Hanbery Weighs In on Centennial Ballot Issues
Many who answer my knocks at their doors ask for my stances and any objective information and background on the current ballot issues. Here is a summary of the ballot issues and where I stand on them.
Ballot Question 2G – Centennial’s Fiber Optic Cable
I stand for the assertion of community standards and will vote yes on 2G.
Background: We, Centennial taxpayers, own 42 miles of fiber optic cable running mostly beneath Arapahoe Road and Dry Creek Road. It is currently being used to power our street lights. Most of it is dark (unused) fiber–a pipe with nothing running through it.
A state law, SB 152, prevents Colorado municipalities from using fiber optic cable that they own. This has the effect of being anti-competitive. At a District 1 Forum on October 4, 2013, this issue was debated between two attorneys, each taking the opposite position. I asked what the rationale was for creating the law in the first place. Long story short: The state protecting us from ourselves.
A provision in SB 152 allows voters to except municipalities from the law at the ballot. For Centennial, Ballot Question 2G is that choice. The issue simply gives us the opportunity to decide what to do with the assets we own. The city plans to spend $200,000 to create a business plan. Earlier in my career, I built TV studios. I’ve lit up dark fiber before. I’ll be able to provide an experienced, professional and critical view of any and all proposals.
Those proposals should include an option to build out the current infrastructure to make the Internet signals to our homes and businesses faster and more reliable and increase the level of competition. They should target Centennial’s manifestation as a “One Gig (gigabyte) City,” as that will be a powerful differentiator for companies choosing where to locate and employ people. As I stated at a September Centennial Council of Neighborhoods (CenCON) Candidate Forum, in 20 years, we’ll look at “One Gig” the way we look at dial-up today. Let’s seize this opportunity while the window is open.
I believe government should create an environment in which private enterprise competes fairly for the benefit of consumers and the marketplace, so I was very interested in the language of the ballot. I commend District 1 City Council representative Rick Dindinger who, along with 5 of the other 8 City Councilors, has endorsed my campaign, and Mayor Noon for successfully negotiating the ballot language to authorize the city only to, “indirectly provide high-speed,” services, “through competitive and non-exclusive partnerships with private businesses.”
Self-assertion is in our city’s DNA. It’s one of the reasons my wife and I chose Centennial for our family. 2G is the single most representative reflection of that on this ballot.
State of Colorado Proposition AA – Taxing Marijuana
The ability to tax marijuana was the rationale for much of the support of legalization. The language specifically earmarks the first $40 million for schools. (We’ll see…) A “no” vote does not re-criminalize marijuana. I am voting yes.
I’m on record as stating one of the problems with legalization at the state level is the inability for municipalities to collect taxes. Because marijuana remains illegal at a federal level, as I’ve discussed with District 2 candidate Doris Truhlar, retail marijuana businesses will be unable to bank. This keeps the business on a strictly cash basis and renders tax collection problematic.
I believe this also offers a potential solution for Centennial. Of all the doors on which I’ve knocked and all the Centennial citizens to whom I’ve spoken during this campaign, none have stated a desire for retail marijuana in our community. Some are not opposed, most are, a few cite a loss in tax revenue that we’ll be giving up to neighboring municipalities if we pass a permanent ban or continue with the current moratorium. I think we’ll also be giving up considerable downside, i.e. the crime for which a cash-only business is an inherent target.
If elected, I will suggest Centennial consider revising statutes so that in order to open a business in Centennial, one must be legally able to bank. This removes any prejudice toward any particular industry and addresses the most practical aspect of the matter.
Ballot Issue 3B – Arapahoe County School District #6 (Littleton Public Schools)
Centennial District 1 voters will find 3B on the reverse side of their ballot. I am voting yes on 3B. The authors of this bill tell us exactly how the money will be spent, and it’s for fundamentally necessary items that will directly impact the student experience.
My two kids attend Littleton Public Schools. My wife serves on the Accountability Committee at Peabody Elementary and I pitch in where I can. My youngest will graduate (knock on wood) Arapahoe High School in the 2021-2022 academic year. I hope to help make Centennial and LPS the place they return with their children. I believe the intent behind this amendment to Colorado’s Constitution is sincere. I will, however, vote no on this constitutional graduated income tax increase.
Unlike with 3B, Amendment 66 offers no guarantee our money will reach the classroom or have measurable impact on the student experience. In the breakdown of expenditures offered by supporters, the destination for a plurality of the funds, Highly Effective Teachers and Principals, is undefined. The state’s record on spending money earmarked for education is checkered. The funding imbalance and sources thereof trouble me.
Amendment 66 would increase state income taxes by 8 percent for people earning under $75,000 a year and 26.6 percent for people earning more than $75,000 per year. According to the most recent census, the average household income in Centennial is $100,352; the median income is $83,110. Denver’s median household income is $59,230; Aurora’s is $49,593. Intentional or not, this is textbook wealth redistribution.
Amendment 66′s sponsor Senator Mike Johnston has an impressive background in education. I believe his heart is in the right place. I also share his skepticism that his counterparts in the Republican party will provide an alternative–as to date, they have not; but we should not vote for a bad idea simply because it is the only one presented.
On these issues, my opponent is silent, inconsistent or offers little or no detail in how she arrived at her position.
I hope that, even if we disagree, you’ll see I take a sincere, objective and discerning approach to matters that impact our lives. This is why I carry the endorsement of six current Centennial City Council members, small business owners and community leaders.
I am your most thoughtful, objective and studious candidate. If elected, I’ll bring this work ethic and inquisitive approach to Centennial City Council.