Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

TBD Colorado collecting online opinions on transportation, education

When all the smoke clears over the gun debate, Colorado will still have other tough issues to tackle.

What's the future of this state? That's what TBD Colorado wants to determine. Last year, the non-partisan nonprofit -- "No state dollars are being spent on TBD Colorado," its website promises -- held seventy meetings around the state, attracting more than 1,200 people to discuss issues of importance to Colorado's future. That lengthy list was pared down to two to focus on in 2013: education and transportation. And now you can share your opinions on these from home.

TBD held two public meetings over the past two weeks -- one in Denver and one in Grand Junction -- where participants weighed in on education and transportation, registering their thoughts on an electronic voting system created by Engaged Public that spit out results before the meetings ended. Governor John Hickenlooper showed up for the end of the session at the History Colorado Center and related the story he's shared several times this tricky political season: about how his ten-year-old son, Teddy, wonders what's so hard about making decisions. "You just need to get the facts, Dad," he told his father. "Once you have the facts, it's easy to make a decision."

School, on the other hand, is not so easy. "Learning is what's hard," Teddy says. And when you're ten, you have to learn something new every day.

Right now, TBD Colorado is getting schooled by Coloradans -- and you don't even need to leave your couch to share your opinion. Through March 25, you can simply sign on to and offer your thoughts online. The process started March 4 and is now on a second series of questions regarding education and transportation.

One of the education questions: "In addition to base funding, the state also provides additional resources for certain items Which of the items below do you think should receive additional funds?" Possible answers: cost-of-living in a school district; size (smaller districts receive more funding); special education; English-language learners; gifted and talented; transportation; at-risk (low-income); and additional time in school (longer day and/or more days).

Then there's this, from the transportation side: "Do you support dedicating a portion of state dollars to specific bicycle and pedestrian improvements, or should these facilities be incorporated into planned roadway improvements?" Possible answers: multi-modal options are crucial; state dollars should be dedicated for these improvements; there are limited resources; these improvements should only be part of a larger highway project; a dedicated portion of state dollars should go to these improvements only if new revenue is identified. (The state currently does not dedicate a portion of its revenue to bicycle and pedestrian improvements.)

Get the facts and make a decision, Coloradans. The future is yours.

From the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Joe Garcia will continue as Colorado's coolest lieutenant governor."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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