BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Centennial residents returned Candace Moon to her council seat in Dis...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Positions for city council and mayor in Colorado are non-partisan. While...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Don Sheehan was the winner in District 4, the eastern-most dist...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER When the numbers were all tallied, 1,484,523 Coloradans voted on the ques...
SUBMITTED BY HARVEY MCWHORTERCouncilman Johnny Watson sees a way to help stem some of the flow of refugees fle...
State Sen. Jack Tate, R-27, who announced in 2018 that he would not run for re-election when his term ends nex...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER At the October 3 Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club meeting at Mag...
BY SCOTTIE TAYLOR IVERSONCOMMUNITY EDITOR “The backbone of Colorado is in this room,” began Don Ytterberg.addr...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Mark Wilson is a lawyer who doesn’t like red-light cameras and is not con...
The Steamboat Institute in conjunction with the University of Colorado Denver hosts a special event Held at th...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Centennial residents returned Candace Moon to her council seat in District 1, while electing three new and somewhat inexperienced council members, to fill the other three seats in Districts 2, 3 and 4.
The other winners in addition to Moon, whose husband also served on council for two and one-half terms, were Christine Sweetland in District 2, Richard Holt in District 3 and Don Sheehan in District 4.
There are some in Centennial who look to the Moons, or at least one of them, to possibly run for mayor of the city, which has about 120,000 residents and is the second biggest city in Arapahoe County, the largest being Aurora, which is partially in Adams County (the dividing line is the boundary between Arapahoe and Adams counties.
Losers in the four races were Ron Phelps, who works for the Denver Water Board, District 1; Rhonda Livingston, a homemaker, District 3; and Anna Burr, an attorney, District 4.
Ending their service to Centennial at the end of this year are Carrie Penaloza, District 2; Ken Lucas, District 3; and Ron Weidmann, District 4, who was appointed to fill the term of the current mayor when she was elected two years ago.
The race in District 1 was particularly hard-fought. Phelps campaigned on a platform that was critical not only of the councilwoman but also of Moon’s husband, Vorry Moon, who served two and one-half terms on the City Council. He appeared to be implying that the couple is taking more than their share of the seats on the City Council and that they have too much power.
Phelps was elected to the council previously, then quit after only six months of service.
Moon is a retired federal worker who devotes her working time to the city. The Moons both served in the United States Air Force. She is particularly knowledgeable about issues related to the Centennial Airport, and serves on a roundtable in regard to that facility. Some of the issues related to the airport are particularly complex.
Rhonda Livingston, a homemaker, served on Centennial’s Home Rule Charter Commission some years ago and has been attending council meetings for several months. She appeared to be knowledgeable about local government. She was active in relation to an issue involving car dealers on East Arapahoe Road about two to three years ago. Livingston is a former City of Centennial employee.
In District 4, the eastern-most district, Don Sheehan was the winner. That district has the most land that constitutes “holes in the city,” that is, areas that have not been annexed to become part of Centennial. Sheehan said he was grateful to the voters for giving him the nod to serve.
Additionally, Sheehan said the votes in favor of him, fairly lopsided (with a 388-vote margin) for a Centennial council election, were “exciting” and that he looks forward to serving. He said he knows there is a “steep learning curve,” including getting up-to-date on the status of the Streets at SouthGlenn. His opponent, Anna Burr, is an attorney.
Sheehan noted that there are numerous committees, including several that are not Centennial committees, such as the Centennial Airport Roundtable, to which Moon is the representative. He said he believes it is important to learn about the business of those committees, as well as the committees that are part of the city government.
The results by district were:
District 1, the far western district in the city – about 53 percent for Moon, a six-point victory, with Phelps garnering about 47 percent. This is a fairly impressive victory. Moon had 3,445 votes; Phelps had 3,109. District 1 had more voters than the other three districts.
District 2, in the center of the city, Christine Sweetland with about 49 percent, and her opponent Brian Beatty, a member of the Centennial Planning and Zoning Commission with 51 percent. This was a closer race than the District 1 contest. Sweetland had 2,831 votes, while Beatty, an airplane expert, had 2,702.
District 3, in the central eastern part of the city, Richard Holt, a business analyst for a digital media company, defeated Livingston. Holt, about 62 percent, 3,596 votes; Livingston 38.1 percent, 2,214 votes. This was the biggest margin of difference in the four districts.
District 4, in the far eastern edge of the city, Don Sheehan, 56 percent, 2,385 votes; Anna Burr, a personal injury attorney, 44 percent, 1,875 votes. Burr did not do much campaigning. Sheehan serves on the city’s Senior Commission.
