Referendum J – School District Spending Requirements

Referendum J is pretty similar to Amendment 39, but there are a few things that Referendum J offers that Amendment 39 does not. I spoke about Amendment 30 yesterday.
Summary
I spoke about Amendment 39 yesterday. Referendum J does everything Amendment 39 does plus it adds a few things.

They both have a at least 65-percent funding for the classroom, but Referendum J adds in Principals, Support Staff, and Support Services provided at the school level. Referendum J also adds an out for school districts by allowing voters to exempt them from the 65 percent requirement and it adds a requirement that standardizes format for school district budgets and the school districts must submit them to the state.

In comparing spending, if these were to pass, 166 schools would have fallen short by a total of $278 million under Amendment 39. Under Referendum J, only three districts would have fallen short by a total of $1 million.

If both Amendment 39 and Referendum J pass, any provision of Amendment of 39 is in conflict with Referendum J, the provision of Referendum J will not be enforced.

My thoughts
I think that Referendum offers a better deal for the State of Colorado. It puts in spending regulations for the school districts, includes more in the 65 percent mandatory spending, and if the local voters feel that 65 percent is too much, they can vote out of the 65 percent requirement. Referendum J also standardizes school district budgets, allowing for a good comparison and understanding on how our schools are funding their operations.

Also, if both were to pass, we could have many lawsuits seeking clarification and guidance from the court on which parts of Referendum J conflict with Amendment 39.

My Vote
Yes on Referendum J.

Beware of the Key Bridge Marriott in Washington, DC

I recently just traveled for work to Washington, DC, and stayed at the Key Bridge Marriott.  I had heard some good things and like its location near Georgetown and was looking at staying someplace new.  But I was soon disappointed.
I had a corner room with a good view, one of my windows looking at the buildings of Rosslyn, VA, and windows looking across the Potomac towards Washington, DC.  But this view soon disappeared because as soon as I turned the heat on, the windows fogged up with condensation and I couldn’t see anything.  And the two windows leaked cold air like they were open.

The problem was that the fan that is supposed to exhaust the humid air from the bathroom, didn’t really work too well.  The moisture just hung out in the room.  The only way to clear the windows was to run the air conditioner while I was gone during the day.  But as soon as I returned and turn the heat on, the windows fogged up.

The Key Bridge Marriott needs to get with it and improve the circulation in their hotel.  Until they do, I wouldn’t recommend staying here.  There are many other places to stay in Washington, DC, that provide a better room and service.

Amendment 39 – School District Spending Requirements

SummaryAmendment 39 directs each school district in Colorado to spend at least 65 percent of their operating budget in the classroom, specifically teachers, classroom aides, and tutors; libraries and librarians; books and other instructional materials; classroom computers; and field trips, athletics, arts, and music. A school district may request a one-year waiver from this Amendment.

There is a similar bill that will be voted on this year, Referendum J. I will tackle that one tomorrow.

My Thoughts
I think this is a noble bill, but it does not meet the needs of all Coloradoans. This puts a one-size, fit-all approach to education and I don’t think that is correct. Also this bill does not include required funding for support staff that are as important to education as teachers. Many of the rural school districts have higher transportation costs then the urban school districts. Also, no matter what, school districts would have to go along with it. Local citizens and school boards would lose the local control that they should have.

My Vote
No!

Amendment 38 – Petitions

SummaryAmendment 38, if passed, will expand the current law and allow citizens to propose and challenge laws at all levels of state and local government. It will also changes existing procedures for placing a measure on the ballot by petition and applies to all levels of government.

What it does:

  • Limits ballot title to 75 words.
  • All disputes go to state Supreme Court and must be decided within seven days of filing.
  • Requires signatures of five percent of votes cast in the state or local government for secretary of state in the last full-term general election for the office.
  • Petitions are not really verified. They are counted and protests may be filed. If an individual signature is protested and proven invalid by clear and convincing evidence is not counted.
  • If you want to protest a signature, you have 10 days of filing and it must be resolved within 10 days.
  • Random sampling may not be used and signatures may not be disqualified for technical defects or minor variations or omissions.
  • You have 12 months to gather signatures and if you don’t collect enough for the upcoming election, they may be submitted for the next November election as long as it is within the 12 month period.
  • Elected officials may place a restriction on laws exempting them from challenges, but three-fourths of the governing body must vote for it.
  • They may elect to exempt 12 per year and if the voters successfully reject a law, the voters may only approve a similar law.
  • Measures may appear on any November election ballot.
  • In voter information materials, proponents may have up to 1,000 words while opponents must limit their comments to the number of words the proponents have submitted.
  • Not require that the ballot title be on the top of each signature page.

