No home rule, unofficial election results show

Attached are the unofficial results. We received 1,884 ballots. We mailed out approximately 3,225 ballots. That’s almost a 60 percent turnout.

Yes: 432
No:  1,446

Audrey Gilpin

City of Salida







The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

28 Responses to “No home rule, unofficial election results show”

  1. Marilyn Marks

    Today we called on the Council to release the recording of the alleged "executive session" conducted on January 8, 2013 for the stated purpose of discussing "Marilyn Marks."

    The discussion came after an almost all false and slanderous diatribe by the City's Attorney.
    The public has a right to know what was done and said in that executive session that was clearly not a legitimate executive session.
    If the council can have executive sessions about "Marilyn Marks," what is to prevent them from having exeutive sessions about YOU?

    Like (0)
  2. Jay Moore

    Due to a most glorious URI, I don't think Influenza, but perhaps, I did not attend either the morning work session, nor the evening formal session of City Council that day. I have no more knowledge of the conversations, in those sessions, than any other citizen. There were three different topics listed, in the usual notices, for the executive session. The executive session, as posted, was not just "Marilyn Marks". Again, I did not attend.


    Like (0)
  3. Marilyn Marks

    Right, I am not asking about the other items in he executive session, only the item noted as "Marilyn Marks." The recording I am seeking can be edited out of the entire session so that council only releases the requested topic discussions.

    Like (0)
  4. Joe Judd

    If someone is insinuating a conspiracy, there should be some evidence presented to back that claim. I don't believe that an 'almost all false and slanderous diatribe' warrants any action. Perhaps a 'false and slanderous diatribe' would.

    The Council could well be talking about me (or anyone else) in executive session. But I have no reason to believe so. Furthermore, I have no reason to believe that their potential conversations would harm me in any way. I have no reason to believe the Council is conspiring against me, or anyone.

    I would prefer Ms. Marks just relish in her victory and move on. The taxpayers spent some more of our money to hand count the ballots, at her request. She has a victory! It seems to me that spending staff time pursuing information (or...defending itself?) concerning such accusations without merit would simply be a waste of the money for the taxpayers of our municipality. I would much rather that time and effort be spent to address some of our real issues. So please, if there is some substance to your conspiracy, bring it forward. If not, please allow our community to move on to more important things.

    Like (0)
  5. Robin

    I am just dumbfounded Ms. Marks. I am a citizen that is against wasteful spending, no doubt, but really, really????? We are Salida. We are proud. We are rural. We are community. Congrats, you have helped in divisiveness, rather than team building. This is not how we work, and you will not represent me, and you do not represent me.
    And to be so entitled to an apology? Come on. Public servants work their #$% off, and you feel that you are entitled to an apology? Thank you Council for taking Home Rule. Thanks to ALL that chose to run for the commission, regardless of their beliefs....I understand it takes an abundance of energy in the public sector.
    Sometimes criticisms are reflections of one's self, and what they work on....hummmmm........

    Like (0)
  6. Marilyn Marks

    Robin without-a-last-name,
    I suggest that you re-read the message. I do not ask for an apology for myself, but an apology from the City to the voters of Salida. (I'm not a Salida voter.) The city violated your privacy and created a set of processes ripe for voter intimidation. I've talked to enough voters to know that many were in fact intimdated. And for good reason.
    If you voted, do you like the fact that I could have seen and traced how possibly you and other voters voted? That should never be possible. Why did the city set it up so that it was possible, when it is clearly against the law.?

    Over the course of 4 years of working on voting rights across the state, I have seen so many voters afraid to cast a ballot that reflects their beliefs. If you don't believe that fighting voter intimidation is a worthwhile cause, then we are definitely at odds.

    Like (0)
  7. Bill Smith

    Ms. Marks:

    I do not feel like I need the city council to apologize to me for anything regarding the election. If I did want an apology I certainly don't need you to ask for it on my behalf. I find it offensive that you purport to represent me.

