Labuda Wins in HD-1

8:30 PM UPDATE: Like clockwork, Labuda maintains her advantage, beating Houck 68 to 31.

Although election results have not yet completely been reported, we’re comfortable calling the HD-1 primary race in favor of incumbent State Representative Jeanne Labuda.

Early results posted at 7:00 PM by the Denver Clerk and Recorder indicate an insurmountable lead in Labuda’s favor. The three-term representative has garnered 69.97% of the vote compared to just 30.03% for challenger Corrie Houck. While additional results will trickle in throughout the evening, the fact remains that this was an all-mail election. Unless every single Houck voter waited until the last minute to turn in their ballot, Labuda’s sizable lead this early on should be an accurate indicator of the evening’s final tally.


Poll: Who Will Win the HD-41 Primary?

Today’s election signals the end of the topsy-turvy primary campaign between Democrats Terry Todd and Jovan Melton for Aurora’s HD-41 seat.

Todd, husband of incumbent officeholder Nancy Todd, has racked up endorsements from several area politicians, including Congressman Ed Perlmutter, State Senator Suzanne Williams, and State Representative Joe Miklosi. While those names may look great on campaign letterhead, they certainly haven’t seized Todd the lead: Melton, a longtime political consultant active in both Aurora and Denver politics, took top line at assembly and has outraised and outspent his opponent at every turn. So too does Melton enjoy the support of prominent Democrats from the area. Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb was an early and vocal supporter, as are State Representatives Angela Williams and Rhonda Fields  — both of whose campaigns Melton managed.

Today’s election, then, pits the old guard’s Terry Todd — who arguably has deeper ties to the district — against the fresh-faced Melton. Melton’s been the frontrunner since he jumped into the race by dint of his campaign expertise, but winning an election for someone else is a lot different than winning your own, especially when your opponent shares an address with the popular incumbent.

Who do you think will win the Democratic nomination in HD-41? As with all member polls we present ahead of elections, we are not looking for your personal preference: we want to know who you realistically believe will win this evening.

[poll id=”1578″]


Poll: Who Will Win the HD-1 Primary?

With tomorrow’s primary election, the contentious HD-1 Democratic primary campaign waged between incumbent Representative Jeanne Labuda and challenger Corrie Houck will finally draw to a close.

Labuda’s had considerably more money on hand to spend in the waning days of her primary campaign, and while the incumbent has made dozens of mistakes that should utterly preclude her reelection, Houck’s rough-hewn campaign hasn’t resonated with voters. Houck simply hasn’t made the case that she’d be a better fit for the district than the woman who’s represented the area for six years.

Still, if there’s any Denver-area incumbent Democrat vulnerable to a primary challenger, it’s Jeanne Labuda.

Who do you think will win the Democratic nomination in HD-1? As with all member polls we present ahead of elections, we are not looking for your personal preference: we want to know who you realistically believe will win tomorrow.

[poll id=”1577″]


Denver: Urban Camping Ban has No Effect on Other Cities

Denver’s nascent urban camping ban has been rife with unintended consequences, including the incentivization for homeless populations to break the law in the hopes of being punished with free food and shelter. Some critics also alleged that the ordinance would push Denver’s homeless out of the city limits and into neighboring municipalities where they could “camp” outside without breaking the law.

According to 9News, Denver is denying any such migration is taking place:

Denver officials say there is no evidence a camping ban in the city is forcing the homeless into the suburbs.

The city says a check found no mass exodus to Aurora, Littleton, Adams County and other communities.

Denver police tell the Denver Post they have not been strictly enforcing the ban since it went into effect two weeks ago.

What, exactly, was the “check” that Denver performed? The ban’s been in effect only two weeks, after all, with only light enforcement. How much data could really be collected in the course of two weeks?

The urban camping ban has been so contentious an issue that its effect on the homeless should probably be comprehensively gauged. While there may indeed be no effect on neighboring communities, there’s no doubt that the city can only come to that conclusion after several months of in-depth study.

A long-term policy, after all, can’t really be judged by its short-term effects, good or bad.


Voter Service Centers Open Today

Most Denver voters won’t have many choices to make on the ballot for June 26th’s primary. Republicans in CD-1 will have to select a candidate to take on Diana DeGette, while their counterparts in HD-1 will nominate either John Kidd or James Wildt. HD-1 Democrats must also select a candidate: incumbent Representative Jeanne Labuda is facing a challenge from activist Corrie Houck.

Still, despite the dearth of primary races, the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder is still offering nearly 20 ballot drop-off locations, all of which open today.

From the clerk’s office:

(Denver) – More Denver voters than ever are choosing to drop off their mail ballots in person instead of returning them by mail.  Voters who wish to drop off their mail ballots or obtain a replacement ballot can go to any one of 13 conveniently located Voter Service Centers starting Monday, June 18.  Most locations have a drive-through ballot drop-off lane.

Voter Service Centers will be open through Saturday, June 23 and on Monday, June 25, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.  The Denver Elections Division main office will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  All locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, June 26.

Voter Service Center locations are:

Barnum Recreation Center:  360 N. Hooker St.

Blair-Caldwell Library:  2401 Welton St.

Christ Church United Methodist:  690 N. Colorado Blvd.

Christ Community Church:  8085 E. Hampden Ave.

Denver Elections Division (Main Office):  200 W. 14th Ave.

Denver Police Dept. District3 Station:  1625 S. University Blvd.

Harvard Gulch Recreation Center:  550 E. Iliff Ave.

Harvey Park Recreation Center:  2120 S. Tennyson Way

Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center:  3334 N. Holly St.

Highlands Recreation Center:  2880 N. Osceola St.

