every election will be sworn into office to serve their constituents.
In meeting many of the candidates and listening to some of the interviews, the main issues appear to be traffic, traffic and traffic.
We’re blessed in the metro area to have a thriving economy with people fortunate to have jobs. At least the highways and byways are loaded with vehicles with people heading to jobs.
Many areas of Colorado are not that fortunate and some of the rural farm and coal mining cities are depressed and home values have plummeted. Recent legislation impacting the oil and gas business have had energy companies leaving the state. The income from the fossil fuel industry is huge. As we grow smarter on how to produce cleaner energy it will take years to implement new sources of fuel. Some in the near future, like polymers, will fade away and new sources of packaging liquids and food will be introduced. But it will take time for new energy sources to develop as the demand for electricity will continue to expand.
Toyota is already working on hydrogen fuel for automobiles, and the new lithium batteries have revolutionized the electric car industry. These changes have a huge impact on our economy and employment. What will happen to the lack of fuel tax for highways?
The caliber of candidates across Arapahoe County is exceptional high. Some very well-qualified candidates are seeking council positions with years of experience on various boards. The mayoral race in Aurora is exceptional with a former Congressman and Mayor Pro-Tem seeking high office, along with three other well qualified candidates. The winner will lead the third largest city in Colorado with 375,000 people with room to expand to Kansas.
Denver and Aurora water departments have done a miraculous job of obtaining mountain diversion water to the metro areas with enough water to provide for the anticipated growth, but dependent upon abundant snowfall and storage capacity.
City council candidates will be dealing with traffic studies, understanding comprehensive plans, fire and police issues, housing issues, building permits, but traffic is everyone’s major concern.
County ballots will be delivered this week and the choices will be revealed in print. The largest county issue is the new proposed jail that is the largest property tax issue for county voters to decide.
When the candidates knock on your door, thank them for being willing to serve in public office. It is not an easy task to perform.
SUBMITTED BY CURTIS GARDNER
It isn’t news to anyone reading this – Aurora is getting big. With nearly 400,000 people and a sprawling road network, we suffer big city problems.
We all see the traffic congestion but the deterioration of our streets is more subtle. For too long the funding available to care for our streets hasn’t matched the damage inflicted by our weather and heavy usage. Data compiled by the Public Works Department indicates we’ve fallen $20 million behind what’s needed to maintain our roads and that shortfall will grow at an accelerating rate. We cannot let our streets crumble.
The City depends largely on sales tax collections to fund street maintenance and other services. That means the health of our streets depends directly on our retail and restaurant trade. But even in this healthy economy, the City of Aurora can’t keep up. Why?
One factor: Consumers today are less interested in things, opting instead for experiences. This is seen in rising attendance at concerts and other performing arts. But with virtually no venues, we all generally leave Aurora for our fix of live music or other performing arts. Further, folks rarely visit Aurora for dinner and a live show.
For those staying at the Gaylord, it’s a 20-minute Uber ride to the new Mission Ballroom in Denver. For residents in south Aurora, the drive to Parker and Lone Tree is even shorter. Morrison, Broomfield and Arvada also enjoy a slice of our business.
Aurora is home to 8% of the people living on the Front Range yet has no major venues. This creates an imbalance in event-related trade with our neighbors. But with the region’s population growing, Aurora has the opportunity to seize a share of the expanding market and correct this imbalance. Further, with several sites adjacent to major transportation arterials, the prospects for drawing people here for events are tremendous.
Aurora’s opportunity goes beyond the economic realm. There are numerous community-building benefits to be gained that would advance our quality of life. Holding high school graduations closer to home is one. Providing spaces for our own artists to perform and create is another. With robust public input, a venue can also help revitalize a neighborhood.
Quality of Life is more than just a slogan in my campaign for Aurora City Council At-Large. If elected, I’ll work tirelessly to develop and execute a focused strategic plan to bring venues and the related benefits to Aurora. All community and business stakeholders will be at the table and we will be fiscally-responsible each step of the way.
I would be honored to have you join me.
Curtis Gardner is Executive Vice President for Aurora Federal Credit Union and has served on the Aurora Citizens’ Advisory Budget Committee since 2012. He is a candidate for Aurora City Council At-Large in 2019.
BY DAVE KERBERGV COUNCIL MEMBER
The State Legislature passed a number of initiatives to “enhance” our lives during the 2019 session. They also had the foresight to realize they couldn’t pay for them so on the way out, they put a measure on the 2019 ballot (Proposition CC) to change TABOR so they could keep more money than they would otherwise be entitled to. At least, that’s how I see it. Don’t know if they put it on the 2019 ballot instead of 2020 because they thought that we wouldn’t see this knuckleball coming, or they are really so short on money that the 2020 session could really be ugly without a bailout from the taxpayers.
