Minutes of the October 5, 2005 meeting of the Longmont Area Democrats
Submitted by Kathy Simon, Secretary
7 pm at 375 Airport Road, Longmont, CO
The meeting was called to order by President Lee Springer. To save time for our guest speaker the announcements were not presented verbally but were on a one-page handout for all to read and take home. Following is a copy:
1. Our theatre night last spring was so successful that we are repeating it! On November 8, 2005, the California Actors Theatre has agreed to put on a “Musical Love Fest” just for us. Once again, we will serve chocolate desserts and wine at the intermission. Tickets are $20 and the proceeds will to to our small donor fund for the 2006 election. Call Lee Springer 303-774-1953 to donate desserts and/or red wine.
2. The Longmont Area Democrats cookbooks will be out soon. They will make great Christmas presents!
3. The November 2, 2005, regular meeting of the LAD will feature Angie Paccione, who is the first Democrat to announce for the 4th Congressional District seat for 2006. We will also have a short discussion of the effort to unite Democrats across the district. See the front page of section 2 of the Times-Call today (Oct. 5, 2005) for Angie’s criticism of Marilyn Musgrave.
4. Be The Change is holding a program on Iraq in Denver on October 15, 2005. Dennis Kucinich is the featured speaker. In addition experts on Iraq, military persons and journalists who have been there, and a gold star mother who was at Camp Casey will participate on a number of panels. For more information see www.BTC-USA.org or call Beverly Springer at 303-774-1953. If people are interested, we can form a car pool.
5. Please complete and return the LAD survey as soon as possible. To get a copy of this survey call Beverly at 303-774-1953.
Several elected officials in the audience were introduced: Hillary Hall, Chair of the Boulder County Democrats, and both Karen Benker and Tom McCoy of Longmont City Council.
State Senator Brandon Shaffer introduced our guest speaker, State Rep. Andrew Romanoff. Rep. Romanoff is our first Democratic Speaker of the House since the year 1975! He spoke on the Referenda C and D issues. In Boulder County the election ballots will be mailed to voters between Oct. 7 and Oct. 17.
High tech companies say that they move to states with investments in education. Other states are already educating a skilled work force, building roads and bridges, lowering the tax rates—all in competition with Colorado–and they are winning the high tech companies. Other countries are doing the same. Note China, Canada, Taiwan, etc.
We lag in several fields: Education and immunizations are just two.
The polls show us tied in the Referenda C & D voting. This is in spite of how many organizations and people are FOR Ref. C & D—but only two main men are the opponents (in Golden and Colorado Springs). Please tell your friends, neighbors, and relatives to vote Yes on C and D. Remind them the costs average $98 per year for an average taxpayer in Colorado. The money if returned to an individual would be a rebate, not a refund. This has nothing to do with income tax refunds.
QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME:
Q. (a comment) Colorado ranked #1 in job growth in 2002 and then slipped to #49…. we need to catch up.
Q. Where are cuts impossible: Prisons?
A. 25% of the General Fund goes to pay Medicaid and 45% goes to K-12 Education; in total 80% of the expenses must be met, so the next cuts would have to be in the other 20% of the budget. The biggest discretionary line item: Higher Education. We cut there because we can. On other lines, we can’t make cuts.
Q. (a comment) a pig. . bacon. . Coors. . .
Q. Will our community colleges be OK if Referenda C & D pass?
A. That depends still on the economy. However the best way to protect community colleges is to pass Referenda C & D. If C & D pass, one-third goes to community colleges.
Q. Please explain the bonding in Referendum D.
A. We have $100 million in debts. We are already obligated to pay in four areas:
1) roads 2) police & fire fighter retirement debt 3) school construction lawsuit 4) Higher Education buildings
But only if Ref. C passes will Ref D be possible. We can pass C without D, but not D without C.
Q. On Pre-empting Bruce: We haven’t. Why not? Why is there no coherent statewide Democratic Party in Colorado? I’m from back East where we have strong political party action. Colorado is fragmented and ineffective.
A. Colorado Dems are not as strong as Dems in other states, due somewhat to funding procedures. But look around this room; strength is here locally. The Longmont Area Dems and in other areas. We are building a statewide party and the Dems are unified FOR Referenda C& D. The Republicans don’t stand together on this issue; they are deeply split on this.
Q. How much money is being spent on Referenda C & D?
A. The opposition won’t tell. They claim ads aren’t political, but “educational.” That’s because the don’t end with the wording “Vote yes/no for XYZ._ Their money is probably coming from out-of-state. One opponent said he was not revealing amounts/sources of money because he was “scared of legislative retaliation.” Whatever that means.
Q. Why do some people oppose Referenda C & D?
A. Some people are anti-government and no tax is low enough for those opposed to taxes.
Q. (a comment) The opposition says, “Can you trust these people with your money?” There’s an example of no trust in legislators or government.
Q. Are any out of state funds being used in the Yes for C & D campaign?
Q. We need good Dems to run for Governor. How about you, Andrew Romanoff?
A. I can only think about the Referenda C&D issues right now. In the year 2005 the most important election issue is the Referenda C&D question. And also Bill Ritter is a great candidate.
Q. Clarify the split of money proposed to each areas.
A. Three thirds: one-third to Higher Ed, one third to Health, one third to K-12.
Q. Why is one-third going to K-12?
A. To keep up with the requirements in Amendment 23. Maybe we can fund Preschool (Pre K) and resist any efforts to repeal Amendment 23 that may come up. This is a very important year to education.
Q. Why not rescind TABOR in toto? Every year we should try!
A. It is a tough sell to get this compromise plan to pass. We are even–neck and neck– tied –in the polls right now. The full rescinding plan would be much tougher to sell. When drafting the proposals, the people who wanted total change lost out, and the people who wanted zero change lost out.
Q. In the 90’s there was a threatened shut-down of the government. Why don’t we just spend money on the needs until we run out and then quit?
A. We talked about doing this–say, cut to bare essentials, or (ha!) cut all state benefits to Colorado Springs (ha-ha-ha), but instead we will try to pass C & D.
Q. We could go on TV and tell it like it is: pass C& D or else live on this small budget.
Q. There’s no “pork barrel spending” or politicians running around with extra funds.
A. Politicians shouldn’t be on the TV ads at all.
Q. Couldn’t we call the opponents “libertarians?” With a capital L?
A. Yes–in all caps!
To conclude: THE DECADE’S MOST IMPORTANT DECISION: Referenda C & D. Also what role the public sector plays is important here. How can we “Justify Government?” There are things that we do better if we work together and pool our resources. We are stronger together than apart. Be a part of VICTORY on November 1 this year!
President Lee Springer reminded everyone to attend November 2, 2005 to hear Angie Paccione, the first CD 4 candidate.
Rhonda Racicot reminded people to vote yes on 1A to help the mental health center and other non-profits.
Boulder County Dems Chair Hillary Hall asked for volunteers for Saturday morning canvassing. Walk and talk Yes on C&D.
Bob Roy expressed thanks to Dr. Mark Laitos for organizing an informational meeting at Longmont United Hospital where Sen. Brandon Shaffer will speak on Referenda C & D. Sen. Shaffer said the “Blue Book” is a nonpartisan publication we can all use to talk to neighbors and friends.
Kay Forck, from the League of Women Voters, thanked everyone for the great event last night at the Longmont Public Library.
The meeting was adjourned for refreshments and conversations.
The next meeting will be the first Wednesday of the month, Nov. 2, 2005, at 7 pm at 375 Airport Road, Longmont. Angie Paccione will be the guest speaker.