A few days ago we took note of baffling votes by Michael Hancock and Doug Linkhart, two Denver Mayoral hopefuls (and current Denver City Council members) who all but committed campaign suicide when they voted to approve pay increases for Council members.
Hancock and Linkhart are both trying hard to defend those votes, as Fox 31 reports:
A recent post on the well-read ColoradoPols blog showed Hancock and Linkhart’s faces photo-shopped onto a sinking Titanic and called their vote “tone deaf”, especially amidst the election…
…In a statement sent out Wednesday afternoon, Linkhart said he would forgo the pay increase if elected mayor, but noted that the 6.6 percent salary increase won’t take effect until 2014.
“This is a non-issue for today’s budget,” said Linkhart. “We should be delaying any increase in deference to the economy, but not engaging in political posturing regarding future increases that are spelled out in city ordinance.”
Like Linkhart, Hancock also promised to decline the cost of living adjustment if he’s elected mayor, but defended his vote to increase council members’ salaries.
“I believe very strongly that we can’t let public service or politics become a playground for only the rich,” Hancock said. “Serving on the Denver City Council is a full-time job, and we need to ensure that working-class, diverse groups of people have the opportunity to lead Denver in the future.”
As we’ve said time and time again here on Colorado Pols, when you make a mistake on a campaign — STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. There is nothing that Linkhart and Hancock can say that will make their asinine votes on Monday seem any less damaging, but they can certainly help make things worse…which they both managed to do by drawing more attention to their mistakes.
As for their statements, Linkhart’s rationale on Monday’s vote — that it doesn’t affect the current budget — does nothing to make the vote look better. Nobody cares when the pay raise takes effect. Denver is facing a $100 million deficit now. Politics, like much in life, is all about perception.
But thankfully for Linkhart, Hancock’s statement is even worse. For some reason, Hancock insists on sticking with his rationale that a pay raise is necessary because “we can’t let public service or politics become a playground for only the rich.” We would agree with Hancock if he were talking about, say, the state legislature. But City Council members already earn more than $78,000 per year, plus $30,000 in benefits. Given that the average personal income in the Denver area is about $45,000, Denver City Council members are already doing pretty well.
Hancock’s statement summed up this entire fiasco for both he and Linkhart when he said, “This is about being a leader and standing up to do what is right, not what is politically expedient.” We’ve no doubt that Denver voters will agree that Monday’s vote was about “being a leader.” That’s exactly why neither Hancock nor Linkhart are likely to be elected.