AnneLandmanBlog Voter guide, November 7, 2023 election

Are you wondering how to vote in the Tuesday, November 7, 2023 Coordinated Election? Are you sweating about where you’re going to find the time to research all the candidates and ballot measures?


AnneLandmanBlog has done all the work for you.

I’ve read and researched all the ballot measures, looked into who is behind getting them on the ballot, who supports and opposes them, where the money came from to promote them, what the supporters’ motives are, what good and bad effects they would have, and what each measure would change. I also analyzed the candidates by drawing on longtime experience and knowledge of state and Mesa County politics, observation of candidates’ publicly available information on their campaign websites and social media accounts if they have them, plus research into what each candidate believes, who endorses them, how they answered survey questions, who they hobnob with and how honestly, rationally and capably they would likely perform in elected office. Since the D-51 School Board is supposed to be non-partisan, as are the candidates running for the school board seats, the goal of this blog is to elect qualified, nonpartisan candidates.

In all cases, I recommended voting for reality-based candidates who are experienced and don’t emphasize partisan political or religious beliefs in their stances on issues, or in their justification for running for office.

As always, I am opened to arguments about my choices, and arguments are welcome in the comments section.

The ballot with the candidates for District 51 School Board, and state and Mesa County ballot measures can be accessed here.

Following are AnneLandmanBlog’s recommended votes:

Recommended votes for D-51 School Board:

School Board District A, 4 year term: José Luis Chavéz

School Board District B, 4 year term: Cindy Enos Martinez

Recommended votes on State Ballot Measures:

Proposition HH – “Reduce Property Taxes and Retain State Revenue,” (statutory): YES

School board candidates CynDee (Cynthia Dee) Skalla (L) and Barbara Evanson (R) both hired the same right wing, out of state political consulting firm, Cutter Consulting in Arlington, VA, to manage their campaigns, indicating they would likely be  partisan members of what is supposed to be a strictly nonpartisan school board, thus this blog could not recommend people vote for either one.

Prop. HH asks voters to make a trade-off: to help cope with increasing property values, the state will would lower the amount of property tax homeowners and businesses would owe in future years if taxpayers let the state keep and spend additional revenue that would otherwise be refunded to then under the TABOR Amendment (“Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights”), at least until 2032. The additional revenue the state gets to keep would be spent on education, backfilling funds to local governments for the lost property tax revenue they would incur under Prop. HH, and on rental assistance programs. (Depending on the method used to measure education funding nationally, Colorado ranks very low — between 39th and 47th — across all 50 states in K-12 education funding, so this measure would boost school funding for education without increasing property taxes.) Prop HH would also put a new limit on how much most local governments can increase property taxes. Proposition HH would also make the senior homestead exemption portable. In other words, if it passes Prop. HH would let homeowners 65 and older who qualify for the senior homestead exemption — which exempts 50% of the first $200,000 of their home’s value from taxation — get the same benefit if they move to a different house. Currently seniors have to have lived in the same residence for 10 years to get that benefit on their property. Proposition HH would expire after 10 years, but it could be renewed with a vote of the legislature.

Supporters of Proposition HH include Governor Jared Polis, the Colorado Education Association, a national group called “Property Tax Relief Now” (which raises awareness of Republican lawmakers’ efforts to disinvest in public education and the negative impacts of such disinvestment). Money for Proposition HH has also come from Education Reform Now Advocacy (a coalition of parents, teachers and education advocates who believe in excellent public school education), AARP, the National Education Association, the League of Women Voters of Colorado, Colorado philanthropist and Democratic donor Pat Stryker, Boldly Forward (a group that supports lowering the cost of living and expanding access to early childhood education in Colorado).

Proposition HH’s opponents include the Koch brothers-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity, the Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties, Inc., and the Special District Association of Colorado, which represent local governments across the state, the Colorado Association of Realtors and the Colorado branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Here is an excellent summary of Proposition HH, how it works, the effects it would have on taxpayers, who supports it and who opposes it, by Jesse Paul of the Colorado Sun: Proposition HH: What you need to know about the Colorado property tax relief plan, Oct. 11, 2023.

Proposition II – “Retain Nictoine Tax Revenue in Excess of Blue Book Estimate,” (statutory): YES

Proposition II would let the state keep and spend $23.6 million in tax revenue that it has already collected from sales of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, nicotine products and tobacco products instead of refunding it to the wholesalers and distributors of tobacco and nicotine products. It further lets the state keep the current tax rates that apply to these products instead of reducing these taxes in the future, and keep and spend the money collected from these sales on expanding free preschool programs, especially for low income families.

Supporters of Proposition II include Healthier Colorado, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Children’s Hospital Colorado and Great Education Colorado.

There is little organized opposition to Proposition II. Opponents include the Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University.

An excellent summary of Proposition II and what it would do can be seen in this October 10, 2023 article by Sandra Fish of the Colorado Sun.

