Issue 300, the so-called citizen initiative authored by Colorado Springs resident Douglas Bruce, got on the citywide ballot last November with a lot of help from out-of-state residents, including Michael Rhodes, city clerk’s records show
Although Rhodes was not present during a campaign finance hearing in Denver on May 24-25, spectators and witnesses heard him telling a Denver petition circulaton firm that it had a “cherry opportunity to make a stupid amount of money” by circulating petitions for three statewide measures at a conservative rally.
Rhodes is the head of ProVote America, a petition circulation company based in Los Angeles. He has not responded to emails requesting an interview.
Rhodes was the second-largest collector of signatures for Issue 300, gathering 2,162 signatures, or 14.5 percent, of the valid signatures needed to get on the ballot. Rhodes also gathered thousands of signatures for three statewide measures that will be on the November ballot.
Opponents say the measures, called Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101, would have a devastating impact on the state economy. Amendment 61, for example, would forbid the government from issuing bonds, which would stop big construction projects like the Southern Delivery System.
Issue 300, which ends payments to the city from its revenue-producing entities, will reduce city coffers by $100 million over the next eight years, Vice Mayor Larry Small has said.
Residents of Colorado Springs will be feeling the impact for years to come.
Former reporter Perry Swanson and I went to the City Clerk’s Office a couple of months ago and built a database of the petition circulators on Issue 300. Our research showed that at least 14 of the 16 top signature gatherers listed below do not live in Colorado Springs. Here’s what we found:
|Circulator first last||Total verified signatures||% of total|
|Catherine E. Gilsey||804||5.4%|
|Jackie Glenn Hisey||676||4.5%|
|Thomas T. Glenn||360||2.4%|
|Bonnie J. Todd||337||2.3%|
|Douglas N. Stinehagen||187||1.3%|
|William J., Jr. Boswell||176||1.2%|
|Helen P. Collins||159||1.1%|
|Ida C. Wieland||154||1.0%|
|Gregory Alan Johnson||119||0.8%|
|Christopher E. Whitney||59||0.4%|
|Carl J. Fritzen||22||0.1%|
|Gretchen Ann Kasamger||20||0.1%|
|Gergory Erie Williams||15||0.1%|