Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jefferson County Deserves True Representative Government

[Published Dec. 5, 2013, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section]

Jeffco is governed by three commissioners. Our state constitution allows counties to have five commissioners once their population exceeds 70,000.  Jeffco has eight times that population, but, unlike other large counties, has not exercised that option.

The current Board of County Commissioners have declined to put the proposition on the 2014 ballot despite its obvious benefits, among them:

First, because all commissioners are elected at large, incumbents face few challenges, since any challenger has to run countywide. In the last election one commissioner was unopposed!  Term limits are not a problem. We have seen commissioners resign so their party could appoint a replacement and the term limits start over for the new commissioner!

Second, under the state’s “open meetings” law, a quorum of any body cannot meet privately. With only three commissioners, two are a quorum, so they can’t even talk to each other — legally.

A grassroots group has formed to put a citizen initiative on the ballot to have the county governed by five commissioners, each elected from a specific district.  The organization is Jeffco5, and their website is www.Jeffco5.com. Please visit their website and get involved. Their next meeting is this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Golden Public Library.
 
Here's additional information from Jeffco5Grassroots:
 
The timeline is tight, and anyone who is willing to help with petitions beginning Jan 7 should e-mail Bernie at mttop@aol.com.  This is a huge undertaking...the Commissioners have not 'listened' to our plea to let the voters decide!  We need you!  If you BELIEVE we would have better representative government with a Board of 5, check out our web page at www.jeffco5.com and e-mail Bernie if you can help.  Include your contact information as well as the neighborhood you live in!  Do YOU feel represented?
Jeffco5 Grassroots Proposal:
   Should the board of County Commissioners of the County of Jefferson, State of Colorado, be increased from three to five members?
   - POPULATION: Jeffco has over 540,000 folks...more than 10% of the State of Colorado, similar to the entire State of Wyoming.
   - FIVE COMMISSIONERS: El Paso, Arapahoe, Weld and Adams have already moved to have 5 commissioners!
   - NONPARTISAN: This proposal is about transparency, communication and responsible government, not politics.
   - REPRESENTATION: Five Commissioners would each represent a smaller constituency so could be more responsive.
   - LET THE VOTERS DECIDE: The current Commissioners can pass a resolution to place this proposal on the ballot for the regularly scheduled 2014 election for very little cost.
   CALL OR WRITE YOUR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TODAY AND ASK THEM TO PLEASE PUT THIS PROPOSAL ON THE BALLOT IN 2014: LET THE VOTERS DECIDE!!  The commissioners can be reached at: (303) 271-8525, or by email at commish@Jeffco.us.
   Visit our website (http://www.Jeffco5.com) or email us at karenoxman@aol.com  303-913-9827. We are also on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Jeffco5grassroots.  
   Write a letter to the editor of your local paper
   Share this information with your friends and neighbors!

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