Denver Non-Profit Business Examiner
Denver voters participating in Ballot Trace received emails Monday that their ballots had been printed. Some were emailed Tuesday that the ballots in the municipal election had reached their local post office. They will soon be asked to decide.
Courtesy voting reportedly leads to “courtesy zoning” — where the Denver City Council approves site-specific zoning matters according to the wishes of that particular district’s councilperson.
The informal practice is unethical but not illegal in Denver city government, said the nonprofit’s website. “But under the Colorado Constitution, courtesy voting in the state legislature constitutes the crime of bribery,” it said.
The nonprofit alleges that courtesy voting was behind a secretive land swap between the city and Denver Public Schools that resulted in construction of an elementary school on park land in southeast Denver. The matter is currently before the Colorado Court of Appeals. The group had attempted to present petitions with nearly 8,000 signatures to bring the matter to a vote in 2013. City Clerk Debra Johnson refused to accept the petitions.
By April 14, many of the city council candidates had signed a pledge to avoid courtesy voting. “I envision a city council that is transparent to its citizens, works cooperatively to acquire and preserve open space, and is collegial but independent from the mayor,” the pledge says. Three had refused.
Of the candidates for the two at-large city council seats, one of the five refused to sign — Robin Kniech. The four who signed were incumbent Deborah “Debbie” Ortega, Jose Silva, Jeffery Washington and Kayvan Khalatbari.
Signing in district races were candidates in:
- District One: Rafael Espinoza and Susan Shepherd.
- District Two: Fran Coleman Kevin Flynn, Jeanne Labuda and Danny Lopez.
- District Four: Kendra Black, Carolina Klein and Halisi Vinson.
- District Six: Liz Adams and Paul Kashmann.
- District Seven: Luchia Brown, Jolon Clark, Aaron Greco, Ian Harwick, Mickki Langston and Jake Viano.
- District Nine: Michael “Borch” Borcherding, Albus Brooks and Ean Thomas Tafoya.
- District 10: Chris Chiardi, Anna Jones, Travis Leiker, Wayne New and Chris Cornell Weder.
- District 11: Sean Bradley, Shelli Brown, Tim Camarillo and Tea Schook.
Along with Kniech, refusing to sign were Anne McGihon, District Seven and Stacie Gilmore,