Battle of the mayors under way

Bill Christopher, Crosscurrents
Posted

Thank you Mayor Hogan for taking a tough stand on protecting our interests in the Denver International Airport negotiations with the City and County of Denver. You called Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on the carpet for just and fair reasons. Why should Adams County and its municipalities have to share in infrastructure costs for private development which benefits Denver?

The Aurora Mayor has made it clear that there should be a legitimate revenue sharing agreement between the parties interested in the development around the airport. While Mayor Hancock can make all the platitudes about his “Airotropolis” concept for development around the airport, a deal is a deal and Denver should have its feet held to the fire to honor the agreement.

A TOUGH NEGOTIATOR

Twenty five years ago, the people of Adams County voted to allow Denver to annex the land for what is DIA today. In turn, Adams County and the cities adjacent to the airport such as Aurora and Commerce City were to benefit from the “spin-off” private commercial and industrial development. Now, Hancock wants to change the deal.

Our Adams County Commissioners could learn a thing or two from Mayor Steve Hogan in how to negotiate with Denver and take a tough stand.

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS RECOGNIZED

Now that Gov. Hickenlooper has signed Sen. Lois Tochtrop’s firefighters’ union bill into law, it poses some interesting dilemmas. First, I should point out that in the final days of the Legislative session, the bill got watered down with the elimination of collective bargaining. That is a plus in my book.

On the other hand, the law gives firefighting personnel the right to be involved in campaigning in local elections. To me, that is a Constitutional right they had all along, but it has not been practiced in all Colorado cities.

Westminster is a prime example of where none of the city employees are allowed to participate on their own time and out of uniform to show support for their favorite candidates.

A DILEMMA FOR WESTMINSTER

Now, the City of Westminster has the dilemma of whether they fight the new law in court probably with other cities and argue in favor of protecting home rule or do they acknowledge the new state law and amend their personnel policy.

Furthermore, does the city ONLY allow firefighting personnel to exercise their political campaign rights or do they amend the policy so that all city employees can exercise their Constitutional rights? Mayor McNally and city council — you are the policy makers.

What do you say?

The time has clearly come to pull your heads out of the sand to address this festering issue and demonstrate leadership. I would hope you have the city employee’s best interest in mind and amend the personnel rules to allow ALL city employees to participate in city elections.

As long as employees do not campaign on work time and do not represent themselves as city employees i.e. Westminster police officers, how can you disagree? Sen. Tochtrop’s bill is forcing your hand.

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.