Thursday, March 2, 2017

Election update: Money, an endorsement, a new PR firm

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 1:48 PM

In Colorado Springs city election news, there's a new endorsement, a change announced in PR duties for one group, a new round of campaign finance reports and several upcoming candidate forums.

Jill Gaebler has been endorsed for the City Council District 5 seat by the Pikes Peak Group of the Sierra Club.
Gaebler's only opponent is businesswoman Lynette Crow-Iverson.

The release:
Gaebler: A friend to the environment.
  • Gaebler: A friend to the environment.
“Colorado Springs City Council will face many environmental challenges in coming years,” said Jim Lockhart, Pikes Peak Group Conservation Chair. “The City continues to experience rapid growth, which puts an ever-greater strain on our community and its infrastructure. Coupled with this is a backlog of unfilled city needs with respect to housing, transportation, public parks, wildfire mitigation, aging power generation facilities, and inadequate storm water control. Finding the funding to deal with all of these problems will be a major concern.

“During her term on City Council, Jill Gaebler has proven to be a champion not only for the environment, but also for neighborhoods, seeking to protect local communities, local parks, and local quality of life. She has recognized the importance of protecting public parklands by voting against the sale or exchange of these lands without voter approval. She has also worked to increase access to locally grown foods.

“We feel that her experience and commitment to take a balanced
approach in dealing with these problems warrant her reelection to City Council.”

In other news, Colorado Springs Forward, a business nonprofit that is working to elect its choices in the six Council districts, has announced a change it its publicity contract. Previously, Cindy Aubrey, with Pikes Peak United Way, handled communications. But Aubrey now is interim CEO for the agency due to the recent resignation of Jason Wood.

Hence, CSF has hired Blakely + Co. to handle public relations going into the election.
click to enlarge cityelectionsbug-web_360.png
Finally, money from developers is pouring into the campaign coffers of certain City Council candidates, according to the finance reports due Wednesday, March 1. Colorado Springs Forward, a community group with notable members from the businesses and development community, also made its move, giving $5,000 each to Deborah Hendrix, Greg Basham, Lynette Crow-Iverson and Chuck Fowler.

The richest race so far is between Crow-Iverson and incumbent Jill Gaebler, who together have raised nearly $80,000. Crow-Iverson has raised by far the most of any candidate, at $51,381.

Gaebler has been a huge proponent of infill development, and has not shied from voting in the minority on controversial issues, notably the Council's approval of the land swap with The Broadmoor, which she opposed.

Richard Skorman in District 3 has raised more than his opponent, Chuck Fowler, though only three of Skorman's donors have given $1,000 or more; among them is $4,000 coming from the Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters. Campaign finance documents show that Fowler is backed by some developers and CSF.

Here's how the campaign money stacks up:

District 1: *denotes incumbent.
Don Knight*: $4,845 received, $1,878 spent.
Greg Basham: $30,400 received, $22,374 spent.

District 2:
David Geislinger: $79 received, $79 spent.

District 3:
Chuck Fowler: $30,700 received, $22,895 spent.
Richard Skorman: $34,919 received, $14,325 spent.

District 4:
Yolanda Avila: $7,033 received, $4,192 spent.
Helen Collins*: $6,041 received, $1,033 spent.
Deborah Hendrix: $36,661 received, $31,398 spent.

District 5:
Jill Gaebler*: $28,249 received, $7,266 spent.
Lynette Crow-Iverson: $51,381 received, $44,807 spent.

District 6:
Andy Pico*: $25,342 received, $3,263 spent.
Janak Joshi: $1,000 received, $0 spent.
Melanie Bernhardt: Nothing received or spent.
Robert Burns: Nothing received or spent.

One analysis (performed by SpringsUnigroup, a network of local business people who analyze city issues) shows a total of $242,132 raised, with $149,250 of that coming from developers, CSF, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and other PACs.

Council jobs pay $6,250 a year.

Want to learn more? A candidate forum for all races will take place at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 6, at Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave.

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