It passed because, although every real Denverite you will ever find opposed this ballot issue, Denver elections are rigged to deliver lopsided outcomes. Let there be no doubt: Denver voters really, really love this tax!
The outcome of mail ballot elections is easily co-opted, the reason they are favored by the beneficiaries of big money issues such as bonds and taxes; and in Denver, there are no checks against graft. Take a look at these five mail ballots received at one resident’s address, for example. None of those people, his former roommates, lives there anymore. I communicated with one who now lives in Alaska, where she registered to vote in 2012. Although the Denver resident who received these ballots was too upstanding to vote them, other people have no such scruples; and if you believe election officials can separate real ballots from forgeries--or even care--you may well deserve all the tricks the ghouls play on you.
I have special knowledge about Denver’s mail ballot elections, since I represented former election commissioner Jan Tyler (pro bono) in a 2007 court case contesting the special election held by mail ballot on Jan. 30, 2007. This election amended Denver’s Home Rule Charter to abolish the Denver Election Commission, vesting power over elections not simply in the clerk and recorder, but in an appointee of the clerk and recorder over whom the clerk & recorder has no supervisory power! Denver residents were not even aware this election was taking place, because there was no published notice of it (see p. 6). There was also no publication of the text of the charter amendment itself. These omissions were brazen violations of the Colorado Constitution, Denver Charter, Denver ordinances, and state laws governing charter amendments, and meant this amendment was--and continues to be--void on its face.
On Dec. 26, 2006, a published notice did appear, but only of a hearing on Council Bill 831 to be held that evening—the day after Christmas!--at 6:00 p.m. The text of this bill was not even published, despite false certificates saying it was (pp. 39-40 of 47; and Exhibit D), made by officials whose signatures are not legible, undoubtedly because they knew they were pulling a fast one. Moreover, this notice appeared in only The Daily Journal, which is not the “newspaper of general circulation” required by law (pp. 10-11). Quite the opposite: The Daily Journal caters to the construction trades and is available literally nowhere. In our case, nonpublication of the charter amendment, as well as of the calling of the special election on a date only 35 days away—when Denver ordinance prohibits any special election to be held within 60 days of the call--were central issues. Either one on its own meant the election was void, as the court cases I cited established. The single subject requirement was also violated: Denver City Council purported to exempt itself, in the body of Council Bill 831 (which became Ordinance 851), from its own law (§3.3.5(B), D.R.M.C.) requiring each legal effect of the bill to be expressed in the title. That exemption was not expressed in the title. (And see this one, where the City Council did away with restrictions on the use of public funds to promote candidates shortly before then, again not expressed in the title.)
The manner in which the Jan. 30, 2007, special election was conducted also overwhelmingly militated for throwing the result out. The amendment was approved by 36,934, out of 54,481 votes reported cast—68% for and about 32% against, another ridiculously lopsided outcome--while 133,000 ballots were wholly unaccounted for and an additional 50,000 ballots were returned as undeliverable (pp. 12-14 and 74-76). Contrast this travesty with a polling place election, where every single ballot is accounted for. Ironically, even though thousands of mail ballots can be unaccounted for with gay abandon, it remains a criminal offense to remove a single ballot from a polling place (Sec. 31-10-1512, C.R.S.)
Even the U.S. Postal Service complained to the Secretary of State about the gross mismanagement of this 2007 election. USPS said it processed 310,000 ballots, which was 22,611 ballots more than the number of voters the Denver Election Commission said were registered for the Jan. 30 election and 36,122 more than were registered for the Nov. 2006 election. Exhibit C to our amended complaint. Thus, the DEC knowingly sent out a flood of bogus ballots. To whom did these spurious ballots go? Were they voted? Under the direction of John Gaydeski, the staff ran this election like the Keystone Kops, chasing in circles waving nightsticks (pp. 68, 71-77).
The Jan. 30 election was the more suspicious because of the debacle of the November 2006 polling place election which preceded it. The electronic registration system broke down (they said), and thousands of voters were made to stand in line for up to four hours, many leaving in disgust without voting. This screw-up—followed directly by the “solution” of the January special election by mail ballot--looked, even then, like a set-up, manufactured to make Denver residents so fed up with the Election Commission they would scrap it, and bombard them with so much propaganda about the superiority of mail ballot elections that they would get rid of their time-tested, reliable polling-place elections, as well. Both Denver newspapers shamelessly pushed this “solution” to the imaginary problem. In fact, a blue-ribbon panel convened to study the DEC the prior summer had concluded no changes were needed.
