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2019 Municipal Run-off Election Local Ballot Question Guide

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This page includes information for voters regarding the initiative on the 2019 Municipal Run-off Election ballot. Physical copies can be found at public library and recreation center locations, in addition to Vote Centers. This information is also available as a PDF. View information about the candidates on your ballot using the interactive sample ballot click here, for other important election information, including locations and important dates, click here.

The information below contains fiscal impact estimates and, if available, comments for and against each initiated measure as required by the Denver Revised Municipal Code, Chapter 15, Article I, Section 11 (e)(1). A “yes/for” vote on any ballot measure is a vote in favor of changing current law or existing circumstances, and a “no/against” vote on any ballot measure is a vote against changing current law or existing circumstances.

  Initiative 302 - Let Denver Vote

The ballot title below was drafted by the proponents of the initiative for ballot purposes only. The ballot title will not appear in the Denver Revised Municipal Code. The text of the measure that will appear in the Denver Revised Municipal Code below was drafted by the proponents of the initiative. The initiated measure is included on the ballot as a proposed change to current law because the proponents gathered the required amount of petition signatures.

Ballot Title

Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver enact a measure prohibiting the use of public monies, resources, or fiscal guarantees in connection with any future Olympic Games, without the City first obtaining voter approval at a regularly scheduled municipal election or special election should the City decide to use public monies, resources, or guarantees for this purpose?

 

Citizen Initiated Ordinance - Let Denver Vote

The purpose of this ordinance is to submit to a vote of the registered electors of the City and County of Denver a proposed amendment to the Denver Revised Municipal Code concerning a prohibition on the use of public monies or resources towards a future Olympic Games without prior voter approval.

Section 1. There is hereby submitted to the registered electors of the City and County of Denver for their approval or rejection at municipal election on May 7, 2019, a proposed amendment to the Denver Revised Municipal Code as follows:

ARTICLE VIII. Election for Olympic Games

§. 15-90 - Election required-Use of public monies or resources for Olympic Games.

The city and county of Denver may not appropriate, expend, guarantee, or otherwise use, directly or indirectly any public monies or resources for the purpose of bidding for, aiding, or furthering an Olympic Games or any event thereof without seeking and receiving prior voter approval from the registered electors of the city and county of Denver at a regularly scheduled municipal election or special election.

If any section, paragraph, clause, or other portion of this ordinance is held to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance shall not be affected.

Methodology:

Previous elections costs were used to estimate the potential financial impact of the Let Denver Vote Initiative. The term “Election Costs” means any and all actions required or permitted by the Code, Rules, or other applicable laws taken prior to, during, or after the Election (even if cancelled), including without limitation all work performed concerning candidate petitions, all work performed to prepare, certify, print, mail, process and tabulate ballots (in English and Spanish), and all actions taken concerning recount. The term “Election Costs” includes without limitation the actual costs of labor and personnel, including temporary personnel costs, overtime costs for permanent personnel costs that are shown to be directly attributable to conducting the Election, translation and interpretation services, moving costs, if any, logistic costs, printing (in English and Spanish), mailing, and supplies directly attributable to conducting the Election.
 

Financial Impact:

If passed, the Let Denver Vote initiative would require voter approval on each instance where the City proposes use of public monies or resources towards a future Olympic Games. The financial impact per each election would be the cost of including the ballot question in future elections. If coordinated by the Clerk with another election, then the cost of including a question would be the prorated share of all coordinated election costs. The costs would be based on the relative amount of physical ballot space the question would occupy and would decline as the number of additional participating entities increased (the more ballot questions put forward, the lower the cost). If City Council were to choose to put a question on the ballot for a regularly scheduled November election, the financial impact is estimated to be between $150,000 - $400,000. If City Council were to choose to put a question on the ballot for a special election, and if no other entities put questions on the ballot, the maximum financial impact is estimated to be $800,000. 

YES!  Our vote is our voice, and Denver voters deserve the final say on any proposal to spend tax dollars on the Olympics.

The Let Denver Vote Initiative is a sensible ballot measure that keeps Denver’s options open regarding hosting future Olympics and gives the people of Denver a powerful voice in determining whether or not to invest municipal resources in pursuit of bringing the Olympics to Denver. The initiative would avoid closing any doors on a long-term basis, but instead empowers voters to weigh proposals concerning the Olympics on a case-by-case basis and determine if they want their tax dollars spent on pursuing the high-profile opportunity.

