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Anschutz's giving, Longinos Gonzalez's primary win, Lathen's new job, and more


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Giving to anti-LGBTQ groups

The Anschutz Foundation took steps to dismiss a report in The Washington Post that the agency, founded by billionaire Broadmoor owner Philip Anschutz, gave money to anti-LGBTQ groups.

"The Anschutz Foundation is not a member of Jonathan Capehart's alleged 'vast right wing conspiracy,'" the foundation said in a statement, referring to the article's author. "The Anschutz Foundation donates to hundreds of worthy organizations each year, and it does not attempt to dictate to those organizations how to spend their monies [including] sexual orientation or gender issues."

The Post report noted the foundation, from 2010 to 2013, gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom, $50,000 to National Christian Foundation and $30,000 to Family Research Council — all designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Others named as donors included James Dobson, founder of Springs-based Focus on the Family, known for its gay conversion therapy; Focus' Tom Minnery and state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt.

"Phil Anschutz's extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups like Gordon Klingenschmitt's 'Pray in Jesus Name' is shocking," ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii said in a release. Anschutz's Clarity Media owns the Gazette. — PZ

Gonzalez wins D-4 primary

Longinos Gonzalez Jr. is the Republican nominee for the District 4 El Paso County commissioner seat, according to the Clerk and Recorder's Office. Final vote tallies show Gonzalez prevailed over Scott Turner, 3,450 to 3,416. The gap was too large to require an automatic recount. Via email to the Independent, Gonzalez says he's glad the race is finally over.

"Our race showed how important every person's vote is, and I hope that will motivate even more people to participate in our election process in the years to come," he wrote.

Turner, meanwhile, told the Indy via email: "I'm more disappointed that only 6,866 people out of a registered voting population of 22,573 took the time to vote for the one office that directly affects each and every one of them."

Gonzalez will face Democrat Elizabeth Rosenbaum in November for the seat held by term-limited Dennis Hisey, who endorsed Turner in the primary. — JAS

Amy Lathen steps down

Amy Lathen resigned July 11 from her county commissioner District 2 seat. Lathen left early (her term ends in January) to lead Colorado Springs Forward. Lathen had been on the board since she was appointed to fill a vacancy in January 2008. She went on to win two elections.

Commissioners and members of the community gave speeches celebrating Lathen's service during her final meeting on July 5. Many cited her help to local business, while others mentioned her work on stormwater issues, the Waldo Canyon Fire and the county fair.

A vacancy committee of the El Paso County Republican Party will pick Lathen's successor to finish her term. Mark Waller, who won the Republican primary for the seat and is unopposed in November, is expected to be appointed. — JAS

Whoops, no more NCIC

The board of directors of the National Cyber Intelligence Center moved last week to rename itself after an embarrassing realization that NCIC is the well-known acronym for the FBI's National Crime Information Center. The new name will be the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC).

A news release also said the agency is seeking a CEO. The center started this year as a combined effort of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the military, all levels of government and private-sector companies. It plans a headquarters at the UCCS-owned building at 3650 N. Nevada Ave. — PZ

Small gets a bump

Larry Small, executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District, got a bump in pay from $2,500 to $7,000 a month recently after the district received its first of five annual payments of $10 million each from Colorado Springs Utilities. The money is to be spent on projects and operations of the district, which is trying to curtail erosion and improve water quality. It's part of Utilities' agreement with Pueblo County for the Southern Delivery System.

The raise no longer requires Small, former vice mayor and Colorado Springs City Council member, to fund district expenses from his own pocket. — PZ

Ethics code changes

Proposed changes in the city Ethics Code call for redoubling efforts to keep secrets, as well as allowing any complaint filed anonymously to be dismissed as frivolous.

The amendment sets procedures for filing a complaint and allows the Council-appointed Independent Ethics Commission "to dismiss frivolous complaints without conducting a public hearing and to require complaints dismissed as frivolous be maintained as confidential."

Most procedures would be confidential; the public wouldn't be told. The revision appears to correct weaknesses that surfaced during an investigation involving Councilor Helen Collins in 2015 and 2016. The rewrite also seems to tighten the grip on city information shared in closed meetings or on the job.

The new code omits employees at Memorial Hospital, who now work for University of Colorado Health. — PZ

CSU hosts SDS fest

SDS WaterFest, a celebration of the completion of Springs Utilities' Southern Delivery System, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 23. The event will include tours of the new Edward W. Bailey Water Treatment Plant, 977 Marksheffel Road.

The $825 million SDS began bringing water from Pueblo Reservoir on April 28. The WaterFest will feature educational exhibits, information booths, games, food trucks and live music by the Inman Brothers Band. Guests are required to wear flat, sturdy shoes; pets should be left at home. — PZ


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