CO-04 (Special Election) See Full Big Line

(R) Greg Lopez

(R) Trisha Calvarese

90%

10%

President (To Win Colorado) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Biden*

(R) Donald Trump

80%

20%↓

CO-01 (Denver) See Full Big Line

(D) Diana DeGette*

90%

CO-02 (Boulder-ish) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Neguse*

90%

CO-03 (West & Southern CO) See Full Big Line

(D) Adam Frisch

(R) Jeff Hurd

(R) Ron Hanks

40%

30%

20%

CO-04 (Northeast-ish Colorado) See Full Big Line

(R) Lauren Boebert

(R) Deborah Flora

(R) J. Sonnenberg

30%↑

15%↑

10%↓

CO-05 (Colorado Springs) See Full Big Line

(R) Dave Williams

(R) Jeff Crank

(R) Bob Gardner

50%↑

40%↑

10%↓

CO-06 (Aurora) See Full Big Line

(D) Jason Crow*

90%

CO-07 (Jefferson County) See Full Big Line

(D) Brittany Pettersen

85%↑

 

CO-08 (Northern Colo.) See Full Big Line

(D) Yadira Caraveo

(R) Gabe Evans

(R) Janak Joshi

60%↑

35%↓

30%↑

State Senate Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

80%

20%

State House Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

95%

5%

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

JEDC: Don Rosier “Elected Official of the Year”

No surprise here. Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier, who’s recently risen to become the face of the Board of Commissioners as a whole, was last week selected as the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation’s “elected official of the year.”

From the JEDC:

Jefferson County Economic Development

Corporation held its sixth Annual Luncheon Thursday at the Sheraton Denver West.

Donald Rosier, Jefferson County Commissioner was named the Elected Official of the Year, Mike Partheymuller was named Volunteer of the Year, and the Jefferson County Workforce Center was name Community Partner of the Year. “As we try to encourage job growth and capital investment in Jefferson County, it is important for us to recognize individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to Jefferson County’s economy. We were honored to present these three awards; the recipients have earned this recognition,” said Jeffco EDC’s Board Chair Buddy Douglass.

Commissioner Donald Rosier was this year’s Elected Official of the Year. He has served as Jefferson County Commissioner since 2010. He serves on the Jeffco EDC Executive  Committee and is very involved in the economic development of Jefferson County.  

Hear that? Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier is “very involved in the economic development of Jefferson County.” Apparently, doing your job is all it takes to win an award.

Congratulations are due to Rosier, of course, but this particular accomplishment comes as no surprise. Rosier, as the press release points out, serves on the JEDC board alongside Commissioners Faye Griffin and John Odom. Former Commissioner Kevin McCasky, who served briefly with Odom, controversially resigned from the Board of Commissioners to take a job as the JEDC’s chief executive. That’s four votes right there! Sure, Rosier has worked to advance Jeffco’s economic standing in line with his elected duties, but it’s not like this group would ever call someone like Max Tyler, for example, “elected official of the year.” The JEDC favors municipal leaders over state legislators, after all, and though they’ve celebrated a few Democrats in the past, the group is known to have a subtle conservative bent. Call it a “pro-business” ideology.

As a consolation prize, though, we hear that the American Mustache Institute prefers Tyler’s whiskers to Rosier’s soup strainer. Seriously, though, two politicians with prominent facial hair are two too many for one county.  

Five Commissioners in Jeffco? “We don’t have the office space,” says Board.

Adams County voters will decide at the ballot box this fall whether or not to expand their County Commission by two seats, creating a five member board in place of the current, three-commissioner composition. The proposal is a response to recent corruption in Adams County, and championed by current commissioners there as creating greater government accountability and responsiveness.

When a similar suggestion came in front of the Jefferson County Board last month, however, Commissioners John Odom, Don Rosier, and Faye Griffin scrambled to come up with any excuse to shoot the proposal down, according to a report from the Denver newspaper.

