DECLINE TO SIGN
The Wasteful Ward 5 Recall Petition
Only a few months before our regular City Council election, a small fringe group wants to waste our time and $76,000 of taxpayer money on a frivolous and sexist recall election. Instead of presenting competitive candidates to all voters in November, they want to change the results of our general elections with a divisive, expensive, and low turnout special election.
This is a distraction to the work to provide important infrastructure for Broomfield's future, make housing more affordable, and protect our community with common sense firearm safety measures - including education and background checks that are supported by gun owners.
The first submission of this recall petition included disturbingly invasive and sexist language that exposes the discriminatory and misogynistic politics of the proponents. The original petition stated that Councilmember Henkel was "demonstrably naked" in a picture (of her husband and herself in swimsuits) posted on her personal social media account. The petition has since been revised to, "she has made objectionable posts online,” which is vague enough to refer to anything - but does not expunge their first attempt at body-shaming a female council member.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
― Maya Angelou
Ward 5 residents should be concerned about the lack of accuracy in the petition.
Gun Safety and Mental Health
One of the complaints in the petition is that Councilmembers Cohen and Henkel, “failed to address mental health issues wherein ~90% of prior year’s gun deaths in Broomfield were suicides.”
Both Councilmembers were supported by Moms Demand Action and received the “Gun Sense Candidate Distinction” from Everytown for Gun Safety. Running on that platform they were elected with 60 and 54 percent of the vote respectively. They have followed through on their campaign pledge to Ward 5 voters to pass common sense firearm safety measures including training and background checks that are supported by gun owners.
Those kinds of common-sense gun safety laws reduce suicide rates. The Kaiser Family Foundation determined that, “If the suicide rate by firearm in all states was similar to the rate in the states with the most gun laws, approximately 6,800 lives may have been saved in 2020, a reduction of about 15% of all suicide-related deaths.” Read more here.
Council wisely did not pass ordinances that were already being challenged in other cities. No lawsuits have been filed here. No money has been spent to defend the ordinances that were passed.
This is a political disagreement which should be addressed through regularly scheduled elections when a majority of residents are engaged and vote. Instead, the recall sponsors are trying to invalidate prior Broomfield elections through an expensive, low turnout special election.
Caring for Unhoused Broomfield Residents
The complaint that the targeted Councilmembers supported a "homeless camp" near a high school is in reference to a 2021 CCOB staff memo about possible locations that could be available to unhoused people who are camping in public spaces because they have nowhere else to go. City Staff proposed a variety of ideas - including Safe Outdoor Spaces (SOS) - that have been quite successful in Denver. This is what the petitioners call a “homeless camp.”
In a Council Study Session it was suggested that these options were more appropriate in areas with a larger homeless population than Broomfield. Staff withdrew the idea and Council decided to focus on existing programs, working with local nonprofits that serve the unhoused. This included a hotel voucher program to provide temporary shelter during dangerous weather events. Very few vouchers have been used so far.
Securing Broomfield's Future Water Needs
We at Decline To Sign understand and agree with the concern residents have about the planned water tanks. Unfortunately, the issue is more complex.
The Marshall Fire forced evacuation of many Broomfield residents. Others had our “Go Bags” packed and ready. That experience clarified the importance of a reliable water source and led to a review of Broomfield’s water infrastructure.
North Metro Fire emphasized why the additional tanks are necessary for optimal fire mitigation in their letter to the city,
“The Fire District values Broomfield’s foresight to plan for and construct additional high-volume water storage tanks… the Fire District also appreciates that the design provides for some redundancy and hydraulic advantage by locating these water tanks at a high-point in relative close proximity to the area they are primarily intended to serve. In the event that pumps should fail to operate, the additional elevation will help provide the minimally needed head pressure… during a fire emergency.”
(More information is available and you can leave comments at: https://www.broomfieldvoice.com/north-area-tanks.)
The recall complaints regarding spending are a part of the water tank conversation. Without offering any specifics, the petitioners talk about “increased spending on numerous programs.” With regard to the tanks, however, the proponents complain Councilmembers Cohen and Henkel don’t want to spend an extra $8,000,000 to bury the tanks.
At times, Council has to make difficult decisions. This is one of those decisions and Council made it with Broomfield’s safety and finances in mind.
Healthcare for Councilmembers
Both Councilmembers supported adding an optional health care benefit for the city’s future elected officials, putting Broomfield in line with most of its neighboring peers. No current council member is eligible for the benefit; only council members elected or appointed in 2023 and later years are eligible for the insurance benefit.
Rather than being self-serving, as the recall supporters claim, this council has made a consistent and systematic effort to level the playing field to make serving on council possible for more residents no matter their financial situation. This includes proposing ranked choice voting (which was approved by the voters); limiting campaign contributions so a few large donors cannot overwhelm council campaigns; raising council compensation to be in line with our city’s peers so people with fewer resources are not barred from serving for economic reasons; and providing health care benefits which also makes it easier for all Broomfield residents to serve on Council.
In a city growing in diversity with a broad economic spectrum, fighting against the “cash ceiling” to ensure our leadership is reflective of our population and not just residents who can afford to serve is more important than ever.