Salazar addresses issues at lunch with Democrats |

Salazar addresses issues at lunch with Democrats

Photographed between two students who were being recognized for good acts during a school-wide assembly, Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar spoke to students at Dillon Valley Elementary before addressing the Summit County Democrats in Frisco and the general public at the Summit County Community Center Monday.

FRISCO – Democrats must pull together for the good of the people – not for power – to make a showing in the 2004 elections, Attorney General Ken Salazar said Monday.

Salazar was in Summit County to talk to school children, law enforcement officials, education administrators and Democrats about an array of issues ranging from bully-proofing schools to upcoming election issues.

At a Democrat luncheon in Frisco, Salazar concentrated on Referendum A, the $2 billon water project bonding question Nov. 4, the redistricting lawsuit and the future of Colorado controlled by a Republican Legislature.

Salazar opposes Referendum A, which asks voters to approve borrowing to build water facility projects.

“I see it as a blank check that allows someone – we don’t know who or what – to take water somewhere – we don’t know where, but we can guess – to deal with issues of water supply in the Denver metropolitan area,” he said. “The major problem with this is that it creates a false sense of expectations about what we should be doing about the drought in our state.”

Citizens became acutely aware of the water shortage in Colorado last summer and have since tried to conserve the precious resource.

“People have focused on the drought like never before,” he said. “So they get something on the ballot to show they are, in fact, doing something.”

Referendum A requires two projects to be under development by 2005, which Salazar said is impossible, especially in light of the lengthy processes through which such projects must go.

“You cannot secure any water right in a two-year time frame,” he said. “You cannot go through NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) in a two-year time frame. What is it the proponents are trying to sell? What bonding company is going to provide money for a project they don’t know anything about?”

He said the referendum will harm the cooperative efforts Eastern and Western Slope communities have strived toward in working out mutually beneficial water projects such as Wolford Mountain and the Clinton Reservoir.

“Referendum A is adding fuel to the fire,” he said.

Another contentious issue Salazar is battling is the congressional redistricting lawsuit on which the state Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in two to six weeks.

Salazar said he sued Colorado after legislative Republicans took a court-drawn redistricting map and redrew it to strengthen Republican districts in the state. Salazar maintains that, under the state Constitution, the map can only be drawn up once every 10 years, and that the Republican action is nothing more than a power-grab.

“I went to our representatives and told them, “You can’t do this; this is unconstitutional,'” he said. “They passed it. I went to the Senate and told them, “You can’t do this; it’s unconstitutional,’ and they passed it, too. And I went to the governor and told him, “You can’t do this; this is unconstitutional,’ and he signed it into law. My obligation is to the people of the state of Colorado. The issue is of upholding the Constitution of the state of Colorado. The issue is the sanctity of government and the rules we live by.”

Salazar said he is worried about the future of the state and the nation, particularly in light of skyrocketing deficits, budget challenges, jobs and changes in environmental laws.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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