Editorial: The election, beyond the headlines

Filed under: Daily News |

(Published 1:15 p.m. April 5, 2013)

Every election has its messages, and the 2013 Colorado Springs municipal election gave us plenty.

We learned that having Congressman Doug Lamborn on your side, as incumbent Angela Dougan did in District 2, didn’t guarantee anything. Dougan insisted she was the most conservative member of City Council, and that D-2 was the “reddest, bright red” district. Yet she was thumped by Joel Miller, a FedEx pilot and Air Force Academy graduate with far less money to spend but similar, more genuine values.

We learned that military service matters to Colorado Springs voters. Five of the six newcomers to Council (all but Keith King in District 3) served in the military.

We learned that owning a high-profile local business (Ed Bircham, Tim Leigh) doesn’t always translate into automatic success.

We learned that the path to local political success still is treacherous for a young woman such as Brandy Williams, but many voters are still willing to give female candidates a chance (Jill Gaebler in District 5, Helen Collins in District 4).

We learned that running for Council while serving on a school board doesn’t work (Deborah Hendrix in District 4, Al Loma in District 5).

We learned that, after redistricting, all six districts were not created equally, even if each had between 68,000 and 70,000 residents. But in this election, District 1 (northwest) had more than 16,000 voters, while District 4 (southeast) had only about 5,800. Collins was able to win in D-4 with only 2,342 votes, which ranked 14th for the entire city.

We learned that there was no truth to suspicions of Mayor Steve Bach being able to ramrod his own preferred “slate” of Council candidates to victory, with four supposed contenders who openly aligned themselves with the mayor losing their races (Leigh, Dougan, Deborah Hendrix in District 4 and David Moore in District 6).

We learned that the southeast part of Colorado Springs is impossible to analyze. The same area that last November sent Tony Exum, an African American retired firefighter and Democrat, to the state House of Representatives, chose Collins (a white ultra-conservative with close ties to Douglas Bruce) over three African American opponents.

We learned that 80 percent of the local voters have no appetite for paying City Council members a higher salary. So don’t be expecting that on another ballot any time soon.

We learned at least one new councilor, Don Knight in District 1, has forward-thinking ideas that should appeal to the business community. First, drawing on his military experience and knowledge dealing with utilities and infrastructure, he wants to make sure nothing threatens the city’s ability to fulfill major industrial users’ power and water needs at the lowest possible rates. He also wants to talk with the Regional Business Alliance and other business leaders about someday developing a medical and research corridor on North Nevada Avenue, between Fillmore Street and Garden of the Gods Road/Austin Bluffs Parkway.

We learned that sometimes being the smartest and best-informed candidate in a race can become the winning difference, as was the case with semi-retired defense contractor Andres “Andy” Pico in District 6.

And finally, we learned once again that this city has a mind of its own. Just as City Council does — and will.


3 Responses to Editorial: The election, beyond the headlines

  1. >> We learned that, after redistricting, all six districts were not created equally, … District 1 (northwest) had more than 16,000 voters, while District 4 (southeast) had only about 5,800. Collins was able to win in D-4 with only 2,342 votes,

    …….. so, if the SE part of town couldn’t care less about what goes on, what say we just let that part of town rot. Cut back on the revenues that’d go south east (‘cept for the roads that to directly to/from the airport & Pete), spend the funds on upgrading the other districts till they’re all pretty & happy, then take a look at turning 4 into an urban renewal area.
    ………. hey, if ya don’t vote, don’t bitch.

    richard black
    April 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

  2. The proposed pay raise for Council seems the only reason all three incumbents were defeated. Their backgrounds and positions on the issues diverged markedly.

    But the voters, who have struggled through this long recession, had no appetite for giving Council a 700 percent plus pay raise.

    If they had an incumbent in their district a double vote seems to have been cast–one against the pay raise and another against the incumbent.

    I believe if Martin, Hente and Snider would have been on the ballot, the voters would have sent the same message.

    Diane Wengler
    April 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm

  3. Salary for Council had nothing to do with Dougan and Leigh not being elected. They attacked and weakened utilities. Dougan couldnt string a sensible sentence together while wearing her blue jeans. Leigh boasted about breaking the law and silencing citizens at meeting. Williams learned that being a carpetbagger doesnt fly and had no support from any of the organizations having her rich family needing to finance her campaign. Herpin lost to Mrs. Mayor Bachs best friend. Hente had to leave. And Czeldko might be the only smart one to have gotten away from the blood bath called Council by her own choosing. Council is a thankless job and you have to question the sanity or agenda of those willing to pay $40,000 to keep such a valueless job.

    Dale Heeven Jr.
    April 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm