by Ari Armstrong
[The following article originally appeared in the November/December 2001 edition of Colorado Liberty.]
Libertarian Carol Hill won a spot on Leadville's city council in the November 6 elections with 48.6% of the vote in a three-way race. She joins Joe Swyers, a Libertarian already on the council. "Carol won in a three-way race against an incumbent and a veteran council candidate," Swyers noted.
Ken Cary, who also won a seat, registered as a Libertarian just days before the vote. Lisa Dowdney, already on the council, registered as a Libertarian November 8.
Hill remarked, "It's going to be a very interesting city council, especially on financial issues. Now we've got a majority. We should get some reasonable budgets and some sensible policies -- we'll be able to cut back."
Three other Libertarian candidates for local offices didn't win. Ron Bain ran for Boulder's city council, while Steve Gresh and Mike Seebeck ran for school board in districts 20 and 28 in the Colorado Springs area.
Out of 15 candidates, Bain earned 2.8% of the vote. Gresh earned 7.6% of all the votes cast in a six-way race, and 16.2% of all voters cast one of three votes for Gresh. Seebeck earned 14.8% of all the votes cast in a five-way race, and 34.3% of all voters cast one of three votes for Seebeck.
Voters defeated a state-wide tax to fund a study for monorail by a large margin. Libertarians had assisted with an effort to challenge the signatures gathered for the initiative (see page 16), but a Denver district judge ruled the number of signatures was sufficient. The monorail study was harshly criticized by tax-reduction activist Douglas Bruce and Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute as an impractical waste of money.
A Denver sales tax to increase political control of child-rearing was also defeated, along with a proposal to build a new jail in Denver.
One state-wide spending increase passed: a debt measure to allow politicians to purchase more land. According to the November 7 Rocky Mountain News, Bruce said, "There seems to be an attitude that government ownership of land is good as long as you call it open space... All it is is socialism." Governor Bill Owens actively supported the spending proposal.
The Montrose LP affiliate was unsuccessful in its attempt to repeal an ordinance that denies business owners the right to set their own smoking policies.
Bain was endorsed by the Boulder Weekly. Bain related, "I didn't do quite as well as I hoped, but neither did I do as badly as I feared. I definitely communicated our message to some non-Libertarians who hadn't paid any attention until they heard it interspersed with populist and classical liberal rhetoric. I recommend that Libertarians practice this: don't change what you say, change the way you say it. My ad campaign was short-lived and underfinanced, but I think I was on to something. It was fun! I'm as introverted as any Libertarian, but I really enjoyed it."
In his race, Gresh opposed a school bond issue that was passed. Gresh said, "I was the only candidate who opposed the ballot question and advocated the separation of school and state. The Gazette, a small local weekly paper, and a television station gave me above-average coverage."