Judges & Ballot Measures

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to cover what is on the rest of the November 8, 2022 ballot in this blog – the Judges and the Ballot Measures. As I have already mentioned this is a VERY FULL Ballot. I will try to provide sufficient information, as succinctly as I can, so that voters can make informed decisions. I am also providing a recommendation on how to vote on these issues. Of course, you are free to vote how you please. I just ask that you think of the consequences of your vote, before you cast it.


The Judges

The terms of eight Colorado intermediate appellate court judges will expire on January 10, 2023. These eight judges are up for retention election on November 8, 2022. The judges were appointed by a governor from a list of names compiled by the Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Newly appointed judges must stand for retention to remain on the court during the next general election after they serve at least two years on the bench. After retention, judges serve eight-year terms.


Every judge is evaluated by the Colorado Judicial Performance Commission using results of surveys of court users, observations of the judges by Commission members, opinion reviews and interviews of the judges and other interested parties. The Commission takes this information and makes a determination on whether the judge being evaluated either “Meets Performance Standards” or “Does Not Meet Performance Standards.” The Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation listed all eight of the Colorado Court of Appeals judges as “Meet Performance Standards.”


The State Commission of Judicial Performance consists of 11 volunteer citizen members: six non-attorneys and five attorneys. Appointments to the Commission are made by the Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, Senate Minority Leader and House Minority Leader. The State Commission develops the Rules Governing Commissions on Judicial Performance and evaluates the performance of Supreme Court Justices and Court of Appeals Judges.


The current eleven members of the Judicial Performance Commission are:

  1. Thomas D. Neville, Chairman, Attorney member, appointed by the Senate President. Term ends 11/30/2023.

  2. Mark Fogg - Attorney member, appointed by the Chief Justice. Term ends 11/30/2025.

  3. Alan Loeb - Attorney member, appointed by the Chief Justice. Term ends 11/30/23.

  4. Lindsey Daugherty - Attorney member, appointed by the Governor. Term ends 12/30/2025.

  5. Dennis K. Obduskey - Appointed by the Governor as a non-attorney member. Term ends 11/30/2025.

  6. Ledy R. Garcia-Eckstein - Appointed by the Governor as a non-attorney member. Term ends 11/30/2023.

  7. Keith Massey - Appointed as a non-attorney member by the Senate President. Term ends 11/30/2025.

  8. Richard Benenson - Attorney member, appointed by the Speaker of the House. Term ends 11/30/2025

  9. Jan Burton - Non-Attorney member, appointed by the Speaker of the House. Term end 11/30/2023.

  10. Bart Dorscheid - Non-Attorney member, appointed by the Senate Minority Leader. Term ends 11/30/2025.

  11. Barbara Hurd - Appointed as a non-attorney member by the House Minority Leader. Term ends 11/30/2025.

These Commission members seem to lean heavy to appointments by the current Democrat Governor and the current Democrat Senate Leader and Democrat Speaker of the House - 7 of the 11 appointments. Only 2 of the 11 appointments were made by Republicans (The Senate Minority Leader and the House Minority Leader). The appointments by the Chief Justice (Brian D. Boatright) should probably be considered neutral as he was appointed by Governor Owens (R) as a District Court Judge and to the State Supreme Court by Governor Hickenlooper (D). Does this mean that the Commission is partial to Democrat-appointed judges? One can’t say for sure, but in the current hyper-political environment, I think you have to assume that to be so. The eight Colorado Appeals


Court Judges that are up for Retention election are:

  1. Jaclyn Casey Brown – Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2019.

  2. Terry Fox – Appointed by Governor Bill Ritter in 2010.

  3. Christina Finzel Gomez - Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2020.

  4. Matthew D. Grove - Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2019.

  5. Sueanna P. Johnson - Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2020.

  6. Lino S. Lipinsky de Orlov - Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2019.

  7. Neeti V. Pawar - Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2019.

  8. David H. Yun - Appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2020.

I reviewed each of these judges’ biographies on the Judicial Performance website. I saw concerning information on all of the judges, except for Judge Terry Fox. It seems to me the appointments of the other judges reflect the policies of the current Governor, Jared Polis. You can get on the website and check the biographies out for yourself. There are “red flags” that show up in the biographies. That site is: 2022 Judicial Performance Evaluations | Judicial Performance (colorado.gov) Click the Court of Appeals tab to get to the biographies of the eight judges.


