Monday, March 18, 2019

Issue 1 draws nearly $1 million in campaign money

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 6:35 PM

click to enlarge 2019cityelectionbug-01.png
If you haven't noticed, there's a lot of air time on TV and radio stations devoted to convincing you to either support Issue 1 in the city's April 2 election, or defeat it.

Issue 1 would authorize firefighters to have collective bargaining rights but prohibit a strike. Firefighters argue they need a seat at the table to assure their and the public's safety via appropriate staffing and equipment.

Opponents say if it's approved, the measure will lead to other city workers organizing, which would cost taxpayers more.

All those ads flooding into your living room and mail box are coming from two well-funded campaigns.

According to the latest campaign finance filings, due March 15 for the period from Feb. 25 to March 10, committees campaigning for and against the measure have racked up nearly $1 million in contributions.

Citizens Against Public Employee Unions has raised $326,296. Of that, $85,000 has come from Colorado Springs Forward, a business activist group. This reporting period, the campaign spent $229,278.

Firefighters for a Safer Colorado Springs has raised a total of $537,025, most from firefighters here and elsewhere, though some donations have trickled in, such as $1,000 from the Colorado Springs Education Association. The most recent reporting period saw the committee spend $179,671.

Americans for Prosperity Colorado Springs Independent Expenditure Committee, which opposes the measure, raised $9,084 from Colorado AFP in in-kind services for mailers, digital and canvassing. No cash donations were received.

As for the candidate races, the richest campaigns are those in the mayor's competition.

Incumbent John Suthers has raised $206,486.

John Pitchford, a retired Army colonel and dentist, has raised $105,149, most of it a loan from himself, and recently sent out a notice pleading for donations, saying while he donated some $100,000 to his campaign, "it's not enough."

Candidate Juliette Parker has raised $13,250. Lawrence Martinez hasn't filed campaign finance reports.

Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams leads in the money category among the 11 candidates seeking three at-large City Council seats. He's raised $43,152.

Others, in the order of their fundraising totals:
Incumbent Tom Strand, $29,996
Terry Martinez, $28,270 (His campaign notes that he's received most of his money, $23,270, from 183 individual donors)
Tony Gioia, $25,402
Former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, $11,597
Former Councilor Val Snider, $11,637
Randy Tuck, $9,300
Incumbent Bill Murray, $3,100
Athena Roe, $700
Regina English, $600
Dennis Spiker, $450

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Terry Martinez has won the sole endorsement issued by the Sierra Club.

click to enlarge Terry Martinez captured the Sierra Club's endorsement. - COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Courtesy of the candidate
  • Terry Martinez captured the Sierra Club's endorsement.
It said in a news release:
The Sierra Club solicited questionnaires from each of the candidates on a variety of issues important to its 1200-plus members in Colorado Springs, including the candidates’ positions on closing the Martin Drake Power Plant, transitioning to renewable energy, homelessness, support of parks and open spaces, and what steps are needed to ensure our water future.

“Terry Martinez is the only candidate who aligns with the Sierra Club’s positions on water, energy, park funding, and other issues vital to our members,” said Jim Lockhart, Conservation Committee Chair for the local Pikes Peak Group. “Terry is not only committed to closing Drake and replacing it with clean energy, he understands that conserving our water resources is an important component of ensuring our water future.”

Added Dave Bryan, Political Committee Chair for the Pikes Peak Group, “Terry’s support of increased parks funding and a ballot measure that would require voter approval before our parks could be traded or exchanged with private entities were key factors in earning the Sierra Club’s support.”
It's worth noting the Sierra Club Local Independent Expenditure Committee raised $30,000 in the last reporting period ending March 10. So far, it's made no expenditures.

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The El Paso County Democrats have endorsed Issue 1. In a statement, Electra Johnson, party  chair, wrote:
click to enlarge PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
Colorado Springs is a city that you and your family know as being safe. Though the risks of wildfires, traffic accidents and medical emergencies loom, you know your family is safe because you trust the Colorado Springs Firefighters to keep you safe. You trust us that when critical, life and death decisions must be made, that firefighters will make the right call…every time. Now firefighters are calling on you to let us be your voice at City Hall. Your vote YES for Issue 1 shows firefighters that you trust them, over the politics of the day, to fight for public safety.
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State Sen. Kent Lambert made robo calls on behalf of Gordon Klingenschmitt, urging voters to support his bid for a Council seat and noting his devotion to the conservative cause.

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So far, 10,400 ballots have been returned to the City Clerk's Office. The city mailed out more than 262,000 on March 8.

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If you have an item of interest about the city election, send it to zubeck@csindy.com

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