Kara MasonKara MasonFebruary 16, 20183min774

Aurora City Council member Charlie Richardson said if sexual harassment “can happen in Hollywood, it can happen in Aurora.” But the resolution he was pushing to prevent public funds from being used in related lawsuits against council members and senior staff is on pause.

The resolution hit the floor Monday night and was tabled indefinitely — a move Richardson said means the measure is dead. But many of the council members who voted the measure down say it’s not the measure, but the timing they’re concerned about.

The resolution deemed that if senior staff members and council members didn’t partake in sexual harassment training, they may not be able to utilize taxpayer money in defending their case.

Councilman Bob LeGare, who motioned that the resolution be put on hold, said during the meeting he’d like to see the measure back in front of council once city staff is able to schedule some kind of sexual harassment training.

The council was evenly split, with Mayor Steve Hogan casting the tie-breaking vote.

Councilman Bob Roth said prior to the vote he’d be a no vote, not because of timing, but because it’s a non-issue in Aurora.

“It’s a solution looking for a problem,” he said.

But for the most part, councilors agreed that sexual harassment should be taken seriously, especially as cases have made headlines from showbiz to the state Legislature, where Democrats are looking to expel state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulfur Springs.

“I don’t think tracking down training would be hard to do,” said council newbie Allison Hiltz.

Staff said during the meeting a training would likely take about two hours. But schedules are so far packed.

The original resolution, before it was sent to the council floor, didn’t include a training requirement. But Richardson decided to include that in the resolution as an “escape valve.”


Kara MasonKara MasonNovember 28, 20173min615

Typically a quiet Monday night at Aurora City Hall wouldn’t be news. But this week the city council chose to cancel a study session meeting altogether because the group couldn’t decide on what it wanted to meet about.

Originally Mayor Steve Hogan had planned for some of the new council members to have an orientation of sorts with the current council members during the study session, which typically takes place Monday evenings.

But Councilman Charlie Richardson had other ideas. He proposed to the group during last week’s study session that a study session was too precious to spend on answering questions for new members. Instead of an entire study session for some of the new members, Richardson said the council should talk important issues, and plan for a usual study session.

The rest of the council agreed and repealed the mayor’s plans, despite Hogan’s claim that the date was the only workable time for a majority of the new members. One at-large seat is still undecided with a recount in the works.

Outgoing Councilwoman Barb Cleland said she was disappointed city staff couldn’t find a time for all new council members to meet together, adding that they should be treated with the same “dignity as the current council.”

“That’s part of the problem around here,” Hogan said. “Everybody assumes and doesn’t try to fix anything.”

During the 45-minute discussion on the next week’s meeting, it seemed a majority of council agreed the orientation didn’t have to be during the study session. It could be held elsewhere in city hall.

After recalling the orientation-slash-study-session, it was up to the council to find something for the agenda. But with a holiday weekend in the works — the city was closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and Friday — it left city staff just two days to gather needed information and put together a backup document for the meeting.

The council was unable to come up with anything to talk about for the meeting with the two days available for staff, so the entire meeting was cancelled.

After the study session let out Richardson said he only got “half of the cake.” While he didn’t want the orientation during study session, he also didn’t want the meeting cancelled altogether.

Hogan said what council had essentially done was “thumbed their nose at the new council.”

Next Monday’s regular city council meeting is slated to be the first for the new council members. A swearing-in ceremony is scheduled, though it isn’t so far clear whether the recount will be finished by then.


Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 18, 20171min387

The the African Leadership Group is offering free flu shots in Rocky Mountain Welcome Center in Aurora Saturday, its first of what’s planned to be an annual event.

The clicks from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan is expected to show up around 1 p.m. to show his support, organizers said.

“This is going to be an opportunity for many in our community, who don’t have access to healthcare either due to their immigration status or lack of insurance to get access to medical services,” organizers said in a statement. “Immunization rates are low in the African community due to lack of education and Mayor Hogan is coming by to draw attention to the need for people across Aurora to get flu shots.”

The Welcome Center is located at 10700 E. Evans Avenue in Aurora.

“The African Leadership Group is a civic organization dedicated to the empowerment and integration of the growing African immigrant community in Colorado,” the group said. “They advocate for the entire African immigrant community – across national origin, religion, tribes and language – to ensure continuous improvement to the community’s quality of life.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoySeptember 18, 20174min747

A proposal to scale back light rail service on a route exclusive to Aurora has miffed city officials who are characterizing reductions as unfair and premature.

The Regional Transportation District has targeted the 10.5-mile R line, which runs through the city along Interstate 225, for reduced service due to poor ridership. But, as the city points out, the line is less than 6 months old.

As Aurora Sentinel’s Kara Mason reports, the light rail cuts would target stops south of Anschutz Medical Campus and near the VA Hospital among others. Weekend service would discontinue and weekday routes would run at peak times — 5 and 9 a.m., and 3 and 6 p.m.

“Despite the short time the line has been operational, the up to 2,500 new residential units planned and under construction next to the light-rail line, and a connection to the Anschutz Medical Campus where 25,000 work and 1.7 million people are treated each year, RTD thinks the ridership isn’t up to par and wants to cut the frequency and add unnecessary transfers to the routes,” city officials said of the cuts in a statement, which also encouraged residents to use its draft letter to RTD to voice opposition

“The city of Aurora thinks it is not only premature, but also unfair to the residents and taxpayers in Aurora.”

In a letter to RTD, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said the district has fallen short on properly marketing the R line.

“Since the opening of the R line, RTD has failed to market the line in order to further develop ridership,” Hogan said. “We would like to see an aggressive advertising campaign implemented, as well as some innovative measures. RTD should be invested in the long-term success of the R-line.

“The proposed R line service cuts would impose two very inconvenient train transfers and doubling of travel times for riders making trips between the southeast corridor and the heart of Aurora (23 minutes to 44 minutes for a trip between Arapahoe Station and Aurora Metro Center station),” he said. “It seems these changes would also impact those wanting a direct and easy way to get to the country’s sixth-busiest airport-DEN.”

RTD will hold a public meeting discussing the proposed cuts Thursday Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Aurora Municipal Center City Café on the 2nd floor.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoySeptember 5, 20173min531

Aurora’s dream of motor sports, as part of an entertainment district on the outskirts of the city, have once again been dashed.

Even with all the city’s energy centered for years on striking a 1999 city charter amendment that bars public funding for motor sport projects, Aurora officials said late last week the campaign advocating for a ballot initiative never got off the ground, the Aurora Sentinel reports.

It’s a glum development for Aurora considering the challenges that have stalled ambitions in the past and the recent obstacles to pave the way for the entertainment district.

The city charter amendment has frustrated the city’s entertainment and NASCAR-style racetrack ambitions for years. In June, city officials agreed to seek voter approval via a ballot question to roll back the amendment (city voters have twice before said no through the ballot). Aurora residents then challenged the ballot question in court, but the city won the dispute.

As the Sentinel’s Kara Mason reports, an unforeseen medical issue affecting the chief strategist ultimately stifled the campaign:

Mayor Steve Hogan called the meeting at the request of councilwoman Sally Mounier, a chief sponsor of the measure that would end a ban against the city from cooperating with a possible race track project on a 1,700-acre plot of city-owned land near I-70 and Hudson Road.

Mounier said she asked to pull the proposal from the ballot because a critical campaign to pass the measure never materialized.

“Proponents of the amendment have informed the council that, due to an unexpected medical issue concerning their chief political strategist, their ability to run a campaign has been severely compromised,” the resolution said.

It’s unclear whether the city will pursue a future ballot initiative to realize the entertainment district.