Letter: The irony of freedom


In about a week, we as a town, state and nation will be celebrating the 227th year of political independence from a great nation.

A nation that attempted to enforce laws, extract taxes and deny basic rights to the fiercely independent people who settled in their North American colony.

A people who strongly believed that legislation without representation was obscene and intolerable.

Isn't it ironic that in less than five weeks after our Independence Day celebration, we will be asked by the City Council of Steamboat Springs to take a giant step backwards and approve a city ordinate that would establish a non-elected legislative entity capable of adopting " laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations as deemed proper" (Sec. 3 pg. 2) for the people of the city of Steamboat Springs, the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, (hence forth simply referred to as the District), and the "urban growth boundary areas," as well as the "quasi-municipal or special districts" (sec. 20, pg 14) of the Yampa Valley without any accountability to those whom it will govern.

The Water Authority that is being ramrodded through the "election process" on the Aug. 13 primary ballot, in which all local positions are sought be incumbent Republicans, is just that.

We are being asked to surrender our right to choose who will govern us to the City Council, who in turn will appoint a Board as a de facto legislation arm of the city of Steamboat Springs.

The seven-person board of the Water Authority will have three appointees from the City Council and four from the District (which will become defunct after the board is established).

The terms of office will range from two to four years for the initial board members and then each appointment will be a four-year. (Sec. 4, pg 3) renewable term thereafter.

"The members (of the Board) must reside in the city or reside in Routt County and own a fee simple real property within the boundary of the city.members (of the Board) are not subject to removal be the City Council."

The only way to remove a member of the Board is "after six months(they) may be recalled pursuant to Article XXI of the State of Colorado Constitution, by the eligible electors of the Authority under the Colorado Municipal Election Code." (Sec 5, pg 3)

Is it not fascinating that since there are no electors of the Authority, there may be no way to recall a member of the Board?

It has been said this non-elected form of legislative authority has never been set up in Colorado before, it may very well come under the scrutiny of the State Attorney General as an unconstitutional ordinance, and therefore an unconstitutional Authority.

This kind of unfavorable and negative publicity is surely not an affordable option for a resort town.

I urge every voting age citizen of Steamboat Springs to acquire a copy of the ordinance and read it very carefully before Aug. 3.

Then, vote against the establishment of a Water Authority, which will restrict and remove our rights, as a governed people, to choose those who govern us.

We need to show the City Council that the spirit of independence and self-government demonstrated 227 years ago is still the cornerstone of the American character and resides here in Northwest Colorado.

Camille A. John

Steamboat Springs


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