By Doug Newman

April 12, 2006

Letter to the Editor of The Rocky Mountain News.

Letters to the Editor
Rocky Mountain News


Thank you very much for your April 12 editorial about the “stealth election” on May 2 to raise sales taxes to fund the Aurora Mental Health Center. It raises several important points.

I received a flier – not a booklet, a flier -- in the mail announcing the election. Had I not been the political animal that I am, I could have overlooked it very easily. May 2, as you point out, is not a time of year when many people are thinking politics. I, too, found it interesting that there will only be six voting locations. Thank you for pointing out that four of these six sites will be at mental health clinics. This is a blatant conflict of interest if there ever was one. Moreover, as you point out, in order to know where to vote, you must know which city council ward you live in. Most people – myself included -- don’t know this. In your words, the election rules “more or less hand the agency the higher tax on a platter.”

Proponents of the tax increase will no doubt tell you that their intentions are good. Every law, tax, regulation and other imposition on citizens is based on somebody’s good intention. Proponents of the tax increase will not doubt tell you that “it is only a 0.2 percent tax increase.” To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen, 0.2 percent here and 0.2 percent there soon becomes big money. The real world result of everyone’s good intentions is that in America -–you know, the land of the free – government confiscates almost half our income before we can even buy groceries.

While we are on the subject of mental health, I have heard insanity described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. America has more social policies and programs than any other nation on earth. And when was the last time the government solved a problem?

This is not a lost cause. In 1994, when I lived in Tucson, a similar situation occurred when a government agency held a “stealth” bond election. The media got wind of it and enough caring citizens got to the polls to vote this measure down. Thank you again for your editorial of April 12. May the rest of the media follow suit. And may enough Aurora voters get to the polls on May 2 to vote “NO!” on this measure.

Douglas F. Newman

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman