Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crime does pay in El Paso County

Are El Paso County voters the only voters in America who don’t support term limits?

It appears so. A review of term limits referenda around the country shows that term limits – either new term limits or reiterating or strengthening existing ones – passed everywhere they appeared on the ballot on Nov. 2 except in this Colorado county.

But looking closer, it turns out there is more to the story. It turns out that the ballot language was carefully written and promoted to confuse the voters into thinking that a vote for the anti-term limits referendum was a vote for term limits. In reality, the measure weakened the county commissioners’ term limit from two to three terms, giving them an extra four years in office at $87,300 per.

Hence, anti-term limits commissioners like Dennis Hisey and Sallie Clark, pictured, stand to pocket about $350,000 plus perks from their election day swindle.

The Colorado Springs Independent reports that county politicians “acknowledged they worded the measures strategically, asking whether officials should be limited to three terms. Unlike previous ballot measures, the questions didn't mention they're already limited to two terms."

State Sen. Ed Jones, a former El Paso county commissioner, said the measure was "disgusting" and "a slap in the face" of voters. City Councilman Darryl Glenn called it “misleading.” Former state representative Michael Merrifield told the Independent, "the way the question was posed made it sound like they were going to limit terms when in fact they are extending them."

No doubt. We’ve seen this trick before. In California in 2008, after losing twice at the ballot box already, an anti-term limits measure was crafted and marketed in a way suggesting that a yes vote would be a vote for term limits. In early polling, over 55% supported the measure. But in the course of the campaign the voters realized the trick, the polling flipped and Proposition 93 ended up losing by around 55%. In El Paso County, voters didn't get the message in time.

So, no, one can’t say El Paso is different because their voters oppose term limits. They are different because, in the year of the Tea Party, they are one county in America where the corrupt establishment Republicans won.