Monday, December 19, 2005

December 19, 2005 Democracy Works


Consider This for December 19, 2005-Democracy Works


The voters in the Town of Frisco declared their independence last Tuesday. You could almost hear the sound of the Home Depot proposal being dumped in Frisco Bay the same way the secretly- taxed British tea was dumped in Boston Harbor over two hundred years ago.

There was a total white- out blizzard Tuesday night. I was driving back from the monthly Democrat Central Committee in Leadville. When I reached the summit of Fremont Pass I turned on Krystal radio hoping for the election results. The intrepid Patrick Quinn was Johnny on the spot and within minutes I heard the proposal had been defeated.

It took me almost another two hours to make it to Breckenridge.

I took my mind off my fear of dying in the snowstorm by thinking about what happened with the election.

I did not take either side in the controversy. I had many friends who were in favor of the proposal and many who were opposed. I have always thought that town issues were for the people who live in the town.

A few months ago I wrote an e- mail to some friends about another issue. I did not write an article or go public with my feelings. Several of the people involved accused me of going public and writing an article about the e- mail. Never happened. That would be unprofessional. Just about as unprofessional as accusing me of writing something I never wrote.

During my death- defying ride I came to several conclusions.

I do not think the vote was a rejection of big box stores.

I do not think the vote was a rejection of the Frisco Town Council.

I do not think the vote was a rejection of the need for strong sales tax revenue for Frisco.

I do think the vote was an affirmation of the will of the people. The people view public lands as their own and not something that should be traded to the promissor of the highest sales taxes. The people believe that the greatest good for public land is for it to be used by the greatest number of people.

Everyone knows something will be built on that parcel. The voters just rejected the current plan.

This is not my idea but something I have heard several times in the past few months.

Maybe the town should consider a compromise. Surround the parcel with a public open space greenbelt. In the center of the parcel there could be a community center/performance center. Commercial retail space could be in the same area that could include art galleries, coffee shops, book stores and other low impact businesses.

I realize the potential sales tax revenues would not be there but this plan might sit better with the voters.

The Silverthorne Pavilion or the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center are two excellent examples of this. Public use combined with retail surrounded by the river and greenbelt.

The lesson here to all elected officials is if there is any major public objection, consider another plan. This is the third time in my memory in which a proposal in Frisco went to a vote and the town lost.

The other two were proposals to build a golf course on the peninsula.

One bad thing about getting old is that you remember the past. When the Homestake Exchange was completed the arrangement was for the County Commons parcel to have all the development and building structures. The parcel across the highway known as the Peninsula was not to have any construction. It was to remain pristine and open space in perpetuity.

It is like having money in your savings account. Eventually you want to spend it. A couple of times in the past the town supported building a golf course on that property. The voters turned it down both times.

I have never heard this from the elected officials in Frisco, but one of my pet peeves is elected officials announcing, after losing an election, that the voters are stupid and uninformed. They were elected by these same people. I guess they were stupid and uninformed when they elected them.

Democracy works. The power does remain with the people.

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