Vote for Valerie Mitchell, not Suzy Ageton

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What’s the next best thing to never making a mistake?
Correcting that mistake.

Unfortunately, this mistake has consequences, as many
ballots have already been cast in Boulder’s City Council election. There’s
nothing we can do about that. But in the light of recent events, Boulder Weekly
deems it necessary to withdraw its endorsement of incumbent Suzy Ageton and to
bestow our endorsement instead on Valerie Mitchell.

Ageton accepted donations from a group of developers behind
the Junior Academy development plan, an issue that was on City Council’s plate.
Ageton sees nothing wrong with this.

We do. And we’re not alone.

Fellow incumbents Matt Appelbaum and Macon Cowles received
the same donations — together with a note that reportedly thanked them for
their past support for the Junior Academy development plan. But both Appelbaum
and Cowles rejected the donations for obvious reasons: taking money, along with
developers’ thanks, gives the impression that City Council votes can be
influenced, if not purchased outright.

At the Tuesday, Oct. 27, City Council meeting, Council
member Lisa Morzel said that Ageton’s actions reflected poorly on the entire
council. And she’s right.

It’s quite possible the developers weren’t seeking favors
through their donations. And it’s possible that Ageton can take money and still
remain an objective public servant. Jerry Gordon, Boulder’s city attorney, says
that Ageton did nothing that violates the city’s ethics codes. But we’re still
uncomfortable with Ageton’s decision, and we question her judgment.

Money has turned politics — even local politics — into a
dirty affair. It’s hard for voters to believe that their best interests are
being represented by elected officials when candidates accept funds from CEOs,
corporations and lobbyists. That’s why it’s essential for elected officials to
avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Our disappointment with Ageton escalated when we read local
media reports in which she defended her actions on the grounds that candidates
routinely receive money from people who want them to do something on their
behalf.

Indeed! That is exactly the point.

Ageton tried to equate environmental groups and the campaign
donations they make with the donations she accepted, as if the Sierra Club is
somehow the equivalent of private developers. Sorry, but that’s one analogy
that simply doesn’t work. There’s a big difference between a “special interest”
that stands to profit personally off decisions an elected official makes and a
“special interest” that works without profit for the benefit of all. Even if
you disagree with the goals of environmental groups, their members aren’t
looking to line their own pockets.

Of course, it would be best if campaigns were financed
through taxpayer dollars and no donations were allowed from any source, but
that’s a change Americans don’t seem ready to accept.

In the meantime, we urge Boulder voters who haven’t yet cast
their votes not to vote for
Suzy Ageton and instead to vote for Valerie Mitchell, who is a worthy candidate
in her own right and whose perspective on a range of issues reflects the values
of this community.

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