Friday, April 17, 2015

Another mayoral debate announced

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 11:58 AM

From 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, Colorado Springs mayoral runoff contenders Mary Lou Makepeace and John Suthers will square off at Penrose House Conference Center's Garden Pavilion, 1661 Mesa Ave.

The two candidates got the most votes in a six-way race in the April 7 city election. The mayoral runoff election, being conducted entirely by mail, is May 19.

The event is free and open to the public. It's sponsored by El Pomar Foundation’s Forum for Civic Advancement and KOAA5, and will be moderated by KOAA5 anchor Rob Quirk.

It also will be broadcast live on KOAA5 from 6:15 to 7 p.m. The station is inviting the public to pose questions by emailing them to electionwatch@koaa.com. 

RSVP to Samantha Barlow at sbarlow@elpomar.org or by phone at 719-577-7033.

Two other previously announced forums:

At 6:29 p.m. Monday, April 27, KKTV and the Gazette will host a half-hour live debate streamed on the websites of both.

At 7:30 p.m. that same day, Monday, April 27, at Colorado College's Cornerstone Arts Center (825 N. Cascade Ave.), the candidates will appear at a forum hosted by the Trails and Open Space Coalition, KRCC and the Independent. The public is welcome, and no tickets are necessary.

Both events will accommodate questions submitted via social media.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Suthers, Makepeace advance to runoff; Bennett, Strand, Murray on Council

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 9:53 PM

The latest batch of ballots counted, released at 9:38 p.m., puts us just shy of 75,000 total. With only one issue still in doubt, we're turning in for the night. To recap:

For mayor, it will be John Suthers and Mary Lou Makepeace advancing to a May 19 runoff election.

Council at-large: Merv Bennett, Tom Strand and Bill Murray.

Council District 2: Larry Bagley.

Council District 4: Helen Collins will keep her seat.

Issue 1: The mayor will be relieved of sign-off authority on Colorado Springs Utilities contracts and agreements.

Issue 2: It's still a mystery whether Council will get to hire its own administrator and assume a few other responsibilities related to staffing. Check out these numbers:

Come back to the IndyBlog tomorrow for more on tonight's events.

——- PREVIOUS POST, 8:59 P.M. ——-

The City Clerk's Office just released info reflecting more than 2,000 additional counted ballots, but the only noteworthy change comes in the ballot question regarding Council being able to hire its own staff. Now only 82 votes separate the "no" votes from the "yes" votes.


——- PREVIOUS POST, 8:37 P.M. ——-


According to both Suthers and city communications professional Julie Smith, there were 11,000 votes not yet counted in the city clerk's first round of results.

 At this point, though, both Suthers and Makepeace are talking about a runoff election.

Pam Zubeck, who's at Suthers' party at the Mining Exchange Hotel, reports that Suthers spoke to about 150 wildly enthusiastic supporters, saying, “We celebrate tonight, but tomorrow morning we go to work. We need to make sure everyone who voted for us tonight votes for us on May 19.”

J. Adrian Stanley, at Makepeace's gathering at Nosh, says the mood was more subdued, but that Makepeace said the runoff would be "all about getting out the vote." Makepeace noted that in the last mayoral election, 8,000 more ballots were cast in the runoff than in the general municipal election.

——- ORIGINAL POST, 8:08 P.M. ——-

Former Attorney General John Suthers is well out in front in Colorado Springs' 2015 mayoral race, but the numbers suggest he won't be able to escape a runoff against former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace.

The first round of unofficial numbers from the City Clerk's Office, time-stamped 7:38 p.m., show Suthers having received 33,214 votes, or 47.41 percent. Makepeace stands in second place, with 16,112 votes, or 23 percent.

Under the strong-mayor initiative of a few years ago, a mayor can't be elected without at least 50 percent of the vote. A runoff election pitting Suthers against Makepeace would be scheduled for May 19.

Meanwhile, former City Councilor Joel Miller has gotten 15.51 percent of the vote, and El Paso County Commission Chair Amy Lathen 11.21 percent. Two long-shot candidates, Tony Carpenter and Lawrence Martinez, have together taken less than 3 percent.

These numbers reflect 70,673 votes counted. Votes filed earlier Tuesday are still being tallied, but what's counted so far represents the vast majority of the take from about three weeks of mail-ballot and drop-off voting.

In the race for City Council at-large, two of the most well-funded candidates seem to be cruising toward victory. With three seats up for grabs, the early results find Merv Bennett and Tom Strand out in front, with Bill Murray edging Jariah Walker for third: 

Makepeace with supporters at Nosh. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Makepeace with supporters at Nosh.

Meanwhile, in District 2, sitting Councilor Larry Bagley is easily defeating Kanda Calef with 70.61 percent of the vote. And in District 4, Councilor Helen Collins appears safe from a fairly bizarre recall effort, with 55.38 percent of southeast-side voters wanting her to say on Council.

