An election analysis |

An election analysis

Gary Lindstrom

Give yourself a pat on the back. You all hit a home run this election.

I am so proud of the voters in Summit County. The unofficial number I saw on Wednesday morning showed that 27 percent of the registered voters voted.

That is a new record for an off-year election. It probably beats some old records for presidential years, too. The metro counties with their wonderful and exciting opportunity to have mail-in ballots, exceeded 40 percent voter turnout.

And that result comes in an election when only issues, not humans, were on the ballot.

Summit County Referred Measure 1A passed with a 3-to-1 margin. We came up with a slogan a few weeks ago that passing 1A shows that “Summit Cares.”

You showed that you care in a big way. It will be exciting to see the projects start to happen in the future as this money becomes available. We will keep you informed and ask that you get personally involved in the planning.

Summit County Referred Question 1B passed with a 2-to-1 margin – closer, but still a clear majority.

I had to bite my tongue as some of the more recent letters were published opposing this measure. Smoking has never been a right. It never will be a right. Go to a bookstore and buy a book on our rights. It’s not in there.

The Summit County Jail and the Colorado State Prisons have not allowed smoking by inmates for almost 15 years. Someone had to dig pretty deep to come up with that argument.

County commissioners and town councils have historically and traditionally been charged with protecting the public health, public safety and public welfare of the community.

Laws regulating unhealthy behavior in restaurants and bars have been in place for 50 years.

I kind of like the one that requires workers to wash their hands after they use the toilet.

Prohibiting smoking in public places including restaurants and bars is no different. It is not healthy regardless of how long your grandmother lived after she smoked cheap cigars for 50 years.

The people have spoken on this major issue. Once the ordinance is passed, there will be no smoking in any public place including restaurants and bars.

This includes bars with special ventilation systems and closed-off areas for smokers. There will be no smoking, period. Decks could be exempted or smoking patios outside of the building could be allowed.

At about 7:55 p.m. on this past Tuesday, the fate of our largest city, the Queen City of the Plains – Denver – was sealed. The people had spoken.

The people of the City and County of Denver were not interested in reducing stress. The ballot initiative that would have required everyone to calm down was defeated. It was called the Peace Measure and made it to all of the late night talk-show hosts.

I know it is true because Channel 9 announced it.

The announcement was made on one of those irritating crawlers on the bottom of the screen during “Fear Factor.” Watching “Fear Factor” is probably a good reason to have a law against stress. I will not bore you with what was going on at the time. It was disgusting.

Unless I was hallucinating, all three state ballot initiatives met the same fate. All three landed with a big thud.

The Bill Owens-Greg Walcher-supported Referendum A turned out to be all wet. (Pun intended.) It sounds as if the voters decided that the reasons to spend more than $4 billion for new water projects were not compelling enough to give approval to the idea.

It is ironic that Walcher, the head of the Department of Natural Resources, recently announced his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional District in an attempt to replace the retiring Scott McInnis.

There was news this week about his first fundraiser for his campaign. Maybe the defeat of Referendum A will be far enough in the past not to hurt him, that is, if he gets the Republican nomination. Rule One for most politicians is to pick your battles. Bad pick.

 Amendment 32 was so confusing that most people voted against it just because they did not understand it.

By the end of the election, I had heard at least 10 different renditions of this turkey. Even the experts had a hard time trying to describe what would happen if it passed.

Two friends of mine, whom I consider to be very well versed in state tax laws, had two different explanations of this change in the property tax formula.

I am not sure what happened with Amendment 33 that would have placed video lottery terminals in racetracks. I voted against it but I know there was more support for this one than any other issue.

There was redeeming value in that it would have given some funding to open space and tourism. It turned out to be the most expensive election issue in the history of Colorado.

It must have been important to Wembley USA or the Colorado casinos that butted heads over this issue. Millions of dollars were at stake, so I guess it was worth millions of dollars to fight or defend.

And now for the big one. Exactly one year from this week, we will be voting for our next president of the United States. I guess these past few months were just to get us up to speed for the big one.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom writes a Thursday column for the Summit Daily News. He can be reached at where he is busy authoring an antismoking ordinance.

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