Given the handling of Jan's complaint by the Denver judge, Michael A. Martinez--and Martinez’s subsequent elevation to Chief Judge of the Denver District Court--we can conclude Martinez was one of those same beneficiaries (and benefactors) of city bosses. He ignored this case, initially filed by Jan before the election and amended after I came on on March 9, 2007, sitting on our request for injunction and cross-motion for summary judgment and response to Denver’s motions to dismiss for two months. The hearing he held on June 7 he then specifically said was NOT on our request for injunction. It was on Denver’s motions to dismiss, variants of which the city filed three times, primarily based on insufficient service of process. This, although Denver was in the case vigorously defending, with two attorneys who filed motions on a wide variety of subjects, and called witnesses. This meant the defense--even if it had merit, which it didn't--was waived.
After three hours of hearing on June 7, 2007, Judge Martinez held service was proper! However, in a sweet syrupy voice he went on to hold that there was “no jurisdiction” to rule on our request for injunctive relief, and that the city council was “immune from suit” (around 5:34) because the judicial branch has no power over the legislative (city council). This was clear error. I had provided him several cases where ordinances, as well as elections, were invalidated for failure to follow procedures specified by law. The courts in these cases called them “pretend elections.” Injunctions against the implementation of completed legislative acts do not constitute “judicial interference with legislative authority,” as any first-year law student knows. Martinez even concocted an excuse for nonpublication which the City had not dared make, based on two blizzards which shut Denver down in the last days of December 2006. He regarded it as more important to let this hastily and ill-conceived greed-train barrel through unimpeded, than to uphold the Colorado Constitution.
The most damaging blizzards suffered by Denver residents over that Xmas/New Year's holiday thus were from bogus mail ballots, as longtime editorial writer Vincent Carroll wryly noted in two columns in the Rocky Mountain News. He received three ballots for unknown people at his home. I tried to get one of his columns into evidence, and Judge Martinez excluded it as hearsay (pp. 69-70), even though C.R.E. 807 permits hearsay which has substantial guarantees of trustworthiness. Jan and I did not know Vince Carroll. He was not trying to benefit Jan’s case. Unlike in the Nov. 2015 election to feed the Stock Show piggies, we did not have other evidence of a voter's receipt of multiple ballots.
In short, we did not just get a pretend election in Denver, in 2007. We got a pretend hearing, too.
A case can be made that we were also before a pretend judge. Martinez was admitted to the bar in 1987 and started his career on the bench as a magistrate in the 17th Judicial District (Adams County), sometime before 1997. His admission to the bar and appointment to the bench may come back, again, to Notre Dame grad John Moye, who sat on, and chaired, the Board of Law Examiners from 1981-91 (and, incidentally, represents the National Western Stock Show!) In his capacity as a bar examiner Moye had access to the bar exams before as well as after they were given, and oversaw their grading, even while running a bar refresher course. During the same period, Moye sat on the 2nd Judicial District nominating commission, which is Denver. I have seen, but now cannot find, a reference that he instituted a loan program for law students, as well.
In other words, a great number, if not all, of the Catholic lawyers and judges in Colorado, particularly Hispanics under cover of affirmative action, may owe their careers to John Moye. As a “good businessman,” he is the type to call in his chits. While there are other powerful operators in Denver, the official positions he held link Mr. Moye to the flood of judges having thinly veiled contempt for the law, along with dispiritingly poor legal ability, in the Colorado judicial system since the 1980's. See these previous posts, as well as my four posts on John Gleason, who I've shown was just given a "bar ticket" in 1985, since he has no undergraduate degree. Michael A. Martinez's role is to legitimate politically expedient outcomes such as Denver's rigged elections, law be damned.
I had later encounters with Martinez which buttress this view. I filed a complaint in Denver District Court in 2010 alleging the collusion of Rebecca Alexander, the attorney for Gary Magness—the billionaire against whom I got a sizable judgment--with April Seekamp, the disciplinary prosecutor who pursued me for over four years, on instructions from Gleason, without a client complaint. As in the present matter, Martinez dismissed my case in blatant violation of the rules, in the same breath slapping me with a $100,000 attorney fee sanction, an obvious punishment for exposing this corruption. His subsequent elevation to Chief Judge of the Denver District Court makes it abundantly clear how much his patrons value Martinez's protection of their rackets.
**3-24-16: Just googled "Trick or Treat Denver," and in 27 pages of Google results this post does not come up. Then I saw that the option to comment had been removed--a box was checked that I had never checked. I think it is fixed now!