Saturday, December 4, 2021

The election results in Aurora are a “gut punch” to the recent progressive progress in the city council.

After two election cycles that sharply moved the Aurora city council to the left, voters in Colorado’s third-largest city turned the political dial back in a decidedly opposite direction last week.

Voters pitched conservative or liberal candidates in three open seats on Tuesday, delivering Juan Marcano, one of the more outspoken progressive members of Aurora’s 11-member council, a “gut punch” for those hoping to lead the city. said. Nail

Gone – at least for the next two years – was no meaningful police reform effort, legal defense measures for immigrants or ordinances allowing marijuana consumption on-site, he said. In their place, Marcano said, Mayor Mike Kaufman’s proposal to ban urban camping is likely to re-emerge and prevail in 2022.

“Our middle class is disappearing, housing is unaffordable for many people, and wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living,” said Marcano, who in 2019 amid protests for social justice and immigrant rights at City Hall Was swept away in the office. . “I know most of our residents want to see a change, and our progressive candidates had the will to implement that change, but unfortunately the minority who came to vote chose a majority body with the same mindset that they had. The problems were made to begin with.”

Aurora has been dominated by conservatives for at least half a century and, unfortunately, will continue for at least two more years. “

Councilman Curtis Gardner, who was not on the ballot this year, said the reason for the change in voters’ mood was more straightforward.

“I think the message from voters on Tuesday was that they want the city council to stick to municipal issues – land use, roads, public safety, things like that,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve spent more time on national issues and I think our residents want us to focus on what impacts them every day.”

And at the top of the list of concerns for residents is Aurora’s rising crime numbers over the past two years, especially when it comes to gun violence, Gardner said. Data from Aurora Police shows that more people were injured in shootings in the first half of this year than in 2019.

The rise in crime comes at a time during which Aurora found herself at the forefront of social justice demonstrations nationally, with protests over the police treatment of Elijah McClain – a black man who died after police caught him and paramedics injected her with sedatives – one man was injured in the escalating violence and gunshots.

“Public safety is a core function of government at all levels, so I am not surprised to see voters elect candidates who have placed a high emphasis on public safety,” Gardner said.

On Tuesday, the two winning big candidates, Air Force vet Danielle Jurinsky and business owner Dustin Zvoneck, both highlighted the importance of public safety in their campaigns, while calling on city police and fire department unions on their websites and in their mailers. Support was a feature. .

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“He had a very clear message about public safety,” said Juliemarie Shepherd McLean, a political science instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a lifelong Aurora resident who keeps a close eye on the city’s politics. “I think there was a vote on Tuesday night saying we want to go back to the issues that matter to us in our daily lives.”

But the election results weren’t just about voters trying to strategically re-establish the political color of the council, Shepherd MacLean said. There were also big historical trends in play, as was evident in the poor showing by Democrats nationwide last week.

“The election a year after the presidential election, turns out in favor of the party,” she said.

All was not lost for the progressive wing of Aurora’s council. Ruben Medina, backed by labor unions, protection groups and an immigrant rights organization in Ward III, declared victory on Friday over rival Jono Scott, after taking a late lead of 104 votes from more than 8,000 ballots. .

And no current Liberal council member actually lost a seat on Tuesday. In 2017 Crystal Murillo, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, was re-elected to her Ward I seat after voters first joined the council along with two other progressive candidates.

Murillo told The Denver Post that she was still processing the election results and was not ready to talk about her next term. Shepherd McLean said Murillo was helped by his power, especially in such a low voter turnout.

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