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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
5 takeaways from the League of Women Voters Jefferson County's annual meeting

By Jo Davis
in Jeffco Transcript, May 1, 2024

Members of the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County met on April 23 for their annual meeting. The theme was “Safeguarding Gold Standard Elections.” Amanda Gonzalez, Jeffco’s Clerk and Recorder was the keynote speaker. Her speech offered more information on the elections for the year.


Here are five interesting facts that came out of the meeting that Jefferson County voters should know.


1. The Jeffco League of Women Voters is a group of volunteers.
 

Everyone in the room volunteers their time for not only the meetings but also observing legislative processes important to voting, according to the LWV president Christina Manthey.

“We do this through volunteering for the league observer corps program if each of us chooses to attend a governing body meeting regularly,” Manthey said.

2. The league is bipartisan and contains male members.

A few of the women were there with their husbands, who were also part of the membership.

LWV secretary Jane Cates told a story about two members who had a fierce debate  . . . . .

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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Ruszczyk: Coloradans for Metro District Reform

By Fayre L. Ruszczyk
in Jeffco Transcript, February 6, 2024


A legislative task force began studying homeowner’s rights in metro districts on Dec. 5, 2023. The task force will issue a report to the state legislature on June 15. Coloradans for Metro District Reform is a volunteer group researching metro district abuse and advocating for protective reform. CMDR has been covering and responding to the Task Force’s public sessions. Task Force hearings are public, recorded and may be accessed at https://engagedora.org/metropolitan-district-homeowners-rights-task-force.

Those living in metro districts also have an opportunity to fill out a short survey regarding their experiences at the same site.

The task force was created last year and has 11 members chosen by the legislators and the governor. Although labeled a “homeowners rights” task force, CMDR believes its membership is heavily skewed toward the developer industry. CMDR stated that three of the 11 task force members express positions reflecting resident interests. Two legislators serve on the Task Force (Representative Jennifer Parenti and Senator Julie Gonzales) as well as a county commissioner, five attorneys and a developer.



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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
RLeague of Women Voters reveals housing priorities

By Christina Manthey
in Denver Post, January 20, 2024



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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Group Hosts Metro District Forum

By Jocelyn Rowley
in Loveland Reporter-Herald, May 18, 2023


The proliferation of metropolitan districts across Colorado has helped provide much needed development to a growing population, but it has come with hidden costs. On Wednesday, the League of Women Voters South Larimer discussion group hosted a virtual panel presentation on how these financing tools can be misused by developers and end up putting a larger burden on property owners.

“It’s a good idea,” panelist John Henderson of the group Coloradans for Metro District Reform told the 38 online attendees. “The principal is sound. …But there’s no oversight, there’s no check and balance. That’s a bad idea.”

In Colorado, metropolitan districts are formed by developers to fund improvements or infrastructure that the local city or county government cannot, such as water, sewer, parks, or roads. The districts are authorized to collect taxes from current and future property owners that are then used to repay bonds issued to finance construction.

According to presenter Christina Manthey, president of the Jefferson County League of Women Voters, Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs reports that there are 2,297 metro districts across the state, including 346 in Larimer County.


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Get Informed and Vote

By Linda Rockwell
in Arvada Press, April 19, 2023


This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, a protest over taxation without representation. It’s been 30 years since Colorado voters approved the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, which requires a vote of the people before any tax increase.  Ballot issues related to taxes face us at every general election.

If we care so much about taxes, why do so few of us pay attention to our property taxes?  Possibly because we are often not aware of what they are. For renters and for people with a mortgage, the sum of those taxes is rolled into their monthly payment. They seldom, if ever, see the list of all the entities their tax dollars support.

Many of our property taxes are levied by special districts, which are formed by law to provide specific services like water and sewer, fire protection or recreation. Elections for Directors of these districts will be held May 2. I urge you to get informed and to vote.


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Special Districts and Metro Districts

Critical elections are on May 2 -- thousands of them. Go Vote!

By Maud Naroli and Kathy Wilson
The Denver Post, April 23, 2023

What is a special district? Thousands of special districts provide fire, water and sewer, park and recreation, ambulance, and other services in Colorado.  Special districts were created in 1948 to provide these services in unicorporated ares of counties.  And May 2 is the last day for Coloradans to vote in the special district elections.

Why care about voting in a special district election?

Do you know who provides your fire department services or your park and recreation services? How much debt has a special district incurred on behalf of your community? When we learn who provides these services we can learn who represents our voices.

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Jeffco homelessness stakeholders agree on cause but not action steps

By Andrew Fraieli
in Arvada Press, March 2, 2023


The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County and the Jefferson Unitarian Church Community Action Network co-sponsored a virtual panel discussion on Feb. 28 to “explore what can be done in Jefferson County to ease the plight of the unhoused.” This included the Mayor of Wheat Ridge Bud Starker and Jeffco Commissioner Tracy Kraft-Tharp along with various nonprofit, city and county representatives. 

If there is anything that they all agreed on, it’s that everyone needs to work together. But opinions on how that translates into action differed greatly, as do the consequences.


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Watch the panel discussion

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LWVJeffco receives award at Jeffco Open Space Conservation Awards

February 15, 2023

Jeffco Open Space is celebrating its 50th year of existence. The League was invited to this event as the recipient of the Gambel Oak Award which is given to visionary pioneers. The Jeffco League was part of the pioneering group that helped create Jeffco Open Space.