Viewed through every lens except that of a current officeholder, augmenting the Commission makes sense. Sure, it’s an “expansion of government” as Commissioner John Odom whines, but it’s not an expansion of bureaucracy. People complain about “big government” when they don’t see or can’t find the personal benefit of government services. In a county of 550,000 residents, however, a five-member commission is simply good government: additional elected officials leads to more opportunities for more constituents to have their voices heard.

Odom also notes that it isn’t practical to allow the county to elect two more commissioners in part because of “additional space requirements.” Is that really enough of a reason? Because there aren’t enough offices? Heaven forbid the commissioners share offices, or, even worse, find space in the expansive Taj Mahal to accommodate everybody. The only reasoning more foolish than the office space canard is grumbling that there aren’t enough chairs in the Commission chambers. “We don’t have enough seats,” Odom could say. “We looked into getting some folding chairs, but those aren’t really comfortable and then we would have to decide who gets the padded seats. I guess we could rotate every few months, but it’s frankly not a conversation we want to have.”

Faye Griffin’s remarks were equally absurd, worrying that overworked support staff would have to put even more hours in at the office. It’s funny how Griffin’s complaints are almost diametrically opposed to Odom’s: in a five-member commission, people would have to work harder?  Wait, but don’t we want our elected officials and their staff to work hard to earn and steward our tax dollars? Sounds like Odom’s reviled “expansion of government” may just make everybody a little more industrious, if you take his colleague’s word for it.

Don Rosier grouses that having five, district-elected commissioners would build “fiefdoms,” with each commissioner jockeying to benefit his or her own district. That’s right, Rosier believes that having commissioners catering to the specific needs of different communities across geographically and socio-economically diverse Jefferson County would somehow be a bad thing.

So, to review, Jefferson County absolutely should never, ever have five elected county commissioners because:

1) There aren’t enough offices.

2) People would have to work harder.

3) The commissioners would have to work for and respond to those living in their respective districts.

Great reasons.

These sorry excuses, however, belie the true reason guiding the commissioners’ opposition: expanding the board would dilute their personal political power. In Adams County, proponents of board expansion favor additional members because with three, after all, you only need to convince a friend to support you in order to ram public policy through the works.

Having five members, then, would lead to commissioners having to debate, consider, defend, and win votes for their proposals. Which, of course, would limit the commissioners’ ability to have their way with county government.

And why have “personal fiefdoms” when the entire county can be your domain?

Don Rosier’s Surprising Political Rise

Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier was last month selected as president of the Front Range District of Colorado Counties, an advocacy group which advises county governments across the Front Range. It’s a plum appointment for the first-term commissioner, who only took office last year after defeating incumbent Commissioner Kathy Hartman in 2010.

From the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners:

Jefferson County Commissioner Donald Rosier has been elected president of the Front Range District of Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI), a group that represents boards of county commissioners from more than 60 Colorado counties.

The CCI Front Range District includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld counties and the City & County of Denver and City & County of Broomfield. It brings together commissioners from those counties who face similar challenges such as increasing urbanization, declining revenues and accelerating demands for services for citizens. By joining together, the commissioners share knowledge and experience, have a bigger voice on legislative matters, and work together on issues that cross county lines.

Rosier, who chairs the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, was sworn in as a Jeffco commissioner in 2011, and was named CCI’s Freshman Commissioner of the Year during his first year in office.

CCI is a non-profit, membership association that provides information and education to county officials, and helps counties work together.  Rosier was elected to head the Front Range group because of his work with other counties on critical issues such as transportation and economic development.

Rosier also serves on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Community and Economic Development Committee, which develops NACo policies and represents counties across the U.S. before Congress on matters related to community development and redevelopment, housing programs, building and housing codes, subdivision regulations, public works and economic development.  Recently he was chosen as one of only 23 leaders in county government from across the U.S. to participate in a national leadership institute developed by NACo and the Cambridge Leadership Associates.

Locally, Rosier represents Jefferson County on several boards including the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation and the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority.

