Craig voters have their say

Residents keep campaign spending limit despite constitutional concerns


Election results

Results of the city ballot question to delete the campaign spending provision from the city charter:

• Delete the provision: 287 votes, or 45 percent

• Keep the provision: 354 votes, or 55 percent

Craig voters defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and a recent Moffat County District Court settlement Tuesday when they voted to keep a controversial campaign spending limit in the city charter.

The charter provision limits any candidate for city office from spending more than $500 of their own money on their campaign.

The spending limit came under fire earlier this year after the Craig City Council cited local resident Francisco Reina with a Class A municipal violation for spending more than allowed on his campaign for City Council in April.

After Reina and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a countersuit in Moffat County District Court, the city dropped its charge and agreed to void the spending limit based on a 1976 Supreme Court case that states such limits violate the right to free speech.

Although the city can no longer enforce the provision, only a popular vote can change the city charter, and so it was left to local voters to decide the spending limit's fate.

The vote was close, but support for the provision won out.

About 55 percent of voters - 354 people - voted to keep the provision, while roughly 45 percent - 287 people - voted to delete it from the charter.

Craig Mayor Don Jones and City Councilor Jennifer Riley voted to keep the provision, even though they approved the court settlement that voided the provision.

Both made it clear they supported the spending limit throughout the court proceedings with Reina and the ACLU.

"I think the majority of the community likes the fact anybody can run for an office no matter how much money you have," Riley said.

The spending limit had been around for decades, Jones said, and the only reason there was a problem this year was because the Daily Press sold too much in advertisements to one person.

"It's been there for 50 years and never had any problems with it," the mayor said.

Riley added she also supported keeping the spending limit because the city could enforce it again if the Supreme Court ever changed its ruling.

"If that happens, we can use it and we don't have to put it back on the ballot," she said.

Although it is usually liberals who promote campaign finance reform - which seeks to limit financial contributions to political candidates in the same way as the city's charter did - Riley said she is not surprised the issue had support in Moffat County, which is largely conservative.

"Moffat County feels really strongly about local politics and local control," she said. "I think they like their access to local political leaders. If somebody could buy an election, that inhibits their access and takes some of the control away from the voters."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or


westslopeguy 7 years, 5 months ago

One more example of how Craigers feel that laws and rights awarded by our STATE legislators or the CONSTITUTION of our state or the constitution of OUR COUNTRY don't apply to them. Consider recent topics in "our" daily news. Subjects like the CITY council trying to adopt ordinances that defy CONSTITUTIONAL rights with regard to medical marijuana dispensaries. Subjects like illegal or illicit activities within our police department that are publicly SUPPORTED by the chief of police. And now a purported majority of the citizenry of Craig honestly believe that they can vote to support a violation of the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION? Perhaps Moffat County should secede from the State of Colorado and subsequently from the United States of AMERICA!!!

While I really enjoyed living in Craig and availing myself of all that Moffat County has to offer, I am starting to believe that I am better off for having moved.

Sorry guys, this is NOT just my 2cents. I am incensed!!


norights 7 years, 5 months ago

This is craig forget the laws the cpd does as it pleases if you are paying attention you will see it all unfold before your eyes in the next few weeks


als362 7 years, 5 months ago

To westslopeguy: Yes you do have certain rights. But they can stop when what you percieve as your rights interfere with other peoples rights. This is the case, at least in my opinion, when people want to sell dope on the street. This is why we have things such as the vote, and why we appoint people like the city council and the county commissioners to address these things. You will be much happier when you begin to understand these facts.


westslopeguy 7 years, 5 months ago

FACT: It has been ruled by our Federal Government that it is unconstitutional for a city to limit spending of one's own personal funds in a municipal election. FACT: The majority of the voters approved a measure to limit spending of one's own personal funds in a municipal election.

FACT: The voters of the state of Colorado have amended the State Constitution to allow prescription and subsequent dispensation of marijuana.. FACT: City council, led vocally by Councilor Willems, is currently trying to craft city ordinance(s) to prohibit, restrict, or otherwise impede dispensing marijuana in accord with Colorado Constitution and current State legislation.

FACT: Allegations of legal violations by member(s) of the Craig Police Department were sufficient for the District Attorney's office to file charges against Mr. Johnson. FACT: Mr. Vanetta has gone on record in these pages attesting to the internal investigation conducted last spring and found no wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Johnson,

Please clarify for me which of these facts I need to begin to understand.

As I've said before , this is NOT just my two cents, I am incensed! Paul


SirWasik 7 years, 5 months ago

Ok Paul, as you want to be corrected in your facts, I will go your second paragraph as that seems to be where you are confused. That is, in which you have the mistaken idea that the State Constitution allows for the ‘dispensation of marijuana.’ Read the text of ARTICLE XVIII, Section 14 for yourself.

The problems is though the amememdment allows those on the regersitrey to possess up to two ounces and six plants, it does nothing to make the selling of marijuana leagal. That is it does not make dispensaries legal, nor did it give any agency authority over the selling of marijuana. As noted by

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said: He knew Amendment 20, which legalized medical marijuana for some state residents, eventually would cause backlash if passed as it read. The law doesn’t provide for regulation of caretakers and dispensaries. (Reported Saturday, November 14, 2009 in The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

While the constitution allows for the possession and smoking of MJ, current laws do leave the regulation of the dispensaries to the local government, which including where, how or even if they allow one to operate. This is why local legs are having to scramble to create some sort of regulation on dispensaries. Even if we accept the ‘caregiver’ can be used to create a dispensary (but it does not strictly by its language, but the courts will have to decide eventually) local government has the responsibility to regulate local businesses. Or according to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry: there are no regulations regarding dispensaries and may be local ordinances that might impact the operation of a dispensary. Please contact local authorities for specific information.

Here is a good article from MPP which sums up the issue

and here is one from Colorado springs


westslopeguy 7 years, 5 months ago

I stand corrected, and for that I thank you. This is the first informed factual dialogue I have seen regarding this, (or any other issue posted about.) I did read the constitutional amendment as you suggested. I also read both articles you referenced. Again, rather factual and pointing out pros and cons on both sides of the debate. Perhaps if the dialogue at City Council, and in the community at large were more rational and based on fact rather than personal biases I would not be so incensed. What incenses me, (still, after being informed of the rights and (lack of) legislation regarding this issue) is the bias and name calling on the part of our community .

Thank you for the information and logical presentation of same. Paul


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