Election 2011: Startups win!

Don’t screw with Longmont. Outspent 60:1 by the cable industry, Longmont won back the right to decide the future of its city-owned Internet fiber loop. Boulder came up big too. Denver, not so much.

Longmont voters crushed a $300,000 opposition campaign against Ballot Question 2A by an unofficial 61-39 margin to override a 2005 state law that prevented residents and businesses from tapping its high-speed fiber network and opening up greater ISP competition.

Meanwhile in the People’s Republic of Boulder, a symbolic measure to amend the U.S. Constitution to reinstate the ban on corporate campaign spending breezed by a 3-to-1 margin. The Boulderites behind Question 2H were especially peeved about the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision striking down a longstanding political campaign contribution ban as a unconstitutional limit on free speech derided as “corporate personhood.”

Voters also narrowly passed an ordinance to allow Boulder to explore dumping Xcel Energy and creating a municipal electric authority.

The hard slap down of Denver’s Initiative 300 indicates just how far Colorado’s got to go in fostering a better, fairer ecosystem for nontraditional classes of employees. Laws requiring businesses to provide paid sick-leave to employees are already a staple in entrepreneurial hubs like San Francisco and Seattle.

The outdated, reflexive stance of pitting workers and employers against each other is a problem acknowledged by some of the more enlightened local officials.

Colorado Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) encouraged a packed Boulder New Tech Meetup last night to get more involved in local and state politics. Unique issues affecting the startup and freelance communities are often not well understood by local politicians.

One especially contentious issue, like redistricting, can have enormous implications for the political representation of entrepreneurial communities.

A new video released by the nonprofit investigative reporting group, ProPublica explains the issue in a grownup version of Schoolhouse Rock: