Those of us who are lucky enough to call the Mile High City home appreciate what our great city has to offer – stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, abundant outdoor activities, a thriving cultural scene and diverse neighborhoods, to name just a few.
Whether you were fortunate enough to be born here or you were smart enough to make the decision to call Denver home, the odds are that you appreciate the city for what it is. And if you are like me, you probably also are fiercely protective of our wonderful community.
That is why I get frustrated when I see out-of-state signature collectors asking voters to sign impossible-to-understand petitions that would permanently change our state Constitution. This month, dozens of these itinerant professionals will criss-cross the state to collect as many signatures as they can for any special interest group that is willing to pay them.
It can be hard to attend a local festival, an evening outdoor concert or just about any other Denver event without being asked to “take just a moment” to sign a petition. These signature collectors are the real-life equivalent of telephone solicitors who constantly interrupt you during dinner.
And if it feels like they are rushing you to sign, it is because they are. To these hired guns, the details of the petition are meaningless – they only care about collecting as many signatures as they can because they get paid for each one.
While they may not care much about the cause, you should. The petitions they are asking you to sign could have huge and devastating impacts for those of us who live in Boulder. They might eliminate hundreds of local jobs, cost the Denver Public School District millions of dollars in funding or result in significant tax increases to residents.
So what can Denver residents do to fight back? First and foremost, we should be wary of anyone soliciting signatures for a ballot initiative. Before signing anything, read it carefully, including the fine print. Don't rely on the word of paid signature gatherers. Read it for yourself, and make an informed decision about what the result of the initiative would be.
Colorado is the 5th most educated state in the country, according to a recent analysis. When it comes to potentially deceptive ballot initiatives, let’s prove that we can’t be fooled into signing a petition that could have lasting impacts on our community. Together, we can help protect communities across Colorado.