Despite distracting noise about the 2024 general election, Aurora voters are poised to decide in just a few weeks government issues that affect their daily lives the most.

County election officials will be sending out ballots beginning Oct.16 that will let voters decide a bevy of city council and school board seats.

While there are endless critical issues that have and will come before the Aurora City Council in the next two years, we’ve singled out these obstacles as top concerns:

Tragically, the city’s police department and local crime have come to define the city for many who live here, and even more who don’t.

While the rate of violent and relatively petty crime mirrors that of neighboring communities, and even the nation, too many people rightfully feel far less safe today than they were before the pandemic.

At the same time, Aurora police created a quagmire of mistrust and fear over the past decades by permitting a shocking number of cops to inflict their racism and bullying on a vast array of residents, primarily people of color and especially Black residents.

By past police administrators permitting these crimes against the public to continue for so long, and to operate the system secretively and unilaterally, they nearly destroyed the ability of the city to continue operating a police department. The damage inflicted was not just on the public, but on the vast majority of officers who have steadfastly worked as honest, professional and dedicated law enforcers and public servants.

City council candidates need to be clear and frank about how they will direct city and police management to ensure that, above all, mandated police reforms are carried out swiftly, transparently and honestly.

For years, the police department has given only lip service to reforms. And even now, the onus is on the department to prove to the public it can be trusted.

Just announcing progress does not equate progress.

At the same time, the level of violent crime, especially shootings, have risen to a frightening level not seen in years. Equally concerning are prevalent crimes such as car theft, car-parts theft, shoplifting and unchecked menacing traffic problems.

In the past two years, some city lawmakers have offered and boasted a cluster of ineffective and unscientific proposals that make great sound bites on talk radio but provably have no practical impact on reducing crime.

The science is clear that programs and projects that measurably reduce crime operate outside of law enforcement.

Voters need to press city council candidates about whether they depend on reliable and trusted science sources to lead public safety policy, or political whimsy.

Similarly, Aurora has taken a winding and marginally effective course to address its part of a regional and growing crisis of homelessness.

Some current city lawmakers have aligned themselves with other misled public officials in the region, erroneously believing that homelessness is somehow a crime to be handled by police and county jails. Or, as in the case of Douglas County officials, some lawmakers here believe that just moving the problem out of sight and, if possible, anywhere out of Aurora, is a solution.

It’s not.

Homelessness is a regional issue that can only be solved by a regional approach, where every community works toward ensuring people have stable homes, and every community must step up to that shared responsibility.

Aurora voters should press city council candidates to ensure they are clear and unequivocal on where they stand in addressing this grave problem.

Homelessness, crime and police reform are far from the only issues the next city council must face. Aurora lawmakers must decide how best to use and protect the city’s water resources, and how best to ensure people from all economic sectors can comfortably afford a safe place to live.

That almost certainly will mean policy makers must interact with housing market forces and providers to ensure rapid construction to meet demand, providing incentives and assistance only to builders who pass savings onto renters and homebuyers.

The most critical aspect of the upcoming election lies in the hands of voters themselves. Eligible residents not only have a responsibility to register and vote — an easy task in Colorado — but every potential voter has rarely had more compelling reasons to seek out answers from candidates and take the time to choose those who will most responsibly and realistically put the city on the right track forward.

For voting information in Adams County, go to For voting information in Arapahoe County, go to

Join the Conversation


  1. So far off base that I don’t know where to begin. Again the highly emotional and completely untrue characterization of the racism problem in the Aurora Police Department. Anything where a black person was contacted or arrested is called racism. The sad fact is that the public and the city government have absolutely no knowledge about law enforcement. The Sentinel works off of a left leaning agenda with no knowledge. The real problem is that the people who understand and care about policing and reducing crime are not allowed to speak. Cities pick the same type of politicians to run police departments. They all have impressive resumes that were skillfully developed through their careers. They are smooth talkers who feed you the same slogans and kiss babies. Meanwhile, the officers roll their eyes at all the pap you are fed. There are better ways to do police work. You won’t ever hear them. The same “yes people” are constantly put in charge. The City makes token efforts to make it appear that you have input. The City should have a public symposium where retired officers who can speak can give you some ideas of the real problems and real solutions. The active duty officers should be freed up to speak. The reality is that the City cannot afford for you to hear the truth. It will become obvious that they are incompetent. Not only that, it will become obvious that they have no idea about the true abilities of those they pick to be chiefs. The City will continue to give you false impressions to protect their image while they destroy the image of their officers.

