Surf’s up: Gut favors Blue Wave descending across America

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Posted 10/29/18

The mid-term elections across America are almost here. (Thank goodness!) The TV commercials, door-knocking campaigners, robo-calls and campaign mailers will come to an end and hopefully life will get …

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Surf’s up: Gut favors Blue Wave descending across America

Posted

The mid-term elections across America are almost here. (Thank goodness!)

The TV commercials, door-knocking campaigners, robo-calls and campaign mailers will come to an end and hopefully life will get back to normal. However, my gut and the sentiment from all corners of the land tell me that there has been a major change brewing on the national political level.

Known as the “Blue Wave”, the Democrats are very likely to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. They need to capture 29 House seats which are currently held by Republicans. I believe it will happen and 1-2 of them are right here in Colorado: Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton are vulnerable.

Beyond historical trends

Historically, when a new president is elected, the following mid-term election goes against his political party. But beyond historic trends, this election has a lot of turbulence, emotions and mistrust with various influences at play.

While a Rasmussen Report poll shows 48 percent of likely voters believe that this election is a referendum on Pres. Trump’s agenda, I believe it goes beyond his program priorities. Trump’s persona is corrosive, arrogant and abusive.

A key factor is how women will vote. There is the Justice Kavanaugh debacle -- including the president selecting a candidate who is anti-abortion -- plus his own childish mockery of Dr. Ford who testified against Kavanaugh.

There is Trump’s history of debasing women including the infamous video tape about bragging about “having” women, as well as the Stormy Daniel pay-off. Plus, the President’s tweets berating individuals and classes of people are not acceptable coming from the President of the United States of America.

I could go on, but you get the point.

More reasons which generate “Blue Wave” support

Another key factor in support of the Blue Wave is the President’s stance on immigration. The man fails to show compassion for his fellow human beings. When he ordered separating children from their parents, he showed his true colors.

Other issues which turn off voters regarding Trump and his Republican-followers have to do with gun control, the mounting national debt, health care/attempt to overturn Obamacare programs, LGBTQ, his business relationship with the Saudis, tariffs which impact American businesses and farmers and more.

Recently, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell commented on the increasing national debt and implied that cuts might be forthcoming that would impact Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to help reduce the debt. These federal programs affect millions of Americans, including voting seniors. His statement has seniors and low-income folks wondering what their plight might be in the future. I’m just saying that Mr. Trump and the Republican candidates who tie their wagon to the President are in trouble.

Some campaigns are over the top

This election season has produced more campaign literature and TV ads than I can ever recall. There have been more campaign signs put up in spite of some cities and the state Department of Transportation prohibiting signs in the public right-of-way.

Westminster does NOT allow signs in the right-of-way, but several candidates and their campaign workers have blatantly ignored the local law. Code Enforcement personnel have been swamped and are doing their best to keep up with more signs popping up.

Regarding campaign mailers, I would say incumbent state senator Beth Martinez Humenik gets the prize for sending the most mailers. She even apologized in one campaign mailer, but kept sending more fliers.

Clearly, Democrat opponent Faith Winter has put Humenik and the Republicans in a race to see who can spend the most campaign money on this pivotal state senate seat.

Wouldn’t it be great to see campaign funds at all levels of government spent on more constructive endeavors like building more workforce housing, paving more roads, assisting more low-income families etc.? There should be a spending limit, but I know it would fail in court.

Fracking setback issue needs to fail

Political pollsters indicate that 112 could pass which would establish a 2,500-foot setback for oil and gas wells from houses, schools and bodies of water. If approved, this could cause huge financial consequences where oil and gas companies will claim damages and “takings” by governmental entities. There has to be a better approach and not put us taxpayers at risk to pay huge damage claims.

Issue 109 is appealing but is not the solution for Colorado

Another close one according to pollsters is 109 or “Fix our Damn Roads.” It is being favored over 110 which offers more, but carries a 0.62 percent sales tax increase with it.

The problems with 109 are fundamental — since there are not a tax increase tied to funding $3.5 billion in bonds for road improvements, the funds to pay the annual debt service would come directly out of the existing state budget. It truly would be a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” situation. Existing programs would have to be cut significantly to cover the projected annual $260 million payments.

Furthermore, 109 does not provide for any local government road improvements fund sharing.

Increased traffic equals a need for more local road funds

City governments need additional funding to build new roads, interchanges and widening existing arterial streets to cope with the significant increase in traffic. Cities like Westminster, Thornton, Commerce City, Erie, Arvada and Aurora continue to grow.

Increased traffic is everywhere, which impacts air quality, efficient movement of goods and services and causes increased commute times.

If 110 fails, Colorado cities will be pressed to seek their own increased tax funding in the next 1-2 years. I can certainly see Westminster on that list of communities.

Proposition 109 is not the answer. While it may seduce people to vote in favor since it offers funds for road improvements without a tax increase, it has negative consequences. It reminds me of the campaign ad years ago against TABOR which showed a chocolate covered lemon. On the surface it looks appealing, but when you bite into it you find a bitter taste.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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