Northglenn candidates onstage for forum

Posted 10/23/19

A handful of Northglenn residents got an up close look at the candidates hoping to win seats on the City Council at a Oct. 16 candidate forum. Sponsored by the Northglenn Senior Organization and …

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Northglenn candidates onstage for forum

Posted

A handful of Northglenn residents got an up close look at the candidates hoping to win seats on the City Council at a Oct. 16 candidate forum.

Sponsored by the Northglenn Senior Organization and hosted by League of Women Voters, the forum hosted most of the candidates for the four open seats on the City Council as well as the three candidates seeking the mayor’s chair.

Ballots for the election were mailed to residents earlier in October and their due back to the Adams County Clerk by Nov. 5.

Candidates for seats on the City Council went first, answering questions on topics ranging from taxes on plastic grocery bags to code enforcement. 

All but two City Council candidates attended the forum — Ward 4’s Annelies Cunis and sole Ward 1 candidate Ashley Witkovich. Attendees included Ward 2 candidates Becky Brown, Spencer Yale and Jay Michael Jaramillo, Ward 3 candidate Katherine Goff and Ward 4 candidates Luke Lopez, Mary Mondragon, Antonio Esquibel and Paul Kelly.

Ward 4 candidate Luke Lopez said the council is out of touch with residents, noting that the City Charter-mandated process to replace Mayor Carol Dodge last June and July was done without a public vote. Councilors chose then-Ward 4 Councilor Antonio Esquibel to fill the mayor’s role and selected Lauren Rodriguez to replace Esquibel.

Lopez said he would work to change the charter if elected, saying it's the biggest issue facing the city.

“How many of you received a ballot to elect a new mayor after Carol Dodge resigned?” Lopez said. “How many received a ballot to elect a new council member after Councilman Esquibel took on the role of mayor? I know I didn’t, and that’s because our system, under the current charter, is broken.”

Esquibel had a practical take, saying financial matters are most important.

“Balancing our books is probably the biggest issue,” he said. “I am a fiscal conservative, I like to keep my eye on the money and we are doing very well paying off our debt.”

Mondragon had a range of top issues, including crime, affordable housing, good schools, workforce development, recreation and traffic. Kelly said his biggest issue is finding a way to recapture the excitement from Northglenn’s founding.

“How do we take this to the next level and pass it on to the next generation for Northglenn’s next 50 years,” Kelly said.

Ward 2 candidate Becky Brown said the top priority for Northglenn was repairing and mainting the city’s roads, water and sewer system.

“We have to have good water we have to have good roads and these are always the things that are at the top of our budgeting,” she said. “We always have to make sure that we have those things budgeted, that we always have the money to cover them.”

Her opponent Jay Michael Jaramillo agreed.

“We have an aging infrastructure. We are more than 50 years old, even though our charter is only 50,” he said. “But we have people that have lived here longer. We are dealing with sewer issues, but our roads need work too.”

Candidate Spencer Ward said his top priority is helping the city go green, with city incentives at the center.

“I’d like to see tax incentives, like property tax breaks, to people who support green initiatives like solar power or recycling,” Yale said. “These wouldn’t be substantial amounts of money but they would provide incentives for residents to go green and support green initiatives.”

Mayoral differences

The three mayoral candidates went next, discussing their issues and priorities as well as the traits that make them the best candidates.

Candidate Mark Philip Bromley said he’s targeting the conflicts among councilors that lead to Dodge resigning last summer.

“I know a different kind of Northglenn from when I was growing up and I think Northglenn has deviated from that, quite a bit,” he said. “I want to bring ethics and morality back to the council and rid it of the toxic influence that it’s been having in the past few years.”

He outlined a precise, engineering-like process to solving personality conflicts among councilors.

“There is a procedure for troubleshooting; You identify the problem, locate why it’s breaking down and simply fix it,” he said. “As far as people are concerned, you find out what’s in common between each person, what their issue is, what rules or regulations they may have actually violated and then you try and get them to work together.”

Candidate Meredith Leighty favored a more organic process, saying it’s important for councilors to get to know each and work as colleagues.

“Conflict rises out of a lack of communication,” she said. “If we are not clearly communicating and there is not a stake in an environment for people to say, `This is what I’m feeling and why,’ we are doing ourselves a disservice.”

Candidate Joe Brown agreed that communication is the key.

“It’s all about bringing people together, listening to both sides, communication and working to come to a compromise,” Brown said.

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