postheadericon Analysis: Completing a postmortem on Adams County’s local elections

Adams County, Colorado logo

The 2012 elections were devastating for those that recognized the massive problems with Adams County government. However there is some hope for the future.

Removed from last week’s election by more than a week we can sit with calmer heads and evaluate what went wrong with local elections and rededicate ourselves to restoring good governance to Adams County.  While the election results were far less than ideal, there is a glimmer of hope.

The two races for Adams County Commissioner were losses for Republicans, one of which was absolutely baffling.

Eva Henry bested Gary Mikes in District 1 which isn’t necessarily surprising.  Henry had big bucks behind her plus the benefit of name recognition having served on Thornton City Council.  I still don’t believe she should have abandoned her constituents in Thornton after serving one year of a four year term.

However, Henry is not a member of the ‘Adams Family‘ and in fact has battled the establishment in her own party from the time she decided to run.  She is well aware of the ethical lapses in Brighton in recent years and has vowed to work to correct them and I believe she will.  The various county boards where nepotism and cronyism reign are said to be her first target.

In District 2 the result of the election was nothing short of mind blowing.  Voters chose to send Charles ‘Chaz’ Tedesco to Brighton despite the lack of ethics he displayed by lying repeatedly on Denver television.  There is little doubt the union boss will be seeking to repay the big campaign contributions from labor and this will bear watching very closely.

By electing Tedesco voters opted to put someone in office that closely mirrors those same local Democrats that have raped and pillaged residents for decades.  Despite the scandals, graft, and cronyism that have shamed the county, Tedesco firmly believes the county’s image is ‘awesome.’  Either he is lying again or he is ignorant and either way is not who voters should have chosen.

How did Tedesco win?  Certainly a large chunk comes from some registered Democrats who will blindly vote for someone from their own party rather than show a backbone and ethics.  A number of independent voters chose Tedesco as well and it is those residents whose votes should be scrutinized and we must try to understand their choice.

Voters were inundated with ads for statewide and national candidates and the local candidates undoubtedly were drown out in the din.  It is a sad fact that many voters also simply don’t pay much attention to the local races even though they have far more bearing on their daily lives than any election for Congress or President.

Voter education becomes key whether it is by traditional methods of advertising or get-out-vote efforts.  Additionally Republicans need to be smarter about whom they target and it also wouldn’t hurt to look across that left – right dividing line.  Even many registered Democrats, were they aware of the questions surrounding him, would not have voted for Tedesco.

Certainly we cannot count on local media like the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel to get the word out.  Their circulation is too low to have much of an impact and their bias leans left.

A prime example is the Sentinel’s story about Tedesco’s lying on television.  Their headline only said that he was “criticized for responses” to questions and the story went on to call his lies a “misstep last week in which he did not immediately disclose” his criminal past.

Nowhere in the story narrative did the Sentinel use the word ‘truth’ nor ‘lie’ despite the fact those two words were key to the story.  The majority of the story was a defense of Tedesco.

The following week the Sentinel should have launched a scathing editorial against the candidate.  Instead voters heard crickets from their one local news source and the publishers failed to uphold their journalistic duty to inform.

Perhaps in the coming years a new media outlet will take shape in our area, one which has guts enough to do their job.  Certainly the Internet would have much broader reach than paper and could have a bigger impact.

Adams Counter voters did rightfully approve Issue 1A and the Board of Commissioners will be expanded to five in 2014.  I don’t agree with the decision to have all of the seats selected by voters countywide but we have to take what we can get.

The key now becomes to find two candidates for the new seats who can make a compelling argument.  They need to appeal to a widely varying constituency from the suburbs in the west to the farms 80 miles to the east.

The next two years are critical for the county in cleaning up its image.  If Henry and Tedesco can’t work with returning Commissioner Erik Hansen to get the job done, voters need to be made well aware of the lapses and shortcomings of the candidates selected by the other side.  For decades the county and its residents have suffered at the hands of the entrenched, good old boy network.

Failure to properly govern is no longer an option and voters must learn which side candidates stand on.

This website has done its part to try to educate voters and while it is quite popular, it isn’t enough.  Much more needs to be done and we can’t wait until 2014.  The effort needs to begin now with city council elections next year serving as a warm up.

11 Responses to “Analysis: Completing a postmortem on Adams County’s local elections”

  • The Grouchy Old Man:

    Well. The election is over. Maybe the back stabbing and bickering will end. If all of you voices and bloggers have the interest that you say you do, may I offer a suggestion.

