Council endorsement wars heat up

Filed under: Hazlehurst |

The endorsement wars are heating up, as City Council candidates vie for money, legitimacy, and support.

In something of a surprise, the Regional Business Alliance declined to endorse any of the five candidates in District 1, including highly visible council incumbent (and Bach ally) Tim Leigh. That may have been because of Leigh’s ongoing battle with Colorado Springs Utilities, which many in the business community regard with dismay.

In response to a query from the Business Journal, ReBA CEO Joe Raso said simply that “The organization could not come to consensus on the endorsement of a candidate in District 1.”

ReBA endorsed Angela Dougan in District 2, Keith King in D-3, Deborah Hendrix in D-4, Bernie Herpin in D-5, and David Moore in D-6. The organization’s choices paralleled those of the Housing and Building Association, except in D-5 where the HBA endorsed Al Loma.

Hendrix, Dougan and Moore may have solidified their positions as favorites in their races by being endorsed by both organizations, but the races in D-3 and D-5 remain highly competitive.

In an email today, D-3 candidate Jim Bensberg touted an impressive list of supporters, including El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, former councilmember Jerry Heimlicher, and the Colorado Springs Utilities Emploee Advocacy Group.

Maketa gave Bensberg a nice blurb, saying that “Jim’s common sense approach, leadership and dedication to our community was demonstrated consistently while he served on the Board of County Commissioners.”

In the hotly contested D-5 race, Jill Gaebler’s website listed an equally impressive lineup, including Suzi Bach, Richard Skorman, Cari Shaffer, Trevor Dierdorff, Jane Young, and Carolyn Cathey.  It’s an interesting list, showcasing Gaebler’s ability to draw support across the political spectrum, although both ReBA and the HBA passed her over in favor of Herpin and Loma, both veteran elected officials.

Loma may have other problems to worry about, since recall petitions have been taken out by individuals seeking to remove him and five of his colleagues from the District 11 School Board. At this point, it’s difficult to assess whether the recall attempt will substantially damage his council prospects, but it certainly won’t help him. Such are the perils of making tough decisions while in elected office.

To what extent does support from prominent organizations and individuals translate into the “mother’s milk of politics” – money? Updated financial reports from all council candidates are due today, although none had been filed on the City Clerk’s website as of a few minutes ago. We’ll post a complete analysis after all the reports are in.



5 Responses to Council endorsement wars heat up

  1. Money might indeed be the key. Tax Money.

    In 87, county swapped a 27 mill tax rate for 11 mill rate in return for a sales and use tax. Problem: Sales tax collections during the boom periods were not adequate to make up declined during bust periods where a stable property tax would have generated stable revenue.

    In 99, county business personal property tax was eliminated.

    Both measures, Chamber sponsored as a means to drive business to Springs.

    Epic Fail. Endorsements from either RBA or HBA might need to be taken with a grain of salt. Poor fiscal policy of a short term nature have created a long-term problem around 6 billion dollars in unmet city and county needs.

    At some point, leaders of the future will need to make up for failure of leaders in the past and current leaders. A declining workforce and decline of the region to potential new firms is a killer.

    The number of candidates running with the belief that current tax rates will meet current and future needs is alarming.

    Rick Wehner
    March 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm

  2. The current needs seem to be crying out for strength in leadership along the lines of a Kennedy, an Eisenhower, or a Bob Issac. The current city and county leadership, seemingly drawn from the DNA of a Wally Cox have brought forth no solutions. I will go out on a limb here and predict it will be another six years of continued economic decline for the area until those with real vision and strength realize collapse is eminent.

    At that point, when the big boy businesses begin to feel the hurt, the real talent in the community will come forth with the strength to form a coalition; the one central coordinating group who will approach the causes for revenue shortfalls: A tax structure that is proving inadequate for all needs.

    At that point, it will be up to the voters to decide: Pay or Fail.

    Staci Lynne Holdt
    March 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

  3. How about my “impressive” list of endorsements, John?

    Elected Officials:
    El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa
    District Attorney Dan May
    Colorado State Senator Bill Cadman
    Colorado State Representative Mark Waller
    Colorado State Representative Bob Gardner
    El Paso County Board of County Commission Chair Dennis Hisey
    El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark
    School District 11 School Board Director Bob Null

    Community Leaders:
    Jerry Biggs, CPA
    Former Colorado State Representative Larry Liston
    Former Colorado State Representative Bill Sinclair
    Chuck Murphy
    Welling Clark
    Terry Harris, Former El Paso County Administrator
    Former Mayor Lionel Rivera
    Jan Doran
    Former Councilwoman Margaret Radford
    Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt
    Mary Ellen McNally
    Dick Janitell

    Bernie Herpin
    March 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm

  4. With the exception of Mr. Biggs and Mr. Janitell, that is pretty much the group responsible for the region being in a position to lag behind other communities in economic development; and the reason so many firms are selecting Austin and Albuquerque over Colorado Springs.

    Staci Lynne Holdt
    March 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

  5. It seems pretty obvious that the HBA is after the land grab downtown and are looking to fill city council with folks who can help them attain it; does it not show your hand when you make endorsements before all candidates have even filed? The endorsement by the HBA should be seen as an asterisk that identifies the candidates that have been bought and paid for. These candidates are not seeking the best interest of the people of CS… why else would you consider shuttering a power plant with a 20 year life remaining in favor of buying electricity from Xcel. I think everybody wants to see growth in the springs (real estate, business, jobs, etc.), but we should not achieve growth in one sector at the expense of others (or the ratepayers).

    March 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm