Rocky Mountain News Candidate Survey

Name: Don Parker
Date of Birth: Nov. 25, 1952
Position Running for: State Representative, District 25 (Evergreen, Conifer,
Golden, Idledale, Indian Hills, Kittredge, Pine, and mountain rural south
Phone: 303-279-4549
Party: Democrat
City of Residence: Golden
Occupation: Property Manager, Handyman

Elective Offices Held: None (unless you count elected to Board of the
Colorado Native Plant Society)

* Environmental Biology (1975), University of Colorado, Bachelors
* Environmental Engineering (1981), Johns Hopkins University, Masters
* Doctor of Law (1987) University of Denver (night school while working full

Memberships: Colorado Native Plant Society, The Evergreen Naturalists Audubon
Society, Golden Pioneer Museum, Amnesty International, Mountain Area Land Trust,
Clear Creek Land Conservancy

Family: wife Mary, parents Dr. D.H. and Celeste Parker, Sedgwick, CO;
Brother, his wife and 2 children, Rhode Island; Sister, her husband and 3 children,
Sedgwick, CO

Hobbies; free time activities: movies, botany and observing nature, travel,
reading, camping

Last book read: Asimov Laughs Again by Isaac Asimov
Last movie watched: Armegeddon
Person who most influenced your life: parents – both equally

1. If you could pass or repeal only one law in 1999, what would it be?
Authorize school districts to assess developers at least part of the costs
for school construction needed to accommodate new development, so existing
residents and businesses and schools are not financially burdened.

2. How should the State handle revenues that exceed the limits of the Taxpayers
Bill of Rights (TABOR Amendment)?
Some for schools including reducing early year class sizes, some for
transportation, and some for tax relief.   The Legislature should not be afraid to
let voters decide this.

3. Which issues on this November's ballot do you strongly favor?
* Jefferson County Save Open Space (SOS) – Allows bonding of some existing
revenues (no tax increase) to buy key open lands before they are developed.
*  Full disclosure of spending for lobbying

4. Which Issues on this November’s ballot do you strongly oppose?
* So called partial birth abortion prohibition
* So called paycheck protection act prohibiting unions from using members dues
for political purposes without individual authorization (oppose until shareholders
of corporations get the same right)


		Denver Post Candidate Survey

NAME:  Don Parker


POSITION RUNNING FOR: State Representative,
District 25 (Evergreen, Conifer, Golden, Idledale, Indian
Hills, Kittredge, Pine, and mountain rural south

DATE & PLACE OF BIRTH: Nov. 25, 1952
                       Julesburg, Colorado


PHONE NUMBERS: Office & Home  303-279-4549,
Call to arrange for faxing

EMAIL:    (Web Page at

305 Lookout View Dr.
Golden, CO 80401

OCCUPATION: Property Manager & Investor, Handyman

Revere High School, Sedgwick and Ovid Colorado, HS Diploma (1971)
University of Colorado, Bachelors, Environmental Biology (1975),
Johns Hopkins University, Masters, Environmental Engineering (1981),
University of Denver, Doctor of Law (1987) (night school
while working full time)


-Service on the Jefferson County Open Space
Committee (1994-97) and the Jefferson County Planning Commission
-A willingness to listen, and work hard, and a desire
to get things done and solve problems
-A set of principles and a definite platform so voters
know what they are getting
-Extensive and diverse education and experience in biology,
engineering and law in both the private sector and
government and as a business owner.

