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Recall effort launched against Colorado Springs councilwoman

December 20, 2014 Updated: December 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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photo - Colorado Springs Councilwoman Helen Collins
Colorado Springs Councilwoman Helen Collins 

An effort to recall Colorado Springs Councilwoman Helen Collins launched this week cites her failure to "represent the best interests or address the basic concerns, of the long-ignored voters and hard-pressed taxpayers in City Council District 4."

The group behind the recall effort must turn in 1,485 valid signatures from voters in District 4 before a Jan. 8 deadline to get the topic on the April 7 
city ballot, said Bill Powell, deputy city clerk.

Deborah Hendrix, a former Harrison School District 2 board president, Victor Torres, president of the Harrison 
school board, and Woody Longmire, the district's coordinator of student services, filed an affidavit to start the recall. The affidavit was dated Wednesday, and Hendrix said the group received petitions Thursday.

In a phone interview, Hendrix said Collins' opposition to a stormwater proposal, which failed in the Nov. 4 election, as well as a lack of communication with district residents were other reasons behind the recall. The district stretches roughly from East Platte Avenue on the north to Drennan and Bradley roads on the south and from Hancock Expressway on the west to Marksheffel Road on the east.

"It just doesn't appear she's voting in step with what is going to impact this district," Hendrix said.

Collins did not return calls seeking comment.

Collins also was criticized for her relationship with "a criminal suspect eventually convicted of murder" and a "convicted felon and controversial figure who served jail time for tax evasion," according to the affidavit statement. Hendrix confirmed it was referring to Bruce Nozolino and Douglas Bruce.

Collins testified at Nozolino's trial this year that he was a "friend."

Council President Keith King said he is "disappointed" by the recall effort.

"I think she was duly elected, and I think she's worked hard to try and accomplish what she's tried to accomplish for her district," King said. "It will be interesting to see how her district responds to the initiative to unseat her."

The news of the recall effort comes after Mayor Steve Bach announced Monday that he will not seek a second term, and Larry Bagley, a retired Air Force officer, was appointed to fill a vacant District 2 council seat.

"I think there's a heightened interest in the political situation in Colorado Springs right now," King said.

Collins defeated Hendrix in the 2013 municipal election, after receiving 39.44 percent of the vote. Hendrix finished with 34.91 percent of the vote. A total of 5,938 votes were cast in the district race.

Hendrix said her loss in the election was not motivation for the recall effort.

"I'm not doing it because I'm bitter; I'm not doing it because I want the position," she said. "I'm doing it because I believe there's better representation out there."

Even with the deadline fewer than three weeks away, Hendrix said she was not concerned about collecting enough signatures.

"We've got a short window, but I don't think that the time frame is really going to be the issue for us," she said.

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Contact Stephen Hobbs: 636-0275

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