    Frankly I have far more questions about your involvement in the election than about anything else. Why are you here? Why Salida? Who invited you here? Maybe you can request something on behalf of those who asked you to come here, if anyone did, but don't pretend you are asking for ANYTHING on my behalf. I didn't ask you to do that. I don't want you to do that. If you want to do something for me, something I would like done - please go home, and let us deal with our city officials. We can handle it.

    Like (0)
  8. Marilyn Marks

    Bill Smith asks some questions which I'll attempt to answer. (He would know the answers if he had not requested that I not email him any information. )
    I requested that the CITY issue an apology for having a process that illegally allows the violation of voter privacy. I did not reference "Council." I doubt that councilmen have any information on that issue.
    If you are not offended by officials allowing violations of voter privacy, then that is your perogative. Most voters ARE offended at that. And many Salida citizens DO need someone to speak up for them. I had many people come to me in private, some afraid to give their names, to ask for continued help.

    Bill, you ask about my interest in Salida--
    Q."Why are you here? "
    A. Becuase numerous citizens have asked for the help of Citizen Center. Their government has not been responsive or open. That is the Citizen Center mission of our organization to help.

    Q:"Why Salida?"
    A. We have numerous Citizen Center members there. We first came to be concerned about area elections with the traceable ballots in Chaffee County and the fraudulent blue/black ballots.

    Q: "Who invited you here? "
    A. Citizen Center does not need an "invitation" to help citizens with open government concerns. Would you ask the same question of ACLU, or NAACP, or Common Cause?

    Smith, says, "– please go home, and let us deal with our city officials. We can handle it."
    A. I presume that you are speaking for yourself and that you do not purport to speak for anyone else.
    Citizen Center is not going away, until we see City officials more willing to respect the residents of Salida.
    If you "can handle it," why didn't you insist on a legally conducted election from the beginning, where security protocols and voter privacy guarantees would be honored? Why didn't you insist on transparency that the city refused until forced?

    Why are you so anxious to get rid of the oversight and citizen training that Citizen Center brings?

    The City of Salida appears to hire many out-of-town experts for considerable fees. Is it your position that "outside experts" are okay if the City pays for them, but volunteer "outside experts" are unwelcome?

    Like (0)
  9. Bill Smith

    Ms. Marks:

    I can tell from your response that you know nothing about me. This is the problem that out of towners have when they try to push their own agenda in a place where they don't live. They act and think in ways that are out of character for the place they are. I am guilty of that myself from time to time. I'm working on it.

    In answer to your last question, my position on out-of-town experts is that I don't think we need them. I generally expect we can find locals to do the work, and that before we get someone from out-of town to do it we should have exhausted the local resources first. I hold that opinion regardless of who hires or how much they get paid.

    I question why these "numerous citizens" couldn't represent themselves, can't stand up and speak for themselves, and can't be named.

    I note that the federal court has ruled that there is no right to a private ballot under the Constitution, so am I not sure where the city acted illegally in this case.

    I am very concerned about voter intimidation. I see instances of it on a regular basis. Real instances of voter intimidation, not three times removed questions about possible unnamed voters who might be intimidated. However, I am also aware that many people push specious claims of voter intimidation to further their own ends. Our current secretary of state is an easy example. He claimed that there was massive voting by people in this county illegally and used that false claim to intimidate Latinos from voting, First claiming there were 12000 illegal voters, then going so far as to send letters to 4000 people telling them they were ineligible to vote. In the end the number turned out to be at most 35 illegal voters.

    That is real voter intimidation and it should be resisted with all of our efforts. Traceable ballots may be a problem. The practice may be illegal. But, I don't know of anyone who has failed to vote, or been prevented from voting because of it.

    I do know that efforts have been made, real efforts with real results, to prevent Colorado Citizens from voting. That is not what happened in our last election in Salida. Frankly, it looks to me like the Citizen's Center spends its time focusing on small towns with limited resources and makes minor technical issues into claims of ridiculous proportions in an effort to raise its own profile. At the same time there are real issues that we know actually keep people from voting and I don't see the Citizens Center dealing those at all.