ELECTIVE OFFICES HELD: None (Unless you count
elected to Board of the Colorado Native Plant

Native Plant Society, The Evergreen Naturalists Audubon
Society, Golden Pioneer Museum, Amnesty International,
Mountain Area Land Trust, Clear Creek Land Conservancy,
Founder and former Chairman of Save the Mesas, a citizens
group to preserve North and South Table Mountains for
Open Space


FAMILY: wife Mary, no children

1. What are the three most important issues facing
Colorado and your top priorities in addressing them?

Your fine columnist Ed Quillen says most candidates
don’'t want to talk about growth (Post, Aug 16,
1998), but I do. I know I am long winded on this, but
this issue is complex.    There are several problems:  a)
Agricultural and natural lands are being developed at an
alarming rate, reducing our quality of life and quality
of our communities.  (This is not true in all parts of
Colorado but it is very serious along the Front Range and
some western slope areas).  b) Growth does not pay its
way.  When growth does not pay for itself the costs are
unfairly shifted to taxpayers.  Government is subsidizing
and promoting land development and population growth with
tax money collected from existing residents and existing
businesses.  The subsidies are in several forms including
direct grants and tax breaks, but more important and less
obvious is the failure to collect adequate impact fees to
cover the capital costs of adding infrastructure needed
to support new developments, especially the costs of
building and expanding new schools.  Government failure
to collect impact fees for schools puts financial
pressure on schools and forces frequent school bond
issues, which raise property taxes on existing residents
and existing businesses.  As they say at the conservative
Independence Institute, when government subsidizes
something we get more of it.
		Priorities for Growth
Making growth pay its way (And my highest priority
for making growth pay its way is to allow school
districts to collect impact fees to help schools cope
with growth and to shift unfair growth costs off of
Creating incentives for landowners to keep
agricultural land in production and natural areas
Resisting proposed takings bills, which would
drastically reduce local governments’ ability to make
zoning decisions
Urban growth boundaries
Better planning to include paying for the costs of
growth without raising taxes, transportation corridors,
and regional planning.
Finally, I need to counter the most common arguments
against making growth pay its way.
A. We need more development, particularly commercial,
to help our tax base and keep our economy strong.  - We
do not get more commercial development without
stimulating the need for more residential development,
which everybody agrees, does not pay its way.
Furthermore if it were true that the most developed areas
in the U.S. had the best tax bases then the lowest taxed
areas would be the most developed cities and states–
B. Developers will just pass on all impact fees to
buyers, which will make housing too expensive. -  New
house prices could go up slightly, perhaps 2-3% but
compared to the 5-15% annual rates we have had, it would
be insignificant.  Furthermore we have a market economy
where entrepreneurs set prices on goods and services not
based as much on their costs, as upon what the market
will bear.  And finally the law I will propose would
allow local governments to waive part or all of the fees
to promote low-income housing.
Every child needs to get a high quality education.
Education at all levels needs to be excellent not just
adequate.  This requires money along with innovation,
doing more with less, and reforming schools.  Education
is not cheap, but it is the best long-term investment we
can make.  Quality education is important for the quality
of a whole community.  Education in the early formative
years including pre-school is especially important.
		Priorities for Education:
Improving the results of education at all levels
Investing a substantial portion of our State surplus
in education
Performance pay for teachers and administrators, based
upon several performance criteria
Promoting formation of charter schools
Community service internships for credit for high
school students
Determine, within our resources, how Colorado could
better assist in educating pre-school children, including
supporting Head-Start-type programs
Government seems very disconnected, unresponsive
and intrusive.  But we are the bosses and must assert our
authority over government.   Although the worst
government problems are at the Federal level, we could
improve State government, to make it less wasteful and
more responsive to the needs of the citizens who pay the
		Priorities for Improving Government:
Find ways to reduce costs and the size of government
without damaging important functions
Reduce the surplus by at least temporarily lowering
Look for opportunities in every bill to increase
government efficiency and responsiveness.
Eliminate corporate welfare; including making growth
pay its way, as detailed above.
Resist efforts of those who say they want less
government, but then want to increase government power to impose their
religious morals on us all.
Challenge bureaucracies to worry less about their
empires and more about doing their jobs as well as they can.

2. What is your position on meeting Colorado’s public education needs?
Do you favor vouchers or tax credits for students who attend private,
parochial, or home schools?  Should the school finance act be funded
annually to cover enrollment growth plus inflation?