Montbello Recreation Center:  15555 E. 53rd Ave.

Montclair Recreation Center:  729 N. Ulster Way

** Tivoli Student Union at Auraria: 900 Auraria Pkwy, Rm. 261  

**All sites have drive-through ballot drop-off except Tivoli Student Union.

New this year, after-hours secure ballot drop-off boxes are available outside of these locations:

Blair-Caldwell Library:  2401 Welton St.

Denver Elections Division (Main Office):  200 W. 14th Ave.

Denver Police Dept. District3 Station:  1625 S. University Blvd.

Harvey Park Recreation Center:  2120 S. Tennyson Way

Montbello Recreation Center:  15555 E. 53rd Ave.

Montclair Recreation Center: 729 N. Ulster Way

Wellington Webb Building:  201 W. Colfax Ave.  

These secure boxes are under 24-hour video surveillance.

Visit the Voter Service Center search page at to find your nearest location.


Denver: Third “Most Watched” City in America

Denver’s red-light cameras have recently been a major point of contention in city government, following a report released by Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher last year. In that report, Gallagher concluded that:

Because these programs were sold as public safety enhancements but are widely viewed as a cash grab, it undermines public trust to maintain photo enforcement programs that are profitable but whose safety impact has not been conclusively shown. If this situation persists, then the photo enforcement programs should be shut down.

As it turns out, not only do red light and speed cameras “undermine public trust,” they also undermine — perhaps naturally — individual privacy. Indeed, according to a recent study put together by Men’s Health Magazine, Denver is the third “most watched” city in America.

To figure out where it’s always 1984, we gathered intelligence on the presence of all kinds of cameras: traffic, red light, and police surveillance (, Photo, and local police and state transportation departments). We then checked in with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to calculate rates of authorized government wiretaps.

Only Washington, DC and Houston, Texas outrank Denver in terms of surveillance. In fact, the Mile High City has more cameras than other cities which dwarf its size: Chicago places 30th on the list, with Los Angeles at 81 and Boston at 87.

Don’t think you can easily escape the camera’s gaze, either. Colorado Springs comes in at at 24 and Aurora, 34.  


Hancock Endorses Obama’s Immigration Executive Order

With his vocal support of both Colorado’s ASSET bill and Metro’s provision of tuition equity, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is perhaps the highest-profile elected official in Colorado to speak out on immigration issues.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Denver’s mayor is also lending his support to the White House’s recent announcement that it would halt the deportation of select groups of illegal immigrants.

From the mayor’s office:

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today issued the following statement in support of President Obama’s policy to halt the deportation of young undocumented immigrants:

“I applaud the President’s decision to halt the deportation of young undocumented immigrants who deserve every opportunity to succeed in what has become their home country. This new policy takes a common sense approach to immigration laws, acknowledging the difference between those who choose to come to the U.S. without proper documentation and children who are here through no choice of their own.

“By granting these young people relief from deportation and providing a pathway to work visas, we improve their chances of contributing positively to our economy, our society and their own families while strengthening America’s global competitiveness. With this policy, our country also takes a critical step towards compassionate and responsible immigration reform.

“While this is an exciting moment, there is still much work to be done. To compete and thrive in today’s global economy, we must give all our children an opportunity to succeed.”

For President Obama, the move was no doubt motivated in part by political calculus — the policy change will doubtlessly mobilize young Hispanic voters to come out in full force on election day.

Unlike Obama, Hancock isn’t facing a competitive re-election campaign this year, or, more than likely, ever. The mayor’s support of comprehensive, progressive immigration reform, then, is less designed to garner political support and more an example of Hancock taking advantage of his office to advocate for policies he actually believes in.

There’s no risk or reward for Hancock in pushing the positions he does: he’ll get re-elected either way. Still, by taking a bold stance on issues especially relevant in the west, Denver’s mayor may yet succeed at raising his national profile.

At the very least, Hancock bolsters the Obama campaign’s talking points in the mountain west. As the mayor of the region’s second-largest city, Hancock’s support enables Obama to crow about coalitions behind him on issues which affect actual states, municipalities, and people.  


Guzman, Steadman, Ferrandino: Grand Marshals at PrideFest this Weekend

Denver’s annual PrideFest is set to kick off tomorrow, with Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli fame headlining Saturday’s festivities at Civic Center Park — or at least doing an admirable job of pretending to headline, as it were.

The 80s lip-syncing pop star aside, however, this year’s PrideFest promises to be even more politically charged than usual in the wake of the contentious civil unions battle at the State Capitol last month.

While Democrats have long participated in the PrideFest parade, they’ll likely receive the warmest reception to date because of their forceful and repeated attempts to pass civil unions legislation in the face of House Speaker Frank McNulty’s machinations.

It’s fitting, then, that the Senate and House sponsors of the civil unions bil — Denver Democrats Pat Steadman and Mark Ferrandino, respectively — will be the parade’s grand marshals this year, joined by the legislature’s two other openly gay lawmakers: Denver Senator Lucia Guzman and Wheat Ridge Representative Sue Schafer.

While Steadman and company would’ve no doubt preferred this to be the first PrideFest following Colorado’s adoption of a civil unions law, this may very well be the last celebration without one: the speaker’s boneheaded impetuousness has all but assured that Democrats will have the majority they need to pass the bill next session.

Perhaps, then, it would’ve been more fitting for McNulty to be grand marshal.


Rowena Alegría to Lead Hancock’s Communications Shop

Nearly six months after Wil Alston stepped down from the job, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has brought in a new communications director: Rowena Alegría, former Denver Post scribe and, until April, editor of the bilingual Viva Colorado.

