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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 16, 20183min580
The Colorado Farm Bureau is proposing a ballot initiative that would compensate farmers when laws or regulations put their mineral rights out of reach. The text of Initiative 112 can be found by clicking here. Those affected would be paid the difference in fair market value before and after the new regulation was implemented on […]

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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJuly 21, 20173min371

Aurora dodged an obstacle early this week in its epic quest to bring NASCAR-style motor sports to the city, prevailing in a court battle over a ballot question which could pave the way for a racetrack.

A 1999 city charter amendment, barring public funding for motor sport projects, has dogged Aurora’s racetrack ambitions for years. Last month, city officials agreed to seek voter approval via a ballot question to rollback the amendment. But Aurora residents challenged the question in court, arguing it violated state statutes requiring ballot initiatives to express a single subject, to avoid voter confusion, and contained catchphrases and slogans.

An Arapahoe County District Court judge dismissed the resident’s challenge on Monday. The court concluded:

Based on the legal and factual rulings set forth above, the Court DISMISSES the Petition on grounds that: (1) the Aurora Charter and ordinances require amendments to the Charter to contain a single subject; (2) the 6/19/17 Ordinance represent a single subject; (3) the Title accurately represents the single subject and primary intent of the Ordinance; and (4) the Title does not contain impermissible “catch phrases” or slogans.

Kristin Mallory, a member of resident group Aurora Residents for Transparency which brought the court challenge, told the Aurora Sentinel the group is disappointed in the ruling.

“While we are disappointed, the decision did reaffirm that ballot initiatives must be single subject,” Mallory told the Sentinel. “We simply disagree with the notion that deleting the prohibition of funds for a private industry, and the creation of the entertainment district is one issue.”

The court ruling will allow the initiative to remain on the ballot, which if approved, would allow for a motor sports facility and entertainment district on the outskirts of the city. History is not on Aurora’s side however, with the city twice unsuccessfully asking voters to strike the amendment.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJune 19, 20176min710
Broomfield city and county attorney Bill Tuthill
Broomfield city and county attorney Bill Tuthill. (Photo via livestream of the city and county council meeting)

 

Colorado Politics told you this month that some Broomfield residents want more public health and safety requirements for permitting oil and gas wells written into the city charter.

They’re out collecting the 2,500 signatures from the town’s roughly 48,000 registered voters to get the issue on the November ballot. The language mirrors that of a pending lawsuit by Boulder County teenagers (fronting environmental groups) to force state regulators to balance public health and safety against the wishes of industry when the commission reviews new permits.

City and county attorney Bill Tuthill threw a cold dose of legal reality on the activists at the last city council meeting. Even if they get it on the ballot and it passes, current law is not in its favor, which could put the city in court, a familiar place for north metro communities trying to push back against the energy industry.

Tuthill read from a statute that said the city charter can’t repeal vested property or contract rights.

“Even if the charter is amended the effect it will have on existing rights and contracts is going to be governed by this statute,” he said. “… In the simplest terms, this statute says you can’t undo a contract by passing a city charter amendment.”

Colorado Politics asked for a comment from Vital for Colorado, the statewide coalition of business leaders that supports energy development.

“We have been down this road before,” Vital chairman Peter Moore said in a statement. “National anti-oil and gas groups pushed a series of unlawful local bans on energy development and those measures were struck down by the state’s highest court. It’s hard to believe oil and gas opponents are trying the same thing again, but that’s exactly what they’re doing, and they’re sending the bill directly to Broomfield taxpayers.”

The temperature has been hot in Broomfield for a while, in a region accustomed to court cases and bitter political disputes between people who want to drill and prosper in the northeast metro region and those who want to live there.

At the meeting, Broomfield resident Camille Cave alleged Councilman Kevin Kreeger had a “bromance” with Andrew O’Connor, the Lafayette man who wrote a letter to the editor of the Boulder Daily Camera two months ago suggesting blowing up gas wells and shooting workers to impede drilling.

Cave read from Kreeger’s e-mails obtained through an open-records request. She chose selected passages that, out of context, sounded damning. In one, Kreeger complimented O’Connor for his his fracking activism. “‘I applaud your energy and drive to do what’s right,'” Cave read from the e-mail, written sometime before O’Connor’s April 19 letter.

She began and ended suggesting Kreeger was a snake in the grass, and made a hissing sound at the podium as she concluded.

Kreeger responded that he was targeted by the oil and gas supporters, and he was simply answering one of the dozens of e-mails O’Connor sent him, with no knowledge of O’Connor’s views on violence as a solution.

He said he’s not against all fracking, but is opposed to current proposals for more wells in the city.

“What’s truly unfortunate is this nasty, disgusting, Washington, D-C.-level of personal attacks that’s come into our local politics,” Kreeger said. “And in no way ever did I imply that violence is an appropriate response on either side.”

You can watch the council meeting online by clicking here.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinJanuary 5, 201710min590

A proposed initiative to limit growth survived two protests before the Colorado Secretary of State's Initiative Title Setting Review Board, although some wording changes were made to clarify and address some of the concerns. The Wednesday, Jan. 4, hearing concerned what is being called Initiative 4 for the 2018 general election ballot, a measure proposed by Dan Hayes of Golden that would place a 1 percent annual increase limit on new housing building permits in 2019 and 2020 in 10 Front Range counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld. That limit would stay in place unless amended or repealed by voters in each county, starting in 2021. The measure would also allow the rest of Colorado's counties to set local housing growth limits through voter-approved initiatives and referendums, specifies the number of signatures needed to put housing limits on the ballot and how petitions can be challenged.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 29, 201628min370

Symbolic of the divisiveness of our politics, many Coloradans will look back at the 2016 election with violent contempt, reflecting on a political year that saw the rise of President-elect Donald Trump, while others will reminisce with sublime glee over a cycle where voters bucked the political establishment. In a year full of tectonic shifts on the national political landscape, Colorado had its share of drama and surprises, though voters sent back many familiar faces to serve in Congress and at the state Capitol. Here’s your bite-size, highlight reel for the 2016 election season in Colorado.