October 6, 2006Page 2
Vote ? on PreschoolMatters
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For four key reasons, vot-ers should think hard aboutpulling the yes lever for Mayor John Hickenlooper’s “PreschoolMatters,” which raises Denver’ssales tax to help poor familiesaccess preschool. (For a moreprecise explanation of whatPreschool Matters does, go tonorthdenvernews.com).As public investments go,spending tax money on preschoolis one of the best investmentsthat can be made. A Californiastudy by the Rand Corporation,a generally honest broker, sug-gests that a single dollar spenton preschool education reducesfuture tax needs by as much as atwo dollars fifty. Head Start, thefederally subsidized program,has a tremendous track record of improving student achievementand reducing dropout rates. Onthe whole, putting governmentresources into preschool educa-tion is a powerful tool, one of thebest public investments that canbe made.In a perfect world, one in whichrational judgments trump politi-cal considerations, PreschoolMatters faces four problems that would cause us to send it back tothe drawing board.First, sales taxes are highly regressive, and this incremen-tal tax increase would add toDenver’s already regressive taxregime. Underscoring the regres-sivity is the reality that using aregressive tax to help poor fami-lies is fiscal irony at its greatest.Second is the economic reality of subsidies. What you subsidize, you increase in price. PreschoolMatters will raise the cost of pre-school for all of Denver’s families.For some families, the marginalbenefit of receiving help fromPreschool Matters may actually be more than offset by the high-er prices for quality preschool.Given the relatively inelastic sup-ply of preschool slots, the price-shifting effects of subsidy may begreater with Preschool Mattersthan one would normally antici-pate. Third are the education pol-icy concerns. Preschool Matterstargets four-year-olds. But inColorado, kindergarten is notmandatory. Worse, full-day kin-dergarten in DPS is tuition-based.All things being equal, to bestserve all of Denver’s children,mandatory, free kindergartenshould be the highest priority.As valuable and laudable as sup-porting the quality and quantity of preschool slots for four-year-olds, getting every kindergartenerup to speed and ready for firstgrade is a higher priority.Fourth, preschool matterscreates a new administrativebureaucracy. Even though itdoes so through a new non-profit with a mandate for lean opera-tion, it still duplicates what couldbe done through the existingDPS Early Childhood Educationprogram. What’s worse is thatmany Denver schools are farfrom capacity, and could eas-ily house the 2000-odd studentsthat Preschool Maters expectsto serve. It would also have thesalutary effect of spreading DPS’ monstrous fixed costs over a larg-er base of students, easing itsstructural budget woes.In an ideal world, PreschoolMatters isn’t the right solution to what is a pressing matter of pub-lic concern.Painfully, we don’t live in anideal world, but one fraught withpolitical constraints. Denver vot-ers have rejected previous taxincreases to support youngchildren, and California votersdefeated one earlier this year.As a result, although PreschoolMatters is far from a perfectanswer, it may the only one we’relikely to get. If you can swallowtrading the ideal for the prag-matic, you may want to cast a yesvote on 1A.
by the North Denver News
In this year’s political season,North Denver’s Wanda James hasa key role in one of the most inter-esting Congressional races in thecountry. James, who owns 8 RiversCaribbean Café along with husbandScott Durrah, is managing the cam-paign of Jay Fawcett, a Democratand former Air Force Lt. Colonel, who is running a competitive racein the normally Republican FifthDistrict, which centers on ColoradoSprings. The race has been named oneof the nation’s fifty hottest by the well-respected National Journal.Fawcett is taking on State SenatorDoug Lamborn, who won a desper-ately fought five-way Republicanprimary. So divisive was that con-test, the incumbent Joel Hefley, along-time Republican Congressman,has refuses to support Lamborn.Lamborn has been tagged as being aproxy for some of the most extremeelements of the religious right.Fawcett, long interested in poli-tics, made the jump into the publicarena in this turbulent politicalseason. “This particular year, alot of things came to together. I watched how the Republican partytreated Joel Hefley... a man whodid the right thing, who stayed con-sistent with his twenty years in theHouse, and the Republican partytore him apart. ...He was told hislegislation was dead on arrival.”“I’ve also been concerned withCongress’ ability to its job... over-sight,” says Fawcett. “It’s a goodtime for a Democrat to step forwardand offer an alternative.”Fawcett is among a host of mili-tary veterans running for Congressthis year as Democrats, underscor-ing the bitter rift between the Bushadministration and the professionalmilitary, a chasm which grows witheach combat casualty in Iraq. James has ably positionedFawcett to take advantage of Republican discord and militarydisenchantment with the WhiteHouse. Colorado Springs, longknown for its conservatism, is hometo both Focus on the Family andthe Air Force Academy, the head-quarters of Northern Command,Fort Carson, and the highest con-centration of veterans in Colorado.Fawcett, who has both taughtat the Air Force Academy andcommanded its HeadquartersSquadron, has Colorado ties goingback to his arrival as a freshmanat the Academy in 1973. A veteranof the first Iraq air war, and anexpert in military doctrine, Fawcett would bring both a keen mind andvaluable experience to the halls of Congress.A recent campaign poll hasshowed Fawcett running aheadof Lamborn, a finding that regis-tered upon political seismographsfrom coast to coast. James expectsRepublicans and allied groups tofight tooth and nail to keep the seatin Republican hands. But with ahighly-qualified and tough-mindedcandidate in Fawcett, the makingsof a titanic upset have been sown.
Fawcett’s hot race hasNorth Denver keystone
On-line exclusives! The most interesting race in Colorado. Interviews with State Senator Ken Gordon and State Treasurer Mike Coffman, both contenders for the Secretary of State. Don’t miss the bombshells from MarineIraq veteran Coffman, as the Republican calls the war in Iraq a mistake. www.northdenvernews.com
In Loving MemoryIsabelle C. Murelli
, born March 22, 1926, passed away October 3, 2006 at theage of 80. Survived by children; Joan (Rich) Watts, Mike (Michele) Murelliand Mari Montgomery. Grandchildren; Mike, Jon, Jill, Jennifer, Rachel andDominic. Three great grandchildren.Visitation will take place Monday, October 9, from 11:00-1:00PM at FunerariaMoore Howard Chapel, 4345 W. 46th Avenue. Viewing at the Cantrell FuneralHome in Kimball, Nebraska on Tuesday, October 10, from 11:00-1:00PMfollowed by internment at the Kimball Cemetery at 2:00PM.