From Hancock’s office:

Mayor Hancock Appoints Rowena Alegría as Communications Director

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today appointed Rowena Alegría as Director of Communications. Alegría recently served as Editor and Publisher of The Denver Post’s Viva Colorado and has nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of journalism and communications.

“Ro is an ideal addition to our team, bringing an invaluable blend of communications experience, knowledge of our City and civic wherewithal,” Mayor Hancock said. “A daughter of Denver, Ro is a well-respected community leader and journalist. She shares this administration’s values of collaboration and compassion, and will help build on our work to create a more open and inclusive City of Denver.”

Since 2006, Alegría has been leading efforts to make Viva Colorado the most influential multimedia news outlet for local Latinos. Through her leadership and management, she transformed the publication into an award-winning and respected news outlet within the City of Denver and the Latino community.

As Director of Communications, Alegría will oversee all media relations and craft and execute the administration’s internal and external communications. She will begin on Monday, June 18.

“Mayor Hancock and I are cut from similar cloth. I, too, come from humble beginnings, and yet my family has accomplished great things through hard work and determination,” Alegría said. “I am honored to join the Hancock Administration and work side-by-side with him and his dedicated and talented team. As a Denver native, I could not be more proud to serve a mayor who sees my hometown as a world-class city where everyone – everyone – matters.”

Alegría served in several capacities over her initial 12-year career with the Denver Post, including copy editor, assistant copy desk chief and assistant business editor. She managed the Post’s award-winning Tech Team during the boom and bust of the Internet and supervised coverage of the Qwest takeover of U.S. West, as well as directed business news coverage in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Following her time at the Post, Alegría started her own communications consulting group where she developed and implemented communications strategies for a variety of organizations, including the National Endowment for Financial Education and Denver Public Schools.

As Editor and Publisher of Viva Colorado, Alegría re-launched the paper in a bilingual and digital format. The Viva team won numerous awards, including being named the Best Spanish-language newspaper website in the nation by Editor & Publisher magazine.

Alegría is active in the Denver community, serving as president of the board of Servicios de la Raza, as a member of the Hispanic Advisory Council at Florence Crittenton High School and on planning committees for various community events. She graduated from Lincoln High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver, Magna Cum Laude.

Alegría is an incredible addition to Hancock’s team. While running the communications shop for one of Colorado’s highest-profile elected officials might have been too much for Wil Alston, there’s no question that Alegría’s skill set as a former newspaper editor will translate nicely to her role in the mayor’s office. Neither Alston nor Alegría, however, have the national media connections which Hancock craves, but the new communications director likely won’t have to jump over — and certainly won’t create — the same stumbling blocks as her predecessor. She’ll have a much friendlier relationship with the Denver press corps, at the very least.

Still, the timing of Alegría’s appointment should raise some eyebrows. Alston, after all, stepped down from his role in January of this year. Ostensibly, then, Hancock’s been shopping for a replacement for a whopping six months — an extraordinarily long search considering the importance of the press shop in shaping his administration.

Alegría left Viva Colorado in early April, a full two months after Hancock’s office commenced its search for a new communications director. It’s unlikely that she was a candidate for the job immediately following Alston’s departure. Alegría left Viva two months ago, after all. If she had a job lined up in the Hancock administration in April, she would’ve pivoted straight from the newspaper to the press shop.

Far more likely is that Alegría’s “departure” from Viva Colorado was part of the Denver Post’sViva’s parent company — pervasive cost-cutting measures.  

Laid off in April, then, Alegría was the perfect candidate to take on a new job in the mayor’s office.

Still, just why did this search drag on for so long? Was Hancock ready to announce a replacement, only to hold off once Alegría — an incredible fit for the job — became available? Or was the Viva Colorado editor the top choice from the start, and simply had to wait until the Post’s inevitable budget cuts forced her out of the newspaper business?

These questions won’t keep Alegría from hitting the ground running, but it’s certainly ironic that a former reporter is taking on a new, public-facing job with some unanswered questions lurking in the background.  


Metro Provides Tuition Equity, With or Without Legislature’s Blessing

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was no doubt displeased with death of Senate Bill 12-015, which would’ve created new state university tuition rates for Colorado’s undocumented students, at the hands of the House Finance Committee.  

Hancock, after all, was an early and vocal proponent of the so-called ASSET bill.

That displeasure, however, has most certainly been dulled by Metropolitan State College of Denver’s implementation of special tuition rates all on its own.

From the mayor’s office:

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today applauded Metropolitan State College of Denver and the Board of Trustees’ for passing the “Colorado Unsubsidized Tuition Rate.” The Mayor released the following statement:

“Today, I applaud Metro State and their Board for approving a new tuition rate for Colorado students who — through no fault of their own — do not have lawful status to be eligible for in-state tuition.

“With this vote, the Board took a courageous step to provide all of Denver and the state of Colorado’s students with opportunities they need and deserve to succeed in a global economy. This tuition rate will not only provide students greater access to postsecondary education, but will help the entire state realize the investment we’ve made in our students throughout their academic careers.

“The City of Denver is proud to have this local college act boldly to help all our students fulfill their potential, help strengthen our workforce and help create a sustainable economy.”

While we don’t think Hancock lobbied for Metro’s new tuition rate, we’re certain that the public blessing of Denver’s top politico certainly made it easier for the school’s Board of Trustees to approve the controversial policy change.

So while Hancock’s political capital may have been ineffective at making a statewide change, Denver’s mayor has certainly proven his mettle at affecting citywide issues that technically fall outside of the purview of his office. And because Metro’s new rates can be used as powerful ammunition when a new permutation of the bill is inevitably introduced next legislative session, perhaps Hancock’s role as a cheerleader may be more meaningful than a few press releases let on.