    Citizen Advisory Boards and Commissions
    The Adams County Board of Commissioners relies on several volunteer citizen advisory boards and commissions to provide representation and direction in the many functions of county government. Appointments to fill vacancies on most boards are made each January by the Board of Commissioners. Other vacancies are filled as they occur.

    If you are a resident of Adams County and are interested in serving on a board or commission, please send a letter of interest and a short resume to the Adams County Board of Commissioners, 4430 South Adams County Parkway, 5th Floor, Suite C5000A, Brighton, CO 80601-8204.

    Information about each of the boards and committees is provided below.
    Board of Adjustment
    Board of Fire Code Appeals
    Community Corrections Board
    Community Development Advisory Board
    Cultural Council
    E-911 Aurhority
    Family Preservation Commission
    Fair Advisory Board
    Front Range Airport Authority
    Housing Authority
    Library District Board of Trustees
    North Metro Youth Diversion Board
    Open Space Advisory Board
    Planning Commission
    Regional EMT Advisory Board
    Retirement Board
    Tri-County Health Department Board
    UBC Board of Appeals
    Weed Advisory Board
    Workforce Investment Board

    Maybe it’s time to get really involved.?

  • Andrew:

    I, for one, intend to get involved where I can. I only hesitate because this is an ARFORGEN year 5, and I as an Army reserve NCO may get deployed/mobilized within this year.

    Here is the Army’s definition of ARFORGEN. My spelling isn’t so good with the really long acronyms.

    https://secureweb2.hqda.pentagon.mil/vdas_armyposturestatement/2011/addenda/Addendum_F-Army%20Force%20Generation%20%28ARFORGEN%29.asp

  • Andrew:

    Tony,

    I have a hard time with how anti Chaz you are. I’m surprised that can’t get along with your fellow Navy Alumnus. Have you met with him? Have you spoken with him? He’s really a good guy and I have no doubts as to his abilities to serve as commissioner.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  • Kevin Raines:

    Andrew, do you know him?

    I’ll admit that he was my least favorite candidate, primarily because he intimated that the corruption in the county was a “marketing issue” when I know for a fact that it’s a real and continuing problem.

    I’d be glad to talk to him and help educate him on the issues before he takes office. Once he arrives, he’s going to get nothing but misinformation and/or excuses from the entrenched senior staff who have resisted fixing the corruption for so long.

    If he changes course and helps to fix the problem I will shift my perceptions and become a hug fan. I’m willing to be openminded. Can you ask him to contact me? I have extensive documentation on what has happened and what continues to happen, and it’s vital that he has this before he gets exposed to the senior staff at the county.

  • Kevin Raines:

    Umm, “huge fan”, not “hug fan”. But if he fixes the corruption, I will give him one quick hug if he wants it.

    • Andrew:

      I have spoken with Chaz Tedesco. He is definitely willing and interested in speaking with any constituent to hear concerns. However, based on the specificity of the issues you have, with documentation, he feels like it might be a bad precedent, as an elected but not yet acting commissioner, to speak about highly specific items that, if they are true, the best course is for you report those to the independent ethics officer.

      Here is a link to the ethics page for Adams County:

      http://co-adamscounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=1054

      Since this site is independent, any report may remain anonymous. If you have already reported these documented corrupt practices, and the independent ethics officer has not yet responded, then I do think you have an issue that current and future commissioners need to know about.

  • Kevin Raines:

    And as a note to Grouchy Old Man, I appreciate your philosophy, but no one with a good reputation is going to go near Adams County government at this point. Their reputation is too bad and there’s no sincerity in the “reform” efforts. It’s all show and no substance.

  • Grouchy Old Man:

    Kevin. I appreciate your opinion, however, it is not the time for the good people to duck and cover. We need the folks with what you refer to as a ‘good reputation’ to step up and help. Just a thought. More brains with new thoughts can’t hurt.

  • Kevin Raines:

    Thank you for your assistance, Andrew. This is one of a few different options currently under consideration.

    It’s unfortunate that it’s not an option in Adams County to implement the simple and obvious solution of the county administrator, county attorney, and purchasing manager address the situation. In a normal, ethically run local government competent people in those positions would have corrected the problem long ago.

    • Andrew Been:

      Hi Kevin,

      Glad I could be of assistance. If you have a serious issue, I do think the best approach is to go to ethic person. I think some of the problem here can be attributed to Adams County growing quickly and not necessarily growing in ways other than population increases….

      Thanks,

      Andrew

Email Subscription

Switch to our mobile site