    How dare you compare yourself with the ACLU, with the NAACP or with Common Cause? The Citizens center is nothing like those organizations. Using that kind of rhetoric is just another example of the self aggrandizement that seems to be the driving force behind the Center, rather than a true focused effort at stopping real and growing voter intimidation.

    Like (0)
  10. Joe Judd

    I feel like the larger point is that Ms. Marks is costing the the Citizens of Colorado a great deal of money. When one sues a municipality or local government, that burden is paid directly from the tax base. That money can only come from the citizens of that community. Suing a municipality is the same as suing the citizens and taxpayers of that community. There is no 'evil machine' at the head of local government. It is simply an arm of the people it represents.

    Here is a tidbit of information as to what Ms. Marks has cost the citizens of Sagauche County:
    Saguache County pays $100,000 in Marks suit

    Posted: Friday, Oct 5th, 2012

    SAGUACHE — Saguache Commissioners signed a deal Tuesday agreeing to pay Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks $100,000 in attorney fees to settle her public records suit and assigned Marks the right to sue Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) for an additional estimated $250,000.

    The assignment of rights for the ES&S suit was negotiated with Marks' attorney in order to reduce actual settlement costs. Citizen Center, founded by Marks, will in turn sue ES&S for selling and leasing the county non-compliant election equipment. Saguache County would then share in the proceeds of any fees Marks wins in the ES&S suit.

    The 20-month old suit was first filed against former Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers for failing to deliver election records and ballots for Marks’ inspection per the existing open records laws. “This settlement is a real victory for taxpayers, since it puts a stop to a sad episode of government obstruction and sets Saguache County on the road to recoup much of what that obstruction cost the public in the first place,” Robert A. McGuire, of McGuire-Baines LLC, attorney for Marks and Citizen Center remarked.

    Further details of the agreement will be released next week.

    Saguache is a very poor county in one of the poorest regions of the state. To have to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit seems a terrible waste of the public's money. Even for a wealthy county, it is a terrible waste. I would find her motives to be much more admirable if she did not use lawyers and lawsuits to accomplish her goals. The only real winners in this game are the lawyers, who fatten themselves with legal fees, and perhaps Ms. Marks. The true losers are the ones left holding the bill, namely the citizens of each jurisdiction who get sued.

    Be sure to read the line in the article above which states Ms. Marks will now be suing the manufacturers of the machines to the tune of $250,000. It makes one wonder if she is truly motivated by virtue, or perhaps simply driven by profit. If the true point were to ensure fair and legal voting procedures, that same $100,000 could be put toward rectifying any discrepancies and still leave quite a bit of money in the county coffers. Wouldn't that accomplish the same goal and produce a better result for the People?

    And by the way, I'm still waiting to hear any evidence of a conspiracy eluded to in the original post. From what I understand, 'an almost all false and slanderous diatribe' still warrants no investigation, nor an apology.

    It seems to me that the people who stand up and volunteer to help make our community a better place to live are far more virtuous than an outsider who assembles a team of lawyers to pursue what appears to me to be some kind of shameless self promotion through lawsuits. Sure, there may be some issues with voting procedures according to the statutes. And I agree that those issues should be addressed and rectified. But I find it ridiculous the there is some kind of conspiracy to disenfranchise voters and scare voters from casting their ballot. Conspiracy is simply another name for paranoia, until actual evidence is presented.

    I would challenge Ms. Marks to take her fortune (at least the $100,000) and put it toward an excellent charity that helps those in small communities. Maybe she could use that money to help small communities rectify any issues with voting procedures. That would be an excellent way to put her money where her mouth is.

    (My apologies to all the lawyers. But in the end, you will be fine.)

    Like (0)
  11. Marilyn Marks

    Continue the uninformed personal attack against me if you wish to distract from the real issues.
    Attorney Hanlon has created a rather comical but self-serving, profitable result in making me into a bogeywoman.

