On October 23, 2016, the Denver Green Party ratified the following positions on the ballot questions that will appear on the Denver county ballot for November 2016.
Statewide Ballot Initiatives
Amendment T: Exception to slavery prohibition for criminals
Rationale: Private corporations and non-profits have been avoiding overhead costs and fair labor standards by using the forced labor of largely Black, Latinx and Native American people to produce goods and services at slave rates. Businesses should bear the full cost of business or dissolve.
Amendment U: Property tax exemption for possessory interests of $6,000 or less
Rationale: Using public property, often at a very low rate, is essentially corporate welfare for private corporations, and our tax dollars are for public good, not private interest.
Amendment 69: ColoradoCare, a new state healthcare system
Position: No Position
Rationale: While the idea of a state-run health care system that has some of the characteristics of single-payer, universal healthcare is welcome, there is too much potential for unintended consequences with the fact that the oversight board cannot be recalled and that public funding for abortions is not covered. We counsel Greens to vote their conscience on this proposal.
Amendment 70: Increase in Minimum Wage
Rationale: As Greens, we support $15 an hour now plus a union, at a bare minimum. We feel the liberals behind this tepid proposal have the working-class over a barrel. This proposal simply brings other low-wage workers to par with a substantial number of other workers, and we should note that the price hike of goods and services at companies that are more fair with their workers has not been the reality. Still, there is no downside to a raise of about $1 a year per hour.
Amendment 71: Distribution and supermajority requirements for initiatives
Rationale: Colorado is one of only a few states whose citizens can put an initiative on the ballot directly. In that respect, our state constitution is one of the most progressive, and we see no reason to impede direct democracy, not when the prime funders are the gas and oil industry. We see through the hype and recognize this as an attempt to curtail local legislation against fracking.
Amendment 72: Increase tax on cigarettes by $1.75 per pack of 20
Rationale: This a tax that disproportionately affects the working class. While we encourage the working-class to resist the corporate chain that is nicotine addiction and instead find healthier methods of self-care and coping with living under capitalism, we cannot support more financial burden for this crucial segment of the population. Additionally, we do not support earmarking specific funding as a part of the state constitution.
Proposition 106: Make assisted death legal under some circumstances
Rationale: Just as we stand with a woman’s right to choose abortion under the law, logic follows that people of sound mind, when facing the end of their lives, should also have a right to choose the manner of their death.
Proposition 107: Open presidential primary elections
Rationale: While we support the idea of a return to the presidential primary in Colorado, especially given the logistical catastrophe that was the Democratic caucuses that disenfranchised the working class, the elderly and people with disabilities, we Greens have seen nationally what happens when non-Greens take over a ballot line. Too often, candidates with an agenda vastly different from our party platform have diluted our identity and made a mockery of our 10 Key Values. We predict the same can happen with open primaries. We encourage anyone who wants to vote Green to register Green, but that is not necessary to support our slate of candidates.
Proposition 108: Colorado Unaffiliated Elector
Rationale: Just as with 107, we encourage unaffiliated voters to register Green, embrace our platform and values and work within our party for our mutual liberation.
Referred Question 2A: Retain Tax for Denver Preschool Program
Rationale: While there is pause for concern that the current sales tax rate of .03% might prove to be insufficient by 2026, increasing access to high-quality (not standardized testing-focused) preschool is necessary. Greens support education as a human right.
Referred Question 2B: Independent Monitor and Citizen Oversight of Police
Rationale: We support the de-funding, disarming and dismantling of police forces as we know it, especially in light of the Denver Police Department’s lack of oversight for officers who repeatedly fail to exhibit good judgment, respect for human rights or self-control. While 2B is a relatively tepid reform, it is a step in the right direction nevertheless and should be implemented. Mayor Hancock’s office is not the first to brush aside accountability for DPD’s human rights abuses, and oversight needs to be separated from his office and more in the control of the public. A next step would be granting the citizens’ review board the powers of subpoena and indictment.
Initiated Ordinance 300: Cannabis consumption in designated areas
Rationale: Consuming cannabis in a designated area is not materially different from a designated cigarette smoking area in our estimation. Freeing the use of a substance already with benefits to many is necessary.
Ballot Issue 3A: Mill Levy Override for Denver Public Schools
Rationale: We do not remember fondly the bait-and-switch that was the 2012 Bond and Mill Levy override, in which the stated use for increased taxes did not materialize as promised. DPS consistently shows itself to be unable to manage the public dollar, and while the purported earmarks would be important, we know that more funds can be redirected to these needs by ending the approval of charter schools that siphon off cash, by drastically reducing the amount of highly-paid central administration staff and by actually charging charter schools rent for the use of public school buildings.
Ballot Issue 3B: Bond Increase for Denver Public Schools
Rationale: The first thing DPS did with the money from the debt-creating school bond of 2012 was to purchase a new administration building. No more money for central administration staff whose positions should be cut in the first place. DPS has consistently shown itself to be unable to manage the public dollar.
Ballot Issue 4B: Extension of SCFD Funding Tax
Rationale: While we are concerned that most SCFD funding may not be equitably distributed to sufficient artists of color, from the disability community or other oppressed communities, the arts are necessary for a civilized and free society and deserve continued funding. We feel that the actual cost of 1 percent of 1 cent added to sales tax is a bargain for what the community receives in return.