Urban Camping Ban “Grace Period” Now Over

 Technically not a blanket

Well that didn’t last long.

Just a week after announcing that it would hold off on enforcing the recently-enacted “urban camping ban,” the Denver Police Department is arresting those in violation of the ordinance, according to 7News:

Denver police have begun enforcing a ban on overnight camping in the city limits.

7NEWS was there as Denver police arrested some people near Civic Center Park on Monday night.

The new ordinance doesn’t ban sleeping outside, but it does ban any use of a shelter, which includes sleeping bags, bedrolls, blankets or any form of cover or protection from the elements other than clothing.

So blankets aren’t allowed, but clothing is? Seems that instead of attacking the ordinance’s sponsor, critics of the ban should start accepting Snuggie contributions.

Jokes aside, if DPD officers really are making arrests, they’re doing so in violation of the ordinance’s enforcement protocol, which “requires both a verbal and written citation in addition to several layers of assessment before any action takes place.”


Denver Crime Laboratory Dedicated this Morning

Although the Denver Police Department’s brand new crime lab was officially dedicated about an hour ago, you still have a chance to sneak a peek at the 36 million dollar facility over the next few days.

From Denver Mayor Michael Hancock:

DENVER, CO ­- Monday, June 04, 2012 – Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, Manager of Safety, Alex Martinez, Denver Chief of Police, Robert White, Denver District Attorney, Mitch Morrissey,  Chief Operations Office of Denver Public Works and Better Denver Bond Implementation Manager, George Delaney, and other City Officials will dedicate the new Denver Crime Laboratory. The new laboratory is part of the 2007 voter approved Better Denver Bond program.

WHAT: Ribbon cutting for Denver’s new crime laboratory

WHO:  Michael B. Hancock, Denver Mayor

Jeanne Robb, Denver City Councilwoman District 10

Alex Martinez, Manager of Safety

Robert White, Chief of Denver Police

Mitch Morrissey, District Attorney

George Delaney, Chief Operations Officer of Denver Public Works and Better Denver Bond Implementation Manager

Gregg LaBerge, Director of the Denver Crime Laboratory

WHERE: 1371 Cherokee Street, next to the DPD Administration Building

WHEN: 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, June 5, 2012  

MORE: After the speeches, officials will cut a ribbon to mark that the building is ready to solve cases. Also, tours of the laboratory will be available until 12:30 p.m. Refreshments will also be provided courtesy of JE Dunn Construction Company.

As noted at Westword, today’s your last chance to score tickets for a free tour:

And between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. today — and today only — you can pick up tickets for a free, thirty-minute tour that will be offered from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on June 8, 9 and 10. Get your free passes — four per person is the limit — in the lobby at the Police Administration Building, 1331 Cherokee Street.

The 77,000 square foot facility is one of 290 projects funded by the Better Denver Bond Program approved by Denver voters in 2007. While the laboratory will doubtlessly improve DPD’s crime-solving efforts — and, as a result, create a safer city — there are probably a few tight-fisted city critics questioning the rationale behind commissioning artwork from noted sculptor and landscape architect Cliff Garten.

Then again, of course the laboratory needed some striking aesthetic finishes. How else is Denver going to attract forensic science talent like Ted Danson?


Denver’s Streets Safe No Longer: Doug Bruce out of Jail

Former State Representative Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights author Doug Bruce stepped out of the Denver County Jail early this morning, released on good behavior — really? — after serving 103 days of a 180 day sentence.

From Fox 31:

DENVER – After spending 103 days in jail, convicted tax evader Douglas Bruce was released early Thursday morning. He made claims of innocence and called the jail system “sadistic” while detailing the “slop” food and his “mistaken” trips to solitary confinement.

Bruce, 62, was convicted in December of tax evasion and three other tax-related crimes tied to his non-profit organization Active Citizens Together. He was sentenced in February to 180 days in jail. However, that sentence was reduced on May 7 for good behavior.

Bruce called the system sadistic as he detailed his time spent working in the kitchen. “They serve this inedible, unsanitary food… (the deputies) didn’t serve (the inmates) regular porridge, they served them cream of white, which is tasteless paste,” he said.

It’s no surprise that the same Doug Bruce who kicked a reporter on his first day as a legislator had a few pointed words about his treatment in jail. Vitriol, after all, is a calling card of sorts for the Colorado Springs Republican.

What’s a little more shocking, however, is that Bruce has the gall to criticize the level of service he received as an inmate at a taxpayer-funder institution. Of course the porridge is “tasteless paste” — Colorado simply doesn’t have the money to feed its prisoners real food!

Seriously, though, what was Bruce expecting? Lobster? Filet mignon? His TABOR amendment has for twenty years crippled government services in this state, and yet somehow Bruce is surprised that his meals were tasteless and his cell a little less than palatial?

As Bruce ages, he becomes less and less an “anti-tax crusader” and more and more a cantankerous senior citizen who simply doesn’t seem to grasp how government works.

It’s almost funny until it dawns on you just how much of an impact he’s had on Colorado.  


Can Diana DeGette Really Speak for All of Colorado?

In the wake of President Obama’s visit to Denver last week, CD-1 Representative Diana DeGette scored a choice quote on The Hill:

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said Bennet was successful largely by contrasting his liberal positions on social issues like abortion against those of the conservative Buck. Obama can build on that strategy, DeGette said, arguing that her constituents are much closer to Obama than Romney on issues like birth control, the Violence Against Women Act – which is stalled in Congress over GOP objections to its scope – and gay marriage, which Obama endorsed earlier in the month.  