Watch the LWV Jeffco Presentation


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Special districts: Taking a closer look at mini-governments

By Karen Groves
in Your Hub, February 9, 2023


Residents of a district, as voters, have enormous power to set direction and provide oversight of district services. Board members represent homeowners and/or constituents in setting direction and policy, keeping constituents informed and overseeing financial resources (including, but not limited to, setting debt limits, setting and exercising tax authority and deciding how district money should be spent.)  This can have a direct impact on the taxes residents and/or constituents must pay.


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Jeffco League of Women Voters asks Jeffco Commissioners to make climate action a county priority
By Christina Manthey
in Your Hub, December 27, 2022


The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County (LWV Jeffco) is an advocate for the County’s development of a Climate Action Plan to address greenhouse gas emissions and help citizens adapt to the effects of climate change. We ardently support the plan’s goals to set an aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and enhance the resiliency of our communities. As an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice, we recognize that climate change is not just about science, it is also an issue of justice. We welcome that the plan centers equity throughout all climate action to reduce the climate risk disparities for disproportionately impacted communities.


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Headline News



Turmoil at Granby Ranch continues as Colorado secretary of state investigates possible metro district board election violations


By Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun, April 7, 2023

Wothing ever goes smoothly at Granby Ranch. It’s been four years since the 25-year owner of the 5,000-acre golf-and-ski resort community tried to sell to escape $62 million in debt. Lenders foreclosed on the Brazilian heiress and a pair of St. Louis investors acquired the resort. 

The St. Louis developers hired ski resort veteran Andy Wirth and his son Jace to run the ski and golf operations. Andy Wirth and ski racing legend Bode Miller planned to build the first Bode Miller Ski Academy at the Grand County ski area.  

Now the Wirths are gone. The academy is not happening. The residents are suing the new owners. The new owners are suing the residents. And the now decades-old drama continues at Granby Ranch, home to about 800 residents.



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Gen Z's political power: new data gives insight into America's youngest voters
By Elena Moore
NPR, Published February 6, 2023

For 19-year-old Jenna Ruiz, voting for the first time was a thrill.

"My group of friends and I were really excited," Ruiz said, a sophomore at Miami Dade College who serves as student government president.

Ruiz and her friends are just a few of the millions of young Americans newly eligible to vote in the 2022 midterms.

Still, that excitement didn't smooth over some of the uncertainty Ruiz experienced when it came time to actually cast her ballot.

"I felt, I'm not going to lie, a little bit lost on some of the things that were on the ballot," Ruiz told NPR. She said she was mostly motivated to vote because she disagreed with the conservative social policies of Florida's current Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ended up winning reelection.

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Jefferson County Open Space Was Not Created by Accident
By John Litz
Historically Jeffco, Issue 43, 2022

Every good story starts with, “in the beginning,” and the Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) program is not exception.  In the beginning, following the incorporation of the cities of Lakewood and Wheat Ridge (169), residents of Jefferson Count began to recognize that large tracts of open land were being consumed by the unmanaged sprawl of housing and commercial development.



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Teaching a generation to spot misinformation
By Jenny Gross
The New York TImes, in The Denver Post January 15, 2023

A typical lesson that Saara Martikka, a teacher in Hameenlinna, Finland, gives her students goes like this: She presents her eighth-graders with news articles. Together, they discuss: What’s the purpose of the article? How and when was it written? What are the author’s central claims?

“Just because it’s a good thing or it’s a nice thing doesn’t mean it’s true or it’s valid,” she said. In a class last month, she showed students three TikTok videos, and they discussed the creators’ motivations and the effect that the videos had on them.

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Independent Voters are More Important Than Ever
Anaylsis by David A. Hopkins / Bloomberg
The Washington Post December 27, 2022


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The real winners? American who used ranked-choice voting
By Rob Richie
in The Denver Post, Jaunary 1, 2023 (From the Miami Herald TNS)


Amid the postmortems about which party “won” the 2022 midterms, there’s an important story that may have a more enduring impact: the record number of Americans turning to ranked-choice voting for better choices, better campaigns and better representation.

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Healthy democracy requires trust -- these 3 things could start to restore voters' declining faith in US elections
By Sarah Bush and Lauren Prather

in The Conversation, December 1, 2022

The 2022 U.S. midterm elections ran relatively smoothly and faced few consequential accusations of fraud or mismanagement. Yet many Americans don’t trust this essential element of a democracy.

It’s dangerous for peace and stability when the public doubts democratic elections. Disastrous events like the insurrection by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021 make that clear.

But there are subtler effects of such doubt. Trump isn’t the only instigator of this distrust, which he sowed with his false assertions that the 2020 presidential vote was “rigged” and that he was the legitimate winner of the election.


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The Obvious Answer to Homelessness    And why everyone's ignoring it
By Jerusalem Demas
in The Atlantic, Jan/Feb 2023


When someone becomes homeless, the instinct is to ask what tragedy befell them.  What bad choices did they make with drugs or alcohol? What prevented them from getting a higher-paying job? Why did they have more children than they could afford? Why didn't they make rent? Identifying personal failures or specific tragedies helps those of us who have homes feel less precarious--if homelessness is about personal failure, it's easier to dismiss as something that couldn't happen to us, and harsh treatment is easier to rationalize toward those who experience it.

But when you zoom out, determining individualized explanations for America's homelessness crisis gets murky.


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