YES on 300 – March 3rd Special Election

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.


Don’t Miss the Page with Doug Clark, former mayor, talking about Urban Renewal in Littleton  (see page in black banner above – 3rd line) or the updated list of contributors to oppose your right to vote – over $94,000 to fight your right to vote.

Thank you to everyone that came to the information meeting.  Voters in Littleton are smart and came with very good questions.  The idea that voters are not smart enough to vote on these matters is not a concern of mine!

3,926 Littleton registered voters signed petitions this past Fall to amend the City Charter.  The approval of the ballot question 300 would provide citizens the right to vote on urban renewal plans – which really means oversight over the use of condemnation and eminent domain, oversight over the diverting of our public tax dollars (property and sales taxes where applicable) from the schools, parks, county, urban drainage and the city to urban renewal, and any use of public tax dollars to subsidize private development.  The actual wording of 300 is:

Any council action approving or modifying an urban renewal plan pursuant to Part 1 of the Colorado Urban Renewal Law must be ratified by the registered electors of the City of Littleton if the approval or modification of the urban renewal plan proposes the use of or change to eminent domain, condemnation, tax increment financing, revenue sharing, or cost sharing.

Registered electors of Littleton will be receiving a mail ballot around February 10th – this is an all mail-in ballot election.  There will be two questions on the ballot – they DO NOT contradict each other and both deal with eminent domain.  A Yes vote on 300 will put all urban renewal plans (not projects) to the voters.  If we believe that their plan is worth taking someone’s private property we will say yes.  If we believe that their plan is worth diverting millions of our tax dollars for the next 25 years plus to an unelected urban renewal board we will say yes.  But we will also have the right to vote NO if we do not believe their plans will benefit the citizens and taxpayers of Littleton.  Vote yes on 300 for your right to vote!

There are several elements of the urban renewal law.  We have spent the last year researching and learning about urban renewal, we have attended the urban renewal meetings, the council meetings and planning board meetings.  We have researched the last urban renewal plan in Littleton – the Littleton Riverfront Festival Center, which was a colossal failure that lead to a $9,000,000 debt from the authority to the city being written off because it could never be paid.  In order to learn more about the last failed urban renewal project, what tax increment financing is, what the state law allows you will have to do more reading on this site.  There are several postings on littletonviews.wordpress.com that relate to this subject…..you can follow the link at the bottom of the page to get you there.

2A

Question 2A was placed on the ballot by 5 council members in an effort to confuse the voters.  Their question is meaningless – it would allow eminent domain only in the instance that the property owner requests condemnation.  The reason why their question is meaningless is they have already approved 4 urban renewal plans that give the urban renewal authority (LIFT) the full power of eminent domain.  The passage of 2A will not change the use of eminent domain – with or without the consent of the property owner.  The question is on the ballot hoping that you won’t understand the difference and that you might vote yes on one question and no on the other.  In fact, that is their strategy.  A yes vote on 2A will not change anything – 300 is the only question on the ballot that will actually have in impact on our public tax dollars and the use of eminent domain.

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14 Responses to YES on 300 – March 3rd Special Election

  1. Gayle Corwin says:

    We received our ballots in the mail today, all fine and dandy except that my 16 yr old son, who just got his drivers license ALSO received a ballot. Just a heads up that there might be a problem with this election

    Like

    • Carol B says:

      Gayle – yes, this is a problem. Please let our city clerk know and let us know what response you receive from her. I hope this is an isolated event. I would have been more comfortable with the county running the election. It would have been cheaper for the taxpayers and probably less room for error. This is our city clerk’s first election. Hope you are voting Yes on 300!

      Like

  2. Joseph Gabriele says:

    I have not yet received my ballot as of 2/15. Whom shall I call to get one?

    Like

    • Carol B says:

      Joseph – The City Clerk is the appropriate person; you will probably have to go up to the City Center on Berry St. to get your ballot. I know some people that did not get their ballot until yesterday and I do believe they were mailed out in successive days. I know of a 16 year old that got a ballot!

