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?”
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