Thursday, March 1, 2007

CD8: January forum of candidates

Karon Majeel of Urban Spectrum provided an excellent overview of the January debate between contenders for the City Council District 8 seat.

Much of the article is excerpted below:
Five candidates faced off that day: Sharon Bailey, Roger Cobb, Carla Madison, Greg Rasheed and Darrell Watson (there are now seven contenders). Each was given a few minutes to introduce themselves before fielding questions. All began by thanking Wedgeworth and the audience for the opportunity to share their messages.

Then the gloves came off.

Madison shared her resume of professional (she’s a physical therapist) and community service, particularly in City Park West. She then highlighted her zoning projects work with Denver City Council.

Bailey invoked memories of Davis and the late Elvin Caldwell before pledging to continue their legacies. She also reminded the audience of her years of service on the Denver School Board.

Rasheed, a Washington D.C. native, identified himself as the voice of KUVO’s Sunday “Gospel Train” and the former host of “Real Deal in Sports” on the now defunct KDKO, and as the executive director of Greater Park Hill Community, Inc.

Darrell Watson acknowledged his mother in the audience and touted his work in an after-school youth program and with the Whittier Neighborhood Association.

Next, each candidate outlined top priorities.

“It’s all about the neighborhoods for me,” said Madison. She also pledged to re-introduce a quarterly newsletter and walk the neighborhoods to better assess community needs, especially among the elderly.

Rasheed said holding public office is “the next step up for me,” and vowed to make education his main issue. He vowed to facilitate greater involvement in education from Denver ’s business community as mentors and volunteers.

“I have a vested interest and deep roots in this community,” emphasized Bailey. She cited moving district youth forward and the needs of the elderly as her top priorities, and believes she has the ability to maintain her passion for both.

Watson credited his mother for his ability to accept the challenge. “I’m running hard on the foundation laid by my mother,” he explained.

But it was the discussion on public safety that generated the most controversy – and humor. When Watson expressed concerns over elderly residents being snowbound during this winter’s blizzards, he lamented that his mother “couldn’t get out to go get her drugs,” drawing giggles from the audience. Later, at his mother’s insistence, the Virgin Islands native embarrassedly corrected his error and confirmed that his mother “only uses prescribed medication!”

Bailey expressed concern for post-9/11 public safety and the city’s emergency preparedness. She said she would support city investment in new and emerging technologies. She also challenged the audience to make an investment in our youth. “We all must make sure that teenagers don’t have idle time on their hands,” she said.

Madison pointed to civic involvement as the most successful strategy in fighting neighborhood crime. Like Watson, Madison supported the “Broken Window” neighborhood watch program, but said early intervention and good education are the keys to preventing juvenile crime.

Rasheed interjected, “It’s not just the threat of someone shooting in your house; this isn’t a western movie.”

Watson also touched upon issues with DPD’s policies in District 8. Watson told of being randomly stopped and searched by police while walking home late one evening. He used that story to call for a dialogue with the city and the police department’s task force on racial profiling.

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