Generally, in council elections, the winners tend to be individuals who have knocked on more doors.
Sweetland said that she knocked on 4,500 doors, and that members of her book club helped her campaign by writing notes to voters. She also said she sent out 1,000 postcards, with written notes on each of them. She said her campaign was “very grassroots.”
Holt said he is “still digesting” the victory and that he found it to be “surreal.” He also said he is looking forward to serving.
Additionally, it appears that voter registrations in Centennial are becoming more Democrat, although council candidates do not run on a party ticket. Often, however, when candidates go door-to-door, they are asked only one question, “What party are you?”
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Positions for city council and mayor in Colorado are non-partisan. While voters may know the political affiliations of the candidates, they do not run with a political party designation next to their name.
As of Nov. 12, Mike Coffman had bested Omar Montgomery in the Aurora mayoral election by 281 votes, or 0.38 percent, out of 74,056 cast for the five candidates on the ballot. Overseas, military and signature-cure ballots will accepted until Nov. 13. The next step in the process is the official canvas which happens Nov. 29. It consists of each county clerk from around the state, along with a representative from the two major political parties, certifying the vote totals from their respective counties according to Caleb Thornton of the legal division of the Secretary of State’s office. Once completed, the Secretary of State certifies the election results.
Curtis Gardner, who, thus far, got the highest number of votes of the six candidates for two at-large seats on the city council, will likely take the place of incumbent Johnny Watson, who came in third. Angela Lawson came in second out of the six candidates, so she was re-elected to her at-large position.
In Ward IV, challenger Juan Marcano has likely bested incumbent Charlie Richardson by 230 votes out of 13,162 cast. In another very close race, challenger Allison Coombs is beating incumbent Bob Roth by 261 votes out of 14,991 cast in Ward V.
Francoise Bergan was re-elected in Ward VI, beating challenger Bryan Lindstron, 57 percent to 43 percent.
A story in the Denver Post on November 9 said that 664 replacement ballots meant for Aurora voters that arrived on November 1 mistakenly “sat in a U.S. Postal Service warehouse until Election Day,” when they were discovered and hurriedly delivered by special handling. 141 of those were cast by the 7:00 p.m. cutoff, meaning 523 were not. According to the Post, “That’s 21 percent turnout…versus 43 percent for Arapahoe County as a whole in the election.” The difference doesn’t appear as though it would have changed the outcome in the race for mayor, using mathematical assumptions, but that is not how elections are supposed to work. Secretary of State Jena Griswold criticized the U.S. Postal Service for its mishandling of the ballots and more so, for its failure to notify her office of the problem until three days after the election. She did not accuse them of any intentional bad acts.
In southeast Englewood District three, challenger Joe Anderson beat incumbent Laurett Barrentine decisively, garnering 70 percent of the 2,325 votes cast. Barrentine beat back a recall effort last year, but it left a mark.
In District one in north Englewood, voters decided to stick with incumbent Othoniel Sierra, who got 57 percent of the vote, which was more than his two challengers, Monica Johnson and Bobby
Incumbent Rita Russell will be joined by newcomer to city council John Stone in the two at-large seats that were up in this election.
In District II, incumbent Jerry Valdes won another term, holding off challengers Kate Eckel and Jane Ozga with 44 percent of the 2,054 votes cast. He has been a city council member since 2011.
In District IV, Kelly Milliman will take over from Mayor Debbie Brinkman, who had served since 2007. Milliman bested interesting and knowledgeable challenger Iftin Abshir by 2 percent of the votes cast.
The two at-large positions will be filled by new city council members Pam Grove and Scott Melin. Incumbent Kyle Schlachter came in third in a five-person race.
Don Sheehan was the winner in District 4, the eastern-most district of Centennial and also one with a considerable amount of land that constitutes “holes in the city,” that is, areas that have not been annexed to Centennial. Sheehan said he was grateful to the voters for giving him the nod to serve.
Additionally, Sheehan said the votes in favor of him, fairly lopsided (with a 388-vote margin) for a Centennial council election, were “exciting” and that he is looking forward to serving on the council. He said he knows there is “a steep learning curve,” including getting up-to-date on the status of the Streets at SouthGlenn. His opponent, Anna Burr, is an attorney.
Sheehan noted that there are numerous committees, including several that are not Centennial committees, such as the Centennial Airport Noise Roundtable and also the Denver Regional Council of Governments. He said that he believes it is important to learn about the business of those committees.