As for the two issues on the ballot, 52.64 percent of voters are willing to amend the city charter in order to grant City Council final sign-off authority on contracts and agreements made by Colorado Springs Utilities. (Council serves as the Utilities Board.) But it's a toss-up as to whether voters will allow Council to hire its own administrator and to be able to direct and supervise that administrator, the city auditor, and their employees and assistants. Right now, 50.16 percent of voters are saying no. That's a difference of 208 votes, out of nearly 67,000 cast on that issue.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

UPDATE: Suthers takes a bigger cash lead

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 12:50 PM

John Suthers is way ahead of his opponents in the money department. - COURTESY SUTHERS CAMPAIGN
  • Courtesy Suthers campaign
  • John Suthers is way ahead of his opponents in the money department.
Amy Lathen filed her latest campaign finance report yesterday, reporting she received only $3,225 in new contributions, putting her total raised so far at $65,409. She's spent $16,201.

———-ORIGINAL POST FEB. 2, 2015, 12:50 PM——————-
Former Attorney General John Suthers took an even bigger lead over his opponents in the race for Colorado Springs mayor with his Feb. 1 campaign finance filing.

Suthers has raised $190,096 and spent $21,318. His money is coming from real estate and development interests. the construction trades, lawyers, car dealers, politicians including U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, doctors and retired folks.

Second is El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen, who had raised $62,184 as of the mid-January but hasn't filed a Feb. 1 report yet. We'll update when she files.

Former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace has raised $30,825 and spent $12,936.

Former Councilman Joel Miller has brought in $9,102 and spent $1,174.

Mayor Steve Bach isn't seeking a second term.

Meantime, Merv Bennett has announced he'lli seek a second term as an at-large City Councilor, and issued this statement:
The Building Community with Bennett Campaign Committee Chaired by Jim Johnson of GE Johnson Construction, announced today that at Large Member and President Pro Tem of the Colorado Springs City Council, Merv Bennett turned in his petitions and announced he will seek another term representing all the citizens of Colorado Springs this coming April.

“In recognizing the challenges facing this community it is imperative that we keep Merv Bennett working for all of us noted Bennett supporter and community leader, Katherine Loo “our fragile economy and badly neglected infrastructure system are critical issues facing our city and Merv will continue to work hard finding the correct solutions.”

Merv Bennett who retired in 2011 after 40 years of service to the YMCA immediately began a second career giving back to the community he loves when he was elected to the Colorado Springs City Council in April, 2011 with the second highest vote count in that election.

One of the only Members of Council to receive a report card with an “A” from the Gazette and dubbed by colleagues and community as the “voice of reason”, Merv Bennett has represented the citizens of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region, on the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Board (PPRTA) recently elected as Chair of that Board, on the Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Board, the El Paso County Board of Health, and the Colorado Springs Downtown Development Agency Board.

A champion for business and economic development Bennett Chaired the Nominating Committee for the Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) Advisory Board for the City for Champions, he serves as the Council liaison to the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance’s Board of Directors, that organizations Economic Development Council, and as a member of the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Board of Directors.

The approval by the voters of the Memorial Hospital lease with the University of Colorado Hospital System (UCH) is only one of Councilman Bennett’s great achievements. His efforts were tireless in establishing the Colorado Springs first Health Foundation. A fiscal conservative, Bennett established the City Audit Committee as well as recommending and facilitating the creation of working committees for the governance of the City and Colorado Springs Utilities including Budget, Strategic Planning, Finance, and Personnel Committees.

“Collaborating with others to achieve the best on behalf of the Citizens of Colorado Springs and our neighbors in the surrounding communities is my first and last goal” Councilman Bennett said, “I have tried to put the interests of the community ahead of personal ambition and believe that this has been one of my accomplishments while maintaining my integrity and dignity in the process.”
Others running for three at-large seats who have filed campaign finance reports include Isaiah Hess, Tom Strand, Longinos Gonzalez and Vicki Tonkins. Incumbent Val Snider has decided not to run, and Jan Martin is barred from second a third term by term limits.

District 2 hopefuls include Larry Bagley and Kanda Calef. This position is open due to the resignation of Miller, who's running for mayor.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Darryl Glenn will run against Sen. Bennet

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 9:49 AM

Darryl Glenn
  • Darryl Glenn
El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn will challenge U.S. Senator Michael Bennet in the November 2016 elections.

It has long been rumored that Glenn, a Republican, would seek the seat. Glenn, an attorney, was elected to his second term as a county commissioner in November. Before serving on the Board of County Commissioners, Glenn was a Colorado Springs city councilor.

Glenn has a tendency to win elections handily, often with little or no opposition, partially because he has represented solidly conservative districts. His County Commission District 1, for instance, represents the northern parts of the county, including the Air Force Academy and Black Forest.

Glenn made headlines for his diligent work on the recovery effort for the 2013 Black Forest Fire.

Bennet, a Democrat, was appointed to the Senate in 2009 and elected in November 2010.

Glenn's campaign has released the following statement:
(COLORADO SPRINGS) – El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn announced today his candidacy for the United States Senate in the [sic] 2016.

“I believe Colorado needs representation from a conservative who has worked his way through the types of obstacles with which nearly all middle-class and lower-income people struggle,” Glenn said. “If my entry into this race seems early, it's because I'm willing to invest the time and make the community connections necessary to build a comprehensive strategic plan that will help everyone pursue their American dream.”

Glenn, a husband, father, lawyer and retired Air Force officer, has been elected twice to the Colorado Springs City Council and twice to the El Paso Board of County Commissioners.