    1. You have a bias perspective of having been an APD officer. Not every contact with black people is called racism. But when it is racism, it shouldn’t be ignored. Unfortunately racism within APD is very real and even happens to other APD officers. Your feathers are ruffled because you feel like they are calling you racist. If it ruffles your feathers perhaps you should self reflect? Some public absolutely has an idea what is happening in APD, that’s why we’re mad, that’s why we’re sad, scared, fed up. I do agree with you completely that the city politicians are smooth talking baby kissers. That is part of what must change. And agreed! Putting ‘yes people’ into positions of power in APD is not helpful, is often counter productive and does not make the public feel any better. Their lip service to what they think we want to hear is transparent and only further undermines their credibility and trustworthiness.
      A public symposium sounds great, in theory, as long as real solutions are actually considered and not dismissed for their expense or who is speaking or denial that there is even a problem. Listening to each other does not seem to be an ability people have these days. They are right! no matter what and will refuse to hear what any else has to say. Pretty certain that any kind of symposium like that would break down to yelling, arguing, hurt feelings, upset and rudeness very quickly. Not so productive.
      Plus this is written as an opinion piece, not as cold hard facts. That said, I do appreciate that while you clearly don’t agree with it, you are reading it anyway. It seems like the common answer is ‘You don’t like it? Don’t look/read/do it/etc’ and that is not how humans grow. We grow by challenging our beliefs, putting ourselves outside our comfort zone. So cheers to you Sir. (That isn’t sarcasm, I truly mean it.)

  2. These two comments have some legimate points. Neither mentined the Aurora police are under the supervision of the attorney general. We need a Citizen Adavisory Board to review the policies and inforcement of them with the cooperation of the APD Chief; but with the authority to force the policy over the Chief’s objections as well as the removable of police officers including the Chief.

    1. This would be alright as long as you are allowed to hear the truth. In reality, they only let you hear what the politician Chief and the City want you to hear. Thus, you remain tgnorant,

  3. Thank you kindly. My feathers aren’t ruffled. I tried to police fairly and without bias my entire career. Only a few of my fellow officers did not. The police administration did not deal with them and used favoritism as their mode of operation. While being fair, I have been called every name in the book by people who did not know me. When I was a young officer working in Boulder, I walked into a burger place to get something. A black guy standing there called me pig when I had not said or done anything. I said “What, boy?”. I had never considered a black man as a boy, but I wanted him to get the idea. He reacted right away and said “You can’t call me boy”. I said “You can’t call me pig”. He said, “I don’t know you”. I said “I don’t know you”. With that, we introduced each other and shook hands. We can’t deal frankly and honestly with each other any more. We can’t have frank discussions. I would have been fired in today’s world and we would not have any further honest discussions. I have always been willing to admit the flaws in police work. The bad apples were allowed to stay by those in charge. We have had no ethical leadership for a long time. The other side is that the black community is not ready for an honest discussion. The biggest danger to young black males is other young black males. The danger from the police is grossly exaggerated.

  4. Benchmark data on Aurora’s retail economy compiled by a CU grad student for City Council way back in 2016 indicated that per capita, Aurora’s retail economy was in the toilet– 14% below the average of Colorado cities and 59% weaker than Denver’s. That’s per capita folks. It levels out differences in population.

    With sales tax fueling most everything the City does, nothing will improve until council starts to take ownership of the city’s revenue problem. Unfortunately, I see no candidates with the political courage to admit that our city council has run the retail economy into the ground over the past 30+ years.

    And as a tax hawk, I’m calling out the alleged conservative majority for running this city into the ground. Adam Smith NEVER advocated for absolute devotion to Laisse Faire. Sorry but Aurora’s absolute devotion now makes the city the poster child for how to kill a city’s economy.

    As evidence, just consider the recent decision to borrow $35 million by selling Certificates of Participation (a dirty trick to bypass TABOR) to fund the backlog of deferred road maintenance. That backlog accumulated pre-COVID when the national economy was white hot but still, Aurora couldn’t manage to maintain its streets. No way anyone can say honestly that Aurora’s future is bright because its not. The city can’t it bills and maintain the roads, both.

    Aurora’s response to homelessness, affordable housing, police discipline, police recruiting, crime, youth engagement and even the mundane issues like snowplowing is uniformly constrained by a retail, dining and entertainment sector that scores a clear, objective F when compared to other cities in Colorado.

    Meanwhile, Aurorans are forced to subsidize Denver’s cultural gluttony to the tune of about $7 million/year via the Denver SCFD Ponzi scheme. Why will no candidate running for Council or Mayor show some courage on this? We can thank both political parties for 30+ years of this economic sodomy.

    If you don’t trust my numbers, just visualize for a moment the splendid Denver Art Museum alongside Aurora’s Fox Theater. “Cultural gluttony” fits.

    Its truly unfortunate that the Sentinel thinks the retail economy isn’t the TOP ISSUE facing the city. It’s the root cause underlying all of the city’s problems.

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