A YES vote on this pro-democracy, voter protection measure is supported by over three dozen elected officials and candidates for Denver municipal office, in addition to organizations taking fiscal responsibility, transparency, social justice, and protection of our environment into account in endorsing a vote of the people.

Hosting the Olympics brings significant financial risk and long-lasting impacts.  Host cities are expected to cover the consistent (every year since 1968) cost overruns of the Olympic games, and Denver voters deserve a right to decide if they are comfortable writing a blank check to cover such overruns.

Giving voters the final say about spending money on the Olympics means the public can weigh transparent information about

  • exact plans,
  • specific and detailed costs, 
  • necessary fiscal commitments and guarantees,
  • potential debt,
  • environmental impacts,
  • and the potential impacts on traffic, displacement, and social justice – impacts that will be felt for years before and after the actual event. 

Voters will have an opportunity to publicly discuss and debate the pros and cons and make the ultimate decision BEFORE the City can spend any taxpayer money or resources on the Olympics.

Since this proactive measure is not tied to any active Olympic proposal, voters can preemptively vote NOW on the right to vote and ensure that FUTURE generations retain that right, in perpetuity, regarding any future proposal for a tax-funded Olympics in Denver.

Currently, decisions to invest taxpayer dollars in the Olympics are left to elected officials who will be long-gone from office when the Olympics would come to town, while taxpayers will still be here to foot the bill.  A YES vote means those most affected – Denver voters -- will have the final say.

The Let Denver Vote Initiative is a simple and straightforward measure that, when passed, would ensure that BEFORE the City and County of Denver expends any municipal resources on pursuing a bid to host the Olympics, and BEFORE the taxpayers of Denver become liable for cost overruns, the people of Denver must FIRST approve the decision with a vote at the polls.

In summary, a YES vote NOW means we, the people, are guaranteed the right and ultimate authority to decide at the polls in the FUTURE on:

  • any taxpayer resources spent bidding for or hosting the Olympics
  • any agreement to cover any debt arising if the Olympics go over budget

Vote YES on 302!

This seemingly innocuous initiative to ‘Protect the taxpayer’ is dangerously broad, has extensive unintended consequences, and is brought by a group that is woefully misinformed about the risks, namely potential costs to the taxpayer of bidding and hosting an Olympic & Paralympic Games, that the ballot initiative seeks to mitigate.

  • Dangerously Broad.  This initiative amends Chapter 7, article 8 of the Municipal Code to include the language: “(Majority) Voter approval shall be required in order for the City and County of Denver to, directly or indirectly… (D) Appropriate financial resources or personnel in connection with bidding for an Olympic Games in Denver.”  This text implies that for a private organizing committee to even have a conversation with a member of city government there must be a vote approved by the majority of voters.

    This also means private organizations whose entire reason for being is to promote and encourage events and business developments in Denver would be unable to even address the issue of an Olympic bid.   Without interaction of government and government groups there can be no bid, even one entirely privately financed.

    A privately funded Olympic Exploratory committee was created in 2018 and after more than 30,000 interactions with Coloradans across the state it wholeheartedly recommended and developed a model that called for NO direct public money.  This initiative doesn’t aim to protect taxpayers, it aims to kill any hope of ever bidding for an Olympics.

  • Dangerous Consequences.  This initiative targets and codifies the requirements of a single event. The Olympic & Paralympic Games are an international, world-class event that requires thoughtful and robust coordination and public involvement in order to be safe and efficient. It is critical that City officials have a seat at the table to discuss and plan for such an event and not be prohibited from performing their civic duties. If passed, even a single police officer could be restricted from performing vital public safety duties. This sets a potentially dangerous precedent.

  • Dangerously Misinformed.  The Olympics are not coming to Denver.  The only group in the country that can submit bid cities is the United States Olympic Committee and that organization selected Salt Lake City as the US bid city for the 2030 Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee which selects the host city for the 2030 Games will not vote on those Games until 2023.  Los Angeles has already been awarded the 2028 Olympic Games and even if the unprecedented happened and the US was awarded two Olympic Games in back to back cycles, it would likely be 2050 before another Olympics will be awarded to the United States.

    Even if the impossible happened, the Olympic Exploratory Committee itself recommended that the hosting of the Olympics and Paralympics should be voted on in a statewide ballot initiative.  The voters of Colorado, not just Denver, should have the final say.

This initiative is too broad, too dangerous, and entirely too unnecessary to pass. Vote NO.