A new set of yard signs is popping up just in time for the run-off election on June 4.
The “Let Denver Vote” group’s Initiative 302 asks Denver voters to require the city to “submit to a vote of the registered electors of the City and County of Denver a proposed amendment to the Denver Revised Municipal Code concerning a prohibition on the use of public monies or resources towards a future Olympic Games without prior voter approval.”
If you recall, an exploratory committee was set up in late 2017 to investigate how to pay for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Colorado. The committee recommended that if the United States Olympic Committee called for bids from cities in the United States for upcoming years, the state and city should pursue hosting the games.
The committee’s report also recommended “a new approach to the Olympics that would not use any public or taxpayer funding. The recommendation also states that a bid should only go forward if it’s approved by a referendum of Colorado voters.” Both Mayor Michael Hancock and then-Governor John Hickenlooper, as honorary chairmen, agreed.
A group called NOlympics had been formed to counter the belief that public money would not be needed, considering the games’ track record. Aside from fiscal issues, there also were concerns about transportation issues and housing issues.
In November 2018, the USOC toured Denver to assess the chance of an Olympics bid in Colorado. In December, the USOC, focusing on a potential U.S. bid in 2030 or later, decided to choose Salt Lake City. Denver, no. (Reno, Nevada, had pulled out of the selection process.)
Let Denver Vote grew out of a group called NOlympics, believing that voters in Denver should have a say on whether public money should be used to support the Olympics here. After all, who knows what the future might bring, and the state has not yet taken action on the committee’s recommendation that a bid should go forward if Colorado voters approved.
Initiative 302 was heading to the November 2019 ballot, but since there is a run-off election on June 4 for numerous offices, 302 is getting its time in the spotlight very quickly.
Let a thousand yard signs bloom
Below are links to the information on the Denver Elections Division website with ballot title and wording on Initiative 302 (along with fiscal information and pro and con statements), to stories about the exploratory committee’s work and the USOC’s decision, and to a list of initiatives that have been on Denver ballots back to 2009, including the ill-fated Denver Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission Creation Referendum on the November 2010 ballot.
Finally, for a really good read, there’s a link to a 2016 story in Westword about Colorado’s relationship with the Olympics back in the 1970s. Votes matter, and voters matter.