Rosier has quickly become the face of the Board, leading the controversial charge to complete the Denver-metropolitan beltway while still finding time to scare little kids.

He’s risen to the top of county government, however, less because of any inherent ambition or talent and more because of the power vacuum left in the wake of the Kings’ of Corruption abdications. Commissioners Jim Congrove and Kevin McCasky were so masterfully able to define — and desecrate — the Board of Commissioners because, working in tandem, they could ramrod through their policies with no questions asked. You could call it leadership, even if it was unquestionably corrupt — and occasionally bizarre.

Indeed, Rosier’s political profile has stumbled into the spotlight in part because the current Board isn’t really composed of strong personalities. Commissioner Faye Griffin, while popular, lacks the legislative chops to be anything more than a yes-woman. After decades in county government, she’s proven to be a better bureaucrat than policymaker. And while Commissioner John Odom has made some of the same mistakes as his predecessors, he’s too green — commissioner is too big for the guy who’s never successfully been elected to public office before.

And so Rosier, rocking facial hair which would make Colonel Sanders shudder, has alone been able to wield power in Jeffco. The Rosier era is doubtless an improvement over the reign of McCasky, Congrove, & company: there’s been no major corruption scandals, yet.

Still, you’ve got to wonder: is this the best we can do? Should one man really set the direction of the county as a whole? And what has Rosier accomplished, anyway?

The Taj Mahal is no longer a font of shame and outrage for Jefferson County residents. But the county government isn’t really anything to be proud of, either.

Don Rosier, then, is the rebound girlfriend of local politics: necessary to move on from past mistakes, but ultimately forgettable in the long run.  

Jeffco Line Updated

We’ve updated the Jeffco Line to reflect the results from last month’s primary election.

County Commissioner Faye Griffin faces no general election opponent this year, nor does Republican DA candidate Pete Weir. We’ve consequently removed their names from the Line.

There’s been a lot of movement in this iteration of the Jeffco Line, so we suspect, as always, that there’ll be some griping.

Have at it, then: sound off in the comments below to tell us where you think we got it wrong. You can also view the old line here.  

Poll: Who Will Win the District 2 Commissioner Seat?

Faye Griffin is set to breeze through election year. Democrats failed (or were unable) to draft a candidate to run against her, so she’s a lock for re-election. Given that Griffin’s the only sitting commissioner displaying any modicum of common sense, perhaps that’s for the best.

District 2 Commissioner John Odom, however, is left alone to defend his seat from Democratic attorney Casey Tighe. Make no mistake: it’s an uphill battle for Tighe. Odom’s incumbency will lengthen his fundraising lists, and as a Democrat, Tighe’s already starting out behind in a county which favors the GOP for countywide offices. It doesn’t help that Odom, unlike his predecessors, is more or less untouched by scandal. At least, scandal that we know of.

Still, Odom’s never won an election before. He was appointed to his current position in the wake of Kevin McCasky’s now-controversial resignation last year. His only electoral qualification, in fact, is his failed bid against Cheri Jahn in 2010.

We want to know: who do you think will be the next Jefferson County commissioner from District 2, John Odom or Casey Tighe? Remember, vote for the candidate you think will win, not the candidate you’d like to win.    

Jeffco Line: Countywide Races

Despite Jeffco electoral gains in both houses of the General Assembly, representation at the county level is one nut Jefferson County Democrats have yet to crack.

Commissioner Kathy Hartman was the lone Democratic voice in elected government at the county level until her loss last cycle. In fact, Hartman was the first Democrat elected to the Board of Commissioners in 14 years. With Hartman’s 2010 loss to Republican Don Rosier, however, the Democrats lost their last connection to the Taj Mahal.

As things stand today, it’s unlikely the Democrats will be able to reverse that trend in 2012.

