Wednesday, March 25, 2015

City Council Forum Spotlights Some Differences

The five candidates running for District 10 city council did well at a recent forum, sponsored by Cherry Creek business community. They stayed within the time limits, of which a couple of rounds were one-minute answers, and they had well-thought-out answers to the basic business area questions of parking, traffic and growth.

Chris Chiari
Anna Jones
Travis Leiker
Wayne New
Chris Cornell Wedor
As a district that centers on Capitol Hill and runs from County Club to Colfax, perspectives are mostly left of center to far left on socio-economic issues, but seemingly more moderate on jobs and growth.
The growth issue mostly elicited generic statements about balance, but there is little doubt these candidates are hearing complaints about congestion, density and rapid development. However, in the heart of the District’s business community, they low-keyed the “us vs. them” rhetoric heard in some forums.
It was the two one-minute questions that elicited some of the most insight for business-oriented voters. The candidates were asked about raising the minimum wage and possibly setting it at the Seattle rate of $15.00. If it can be raised, these candidates are raising it, and one candidate believes $15.00 is acceptable. There was no reference to trade-offs with jobs or competition with suburbs or other metro areas.
Marijuana commercialization did highlight some differences, and the sharpest and most aggressive response of the session. Generally, views ranged from concern (impact on children) to aforementioned passionate defense.
Contrary to the Democratic legislative leadership, this group of aspiring Denver officeholders would support the construction defects bill. They see the current law as an impediment to building affordable housing
District 10 will be represented by a very articulate councilperson, regardless of who wins.
  • An aggressive anti-growth bias was not expressed – it may have been masked – every candidate expressed recognition of the city’s economic strengths and Cherry Creek’s contribution to it.
  • The “economic justice” argument and the policies that operationalize it; e.g., minimum wage, living wage, etc., is accepted with few doubts, reservations or concerns expressed about trade-offs.
  • Marijuana has its advocates, but there is caution. The industry may be at a point beyond repeal, but its commercial path will not be without resistance.
It’s possible District 10 will be the election’s most expensive race, doubling or more the current $250,000 of total contributions.

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