Election Edition 3/2/15

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David Jenkins, one of the most influential businessmen in the region, has made his choices in the Council race, and he wants others to pony up money for them too. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • David Jenkins, one of the most influential businessmen in the region, has made his choices in the Council race, and he wants others to pony up money for them too.
The development king speaks

Four candidates running for Springs City Council have been endorsed by one of the most influential people in the city.

Developer David Jenkins, of Nor'Wood Development Group, sent an email on Friday to an undisclosed number of people urging them to support his slate of candidates, which consists of four white men, three of them in the senior age group. (Jenkins is in his 70s.)

Those are incumbent Merv Bennett, 66; Tom Strand, 66, and Jariah Walker, 37, running for the three at-large seats, and Larry Bagley, 71, running for the unexpired term in north District 2. Bagley was appointed in December to serve until the election. The seat had been held by Joel Miller, who resigned the Council seat to run for mayor.

Here's Jenkins' message: 
We have a great opportunity to change the direction of our City if we will make the necessary investment. The upcoming council elections can go one of two way more of the same (disaster) or a real opportunity to move forward in a positive direction. There are 4 great people running for Council that can make that happen; Merv Bennett, Tom Strand, Jariah Walker and Larry Bagley if they are to succeed we need to INVEST in their campaigns NOW. We are/ have invested $5,000 each in this effort and need your partnership to insure our City can move forward.
Time is of the essence, ballots drop in 2 weeks.
Individual checks should be made to "Committee to Elect Merv Bennett"; Committee to Elect Tom Strand: Committee to Elect Jariah Walker: Committee to Elect Larry Bagley. Mail to Sarah Jack, 1779 Courtyard Heights, Colo. Spgs, Co 80906
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Recall protest heard


A hearing on a protest of the recall petitions of City Councilor Helen Collins got under way Monday afternoon. Protester, long-time resident Robert Blancken, who worked on the successful Sen. John Morse recall in 2013, called Thomas Bjorklund to testify. He runs Tactical Data Solutions, a campaign consulting firm in Grand Junction and has worked on numerous recall elections, he said.

Johnson: Did everything right, or not? - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Johnson: Did everything right, or not?
Bjorklund said he examined the petitions and found numerous errors, including partial addresses, wrong street names, scribbled signatures that are impossible to decipher, as well as a notary public whose address was not current with the Secretary of State when he notarized some of the petitions. In fact, the notary also circulated the petitions, meaning he had a disqualifying financial interest in the petitions, he said.

Bjorklund said his analysis showed that well over 1,000 signatures were questionable, yet the City Clerk's Office validated them and found the petitions sufficient in January. He also said that upon inspection the petitions were marked by the clerk's office with a question mark but were ruled as valid.

But Clerk Sarah Johnson testified she followed the city code and Charter for recall procedures, and had the blessing of the City Attorney's Office every step of the way.

An attorney hired by the recall committee, headed by Deborah Hendrix, argued that the standard for following the rules of validating recall petitions is "substantial compliance."

When Blancken tried to probe into Johnson's reason for leaving her job in Kentucky as head of the state elections board, the recall committee's attorney objected on the basis that her background was beyond the scope of the hearing or of the prior questioning — it was hard to understand exactly what — and Municipal Judge Hayden Kane agreed. Never mind that Johnson herself had injected into her testimony a reference to her 20 years experience, including time in Kentucky, heading up elections.

If Blancken had been allowed to proceed, maybe he would have drawn from Johnson what the Independent reported shortly after Johnson pulled into town three years ago. She was fired from that job in Kentucky by a bipartisan board.

Kane is expected to forward his determination to Johnson by Friday. After that, Johnson will make a finding within a week after that.

"I will carefully consider the testimony provided by the Protestor, the Petitioner's Committee and Judge Kane's findings in making my final determination on the sufficiency of the recall petition," Johnson said in a statement.
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Campaign money
Former state Attorney General John Suthers has raised $279,023 for his mayoral campaign, according to the latest round of campaign finance filings.
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Candidates make appearances

Mayoral candidate Mary Lou Makepeace, who served as mayor from 1997 to 2003, will hold a voter outreach meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Library 21C, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. The topic is Young Workforce/Innovation.

A mayoral debate hosted by El Pomar Foundation's Forum for Civic Advancement, The Broadmoor resort and KOAA television will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Broadmoor Hall B, 1 Lake Ave.

From a release:
In the mayoral race, six candidates are running to replace incumbent Steve Bach: Tony Carpenter, Amy Lathen, Mary Lou Makepeace, Lawrence Martinez, Joel Miller, and John Suthers. All six candidates have agreed to participate in this debate.

The panel will be moderated by Emmy award winning anchor Rob Quirk, and live streamed in its entirety online at http://www.koaa.com. The first 30 minutes of the debate will also be televised live on KOAA5. KOAA5 is currently soliciting questions from the public at Electionwatch@koaa.com. The event sponsors hope attendees will come away with an enhanced understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the Colorado Springs Mayor, as well as what each potential candidate would bring to the office.

The Panel Debate between Colorado Springs Mayoral Candidates will take place from 6:30-8:00pm on Wednesday, March 4, with a reception following the program. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in Broadmoor Hall B at The Broadmoor Hotel, 1 Lake Avenue. The reception will be held in the neighboring Penrose Heritage Museum, 11 Lake Avenue. Those who wish to attend may RSVP online at www.elpomar.org/mayoral-debate, or by contacting Samantha Barlow at sbarlow@elpomar.org or by phone at 719-577-7033.
At-large Council candidate Tom Strand will host a meeting to discuss his ideas about the city's future at 11 a.m. Saturday at PeakPlace Coffeehouse, 2360 Montebello Square Drive, Suite H1.

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