June 2024


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Thursday, June 20, 2024

1642 – What's Next? Bizarre Political Plots

By Ralph Trenary
Berthoud Recorder

Rarely does a day pass when I open that “big paper” published in Denver and not see something bizarre.  It makes me wonder if the goings-on around the state capital are in another dimension of reality. One column published on Sunday, Sept. 20, emphasizes that perception and conclusion.

This case in point is the latest offering by former Colorado Sen. John Anderson. After a second reading I recognize that Anderson is proposing a political power grab to expand the power and authority of the major political parties over local non-partisan elected offices.

Just imagine, this would result in the state political party bosses, Pat Waak for the Democrats and Dick Wadhams for the Republicans presiding over who gets on the ballot for the Berthoud Board of Trustees or the Thompson School Board. Thrilled, is not the word I would use to describe that scenario.

I’m actually enjoying the recent results of city and school district elections in our corner of Colorado. By November we’ll all get to decide between the three candidates for School Board District E. Every voter in the District gets a vote in the contest, even though the election is to represent just one of the seven districts.

The political drama up north is particularly interesting this year. Five seats, including the Mayor, are up for election in Loveland. Sixteen Loveland residents are competing for one of those plum $600 a month jobs.  Five have thrown their hats in the ring for Mayor. One candidate is a newcomer and the other four could have played it safe as council incumbents, but took the chance at higher office.

Berthoud elected Town trustees and a mayor in 2008 in a competitive vote and 2010 shows all indications of presenting the same healthy debate on the Town’s future. This is not the grim picture of quaint little non-partisan offices painted by Anderson.

Perhaps the unspoken reality is that Anderson’s complaints only exist in the big city. Pressuring for a same for all fix throughout the state could be bad for the rest of us, as he seeks to change what are actually limited problems in a few organizations around the Denver metro area.

There just seems to be a purity and simplicity in the existing laws that allow for one of our neighbors to get a petition at city hall, get signatures around town and then we see their name on the ballot. To follow Anderson’s plan, we should scrap that and replace it with candidates decided in partisan party meetings overseen by overtly ambitious political operators.

Consider the impact of deciding who gets to run for Town Trustee next year based their support or opposition to the latest national or international hot-button issues. That seems to be a path that will push our local needs and priorities off the table. The agenda of the national or even state, political storm has no place in local level, town or school district, decisions. The uproar surrounding the President’s school speech is already proof that the partisan political fight is turning toxic.

Keep your eyes open for the next political good idea that isn’t a fit for our community. It could come from the left, the right, or some other place. We’ll need to keep our eyes open come January. Ideas that originate with John Anderson follow a consistent record of re-appearing as bills in the State Legislature.

“We in America do not have government by the majority.  We have government by the majority who participate.” –– Thomas Jefferson

Voices & Thoughts – 1642 (Ralph Trenary)
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