Commissioner Faye Griffin, elected in 2008, seems set to ascend to a second term. Griffin, of course, is the only sitting commissioner to have signed off on the now-infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” linking the Southwest Plaza and Bowles Crossing shopping centers. That’s a definite weakness which the right challenger could use in mail pieces to link Griffin with both wasteful spending and government corruption, two talking points that even conservatives in South Jeffco could get behind. Even with that veritable Achilles heel, however, the Jeffco Dems have yet to draft a candidate for the District 1 seat.

That’s no surprise. Longtime State Senator Sue Windels lost to Griffin in 2008, taking only 42% of the vote. If Windels, who from a decade of service in state government was popular in north Jeffco, couldn’t defeat Griffin for an open seat, it’s unlikely that there’s a candidate out there who could beat the former treasurer in a re-election fight.

Instead, it seems, the county Democrats have focused their efforts on District 2 Commissioner John Odom. Odom, a failed candidate for the State Senate, was appointed to fill the remainder of Kevin McCasky’s term after the latter took a now controversial post at the Jefferson Economic Council. Odom’s previous electoral difficulties and lack of resounding name ID throughout the candidate led attorney Casey Tighe to jump into the race.

Tighe is by no means a bad candidate. He’s served in senior positions at the Colorado Department of Transportation for a quarter-century and also chaired the Jefferson County Audit Committee. In short, Tighe’s got a great resume to make the case that he’s qualified to root corruption out of county government, once and for all.

Absent on Tighe’s CV, however, is previous elected service. Without it, the attorney is going to struggle to make voters remember his name. He’ll also have problems convincing donors to give him the amounts of money he’s going to need to take on an incumbent Republican in right-leaning Jefferson County. Tighe would be an incredible candidate for a competitive State House or State Senate seat – if he shows that he can put together the semblance of an effective campaign, he’ll set the stage for a future run. For county commissioner, we just don’t see him pulling off a surprise win against Odom.

As for the district attorney’s race? We doubt Republican Pete Weir will face any serious opposition. The former district judge served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety in the Ritter administration, a bipartisan resume bullet that even Democrats can get behind. He’s a good fit for the post, and barring any major campaign trail revelations, should cruise to the DA’s office. If anything, district attorney is too small for Weir: we could see him pivoting from the 1st Judicial District onto the short list for attorney general when John Suthers is termed out in 2014.  

Casey Tighe to Take on John Odom

Jefferson County Democrats have been struggling to field candidates in the two countywide commissioner races this cycle.

Commissioner Faye Griffin is vying for a second term in 2012, and Commissioner John Odom, who filled the vacancy created after Kevin McCasky’s controversial move to the Jefferson County Economic Council, is seeking a full term. No Democrats had announced to take on either Griffin or Odom until attorney Casey Tighe filed papers late last month for Odom’s District 2 seat.

From the Columbine Courier:

Democrat Casey Tighe has the lofty goal of unseating Jeffco Commissioner John Odom in November, and the Colorado Department of Transportation audit director is ending his 24-year career to focus completely on his campaign.

Tighe, a longtime Golden resident who filed his candidate affidavit on Jan. 27, said he does not foresee a highly charged, partisan race for the District 2 seat, which in recent years has been dominated by Republicans.

A Republican vacancy committee appointed Odom to fill the seat vacated by former commissioner Kevin McCasky a year ago, when McCasky accepted a job as head of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corp.

“I don’t know that this will be a real partisan race,” Tighe said. “You’re looking for someone who will run an effective government.”

The last Democrat to fill an elected office in Jefferson County was former commissioner Kathy Hartman, who in 2010 was defeated by District 3 Commissioner Don Rosier, a Republican. Hartman was also the first Democrat elected to the seat in 14 years when she won the office in 2006.

But despite the local electorate’s historically conservative leanings, Tighe, 52, said his auditing expertise will make him a competitive candidate.

“I can provide a fresh set of eyes and perspective as a county commissioner,” said Tighe, who was serving on the county audit committee last year when the current Board of Commissioners dissolved it. “I try to make my decisions based on the facts … and not purely on ideology. There’s a lot of talk right now about cutting government … but you need to make the right decisions about where can you cut and where you focus the government’s efforts.”

