When it comes to campaign treasure chests, all but one of the battles for City Council seats are lopsided, as developer and development interests dump their usual contributions to their chosen candidates, most of whom don't look much farther for financial support.
As the April 3 election day creeps closer, District 2 candidates Leon Kirk and Charles Wingate report their contributions at $3,300 and $2,510 respectively. By contrast, Kevin Butcher, a developer who wants to represent the northeast quadrant of the city, has raked in $24,845, almost all of it from his buddies in the land development industry.
The District 4 race in the city's southeast quadrant, is similarly lopsided. Margaret Radford, who has also been endorsed by developers, reported $14,124 in contributions, compared to her opponents Luis "Joe" Ybarra and Kendell Kretzchmar, who have reported zero contributions.
At-large incumbent Judy Noyes has raised a staggering $48,933 in her bid to get re-elected to the part-time seat that pays $6,250 a year. Her opponent, Tim Pleasant, has raised $2,920.
The only financially balanced race this year has been what is shaping into a nasty battle between neighborhood activist Sallie Clark and incumbent Linda Barley, who has attacked her opponent with negative mailers.
Clark, who has been accepting contributions since last fall, has $37,750, including donations from two notable ultraconservatives, including auto dealer Will Perkins and state Rep. Dave Schultheis. But Clark's supporters span the ideological scale. The Broadmoor hotel, activists Jann Nance and Laurel Bahe, Mill Street neighborhood activist Jeff Hovermale, developer Craig Whitney, property management company CEO Buck Blessing, Police Chief Lorne Kramer and gun dealer Paul Paradis have all contributed to Clark's campaign, as has Dave Nickerson, a group support manager for the city.
Republican operative Steve Durham, state Republican Party Vice cChairman Larry Liston, restaurateur Raphael Sassower, realtors Wayne and Sylvia Jennings, city hall activist and curmudgeon Jeanne Matthews, county treasurer Ken Kile, Channel 13 owner and former Colorado Springs Mayor Harry Hoth and TV reporter-turned-county-spokeswoman Ann Ervin have also made contributions.
Barley, by contrast, reported collecting nothing in contributions for the months of November, December and January. After she received the developers' endorsement, the money started rolling in.
The incumbent has reported receiving contributions from a multitude of big money interests, including El Pomar Foundation executives Thayer Tutt and Bill Hybl, realtor Laura Holland and real-estate investor Frank O'Donnell.
Among Barley's other contributors: developer Bruce Shepard, developer Lowell Partners, developer Woodside Development Partners, developer Steve Schuck, developer Fred Veitch, developer Ralph Braden, developer David Sellon II, developer David Jenkins, and development companies Elite Properties, Masterplanned Land Venture, Development Management and LaPlata Development, the Colorado Realtors Political Action Committee, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Springs Homebuilders Association.
Like her opponent Clark, Barley accepted a contribution from restaurateur Raphael Sassower.