In addition to his elective public service, Glenn runs a small business, a private legal practice. As an Air Force Officer he was program manager in a $5 billion weapon system program office responsible for creating and implementing a base realignment and closure plan. He led the management of 35 combat communication programs valued at $1 billion and developed a support plan that saved $20 million while providing 40 percent more equipment for our troops.

“I worry about the polarizing national debate over the core principles that govern our country,” Glenn said. “Parents and grandparents are rightly concerned about mounting economic burdens facing their children and grandchildren. Hard-working individuals and families struggle with budgets that barely get them from one paycheck to the next. Many people are dismayed as they watch their hard-earned money get wasted on government excess.”

As a commissioner, Glenn works full time to serve a population of more than 655,000. His district consists of more than 130,000—more than any state Senate district and almost twice the population served by any member of the Colorado House of Representatives.

Glenn, a Republican since high school, is a member of New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He calls himself a Christian constitutional conservative and will support policy that enables everyone to pursue their American dream by ensuring economic freedom, restoring the traditional balance of power among federal branches of government, mandating that government live within it’s means, strengthening our nation’s security and providing for international defense.

For more information, visit: ElectDarrylGlenn.com

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

UPDATE: Collins recall to proceed in city's southeast

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 5:29 PM

Collins has launched a website to combat the recall: collinsforcouncil.com.


City Councilor Helen Collins might have a lot of time on her hands after April 7 if recall promoters convince voters in her district to kick her out at mid-term.

  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Collins

City Clerk Sarah Johnson issued a news release today saying petitions turned in last week contain enough signatures to force an election. That means that voters in District 4, the southeast part of the city, will be asked if they want to recall Collins. They also will be asked to vote for her replacement.

And all of that means that it's possible City Council will have five new faces after the election, because in addition to the Collins seat, voters will elect three at-large councilors and another member, from District 2 in the north sector, to finish the unexpired term of Joel Miller, who resigned in November to run for mayor.

Here's Johnson's press release:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— City Clerk Sarah Johnson provided official certification to City Council today that a sufficient petition has been filed for the recall of District 4 Council Member Helen Collins. The City Clerk’s Office has determined that the Petitioner’s Committee that initiated the recall effort has met the threshold of valid signatures required to place the recall question on the April 7, 2015 Municipal Election ballot.

As required by the City Charter, the Petitioner’s Committee needed to obtain enough valid signatures to equate to 25% of the total ballots cast in Council District 4 in the April 2, 2013 Municipal Election, or 1,485 valid signatures. The petitioners turned in 3,007 signatures and the City Clerk determined 1,715 to be valid voter signatures.

Next steps:

• If the Council Member sought to be removed from office does not resign within five (5) days of the City’s Clerk’s certification that a sufficient petition has been filed, the recall question will be placed on the April ballot along with the 200 word statement from the Petitioner’s Committee on reasons for demanding the recall, and, if desired, a 300 word statement from the Councilmember.

• If the Council Member chooses not to resign, the City Clerk will open a candidate filing period for City Council District 4 candidates to coincide with the current regular filing period for Mayor and City Council candidates, closing on February 11, 2015.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

City election about to launch

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 11:11 AM

Just as several newly elected candidates on the state and county level take office this month, another election cycle begins with the filing period for Colorado Springs city offices opens on Wednesday.

According to the city's news release:
Mayor and City Council candidates for the April 7, 2015 General Municipal election can begin to circulate nominating petitions. Elected positions on the April ballot will include Mayor, three At-Large City Council seats and the remaining term of the vacated District 2 City Council seat.

Candidate filing documents and nominating petitions will be available beginning Wednesday, January 7, 2015. They can be picked up in the City Clerk’s Office (30 South Nevada Avenue, Suite 10), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Petitions must be returned to the City Clerk’s office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

The City Clerk and the City Attorney's Office will be conducting a Candidate Training Session from 9 -10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 in City Council Chambers at City Hall (107 N. Nevada Avenue). Training topics will include candidate filing, general election information and campaign finance law. The training will be streamed live at www.bit.ly/springstv and posted on the City Clerk’s website following the meeting. 
Candidates who are seeking the mayor's post include, in alphabetical order: El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen, former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, former City Councilor Joel Miller and Attorney General John Suthers.

Those who say they'll run for one of three at-large Council positions are:

Tom Strand issued this release:
Strand: Lots of community service
  • Strand: Lots of community service
I am a retired Air Force JAG (Military lawyer) Officer. I began my career at Peterson Field in 1975, and returned to Colorado Springs in 2005 to help my wife (a teacher) run her small business helping students that struggle with mathematics.

Since returning home, I have volunteered with a number of Committees, Councils and Commissions. I served on the District 11 Citizen's Bond Review Committee, and was later elected to the District 11 Board of Education (2007-2011), where I served as Vice President and President. I am presently the Secretary on the Global Village Academy Charter School Board — a K-7th Grade Language immersion school and pre-school.

I volunteer as a business Mentor with the Colorado Springs Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) assisting small business get a better beginning for the past 8 years, and serve as their new member recruiter. I am the Treasurer for the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), working to build and maintain parks, trails and the wilderness areas for all users. I serve on the Colorado Springs Human Relations Commission as Vice President, dedicated to eradicating discrimination in housing, employment and public transportation. I am a Board member with the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council which works with healing the harm caused to victims and the community by offenders. I am a facilitator for the Food 4 Thought organization currently working on a project to help our citizens struggling with mental health problems.