“The president is in sync with the voters of Colorado on that,” DeGette said. “[He] would really do well to talk about those issues here.”

DeGette isn’t wrong, necessarily, especially considering recent polling that gives the president a healthy lead in the state, especially among hispanics and women.

Still, DeGette’s quote begs the question: does the congresswoman from Colorado’s safest district really grasp the entire Colorado electorate? There’s no question that DeGette’s constituents are “much closer to Obama than Romney” — district Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, after all — but CD-1 in no way mirrors the electoral thermometer of the state as a whole. If it did, Colorado wouldn’t be labeled a “swing state” and The Hill most certainly wouldn’t dedicate pixels to profiling Obama’s “rocky path.”

And while DeGette may indeed be an effective legislator, she’s never really had the occasion to prove her mettle as a campaigner. After all, the Denver Democrat hasn’t had a real opponent in years. That’s less because DeGette can motivate voters and more because no Republican, logically, has been able to win a seat with a Cook PVI rating of D+21.

In short, if The Hill wanted to truly discuss Obama’s chances of winning in Colorado, they should’ve solicited quotes from the moderate candidates who have won statewide and not from the liberal representative who has little reason to leave her incredibly safe district.  


John Kidd Set to Win HD-1 Republican Primary

Despite the fact that it is “mathematically impossible” for a Republican to win in Denver’s House District 1, the seat has nonetheless drawn two Republican challengers: John Kidd and James Wildt.

According to recently-filed finance reports, however, it’s as if Wildt isn’t a candidate at all. The accountant has raised a mere $1,240 since the campaign’s outset, and he’s spent nearly every dime of that and more.

Kidd hasn’t brought in much more than Wildt — raising only $1,660 — but the businessman seems to have his heart set on winning the seat, having loaned himself $15,500. That loan should be more than enough to secure him the Republican nomination, but it’s an oddity: why would anyone loan their campaign money — money that can only be repaid from other funds raised — for a race they’re certain to lose? Neither Democrat boasts remarkable fundraising numbers, but the district’s demographics utterly preclude Kidd from winning no matter how much money he funnels into his campaign coffers. It’s unlikely, in fact, that Kidd will even raise enough money to repay his loan.

It’s a strange race. In many ways, Wildt is a more natural Republican candidate for such a heavily Democratic seat — a homeowner’s association president who seems to really care about the area and posts goofily charming pictures of his dogs on his website. Any Republican in the district would be a sacrificial lamb, but Wildt is running less because he wants to win, it seems, and more because he honestly believes “in the true Republican tradition of limited government.” His entire candidacy is summed up in his campy campaign slogan: “Let’s take back House District 1…Vote for Jim and Together We’ll Win.” Jim won’t win, but he’ll have hell of a fun time in the process of losing.

Kidd’s whole candidacy, on the other hand, seems rather odd. The insurance salesman is either wholly convinced he can spend enough of his personal wealth to win the race or views the campaign as some sort of cure-all for a mid-life crisis. His website is peppered with photos of Kidd posing with a few notable Republican politicians, and it appears that Kidd really invested some time and rhetoric into his “issues” page. He’s a surprisingly credible candidate, but that doesn’t change the fact that he cannot win the seat. Perhaps he views even the Republican nomination — which is a lock — as a crowning achievement to his career in business and volunteer service. Either that or he’s delusional enough to spend money and time on a race which would make even Don Quixote think twice.  


Urban Camping Ban in Effect, “Grace Period” for Now

While Denver’s controversial urban camping ban technically went into effect yesterday at midnight, the Denver Police Department — with the blessing of Mayor Michael Hancock — is holding off on enforcing the ordinance during a “grace period” during which officers and residents alike will be informed of its provisions.

The reluctance to enforce the ban highlights the difficulty in communicating the effects of the law to a homeless population which, by definition, often lacks the means of direct communication.

Westword’s Kelsey Whipple reports:

Today marks the announced effective date of Denver’s new urban camping ban, an ordinance that makes it illegal to camp on public or private property without permission. After months of debate, followed by a two-week implementation period, both Occupy Denver and the homeless community prepared for its first day in action. They’re still waiting. “We are not enforcing the ordinance right now,” says Denver Police Department spokesman John White.

So far, the spokesman has not heard of any official warnings being given, and any verbal ones are considered routine as the department approaches enforcement. “We got our word from (Denver Police Chief Robert) White that we are not to enforce it yet,” says the detective. Although the ban went into effect at midnight, he did not outline a specific date for enforcement to begin. Instead, the department is exercising a grace period while officers and residents learn more about the ban.

Over the past two weeks, officers have been trained in the ban’s enforcement protocol, which requires both a verbal and written citation in addition to several layers of assessment before any action takes place. Officers also visited several area homeless shelters to discuss the ban’s implications and protocol with providers before it goes into effect, Detective White says.

Although this “grace period” may indeed ameliorate some of the humanitarian criticisms lodged against the ordinance, it also arms critics with some powerful ammunition.

After all, the DPD’s hesitation to enforce the ban — and the difficulty in enforcing it at all — can be framed as an indication that the ordinance was poorly thought out and rushed through the City Council without due diligence paid to its potential implications.

One such unintended consequence is, of course, the incentivization for “campers” to, well, break the law:

At least one occupier plans to stay in the park until he is removed by police officers. “I don’t care if they arrest me on the sidewalk,” says Tommy, who asked that his last name be withheld. “At least I won’t be homeless anymore.”



Delusions of Victory Run Wild in CD-1 GOP Primary

Danny Stroud, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Denver who in 2010 gave State Representative Jeanne Labuda a run for her money, has a little bit of unexpected company in his bid to take on Congresswoman Diana DeGette.  