A little review….TABOR was passed in 1992 because the people of Colorado got tired of the Legislature increasing taxes because they couldn’t control themselves when everyone with their hands out wanted more money or a new program. Let’s be honest, the people of Colorado determined that they didn’t trust the Legislature, Democrats or Republicans, with their money. I don’t recall any indication that the State Legislature has risen in the esteem of the people since then, so it looks like it was a good call back in 1992.
The people also did one other thing. They set a limit on how much of a bite the government could take out of our hides. It’s not like the government has been consigned to poverty since 1992. State revenue has increased from around $9 billion to $36 billion in that time frame. I don’t recall my salary going up 4 times in the last 27 years, but that is another story.
This is what Proposition CC is about. We have certain tax rules that require advance payments like sales tax, income tax, capital gains etc… and it turns out that the government has taken more money from us than they are entitled to. So now they are asking, “I know we took more money than we were supposed to but….can we keep it. Please??” Kind of like you are at the grocery store and give the clerk a $100 bill for your $35.33 groceries, and the clerk asks if he can keep the change. Outrageous, you say, but that is what the Legislature is asking us.
From there, we have moved to the whining phase of the debate as to why the Legislature should keep the money they overcharged us. They are going to use it “only for education and transportation”. And some may respond, “Weren’t you supposed to be spending the money we already gave you for education, transportation? What did you do with all the money we gave you?”
Well, they say… we spent it on other stuff like building a nice new CDOT headquarters for $150,000,000. Then, we had to give incentives (bribe) Hollywood film companies to come to Colorado, and had to pay (bribe) out of state businesses who are doing quite nicely to bring their employees to Colorado to use the roads that can’t fit the people we have now,
Do you all remember FASTER, the “Bridge tax”, that made renewing the license plates on our 1995 junker move from $3 to $50 every year? This was supposed to fix all those unsafe bridges and our crumbling infrastructure. What happened to all of that money? How about the hospital “fee” that added 3% to every hospital bill? Tax the sick people. Great idea!!!
So I have a thought….Whoever wants to give the legislature their spare change, please do so. But please don’t speak for the rest of us who are still waiting for the answer to the question, what have you done with all the money we gave you, and yes, I do want my change back.
The Second Commandment say to “Love your neighbor as yourself” and there is a lot of truth in the statement. Do you know your neighbors? If you don’t, it’s never too late to show up at their doorstep with some cookies, garden vegetables grown in your backyard garden, or just to say “hello.”
I lost one of my good neighbors last week who was killed in a tragic incident, where apparently, he and his brother quarreled and then as he left the residence walking home, he was struck by the intoxicated sibling driving his truck into him. Only time will tell more about the incident, but he was being charged with vehicular homicide but was upgraded to Murder 1 after deliberation Oct. 3
The point I wish to make is that I wish that I had spent more time with my neighbor. At his large funeral service at Horan & McConaty Oct. 4th the family produced a wonderful video of Dale’s life with his loving family. Photo, after photo, of fun times camping, traveling, birthday events, just some wonderful photos of family life and love.
I would visit with my neighbor while working in our adjacent yards. As a FedEx pilot he traveled the world. He would tell me about being in Dubai, or Paris on his world flights. I marveled at how he could undergo the time changes. Most recently trimming his bushes with a young grandson.
Attending a funeral makes one think about our own mortality and how we would like to be remembered. I think being a good neighbor goes a long way as one of the great treasures of life. We should all work to love and cherish our neighbors.
My weekly travels took me out to the Jefferson County jail last week to see a friend who had a traffic matter that included a brief jail stay. The jail is behind the Taj Mahal County Administrative building and has a number of quads housing a considerable number of inmates.
I sat in the lobby awaiting the release of my friend and I watched the mass of ticketed humanity pass through the doors, many going in and just a few coming out. I visited with a 76-year-old Vietnam Marine veteran who had been incarcerated for six days for what he said was “Running a stoplight.” He had long white unkept hair, in good shape for his age, and was disoriented somewhat from his six days in the clink. He lived with a friend. He said he was a chopper pilot for six years during the war and showed me a long scar on his left arm. He said that he didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs but he was mentally disadvantaged from the war or just advancing age. He told me he only had $30 and the jailers took the money for administrative fees. He was dead broke and wondered what had happened to his Chevy Blazer that he was driving when arrested. It took six days to release him from the jail facility. He explained that he did not receive a military pension or even social security. I thought to myself that this man really needs some assistance. I offered to give him a ride after my visit, but he was able to have a woman take him to his friend’s house. I had a $20 bill to give him, but he left quickly with his ride, gone but not forgotten.
Arapahoe County wants to build a new jail, and after seeing the mass of downtrodden humanity pass through this lobby I’m more sympathetic to the new jail. Along with a new jail it would seem that we need to do a better job of rehabilitation and assisting the poor, downtrodden, and victims of substance abuse that fill these facilities.
The jail was a sad place, women with babies coming in to view husbands, or boyfriends via screen communication. Parents coming to see family members incarcerated for many reasons.
There are more people in jail in the United States than any other country in the world. There is something wrong with this picture.
