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Vote like it counts on ballot issues despite court ruling

| October 6, 2006 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

Vote like it counts!

Why do I say that? Recently the courts have ruled that CI-97, CI-98 and I-154 are not legal at this point and they "have been taken care of." All are still on the ballot and are being supported by big out-of-state money. Until the Supreme Court rules on these issues we do not know whether the votes will be counted.

Educate yourself on these issues and the motives behind them:

CI-97 would shrink state government every year and threaten all basic services that we know and depend on - like health care, schools, police and firefighters. Those left to fund these basic services are the local taxpayers through property taxes and increased fees. Twenty-two states have rejected measures like CI-97. Colorado, the only state that has ever tried it, has voted to suspend their version because it has caused so many problems. Go to www.notinmontana.org for more information and vote like it counts, because it does.

CI-98 allows for the recall of judges for any reason. Current law provides for the recall of public officials, including judges, for cause and elections for general voter displeasure. This initiative would allow judges to be recalled before the end of their term for the decisions they make. This would require judges to pay attention to the polls of public opinion rather than the letter of the law in making their decisions. Certainly this initiative can be used to harass and intimidate sitting judges. Study CI-98 by going to the secretary of state's Web site at sos.state.mt.us.

I-154 seems reasonable but is really a raw deal for Montana taxpayers. It is written by special interests for special interests. It would create big expensive loopholes in Montana law where irresponsible developers and speculators could demand huge payouts from taxpayers for alleged losses to their property values. While described as reforming eminent domain, I-154 would handcuff communities and neighborhoods by taking away their traditional safeguards against irresponsible development. If special interests are not paid off, communities must simply waive their rules. Go to www.no154.org and vote as if it counts.

Responsible government for reasonable people will not be helped by any of these fraud-written ballot initiatives. Make no mistake - there is big out-of-state money working to pass these initiatives. Show the big money, out-of-state people; Montana's elections cannot be bought!

Paula Darko-Hensler