      Like

  3. charmer1too@outlook.com says:

    For $90 and some shoe leather, you can print and hand on doors 3000 a brochure.For a few hundred dollars and some volunteers, you can deliver your message to every household in Littleton.
    Ron Crecelius
    303 794 8935

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol B says:

      Ron – we have done exactly what you have suggested. We have a flyer that is being delivered door to door but it all takes time and energy. Fortunately for us we have lots of people that are willing to walk the city for us and hand deliver the flyers with our message. But we can always use more help – want to do some walking for us?

      We are not deterred by the fact that we are being out spent. We think it is important for voters to know that the developers and the national apartment associations are dropping a lot of money into defeating us. Developers want our tax dollars to help them develop their projects – I get it. Who doesn’t like free money? But we think it is wrong to take millions away from the schools, parks, city and county to put into incentives for developers – at least not without our approval. After all the taxes are being paid with the intention of funding parks, schools, city and county why shouldn’t we be able to approve the diverting of our tax dollars?

      We have had several interested parties from other communities that are hoping we are successful – they want to replicate our efforts in their cities and our success is their success. We have even had some people from a neighboring community come and help distribute literature.

      Like

      • Ronald Crecelius says:

        Ron Crecelius
        I’m 73 years old and I have an iner ear problem which effects my balance so I walk with a cane. But I have a laser printer and if you keep me supplied with toner and paper I will make copies for. I can make copies from morning till late night.. I should be able to print over ten thousand copies a day.

        Like

  4. Carol B says:

    Comments made by a reader that wanted to remain anonymous. I thought this person’s insight was well stated so decided to include for others to read.

    To illustrate, here are seven biggies that have surfaced for this reader—are they sufficiently conclusive and accurate? It’s doubtful…and even more doubtful that they are clearly and accurately expressed. All of which may help explain why these efforts, tantamount to a gross betrayal of public trust, can still continue to happen–right under the noses of thousands of citizens whose quality of life is thereby being adversely impacted:

    1. Urban renewal authorities are separate legal entities, appointed by city councils, absent any public oversight, which have authority to use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as a vehicle for transferring tax revenue from counties and special districts created to maintain community infrastructure and character; public services; and a community’s social, economic and environmental well-being.

    2. TIFs have also become a vehicle for city councils to transfer risk away from the cities they represent because TIFs commonly issue bonds to finance UR development. However, if and when these developments default (i.e., which happens all too often because these developments were not allowed to be driven by supply and demand in the free market system, but instead by government subsidies), the enabling cities are not held financially accountable.

    3. TIFs are pursued in the name of “urban renewal” but are actually being used to subsidize infrastructure development—which Urban Renewal (UR) authorities apparently believe cannot happen without such subsidies.

    4. While the treatment of urban “blight” is the expressed justification for the designation of UR areas, in many instances resulting developments are completely out of character with that of established community mores, local residents’ sense of place, and are in fact eroding the most distinctive attributes of UR areas and their capacity to produce balanced and sustainable palettes of social, economic and environmental benefits.

    5. TIFs have wide latitude for declaring what areas qualify as “blight,” as recent actions have demonstrated (e.g., designation of pastoral turf farm landscape adjoining South SantaFe as blight).

    6. TIFs are given police powers by authorizing city councils to condemn private property—at their joint discretion.

    7. TIFs therefore access and transfer public tax revenue that would otherwise go to counties, school districts, park and recreation districts, etc. to subsidize private sector business and corporate development interests—leaving those duly constituted taxing entities with insufficient revenue to operate.

    Like

  5. Robert Minnis says:

    I am trying to understand why Ricker/Cunningham designated as blighted so many obviously not blighted areas (how can King Soopers be blighted before they have even finished their construction? how can the agricultural land off Santa Fe be blighted when that is proscribed by law?what about newly renovated businesses like McDonalds and 7/11? Gravinas? O’toole’s, etc). Is the TIF targeted only to ER areas as designated by being blighted? That would certainly explain why such large swathes of property are in these four ER plans. Is greed a factor? I wonder who on the Council started this mess. Who suggested hiring Ricker/Cunningham? Who paid them? How much money was paid to blight many of the small businesses which help give Littleton its small town characteristics?