Further, county residents are interested in a business-friendly atmosphere, he said, an insight that does not appear lost on the current board.

“I know Jefferson County. I know what the people are looking for. … People are interested in business development. They want to see businesses grow,” Tighe said, adding that county services should be streamlined and helpful. “The government should be elegant in that the customer has a positive experience. … It should be an efficient process. You shouldn’t have to go back again to get service.”

That political newcomer Tighe is the only Democratic candidate set to take on Odom in District 2 shows just how intimidating the commissioner’s races are for Democrats. Odom, who lost his first ever political bid against Cheri Jahn for the SD-20 seat in 2010, is arguably much more vulnerable in his re-election bid than Griffin – he lost his last campaign for a much smaller office and never before has been on the ballot countywide. Even with that inherent vulnerability, however, no big-name Democrats were willing to challenge him for the District 2 seat, leaving the race open to the relatively unknown Tighe.

Can Tighe win? He’s got an interesting pedigree, at the very least. The longtime CDOT audit director also served as the chairman of the Jefferson County Audit Committee, qualifications which will enable Tighe to campaign on government transparency and accountability. Those talking points may resonate in light of Jeffco’s own “Bridge to Nowhere” scandal if Tighe can make the case that he’s better qualified than Odom to root out county corruption.

With no contribution limits in county races, however, Tighe’s talking points won’t be relevant unless he can raise enough to televise them. Tighe may have some contacts with the Colorado Trial Lawyer’s Association, but he doesn’t have a record as an elected official. Without it or any other indicator of previous success, Tighe will struggle with convincing donors that he can win the election against Odom. There’s just no way that Tighe’s fundraising list, as a political newcomer, will be long enough to really give incumbent Odom a run for his money.

The commissioner’s race is an important challenge for Democrats – a strong presence at the countywide level will boost turnout for State House and Senate Candidates, especially given that there are no statewide offices up this year with the exception of CU regent at-large.

Tighe may prove a worthy adversary for Odom, but the numbers aren’t on his side. There are more residents in Jefferson County than in the entire state of Wyoming, and unless Democratic challengers can raise the kind of money characteristic of a congressional race, incumbent Republicans will continue to dominate county level politics. Without previous elected service and with a low name-ID, it’s unlikely that Tighe will be able to pull in enough cash to be viable.  

Still no word on who, if anybody, will take on Faye Griffin.  

The Tea Party Just Doesn’t Get It

In another strange episode in the bizarre saga of Jeffco’s so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” it seems like the Tea Party is seizing the bridge as a prime example of wasteful government spending.

From 9News:

JEFFERSON COUNTY – Critics have found a use for Jefferson County’s so-called “Pedestrian Bridge to Nowhere.”

Protesters used it as a stage near Southwest Plaza Mall on Friday.

They posted letters that spelled out: “$3 million bridge to nowhere – for crying out loud – vote conservative.”

9Wants to know recently exposed that while Jeffco officials backed the bridge project publicly, the point-man on the project admitted behind the scenes it was expensive and unnecessary.

County leaders aren’t even trying to defend the $3 million-bridge as a good use of taxpayer money.

Some of those taxpayers, who identified themselves as part of the Tea Party, were part of the protest Friday.

The bridge was an incredibly wasteful – and potentially corrupt – use of taxpayer money; nobody is taking issue with that. What the Tea Party protestors don’t seem to understand, as they use the bridge to convince commuters to “vote conservative,” is that the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners was under conservative Republican control when the bridge was voted on. Kevin McCasky voted for it, and he’s no liberal. Faye Griffin voted for it, and she’s as conservative as they come.

This wasn’t a project that Democrats pushed forward; Dems haven’t had control of the Board for decades, so there is no possible way any reasonable person could think to frame this as a Democratic mistake. Don’t tell that to the Tea Party, though: in the minds of those protesting on the bridge, it must’ve been the result of liberal waste in government.

