Wednesday, February 28, 2007

POLL: Denver incumbents at risk

Official Disclaimer: Internet polls are NOT scientific and anyone who suggests otherwise is a fool.

City attorney Manzanares resigns

The Hickenlooper administration got a black eye last week when newly-appointed city attorney Lawrence Manzanares was found in possession of a stolen laptop.

Today, Manzanares resigned. According to the Denver Post:
Manzanares had been a finalist for the city attorney post at the beginning of the Hickenlooper administration, losing out to Cole Finegan. When Finegan moved to private practice last year, Hickenlooper said the Denver District Court judge came highly recommended as a successor. Manzanares was sworn in Jan. 4.

Later that month, Manzanares said, he met a man in a parking lot near city hall and bought a Gateway m280 laptop. On Saturday, Manzanares said he could not remember how much he paid for it.

The computer belonged to the very district where Manzanares had been a judge. And it was equipped with a tracking device designed to allow authorities to pinpoint the location of missing computers.

On Jan. 26, an official in the state court administrator's office reported the $1,579 computer stolen. He noted that the tracking software showed the computer had been used the day before.

Manzanares said he returned the computer as soon as police contacted him, noting that he had no idea it came from the court office.

Profile: Jake Schroeder (CD7)

A profile of City Council candidate Jake Schroeder, as found in the Denver Daily News.

The title of the March 30, 2006 piece by Peter Marcus: Opie gone political: singer to seek council seat."
Lead singer of Denver rockers Opie Gone Bad has decided to take on one more occupation and run for the City Council next year.

Jake Schroeder told the Denver Daily News yesterday that in the past few months he’s become very serious about a run for office adding that he feels he can contribute to a community that he is already very connected to.

“I work with the Police Activities League, I’m very committed to the community...I’m seeing a lot of stuff that can help kids in the city,” he said.

Schroeder will take a shot at District 7 Councilwoman Kathleen MacKenzie’s seat who is term limited.

He may face former state Sen. Penfield Tate who reportedly is eyeing an open seat on the City Council. Tate could run for either MacKenzie’s seat or District 8 Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth’s seat who is also term limited.

So far, only one person has officially filed paperwork for a bid at the City Council. Chris Nevitt, policy director of Front Range Economic Strategy Center, will run for the District 7 seat.

MacKenzie’s senior analyst, Julie Connor, said she would also run for the seat and Councilwoman Carol Boigon’s aide, Shelley Watters, treasurer of the Platt Park People’s Association, confirmed she is running for the same seat.

Schroeder is not afraid of the potential competition or hard work the job entails noting his ability to multi-task.

“I have five jobs right now, so one of the reasons I want to run is that I’m used to getting things done,” he said.

In addition to his position as lead singer for Opie Gone Bad and his work with the Police Activities League, Schroeder owns local coffee company, Jake’s Joe, and on Monday night’s he hosts a KQMT 99.5 radio show, “The Mountain Homegrown Show,” when he features local artists. He also sings the national anthem at Colorado Avalanche home games.

“There’s been a lot going on [in the city] and I think we’re setting the stage for the growth of Colorado,” he added. “As an outsider I can add common sense and efficient thinking to the City Council.”

Schroeder believes that the Council is working on “great stuff” but feels his leadership would be an essential addition to the board.

“I like the concept of developing relationships within the community to take the burden off the city,” he said. “One thing that is important to me is to make sure that bureaucratic inefficiencies don’t get in the way.”

Wedgeworth to leave early for hospital post

The day before Valentine's Day, the Denver Post reported that Elbra Wedgeworth would be leaving her post early. Rather than awaiting the results of the May 2007 election, she planned to take a job with Denver Health.

Wedgeworth, who cannot run for council in May because of term limits, will become the chief government and community relations officer for the Denver public hospital.

Wedgeworth said she will resign from the City Council on March 12.

The full text of the article is available online.