I’ll vote for the new jail and I have more sympathy for the prisoners than prior to my brief visit.
I heard District Attorney George Brauchler speak at the Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club on Wednesday. He spoke in opposition to Proposition CC that would allow government to keep all of the money it collects from existing sources every year for eternity beginning in the 2019-20 budget year. I was leaning to let the government keep the refund until I heard Brachler’s opposition to the bill and the legislature’s ability to manipulate the funds.
His message is in this issue of The Villager reported by governmental reporter Freda Miklin who covered the breakfast speech.
Brauchler has been a stellar District Attorney and failed in his election bid to become the State Attorney General, once in the race for Governor and switching out of that contest with Walker Stapleton to seek the AGs office. He will be term limited out of his position in 2020 and we will lose a really fine District Attorney.
The new South Metro Denver Realtor Association has moved to 6436 South Racine Circle in Centennial from South Colorado Blvd.
The new building is quite impressive and Friday, Oct.11will be a full day of grand opening festivities with an 8:30 a.m. breakfast followed by building tours. A patio party will be held at 2 p.m. with more tours of the Racine building. The SMDRA building is very impressive.
Received in the mail the annual “Blue Book” of the 2019 State Ballot issues on Tabor refunds and Sport’s Betting. Also, the Arapahoe County notice of election on the new proposed jail with these elections to be held Nov. 5, 2019. Make sure that you are registered to vote on these important issues.
Sunday afternoon Gerri and I
attended an open house by Edie Marks and family members for a celebration of Mort Marks life. It was well attended by several hundred of their longtime friends. We visited with many people who we have not seen in years and some we see almost every day. Edie greeted every guest at the door as she has for years at the couple’s annual holiday party. Mort would have been very pleased over the overwhelming showing of warmth and affection for the family.
We will be rotating various guest writers in his column space so stay tuned to a variety of different opinions forthcoming. Mort’s shoes will be very hard to fill, but the presses continue to roll onward.
Mort would be pleased that his beloved Broncos won their football game against the San Diego Chargers. Hurrah, finally a win!
The new building is quite impressive and Friday, Oct.11will be a full day of grand opening festivities with an 8:30 a.m. breakfast followed by building tours. A patio party will be held at 2 p.m. with more tours of the Racine building. The SMDRA building is quite impressive.
Sunday afternoon Gerri and I attended the open house by Edie Marks and family members that was well attended by several hundred of their longtime friends. We visited with many people who we have not seen in years and some we see almost every day. Edie greeted every guest at the door as she has for years at the couple’s annual holiday party. Mort would have been very pleased over the overwhelming showing of warmth and affection for the family.
We will be rotating various guest writers in his column space so stay tuned to a variety of different opinions forthcoming. His shoes will be very hard to fill, but the presses continue to roll onward.
And Mort would be pleased that his beloved Broncos won their football game against the San Diego Chargers. Hurrah finally a win!
Most citizens don’t like to pay taxes, but that is a price we pay for a civilized society. Our tax dollars go to the schools, police, and fire fighters who now serve as our first responders for many emergencies.
Arapahoe County Commissioners are asking for a “Yes Vote” on Nov. 5 to build a new jail on the ballot described as 1A. The old jail is unsafe, overcrowded, and expensive to maintain and has been described as “inhumane.”
Jails and prisons are built to punish those who have broken the law, but they contain many people who have a right to appear before a judge to make their case that they are not guilty. These folks suffer the same confined space with potential law offenders.
The future facility is planned to be built in two phases and will cost $464 million with an additional $16 million in operational expense for programs, staffing and maintenance. Public safety is the largest expense that Arapahoe County budgets. 1A will cost the average homeowner $5.66 a month.
A 25-member Long Range Planning committee examined the need for the jail and recommended that the new jail be approved. The county commissioners, by a unanimous vote, have placed the new jail on the ballot complying with Tabor tax laws that require a vote of the people to go forward with the property tax election. The proposed tax will raise an estimated $46 million per year and when the bonds are paid the tax will be reduced by 1.1 mils.
The current jail was constructed in 1983 to house 386 inmates. Temporary additions were added in 2002 and 2006 when two housing pods were added increasing the capacity to over 1,200. Today the jail is home to over 1100 inmates that have to be fed and cared for in a humane way while safeguarding the inmates and the staff.
Arapahoe County Commissioners have had a long-standing reputation for good management and conservative leadership. The county is one of Colorado’s fastest growing counties with over 650,000 residents estimated to grow to 800,000 by 2030, making it larger than the City and County of Denver.
The primary source of revenue for the County is property tax. County government keeps about 15% of what is collected to provide services and infrastructure. The vast majority of property tax dollars goes to schools (57%), cities and towns (7%) and special districts that include fire and water (22%).
The County Commissioners have a united vote on this project, and we vote in favor of the new jail as a needed necessity for the safety of our citizens, jail staff, and those incarcerated prior to trial to be found guilty or innocent by our judicial system.
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