Why I'm Voting No in Centennial

Take a minute and consider this with me, even if you don't live in the affluent, tree-lined Denver suburb of Centennial where neighbors are duking it out over the June 10 vote on a new city charter. As one more symptom of how Republicans across the country have lost their way, it's relevant no matter where you reside. Centennial was established in 2000 as a whole new kind of municipality with low taxes, minimal government, and "virtual" administration. But since then, taxes have gone up, mission creep has occurred, and the virtual stuff is largely forgotten. We've become just another status-conscious little city keeping up with the Joneses.

With a huge margin of registered Republicans, you'd think Centennial could have either (a) kept to its vision for a few short years, or failing that, which it has, you'd think Centennial could have (b) written a home rule charter to recover the forsaken vision. Sadly, it has done neither.

Charter proponents are strangely silent about the noble vision of eight years ago. Their case is phrased in glowing generalities about self-determination and soothing assurances that the charter is just like most other cities. But that's just the problem: lots of us want to be different from other cities. We thought that's what we were signing up for when approving incorporation in 2000. Bait and switch isn't nice.

When and if our well-meaning charter commission (with its notable over-representation of Democrats) can bring forth a charter that takes us back to the low-tax and minimal-government "city different" of yesteryear, I will eagerly lead the campaign for its approval. But for now, since the document we've been presented is more likely to lock in all the disappointing trends of recent times, I'm voting No.

My Denver Post column on this issue, along with a number of related articles, is in the Local Government category of our site. Scroll down to menu in right column.

My radio interview with Cathy Noon, who supports the charter, and Betty Ann Habig along with Chris Raab, who oppose the charter, is in the Backbone Radio section of our section. See nav bar or radio box at top of home page. The time frame in our 5/18 podcast was 550pm to 7pm.