Denver City Council voted against Iraq war

As a historian, I frequently harken back to previous actions of elected officials. One such occasion four years ago seems especially prescient.

In February 2003, Denver City Council voted 7-3 in favor of a resolution against the Iraq war, as reported by the Denver Post. No current Council members voted for the war.

The resolution passed on a 7-3 vote with Joyce Foster and Charlie Brown abstaining and Ramona Martinez absent.

In favor were Susan Barnes-Gelt, Dennis Gallagher, Happy Haynes, Kathleen MacKenzie, Debbie Ortega, Elbra Wedgeworth and Cathy Reynolds. Opposed were Polly Flobeck, Ted Hackworth and Ed Thomas.

An amendment proposed by Hackworth supporting the Bush administration failed by the same vote.

...The measure also resolved: "That United States forces may be deployed as a last resort if it is determined that military action is necessary to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction with full support for our military personnel."

New election rules for At-Large members of City Council

Denver City Council is considering changes to the election rules which would require At-Large councilpersons to achieve a majority vote. If they failed to do that, a run-off election would be required.

The bill passed first reading on February 26, and will have a public hearing during the meeting on March 5, 2007.

For a full text of the legislation, see City Council Bill 92, Series of 2007 online.

District attorney's term

On Monday, March 5, Denver City Council will decide whether to extend the current 2-term limit for the District Attorney's office.

This topic was recently reported by the Denver Daily News, and the full text of Ordinance 100 series of 2007 may also be reviewed online.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Current races

Below is an initial list of candidates for city government elections in May 2007. At this point, some of the candidates are active and some are only anticipated. And a few have already dropped out.

Mayor: John Hickenlooper, Dwight Henson

Auditor: Dennis Gallagher

Clerk & Recorder: Stephanie O’Malley, Don Henderson, Jacob Werther, Ken Gordon, Sharron Klein (dropped out 2/19)

District 1:Rick Garcia, Gerald Styron

District 2: Jeanne Faatz, Danny Lopez

District 3: Niccolo Casewit, Paul Lopez, JoAnn Phillips, Mark Roggeman, Ben Romero, Donald Sandoval, Kathy Sandoval

District 4: Peggy Lehmann, Ike Kelley Jr., William Rutherford III

District 5: Marcia Johnson, Mitchell Poindexter

District 6: Charlie Brown

District 7: Julie Connor, Chris Nevitt, Rochelle "Shelly" Watters, Dennis Smith, Jake Schroeder (dropped out 2/15)

District 8: Sharon Bailey, Roger Cobb, Carla Madison, Greg Rasheed, Lynn Smith, Darrell Watson

District 9: Judy Montero

District 10: Jeanne Robb

District 11: Michael Hancock

At-large: Doug Linkhart, Carol Boigon, Carol Campbell

Let the discussion begin

In May 2007, Denver city voters will go to the polls to determine the face of their city government. Every one of the 13 City Council seats will be elected, as well as citywide posts for Mayor, Auditor, and Clerk & Recorder.

Citizens of Denver are both more affected an more uninformed by local races than by the more prestigious seats in state and national legislatures.

This blog will seek to rectify the imbalance, and provide some information of note regarding the races.

By way of personal introduction, I am a local Denver historian, with a full-time business (Historical Insights Inc.) . My colleagues and I research the history of homes, buildings, and neighborhoods for realtors, homeowners, and businesses throughout the metro area. Though I am not a politician, I do see the impact of city government in both the short- and long-term. I am a member of the West Washington Park Neighborhood Association (WWPNA), serving as both chair of the History Committee and Vice President of the board at large. However, I must stress that this blog in no way reflects official opinions of either Historical Insights or WWPNA.

As an outsider, I won't have special insight into the world of politics at large, but I will endeavor to find out what's happening as much as possible. To that end, input from citizens, organizations, interest groups, and even politicians themselves will strengthen the discourse begun here.

So let the discussion begin!