When the numbers were all tallied, 1,484,523 Coloradans voted on the question, “Without raising taxes and to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit, within a balanced budget, may the state keep and spend all the revenue it annually collects after June 30, 2019, but is not currently allowed to keep and spend under Colorado law, with an annual independent audit to show how the retained revenues are spent?” 54 percent of those who cast a vote said no, compared to 46 percent who approved.
That is the opposite of what Magellan Strategies, a highly respected local Republican pollster, reported after conducting a scientific poll in August. Back then, they said that 54 percent of those polled planned to vote yes, 30 percent were no’s, and 15 percent were undecided. That means that all the undecideds in August voted no and one-sixth of those who planned to vote yes changed to no’s.
According to published reports, Referendum CC proponents raised $4.45 million in contributions (all private) and spent $4.12 million. Opponents reported donations of $1.75 million and expenditures of $1.68 million. One never knows what affects voters, but there was a very clever cartoon television ad by opponents of the plan, that ran frequently in the days leading up to the election. It had a dog representing “pet projects” portrayed as eating up the unrefunded extra tax money instead of using it for education and transportation, as promised.
Magellan’s David Flaherty points out that the key to the loss lies with unaffiliated voters, who are unpredictable, compared to major party members who generally follow their party’s lead. Like many issues, this one found most Democrats on one side (yes) and most Republicans on the other (no).
As of Nov. 1, active Colorado voters affiliated with the two major parties combined, comprised only 58 percent of the electorate (28 percent are Republicans, 30 percent are Democrats), while 40 percent of all active voters were unaffiliated with either of the two major parties. Historically, unaffiliated voters have been less apt to participate in off-year elections like this one. Compared to the off-year election held in 2015, fewer Republicans and fewer Democrats voted this year, while 4 percent more unaffiliated voters participated. The actual number of unaffiliated voters who made themselves heard in this year’s election was 502,011.
In Colorado, the older someone is, the more likely they are to vote, and the less likely they are to approve a tax increase. Of the nearly one-third of all the people who voted in the Nov. 5 election and were unaffiliated, nearly half of them were over age 55. It is easy to see how that contributed to the defeat of Proposition CC.
The measure had been passed by the Democrat-controlled state legislature with some Republican support. The continuing struggle to pay for education and transportation is shared by state legislators of both parties. Colorado’s strong economy is inconsistent with its low ranking for state spending on education, especially higher education, and the $9 billion backlog of road projects.
In the aftermath of the election loss, coupled with the losses in 2018 of two competing ballot issues to fund roads and transportation, the legislature is going to have to take a fresh look at how these needs can be addressed. Who knows? Maybe the Democrats and the Republicans will even look together.
SUBMITTED BY HARVEY MCWHORTERCouncilman Johnny Watson sees a way to help stem some of the flow of refugees fleeing to America for asylum. The answer may lie in developing business/trade opportunities between Aurora and El Salvador, the latter whom opened a consulate in Aurora in May, 2017. It is the first consulate in Colorado to be located outside of Denver.
By leading a business trade mission of city officials and businesspeople to El Salvador to open negotiations and explore the idea of bringing sustainable businesses to El Salvador and for El Salvador to bring sustainable businesses back to Aurora.
People in both El Salvador and America will benefit from such an exchange. First is creating decent paying jobs in El Salvador so people can stay in El Salvador where they can provide for their families instead of fleeing to America, creating a better future for El Salvador and its citizens. Second is on the American side of the border, bringing new job creation to allow Aurora residents to find work. It is a win – win opportunity for Aurora and El Salvador!
El Salvador officials are embracing the opportunities this business trade mission can bring. Councilman Watson knows that every possible effort should be made to repair and build America’s leadership role, while being a problem solver in things that are ailing our world, and Aurora can play a major role in doing this.
El Salvadorian officials are rolling out a great ‘coming together’ experience for the Aurora mission team. The Vice President wants to be on hand with other important and influential members of the El Salvadorian government and members of the largest business chamber in Central America are all motivated and excited to start a new chapter in beneficial business relationships with Aurora, Colorado and America. El Salvador also has the largest airport in Central America which is great for developing more commerce efficiency.
City Councilman Johnny Watson is an At Large candidate for election this November. He has helped bring some important programs like Affordable housing projects to Aurora, homeless programs and temporary housing for the homeless. He is also pursuing job training programs for high school students and young adults in the aerospace and the trade industries. He is also working to help our aging population live in place with targeted services to help them do just that. Councilman Watson also believes in attracting financial institutions that will work with the underserved citizens of Aurora. He is a special person whose heart is for Aurora.