I am a recent widow (2013), and was blessed to be married to my college sweetheart for 41 years. Together, we raised a daughter and son who have brightened our lives with five beautiful grandchildren. I currently reside in our home in Old Colorado City and enjoy spending leisure time backpacking, camping, hiking, and biking. I also love fishing and playing golf in our beautiful outdoors.

Strand's recently filed campaign finance report shows he's raised $2,025, of which $2,000 was a contribution to his own campaign.

Isaiah Hess issued this news release on Dec. 10:
Hess: Long-time resident
  • Hess: Long-time resident
Today, Isaiah Hess announced his campaign for Colorado Springs City Council. He is a candidate for one of the three at-large seats that represent the entire city.

“I’ve lived and worked in this city since I was three years old,” Hess said, “and that has given me a great love for Colorado Springs’ past, and a passion for our city’s future.”

He believes that the ultimate goal of government should be to empower individuals by supporting freedom and unobtrusive, efficient government. “Good government does not begin in Washington, DC or in Denver,” Hess stated, “but rather, it begins at home, where decision-makers can be close to the people that they serve. And no where is this more the case than in city government.”

Responding to the question of why he is running, Hess replied that he “wants to serve his fellow residents of Colorado Springs by ensuring a more free place to live and work and a transparent local government that preserves choice and prosperity for residents.”
Hess has raised $1,795, of which $1,000 is a loan he made to his campaign.

An opening in District 2 due to Miller's resignation in November is being sought by political activist Kanda Calef. She issued this release today:
Calef: Well-known activist
  • Calef: Well-known activist
After years of local involvement trying to bring back common sense government to Colorado Springs, Kanda Calef has decided that it’s time to make the leap and be the person voting on behalf of citizens, instead of pleading for politicians to do what’s right.

A sixth-generation Coloradoan, Calef believes that the people of Colorado Springs are exceptional in skills and talents and they need a responsible government to remove restrictive regulations and taxes to allow them to prosper.

Calef believes our current Council and Mayor spend excessive amounts of time and money meddling with the economy and have taken their attention away from citizens’ real concerns: low electric rates, streets being paved, parks being watered, and adequate police and fire protection. Calef says she will continue to be an advocate for the citizens of Colorado Springs.

“It is not government’s role to create jobs,” states Calef. “I believe in the entrepreneurial instinct of our residents as the real job creator and will not get in the way of bright, innovative people that want to build and create! With a responsible government, Prosperity is Within Our Reach.”

Understanding that households and businesses in the area have been hit hard by the sluggish economy in recent years, Calef, now more than ever, sees the need to put as many dollars as possible back into the pockets of residents to put food on the table, pay for heating bills, apply to college funds, or invest in business growth.

Calef has been advocating for her belief in the future possibilities for Colorado Springs for years.

“I’ve known Kanda for a long time and I see her as someone that is honest, forthright, and data-driven. She has already been fighting for us as a private citizen and I am confident that as a member of City Council, she will make sound decisions to best represent us,” says Shane Sandridge, a local small business owner from Council District 2.

Other concerned residents are excited for her entry into the race.

“I see Kanda at our kids’ sporting events and she is so knowledgeable about the goings-on of local government and issues we face. She is an intelligent, engaged woman that loves this city and wants the best future possible for her kids,” says Heidi Zeiner, a local nurse and mom who lives in Council District 2.
Calef has not filed a campaign finance report as of today.

At-large incumbent Val Snider says he'll run, and it's likely incumbent Merv Bennett will also run. Jan Martin is prevented by term limits from seeking a third term.

Larry Bagley, appointed to fill Miller's unexpired term representing District 2, says he'll run for the post.

Mayor Steve Bach will not run for a second term, he announced recently.
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Deborah Hendrix talks about Collins recall

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Deborah Hendrix
  • Deborah Hendrix
Former Harrison School Board President Deborah Hendrix, one of the three people seeking to recall District 4 City Councilor Helen Collins, says she won't stand to benefit from the situation.

Collins beat Hendrix and two other candidates vying for the District 4 seat in the April 2013 city elections. But Hendrix says she has no interest in taking the seat this time around, and will not run for it.

 “Absolutely not," she said when asked about it. "I want to make that very clear.”

Like current Harrison Board President Victor Torres, who is also sponsoring the recall, Hendrix says she feels that Collins isn't listening to her constituents, saying she's heard from people in the community that Collins is dismissive or "rude." 

 “She’s not very relational," Hendrix says. "She doesn’t care if she talks to you; doesn't care what your opinion is.”

She says that she wishes Collins would have formed a group of community leaders to talk to about issues that affect the community, and used that input to influence her votes. She says she feels like Collins instead votes based on her own politics.

“Sometimes it appears she's just controversial just because she can be,” Hendrix says.

The Independent has called Collins seeking comment, but has not heard back from her yet.

Hendrix says she has heard from around 50 people who are willing to go door-to-door in the coming weeks collecting signatures on a petition to recall Collins. She says if that effort isn't enough, her team will consider hiring petition gatherers. She said she was not ready to name any other high-profile supporters of the recall. She said she had not spoken to the mayor or city councilors about the issue.

