Some voters in Colorado Springs' District 3 - which includes the Broadmoor area and part of the west side - were asked in a phone survey this past weekend if they would support a recall against City Council President Keith King.
A New York-based polling firm made the calls, but so far no one is taking responsiblity for the survey, which also asked voters to rate King, El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen, Colorado state representative Bob Gardner and Springs Mayor Steve Bach.
Broadmoor resident Deborah Cole, who is longtime friend of King's, said the caller made this statement: "Keith King lied to the people. He said he would collaborate and he hasn't been collaborating. How do you feel about this?"
Cole said she was shocked by the question and felt like the survey was a setup.
"I think they call these push poll surveys," she said. "But this was a hatchet job masquerading as a survey. They read a statement to poison the opinion of people who might not already have an opinion."
The survey lasted about 10 minutes. Broadmoor resident Mary Harold said when the questions ended, she asked who was sponsoring and paying for the survey. "The phone went dead," she said. "I didn't get the answer." Harold said there was no name or number listed on caller ID.
"I felt they were leading me down a path, trying to get me to say something negative about King."
A spokesman for Bach said the mayor had no knowledge of the phone survey and did not want to comment.
Commissioner Lathen said she learned of the poll through an email sent to her Sunday night. She said she doesn't know who is behind the survey or why her name was among a list of four politicians being rated. The caller asked residents how they would rate each politician, from unfavorably to favorably.
"I guess it's the business we are in," she said.
The caller asked residents if they were satisfied with the direction of the city and then asked the resident to name the person most responsible for the answer.
Lathen said she has been asked if she plans to run for mayor of Colorado Springs in 2015.
"There have been a lot of discussions," she said. "I am in the third year of being on county commission, and I am very involved in that work."
King questions the timing of the survey - right as the City Council has said it wants to take a lead role in the development of the City for Champions projects and on the heels of the firing of the council's legislative assistant, George Culpepper. Culpepper was fired by Mayor Bach for asking questions on behalf of the council. King would not, however, speculate on who might be behind the survey. He added that if the survey is legitimate, it likely cost thousands of dollars.
"This has been a very political process we've been involved in," King said. "I've been trying to get this legislative process to a place where it can function as a full legislative body and function as an equal form of government to the City of Colorado Springs."