Thursday, October 26, 2017

Jeff Crank's 2017 Ballot Recommendations

I would never try to tell you how to vote, but I am often asked how I am going to vote.  I've put quite a bit of research and thought into several of the candidates and ballot issues in 2017. 

When it comes to school board elections, there are many people who are personally very nice and well intentioned.  However, I only support candidates that I feel will be champions of free-market reforms in K-12 education.  While almost every candidate now says they support school choice, they often only support public school choice – and don’t empower parents to make the decisions that are right for their children.  True school choice is about putting parents in the drivers’ seat and allowing them the full range of options – public, charter or private schools – and removing all barriers to parents making those decisions.

On El Paso County Issue 1A, I oppose it.  While there is no question that the widening of Interstate 25 is critical, I think 1A misses the boat.  If widening of I-25 was so critical, they could have applied all $14 million to that project.  Instead, they chose to put some towards widening I-25 and some towards parks, trails and open space.  To me, we ought to put all our additional resources towards widening I-25.  It is critical and more important than additional parks and trails- but it seems as if they added in funding for trails and open spaces to get additional votes from left-leaning voters.  Fix the roads with the money you have.

On Colorado Springs Issue 2A, I also oppose.  There is no doubt that there is a storm water problem in Colorado Springs and one that needs to be addressed.  I oppose 2A for a couple of reasons.  First, while there are some legal requirements for the wording, I find the ballot language somewhat misleading.  The language starts by saying “Without imposing any new taxes or increasing any existing taxes”.  They are simply calling it a fee rather than a tax – but it still comes out of your pocket.  Second, while imposing a high monthly “fee” on churches and non-profits in our community, Issue 2A largely exempts local developers from the storm water fee by not imposing the fee on undeveloped land – and those developers are putting up the money, by and large, to get this issue passed.  In addition, Colorado Springs city government has simply come to the tax well too many times in the last few years.  Tax (or fee) increases seem to be the preference of current city leadership.

While I do not have recommendations in all school districts, below are the ones on which I feel confident enough to make suggestions.  If I haven’t made a recommendation in your school district, it is because I don’t feel confident enough that there are any real champions of true school choice on the ballot.

I don't choose my elected officials based on my feelings but rather their views on the issues and how they will either advance or inhibit my freedoms and liberties.  I hope you use that same criteria - and not personality - to make your determinations.  These recommendations are my personal recommendations and do not reflect the position of my employer.  Please make sure you vote.  If you have any questions about your ballot, please call the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's office at (719)575-VOTE (8683) or click here to learn more information.

Here are my recommendations:

Harrison School District 2 – Linda M. Pugh
Academy School District 20 – Thomas LaValley, William H. Temby, Eric S. Davis
Lewis Palmer School District 38 – District 1: Chris G. Taylor
Lewis Palmer School District 38 – District 3: Tiffiney Upchurch
El Paso County Issue 1A – No

Colorado Springs Issue 2A - No


  1. I agree the wording needs to cut and dry. I can't believe the horrible PR/communications problems we get when it comes to these ballet issues. Having said that we may be close to an end of very low interest rates and borrowing at these levels could give this community the leverage it needs to grow in a responsible and productive way. Let's get rid of the "small town" leaders who just want to be the bigger fish in a small pond and do things right.

  2. I agree with all of your recommendations above. But you did not provide any recommendations for School Board in the Manitou Springs School District. The brief write-up in the Gazette was not much help. The 2 men running appear (based on the Gazette) to be slightly more conservative than any of the 3 women running -- but there is not much to support this feeling that I have. Any suggestions? Doubt if any of them would meet your criteria for School Board endorsement, but it would still be nice for me to support the most conservative of the people running. Thanks

  3. You also did not mention suggestions for district 11. Do you have any?

  4. I do not have any suggestions for school board in either Manitou Springs or in School District 11. I did not find any candidates in either school district that were solid enough on school choice.

  5. Thanks Jeff I agree 100% in what you said.

  6. "Issue 2A largely exempts local developers from the storm water fee by not imposing the fee on undeveloped land – and those developers are putting up the money, by and large, to get this issue passed."

    Undeveloped land is not the source of increased runoff peaks and volumes! It's the impervious areas. Stormwater management is just like any other utility. It should not be provided free of charge.

  7. Thank you for putting these together, Jeff. I reached the same conclusions, and am also highly concerned about the obviously slanted wording on the ballots, particularly disingenuous claims about "without imposing any new tax or increasing existing taxes." A tax is a "a charge usually of money imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes." 2A is a TAX, pure, plain, and simple. If folks within the Springs' government want to invent their own dictionary, they can do so on their own time, as a hobby well outside the bounds of responsible public service.

    As for fixing the runoff issues, like all things, there's the easy way, the expensive way, and the right way. As with our roads, the right way is to use flexible, ductile, fiber-reinforced materials which LAST instead of materials which require constant, expensive maintenance. Same goes for storm water runoff. Do it right and you'll only have to do it once. Now, "right" can be super-expensive, or it can be done in harmony with reality. Examine all options. Choose the one with the lowest TCO (total cost of ownership) over the next 30 years.

  8. Jeff,
    I think you missed the most important reason to oppose 1A... it allows them to keep all *future* excess tax revenue, forever, for no specified reason! Bait and switch.

    5B however looks good. Specific funds for a purpose. I only wish they would be more clear on yhe numbers. AFAIK in round numbers PPRTA has about $100 million of remaining capital projects, 10 years to go, and is spending about $40+ million a year towards them. Plenty of time and dollars to add a new project.

    (Personally I support the stormwater fee. It is very specific and managed and time limited. Not like a tax that disappears into a general budget. But that's minor compared to 1A!)