Interestingly, Hendrix once faced a recall herself. In 2010, Hendrix and two other Harrison School Board members were targeted for recall, but the effort flopped. Asked if she has any advice for Collins given their shared experience, Hendrix says, "When individuals wanted to recall us on the school board, one of the things I always said was, 'Allow my record to be your guide ... Look at the information, look at the facts, and if you feel like I or my colleagues have not honored what we were elected to do then remove us.'”
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UPDATE: New king-maker group formed

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Learn how to be a good GOP candidate from newly formed company. - MARA 1
  • Mara 1
  • Learn how to be a good GOP candidate from newly formed company.
UPDATE:  El Paso County Republican Party executive director Danny Cole reports that Jeff Hays is no longer involved in that effort.
——ORIGINAL POST WED., NOV. 19, 2014 2:29 P.M.———

A group of Republicans in Colorado Springs has formed a for-profit organization to evaluate, develop and train candidates to "run and win with integrity," says one of its members, and the mayoral candidates in Colorado Springs are among those that will be evaluated.

It's sort of odd that Republicans think they need to shape winners, when most office holders from El Paso County are Republicans. A Democrat, in fact, is rare. There hasn't been a Dem seated as a county commissioner here, for example, since the 1970s.

Anyway, here are the players: former Congressional District 5 candidate Robert Blaha; El Paso County GOP Chair Jeff Hays; political operative and lobbyist Steve Durham; Pastor Mark Cowart, who's been known to campaign from the pulpit; political consultant Patrick Davis, and another former CD 5 candidate, Jeff Crank, who hosts a radio program.

Davis explains via email that Candidates Plus LLC will "evaluate, develop and train candidates for public office who could run and win with integrity." Blaha is the registered agent for the LLC, which formed in May, according to Secretary of State records.

Although Candidates Plus isn't currently charging for services, it will eventually, Davis says. Services will include evaluations of candidates, consulting, training and "research products."

"Additionally we intend to offer stakeholder organizations a seat on the evaluation panel for a price but that is not the case in Colorado Springs," Davis says. "Panel members will be volunteers selected from the community. We will train the volunteers in our evaluation methods. Founding members will not participate in the Mayoral candidate evaluations to avoid conflicts of interest."

The LLC issued this notice this afternoon, seeking volunteers to assess mayoral candidates.
In an effort to maintain transparency and objectivity Candidates Plus announced its intention to accept applicants from the Colorado Springs community at large to evaluate candidates for Mayor of Colorado Springs.

A panel of six to eight evaluators will be selected to represent stakeholder groups such as tax payers, business, military, healthcare, travel and hospitality, city employees, utility rate payers, non-profits, the faith community, education, real estate development, minority communities and young professionals.

Community evaluators will interview Mayoral candidates and score them in six categories:

· Networking ability
· Employment and positions of responsibility
· Character and personal/financial/legal history
· Intellectual capabilities and communications skills
· Political experience and plan
· Political philosophy and Positions
Following the interview and scoring process Candidates Plus will publish the Mayoral candidate’s scores online for all voters to see along with a narrative supporting the scores. Candidates will receive a written evaluation and a development plan following the interviews.

Colorado Springs Community members wishing to apply should contact Patrick Davis at 719-536-9809 or by email at PatrickDavis86@yahoo.com before December 1.

Candidate interviews will be conducted in January and grades will be published in early spring, 2015.

Patrick Davis said, “Candidates who have submitted themselves to the Candidates Plus process have improved as candidates and as elected officials. It is our hope that through this process our next election for Mayor will present to voters highly qualified candidates from which to choose. Colorado Springs voters deserve highly qualified candidates and leaders who will campaign and govern with integrity and competency.”

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Makepeace kicks off mayoral campaign

Posted By on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Makepeace makes it official at the former Springs Utilities office at 18 N. Nevada Ave. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Makepeace makes it official at the former Springs Utilities office at 18 N. Nevada Ave.

Mary Lou Makepeace
, nonprofit advocate and first female mayor of Colorado Springs, today outlined her platform for her new mayoral campaign before a crowd of about 120 supporters.

Makepeace, who was introduced by City Councilor Jan Martin, framed her campaign based on three verbs: inspire, innovate and ignite.

Her message was one of inclusiveness to combat a malaise that's overcome citizens who feel they've been left out of civic debates.

"I hate it when citizens tell me, 'Face it, Mary Lou, our votes don't count,'" she said. "I've heard that too often. You know what? That's deadly for our community, deadly for democracy and that must change if we are to move forward. There is no hope for a community when citizens feel they have no voice except to vote no."

Makepeace's announcement drew more than 100 people despite frigid temperatures. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Makepeace's announcement drew more than 100 people despite frigid temperatures.
Makepeace pledged to encourage citizens to help set the long-range vision for Colorado Springs, including a repeat of the Springs Capital Improvement Program, which resulted in voter approval roughly 15 years ago for a slate of construction projects totaling $88 million.

She also vowed to create two new facets of city government:

— In an effort to retain and involve young people in the city and city government, "I plan to establish a Young Professional Advisory Board immediately to further those conversations and I will seek ways to include them in the city structure," she said.

— Because neighborhood organizations have been dealt with "too often" as adversaries by the city, she said she would create the Office of Neighborhood Outreach "to build bridges, not fences between the city and the neighborhoods."