My assessment is that the seven judges appointed by Governor Jared Polis should all NOT BE RETAINED. In other words, vote NO on all the judges except for Judge Terry Fox. Remember, these judges will be serving for eight more years before they come up for a retention vote again. If they are not retained, a new judge will need to be appointed and if the Governor is different than the one currently in office, we may get a judge who better reflects our values and does not support policies we don’t agree with.


The Ballot Measures

The following Table of the eleven State-wide ballot measures is based on a similar table on the Ballotpedia website and a recommendation from the Colorado State GOP. I have modified it some. The Vote column is my recommendation on how to vote for each ballot measure. A discussion of the individual Ballot Measures follows the table.



No.

Title

Type of Measure

Subject

Description

Vote

1.

Amendment D

LCRA*

State Judiciary

Requires the Governor to designate judges from the 18th judicial district to serve in the newly created 23rd judicial district, bypassing the process that constituents get to use to help select their own judges.

NO

2.

Amendment E

LRCA*

Taxes & Property

Extends an existing homestead

exemption for disabled veterans to Gold Star spouses of deceased military personnel and certain veterans and reduces taxes for some families of those who served our nation.

YES

3.

Amendment F

LRCA*

Gambling

​Allows the operators and managers of charitable gaming activities to be paid and allows the legislature to determine how long an organization must exist to obtain a charitable gaming license.

NO

4.

Proposition FF

LRSS**

Taxes and Education

​Reduces the allowable state income tax deduction amounts; creates and funds the Healthy School Meals for All Program.

NO

5.

Proposition GG

LRSS**

Direct Democracy

​Requires a table showing changes in income tax owed for average taxpayers in certain brackets to be included in the ballot title and fiscal summary for any citizen initiative that would increase or decrease the individual income tax rate.

NO

6.

Proposition 121

CISS**

Taxes

​Reduces the state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40% for tax years commencing on or after January 1,

YES

7.

Proposition 122

CISS***

Legalization of current illegal drugs for so-called medicinal purposes

​Creates a natural medicine services program for the supervised administration of dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocybin, and psilocyn; creates a framework for regulating the growth, distribution, and sale of such substances to permitted entities; creates a Natural Medicine Advisory

NO

8.

Proposition 123

CISS***

Affordable Housing

​Dedicates a portion of revenues (one tenth of one percent) from existing income tax revenues and allocates funds to housing projects, including "affordable housing financing programs that will reduce rents, purchase land for affordable housing development, build assets for renters, support affordable homeownership, serve persons experiencing homelessness, and support local planning capacity."

NO

9.

Proposition 124

CISS***

Liquor Licenses

Incrementally increases the number of retail liquor store licenses an individual may own or hold a share in, eventually allowing an unlimited number.

NO

10.

Proposition 125

CISS***

Liquor Licenses

​Creates a new fermented malt beverage and wine retailer license to allow grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses that are licensed to sell beer to also sell wine and conduct wine tastings.

NO

11.

Proposition 126

CISS***

Liquor Licenses

​Allows retail establishments licensed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption to offer a delivery service or provide for a third-party alcohol delivery service.

NO

*LRCA - Amendment to the State Constitution, referred by the State Legislature.

**LRSS – New State Statute, referred by the State Legislature.

*** - New State Statute, initiated by Citizen Petition.


The State Legislature sends out a booklet on the Statewide Ballot Measures. We should have all received this blue booklet in the mail. But if you did not it is available online at: 2022 Ballot Information Book (colorado.gov) The following provides some additional information on each of the ballot measures.

  1. Amendment D Summary - in 2020, the state legislature passed a law to create the 23rd Judicial District out of the existing 18th Judicial District. The law specified that judges who currently live within the new district boundaries will be reassigned to the new district. Amendment D addresses this same judicial transfer by adding constitutional provisions for the seating of 23rd District judges and ensures court services continue without interruption or uncertainty. Specifically, Amendment D amends the state constitution to require the Governor to reassign judges from the 18th Judicial District to the newly formed 23rd Judicial District. The State GOP is Neutral on this issue, saying Those who want constituents to maintain the right to help select their own judges may wish to vote no; those who want a smooth, quick transition to help cases move through the criminal system faster after the creation of a new judicial district may wish to vote yes.

