Aurora City Council Ward IV race: Lewis, Richardson square off

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AURORA | Two candidates are vying for Aurora’s Ward IV seat, which is due to be vacated by term-limited Councilwoman Molly Markert at the end of her term.

Joe Lewis (left) and Charlie Richardson are vying for the Ward IV seat on Aurora City Council. (File photos by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

Charlie Richardson is a familiar face at City Hall, while longtime resident Joe Lewis is a newcomer running for office.

With two of the city’s eight future light rail stations located in Ward IV, both candidates said they want to attract the best transit-oriented development projects while mitigating resident concerns of overcrowding and increased traffic.

Richardson, who served as Aurora’s city attorney for 38 years before he retired in 2014, said he believes his insider knowledge of city government will benefit residents as they feel the impacts of the light rail line opening next year.

“I’ll be able to quickly determine whether the city’s response to citizen outreach is sufficient,” he said. “I will differentiate between what the city is incapable of doing versus what it is unwilling to do.”

Richardson said he would be effective at making sure residents have a voice when it comes to TOD projects such as the new Iliff parking garage set to open near the Iliff light rail station next year.

“The challenge is to work with your colleagues on city council to broaden that opposition if the developer is being unreasonable. If the developer is unreasonable, it will be my chore to convince the majority of council that a project needs to be amended,” he said.

AURORA SENTINEL/ KACT-TV TELEVISED CITY COUNCIL FORUM — EASY TO STREAM

Richardson said his priorities for the council would include the redevelopment of Regatta Plaza, opposing attempts to raise taxes, and obtaining the maximum amount of funding for parks and recreation.

Richardson is adamant about the city not using money to further market itself. Last year, city officials hired Denver-based consultant Adrenalin to come up with a vibrant new ad campaign for $300,00.

“Instead invest in the city’s infrastructure including parks and recreational facilities and personnel so it is self evident that we are a great city,” he told the Aurora Sentinel.

In light of Denver considering whether to allow some marijuana use in bars and other businesses, he said he state as a whole needs to vote on the issue before city council can weigh in. He said however he would still be open to arguments for “well-regulated” private clubs if the issue comes up.

Richardson said he supports the city’s use of photo red light camera for use in road construction zones and school zones, but is not convinced that they’re useful for general traffic enforcement.

More local control over oil and gas drilling is another hot-button issue where Richardson said he supports the city’s regulations.

Lewis, a mortgage banker who graduated from Metropolitan State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, said he is running for the seat for the first time because city council needs new faces and the city needs better marketing.

“Aurora has an image problem, and it’s getting worse,” he said. “I would like to see Aurora become a destination.”

He said attracting quality businesses to Regatta Plaza would help Aurora’s image, and would increase revenue for the city. He said that’s a better solution than raising the city’s sales tax.

Lewis said he would be open to allowing marijuana in bars and private businesses in Aurora if the venture proved successful in Denver.

He said city’s use of photo red light cameras should be an issue for voters to decide and he would support the issue going to the ballot. 

He said the city should protect the health of residents and property values when it comes to oil and gas drilling near neighborhoods.

“I will support all measures that promote such,” he said. “This will include working against any fracking inside Aurora if it cannot be proven by independent research that no such harm will come from it. We as a city have limited control over fracking.”

 

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readmylips
readmylips
7 years ago

After 38 years, Attorney Charlie Richardson, retired. Soon after his retirement, Mayor Hogan “appointed” Charlie as his “eyes and
ears” at a salary of $55.00 an hour for a 30 hour week. He was to give no legal advice, just be the Mayor’s eyes and ears. If
Charlie is elected, will he receive special consideration once again? Time for someone new and fresh, looking out for the
welfare of the citizens of Colorado — we don’t need a mini-Hogan.

Victoria Libby
Victoria Libby
7 years ago
Reply to  readmylips

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Fed up
Fed up
7 years ago
Reply to  readmylips

I’m with you readmylips