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Denver mayoral run-off candidates Kelly Brough, left, and Mike Johnston participate in a debate on Thursday, May 18, 2023, in the Sam & Freda Davis Auditorium at the University of Denver in Denver, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Denver Gazette)

Today is May 24, 2023 and here is what you need to know:

Denver's mayoral candidates accused each other of bending the truth on Tuesday in an escalating volley of charges surrounding a TV ad that calls one of them a liar.

After Mike Johnston's campaign reiterated demands that TV stations stop airing an ad released last week by an outside group supporting his opponent, Kelly Brough, her campaign fired back, distributing a statement from a former government official that took issue with multiple fact checks by local news outlets that describe the ad as "botched" and "misleading."

At issue is a 30-second spot from A Better Denver 527, a super PAC backing Brough, that accuses Johnston of "lying about his leadership" during the COVID pandemic and a decade ago in the state Senate when Democrats passed landmark gun control legislation.

The ad, which has been running on local broadcast, cable and streaming platforms since May 18, contends that Johnston has repeatedly exaggerated his role in the controversial issues, but Johnston's campaign counters that it's the super PAC that's mischaracterizing both what he's said and what happened.

Gov. Jared Polis will deliver a local version of his State of the State address next month in Colorado Springs.

Polis will speak at 3 p.m. June 15 at Weidner Field, 111 W. Cimarron St. in southwest downtown. The event, sponsored by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC, will feature a recap by Polis of the General Assembly’s just-concluded legislative session and what’s ahead in 2024.

As governor, Polis delivers a State of the State address before the General Assembly convenes in January at the state Capitol in Denver; the last several years, he’s followed those remarks with a similar address in Colorado Springs before local business people and civic leaders.

While Polis typically makes his Colorado Springs appearance a few weeks after his Denver address, he wanted to wait this year so that he could discuss the 2023 legislative session, a Chamber & EDC spokeswoman said.

In the hours after an East High School shooting wounded two administrators, Denver Public Schools (DPS) Superintendent Alex Marrero requested a secret meeting with the board of education to discuss changing the district’s policy on campus police, The Denver Gazette has learned.

The stated purposed of the executive session — which is closed to the public — was to discuss individual students and security arrangements, in the aftermath of the March 22 shooting.

But the board emerged on March 23, five hours and 13 minutes later with a typed-up policy change ready to distribute to the media.

The board then — without any discussion — voted unanimously on temporarily return police officers, or school resource officers (SRO), to campus.

This was an about face from 2020 when the board — in the wake of national police protests and concerns over the school-to-prison pipeline — voted to cut ties with the Denver Police Department and remove SROs.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission scheduled two public listening sessions for consumers about Xcel Energy’s request for $310 million that the company says will raise monthly electrical rates. Xcel officials said the increase is necessary to pay for transmission infrastructure repairs and replacements, and the first phase of its $1.7-to-$2 billion Power Pathway Project.

Critics of Colorado's rapid transition to renewable energy generating sources argue that current ratepayers will bear the burden of paying to build new infrastructure that may not lower energy bills for decades.

Supporters, however, argue it is necessary to transition quickly into a carbon-free society for the good of the environment and people's health.

Under consideration for the public listening sessions is Xcel’s 2022 request for revisions to its tariffs to cover the cost of the improvements that Xcel said will add an average of $7.33 (8.2%) to residential customers' bills and $10.16 (7.8%) for small commercial customers.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed one of the nation’s largest wholesale drug distributors to keep shipping highly addictive painkillers for nearly four years after a judge recommended it be stripped of its license for its “cavalier disregard” of thousands of suspicious orders fueling the opioid crisis.

The DEA did not respond to repeated questions from The Associated Press about its handling of the case against Morris & Dickson Co. or the involvement of a high-profile consultant the company had hired to stave off punishment and who is now DEA Administrator Anne Milgram’s top deputy.

But the delay has raised concerns about how the revolving door between government and industry may be impacting the DEA’s mission to police drug companies blamed for tens of thousands of American overdose deaths.

“If the DEA had issued its order in a timely manner, one could then credibly believe that its second-in-command was not involved despite an obvious conflict of interest,” said Craig Holman, an ethics expert at the watchdog group Public Citizen in Washington. “The mere fact that its action has been delayed four years just raises red flags. It casts the entire process under grave suspicion.”

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