Mulhall Chronicle: True electoral malaise
It’s the day after the election, and I find myself once again on the wrong side.
As I mentioned before, I’m pretty used to this. It’s like a majority of voters can look to me for advice on how not to vote, or so it seems.
This election, however, I wasn’t just wrong about that race or that ballot metric. I pretty much blew the curve supporting the losers.
Someone has to.
For some on the political left, the way I voted in Tuesday’s election is unlovingly called “being on the wrong side of history.” It’s a bit like being on the schnide – 0 points in a sporting event – but a little worse because it challenges not athletic prowess, but judgment.
Of course, the Colorado ballot looked better for Democrats than most other states.
The governor’s race was a lock from the start. Governor Polis never even trailed in the polls. If the final tally puts him ahead, don’t be surprised to see Polis’ name mentioned for the 2024 presidential nomination.
The same lopsided odds were especially true for Senator Michael Bennet. Compared to the gubernatorial race, this U.S. Senate race appeared to be competitive, though realistically Joe O’Dea never really came close to unseating Bennet.
The 3rd The District House run was more intriguing. Challenger Adam Frisch battled controversy and Wednesday looked to have picked up a slim victory. By Thursday, however, incumbent Lauren Boebert had risen by about 800 votes.
So much for the red wave, at least in Colorado.
But what particularly interests me is the 2C measure of the local ballot, which, at the time of this writing, passes by nearly 400 votes. I watched the 2C count with interest that rubbed my chin.
2C is an accommodation tax for affordable housing. Among the political issues, affordable housing was a darling of this election.
In addition to 2C, statewide Proposition 123 is being passed, and it also sets aside taxes for affordable housing. Other local ballot measures similar to Glenwood’s 2C appeared on ballots in neighboring communities.
The number of affordable housing measures underscores not only the popularity of the issue, but also the seriousness of Colorado’s affordable housing problem.
In Colorado, perhaps more than in many other states, property values far exceed incomes. As a result, low-income employees new to the labor market find it difficult, if not impossible, to live in the communities where they work. And that’s just to start.
Aside from the scenery and recreational opportunities, little about living in Colorado is beneficial.
What made the issue of affordable housing interesting to me was the last election – you know, the referendum in which Glenwood voters had the opportunity to overturn a city council decision to back the attempted a Glenwood landowner to help alleviate some of our local affordable housing issues?
After Glenwood City Council approved an annexation and rezoning of what was called the 480 Donegan project last November, opposition mounted, petitions circulated and signatures were collected. In the end, Question B on the ballot asked us if we should revoke the Council’s decision to support the project.
B is gone, as is the right of a Glenwood family to develop their land as they see fit.
Fast forward to the 2022 mid-term ballot and Glenwood’s Local Measure 2C – an accommodation tax that will set aside accommodation funds to address the affordable housing problem and create a “Fund Advisory Council Workforce Housing” such as the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) – an unelected bureaucracy with a mandate to spend taxes to solve housing affordability.
You can decide for yourself the effectiveness of APCHA’s efforts to address housing affordability in the Valley.
The result will be similar here.
I find it amazing that local voters rejected an individual landowner’s attempt to help meet local affordable housing needs, but then turned around and voted to have local government tax housing and overseeing an advisory council to address the affordable housing issue.
Inasmuch as 2C reflects the consciousness of local voters, it is perhaps fair to say that those of us who live in Glenwood collectively prefer to hand over difficult issues to government, even if that means increased government power, bureaucracy increased and diminished individual rights.
I have never found big government an attractive choice, nationally or locally. Yet that’s what I see in 2C – tacit approval of local government expansion.
Don’t worry, though. I am, after all, on the wrong side of history.
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