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Tuesday, November 1,2011

Boulder City Council race

By Boulder Weekly Staff

The three incumbents in the Boulder City Council race have retained their seats. Unofficial results show that Suzanne Jones led with 12,758 votes, or 13.62 percent, with incumbent Lisa Morzel, who had faced a last-minute effort to oust her, behind Jones with 12,231 votes, or 13.06 percent. Tim Plass followed with 11.12 percent of the vote. Incumbents Ken Wilson and George Karakehian rounded out the top five vote-getters with 10.64 and 10.55 percent of the vote respectively.

Morzel was subject to an email campaign discouraging Boulder residents from voting on her on the basis of her recent vote at a City Council meeting to not allow mountain biking on a new loop trail on Anemone Hill.

Morzel cited impacts of heavy traffic on a sensitive environment as justification for her vote and pointed to her record of working for pedestrian and bike trails and the acquisition of open space as proof that she was not hostile to recreation interests, many of whom rallied behind conservative candidates in this race. She said she considers her vote on Anemone Hill to be a positive vote for the environment.

As for the effort to unseat her, she said she thinks it may have cost her perhaps 500 votes.

“Boulder voters are intelligent, and they’re not about a single issue be it mountain biking be it affordable housing be it business,” she told Boulder Weekly Wednesday morning. “They’re about the complete mix of what goes on in Boulder, what makes Boulder tick. It’s not one simple thing. It’s a whole bunch of things.”

She said the range of issues on the ballot that appealed to progressive voters also played a role not only in countering the campaign against her, but also in getting liberal candidates elected to City Council.

“I also think the unsung hero who should be the very sung hero in this election is New Era,” she said. “New Era Colorado worked their derrieres off, getting people registered, helping people to understand 2B, 2C.”

People who supported those measures, as well as Ballot Question 2H, pushing for an amendment to end “corporate personhood,” then supported candidates who also supported those measures, she said.

That ended up giving me, Tim [Plass] and Zan [Suzanne Jones] tons of votes,” Morzel said.

Mountain biking enthusiasts expressed their disappointment at the results, but suggested that the event that led them to oppose Morzel happened after many ballots had already been mailed in.

“The [Anemone] vote in the council came down late in the process, and our constituency probably didn’t have an opportunity to react to how some of that went,” said Herschel Goldberg, director of community for the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance. “I think we would have preferred to have gotten at least one more seat. The past two times any issues have come up to consider biking in and around the city, we've lost by one vote.”

A coalition of recreationists had endorsed Fenno Hoffman and Dan King, as well as Karakehian and Wilson.King garnered 8.89 percent of the vote, with Hoffman getting 6.78 percent as of press time.

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Lisa Morzel's vote to protect Anemone Hill is a vote to protect a fragile environment and the plants and animals who live there.  We humans already inhabit so much of this beautiful area, with our homes, cars, roads, cellphone towers and other things that negatively affect living creatures.  I don't understand how the Mountain Bike Alliance can be uncaring about those beings.   How many trails do they really need?  Is there such a thing as "enough"?   Seems like their recreation is more important than other creatures' survival.