Jessica Peck Corry (via Politics West): "To achieve a 'Better Denver', [Mayor John Hickenlooper] points us to his campaign website, brought to us courtesy of a million-dollar budget complete with flashy commercials and full-color brochures. Not surprisingly, this is a campaign that has been funded almost exclusively by the same businesses and public cultural attractions that stand to benefit if taxpayers say yes.
"Leading the way has been the city's science museum -- shelling out more than $300,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. If Denver voters support measures 1G and 1H, the museum, together with the city's botanic gardens and concert hall, stands to gain more than $130 million in additional funding. Not surprisingly, Hickenlooper's ads never mention the total price tag.
"The city will tell you it doesn't have enough money, but while Denver's population has risen less than 2 percent in the last four years, total city spending has skyrocketed by 13 percent. Even without Hickenlooper's tax increases, next year will mark a major milestone for Denver -- the city's first billion-dollar budget.
"At the same time that Hickenlooper sells us a vision of grand cultural amenities, we know that most Denver families will never be able to afford the going rate of nearly $70 a pop for top seat at the symphony. For them, he assures us that 'A through I' are about 'catching up' and 'maintaining' the city. For this, we're supposed to support a permanent tax increase of $27 million every year to fund capital maintenance.
"But we've already given the city a $300 million raise over the last five years. And Hickenlooper's latest plan -- coming after a winter of seemingly endless blizzards -- fails to address one of our greatest concerns [~] how to promptly deal with snow left behind. While $150 million is pitched for transportation, the plan doesn't allocate funding for a single new snowplow."
Category: Denver November 2007 Election