This trade mission is another example of Councilman Watson’s ability to think in and out of the box to make sure Aurora is one of the best run and most financially secure cities in the nation.
State Sen. Jack Tate, R-27, who announced in 2018 that he would not run for re-election when his term ends next year, held a town hall meeting on October 12 at the South Metro Fire Rescue Headquarters in Centennial. Though it was sparsely attended, Tate, who has served in the Colorado legislature since 2014, spoke on several important subjects.
As he has previously, Tate talked about his belief that voters would do well to repeal the 1982 Gallagher Amendment that froze the ratio of property value in our state to 45 percent for residential and 55 percent for non-residential. Tate disputed the oft-mentioned theory that there is a conflict between TABOR (the 1992 Taxpayer Bill of Rights) and Gallagher, asserting that there has been a clash between the two only “twice in the past 27 years.”
Since 1982, when Gallagher was passed by the voters, residential property values have been rising faster than non-residential property values. As a result, the assessment rate on residential property has decreased from 21 percent in 1982 to 7.15 percent in 2019, so as to maintain the constitutionally required ratio of 45 percent residential to 55 percent non-residential. Tate was a sponsor of this year’s (required) legislation, SB19-255, that instituted the newly lowered 7.15 percent residential rate. (It was 7.2 percent last year.) Non-residential property is assessed at 29 percent of its value.
Tate believes that the Gallagher Amendment hurts parts of Colorado that have relatively little commercial property and where residential values are not rising as fast as they are in other places. He would freeze the residential assessment rate where it is today, unless the legislature lowers it. As long as we have TABOR in place, says Tate, it serves as a protection because the assessment rate can never be raised without a vote of the people. Tate says that repealing Gallagher will provide a way to finally lower non-residential property taxes to help businesses in our state by allowing residential taxes to rise naturally as actual values go up.
According to a recent article in the Denver Post, and the commonly-held belief of many in our legislature, including Tate, Colorado currently has the third-lowest effective property tax rate in the United States.
At the October 3 Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club meeting at Maggiano’s DTC, Barb Piper, as she regularly does, spoke to the faithful, sharing a message from Colorado Senator Cory Gardner.
North KoreaPiper delivered these thoughts from Gardner: “North Korea remains a clear and present danger to the safety of the American people. So far, no concrete denuclearization has taken place and there should be no efforts to normalize relations with this dictator, especially since, in an apparent display of its expanding military capabilities and just days ahead of planned nuclear negotiations with the United States, North Korea once again fired projectiles. We should return to maximum pressure.”
Space CommandShe said, “Senator Gardner has long pushed for Colorado to be selected as the home for U.S. Space Command and the news that Colorado Springs is the temporary headquarters is extremely exciting.”
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)Regarding the USMCA, Piper quoted Gardner as saying, “A great portion of our economy in Colorado is dependent on trade with Canada and Mexico, and roughly a quarter-million jobs exist here because of these trade relationships. Colorado farmers produce nearly half of all the potatoes Mexico imports from the U.S. and 97 percent of the beverages Mexico imports come from Colorado.”
Prescription DrugsPiper said, “Many Coloradans are suffering from rising prescription drug costs. Sen. Gardner has presented a bill to lower costs by increasing access to generic drugs which recently passed a key Senate committee.”
BY SCOTTIE TAYLOR IVERSONCOMMUNITY EDITOR
“The backbone of Colorado is in this room,” began Don Ytterberg.addressing members and guests of Cherry Creek Republican Women (CCRW.) “We, Americans are experiencing the best of times or the worst of times, depending on who is speaking. Everything we (Republicans) stand for is being challenged. The Dems are asking us to swallow tolerance. Give it up for the electorial college. Give it away to a national popular vote. Who counts it officially? No one! What if there is a challenge?” He cited the booming economy and low unemployment rate and difficulty in finding employees. He had three calls to action: Re-elect Sen. Cory Gardner, re-elect President Trump and take back the Colorado Senate. “The vote of suburban women is affected by the president’s behavior. The president is a real person, not a politician. He is a New Yorker, in your face businessman. He continues that in the White House and they (the Dems) can’t handle it. I am proud to have a president who stands up for me.” “Tweets are the only way he can get his message out,” commented Edie Marks. Speaking of Edie – her pitch about Cancer League of Colorado (CCRW’s Charity of Choice for the month) generated a quick donation of $2,400. by passing the hat for the all-volunteer, 50-year-old nonprofit that has donated $1.2 million to cancer research.
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