Voters will be asked Tuesday to decide whether the City Charter should be amended to prevent planning, building, funding or financing a convention center without prior approval by the electorate.
On its face, Issue 200 seems fairly reasonable. Too many politicians for too long took too many liberties with and squandered taxpayers’ dollars, so seeking voter approval before elected leaders are allowed to spend millions of greenbacks makes sense. The problem is that Issue 200 isn’t that simple.
Issue 200, if approved, would prevent our elected officials from even considering a Colorado Springs convention center. The initiative requires a vote to spend money to plan or build a convention center, but it also says that there must be a plan in place 60 days before presenting a question to voters. While credit for cleverness should be given to whoever crafted the wording for the initiative, do supporters of Issue 200 really think that voters aren’t savvy enough to see the inherent conflict of those statements?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Harvard MBA to see that the supporters of Issue 200 want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the voters to think that they are protecting the interests of residents, but they’re really only protecting the interests of a few lodging entities that appear to believe that it is their manifest destiny to forever have a monopoly on the convention and meeting business in Colorado Springs.
Checks and balances on government are good things. Allowing voters to have a say about how their money is being spent is a good thing. Limiting even the discussion of an issue that might possibly have a lasting positive economic impact on the city is the epitome of selfishness on the part of a few who apparently care only about themselves.
The city’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights will protect Colorado Springs residents from politicians frivolously spending tax money on a convention center or any other big-ticket project that might arise.
If you’re an ardent supporter of monopolies and believe that the interests of a select few should outweigh the interests of the many, vote “yes” on Issue 200. If you think that discussing ideas and considering plans for progress should be eliminated from the role of government, vote “yes” on Issue 200.
However, if you believe that special interests shouldn’t be able to hamstring and hogtie an entire city, vote “no” on Issue 200.
We at CSBJ are hoping that at least 50.01 percent of voters on Tuesday fall into the latter category.