We need to improve education (both public and private)
for all students.  I like the idea of vouchers and/or tax
credits, but if vouchers and tax credits reduced the
money available for educating each public school student,
then that would reduce the quality of education for the
large number of students who would still go to the public
schools.  Until I am convinced that tax credits or
vouchers would be good for all students I will oppose
them.  Also I do not favor the use of public money for
religious education.
Yes, assuming we have the money (and we do for now) I
favor increasing funding for schools each year to cover
inflation plus enrollment increases.
Also please see what I said in No. 1 above regarding
3. What is your position on meeting Colorado’s
Transportation needs?  Do you favor using a portion of
state sales tax or other revenues to support light rail
or other alternative forms of transportation?

Good public highways and public transportation
improve our economy and our quality of life, so should be
supported.  I favor use of some of the surplus for
highways and public transportation.  I can see using some
state revenues for light rail but the amount would depend
upon balancing that need with other state needs.

4. What is your position on dealing with Colorado’s
growth?  Should government (at the level for which you
are a candidate) be involved in land use regulation?  If
government regulations diminish property values, should
land owners be compensated?

Please see my discussion under No. 1 regarding
growth.  Most land use decisions should be made at the
local level as they are now.
Cities and counties (i.e. taxpayers) cannot and should
not have to face a lawsuit every time they apply land use
regulations.  Property rights are not and never have been
absolute.  Reasonable regulation of land use must be
allowed in order to protect the health, and quality of
life of all citizens.  And reasonable compensation in
accordance with the U.S. and state constitutions is
appropriate when private property is taken for public
benefit.  But if property owners were entitled to
compensation every time government took any action which
might diminish the value of property, then wouldn’t it
be fair for property owners to compensate taxpayers every
time any government action improved the value of
land? (E.g. A nearby highway or a nearby open space
project are government actions that can greatly raise the
value of property).  Also those who argue for
compensation for any government action forget that the
value of a property can be diminished by inappropriate
uses on nearby properties.  So local government must be
able to balance the rights of landowners with the rights
of nearby landowners, and the rights of the

5. What is your position on dealing with crime in
Colorado?  Should the state continue to build new
prisons, or reduce sentences for lesser crimes?  Do you
support the death penalty?  What are your positions on
gun control/ concealed weapons?

Government needs to actively protect citizens from
criminals.  This requires being tough on crime.  We have
to be wise about our approach.  Given the choice between
building more prisons or reducing sentences for lesser
crimes I would usually reduce sentences for lesser
crimes, but in conjunction with preventive measures such
as rehabilitation programs.  We are never going to
prevent all crime but crime prevention is very cost
The death penalty is appropriate in some cases and
should be applied.
Most people who go to the trouble of applying for a
concealed weapon permit, and who pass background checks,
and who take appropriate training are probably not going
to commit a crime with that weapon, so we should not be
too restrictive on issuing concealed weapons permits.
Also a person legally carrying a concealed weapon can
sometimes prevent a crime or catch a criminal. We do not
allow people to own nuclear bombs or nerve gas so there
are limits to what weapons people may own.  Just where to
draw that line is not easy, but I do support citizens’
constitutional rights to have guns for self-protection,
hunting, and collecting.