Makepeace also said she would work to remove barriers for growth of small and big business and find a way to complete many unfinished projects, such as parks and trails.

After she spoke, Hannah Parsons, a business consultant, told the audience she moved here from Georgia 10 years ago, simply because she and her family wanted to live in Colorado Springs.
Hannah Parsons: Makepeace is her candidate. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Hannah Parsons: Makepeace is her candidate.
"It was not a job that brought us here and it is not our jobs that keep us here," she said. "We represent a growing population who choose where and how we want to live and then find or create meaningful work to support it."

But she says in order to continue to attract and retain young people, "we need to see a dramatic shift in this city away from power and toward leadership, leadership that earns authority through transparency, understanding and trust, leadership that rewards innovation and empowers others, leadership that serves instead of demands and engages rather than commands ... But we must choose it."

Makepeace, she said, embodies those qualities of leadership.

Makepeace, 74, served as mayor from 1997 to 2003 under the council-city manager form of government. She has a degree in journalism and political science and worked in the Defense Attache Office in Prague and taught school in Madagascar. She holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and served as executive director of the Community Council of the Pikes Peak region. She also worked as executive director of the Gill Foundation's Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, awarding millions of dollars to hundreds of nonprofits across Colorado. More recently, she oversaw the Independent's Give! campaign. She teaches political science courses at UCCS.

Others who are running are Justine Herring, Amy Lathen and John Suthers. Incumbent Steve Bach, who scheduled his monthly media briefing at the same time as Makepeace's announcement, hasn't said if he'll run.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mayor's race events coming up

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Makepeace: Looking pensive after the defeat of the stormwater measure.
  • Makepeace: Looking pensive after the defeat of the stormwater measure.
This week brings two official announcements in the Colorado Springs mayor's race that will be decided in the April 7 city election.

In chronological order:

Mary Lou Makepeace, former mayor under the city manager-council form of government, will kick off her campaign with an event at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the former Springs Utilities building, 18 S. Tejon St. She had planned on making the announcement on the steps of City Hall, but forecasts for frigid temps drove the event indoors. According to her Facebook page, nearly 200 people say they'll attend. 

Lathen: Winning votes with food?
  • Lathen: Winning votes with food?
Amy Lathen, El Paso County commissioner, will hold a "campaign launch" at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, at Qualtek Manufacturing, Inc., 4230 N. Nevada. At this event, she'll present her campaign platform and "community leaders will discuss why they support Amy." Here's something else you should know: "Heavy hors d'oeurves will be served."

Attorney John Suthers also is running but won't make an official announcement until he leaves office in January.

We're still waiting for official word from the incumbent, Steve Bach, on his intentions.

Here's the latest campaign finance reports, as of Nov. 1:

Suthers: $50,600

Lathen: $24,653

Makepeace: $305

Justine Herring: $9

No campaign finance reports have been filed in the City Council at-large races. There are three spots up for election. Those seats now are held by Jan Martin, who can't run again due to term limits, and Val Snider and Merv Bennett.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dems look on the bright side

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Irv Halter admits defeat against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Irv Halter admits defeat against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Kathleen Ricker, petite and wearing red cowboy boots, took to the stage when the dust had settled and convinced the crowd at the Mining Exchange's Gold Room to join in her a chant.

"We are," she shouted, stomping her boot on the stage.

And the crowd chanted back loudly, "Peak Dems."

This wasn't a great night for the Chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party, or any of her fellow partygoers. Their great hope for a Democratic County Commissioner? Quashed. It was clear early on that District 5 Candidate Jariah Walker wasn't going to beat incumbent Peggy Littleton. As expected, candidates for long-shot state house seats in conservative districts were clear losers. Less expected, incumbent Rep. Tony Exum, in House District 17, appeared to be losing to perennial Republican candidate Kit Roupe. (She eventually triumphed — though Exum was considered popular, the seat is known to flip every election.)

"Hello, Peggy? This is Jariah." Jariah Walker concedes the race in County Commission District 5 to Peggy Littleton. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • "Hello, Peggy? This is Jariah." Jariah Walker concedes the race in County Commission District 5 to Peggy Littleton.

And then there were the big losses: Sen. Mark Udall falling to Republican Cory Gardner and Irv Halter losing his bid to take incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's seat. What's more, it wasn't yet clear that Gov. John Hickenlooper would hold his office (it appears now that he will).

So why the jubilance? Well, El Paso County Democrats aren't strangers to disappointment. As Ricker put it, "We win some, we lose some, but we still have a voice."
A member of the crowd reacts to the election results. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A member of the crowd reacts to the election results.

And though the midterms proved a boon for Republicans nationwide, the news wasn't all bad for Democrats in conservative El Paso County. Democrat Rep. Pete Lee kept his seat, and Mike Merrifield took back Senate District 11 from Sen. Bernie Herpin, who won the seat in a recall election that saw the ouster of then-Senate President John Morse. 

"It feels good to take this seat back," Merrifield said, his eyes twinkling.

