So much of the article is good, it's hard to know where to start. The column begins with a rundown of the current apathetic political situation:
So far, Denver's all-mail, May 1 municipal ballot looks like a nothing burger. With the exception of three open City Council seats in Districts 3, 7 and 8, there are no truly contested council races. There are no serious candidates challenging the mayor or the auditor. Nor does there appear to be a real horse race to fill the newly created, $125,000-per-year elected job of clerk and recorder.
Oh, sure, the perfunctory Harold Stassen candidates (the Minnesota Republican who sought the presidential nomination nine times between 1948 and 1992) have pulled petitions: Dwight Henson, Denver's "homeless mayor," may run for mayor; CPA Bill Wells is gathering signatures - again - to run for auditor; Ike Kelley Jr. and William Rutherford III want the District 4 seat; Mitchell Poindexter and R.J. Ours are running in District 5; and there's Waldo Benavides in District 9. Denver voters see these names regularly on the ballot.
In the at-large race, only Carol E. Campbell, a credible west Denver neighborhood activist, has pulled a petition. The at-large race has been a slam-dunk incumbent's dream for as long as anyone can remember because of two significant factors: money and geography. It's nearly impossible to build a political base by going door-to-door citywide. The other alternatives are a challenger with high citywide name recognition or a wealthy, self-funded candidate who would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy name recognition though direct mail, TV and radio.
In fact, Councilwoman at-large Carol Boigon did exactly that four years ago. She loaned her campaign nearly $190,000 for advertising in the 2003 election and placed first in a field of seven - with 22 percent of the votes cast. Doug Linkhart secured the other at-large position with 17 percent.
After discussing the now-discarded idea of splitting the at-large council elections into two separate seats, which would have ensured more direct accountability and head-to-head campaigns, she returns to the question of political candidacies in Denver.
In 1995, Denver voters extended municipal terms to 12 years and in 2003, 10 of 13 council seats, the mayor and the auditor were open. Despite record candidate interest and numerous hotly contested seats, less than 47 percent of Denverites voted in the May municipal election.
Honestly, I don't know what to make of a citywide election for 16 important positions and little controversy. Are we so absorbed in national and international affairs and the doings at the state legislature that we simply don't care about the direction of our city, its condition and its future?
Maybe I'm tone deaf, but the absence of a spirited civic dialogue that should accompany municipal elections is not music to my ears.