Recommended votes on Mesa County Ballot Measures

Mesa County ballot measures this year are all about expanding term limits for some county elected officials from two to three four-year terms. While the term limit will be expanded for these offices, if people get elected to county offices who turn out to be unqualified, or if they break the law while they are in office, or use their office to exact personal vendettas or otherwise wreak havoc or bring massive additional expense to County taxpayers, like former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and current Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, voters can still elect different people in subsequent elections, just like always. But if the people who get elected to these offices are effective, knowledgeable, upstanding and honest public servants who do their jobs well and serve the public appropriately, without violating laws or misusing or abusing their elected office, they can be retained for an additional four years (for a total of 12 years).

Mesa County Question 1A: Should the term limit for Mesa County Assessor be lengthened from two to three terms? YES.

Mesa County Question 1B: Should the term limit for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder be lengthened from two to three terms? YES.

Mesa County Question 1C: Should the term limit for Mesa County Surveyor be lengthened from two to three terms? YES.

Mesa County Question 1D: Should the term limit for Mesa County Treasurer be lengthened from two to three terms? YES. 




  18 comments for “AnneLandmanBlog Voter guide, November 7, 2023 election

  1. Anne, do you know whether the coroner’s office has been considered for a term-extension ballot question? Seems that is an office that would benefit from having a qualified candidate stay for a longer term.

  2. Hi–I’m new to your blog, Anne and have only been in GJ for a year. In general I agree with you about term-limits, but am wondering how difficult or easy it is to remove someone from office if they go off the rails. Unless there is criminal activity, do you simply wait until the next election?

    • It is difficult. The bar is pretty high to get someone removed. People tried to remove Tina in 2020, after she lost the 574 ballots, and fell short on gathering enough signatures even though the effort was very bipartisan.

  3. I agree with you about extending term limits. We have had very good public servants in each of these elected positions for years, with the exception of one. I disagree vehemently with voting yes on HH. Simply put it is a tax hike and the abolition of TABOR.
    A couple of ways to know this is a tax hike:
    Teachers unions and other left wing organizations never ask for tax cuts…never.
    The legislature can cut our taxes without sending it to the vote of the people. They cannot, however, raise our taxes without a vote of the people.
    The deceptive language in this bill is not unlike the deceptive bill used to abolish the Gallagher amendment.
    In case you wondered why our taxes have exploded, it’s because Coloradans voted to repeal the Gallagher amendment, which held them down.
    Now they are pretending to cut our taxes with one hand while taking our TABOR with the other.
    Plus, call up the assessors office and ask why he’s against it. You may be surprised what will happen if you for HH.

    • As seniors having lived in our home over 10 years now we can apply for a property tax discount….bthe system despite it being 10 years since May of 2013 says we apply end if this year and no adjustment would happen until 2025.
      How does this work?
      Our property taxes went up more than 30% already…appealed to no avail.

    • That’s not really true and would say the numbers show otherwise. Because by them, TABOR has largely been a failure for Colorado, as 51 of Colorado’s 64 counties have already de-Bruced. And yet Mesa County remains among this minority of holdouts, meanwhile its voters continue to be hit up piecemeal to approve local mill levies and tax increases beyond the TABOR cap for specific purposes (subsidizing this loss/lack of funding): like in 2022 for D51 to give out 5000 Chromebook to offset their flagging tech resources, or the 0.37% sales tax increase to fund county and municipal public safety services back in 2017.

      So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Prop HH in far from perfect, but that’s far from a compelling reason to vote against it. Our legislature indeed set this whole mess into motion 3 years ago by repealing the Gallagher Amendment, which stood for almost 40 years as a backstop to prevent this very thing, simply to plug a temporary budgetary shortfall.

      I wish voters and our elected officials here weren’t so willing to kick these cans down the road, then act all indignantly surprised when we later trip over them. This is not a partisan issue either, nor some left-wing conspiracy as you otherwise seem to imply. Frankly, I’m also getting tired of hearing folks whine about a moderate increase in their property taxes meanwhile their homes have appreciated in value by orders-of-magnitude more. As for those whom accordingly cannot afford to buy a home right now and have to rent instead, there is no relief coming for them whatsoever.

      • This HH proposition is bothering me in this way. We are seniors 10 years in our home and will not get the senior exemption in 2024, but waitbuntil 2025.
        Our property tax increased by 1/3. Had it not been for a state check, we would have been struggling to meet the 1500 increase on our mortgage payment.
        So just how does this HH work in comparison to the property tax discount we might receive anyway on our home?

  4. I used to believe that term limits were a restriction on the will of the voters and I hated them . . . . then I moved to Mesa County. I disagree with you on that one, Ann.

    Thanks for all you do.

  5. I agree with True Patriot. Republicans have shown time and time again to ignore the shady and/or criminal behavior of some of their own, allowing them to remain in office or reelecting them. Keep things the way they are and be assured they are gone in 8 years.

  6. I don’t see how extending the term limits, especially for County Clerk, is a great idea. Please correct me if am wrong here or this is bad take on the issue; but lets think of how this could
    allow an utter nitwit (i.e Tina Peters) to continue holding an important position only to perform it in bad faith. Much as I like to think most seeking this kind of office have the best intentions, Mesa County has proven to elect some of the most despicable people/MAGAts.

    • If the term limits were lifted we would have kept Sheila Reiner as treasurer, a true professional. So it cuts both ways

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