Friday, January 16, 2015

Ed Jones might run; recall people paid handsomely

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 3:38 PM

Ed Jones: Might run to replace Collins. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Ed Jones: Might run to replace Collins.
Former El Paso County Commissioner and state Senator Ed Jones is considering running for the unexpired term of Helen Collins, if she's recalled from office.

"Looking at it, yeah," Jones tells us. "One of the things, as you've known me from years and years ago, it was all about the economy and jobs and jobs. You know we did a lot of things so we can be sure and get jobs in this community. There are no jobs here. What i've seen over the years is we're losing jobs to Denver and other places, even Pueblo. My whole thing is how we can get jobs here. Then, we have so many infrastructure problems with our streets and roads."

Jones served as county commissioner from 1995 to 2003 and in the Senate from 2003 to 2007. He also occasionally penned a column for The Gazette. (See previous coverage of plagiarism issues here and here.) Jones says he's a resident of District 4, which covers the southeast portion of the city. 

The City Charter doesn't require candidates to have lived in the district in which they are running. It only requires that a candidate be a resident of the city for one year prior to an election.

Speaking of the recall, Anita Miller tells us that according to documents she's obtained through an open records request, those who circulated petitions to recall City Councilor Helen Collins were paid up to $6 per signature.

And, many came from out of state. "How is that grassroots?" she says via email.
Collins: Wants to hang onto her position. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Collins: Wants to hang onto her position.

According to petition circulator affidavits, they came from Nevada, Michigan, California, Texas and Arizona, as well as the Colorado cities of Fountain, Littleton, Thornton, Denver, Aurora, Pueblo, Lakewood, Highland Ranch, and Colorado Springs. The Colorado Springs circulators gathered about 570 signatures of the roughly 3,000 turned in. One of those, Alonzo Porter of Colorado Springs, was the highest paid. He made $1,878 collecting 313 signatures at $6 apiece.

The total cost of signatures was $14,122.

The leader of the effort, Deborah Hendrix, collected two signatures, records show.

The fact that circulators came from other places raises the question of who paid for their travel expenses.

DeDe Laugesen, wife of the Gazette's editorial writer Wayne Laugesen, has said that Colorado Springs Government Watch helped with the effort by funding the petition process. We've asked her to elaborate and will update if and when we hear from her.

Miller is the wife of Joel Miller, who resigned from Council in November to run for mayor. Miller had been targeted by Government Watch with records requests for his communications with certain people, the same way the group targeted Collins with requests for her correspondence with tax activist Douglas Bruce.

Collins says she won't resign in response to the finding that the petitions are sufficient to have a recall election in tandem with the April 7 city election. Rather, she's established a website at CollinsforCouncil.com.

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