Headlines – June 6, 2023 John Kelin
Election Day In Denver
Today is municipal runoff election day in Denver as voters decide between mayoral candidates Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough, and some districts elect their city council representatives.
Ballots are due in secure drop boxes, or voters must be in line by 7pm at in-person polling places, for the votes to count.
Voter participation has been a little better than usual, according to Colorado Newsline. They report that the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office says 18.6% of eligible voters have returned a ballot, as of late last week.
The Denver Post says it’s the highest ballot return rate since at least 2011.
Johnston and Brough got 24.5% and 20% of the vote, respectively, in the April election. That wasn’t enough for either to claim an outright win, setting up today’s runoff.
In addition to deciding the next mayor, four Denver City Council seats will be filled by today’s voting. Seats are open in districts 7, 8, 9, and 10. The latter three are contested races. Only one candidate remains in the District 7 race after one of the contenders dropped out.
Results of the election may not be known for a day or so. Election officials say the priority today is scanning ballots as quickly and efficiently as possible.
National Gun Ban Rally In Denver
Up to a thousand demonstrators staged a sit-in at the state capitol in Denver yesterday,
The protestors are demanding Gov. Jared Polis sign an executive order banning all firearms in Colorado.
They joined hundreds of women from across the U.S. pushing for gun reform at the Colorado state Capitol on Monday and say they will return every day until Polis meets their demands.
and planned an all-day sit-in with the goal of persuading the governor to sign an executive order banning firearms in the state.
The organization Here 4 the Kids planned the sit-in and are asking Polis to sign their drafted executive order to ban guns and implement a statewide buyback program.
Here4TheKids is a national group founded by two women of color who are calling on only white women to participate in the protest by putting their bodies on the ground, as marginalized communities have always done.
In a statement, Here4TheKids said that historically, white women are least likely to be brutalized by police. Organizers are asking white women to support the movement by participating in an act of civil disobedience to demand change.
President Joe Biden issued a statement last Friday, on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, suggesting it’s up to states to lead the way in gun safety laws by passing measures like red flag laws and assault weapons bans.
Monday’s rally in Denver comes just after Moms Demand Action staged gun safety events across the country. At a rally in Louisville Saturday, Moms Demand Action activist Erica Chapman explained why she thinks the issue is so important:
“I came to be involved in this work just by being in this country. By being not afraid of if my life will be violated by gun violence, but when it will be, and that is a terrifying thought for me.”
Governor Polis released a statement Monday that said he shares their concerns over public safety but that his staff met with the organizers and expressed concerns the group’s requests were either unconstitutional or require legislative action.
Club Q Lawsuit
The Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs last year could have been prevented, if the El Paso County Sheriff had used existing “extreme risk” protection order measures.
That claim is the basis of a lawsuit expected to be filed by survivors and family members against the El Paso County Sheriff’s office.
Authorities jailed the nightclub shooting suspect a year prior to the Club Q attack for counts of felony menacing and kidnapping. The court ultimately filed no charges against the suspect and sealed the court records.
Five people were killed and seventeen others wounded in the shooting at the gay nightclub last November. The suspect is facing more than 300 criminal charges.
Colorado Abortion “Bubble Law” Challenged
A Denver woman is challenging a Colorado law that prohibits anti-abortion activists from getting too close to women who are entering an abortion clinic.
The 1993 state law prohibits anti-abortion activists from getting within eight feet of women entering clinics. That so-called “eight-foot bubble” law is only in effect within a hundred feet of a service provider’s location.
Denver’s Wendy Faustin is challenging the law, on the grounds that it violates her right to free speech.
The United States Supreme Court upheld the eight-foot bubble law in 2000.
But with the high court overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer, Faustin is bringing a new challenge to it. The Denver Post says that a line in last year’s Supreme Court ruling singled out the Colorado law as “distorted First Amendment doctrine.”
Faustin’s lawyers are arguing in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, that she should be able to go right up to a woman entering an abortion clinic, to get her to, quote, “change her mind and heart,” and that Faustin can’t do that from eight feet away.
Allegation: Colorado Springs Police Ignored Emergency Call
The family of a Colorado Springs man killed after he was allegedly taken hostage is asking why police failed to respond to an emergency 911 call, which they believe might have saved the man’s life.
Qualin Campbell, a 32-year old Black man and father, was killed Friday, reportedly less than one mile from Colorado Springs Police headquarters. Campbell’s widow and her lawyer have scheduled a news conference this afternoon outside of police headquarters, as they search for answers.
According to a press release from the family’s lawyer, Qualin Campbell’s body was found after police received an emergency call early Friday afternoon. That call reported that two people had been found unconscious in a car.
But Campbell’s wife says she called 911 nearly an hour before that. She says that in this earlier call, she reported that her husband had sent her a text message indicating that he’d been taken hostage. The message included a picture of the alleged captor, and Campbell’s location.
The family’s lawyer said Qualin Campbell was clearly begging for his life, his wife called 911, but police did not respond.
Marshall Fire Recovery Funding; Boulder Updates Wildfire Plan
$390,000 in federal funding is on its way to the Town of Superior, to help restore stormwater infrastructure lost to or damaged by the December 2021 Marshall Mesa Fire and Wind event.
Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse announced the funding yesterday. He said the investments are made possible by the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Meanwhile, the City of Boulder is updating its Community Wildfire Protection Plan for 2024. The city is updating the plan through a partnership with SWCA Environmental Consultants. They’ll recommend strategies to address the biggest risk factors related to wildfires.
Lunar New Year Bill
Lunar New Year is now an official holiday in Colorado.
Governor Jared Polis has signed a bill declaring the first Friday of every February the Lunar New Year. Colorado becomes just the second state in the country to recognize the holiday, after California.
Lunar New Year is a holiday widely celebrated across East Asia.
Supporters of the bill recognizing the holiday on a state level say they’re elated, calling Friday’s bill signing a historic moment.
Headlines – June 6, 2023 John Kelin