The Colorado Statesman’s Ben Conarck has the story:

Former Denver Republican Party Chairman Danny Stroud is a well-known personality in the 1st Congressional District who is clamoring for a chance to take on incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, but a truck driving political neophyte may deny him the opportunity.

Stroud’s primary opponent, 61 year-old Denver resident Richard Murphy, is virtually unknown in Colorado politics, so much so that Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call had to call Stroud looking for the trucker’s phone number.

Although Stroud – a Denver businessman who just turned 59 – still won the top line at the CD 1 nominating assembly on April 13 with 81 votes, or 56 percent, Murphy’s candidacy was buoyed by a surprise showing of Ron Paul supporters who secured his place on the ballot with 46 votes, amounting to 44 percent.

It’s as surprising to Stroud as it is to many observers, of course, that there’s a Republican primary in CD-1 at all. Winning the Republican nomination to challenge DeGette essentially wins you the opportunity to become another electoral loser whose name is  tossed into the dustbin of history. As Conarck points out, DeGette’s district overwhelmingly favors the incumbent: there are two registered Democrats for every Republican. In fact, the only way a Republican could win the Denver seat is if he or she turned out every Republican voter and won the vote of every single unaffiliated voter.

The inevitability of defeat, then, is what makes Stroud’s take on Murphy’s candidacy so confusing:

Referring to the fact that Murphy is often trucking back and forth across the country, Stroud dismissed the possibility that he could potentially beat DeGette, saying that running for Congress wasn’t a “part time job.”

“Here’s the deal. If somebody’s going to beat DeGette, they have to be motivated to beat DeGette. They can’t just be motivated to beat me,” Stroud said. “The way things are going in politics, it’s conceivable he could win the primary, but he can’t beat DeGette. I’m the only one that can beat DeGette.”

It’s easy to understand why Stroud would object to and question the candidacy of the interloper Murphy. But by framing his primary opponent’s campaign as leading to certain defeat at the hands of DeGette makes Stroud look delusional. Stroud, of course, should never openly admit that he can’t win, but by criticizing Murphy’s poor odds against the incumbent, Stroud turns the camera back on his own chance at winning the seat. He may think that he’s “the only one that can beat DeGette,” but he can’t, and by parroting his electability to win the Republican primary, Stroud makes his eventual loss in the general election that much more excruciating.  


Denver’s Olympic Bid Inches Forward

If Denver first started to become recognized as a “world-class city” — to borrow Mayor Hancock’s talking point — during a coming-out party of sorts while hosting the 2008 Democratic National Convention, bringing the Winter Olympics to town would seal the deal.

From ESPN:

Colorado’s governor and the mayor of Denver say they’re pleased the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee have reached a revenue-sharing agreement.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock said the agreement is one step in a marathon toward a potential USOC bid for the return of the Olympics to U.S. soil.

Denver is among cities that have expressed early interest in bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

While Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper would no longer be in office by the time the Olympic games roll around, Hancock could ostensibly be rounding out his third term as Denver’s mayor.

Hosting the Winter Olympics would be a crowning achievement on top of much of the work both Hancock and Hickenlooper have accomplished in their respective terms of office. For Hancock, who has struggled to splash onto the national stage as loudly as he would’ve liked, the Olympics — and perhaps more importantly, the selection of Denver as the 2022 host city — would vindicate all of the mayor’s efforts to brand Denver as world-class. And as Denver’s profile rises, so too would the political star of Denver’s mayor.

As for the reluctantly-charismatic Hickenlooper, well, bringing the Olympics to Colorado would just be another accomplishment which the governor could parlay into talking points for a national campaign, whether Hick wants it or not.  


Labuda Outraising Houck in HD-1 Primary

Incumbent State Representative Jeanne Labuda has over six times more cash-on-hand than her upstart primary opponent Corrie Houck, according to finance reports released earlier this month.

While Labuda had an anemic fundraising period by most standards – she raised only about $2,300 – her opponent did even worse, raising a hair over $1,600.

Houck clearly hasn’t been able to connect with donors, given she’s only brought in $3,600 since she kicked off her campaign. For her part, Labuda’s raised over $9,000 – a relatively paltry sum, but significant when compared to her challenger’s haul.

With the June primary fast approaching, Houck’s in a bad spot. Labuda has a full $8,000 to spend over the next month, compared to just $1,200 for her opponent. With such a gigantic fundraising gap to leap, Houck’s path to victory is obstructed, at the very least. Simply put, Corrie Houck had to raise more money than her opponent in order to stay competitive. Sure, the incumbent has made crippling mistakes which could’ve severely hindered her chances of re-election, but those mistakes patently do not matter if voters aren’t aware of them. Houck doesn’t have enough money in the bank to make the case that she’s a better candidate than Labuda. She certainly doesn’t have enough to raise her name ID to a point where voters will pick her over the candidate for whom they’ve voted three times before.

Beyond that, Houck’s terrible fundraising also betrays her entire justification for challenging Labuda in the first place. Houck staged a primary campaign, in part, because of complaints about Labuda’s deficiencies as a campaigner. Yet if Labuda is able to outraise Houck by such large margins, doesn’t that mean she’s probably the better candidate for the general election?

Still, Houck’s challenge has certainly made Labuda nervous. The incumbent representative has spent about $12,500 — $3,500 more than she’s raised. That’s nearly four times as much money as Houck has spent. Perhaps the person most confident in Corrie Houck winning the race, then, is Jeanne Labuda: why else would she spend such incredible amounts of money against an opponent who hasn’t even proven her credibility? To make up for her difference in money raised and money spent, Labuda had to give herself a $7,500 loan. While a loan is nominally different than donating money to yourself, it still opens up Labuda to the criticism that she’s willing to buy a fourth term of office.

