The Journal begins a series of endorsements for the 2018 elections, covering all relevant state and local races and initiatives.Ballot initiative 173, referred by petition, is styled as “Campaign finance reform for the purpose of protecting elections from the undue influence of millionaires.” So far so good.
This might have been called the Rep. Jared Polis question. Polis is the self-financing, multimillionaire Democrat who is running for governor against Walker Stapleton, the Republican state treasurer. Campaign contributions in their race have already passed $21 million. Of that, $18.3 million was given by Polis to himself.
Initiative 173 asks, “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution providing that if any candidate in a primary or general election for state office directs more than one million dollars in support of his or her own election, then every candidate for that office in the same election may accept five times the amount of campaign contributions normally allowed?”
The fly in the ointment here is that in order to counter the influence of big money and wealthy politicians, a yes vote would likely mean even more money would get pumped into some races – and that is just too big a loss, to our way of thinking, to offset the possible gain.
What Colorado ought to do – what its future governors and Legislatures ought to do – is fight to limit the contributions that candidates may receive from anyone, including themselves – and take that fight all the way to the Supreme Court, if they must.
In the meantime, we are a NO vote on Initiative 173.
Oil and gas setbacksInitiative 97, referred by petition, asks, “Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning a statewide minimum distance requirement for new oil and gas development, and, in connection therewith, changing existing distance requirements to require that any new oil and gas development be located at least 2,500 feet from any occupied structure and any area designated for additional protection and authorizing the state or a local government to increase the minimum distance requirement?”
That is increasing by a factor of five the current state setback of 500 feet from buildings and 350 feet from recreation areas.
In effect, it would ban new drilling on 85 percent of Colorado’s non-federal land.
We simply do not see the need for a top-down approach to what is a real problem for some people in Colorado, in at least some places – a problem that will only grow as more people come to the state and oil and gas production increases.
We say, look southwest, where we have acted locally to effect the best compromise between the welfare of our citizens and our need for gas extraction along with other sources of revenue in order to provide essential services for them.
In the governor’s race, both Stapleton, the industry-friendly conservative, and Polis, the green liberal, think 2,500 feet is too far. If it’s outside the gulf between these two candidates, it is certainly too far for us.
We are a NO vote on Initiative 97.