Colorado Springs freshman council members: Their involvement in key issues

By Monica Mendoza Updated: January 12, 2014 at 10:21 am • Published: January 12, 2014 | 9:50 am 0

On April 2, Colorado Springs voters elected six City Council members who became known as "the freshman six." The new council was sworn in April 16.

The freshman six are not like-minded. Council members have split on the big issues including marijuana and the budget process.

Here's a look at their involvment in key issues:

Don Knight, District 1

Knight led the council through the budget process, including changes to the format that limited the mayor's ability to move money within the budget. Mayor Steve Bach said he will ignore the budget format changes. Now it is up to the council whether the issue is decided in court.

Knight voted against retail marijuana sales for recreational use, as he promised in his campaign. During the campaign, Knight said he was against recreational marijuana use but would wait to hear from the public before deciding.

Joel Miller, District 2

Miller and Bach immediately clashed over the Colorado Springs Airport Advisory Commission, when Bach effectively grounded the commission by directing airport staff not to attend their meetings. Miller also has publicly questioned the finance plan of the four tourism projects dubbed the City for Champions. He demanded that Bach release the survey results that asked residents if they would support moving the Sky Sox baseball stadium to downtown. The results were verbally delivered to the council in a closed meeting with the city attorney warning council members to keep them secret.

Miller voted against retail marijuana sales for recreational use, as he promised in his campaign.

Keith King, District 3

King led the council on a mission to define the roles of the executive and legislative branches within the city's charter. He maintained that the previous council allowed the mayor to take power that was not defined in the charter. King also expressed disappointment when Bach announced, with fanfare, the city's intent to apply to the state's Regional Tourism Act program but had not included the council in the planning of the City for Champions proposal. King said the council found out about City for Champions by reading it in the newspaper. Bach demanded King retract the statement, saying the previous council was briefed in a closed meeting and had approved $75,000 for the application development. King never retracted his statement.

King favored regulating retail marijuana sales for recreational use, as he promised in his campaign.

Helen Collins, District 4

Collins, as a member of the LART committee, said there should be more scrutiny over the city's $4 million Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax fund. Collins said the city doles out money without accountability. Starting in 2014, the organizations that receive LART funds must provide the LART committee with an economic impact report, a breakdown of how the money was spent and a list of accomplishments.

Collins favored regulating retail marijuana sales for recreational use, as promised in her campaign.

Jill Gaebler, District 5

Gaebler advanced a council resolution to support City for Champions but could not get a majority to vote with her. She said the council should support the concept even without all the financial details. Gaebler also gave passionate pleas regarding the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Again, she was in the minority. Bach had said he would have vetoed if the council had voted in favor of marijuana sales for recreational use.

Gaebler favored regulating retail marijuana sales for recreational use, as she promised in her campaign.

Andy Pico, District 6

Pico did not buy the argument from Bach's staff that changing the budget format from five to 12 appropriations departments would tie Bach's hands and delay spending in times of an emergency. He was committed to changing the budget format, saying more appropriations departments would make the budget more transparent.

Pico voted against retail marijuana sales for recreational use, as promised in his campaign.

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