    As you read my response, consider what you believe the “right action” is if citizens want to verify their election and the officials refuse to release the public records. Should citizens just give up and let the government withhold the records? In Saguache (2010), the records became corrupted and unauditable before the people could verify the very controversial results. Ultimately we learned that one taxed “passed” that didn’t actually pass, and apparently at least one person was voted into office who did not win, after it was too late. Then we went through the expense of a recall. So what is the public to do if the government withholds the records? Is the public to just say “okay, we give up?”

    If you want to save the city money ask that Hanlon not charge you for any time he spends fabricating, manufacturing and communicating these crazy claims and his leading the Council into closed door meeting, where the public could not hear the truth. (If forced to say those things in public, the meeting would have been much shorter, as he would have feared making such unfounded claims.)

    He forgot to tell the public that the majority of litigation I’m involved in was initiated by custodians like Joyce Reno, not by me! I merely got dragged in to defend myself or the public’s right to know. I didn’t start the majority of the lawsuits! Aspen, Chaffee, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Mesa County have all sued me. And yes, it gets expensive. The Court ruled against Jefferson County in the action they brought against me, and the fees will be close to $150,000. Mesa County just settled for $30,000, just before we were to go to court in the case they brought against me, as they knew they would lose.

    Remember that Chaffee County sued me, and in the process of that litigation, she disclosed that Chaffee ballots were not anonymous. I didn’t know that when I asked to review a ballot! That then led to the federal claim to vindicate our rights to a secret ballot.

    Saguache should have cost NOTHING. They agree that virtually all the information we requested was public record and should have been turned over to the public long before we had to sue. We sent 16 warning notices before we sued for public access to records. We offered to settle for the cost of the initial filing, then for $15,000, then $30,000, then $45,000 and so on… Every time we were rejected. Finally, when it was obvious that Saguache had wrongfully withheld records we settled for less than the cash I had paid the attorneys. We settled for $100,000 and shared rights to Saguache’s claim against ES&S (the machine manufacturer Salida was going to use.)

    If anyone thinks this is a profitable venture, it shows how little they understand about litigation. A plaintiff rarely ever gets back what they put into a lawsuit. That is not the point in the case of public interest litigation. However, we do have to get some of our fees back in order to keep going.

    None of my cases ever needed to go to court. They were simple requests for public information. Or to take traceable barcodes off ballots. One case is to force Secretary Gessler to hear complaints when voting systems go awry and show evidence of tampering. (He is fighting having to hear such complaints.)

    For those who wish to criticize the work we have done, please be specific. What legal action have Citizen Center or I taken that you believe was unwarranted or unnecessary or with which you disagree?

    I have no interest in suing Salida. I do have an interest in their being fully transparent with the public records.

    As for my puttling my money where my mouth is, I have put well over $500,000 (net) toward this non-profit focused on voting rights. You are showing how little you know or understand to say otherwise.

    Like (0)
  12. Marilyn Marks

    how would you spend $100,000 or $500,000 and "rectify" voting system issues when the Secretary of state and the election officials do not want any changes?

    Like (0)
  13. Marilyn Marks

    Please be specific. What would you suggest instead of litigation?
    BTW, we never use litigation FIRST. It is only after months of moral suasion and citizen's requests do not work.

    Like (0)
  14. Joe Judd

    I do not claim to know you, nor do I have an interest in learning more about you. I am simply worried about my community because you seem to be creating a hornet's nest of innuendo without facts. See my references to an 'almost false and slanderous diatribe', among others.

    I do not claim to now the answers for fixing the problems with our electoral system. It is not my fight, nor is it my argument. I agree with you. Voting processes should be done according to law. But I think there must be a better way, in practice. I feel that your organization suing small communities is a waste of 'our' (taxpayers who foot the bill) money. The suits you win come at the cost of citizens, the very people who you claim you are trying to help. As I am repeating myself once again, I will bow out of this discussion and leave any further ranting to those who choose to do so.