    Like

  6. Carol B says:

    Robert – Your observations are again right on. The reason why the King Soopers, Breckenridge Brewery, Designs by Sundown, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Chipolte, and other properties mentioned is because they will produce both property tax and sales tax revenues to be used in the UR areas. TIF can be used anywhere in the UR area it was collected in – TIF from Ltn Blvd cannot be used in the Santa Fe area etc. But the TIF produced by King Soopers can be used to demolish and redevelop the Antique Mall on Broadway. King Soopers and Breckenridge Brewery will be cash cows – their sales tax look back period to establish the base will show that no sales tax has been collected over the past 12 months leaving all of the sales tax revenue collected by these two properties at risk to being diverted to urban renewal instead of the city’s general fund to pay for city services.

    Ricker/Cunninghan was hired by the urban renewal authority but after council brought them in to discuss the wonderful news about urban renewal for economic development. She has a contract with LIFT for $80,000 and the money used to pay her was TIF money collected from the old Riverfront project. The law states, very clearly, that TIF money is to be used to service debt – period. We brought this up to both the council and the LIFT board but no one seems to care what the law says. the $142,000 that was left over from the Riverfront Urban Renewal Authority should have been paid to the city to help defray the $9,000,000 debt they owed. But, rather than doing that the authority remained in office even after the city asked them why they were still functioning.

    Ricker/Cunningham are also being paid by our tax dollars and the attorney for LIFT has also been retained by the city. There’s a bunch more than the cost of one election being spent on urban renewal as we speak.

    If you read the history of the Riverfront on http://www.littletonviews.wordpress.com go to the last few years – starting with 2009 and you will see that the only reason they stayed up and running was at the plea of their Chair. As the Chair was telling the members that there was talk about using urban renewal in the future Tiffany Wooten, from the finance dept of the city, had made a call wondering why they were still open for business. I have attended council meetings for years and there was no talk about using urban renewal by the council or the old city manager, Jim Woods.

    We have a new city manager who told the LIFT board that he would have urban renewal projects and it might require the use of eminent domain and that one of the first projects could be Columbine Square – this was in December of 2012.

    Like

  7. Bill Murray says:

    Hello Paul Bingham and Carol Brzeczek,
    I noticed the donate tab is still up on this site accepting money, even though the election is over. What are you going to do with all this extra money? Line your pockets? Hopefully, you’ll use the money to pay for the $30+ thousand dollars it is going to cost the citizens of Littleton everytime there is a vote on Urban Renewal. Since this was your bright idea, I think you should cough up the money. Why should I have to pay it with my hard earned tax money?
    Bill

    Like

    • Carol B says:

      Bill – sorry for the sour grapes. We still are accepting donations to cover our measly expenses. We were outspent 25 to 1. There won’t be any pockets lined; in fact the Fair Campaign Practices law is very clear about how campaign contributions and expenses are to be reported.

      Whatever the cost of an election, if and when necessary, will be a drop in the bucket compared to what will be taken from our tax dollars to be given to private developers over 25 years. $34,000 vs $25 million – don’t you think that is a small price to pay for citizen oversight? There is no reason why our tax dollars should be spent on any urban renewal election. The developers are having to pay $20,000 to urban renewal just to sit down and talk. If they have a project they will have to ante up $60,000 for an annual management fee; those funds can and should be used for any election that urban renewal requires. Remember, not all plans will need to go to the voters….only the plans that will use eminent domain or use our public tax dollars to pay for a private project.

      I find it very interesting that you resent paying $34,000 for an election but appear to be alright with paying millions to developers.

      Like

      • Bill says:

        Paul and Carol,
        I noticed how you deleted my comments. I guess you only like an open-door policy when it comes to opinions that agree with your own.
        Interesting.
        Bill

        Like

      • Carol B says:

        Bill – your comments were not deleted. I tried to email you to let you know that I will not publish any comments that are rude or personal in nature, but your email bounced back as undeliverable. So I am happy that you decided to write once again. If you want to stick to the issues I am more than happy to post. You started a dialog, I responded with a response and a question which you chose not to answer.
        Your previous comment was and is the only one that I have not published – and I will publish all your comments as long as you do not resort to insults and personal attacks. Please try to engage in thoughtful dialog.

        Liked by 1 person

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