6. Please state your positions on the following
social issues: a) Abortion; including parental
notification, a 48 hour waiting period, and partial-birth
abortion, b) Legal rights of homosexuals

The abortion issue comes down to the questions of
when does a fetus become human, and who decides.  I do
not know when a human life begins, but I do not believe
it starts at conception.  The issue then is whether
government decides or whether the pregnant woman decides.
I am on the side of the woman and against government
interference.  I would rather put our efforts toward
reducing abortions by abstinence, sex education, and
birth control.
Parental notification for minors is a good idea but
there have to be exceptions for minors in abusive homes
or who are at risk for suicide.
I oppose any government mandated waiting period before
an abortion.
The "partial-birth abortion" issue is a
hoax.  If proponents want to outlaw abortion they should
say so and try to do it directly.  A ban on
"partial-birth" abortions would only restrict
how abortions can be performed.  It would not prevent any
Homosexuality is a natural behavior found in many
other animals besides humans. I do not know why some
people are homosexual or bisexual.  It is not entirely a
matter of genes and hormones, nor purely a matter of
choice either, and I will not lose sleep wondering about
it.  Homosexuality is not a sin that will cause God to
send hurricanes and earthquakes our way, as Pat Robertson
would have us believe.  Homosexuals should have the same
rights as all human beings.

7. For State Candidates:

A). What is your tax policy?  Even taxation with
representation isn’t so great, but we do need government
and we have to pay for it. My tax policy is:
I do not like corporate welfare, including special tax
breaks that go to particular companies.
Some of the surplus can be used to lower taxes.  I
would prefer to lower taxes that are not deductible on
our Federal tax returns.  The sales tax we pay is not
deductible, as I believe the Post pointed out in
an editorial a few months ago, but state income tax paid
is deductible on Federal returns.   I would favor a sales
tax cut, maybe one that particularly reduced sales tax on
food and medicine.
"It’s your money" as the Republicans say;
but before we cut taxes lets decide what government
services or what particular waste we are going to cut and
from that decide how much we can cut taxes.  We should
support government services in accordance with the levels
people want, keeping in mind that taxes do not just go
into a black hole.  Remember government includes, roads
and highways, police and fire protection, a safety net
for people unable to care for themselves (including many
children), education, open space, parks and recreation,
and many other things we sometimes take for granted.
We should cut subsidize growth, as discusses in No. 1
above.  There was a time when we wanted growth and it was
appropriate to subsidize it, but not any more.
B). Should the 1992 TABOR Amendment be modified.
No except that, If I were king I would make one
minor amendment to TABOR.  I would remove the provision
that prohibits a progressive income tax, so we could have
more than one tax rate if we wanted to.  I like the
requirement that voters approve all tax increases,
because it gives citizens the right to decide their level
of taxation and they cannot complain that "the
politicians" raised their taxes.
C). How should the State dispose of excess tax
I will vote for a proposal on the November ballot
to allow us to use some of the money for schools and some
for transportation, and to refund the rest.  And as I
said above I favor a tax cut (maybe a temporary cut).
D). Should Colorado tax structure be revised?
Yes in some ways.  Right now municipalities are
very dependent on sales taxes and they fight with each
other to see who can offer the biggest corporate welfare
packages to anybody who will build retail developments.
We need to revise our sales tax structure, maybe with
some kind of sales tax revenue sharing, to prevent this
destructive competition.
And, as I’ve said once or twice before, government is
subsidizing land development too much.  We need to put
some market-based solutions in place including impact
fees, particularly for schools.
We probably need some changes in how we support
schools with local property taxes, but I am not in favor
of radical changes.  Local areas still need to continue
to bear a major responsibility to support their local
E). Do you favor public expenditures for economic
development, including tourism?
I voted against extension of the tourism tax.  If
businesses that benefit from tourism want to promote
tourism they can form an organization and do that with
their own money.  In general I oppose use of public money
for economic development, exceptions need to be made to
promote economic development where it is really needed
and wanted, such as in some parts of rural Colorado.

8). How are you going to vote on the House Bill

1256 referendum (spending part of the excess tax revenue
on highways and schools)?
Yes.  The growth that produced the excess has put
an enormous burden on schools and highways.

9). What if anything more needs to be done to
protect Colorado's environment?