    In the words of Ghandi, "As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him." This is commonly misquoted as "Be the change you want to see in the world." But the message is the same. And method generally counts a lot more than outcome in most circles.

    Like (0)
  15. Marilyn Marks

    Joe, It appears that your comments are innuendo without facts. I can support any statements I make with facts.

    To answer your question of "almost all false" reference I made about Mr. Hanlon's comments. He got virtually everything wrong except my name and where I live. All his claims about my work are wrong.
    If he had told the truth, I think you would be feeling very differently about the work I'm doing.

    Do you really think it is okay for the government to know how we vote?
    After months of pleading with officials to stop their barcoding that they were denying, what else is there to do but to sue? Secretary Gessler claims that there is no right to a secret ballot, and also denied the traceability. Is it okay with you if they keep up the identifiable barcoding?

    So, you think it is so wrong for me to sue local governments. Do you think it was okay for Joyce Reno and Chaffee County to sue me for requesting to see an anonymous ballot? She had apparently planned to challenge the Court of Appeals ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, and took me to court to do so. Why is that permissable for her to take me to court, but I shouldn't take her to court?

    Yes, it is costly for the taxpayers when their local governments get out of control. That is why there must be some political costs for them to fight ridiculous battles this way. Hanlon is running up the legal fees like crazy for only self-serving reasons, and blaming me in the process.
    It's a great gig if you can get it! The taxpayers should put a stop to it.

    If you believe that local governments should be trusted to do the right thing without judicial intervention, history would suggest that you may be wrong. We have many of the civil rights we enjoy today because the courts forced local governments to do what they did not want to do voluntarily.

    Like (0)
  16. Marilyn Marks

    Some satire on the Home Rule Election--
    Decide for yourself how much is fact and how much is fiction.

    Like (0)
  17. Joseph Hewes

    How dare Ms. Marks invade Salida and interrupt what was going to be a nice corrupt vote for home rule?

    How can she have the audacity to be sued by various municipalities while trying to ensure that our vote are private?

    We are ignorant yet proud Salidans, and we like our crony-capitalism and rigged voting.

    Joe Judd is a developer - think of the land deals Ms. Marks may have impeded of his. How will he ever profit like Jane Pinto now?

    I for one am offended that Ms. Marks purports to represent me when I have Bill Smith here to do that purporting.

    Like (0)
    • Joe Judd

      Mr. Hewes,

      I don't believe I know you, so I will assume that you don't know me. I am offended by your implication of any 'land deals' which I may have benefited from. I assure you, I have never been involved with ANY land deal with the City. Your comments are bordering on libel. I would appreciate a public apology.

      I wonder if you would feel the need to attack me if I had been in agreement with your position. Since you have stated no position, I can only guess at what that might be. Even more curious, if you read my comments, you will see that I do agree with the need for transparency in voting. Some of Ms. Marks' comments have caused me to consider her side of the discussion more openly. This is what a fair and open discussion does. But, it is still possible to agree with Ms. Marks in principle, and not in practice. That is my position. If you had read my comments, you would know that.

      Your statements would seem to prove either that you are misinformed or that you yourself may indeed be one of the 'ignorant yet proud Salidans.'

      I am proud to design and build homes for people who choose to live here. I am happy to express my opinions on this forum when I feel that they are constructive. The Salida Citizen was created for the express purpose of getting people involved in our community. This should be a place where everyone can speak their mind without fear of some kind of retribution or false innuendo. Differences of opinion are good. They will either make one question their own position or deeply strengthen it. Either way, it is a positive thing.

      I truly believe that most of the people who so hotly contest local politics are, at their heart, pulling for what is best for our community. It would be nice if we all started acting more civil toward those with common goals, and even those with opposing goals.