It’s a shame, then, that Corrie Houck doesn’t have enough cash-on-hand to air that criticism.


Albus Brooks Catching Flak over Urban Camping Ban

Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks is continuing to receive criticism over the “urban camping ban” which was passed by the City Council last week and will go into effect later this month. Brooks, of course, shepherded the ordinance throughout the process and has borne the brunt of vilification as a result.  

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock praised Brooks’ work on the issue in a press release last week:

“This ordinance will allow us to continue our compassionate and comprehensive work to connect those in need with vital services and get them to self-sufficiency. It also allows us to maintain the workability and livability of our vibrant city.”

“This was a courageous vote and I applaud Councilman Brooks for his thoughtful leadership on this ordinance. My administration – including the Police Department, Human Services and Denver’s Road Home – is committed to successfully implementing this new law while we work with all of our partners to deliver a world-class city where everyone matters.”

Hancock’s kind words came after the City Council’s final vote on the issue, after which opponents of the bill — primarily composed of remnants from the near-defunct Occupy Denver movement — became rather aggressive in their protest.

From Westword’s Kelsey Whipple:

On Monday, Denver City Council voted 9-4 to pass an urban camping ordinance, and the meeting wasn’t pretty: Opponents shouted “Shame!” at the councilmembers, turned their backs on the proceedings and launched a sit-in outside council chambers. From there, roughly fifty protesters followed the pro-ban council members to their cars, where they shouted lines such as “See you in hell!” as police officers cleared the way for ordinance sponsor Albus Brooks and others to leave the building.

Predictably, tempers have cooled a bit since last week’s vote, but the City Council, and Brooks in particular, are still being attacked by a core group of vehement activists. Brooks already engaged with several of these critics over social media immediately following the vote — which, as Whipple notes, he now regrets — but even without his participation, Brooks continues to be skewered by social media.

On Saturday afternoon, the “Committee to End the Political Career of Albus Brooks” popped up on Facebook, complete with vicious language and everything:

Albus Brooks the City Councilman for Denver’s 8th District. He authored the anti-compassionate and highly authoritarian illegalization of homeless persons, and therefore terminated any legitimacy he may have had for governance. We intend to end his career in public service because he does not understand the concept in the first place.

The bill is also intended to squash Occupy Denver, which shows that Albus Brooks is also delusional, yet another reason to oust the miscreant.

No matter how much vitriol this group — which counts Denver School Board Member Andrea Merida among its ranks — spews, it simply won’t have any impact at all. The urban camping ban is going to go into effect no matter how much noise a fringe group of disaffected agitators makes. In fact, by personalizing this issue vis-a-vis Albus Brooks, these protestors actually discredit their entire “movement.” There were and are legitimate reasons to oppose the bill — as evidenced by the no votes cast by Councilors Paul Lopez, Debbie Ortega, Robin Kniech, and Susan Shepherd — but this “committee” isn’t interested in civil discourse about legislation and the legislative process. This group isn’t interested in supporting or creating good public policy. Rather, its members champion a “with us or against us” mentality under which every opponent is a delusional miscreant.

As for ending Brooks’ career in public service, well, that’s little more than a fool’s errand. Brooks, elected last year, has a full three years left before his next campaign. That’s plenty of time to smooth over this controversy and any others he’ll be a part of during his term. He could, of course, be recalled, but for some reason we doubt a 46 member Facebook group has the wherewithal to even begin that process.  

And even if Brooks was forced into a recall election, there’s no doubt he’d come up on top. The urban camping ban isn’t an issue that matters to most voters. Even if it was, for every citizen offended by the ordinance, there are probably five others who see it as a positive good.  


Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em. Quick!

Bad news if you’re a smoker: DIA will no longer allow any puffing under its roof. The smoking ban won’t go completely into effect until 2018, though, so you’ll have plenty of time to smoke a pack or 2000 in between flights.

From Fox31:

On Friday, DIA managers announced they will support Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s plans to eliminate all four of the current indoor smoking lounges.

Three of the four will be shut down for remodeling to make room for new “non-smoking concessions concepts,” the airport said. The third, Timberline Steakhouse, will shut down after its lease expires in 2018.

“I am committed to public health and the safety of everyone who visits, lives in or conducts business in our great city,” said Mayor Hancock. “DIA is the last public building in Colorado where indoor smoking lounges are still in operation. While they are legally allowed, we believe the responsible decision is to eliminate these facilities in order to better protect the wellbeing of everyone who uses the airport.”

This smoking ban might not seem like much, but it’s very much in line with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s efforts to turn Denver into a “world-class city.” Denver’s airport — the fifth busiest in the country — has been a hold out of sorts in even allowing smoking in the first place: only a handful of “hub” airports permit visitors to light up indoors. In its own infinitesimal way, then, banning smoking at DIA modernizes the city. Not necessarily because it’s a major policy change, but rather because it brings Denver’s image in line with that of other major cities (including Chicago and NYC) — especially for those who develop their first impression of the state when stepping off a jet-bridge.  


Melton Handily Outraising Todd in HD-41 Primary

If Democrat Jovan Melton wasn’t considered the frontrunner in his primary campaign against Terry Todd after taking over 60% of the vote at March’s county assembly, it’s certainly safe to award him the title now.

