Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown listens during a Public Safety Committee meeting at the Denver City and County building on July 11, 2007.

A weekly dive into the pages of Colorado Politics' predecessor, The Colorado Statesman, which started in 1898:

Twenty Years Ago: Denver City Councilwoman Sue Casey’s announcement that she was retiring set off a flurry of municipal politicking as potential candidates scurried to launch their campaigns to replace her.

Former state representative turned public relations director Charlie Brown, D-Denver, was interested in the job. He told reporters voter turnout would be the crucial factor in landing the $57,000/year job. As Brown’s former district made up nearly two thirds of the council district, he felt himself far ahead of the ‘pack.’

“Even though there has been some natural uprooting of residents,” Brown said, “I walked the district twice (in 1980), and I still have about 1,000 lawn signs that could be altered for a city race.”

But Brown wasn’t likely to go without a serious contest for the seat. Arnie Grossman, father of Senate Minority Leader Dan Grossman, said that he was strongly considering a run as well.

“I’m still looking at it,” Grossman said. Contrary to rumors circulating, Grossman said he did in fact fulfill the residency requirements. “Wishful thinking — that’s all they have,” Grossman said of the “rumor mongers.”

Grossman had supported both Federico Peña and Wellington Webb in their races for Denver mayor and said he’d like the chance to make a similar contribution.

“I’m motivated by their leadership,” Grossman said.

But while Grossman may have first sounded like a committed candidate to Colorado Statesman reporters, he surprised them saying he’d actually like to see Lew Cady run for the seat. Cady had spearheaded the citizen effort to keep the name ‘Mile High’ on the Broncos’ football stadium.

“I’d be very interested in his candidacy,” Grossman said.

Cady laughed when Statesman reporters told him of Grossman’s idea. “I’m not even a citizen of Denver. I’m still a resident of Central City. Grossman’s idea is charming but misguided,” he said.

… In other news, state Rep. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, told The Statesman that the intent of his Children of Divorce Protection Act was, “… not to prevent a person from escaping an abusive marriage. Rather, it is to protect children against the harmful effects of easy divorce.”

The Children of Divorce Protection Act required couples who had children and were seeking a divorce to undergo one year of counseling before the granting of a divorce decree.

Schultheis stressed to reporters that the law, if passed, would allow for exceptions to be made where physical abuse or serious psychological abuse to one of the spouses could be demonstrated.

Fifteen Years Ago: During a state Senate Ethics Committee probe, Sen. Deanna Hanna, D-Lakewood, made a public apology from the Senate floor about her “lapse of good judgement” in regard to letters she wrote to the Colorado Association of Realtors demanding $1,400 in “reparations.”

Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, had filed a formal complaint against Hanna for hastily sending letters to the Jefferson County Realtors Association after she discovered they had donated to her Republican challenger Toni Merrits. This following the JCRA had previously vowed it would not endorse either candidate in the House District 21 race.

Hanna said that she had written the letters “in the aftermath of a tough campaign. I felt that I got screwed in the process and was upset that I was treated so shabbily.”

“I think it’s extortion,” said Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, R-Colorado Springs, referring to what Hanna had written.

Meanwhile Republicans had issues of their own when House Majority Leader Joe Stengel, R-Aurora, resigned his leadership position due to controversy swelling over per diem expenses he had filed during a vacation to Hawaii.

While leadership was allowed to draw per diem expenses while the legislature was not in session, the member was required to perform work on behalf of the state during days the expenses were claimed.

“The pay issue had become a major distraction not only for me but for me colleagues,” Stengel said. “The people’s business deserves the full attention of all members and my staying on as minority leader would only serve as a major distraction.

Rachael Wright is the author of the Captain Savva Mystery series, with degrees in Political Science and History from Colorado Mesa University, and is a contributing writer to Colorado Politics and The Colorado Springs Gazette.

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