9/4/13

A chance to vote ...

Proponents of the initiative to repeal the marijuana/hemp ordinance recently passed by city council would have us believe that 548 citizens of La Junta have been denied the right to vote. Of course, we have no idea how accurate that figure of 548 is, since the petitions were in such disarray that the signatures were not verified.

This claim of 'denial of the right to vote' is a bit of obfuscation on the part of those proponents.

Otero County voters, and that includes voters in La Junta, have - as noted by the county commissioners - twice voted against the marijuana referendums put forth in the state elections in 2006 and most recently, November of 2012. The numbers were such that the statement 'voted overwhelmingly against' is not hyperbole. Here are the figures for Otero and surrounding counties:

Amendment 64 (2012) Percentages are shown.

Otero No 54/46
Crowley No 54/46
Bent No 59/41
Kiowa No 68/32
Prowers No 59/41
Baca No 63/37

Amendment 44 (2006)

Otero No 74/26
Crowley No 73/27
Bent No 70/30
Kiowa No 83/17
Prowers No 80/20
Baca No 81/19

That 'the state' approved the amendment is entirely beside the point, since the amendment leaves head shops and other components up to local jurisdictions. The vote last November, despite the overall state returns, rather strongly indicates what local voters think of this.

Now, if the proponents want to try to get the local 'issue' on the ballot, and see where it goes from there ... that's all fine and dandy. They should, however, try complying with the state law on the matter next time around. That it will not be on the ballot now is not the fault of city council, but rather is entirely due to the incompetence of the initiative's supporters.

There has been some talk of forcing a special election. Such an election would cost thousands of dollars. Why should the taxpayers be forced to foot the bill for the incompetence of the petitioners?

Please ... spare us the falsehood that these supporters have been denied the vote, and especially that they have been denied the vote through the fault of city council. That is absolute nonsense. At best, it is disingenuous; at worst, it is a deliberate lie to draw attention way from the incompetence of the initiative's supporters.