Suburb to unions: Pass the hat yourself

Centennial voters did the right thing Tuesday in casting a 69% yes vote to pass my favorite initiative. It will keep government's hands off workers' paychecks as far as collecting political money for unions or any other special interest. It was called Question 200. The same issue needs to be on the statewide ballot next year, to protect against the undue influence that Big Labor obviously already holds with Bill Ritter and the Democratic legislature.

I've been the campaign chairman for Yes on 200 in my suburban community of Centennial, and I worked with Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute to get a similar measure passed by our Arapahoe County commissioners. El Paso, Weld, and other large counties have done the same. (Voters in Englewood and Greeley turned down such measures on Tuesday, however.)

Caldara is in fact hoping to take the idea statewide next year. He calls it the Ask First concept -- reflecting a simple process whereby political groups have to get members' permssion one by one to take part of what someone earns -- and then complete the transaction via credit card, bank autodraft, or some other non-government means. Details are at

Gov. Ritter's collective bargaining edict for state workers gave Ask First advocates an early Christmas present. Other forces hoping to put Right to Work on the 2008 ballot (an effort with which Caldara and I are not connected) are also thanking Santa Bill.