Odd bedfellows: Court orders Grand and Boulder into same legislative district
Grand County will share a Colorado legislative House district with parts of the city of Boulder and the western half of the county of Boulder, according to a final decision rendered on Monday by the Colorado Supreme Court. Entering into district 13, Grand and Jackson counties will now share a House district with Clear Creek, Gilpin and part of Boulder counties.The court issued its decision despite a 21-page Grand County objection plus exhibits filed last Thursday to try and sway the court against grouping Grand and Jackson counties with East Slope counties.The main argument was splitting the boundaries of Boulder County and the lack of “interest” Grand, Jackson and the other counties have in common with Boulder.”House District 13 Plan includes counties on both sides of the Continental Divide, splits Boulder County and spits the city of Boulder,” the Grand County objection states. “To travel from the city of Boulder to the new proposed House District 13 to Walden, the county seat of Jackson County, it is approximately 200 miles and takes approximately 3 hours 16 minutes to drive if you take the quickest route, which is through Wyoming.” (Bolded in the brief) Grand County’s new district encompasses much of downtown Boulder, including much of CU Boulder and half of Pearl Street. Claire Levy is the sitting Democratic representative from Boulder County and has filed for re-election in 2012. The brief advocates for Grand County to be joined in the formerly proposed district 26 with three contiguous Western Slope counties that had the same community of interest and “whose county commissioners consult with each other on a regular basis.”It also points out how Boulder County is not a part of many of the affiliations with Grand County, such as Colorado River Water Conservancy District, the Middle Park Water Conservancy District, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and the Colorado West Regional Mental Health, Inc.”Grand County citizens do not trade in Boulder County, nor are they treated by doctors in Boulder County,” the brief goes on to say. “Overall, Grand County has essentially no community of interest with Boulder County.””I’m disappointed the Supreme Court held up the reapportionment commission’s partisan maps,” said state Rep. Randy Baumgardner (R-Cowdrey), who represents the present-day District 57 that includes Grand County. “The redrawing of the maps was not for the best interest of the people of the state of Colorado, especially areas that won’t have a voice such as Jackson and Grand counties.”Although Baumgardner filed to run again for District 57 – before the court’s game-changer and after he moved to Jackson County for what he says were ranching reasons – the representative said on Tuesday he hasn’t made any decisions about running against Levy in District 13. In the meantime, Baumgardner has bills in the works, such as one to rescind the $100 penalty on license plates and lower the fee to $20 a penalty, and with his Republican colleagues, one working toward the capture and use of methane for conversion to energy and another looking to save state money in certain government agencies.”I’m still going to focus my efforts representing the people of District 57 until next Dec. 31,” he said. – Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.