Here is a list of some improvements needed to
protect and improve our environment for ourselves, our
children and for the other living things with which we
share our state:
Make further improvements in air and water quality,
including better enforcement of current laws and
Reduce government promotion and subsidies for land
development and growth.  Hopefully this will slow down
sprawl and population growth from in-migration.
Protect more land with open space and park purchases
and through conservation easements designed to keep
natural and agricultural land undeveloped but remaining
in private ownership.
Support important new technologies, such as renewable
energy and cleaner automobiles and cleaner manufacturing
Work to keep invasive non-native weeds out of natural

10). What is your position on Amendment 15, the
1996 campaign finance law?  Would you change or repeal
it?  How?  Are you following the voluntary spending

I voted for Amendment 15 in 1996, and I like it.
I know there are ways around it such as independent
expenditures, but because of all citizens’
Constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech, we
will not ever prohibit people from spending as much as
they want to on promoting some cause or political
candidate.  However Amendment 15 does move us toward an
overall goal – that is the goal of reducing the power of
money to influence the outcomes of elections.
One change I propose to further reduce the power of
money in politics is to give all candidates at least one
chance to communicate with every voter.   I would like to
allow every candidate to put a statement into the booklet
about the amendments that the state already mails to all
voters.  Voters would then have a comprehensive booklet
they could use to be informed about not only the issues
to be voted on but also about all the candidates.

11). What should be done as recipients use up their
five-year lifetime limit on public assistance?
I believe in workfare.  If we had enough money I
would like to make the government the employer of last
resort for people who are desperate.   We could pay
people minimum wage to do lots of public service work
that needs to be done including picking up trash,
building trails, and helping in hospitals.  Every person
who is on public assistance who can work should work.  If
a person comes to their five-year limit and is still
desperate I would like to have the government continue to
employ them in this manner for minimum wage.

12). Should casinos in Colorado be allowed to raise
the stakes on bets?

I don’t know.  In general I like as little
government interference as possible.   I would have to
study this to determine if raising the stakes would hurt
more people than are already hurt by gambling and whether
it would adversely affect the gambling towns.  If the
answers to those two questions are no, then I would favor
allowing casinos to raise the stakes.


		Colorado Legislature
		House District 25

Name - Donald G. Parker
Party - Democrat
Address - 305 Lookout View Dr.
City and Zip - Golden, CO 80401
Occupation - Property Manager and Investor,
Education -
Revere High School, Sedgwick and Ovid, Colorado,
Diploma (1971)
University of Colorado, Bachelors, Environmental
Biology (1975),
Johns Hopkins University, Masters, Environmental
Engineering (1981),
University of Denver, Doctor of Law (1987) (night
school while working full time)
Community Service - Jefferson County Open Space
Advisory Committee (1994-97); Jefferson County Planning
Commission (1997-98); Currently on the Board of the
Colorado Native Plant Society; A founder and former
chairman of Save the Mesas, a citizens group to preserve
North and South Table Mountains for Open Space
What major organizations support your candidacy?

1. Why do you think you are the best qualified
candidate for the office you are seeking?
I have the education and experience to know what
I’m doing and you know what you are getting: I offer a
specific platform and principles (  I
am available (303-279-4549).  As a public servant, I
would work to help people help themselves.  I want to
restore civility, tolerance, moderation, and substance to

2. What do you consider the two most important issues
facing Colorado and how would you address them?
Growth and making growth pay its way -
Rapid Growth is hurting taxpayers, schools, roads, and
our quality of life.  Stop subsidizing growth; better
regional planning; urban growth boundaries.
Excellent education for all - Assure
students get the basics; allow schools to get growth
impact fees from developers; local control; charter

3. What should the state do with tax revenues that
exceed the annual growth limits in the TABOR amendment.
Rank fiscal priorities for the state
Surplus mainly for education, transportation, and tax
Ranking (no order within categories):
-education - our best long-term investment
-open space for quality of life and community
-law enforcement and crime prevention
-alcohol & drug education and treatment
-cutting taxes
-promoting growth
-corporate welfare