If anything, this just demonstrates something that everybody knew about the Tea Party all along: the movement prefers talking points over facts. The organizers didn’t think to check who voted on the bridge before they had a protest? Of course not. That would be sensible.

While we’re at it, what about 9News? A story like this, which they have covered at length, needs some context included. At the very least, 9News should have pointed out the logical problems with this protest.

Ray LaHood Responds to Jeffco’s “Bridge to Nowhere”

Like many, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on Kyle Clark’s reporting on Jeffco’s so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” a rarely used pedestrian bridge at Wadsworth Boulevard and Bowles Avenue in south Jeffco.

It’s a story with legs, so to speak. In fact, taxpayers (aided by Clark and 9News) have raised such a stir that even Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has had to defend the use of federal funds on the project.

From 9News:

9Wants to Know asked U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood about the project during a recent interview opportunity provided by White House officials.

LaHood bristled at the suggestion that federal funds were being spent on expensive and unnecessary projects.

“These are hard earned tax dollars and we take serious our responsibility to make sure that the money that we allocate is spent correctly on projects that people want in their communities,” LaHood said.

LaHood’s staff subsequently reached out to 9Wants to Know for more information on the pedestrian bridge project but then did not respond to multiple phone calls offering additional information and seeking comment on federal involvement in the project

The real story here – given Jeffco’s rather unique history of commissioner corruption – isn’t that the commissioners wasted millions of tax dollars on a useless bridge. It’s who convinced them to make that decision.

With a $1.5 million contract awarded to build the bridge, we’re pretty sure Muller Engineering knows the answer. Somebody within the Jefferson County government needs to provide a (real) answer as well.

Clark agrees:

Bauer said an engineering study was done to determine projected usage of the bridge. In emails to concerned taxpayers, Bauer cited the study’s projection of 100 pedestrians/bicyclists per day, not mentioning that the figure was for the year 2030.

The study was conducted by Muller Engineering of Lakewood. In one internal email, Jeffco Transportation and Engineering Director Kevin French says Muller “milked” the project for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

County records indicate that Muller was awarded about $1.6 million in contracts for the entire Wadsworth-Bowles intersection improvement project that, including the pedestrian bridge, totaled $8 to $9 million.

Additionally, two Muller employees are listed on the membership roster of a steering committee that recommended building the bridge. Muller president Robert Carlson denied that his employees were on the steering committee but could not explain why the names of two Muller engineers appear on a steering committee list provided by the county.

In a written statement, Carlson denied “milking” the project for money, as suggested by French.

“Muller Engineering’s involvement in the pedestrian bridge project on Wadsworth Boulevard north of Bowles Avenue came as a result of Jefferson County contracting Muller to provide a feasibility study for the bridge,” Carlson said. “At no time was it Muller’s position to be an advocate for the bridge.”

The final paragraph of the Muller study used to justify the building of the bridge reads in part that the bridge “will provide a viable and desirable transportation enhancement.”

Reached via telephone and asked whether that summary constituted advocacy for the bridge, Carlson hung up the phone

Jeffco’s Transportation and Engineering Director Kevin French best encapsulates the whole situation in noting that that Muller was “milking” the project.

But who helped Muller “milk” the county, and why? Two Muller employees sitting on the committee that ultimately recommended the bridge certainly raises questions about conflicts-of-interest. But considering the historic relationship county commissioners have had with interested third parties when it comes time to divvy out county funds, we’re sure Clark and his team at 9News will start focusing on the conversations Muller had with the Board of Commissioners at the time the bridge was approved.

With former Commissioner Kevin McCasky already having to answer uncomfortable questions about the Jefferson Economic Council and Faye Griffin facing re-election next year, neither could be thrilled that this story is starting to turn heads nationally.

The thing is, though, taxpayers really hate when their money gets wasted. Somebody’s going to have to explain why Muller was awarded such a lucrative contract despite the county’s financial woes. When that explanation is unearthed, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just the latest scandal to rock county politics here in Jeffco.