In the fundraising period ending May 2nd, Melton hauled in nearly $12,000, spending about $7,500. That’s a healthy burn rate in consideration of the June primary about a month a way – with nearly $7,000 on hand, Melton can spend as much money as he thinks he needs to take down Todd in June. He’ll have to continue bringing in cash, of course, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the political staffer. Indeed, Melton has demonstrated that he can count on many of his previous political colleagues to both write checks and raise money – former Romer for Mayor campaign Manager Adam Dunstone has written Melton a check, as has former Denver mayoral candidates Carol Boigon and James Mejia, influential Denver attorney Cole Finegan, and political consultant David Cole. The list goes on and on. Based off of Melton’s fundraising list alone, it’s no logical leap to label him the “establishment candidate” – odd considering his opponent is the husband of the incumbent.

For his part, Terry Todd raised a paltry $2,400 in the same fundraising period, adding to the $6,500 he had on hand from the start. Of that, Todd spent about $5,200, leaving the former educator with about $3,650.

Things look bleak for Todd, to say the least. Melton has nearly twice as much money in reserve to play around with in the next month – the most important time to connect with voters before the election. While Todd’s numbers aren’t necessarily anemic, they certainly pale in comparison to Melton’s: Melton has raised about $18,000 compared to $10,700 for Todd. In fact, Melton has spent $500 more than Todd’s even brought in to date.

Money isn’t everything in political campaigns: Todd’s name ID is nothing to scoff at in his wife’s district, and we’re sure Nancy is doing everything she can to eke out a win for her husband. Still, if your opponent is outraising and outspending you at every stage of a campaign – and if he has twice as much money as you at the stage where money matters most – the odds aren’t in your favor.

And if Terry Todd is struggling to win a Democratic primary for his wife’s seat, what does that say about the incumbent? Nancy Todd only faces nominal Republican opposition in her bid for Senate District 28, but her own political capital will take a sizable hit if Jovan Melton seizes the Democratic nomination for her old House seat on June 26.  


Obama to Visit Denver this Week

If you’re itching to catch a glimpse of President Barack Obama — and missed him when he visited Boulder last month –you’ve got about an hour to purchase some exorbitantly priced tickets.

State Representative Crisanta Duran, one of Obama’s most loyal lieutenants in the state, is also the point person for access to the president this week.

From Duran:

LAST CHANCE to buy tickets to join President Obama for a reception with supporters like you

Tickets are going quickly! Click here and RSVP NOW! You must make your reservation by 7:00pm!  

What: Obama Victory Fund 2012 – Reception with President Obama


The Hyatt Regency

650 15th Street

Denver, CO

When: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doors open at 12:30 PM, please arrive no later than 2:00 PM

By “supporters like you,” of course, Rep. Duran means “supporters willing to pay between $250.00 and $40,000.”

If you don’t happen to have that kind of money laying around, don’t worry. That the president of the United States has visited Colorado twice in as many months indicates just how much importance the Obama campaign is assigning to Colorado. If you don’t see him Wednesday, we’re sure there’ll be several other opportunities between now and November.  


Denver Civic Center Likely to Receive Landmark Designation

The Denver Civic Center – spanning between the City and County Building and the Colorado State Capitol – is on track to become a National Historical Landmark as designated by the United States National Park Service.

From Denver Mayor Michael Hancock:

WASHINGTON D.C. – Denver Civic Center was recommended by a U.S. Department of the Interior agency to become a National Historic Landmark – moving Denver one step closer to receiving the first designation of this kind in the city.

On Tuesday, at the Spring 2012 National Park System Advisory Board Landmarks Committee Meeting, Mayor Michael B. Hancock gave personal testimony to support Civic Center’s candidacy.

“Civic Center serves as the keystone for the entire Denver Parks system and sits literally where the City’s cultural, community and commercial realms converge,” Mayor Hancock said at the Meeting. “For Civic Center to receive the honor of becoming National Historic Landmark would shine a spotlight on this city treasure and help to deliver Denver as a world-class city.”

The Denver Civic Center recommended for designation includes Civic Center Park, Veteran’s Park, the McNichols Building, the City and County Building and the Colorado State Capitol.

A legacy park from Mayor Speer’s City Beautiful Movement, Civic Center would join a list of some of the most iconic, treasured and historically significant spaces in the United States. Designation would place Civic Center alongside such sites as the Empire State Building, the Alamo and the Library of Congress.

On May 22 and 23, Civic Center’s recommendation will go to the National Park Service Advisory Board for further consideration. The board will advance their recommendations to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who will officially designate the new National Historic Landmarks.

For more details, go to:

As noted in the press release, there are currently no National Historic Landmarks within Denver’s borders. If selected, however, the Denver Civic Center would join the ranks of 22 other sites within Colorado, including Bent’s Fort and Pike’s Peak.  

While the Civic Center’s selection is by no means certain, it’s safe to assume that former Colorado Attorney General, Senator, and current Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has a considerable voice in the process. Salazar, in fact, has the final say, and his ties to the Square State may indeed give the Denver Civic Center a leg up in the competition for nomination.

In light of the scrutiny the area has received as part of this nomination process, perhaps Denver’s urban camping ban – which takes effect in just over ten days – was designed less as an effort to deal with the Occupy Movement and more as one to put Denver’s best foot forward. What kind of historic landmark would the Civic Center be if people slept in it overnight, after all? God forbid.  


Candidates and Campaign Loans

Campaign Loans – an Ethics Conflict?

As you look through the various campaign and campaign committee filings, one thing stands out. The number of candidates who are making loans to their campaigns as opposed to simply direct contributions. This essentialy guarantees that the candidate will raise money and repay themselves with an appropriate rate of interest. The campaign then becomes less of a matter of doing it in the public interest and more of an investment with a guaranteed rate of return. Think of it as a short term CD without the bank’s insurance. If you truly believe what you are doing is right then do it without the expectation of public payback.