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Voters may get to choose city attorney, trafficking symposium coming, and more 

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Attorney could be voted on

Two ballot measures proposed by conservative activist Kanda Calef could dramatically change some functions of Colorado Springs city government, if approved by voters at the April 2015 city election.

The first would require voters to elect a city attorney every four years, starting in November 2015, at a salary less than $120,000 a year. City Council would hire outside counsel for set amounts, not hourly rates. Now, the mayor hires the city attorney, who hires outside counsel.

The other measure would require voter approval of urban renewal projects, including those proposed as part of the City for Champions package. Separate ballot issues would be needed for borrowing, and all projects would have to be completed within 10 years and couldn't rely on eminent domain or taxes "otherwise paid to other governments."

About 11,000 signatures are needed to place the measures on the ballot.

Calef says currently the attorney is hired by the mayor, so legal opinions "always show a clear bias." Requiring a vote on urban renewal projects and their financing would increase accountability and transparency, she says.

"The goal of each of these initiatives is to provide citizens a seat at the table in their local government." — PZ

Trafficking symposium soon

Human trafficking is an exploitative, $32-billion-a-year business worldwide — and one that will be examined locally at the first Human Trafficking Symposium, at the Mountain View United Methodist Church on Aug. 9.

"The purpose of the symposium is to raise awareness and what is being done to combat human trafficking and restore life to its victims," Sam Gould, symposium chair, says in a news release. "Participants will learn how to spot it and report it."

The one-day symposium will feature an array of experts.

To register, call 687-3868, or email htsymposium@gmail.com. For information, see mt-viewumc.org.— PZ

Marriage may take a while

The saga continues for Colorado's same-sex marriage ban, but don't expect a resolution in the short term.

There are two judicial ways to take down the ban, and both are being tried. The Colorado Supreme Court could find the ban unconstitutional, and indeed it will rule on it. But it likely won't do so until next year.

The federal courts could also strike down the ban. On July 23, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore found the ban unconstitutional, but stayed his ruling pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who is trying to defend the ban along every avenue, has already filed the appeal.

But the Tenth Circuit has ruled against same-sex marriage bans in other states, including Utah. Utah's attorney general has appealed its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not said if it will hear the case. The U.S. Supreme Court starts its term in October, and could decide in early fall whether to take the case or leave the lower court's ruling in place.

In another case, Suthers failed on appeal to stop Boulder County, the only Colorado county still issuing same-sex marriage licenses. He's since asked the Colorado Supreme Court to stop Boulder. But unless and until that court sides with him, any Colorado couple can get a license in Boulder. — JAS

All Breed to get new brand

Triumphant in an online voting competition held by Thinkso Creative of New York City, local nonprofit All Breed Rescue and Training will soon enjoy its prize: a complete rebranding.

"Ultimately, the goal is to make our brand a little more exciting," says All Breed spokesperson Sara Simon, noting that an updated website and brochures could help bring in more donors and foster families.

All Breed, which is an Indy Give! charity, usually has between 50 and 75 dogs in its program at any one time. While Simon says they come in all breeds and ages, she notes the Chihuahuas, pit bulls and dogs just getting out of their cute puppy stage are most common.

The "extreme branding" project — with all the creative work done by a full Thinkso team, in just one day — will be shown live via webcam at thinkso.com/giveabrand on Friday, Aug. 8. — JAS

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