Last Tuesday, the Jeffco Board of County Commissioners held a briefing to determine whether the Jeffco 5 Grassroots group would have the opportunity at a public hearing to present a proposal that asks voters to increase the board of commissioners from three to five members on the 2014 ballot.
At present, three commissioners are voted in by the entire county. Jeffco 5 is asking that we increase the number of commissioners to five, and elect them only from the districts they represent. This will lower their constituencies to above 100,000, make campaigning affordable, and make for more responsive service.
One commissioner, Casey Tighe has demonstrated support for having this proposal heard. The other two, Faye Griffin and Don Rosier have not. Commissioner Tighe asked that the Jeffco 5 proposal be scheduled for a public hearing. This was rejected. A telephone “Town Hall” was proposed, allowing those who support or oppose the effort to call in. This too was rejected. Finally, it was agreed that in the near future (possibly early October), a phone Town Hall — including but not limited to the topic of the Jeffco 5 proposal —where the county called random voters, was approved. This was not what Jeffco 5 had hoped for.
Since the increase in number of commissioners directly affects those on the current board (dilutes their power), they should recuse themselves from this decision and send it directly to the voters on the 2014 ballot. If no such action is taken by the board, Jeffco 5 will begin a petition drive to do so.
The actions of two members of this board do not reflect a tone of responsiveness to its citizens. Their refusal to even allow Jeffco 5 to be heard demonstrates a confrontational approach to citizen dissent and is highly disappointing.
Collecting 25,000 signatures on petitions may be a more difficult task than having a cooperative BCC put the proposal on the ballot, but it is not one that Jeffco 5 will shy from.
Stay tuned for future activities of this passionately dedicated grassroots organization. It has one clear message regarding this sensible proposal: Let the voters decide!