Michael Merrifield celebrates after winning Senate District 11. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Michael Merrifield celebrates after winning Senate District 11.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election results: No love for stormwater, Halter; Manitou to keep RMJ

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Another 5,000 tallied votes have changed virtually nothing in El Paso County. And with estimates suggesting that there are fewer than 25,000 votes still outstanding, we're calling it a night. Check back Wednesday for additional coverage. And enjoy the lack of political ads on TV.

——— ORIGINAL POST, 7:45 P.M. ———

With about 206,000 votes counted out of an expected 235,000, El Paso County appears to be nixing a proposed stormwater solution.

Dark humor: County Question 1B supporter Carol Baker brought her ark to the Ritz Grill. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Dark humor: County Question 1B supporter Carol Baker brought her ark to the Ritz Grill.

On County Question 1B, about 54 percent of voters are saying "no." That's about 96,000 voters, as compared to about 82,000 in favor of the regional plan to deal with backlogs in stormwater infrastructure and maintenance.

With fellow 1B supporters at the Ritz Grill, Jan Martin sounded ready to look ahead to the city election in April.

"I think it will be a big issue in the mayor's race, of how to solve our stormwater problem," she said. "We all agree it needs to be taken care of. We need to find a plan the public supports."

Added Dave Munger, who chaired the stormwater effort: "It still has to be fixed. We don't have the option of not doing anything."

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office released its large first wave of results just after 7 p.m., and has already updated them; you'll be able to follow future updates to them here. In other major headlines so far:

• Controversial U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn is sailing through his latest Democratic challenge. Lamborn has nearly 60 percent of the El Paso County vote, good for a 40,000-vote advantage over Democrat Irv Halter, who faced an uphill battle in a Republican district but had hoped his military record and fiscal conservatism would give him a boost. In an interview after results were posted, Halter said, "It's a tough road for Democrats." He added, “I just hope that people start to look beyond party. If people don’t, I believe it’s an existential threat to democracy.”

Manitou Springs will be keeping recreational marijuana sales. Almost 63 percent of voters so far have said "no" on 2G. Ramah, however, will not be joining Manitou: 41 voters said "no" to marijuana legalization, as compared to 11 saying "yes." And Palmer Lake apparently is voting down RMJ sales as well, by about 90 votes.

• In Senate District 11, the site of last year's bitter recall of John Morse, Michael Merrifield seems in position to reclaim the seat for the Democrats. Merrifield is up 51 percent to 43 percent over incumbent Republican Bernie Herpin, with Libertarian Norman Dawson pulling the other 6 percent. While Herpin declined to forecast the final vote, he said, "It's been an honor to serve. I'm proud of my accomplishments in office."

• Despite the backing of some local heavyweights, including the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, developer Chuck Murphy and Suzi Bach, Democrat Jariah Walker is far behind incumbent Republican Peggy Littleton in El Paso County Commission District 5. Littleton has pulled about 64 percent of the vote so far, and is up a full 10,000 votes. Said Walker: "I think the main message is that unfortunately, partisan politics aren't dead in Colorado Springs."

• While incumbent Pete Lee leads in House District 18, 54 percent to 46 percent over Republican Michael Schlierf, his fellow Democrat in fickle District 17 is in trouble. Incumbent Tony Exum is down 49 percent to 44 percent to Republican Kit Roupe. About 7 percent of votes are going to Libertarian candidate Susan Quilleash.

• Races in heavily Republican House Districts 14, 15 and 16 offer no surprises — unless you consider it a surprise that Gordon Klingenschmitt's getting a full 70 percent of the vote in HD 15. This, despite Klingenschmitt offending even some within his own party by comparing Democratic legislator Jared Polis to ISIS operatives, among other incendiary remarks. Klingenschmitt's opponent, Democrat Lois Fornander, said she figured from the beginning that it would be "a big cliff to climb." She added, "And I think now, it was a sheer wall."

Reporting from J. Adrian Stanley, Griffin Swartzell and Pam Zubeck contributed to this story.
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Gardner, Williams get business vote

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Williams: Will he soon be leaving his county office? - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Williams: Will he soon be leaving his county office?

Rep. Cory Gardner and El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, both Republicans, have been endorsed in their races by the political action committee of the Regional Business Alliance.

Gardner is trying to unseat incumbent Mark Udall, a Democrat, in the Senate, and Williams is running for Secretary of State against Democrat Joe Neguse. The seat is open because Scott Gessler tried a run for governor earlier but dropped out. (Disclosure: The Independent also has endorsed Williams.)

It's no big surprise the RBA would back two Republicans, but the endorsements come a little late, considering voting has been under way for a few weeks and ends next Tuesday.

The announcements said, in part, that Gardner has supported this region in "securing federal aid for dealing with flood mitigation needs and ... in finding an equitable resolution to the issues surrounding Pinon Canyon [Maneuver Site, used by Fort Carson] and therefore bringing an end to harmful annual federal legislation."

"We believe that Cory Gardner will bring the kind of influence we will need to navigate through these critical federal budget times," the endorsement says.

About Williams, the RBA said:
In his current role as Clerk and Recorder for El Paso County, Wayne has earned a reputation for running clean elections that protect the integrity of each vote, the underpinning of our form of government. His reputation is so strong that Wayne was asked by elected officials from the other party to oversee elections in Saguache County when circumstances dictated the need to bring in outside expertise. In addition, Wayne has taken steps locally to maximize ease and access to voting for El Paso County residents while maintaining the integrity of the vote.
In the last City Council election, in 2013, only one on the RBA's list of five endorsees, Keith King, was elected. The RBA didn't endorse in the District 1 race, which resulted in Don Knight being elected.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Make your own election ad

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 3:11 PM

At this point in election season, a lot of people have stopped caring about who wins and who loses. They just want those stupid campaign ads to go away.

