RTD - Debt Load
RTD has been approving debt beyond our capabilities, in my opinion. The debt level risk may endanger our operations such as bus service. You may notice that I address debt quite a bit in public discussions. Not long from now, bus operations will be subsidizing the trains we're building.
To put it in simple terms -- Our RTD debt payment is maxed due to FasTracks and it's not even completed. Because the mortgage payment comes first, everything else is secondary.
When I ran for this position in 2012, I knew it was going to be a challenge and I was glad to accept it.
Now, four years later - we've seen change on the board. More questions are asked and we just approved an amended budget which reduces expenditures. It's going to take some time to get RTD Back on Track financially and take fiscal watchdogs to do it.
I ask for your vote to continue as the RTD's "penny pincher."
Ballot Issue NOTICE
Please make sure to vote NO on Amendment #71 which limits our right to petition government.
There's at least a few harmful ballot issues this year but the one that I find most egregious is Amendment #71 which will limit our ability as citizens to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. If it passes, only the committees with large amounts of money would be able to get an initiative on the ballot. Grassroots citizens will for the most part be left out in the cold without equal protections under the law.
Consider this - our constitution is meant to protect citizens from governments. Amendment #71 creates higher hurdles for citizens than governments to put something on the ballot. This ballot issue is just as anti-citizen as you can get. I hope you'll join me in voting NO on #71.
Along with many others, I'm part of an organization of very politically diverse individuals who generally have a wide difference of opinions but we all agree that Amendment #71 is BAD. Whether left or right, it's a harmful measure for citizens.
#71 Ballot Title
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution making it more difficult to amend the Colorado constitution by requiring that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot and increasing the percentage of votes needed to pass any proposed constitutional amendment from a majority to at least fifty-five percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed constitutional amendment only repeals, in whole or in part, any provision of the constitution?
Why I Vote No on Certain RTD Board Actions
It's because I actually read the information, research my questions to find answers and then I evaluate what is best for the taxpayers, riders and the community. Then I vote based on facts and research.
Here is an example.
Right after I got on the RTD Board in 2013 we were presented a plan to buy about $24 million dollars in 16th Street mall shuttles. The company that staff was recommending was DesignLine out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to the meeting I did the financial research on DesignLine, this happened to be my first official meeting as a RTD Board Director.
First I asked that the item be pulled from the agenda so it could be voted on separately and have discussion. That was approved so we entered into discussion.
I presented my findings to the board and asked that the decision to buy the $24 million in buses be postponed to November 2013 so we could evaluate what looked to me to be a troublesome future for DesignLine and therefore be a bad decision to buy that company's buses for the Regional Transportation District.
DesignLine at THAT time was being sued by other transportation agencies over product faults such as battery fires and frame breakage. Pretty serious. On top of that, the financial picture for this company didn't look too good at all. All I had to do was google the company, read documents and make a couple phone calls. They were being sued by at least three other transit agencies over failure to comply with contract, design flaws, etc.
During discussion prior to the vote, many board directors stated their concerns about DesignLine after seeing my findings.
Still, the vote turned out to be 2-12 (Menten and Solano YES) to postpone and the rest of the board voted to approve the purchase.
About 6 months later, DesignLine declared bankruptcy.
RTD had to go to bankruptcy court. Plus, we had to hire an out of state lawyer for the bankruptcy proceedings.
That is why I don't vote yes all the time. I do the homework on watching RTD so you don't have to.
Other notable articles - a bit frustrating is that some of RTD's problems were started long before I was on the board. I'm working my way towards reversing some of these actions but they take time. It's like losing weight - the problems don't appear overnight and the fixes take some time. It'd be helpful if more board directors would stand up.
I'll keep adding articles here when I have a bit of spare time.