Recommendation – Vote NO on Amendment D. I am recommending voting NO for the same reasons that I recommended voting NO on retaining the Colorado Court of Appeals Judges that were appointed by Governor Jared Polis.

  1. Amendment E – Extends an existing homestead exemption for disabled veterans to Gold Star spouses of deceased military personnel and certain veterans and reduces taxes for some families of those who served our nation. A Gold Star Spouse is a husband or wife whose spouse passed away while serving in the U.S. military.

The homestead exemption in the state constitution reduces property taxes owed on a qualifying homeowner’s primary residence by exempting 50 percent of the first $200,000 of the home’s value from taxation. Current qualifying homeowners include Coloradans aged 65 or over who have lived in their home for at least ten years and veterans with a service-connected disability, rated 100 percent permanent and total by the federal government. A qualifying veteran who is also eligible for a reduction in property taxes as a senior cannot claim both reductions.

Recommendation – Vote YES on Amendment E. I am recommending voting YES on Amendment E because I believe we should help support the families of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country.

  1. Amendment F – The State GOP is Neutral on this issue, saying Those who oppose all forms of gambling and do not believe it is healthy for society may wish to vote no; those who believe the government should not regulate how charitable organizations fundraise may wish to vote yes.

RecommendationVote No on Amendment F. I am recommending voting No on Amendment F because there has been a tremendous proliferation of gambling in our State. I don’t believe we need to further promote any of the traditional vices.

  1. Proposition FF – The State GOP Opposes this issue, saying this measure Takes away the state income tax deduction for certain charitable givers; creates and funds a government program to pay for school lunches for all children in Colorado public schools. Raises taxes by $100,000,000. When Hawaii passed a similar law, charitable giving in the state fell by 20%.

RecommendationVote No on Proposition FF.

  1. Proposition GG – The State GOP Opposes this issue, saying this measure Requires the state ballot to include a fiscal table written by potentially biased government staffers for any citizen ballot initiative. This is designed to hurt conservative ballot measures, and all Republican legislators have opposed it.

RecommendationVote No on Proposition GG.

  1. Proposition 121 – The State GOP Supports this issue.

RecommendationVote YES on Proposition 121.

  1. Proposition 122 – The State GOP Opposes this issue, saying this measure Legalizes psychedelic mushrooms, despite the fact that Colorado is currently ravaged by drug use, is #1 in the nation for cocaine use, and is #2 in the nation for increase in fentanyl overdose deaths. This is the same process that the pro-druggies followed in legalizing marijuana – for so-called health purposes. This is just another step in legalizing all “recreational” drugs.

RecommendationVote NO on Proposition 122.

  1. Proposition 123 – The State GOP Opposes this issue, saying this measure Takes away $300 million of the TABOR refund away each year from taxpayers to allow the government to fund housing projects, without any guarantee that the money will stay in the housing project after one year. Fails to solve Colorado’s housing crisis or get to the core problems causing the crisis.

RecommendationVote NO on Proposition 123.

  1. Propositions 124, 125 and 126 – The State GOP is Neutral on these issues. Measure 124 - Increases the number of liquor store licenses an individual may own, Measure 125 - creates a new license for grocery stores to sell wine, and Measure 126 - allows retail establishment license holders who sell alcohol to also deliver the alcohol to purchasers homes. The State GOP Neutral response is Those voting from a free-market perspective may wish to vote yes to increase more avenues for business; those voting from a pro-small business perspective may wish to vote yes on Prop 124 and 126, but no on Prop 125, and those who believe increased alcohol consumption is not healthy for society may wish to vote no on all three.

RecommendationVote NO on Propositions 124, 125 and 126. I am recommending voting NO on all three measures. All three measures are increasing the promotion of alcohol consumption. Prop 124 will eventually allow an entity to hold an unlimited number of liquor licenses. This undoubtedly will allow large corporate ownership and reduce opportunities for small business. Prop 125 is bringing wine sales into grocery stores and convenience stores further promoting alcohol use. Prop 126 allows for third-party delivery of alcohol. I am not a non-user of alcohol, but these ballot measures are promoting increased alcohol use. As a socie