But what if you had the chance to make your own stupid ad? Because, actually you do. Secretary of State Scott Gessler is currently hosting a contest for 30-second ads that encourage people to register to vote. You have until Oct. 24 to get your submission turned in. If enough people like your ad, it could end up on the Secretary of State's web site.

Gessler Announces Video Challenge, Starring You

Deadline extended for video submissions

DENVER, October 14, 2014 – As a competitive state, Coloradans are inundated with political ads every other year. This year, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler wants to give voters their shot at producing a political ad focused on voter registration.

“We’re always looking at creative ways to reach Colorado citizens to get them registered or remind them to update their registration,” Gessler said. “Here’s an opportunity for Coloradans to share their story or encourage their friends and peer groups to engage politically.”

Aspiring directors and videographers have until October 24 to submit their 30-second videos to the Secretary of State for posting. The videos must share information about Colorado’s voter registration requirements and include a mention of the state’s online voter registration system at GoVoteColorado.com.

Voters will have a chance to cast their preference for their favorite ads and the winner will be announced after Election Day.

To qualify, your video must:

Be your original work
Be no more than 30 seconds long
Be G-rated (no violence, offensive language, or sexual activity)
Mention that voters must be: over 18 years old, United States citizens and residents of Colorado
Tell voters that they can register, or update their registration, at GoVoteColorado.com
Must not endorse or mention any candidates or issues on the November 2014 ballot

How to enter:

All entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm on October 24, 2014
Post your completed video on YouTube
Send a link to your video to Richard.coolidge@sos.state.co.us

What happens next?

If your video meets the criteria, it will be posted on the Secretary of State’s web site. Make sure to send your friends and family to the site to see your work and vote using YouTube’s thumbs up icon. After the election, the votes will be cast and we’ll declare a winner.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Business group back stormwater ballot measure

Posted By on Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Issue 1B on the Nov. 4 ballot got a boost today when the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance board of directors announced its support.

In an emailed message, the RBA said this:
Flooding happens all over town, like in this shot in July taken in the northwest portion of the city. - DEAN LUSE
  • Dean Luse
  • Flooding happens all over town, like in this shot in July taken in the northwest portion of the city.
Vote yes on 1B - Let's fix this!

Images of flooded cars at the Citadel, mud cleanups in Manitou, and intersections closed due to flooding have become a familiar sight in the Pikes Peak region. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. After decades of neglect, our community's stormwater and flood-control systems are crumbling. A 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers report card gave the system an overall D- for safety and condition, and we have a $706 million capital project backlog and need $14 million per year in maintenance. To put that in perspective, the City of Colorado Springs typically spends about $3 million per year on stormwater. It's time to take care of our community and invest in safe, reliable infrastructure.

Based on two years of research, analysis and public input, the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force - nearly 200 citizens, engineers, neighborhood leaders, business people and elected officials volunteering thousands of hours - has proposed a comprehensive management plan for voter approval:

A regional stormwater authority that will address a list of stormwater capital projects (55% of funds), emergency needs and master planning (10%) and maintenance (35%).
The capital portion will automatically end after 20 years and the fee will go down.
Work will be funded by a user fee based on impervious surface, capped to avoid economic burden.

Spending on administration will be capped at 1% to minimize overhead, and work will be contracted to local vendors to maximize economic benefit.

The average homeowner would pay $7.70 per month.

The fee is fixed and will NEVER go up. There isn't even an inflation adjustment.
The money can only be spent on stormwater projects, and voters know what they're getting because of the project list, which has been reviewed by an independent engineering company.

A regional authority means all local governments will work together to coordinate efforts and maximize return on investment.

The authority is modeled on the successful, voter-approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).

Addressing stormwater means:
A better local economy
250 new, high-quality jobs each year (University of Colorado Colorado Springs economic analysis)
Lower insurance rates
Well-maintained critical infrastructure - safer roads and bridges
More efficient use of taxpayer dollars because we can prevent problems
Less damage to public and private property
The RBA is but one of many influential groups in the region who are backing the measure, which has drawn strident opposition from anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce. Bruce has this to say about all those endorsements:
See the "diverse coalition" listed at the tax pushers' website. Apart from politicians (who want more taxes to spend on their campaign donors), nearly all supporters have a financial interest in getting some of the $49 million yearly tax. Look at all the contractors who want to be paid for the drainage work. Look at all the developers who want US to pay for the backlog THEY created. Look at the Gazette, which is in bed with the developers who advertise in that paper. Look at "RBC Dain Raucher," a bond dealer who wants this new layer of government to borrow money (bonds) against the $49 million yearly revenue, so they can get huge commissions (which fix no drainage projects).

Etc. etc. Are you getting the picture? To understand political graft, "follow the money."
The proposed fee would raise an estimated $39 million annually, not $49 million, and 55 percent of the fee would sunset in 20 years. The balance would remain in perpetuity to fund maintenance.
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