      Like (0)
      • Billy Carlisle

        Joe, I have seen your comments in some of the posts and appreciate your contributions. In all the rush, I no longer remember exactly who said what. Your comments were balanced and seemed to represent sincere thoughts.
        This site can get heated at times and I would encourage you not to give up on the dialog, even when you feel a little stung. Occasionally people invite me to this site because they want to hear other views and sometimes the regulars beat up on me a little bit. So what, I think, if we all stay in the various dialogs, we will learn from each other and be better for it.
        The times when I have felt wounded in the past I have stayed away from these open conversations for a month or two at the time. Seeing your honest and mostly non-judgemental comments gives me encouragement that the communtity will be able to handle controversial topics and evolve. I intend to try to stay engaged this time.
        I feel strongly that we should have an independent election board in Salida. That would be easy to accomplish and would give voters more confidence in the process. I feel that there are several issues in the community that should be addressed at the ballot box and that elections can be economical, citizen run, transparent, and still protect the anonomous ballot. An independent election board would help us put this in place. Given that there will be more special elections and ballot initiative in the future, we should put a better voting process in place.
        I also think there were some issues about the voting on HR that were addressed more to my liking because Marilyn Marks was in the background pushing. I think some of us every day local citizens were not being heard and that Marilyn was able to break through some barriers. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelett.
        Best regards, Billy

        Like (0)
  18. Cory Scheffel

    The basic issue is voter integrity. As we go increasingly to electronic ballots, I believe that there is cause for concern when it comes to our votes counting and remaining anonymous. The state has passed laws to help. Mrs. Marks's group seems to want to ensure that those laws are followed.
    I know Mrs. Gilpin and I value her integrity. I can say without a doubt that she would never intentionally do anything to detract from an individual's vote. I mean this in all honesty.
    The issue of home rule seems to have been rushed. Thus, the missteps taken when chosing a voting system. I do not fault Mrs. Gilpin or Mrs. Marks for those missteps. Rather, it seems a symptom of rushing things.
    I applaud Mrs. Gilpin and the city for taking steps late in the game to make sure that the citizens' votes showed the highest level of integrity. I applaud Mrs. Marks for bringing those questions to light.
    I acknowledge that Mr. Hanlon's threats of charging the city $50,000 to $70,000 to defend the city (whether right or wrong) are cause for concern and I understand my neighbors reacting to those numbers. It would be tough for a small town like ours to deal with that sort of hit to our budget.
    Ultimately, I personally do not have the time or money to be looking out for the little guy, so I am glad someone is. It is unfortunate that in protecting the little guy, you sometimes have to confront the little governments. Democracy is messy.

    Like (0)
  19. Marilyn Marks

    Yes, Joseph,
    My sincerest apologies fo having the uppity attitude and audacity to be sued by those election officials. It has only cost me a few hundred thousand dollars so far! (seriously). Somehow the iron-fisted rulers of Salida think this is a good business deal for me. If they think that is good business, no wonder some of the City Hall decisions seem so illogical.

    It really does suprise me that many citizens resent the fact that I want to recover my attorneys' fees after Clerk Reno SUED me, and eventually turned over the record I had sought. She dragged me into court, gave up on her position , delivered the requested documents, and then wants to leave me with a huge legal bill. If I were a Salida resident would people feel differently? It does suprise me that government generates so much sympathy over there, when they seem to abuse the citizens.

    I am still suprised at the public support for the County's traceable ballots. How can people not be outraged that the County computers have years' worth of their identifiable individual votes recorded?
    any hacker can create a terrible black mail opportunity.

    But the City felt confident enough of their public support, that despite my request that they not remove ballots from secrecy sleeves except on election day in the presence of watchers, they did it anyway for days before the election in a manner that allowed the staff workers to see how people voted.

    Do people just trust the government that much in Salida and Chaffee?

    Like (0)
  20. Cory Scheffel

    Mrs. Marks-
    Please don't use the back and forth banter on a website to make generalizations about our community. To say that "many" people feel a certain way based off a handful of comments (mine included) seems off the mark.

