Peace is Possible, But Really….

In the world of Colorado ballot initiatives, almost anything is possible (just ask Doug Bruce).

So Page Penk, an activist who’s well known to some in state and federal government, is at it again with his latest proposal: The addition of Article XXX to the Colorado Constitution stating “PEACE IS POSSIBLE.”

Penk filed the initiative Monday. When we reached him this morning, he said he couldn’t talk just now. He was off to federal court where he said he’s trying to subpoena Gov. Bill Ritter for the governor’s opinion on his initiative and a related license plate effort with the same slogan.

This isn’t Penk’s first initiative effort — or his first publicity for an anti-war effort. Read on for more…In 1998, Penk set fire to a Korean-era B-52 bomber at the former Lowry Air Force Base. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1999. In January 2006, he was released from court supervision after being declared no longer dangerous.

Penk has filed other initiative petitions — trying to ban nuclear weapons and landmines. The Secretary of State rejected his efforts to allow petition signatures to be collected online.

Unlike frequent petition-filer Bruce, Penk rarely sees his issues make the ballot. In 2000, his initiative “Concerning Nuclear Device Launches” was denied for lack of jurisdiction. His 2006 effort to put the possibility of peace in the state Constitution also failed.

At the same time, Penk is suing the Department of Revenue, trying to get the department to issue a “Peace is Possible” license plate. But department officials say Penk hasn’t gone through the legislative process, which requires petition signatures and certification that at least 3,000 of the plates will be sold.

“What he needs to do is he needs to follow the statute,” says Revenue Department spokesman Steve Tool. “He’s just insisting that the executive director do the plate.”

Penk also has sued President Bill Clinton and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in federal court in the past.

A public hearing is set for the “Peace is Possible” ballot initiative at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20.

Jon Caldara, Independence Institute president and a frequent contestant in the initiative process, doesn’t discount efforts such as Penk’s.

“I’m a supporter of the initiative process. For the most part, the citizens of Colorado make wise decisions,” Caldara says.

While he may not discount such an effort, though, Caldara is willing to mock it.

“War is possible too,” Caldara says jokingly. “I’m actually doing an initiative that would put in Article XXXI and it says, ‘We should give war a chance first.’ “

What slogan would you add to the state Constitution? All it takes to get started is a one page filing like Penk’s. (PDF)

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About the Author

Sandra Fish

has covered government and politics in Iowa, Florida, Colorado - swing states, baby! She has worked for newspapers large and small.
sandrafish@comcast.net | @fishnette

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