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Day Laborers for Proposition 102! We Swear!

1:46 PM ET, 10/ 3/2010
As the Grand Junction Sentinel's Paul Shockley reports, that's one way to get a crowd:

A group of roughly 30 people gathered Thursday morning in front of the Mesa County Justice Center, demonstrating in support of Proposition 102. When the group made its way in front of the Mesa County Sheriff's Department, Hilkey said a staff member recognized one of the demonstrators as a client of Mesa County's work release program. The demonstrator, a man, is also a registered sex offender, Hilkey said. The work-release program commonly contracts with temporary employment agencies, he said.

Hilkey said his staff learned "15 to 20" protestors had been hired through Labor Ready, 105 West Main Street, which is across the street from the Justice Center. Hilkey said he was told a man, who gave his name as "Scott Land" of Denver, paid for the protestors and four hours of work at minimum wage...

Proposition 102 organizer Matthew Duran denied that demonstrators were paid in an interview with The Associated Press. He added that even if they were paid, it wouldn't have been illegal.

The Proposition 102 campaign, as we've discussed previously, is a dubious and mercenary venture, even without paid day laborers acting as demonstrators. They've refused to disclose their funding, joining others who have made the calculated decision to thumb their noses at toothless Colorado election law. What is known of the proponents suggests they are little more than itinerant peddlers of similar ballot measures elsewhere on behalf of the bail bond industry.

Since Proposition 102's sole purpose is to force judicial authorities in Colorado to keep using bail bondsmen, even though in many cases, more rigorous and less costly pre-trial services programs run by local authorities work better for everybody, it makes sense that they have trouble finding anybody to side with them outside of bail bond industry employees and paid day laborers. What this could well represent, more problematically, is the future form of abuse of the initiative process in our state. It wouldn't be the first mercenary ballot initiative, of course, but this new trend of flouting election law and operating in secrecy makes the problem both worse and likely to recur.

No offense intended to the day laborers themselves, of course, who were no doubt just happy to get a paycheck. Makes you wonder, though, how many day laborers--who sometimes have brushes with the law in their own past--like bail bondsmen? True, they weren't being paid to talk.

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