MONUMENT–On Monday evening the Town of Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) held a workshop and public hearing on a resolution “reasserting the rights of the town of monument and its residents and condemning the unconstitutional limitations imposed upon their freedoms by the governor of Colorado.”
The mostly-symbolic resolution says that Governor Polis’ various executive orders, “altered restrictions without regard to their purpose of health and safety and for his own political interests thus demonstrating that the limitations on speech did not meet the limited requirement of protecting the health and safety of the public.” The resolution passed on a unanimous 7-0 vote.
The BOT pointed to Polis’ unilateral order to move counties from Level Red to Level Orange based only on his assessment of the declining case numbers as indicative of the arbitrary nature of his executive orders.
The BOT said that it, “will not abide by any executive orders limiting attendance of and free speech at public meetings within the town.”
The resolution calls on Governor Polis to prevent harm to businesses by reclassifying all businesses as essential, saying “the citizens of Monument have a RIGHT to work and provide for their families.” (emphasis in the original)
“What we’re doing is challenging every citizen to take responsibility upon themselves for their own protection,” said Trustee Ron Stephens. “If you know you’re at high risk, then order your food online or do whatever you need to do online. If you are less of a risk, then you can be a little more free. But the point here is you must take responsibility.”
But the BOT backed off the idea of making Monument a “sanctuary city” against COVID-19 restrictions and acknowledged that state authorities “will attempt to pressure businesses to comply and may threaten their livelihoods” and that the town cannot prevent state enforcement actions.
The BOT left it up to businesses and customers to determine for themselves how they will comply with state mandates and urged patrons to exercise their own best judgment in deciding how or when to patronize local businesses, saying they should, “feel free to walk away if they do not feel safe based on their underlying health conditions.”
During the public hearing El Paso County Commissioner Holly Williams addressed the BOT about the tension between state and county health departments.
“If we disagree with our own local board of health as county commissioners, we can have them replaced with the state Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, “ said Williams. “So I’m sure we’re getting the better end of the deal here with our own local department of health.”
Speaking with Complete Colorado Tuesday about the arbitrariness of the state’s COVID-19 response Williams said, “When the Governor took everyone from Level Red to Level Orange, businesses in El Paso County lost their multi-sector variances that had been granted previously.”
“For example, the Great Wolf Lodge has a variance, but the Broadmoor doesn’t. We’re back to applying for variances for individual businesses instead of grouping like businesses together. That’s frustrating. There’s a lot of arbitrary things going on,” Williams continued.
There was consensus on the BOT that it is time to take a stand, including potential legal action to rein in the Governor.
“I’m in agreement with Trustee [Mitch] LaKind that we’re declaring [the Governor’s] action completely unconstitutional,“ said Stephens. “Hopefully they’ll let us be and just say, ‘Oh, that’s just Monument’ and let it go. But if it comes down to it, I think we have to be prepared for taking legal action, because I believe the Constitution is behind us.”
“I wanted to make clear that the 14th Amendment, Section One was called out because, as I said in the last meeting, the Governor is acting like a tyrant in his execution of business closures throughout the state, and putting people out of business and out of work and unable to feed their families,” said LaKind.