Voter guide for Centennial, Arapahoe County, and Cherry Creek Schools

As noted in my current Denver Post column, it seems local elections are deliberately obscure and confusing. After all, cui bono, who benefits? It's the political insiders, the taxers and spenders that gain, at the expense of you and me. How you vote is your own business, but for what it's worth, here is how Donna and I voted in our suburban Denver community. (See my endorsements at the bottom for other localities.)

In our city, Centennial, we like Republican candidates Linda Gawlik for clerk and Susan Bockenfeld for treasurer.

We're a Yes on Question 200, hands off workers' paychecks, and a No on the home rule charter idea -- sadly out of step with Centennial's founding vision of low taxes and minimal government. (But see below for home rule commissioner recommendations.)

Our city council choice in Ward III, unfortunately, was "none of the above." We abstained between Democrat Patrick Anderson and Republican ne'er do well (sorry, but it's a fact) George Shen.

If we lived in Centennial Ward I we'd back Republican former councilwoman Betty Ann Habig over incumbent Democrat Vorry Moon. It's a pity that Moon's GOP council colleagues are pulling for his reelection; that's what I mean about the insider clique. GOP newcomer Ron Phelps is on the ballot but has pulled out and endorsed Habig; that's statesmanship.

Since the home rule commission is like to pass (the name having a deceptive appeal to it), we voted for Republican commissioner candidates only. They are, in ballot order: Peg Brady, Norma Brandell, John Brackney, Rhonda Livingston, Cathy Noon, William Tanis, Dave Hunt, Kathy Turley, Lynn Goering, Gail Coombs, Susan Rosser, Karen Hamilton, Mark Hamouz, Bert Neely, Ronald Bella, and Richard Goering.

In Cherry Creek Schools, a concerted Democrat push is on, in cahoots with the teacher union, to grab the open seat in District A and unseat a good incumbent in District D. You can vote in both of these districts, no matter where you reside within Cherry Creek. We were a yes on Jim O'Brien, an independent who leans Republican, over the Dem Herrera. And a yes on Republican Steve de Carteret, over the Dem Perlis.

Arapahoe County voters are also being asked to stake our five commissioners to a possible extra four years on the public payroll, by weakening the term limit from 2x4 so it becomes 3x4. Parties have split over this proposal, interestingly, with Commissioner Rod Bockenfeld being the lone Republican to argue "leave it at eight and out." We think Rod is right, so we voted No on County Question 1A.

Political office below the federal level in general, and at the local level in particular, is thankless, time-consuming, and modestly paid if paid at all. These folks don't do it for the glory or the buck; they mostly do it from a sincere desire to serve and a hope of making things better. And I mean that regardless of party affiliation.

Here at Backbone America our hat is off in respect and gratitude to all the good citizens who are running locally this year -- but our best wishes for victory go to the more conservative individuals and issue positions outlined above.

PS: If we could vote elsewhere in Colorado this fall, here are a few preferences: Republicans we like for school board are Ryan Stuart in Douglas County and Kent Clawson in Falcon. We urge Mesa County to keep its sheriff term-limited. We hope Aurora reelects the tax-fighting Ryan Frazier to its council, and Denver votes down the tax-hiking Issues A-I.