Margaret Radford, Tony Carpenter and Richard Caruth are running for the same Colorado Springs City Council seat, but they are not running the same campaigns.
Radford, who’s represented District 4 in the southeast part of the city since 2001, and her challengers disagree on much, including what is the dominant issue of the campaign. For Radford, the marketing director for Colorado Technical University, the council’s biggest need is to stay its course. That means building a pipeline from the Pueblo Reservoir, funding public safety and encouraging economic development. Carpenter’s says the emphasis should be on city government waste and corruption. He said the city’s budget would be far less restrictive if it cut redundant positions and spent money on priorities. Caruth, a recording studio owner and write-in candidate, has focused on what he says is the government’s mistreatment of the district’s residents. He wants to reverse policies he claims have left the southeastern area poorer and forgotten by prospective new businesses and residents. “Richard and I both think there is a need for change,” Carpenter said. “Margaret is saying everything is hunky-dory, and we ought to be thankful for what we’ve got.” Radford’s performance is the main issue in most debates. The 48-year-old former neighborhood activist is proud of her role in negotiations that led Pueblo to drop its opposition to the pipeline. She supports construction of that project, while Carpenter and Caruth say other options should be examined, too. Radford also has been involved in pushing district projects such as covering the Monterey Drive storm sewer. Caruth, however, says city leaders have ignored District 4. There are few parks along South Hancock Expressway, and areas like Deerfield Hills, Pikes Peak Park and Southborough are left untended, he says. If elected, the 49-year-old proposes undertaking a “major battle” to require the city to appraise similarsized homes at the same price, no matter where they’re located. This would bring southeastern two-bedrooms into the same range as homes in Briargate — now far more expensive — in terms of property tax, he said. “The government is not supposed to regulate any kind of discrimination, and that’s social discrimination,” he said of the appraisal differences. Carpenter, 45, who was fired from his city Streets Department job six years ago, is less worried about the state of the district than about the state of the budget. He’s vowed to bring in analysts to determine how many jobs can be cut in the city and Colorado Springs Utilities. He recently stepped up his confrontations of city leaders, too, accusing them of covering up harassment of his girlfriend by city workers. Mayor Lionel Rivera told Carpenter to come back with proof; Carpenter has vowed to keep the issue alive. Ultimately, Radford says, voters should consider the experience level of the candidates, too. “This campaign is about electing someone who’s already worked hard for four years and getting four more years to get stuff done together,” she said.