    Like (0)
  21. Marilyn Marks

    Thanks for the comment, Cory.
    I hope that someone will get into what in the heck Hanlon was talking about almost gleefully declaring that he would have to defend the county for $50 to $70K. He trumped up bizarre unfounded claims that have already cost Salida thousands of unnecessary dollars in bills from him.
    Good work if you can get it,-- to trump up claims with scare tactics and lies and then get someone to pay you for defending them against those bogeymen!

    I suggested to Council in a letter today that they not pay him for that unethical waste of time. Council should be very angry about being "advised" by him in that way---and charged for it!

    I still don't see the picture clearly as to what the motivations were/are. I had hoped to sort it out with public records requests but it looks like the city is taking some strange positions in claiming they don't have records, although those records are required to be retained.

    The more I see the harder it is to figure out what in the heck is going on.
    I hope that what you say about Gilpin is correct. She has surely suprised me in some of her attitudes and decisions. It makes me wonder who is giving her instructions.

    Like (0)
  22. Marilyn Marks

    Fair enough on the "many people" comment. That sense I have didn't come from this website but from quite a few locals telling me that personally while I was in Salida---although many told me just the opposite as well.

    One prominent citizen told me that he spoke for 99% of the Salida voters in telling me that he resented my work on traceable ballots, and in my attempt to recover my attorney's fees.

    I'm sure that public sentiment is more balanced than his 99% claim.. I apologize for generalizing.

    But if the officials take the focus off me and put it on the issues, that would be healthy for everyone!! Strangely, one Council member told me that he would "not allow me to have the stage" to make my points. I'm still trying to figure out what that meant.

    I wish it meant that he was going to focus on the issues, not me.

    Like (0)
  23. Marilyn Marks

    See a 3 minute animated film on loss of the secret ballot in Colorado.

    Like (0)
  24. mike whittington

    Regardless of what anyone thinks about Ms. Marks, I believe that all records of any meetings need to be available to the public and posted. Meeting minutes and all records of all meetings with private interests by public officials need to be made public. All interactions between public officials and private interests, while carrying out the duties of their offices, should be available for public scrutiny. There is no need for secrecy in a democracy, it only creates distrust.

    Like (0)
  25. Marilyn Marks

    I appreciate the willingness to hear “the other side” of the story. I am curious about the comment by Joe Judd that I can’t seem to find now saying that he could agree with my position if not the practice.

    I am curious as to how local think I should have handled the situation in Chaffee and Salida which I have been so criticized for.

    Let’s use an example---assume you contact the county planning department and ask to make an appointment to see the set of plans and building approvals on file for the development of the property adjoining your property. While you are a awaiting your appointment to see the files, the sheriff’s deputy knocks on your door with a notice from the County Clerk that you have just been named in a court action she is taking to deny you access to review those plans.

    You are stunned as you never expected a controversy, much less to have a deputy show up at your door, to serve papers on you. The complaint with the court basically states that the county will not allow you to see the plans because those plans disclose the illegal variances and fire code violations approved for the developer. The county does not want you to find out about those illegal deals. So, you ask the county to retract their illegal approvals. They refuse and then you sue them to get them to retract their approvals. Ultimately, the developer stops the project, and the county drops the lawsuit against you, and the clerk gives you the plans and approvals you were seeking from the beginning. But how you have spent $40,000 defending your rights in court merely to see the plans., not counting your legal fees to stop the project. And the county argues that should not be able to recovery your legal fees,-- although she had dragged you into court.

    The neighbors are extremely grateful that you stopped the project, as they felt it would destroy their neighborhood.

    No one would be upset with you for wanting to recover your fees after being sued by the county for merely requesting a copy of the plans. But somehow in a very analogous situation, some Chaffee County folks are upset with me for wanting to recover my fees after the clerk sued me. And they are angry about my suing to stop the barcoding.

    What would have they have preferred that I do differently? Leave the barcodes in place in Chaffee, or not request my fees in the case where she sued me? That hardly seems fair.

    Surely that would seem unfair to most people.
    I am genuinely interested in locals’ comments on what they thinkg I should have done instead.

    Like (0)