Bach targets Council pay
We won't know for a couple weeks whether voters will get a chance to give City Council members a raise from $6,250 a year to $48,000 a year, effective in 2015. That's because the measure squeaked by on first reading last week on a vote of 5-4, and Mayor Steve Bach is urging defeat during a second reading Feb. 12.
So far, no one has said they'll change their vote.
Supporters, including Indy publisher John Weiss, argue Council is a full-time job that only those who are retired, independently wealthy or reliant on a spouse's income can afford to do. Paying more would attract more diverse candidates, they say.
Others argue that paying more doesn't guarantee better candidates. And Councilor Tim Leigh objects to adding a $561,000-per-year pay-and-benefits expense. — PZ
A ball at inauguration
There were plenty of highlights for the 16 members of Ballet Folklorico de la Raza, the Mexican folk dance troupe that traveled to Washington, D.C., to perform in the inauguration parade. But the best moment had to be dancing in front of President Obama and the first family.
"They were so friendly, smiling and waving down at us," says founder Connie Benavidez. She says one of the 7-year-old dancers even broke the rules and stopped to wave at Obama. The president pointed at her and waved back.
Benavidez adds her small group got plenty of attention from media (including interviews with ABC and CNN) and parade coordinators: "We were treated like royalty."
Benavidez still needs to pay for the trip, though, so her group is holding a fundraiser with a taco bar and a silent auction from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles club at 1830 N. Academy Blvd. You can contact Benavidez for donations at 573-4826 and watch a video of the group in the parade at tinyurl.com/b24pz96. — EA
Sen. Hill backs ASSET
Sen. Owen Hill, a freshman Republican from Colorado Springs, shocked many supporters last week by siding with Democrats in voting to pass the ASSET bill out of the Senate Education Committee.
The bill would allow undocumented Colorado teens to pay in-state tuition at state colleges. The bill also stipulates that these students must either have sought, or plan to seek, legal status.
Hill's vote didn't sit well with former Sen. Dave Schultheis, who stated on social media that it has made him regret his onetime support of Hill. In a statement, Hill responded in part by saying: "There is one paramount reason I have supported this bill, the movement of a free people is critical to the success of free markets and a free people." — CH
In 2010, Colorado voters crushed Amendment 62, which would have granted inalienable rights to "every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
Last year, "personhood" supporters failed to get a measure onto the ballot.
Undaunted, Colorado Springs GOP Rep. Janak Joshi last week introduced legislation that would allow prosecutors to charge defendants for the death or injury of an "unborn member of the species homo sapiens."
Pleased with the legislation, Personhood Colorado held a press conference Monday to champion the closing of these "current loopholes in Colorado law."
The bill was referred to a House committee, where it has been postponed indefinitely. — CH
Give! exceeds $982,000
Four years in, the Indy's Give! campaign is knocking on the door of $1 million.
In a gathering Wednesday at El Pomar's Garden Pavilion, campaign leaders will announce that 2012's campaign funneled $982,222 to 58 local nonprofits. While some came in the form of matching and challenge grants, about 8,000 individual donors contributed more than $700,000.
"In a year where I have to admit expecting donor burnout after everyone came together to support the victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire, our amazing supporters bested last year's donations by $280,000," says Independent general manager and Give! co-chair Carrie Simison-Bitz.
For more on Give!, see indygive.com, or the four-page insert in the middle of this issue. Or go to the Garden Pavilion (1661 Mesa Ave., behind the Penrose House) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday — the ceremony, which will include awards and check presentations, is free. — KW
Compiled by Edie Adelstein, Chet Hardin, Kirk Woundy and Pam Zubeck.