The political fallout from the infamous prairie dog calamity has Castle Rock wrestling with how to deal with future
silliness ballot measures that invite interference from outsiders. Instead of the five percent threshold for signatures, a question on the November ballot asks residents to raise the requirement to 10 percent.
Mayor Paul Donahue says that opposition to the Promenade development and demands that fury rodents be relocated was organized by an Idaho-based environmental group. A New Mexico greenie group was initially paid to transport the critters out of state, but instead left them in the care of volunteers who had no choice but to leave them caged in their home garage.
The animal activists gathered enough ballot signatures to put the commercial development to a community vote, albeit there were complaints that some signature gatherers were not honest about the intent of the petition, and some signers wanted their names removed.
As we reported, some money was exchanged and the activists ultimately dropped the ballot measure in June, and the prairie dogs got some new digs elsewhere.
Donahue and other council members believe that by raising the required number of signatures, it would dissuade outsiders from trying to run city government operations via ballot measures. More importantly, another ballot question would create a legal process for voters to withdraw their name from a petition before it’s filed with the town clerk if they feel they have been misled.
“We want the residents to decide if it is too easy for a special interest to come in and extort money from developers at the expense of the taxpayer,” Donahue said.
Too often, we’ve seen some empty-headed ballot measures make their way to voters, as well as questions that deliberately confuse or deceive voters. We agree with both of the ballot measures requiring more signatures and a removal process, and urge Castle Rock residents to give it their serious consideration.