It’s a shocking story, but it’s not surprising. Welcome to Jefferson County.  

Paging Ted Stevens: Jeffco’s Bridge to Nowhere

We highly recommend you check out 9News’ Kyle Clark’s two pieces on Jeffco’s “Bridge to Nowhere” for examples of truly great investigative reporting.

Clark centers his story on the pedestrian bridge located at Wadsworth Boulevard and Bowles Avenue in South Jeffco, which links Southwest Plaza and Bowles Crossing shopping centers. We’ve seen that bridge before, but we’ve never seen anybody actually use it. Neither mall is really vibrant, and we have a creeping suspicion that the bridge will remain standing much longer than the shipping centers it links.

The most bizarre aspect of this story, though, is that Jefferson County can’t even justify the $3 million they spent on the bridge. At least, they can’t justify it privately.

From 9News:

As Jefferson County publicly defended a $3 million pedestrian bridge at Wadsworth Boulevard and Bowles Avenue as a “lasting asset,” the county’s engineer on the project privately acknowledged it was expensive and unnecessary, 9Wants to Know has learned.

Internal emails obtained by 9Wants to Know using Colorado Open Records Act show county officials struggling to justify the pedestrian bridge, completed in the spring of 2011 using a combination of federal and local tax dollars.

The bridge spanning Wadsworth just north of Bowles, connects two aging shopping malls, Southwest Plaza and Bowles Crossing. Some citizens, including resident Gary Michelson, have dubbed it: “The Bridge To, And From, Nowhere.”

When Michelson wrote to county leaders calling the bridge a “terrible waste of funds,” he received a stock answer from project engineer Brad Bauer that was similar to the two-page defense of the project sent to other concerned citizens. In one such response, Bauer writes the bridge will be a “lasting asset” that will “significantly improve the pedestrian safety at the intersection.”

That is not what the county’s point-man on the project was saying behind the scenes.

After an email exchange with Michelson, Bauer emailed his supervisor on June 22 saying he was “having a hard time coming up with any good response,” adding that he could agree with Michelson’s points about “the bridge being an expensive unnecessary expense.”

Just to make it clear: the liaison for the project is unable to respond to constituent complaints about the bridge, because he agrees with them.

Clark interviews Kevin French, with Jeffco’s Transportation and Engineering Department, and French is about as eloquent as Rick Perry in his most recent debate performance. You really have to watch the interview to get the full effect, but French doesn’t really answer any of Clark’s questions. When asked how French’s department can justify, well, their justification of the bridge to concerned taxpayers, French responds “it’s the best we have.” That’s the answer he finally comes to, at least, after first responding that he “wasn’t sure he had a good answer to that.” If you’re a big fan of deer caught in headlights, it’s a must watch.

This is one of the most asinine government decisions we’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something for Jefferson County. $3 million for a bridge? The August 2009 resolution which Clark discusses is even worse: then Commissioners Kevin McCasky and Kathy Hartman voted for it, as did current Commissioner Faye Griffin.  They approved an “expenditure of an amount not to exceed $376,600.00 to Muller Engineering Company, Inc. for final design, and additional services as needed.”

Nearly $400,000 for the “final design,” huh? 400 grand for a couple of drawings of a bridge? We assume the “additional services as needed” are in case Muller Engineering ran out of graph paper or erasers.

This is an important story for champions of good, transparent government, of course. But it also carries with it political implications. The folks in south Jeffco – those who see this bridge during their daily commutes – historically support the election of Republicans to the Board of Commissioners. But this same bridge, this “monument of government waste,” was approved with the votes of Republicans Kevin McCasky and Faye Griffin. If the vote on this bridge was before 2008’s election, we’re not sure if McCasky could’ve recovered.

Login

Recent Comments


Posts about

Donald Trump
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Lauren Boebert
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Yadira Caraveo
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado House
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado Senate
SEE MORE

46 readers online now

Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop with regular updates!