Monday, April 9, 2007

Profile: Danny Lopez (Mayor)

Articles on are often jejune and unhelpful, but this afternoon's post by James Syring is important enough to quote in its entirety. The topic and style of the story are clearly indicated in the title: "Lopez For Mayor."
Danny Lopez is somewhat of a rarity in politics. He's a native of Colorado and not a carpetbagger. He was born in Alamosa and grew up in the Denver metropolitan area. He's lived in North Denver and Montbello and presently lives in Bear Valley. He went to Thomas Jefferson, graduated from Ranum and attended The University of Colorado.

I like the idea that he has lived in regular neighborhoods and not some enclave of million dollar lofts or scrape-offs. Another thing I like about him is that he comes from a working class background. His folks were both union workers and he's a long time employee of the Denver Department of Public Works. I feel strongly about elected officials having his kind of background because I believe that people like Danny have more in common with the majority of the citizens of a city like Denver and they understand what it's like to try and get by in a city where the movers and shakers are more concerned about what upscale restaurant to take their friends to instead of worrying about rising property taxes or how safe the neighborhood streets are.

Danny and I talked about what he thought he could accomplish for the city. One advantage he felt he had was that since he didn't have any big time contributors, he wasn't obligated to anyone who had their own agenda and he could concentrate on what was best for all the people of Denver.

As a city worker, he feels strongly that there should be what he calls a "Trickle Up" economy. He thinks that there is a greater chance to improve the local economy if workers get raises and if Denver raises the minimum wage. Forty percent of city workers have not had a raise since the Webb administration. Danny feels that now that the economy has rebounded to the point where the present city administration is ready to spend 1.7 million dollars for a miniature golf park and raises have been given to the city council, that working folks should also benefit.

He agrees with the "Broken Windows" system of policing that relies on prosecuting minor crimes in order to head off major crime. As part of this program, he would like to see harsher penalties for graffiti vandals.

A long time coach of youth sports, Danny has seen the benefits for young people and he would like to see more affordable youth programs. His acronym for dealing with youth crime is: PETA. Prevention, Enforcement, Treatment and Aftercare.

He disagrees with the closing of Manual High and believes that the community should have been responsible for devising a plan to restructure and save the existing school.

He thinks that the people who believe that a city should be run simply as a business, too often overlook the importance of the culture and values of individual neighborhoods.

Danny Lopez knows that his chance of winning the election is slim but I reminded him that he has one big advantage over his opponent and that's the fact that, with his experience at Public Works, he knows a heck of a lot about how to handle snow removal and that might be enough for us to give him a shot at the job.

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