My Thoughts
In my opinion, this amendment weakens our government. It makes the citizens the elected body and the elected body almost worthless. There is a reason why we have an elected body to carry out our day-to-day government legislative and administrative functions. There is a lot to do and our representatives represent us.

It will also eliminate safeguards to check the signatures on the petitions by restricting the election official’s ability to verify the signatures will increase the likelihood that an erroneous signature will get on the ballot. Also, the Amendment would not require the petitioner to place the ballot title on each signature page, leading the potential of people not being clear on what they are signing or signing for something they don’t want to.

There is a law already on the books that allow for citizens to propose and challenge laws and it tends to work pretty well. There are certainly plenty of amendments for people to vote on this year. Let’s not weaken government and allow the government to work for the people.

My Vote
No!

Colorado State Amendments and Referendums

Beginning this evening I will be taking a look at the Colorado State Amendments and Referendums by summarizing them and letting people know how I am going to vote and why.
Voting is an important part of being a citizen of the United States and hearing diverse opinions on issues and candidates is what this country was made upon.

Look for the first one tonight, Colorado Amendment 38.

You may view information on these amendments and referendums by visiting www.coloradobluebook.com.

United Airlines Needs to Get a Clue!

United Airlines used to be one of the premier airlines in the country.  But with the struggles and their money problems they have lost the focus of who they should be concentrating on, the customers.
On Friday night I had a flight back from Washington, DC, National Airport.  It was raining in Washington, DC, but that should not have been a problem.  But, United was flying a 757 and they had problems landing at National Airport.  In fact, he tried three times to land and couldn’t manage to put it down.  He had to go to Dulles Airport to get more fuel and then try and return.  Well after all-of-that, we were about three hours late.

The customer service people did not feed us much information.  Just that they tried to land three times and that we would be late.  We were already an hour late and they were still saying that we were on-time on their website.  They finally updated the time, but they never announced more information until it was on the ground.

But did United provide us with anything for being three hours late? NO!  The reason was that it was weather.  They could have provided a complimentary beverages or given us meal vouchers, but no.  I felt bad for all of those who missed connections.  At least United had rescheduled their flights and it looked like they were giving hotel vouchers.  But for those whose flight ended in Denver, they got nothin.

All of the passengers were really frustrated.  Giving someone a free beer or glass of wine would have gone a long way to making friends.  But in this new world, they could give a crap about their passengers.  How many are they going to lose because of this.  Get a clue United!

Make Your Spouse Happy With Gadgets For Both of You…

For those of you who like gadgets, but get in trouble with your spouse when you buy them, might want to consider checking out CNET’s new review entitled “Fully whipped 2.0: Top products with high wife acceptance factor“.
I personally like the Slingbox. Maybe my wife would have some time to keep up with her shows when she travels. When she is at home, we are all too busy with kids and housework to try and keep up. But I think that she would like the IPod Nano so she has more music to listen to as she drives around for her job.
This is also a good article to get some good gift ideas.

Firefox 2.0 Rates a 10!

Well, it took quite a bit to install the new IE7. But just as hard as it was to install IE7, it was just as easy to install Firefox 2.0. All you need to do is to go to GetFirefox.com and download it. Once it downloads, in a few minutes, just open it up and it installs quickly. No closing your browser or having to reboot, like in IE7. It is quick, easy, and painless.
The visuals are updated and more polished. The interface is better and more intuitive.

As you can see from my IE7 post, it was a difficult install and took quite a bit to get it set up and running appropriately. Firefox 2.0 was completely different and a breeze. You can’t go wrong in installing Firefox 2.0.

If you don’t believe me, you can read a review on CNET and see their review, they made it their Editor’s Choice. Overall, it is being well received. See those blog posts that have been cataloged by Technorati.

Go Firefox!

Clyde’s Crab Cakes Rock!

I am in Washington, DC, for work this week and even though it is tough to be away from the family, it is nice to be able to go out to some nice restaurants and have a nice relaxing dinner without kids screaming throughout the meal.
One of the treats I enjoy is to go to Clyde’s in Georgetown and have crab cakes. Nothing beats these yummy lumps of crab. It was served with green beans and a mixture of cubed red potatoes, cubed sweet potatotes, and green peppers.  It was a wonderful dinner.  Also, nothing beat the desert.  It was Griddled Pear Gingerbread with Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce.  Mmmmm!

If you are in DC, this is one of the restaurants that I would recommend to visit.  It is located in the heart of Georgetown on M Street, just west of Wisconsin.