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.