About Your Littleton – Your Vote

Thank you so much for voting Yes on 300.

Ballot Question 300 passed giving you a say to approve urban renewal plans to guide development in Littleton.

Here are the election results from the City.

Ballot Question 300 – (require registered elector approval for urban renewal)
Yes 5,755
No 3,811

Ballot Question 2A – (prohibit eminent domain except at request of property owner)
Yes 6,583
No 2,890

Please note the City’s description above for Ballot Question 300 says approval for urban renewal when the ballot measure says approval of urban renewal PLANS.

The people have spoken once more. It is time for the council to understand that the majority Littleton citizens would like a say in what this town looks like. Thanks to all the wonderful people of Littleton who don’t want this town to be anything BUT little!!!

As you probably already know we operating on a shoe string and we could use a few more bucks to help defray the cost of this campaign.  Please consider making a contribution to Your Littleton Your Vote and mailing it to 2000 W Arapahoe Road, 80120.  A contribution of 19.99 can be reported as a misc contribution; anything over 19.99 I will need to have your employer and occupation.

Now – About us……..

We are a group of citizens – just like you.  We have been attending council meetings for years, LIFT (the urban renewal authority) meetings since they were reactivated, planning board meetings, election commission meetings and any other meeting that we think the public needs to be attending.  We worked hard to defeat the 7 story Broadstone high rise apartment proposed for the old sheriff’s site across from the courthouse on Littleton Blvd. We passed a charter amendment last year to eliminate secret meetings of the city council and we were successful in amending the charter that gave property owners more say in a controversial development impacting their neighborhoods.

When we first heard rumblings of urban renewal in Littleton we began our research.  We accessed the minutes of the first 32 years of the urban renewal authority and summarized their history in an 85 page summary.  (Available at littletonviews.wordpress.com)  What we learned just created a new set of questions and we continued to ask questions until we had a thorough understanding of the urban renewal law and the powers of an urban renewal authority, which are powerful and completely independent of the city council.

Urban renewal is a matter of state-wide concern and urban renewal authorities are governed, not by the city Charter, but by the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.).  They act independently of the city council and once their urban renewal plans are approved by the council they are on their own.  There is no oversight by the state or council.

The C.R.S. provides the powers of the authority that include condemnation, eminent domain, and tax increment financing, which is diverting tax dollars, for 25 years plus, from other taxing entities to the authority to be used to help developers fund their private projects.  The authority becomes the keeper of the gate – the market place no longer works.  The authority “picks” the winners and the losers – they decide who will be allowed to develop and who won’t.  They will decide how much each project will get in the way of our diverted tax dollars to build their projects.  (This is a simple overview of urban renewal – you can read more on this Blog, including the law, to learn more about how this is working in Littleton.)

Armed with the knowledge of the police powers of an urban renewal authority and based on the actions of this same authority for the failed 1980’s project, we believed that citizen oversight was necessary.  In the 1980’s property owners were told that the authority did not intend to use condemnation or eminent domain but they condemned every property.  The ballot question before the voters would put the power and voice of the community behind any property owner objecting to condemnation of their property.  (Most property owners do not have the money to fight a condemnation and eminent domain in court – now they won’t have to fight in court; they can just plead their case to the voters.)

We learned how much of the tax dollars intended to go to the schools, the park district, the county and the city were diverted to the urban renewal authority until the year 2008.  You see, an urban renewal authority cannot collect taxes – they have to take taxes from other taxing entities to have the resources to fund developers.  And they can divert those tax dollars for 25 years plus.

Certainly the voters should have some oversight of such a powerful board but we don’t.  We don’t get to elect them, they are not term limited, and we even have one member that doesn’t live in Littleton.

So this small group of citizens decided, before 744 acres of our city was designated to be blighted and slum, we should get actively involved in providing voter oversight.  We circulated a petition and collected 3,926 names and got our ballot question certified.  If 300 passes and the city council approves an urban renewal plan that will use condemnation, eminent domain or any diverting of our tax dollars they have to get our approval.

We just want the right to vote.  We believe the voters are smart enough to know when development is good for Littleton and we are smart enough to know how much of our tax dollars we are willing to give up and for how long in the name of development makes sense.  (We have been told by the opposition that the public is not smart enough to know when development makes sense. (Mr. Golden, President of the Chamber in addressing the council on Dec. 30, 2014)

No matter how quickly we moved, we weren’t able to get the ballot question to the voters prior to 744 acres of Littleton being blighted and deemed a menace to our health, welfare, safety and morals.  But we might be able to slow down the siphoning of our tax dollars to put in the hands of private developers if voters of Littleton support 300 on the March 3rd ballot.

 

 

2 Responses to About Your Littleton – Your Vote

  1. Catherine Schwartz says:

    I would like to know why Initiative 300 backers have backed out of participating in the informational forum that was to be hosted by the League of Women Voters.

    Like

    • Carol B says:

      Cathy, as Paul Bingham has stated and as reported in the Littleton Independent, “We have worked our butts off for three months getting almost 4,000 signatures to get our issue on the ballot. This compares to our opposition having to do nothing except write up their ballot issue and have council put it on the ballot.” They note that Littleton Strong has raised more than $37,000, much of it from real-estate and business groups from around the state. Compare that to YLYV’s $1,400, and Bingham says it’s a real-life David and Goliath battle. (From the Littleton Independent)

      Like

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